The Pole is bipolar (what we used to call manic-depressive). The heaven of a day six months long gives way to the hell of a night six months long. The wonderfully mad people who wander about in such extremes are wonderfully swayed, and even the primmest scientists, who like to fool themselves into believing they are objective and rational and unaffected, are prone to showing signs of being moody like the rest of us.
The moodiness leaks into the writing and postings of those who sail icy waters or attempt to trek across the ice. In the brilliance of July we used to get glimpses of their manic ecstasy: Odd pictures of nudists on sea-ice. There was little of that last summer, with the world derailed with the coronavirus nonsense. But the Pole ignored us, and went about it’s business of thawing and then refreezing more or less as usual.
There were of course the slight variations which fanatics like myself like to focus on, and make a big deal about. The thaw started a little earlier and lasted a little longer than usual.
This interested me, as the exact opposite was true down at latitude 42 degrees, where I live in New Hampshire. We had a late frost in the spring and an early freeze in the fall, which made our growing season one of the shortest I can remember. Was the cold air displaced from the Pole to more southerly latitudes? I have not the time to do such research, so I just cast the idea out there, in a sense delegating the work to young whippersnappers who have the time and inclination.
I once was such a young person, and in fact one reason I have no pension and must work in my old age is because I took my retirement when young. I did a ton of research when young, rather than getting a Real Job. Surely there are still youths such as I once was, able to study obscure stuff (other than how to win video games).
This past coronavirus summer I could find no crazy whippersnappers attempting to sail the Northwest Passage, or trek across the ice, or set a new record and achieve a new first, such as making it to the Pole on pogo-sticks, but the dearth was redeemed by the MOSAiC Expedition. This bunch of crazies consisted of scientists copying Nansen, and drifting across the Pole in a ship frozen into the ice. They did all sorts of stuff I have been delegating to others, over the past decade. For example, where I said we should take temperatures, they took temperatures. And where I said we should put cameras, they put cameras. If our planet was sane, we would already have heaps of wonderful data made clear in well-written articles, rather than long lists of numbers.
But our world isn’t sane, so besides walking on dangerous sea-ice, the scientists had to, and have to, walk on eggs, in terms of politics. Some of the international team were from China, and one needs to have care about speaking the Truth when one’s leaders are not fond of the Truth. Also one must be careful about denying the theory of Global Warming, for political reasons, no matter what the data says. To top it off, the Coronavirus panic hit the world when the scientists were far from the maddening crowds, snug aboard a warm ship in the deep dark of a frozen arctic winter, and they had to be careful about commenting about how the rest of us panicking people looked, from afar. Yet, despite the fact they had to so careful about ludicrous things, they still gathered wonderful reams of information we never knew before. Their eyes sparkle, as they know more than they are allowed to say. I look forward to their discoveries leaking out.
To return to the above graph, one can see that the temperatures were actually below normal, by a hair, through much of the summer. In my eyes they were not below normal enough. Why? Because the sun has been very “quiet”, and the Pole is a place where low energy from the sun should be especially obvious. The Pole “should” be colder, whereas other places “should” be warmer, as I see things.
It is counter-intuitive that less energy from the sun should make the world warmer, but that is only because we tend to think less energy must be measured by thermometers. It is also measured by oedometers, for less energy from the sun makes less wind. Less wind makes for less up-welling of cold water where winds are offshore. Less cold water makes for more warm water at the surface of our oceans, and a warmer planet.
The only exception to this “rule” (actually a theory) is the Pole, where the sea is covered in ice and upwellings are not brought about by wind, especially when the sun first rises in late March, and sea-ice is at its maximum and the Arctic Ocean is totally covered. Therefore, because the Arctic Ocean is the one place on earth where wind has little influence, it should be the one place on earth where we see the sunshine of a “quiet” sun make things colder (during the summer when the sun shines). And this is exactly what we have seen, in recent years……until last summer.
I have the sense a change is in the wings. The counter-intuitive situation was a temporary adjustment, but now will become more intuitive. After all, the very word “counter-intuitive” means something is violating our common sense. And it goes against our common sense that less energy from the sun should make us warmer.
In a sense the planet has been borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, using warm surface waters to pay a debt created by the “quiet” sun. This can only go on so long before the debt catches up with the bank account. The surface waters use up whatever surplus heat they had to spare, and things return to a new normal where once again upwelling of cold water can occur. And so it is that, after a long lapse, we are again seeing the periodic upwelling called “La Nina”.
It should take a while for this sudden appearance of colder-than-normal water on the equator in the Pacific to work north to the Pole. The north Pacific still remembers the kinder times. And the Pole is still under the influence of kinder times, so we should expect low levels of sea-ice at the minimum. But, though the levels were indeed low, we are faced with a disconcerting problem.
What is the problem? Well, first let me show levels are low, (but up from 2012).
What is puzzling is that, though the sea-ice covers a low area of “extent”, the sea-ice that remains is surprisingly thick. Usually much of the remaining “volume” of sea-ice is piled up against the north coast of Greenland, in a narrow strip, but this year that thick ice is absent, yet “volume” does not show a down-tick, for the sea-ice between Canada and the Pole is quite thick.
In essence what we have seen over the past year is the sea-ice be pushed from the Eurasian side of the Pole to the Canadian side, creating more open water than we are used to on the Eurasian side, and ice thicker than we are used to on the Canadian side. This polarizes Alarmists and Skeptics (ha ha) because the Alarmists can make a big deal about the open water as the Skeptics make a big deal about the thicker ice.
The only thing I am certain about is that the good ship “Arctic Death Spiral” has taken another torpedo. It actually keeps sinking like the Titanic each year, but some people make a boat be a basketball, and it bounces back up to a yearly resurrection, only to be sunk yet again.
This year the torpedo involves all the thicker ice between Canada and the Pole being so-called “multiyear-ice”, which, as I hope you remember, we were suppose to see less and less of, according to the Arctic Death Spiral theory. But reports of its demise have been greatly exaggerated, and this year multi-year has made a come-back. Unless some sort of major flushing of sea-ice south through Fram Strait occurs during the winter, by next spring there will be a solid core of sea-ice between nine and twelve feet thick between Canada and the Pole, which will make it all the harder for the ice to melt away next summer. (It may even represent the core of the beginning of a so-called “recovery” back to cold AMO ice-extent-levels such as we saw in 1979).
Not that my original objections to the Arctic Death Spiral theory needed to be validated by increases in sea-ice. Originally my focus was Greenland Vikings, and certain evidence that Greenland was much warmer in the Medieval Warm Period, and the idea the Arctic Sea may even have been wide open during some summers, back then. It took the dread out of the “Death” in “Arctic Death Cycle” if we’d already been there and done that, and hadn’t become extinct. In fact it made an ice-free Arctic Sea look like a good thing, and part of a kinder and gentler climate.
The backlash I earned simply by talking about Vikings tanning in the sun of a warmer Greenland came as a shock, for I discovered I was a “denier” and “wingnut”. It awoke me from my naïve innocence to the fact I was not dealing with science, but the dogma of radical politics.
It did not take me long to suspect the director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Mark Serreze, was promoting not science, but rather a “narrative”, and that someone behind the scenes was forking out big money and a cushy position to make it worth Mark’s while. He was apparently paid to generate hoop-la about an Arctic Death Spiral. That hoop-la, and not science, became his job. Of course, if you pointed out any science which countered the hoop-la, they needed to make a racket to drown out your calm and rational voice. They also often labeled you in some way that allowed them to escape the fact they couldn’t debate worth a damn. One magic phrase they use was “conspiracy theory”, and to this day they continue to whip that accusation out, if you so much as question. Whenever you hear that phrase, and especially when you are accused of it, you should be alerted to the fact you are dealing with a mind that doesn’t want to debate. It is tantamount to muttering, “balderdash”, (which may express honest emotion, but scores no points, in a true debate).
As far as I can tell, the purpose behind preferring hoop-la to truth is money, which gains power, which gains more money, which gains more power, on and on with the money and power gathered in the same insane manner some women collect thousands of shoes in their closet. The besotted have more than they need or know what to do with, and, because such hoarding is disconnected from Truth and in fact opposes Truth, it degrades the quality of their life. They become pitiful.
However before I become too haughty I should fully disclose I’ve never really been tempted by large amounts of money and a cushy position. Would I myself pass such a test? There is only one way to find out. Drop by tomorrow and offer me a large amount of money and a cushy position.
In actual fact I have quibbled about ice cubes bobbing about in the Arctic Ocean for nigh on two decades, without pay. It makes me wonder: What’s in it for me?
Initially I liked the beauty of the sweeping views, and my pay was the same pay I get from watching clouds cruise across the sky. Added to that was the sense of adventure I got, never leaving my armchair, as I read about Vikings and explorers like Nansen. Also, back when science was actually discussed, I derived a sense of wonder as I learned how harmonious chaotic systems can be; it is hard to call chaos chaotic when looking at the sweeping swirls of a cyclone.
However increasingly I ran into the iceberg called “the narrative”, which is quite effective when it comes to sinking a buoyant mood. An Arctic sunset is beautiful, lasts two weeks, and is uplifting. I can’t say the same about Mark Serreze.
In my gloomier moods I tend to think I have wasted a lot of time, arguing about sea-ice. I likely would have been better off doing something more constructive, such as knitting. But in another sense perhaps this all has been practice for the battle of our lives.
One thing I have noticed over the past twenty years, both in terms of discussions about sea-ice and in terms of politics in general, is that the besotted have become increasingly besotted. The appetite for money and power seems insatiable, when not governed by Truth. The bribe which once seemed enough to diminish craving instead feeds a increase of craving, and one wants to double the dose. One wants more and more money and power, until one starts to want more than a sane person wants, at which point one starts to desire other people’s money and other people’s power. One wants to tax others and take away their liberty, which increasingly violates a certain component of Truth we don’t understand scientifically, called “Love”. In essence as soon as one steps into the webs of deceit they sell their soul to the devil, and become involved in a death spiral having nothing to do with ice.
Over the past twenty years I’ve watched certain scientists battle this insidious trap, which usually begins with a harmless-seeming compromise. Scientists need funding, and to gain it some will exaggerate a little, telling a little white lie for the sake of supporting their family and their staff. In some cases they are aglow when they first get the grant, and gain the power to go to the arctic landscape they adore, but that glow fades. I’ve watched them over the years. Their faces harden and become cynical, and in some cases they start to look ill. The compromise eats away at them, and in a few glorious cases they can’t abide the dishonesty and eventually blow a gasket, and go from being spokesmen of the Global Warming narrative to people you never hear about any more, unless you look very hard, whereupon you discover them posting on an obscure blog from a remote location in Siberia. It does not pay to bite the hand that feeds you, (especially when it’s a Stalin’s. Few return from Siberia like Solzhenitsyn did).
What is fascinating to me is how much of this suffering can be avoided when people, risking being called naïve chumps and suckers, simply stand by the Truth. They are neither tempted by money and power, nor bullied by belittling, and stand their ground. It is especially odd that standing still seemingly gets them somewhere. Truth seems inanimate and cold to some, but, perhaps because It includes Love, Truth seems to have a way of guiding and even protecting people who make It their guru.
Truth also has the benefit of obeying certain laws, such as the law of gravity, which it pays to attend to, and which you violate running the risk of crashing. Engineers who ignore the Truth will build stuff that crashes, and the same holds true for people who ignore the Truth in areas where the eventual crash is not so obvious, such as politics.
In any case, over the past twenty years I’ve watched things slowly build towards a crisis. On one side are those who stand by Truth, and on the other are those willing to disregard Truth for money and power. To think I originally turned to the topic of sea-ice as a way of escaping all the woes of the world!
I still turn to sea-ice for escape, for there is always much to wonder about. This year the refreeze of the huge area of open water along the entire Eurasian coast, nearly to the Pole and across Bering Strait, will be chance to see a situation which likely resembles the Medieval Warm Period in some respects. Having so much water open will allow upwellings which don’t usually occur, and changes to the stratification of the water. Even if the water freezes over by mid November, the usual “fresh water lens” atop saltier water will likely have been churned right out of existence. I delegate a great deal of study to whippersnappers, who must investigate how this reshuffling effects the various currents meandering under the growing sea-ice.
The MOSAiC expedition is doing exactly this. After the Transpolar Flow ejected them where the sea-ice breaks up south of Fram Strait, they powered up their good ship Polarstern and motored back north, sticking to the more open waters of the Eurasian side, and then planted themselves back in the sea-ice to enjoy the ride down towards Fram Strait a second time, and also to take careful observations of what actually happens when the ocean refreezes. They have all sorts of good gadgets, which enables them to measure salinity and temperature and which-way-and-how-fast-the-water-is-flowing at various levels under the ice. Their data will be freely displayed as long lists, and hopefully I’ll eventually learn how to read it; (currently I can’t make heads nor tails of it). But what is most wonderful is that they gather actual data, which on many occasions has surprised them, as it differed from what they expected, which is the theory which is entered into computers and is called “modeled data.”
I am not as surprised as they seem that the “modeled data” is proven wrong. The people programing the computer are paid by benefactors who desire a certain “narrative”, and it is hard to not display a sort of bias when you might get fired if the computer model disagrees with the boss. Computers tend to agree with the boss paying for the electricity, but the actual North Pole works for a different boss, called Truth. It doesn’t care a fig for any mortal’s money or power. It does what it does, and usually what it does is beautiful.
One thing the MOSAiC scientists uncovered was that the air right next to the sea-ice is colder than modeled, which likely explains why (back when we could watch with the O-buoy cameras) we saw meltwater pools freezing over when our satelite-and-computer-generated maps showed temperatures above freezing. But they also have been discovering stuff hidden from our prying eyes, in the waters under the ice. Besides all the critters and festoons of algae I mentioned in earlier posts, they are discovering unexpected turbulence.
As I understand it, nine-tenths of an iceberg is under water, so than when you see a pressure ridge six feet high wandering across the top of the ice, it is matched by a sort of keel sticking down fifty-four feet under the ice. When this keel is pushed through the water as the ice is moved by wind, it acts like a spoon stirring the sea. Apparently this was not considered when the modeling was done for waters under the ice.
This seems to suggest that perhaps those who fund scientists should stop telling the scientists what they are expected to find, and instead to allow them to discover the Truth. For the Truth is something very nice to chance upon, in this rough old world: It is true.
The past winter saw a surprising number of powerful lows cross Barents Sea into Kara Sea, with the north winds behind these gales pulling sea-ice south around Svalbard. The most recent gale took a more traditional route, hooking back west in a retrograde manner and passing right over Svalbard.
The MOSAiC Expedition, in the sea-ice about a third of the way to the Pole from Svalbard, experienced winds of 83 km/hr north of the gale, as the sea-ice accelerated from a nearly stationary drift to a drift of over a kilometer an hour for a while. The bow-radar on the Polarstern showed a lead open and close, but not a great break-up of sea-ice. The sea-ice, which had been showing a slow drift southeast, was jerked west-southwest.
The MOSAiC Expedition, north of all the Barent Sea storms, has seen sea-ice in the Transpolar Drift move about twice as fast as usual. The hook to the southeast was unusual, and perpendicular to the drift the Fram saw, New Years to Mayday, in 1896.
The recent jerk to the west-southwest is more in line with the Fram’s Track. It will be interesting to study the condition of the sea-ice, once the weather clears and the satellite view improves. Currently it looks like the gale tore the sea-ice from the north coast of Svalbard.
What I wonder about is how much the sea-ice was compressed between Svalbard and the MOSAiC expedition. The Polarstern is suppose to head south towards Svalbard to be resupplied, and what they desire for such a journey is leads, and not pressure ridges.
There is an excellent video of part of the Russian icebreaker Kapitan Dranitsyn”s trip south from the MOSAiC site to port, showing how it has to back up and then ram to get through even ordinary sea-ice, yet has a far easier time once it finds leads skimmed with baby-ice.
In all, the journey of the Kapitan Dranitsyn from the MOSAiC site to port took three and a half weeks. The ship made it about halfway back to port in the thick sea-ice, and then was met by the Russian icebreaker Admiral Makarov, that refueled it. I think it took four days to complete the refueling. They then proceeded to the edge of the sea-ice in Barents Sea, but had to wait before venturing out into the open water because a gale was raging and the seas were too high. (I guess icebreakers are not designed for ocean storms.) They had to wait a week for the waves to subside under fifteen feet, but the MOSAiC scientists aboard got to observe how sea-ice fractures under the duress of huge swells. When the gale subsided they rushed across Barents Sea and two days later safely arrived in Tromso. (Likely some of the scientists had further adventures getting back to their home countries through the travel-bans of the Pandemic.)
It will be interesting to see what the Polarstern experiences, heading south.
The storm brought milder air over the arctic sea, including the year’s first patch of above-freezing air north of the Laptev Sea.
The sea-ice “extent graph” shows the typical decline for this time of recent years:
Interestingly, the “volume” graph hasn’t fallen much, suggesting much of the sea-ice lost on the “extent” graph is baby-ice at the periphery, without much bulk to it.
The Corona Virus has taken another victim, as around March 15 the yearly Barneo polar-tourism event was cancelled. Though the cancellation was necessary, it is a pity, for I enjoy the Russian’s attitude concerning sea-ice. They have about a million times the experience of the shallower Alarmists, who merely parrot the “settled science” which they have been gullible enough to accept as a talking-points. Where Alarmists have but dogmas, the Russians have actual experience. After all, the Russians have been landing aircraft on sea-ice since the 1930’s, and built their first Barneo-like base by the North Pole in 1937.
We are talking 72 years worth of experience, largely ignored by Alarmists, (and also are describing a great improvement in the sort of aircraft that the Russians land on the sea-ice with).
I must appear to dislike modern streamlining and other improvements, when I confess I sort of liked the old Russian bombers, which could carry their own fighter-bombers tucked like chicks under each wing:
The Russians had their own way of doing things, and it is interesting how their paratroopers exited their old bombers:
Although these ungainly-looking bombers look odd to us now, back in the day they set records for climbing to various altitudes lugging various weights, and also set the record (for that time) in terms of the duration of a flight, able to fly roughly eighteen hours without refueling (likely with additional fuel tanks). This allowed them to keep their bombers at airports a safe distance behind the battle-lines, as Hitler’s surprise attack sent the Russians reeling in retreat, and yet to still shock Hitler by bombing Berlin at night as early as 1941. Although very vulnerable in daylight, these ungainly bombers helped Russia withstand the German onslaught, able to even move tanks if need be.
Russia had to know a lot about arctic conditions in order to be resupplied during World War Two, both by the British via convoys through Barents Sea, and by Americans via airlifts up through Canada, Alaska and then along the entire Siberian coastline. One character who stands out, in terms of such arctic knowledge, was Mark Shevelev, a pilot who somehow managed to skate through Stalin’s paranoid reign without winding up purged, (despite having Jewish parents), eventually rising to the rank of lieutenant-general and passing away in 1991 at the ripe old age of 86. He likely possessed more knowledge about sea-ice in his little finger than Greenpeace holds in its entire collection of thick skulls.
Unfortunately much of this knowledge is not easily accessible.
Before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1990 Russia created a total of 31 bases drifting on sea-ice, each one gathering data, and each one having a beginning and end, and a path across the arctic, but the only actual drift-map I have found is from the first one in 1937:
A list of the bases, (including the Russian post-Soviet-Union bases which restarted such such exploration, after a fifteen year pause), can be found here:
One of the main reasons such bases were funded (the United States had a few, the chief being “Fletcher’s Ice Island” [“T-3”]), was because the two sides wanted to keep an eye on each other’s submarines during the Cold War, and consequently they also kept an eye one each other’s ice-floe bases, with much of the information kept top secret. There are all sorts of tales of submarines playing hide and seek under the ice, and one of the coolest tales to come out of that time (1962) was “Operation Coldfeet”, wherein a Russian sea-ice-base failed to disintegrate after it was abandoned, and Americans parachuted down to the sea-ice to investigate the abandoned base. This presented the investigators with a bit of a problem: How the heck to retrieve the men (and evidence) when there was no flat ice nearby large enough to land a plane upon. The answer was to snatch the men up from the ground using a moving plane, and this adventure was the first time “Sky Hook” was used.
I’m surprised that the people being rescued were not killed by whiplash, but perhaps the arrangement had some give, like a bungee cord. In any case the intelligence-gathering was a tremendous success, and a great deal was learned about the Russian’s ability to acoustically gather information about American submarines. (The fact a tremendous amount was also learned about sea-ice, during all these spy-vs-spy shenanigans, seems to have been a sort of side effect.)
My point is that we (and especially the Russians) are perfectly able to counter Alarmist contentions that the sea-ice is now at dreadfully low levels, “unprecedented” in human history. The Russians have data going back which allows them to see a decrease in sea-ice into the early 1950’s (which was fortuitous because winter convoys through a conveniently ice-free Barents Sea kept Russia from perishing during the darkest days of World War Two) followed by an increase in sea-ice until around 1979, followed by the cycle decreasing again until now.
If one wonders why the Russians don’t counter the Alarmists with loud rebuttals, the answer may well be, “Never interrupt your rival when they are making a mistake.” The Russians want to take the lead in developing their arctic resources, (which Greenpeace frowns-at and calls “exploitation”), and therefore Russia sees no great advantage in correcting the errors of their competitors. If others insist upon being politically-correct and scientifically-stupid, Russia will not be so rude as to interfere.
I personally prefer the Truth, and have posted all sorts of examples from history of open water at the Pole, even in March and May when sea-ice extents are high.
It is amazing how much obvious history Alarmists chose to be blind to, when they cling to their idea that we have never before seen sea-ice as thin as we now see at the Pole. For example, here is a newsreel from 1934 describing a schooner blithely sailing through an area where more modern-yachts were turned back, when attempting the Northwest passage, last summer.
Eventually one concludes (if one is me) that some Alarmists just don’t like history. When their psychiatrists ask them to remember their childhoods they likely respond, “What childhood?” This explains why they seem unable to resolve their psychological difficulties, chief of which is that they deny they have a problem and instead call me the “denier”. Theirs is a terrible state to be trapped in, and we actually should feel pity for these unfortunate people, for all knowledge is based upon the foundation of those who came before us and who discovered things which they handed forward through the mists of time to us, but these poor Alarmists resent the past, blame it for every possible challenge the present presents us with, and think the best thing to do is to purge all history from all books and start from scratch, as if amnesia is intelligence. (End rant.)
In other words, on one hand data is suppressed due to the spy-vs.-spy skullduggery of political and industrial espionage, and on the other hand data is denied by the blind faith of political dogma (which often replaces the blind faith of religious belief, when priests have too obviously been greedy and lustful and have broken people’s religious faith.)
And then there is deplorable me. All I want is the data, so I can watch the sea-ice and wonder, and perhaps glimpse a pattern which perhaps repeats.
There is no particular magic involved in the forecasts which spring from observations. A child can do it. Just as when the sky gets dark and one hear grumbles of thunder, one becomes wary of a storm, one watches the sea-ice for certain indicators. And just as, when one hears grumbles of thunder, the storm may pass to the north or the south and not hit you, uncertainty is involved in sea-ice forecasts, but uncertainty shouldn’t lead to despair and the abandonment of all observations.
As the Corona Virus is forcing us to self-isolate, I think this might be a good time to do some digging, and see if we can learn more about the Soviet Union’s sea-ice bases. Although I grew up deeming Russians “the bad guys”, one has to admit some amazing men achieved some amazing things in the arctic, and a lot we know about the arctic came from their research. (For example, they discovered the submerged mountain range running across the bottom of the Arctic Sea.)
One thing which could be better understood through the examination of the Russian sea-ice bases is the drift of the sea-ice. Usually it is described as two main features, the Transpolar Drift and the Beaufort Gyre.
In actual fact the two features may swing through cycles where first one and then the other predominates. The Russian descriptions I have been able to find seem to suggest their sea-ice bases traveled one of two routes, one of which flushed the base down through Fram Strait, and the other which cycled the base around the Pole.
Just looking at the list of Russian bases I gave earlier, I note sometimes bases were abandoned surprisingly close to where they began, despite the passage of long periods of time, suggesting the Beaufort Gyre was displaced far from the Beaufort Sea, and the base described a circle on the Siberian side of the Pole. (Some bases were abandoned not because the sea-ice became untenable, but rather because they drifted too far from Russia and too close to Canada, which created resupply problems, if not political ones.)
One base of particular interest is Base NP 22, which drifted around for eight and a half years, from September 13, 1972 to April 8, 1981. This base lasted longer than any other base, and also was operational when sea-ice levels peaked in 1979. It would be interesting to learn what the sea-ice and the sea-ice-drift was like, at that time. Therefore, if you are stuck in a period of “self quarantine” or “social isolation” and would like to be helpful, search about the web and see if you can find anything about this expedition for me.
Even when things can’t be found in official histories, on official news sites, or on government search engines, it is amazing what people post on there personal sites or in places like Facebook. Some of the old-timers who were on those Russian NP bases are likely now old and garrulous geezers like I am, and perhaps they wrote memoirs. In any case, I’m curious.
A few years back a Jet suffered a collapsed landing gear at the Barneo site and could not be repaired, and the usual suspects were accusing the Russians of polluting the Pristine Arctic by allowing the jet to just sink, when the sea-ice melted. The Russians responded in their usual manner; they do not dignify such accusations by even behaving as if they heard them. But I was curious, and started poking about, and found photographs which suggested the engines (at least) were valuable enough to save.
The humorous thing is that the images were not found in any official government disclaimer, but rather in the chatter of employees on Facebook pages. The Russian government could have defended itself, but seemed to feel that becoming defensive would be lowering itself.
Perhaps a certain element of egotism is involved. Governments have their dignity, and at times they refuse to stoop to answer inane questions. This seems especially true when the questions are nasty and accusatory. At times “Fake News” is as much in the questions as it is in the answers, (which is something that formerly was not as apparent as President Trump has made it become). But attack-dog questioning was always obvious to me, in the realm of arctic sea-ice, especially when the Russians faced questions by people who were known “activists”, such as Greenpeace. The very word “activist” is suggestive that a thing beyond mere curiosity is “active”, behind a reporter’s grilling.
In a better world we wouldn’t ask questions in the manner of a lawyer who is paid to arrive at a certain verdict. Rather we would ask questions because we wanted answers to things we didn’t understand. Sadly some seem to think they already know everything, and that “the science is settled”. When they raise their hands at a press conference it is like a proud child in a classroom, eager to show off an answer they already know, but not really interested in learning anything new. Rather than knowledgeable they look like know-it-alls, rather than conceiving they are blinded by preconception.
For example, imagine the conclusion an Alarmist would jump to, looking at the below picture of a prefab house at the Russian N.P. 36 base.
If you were an Alarmist you would take one look and, because everything is seen through the filter of Global Warming, (just as things look rosy to one wearing rose-colored glasses), everything looks alarming to an Alarmist. Some version of “Look how bad the melting is!” would be the first, and somewhat involuntary, utterance.
In actual fact those who live in wintry landscapes know that, even when the sun is low in December, one can find less harsh conditions out of the wind at the face of a south-facing cliff. The snow melts first at the base of a barn’s south wall (which is where farmers prefer to work, if they must work outside), but at the Pole in July every wall is south-facing, and rather than set the sun rolls around and around the horizon. Therefore every object sitting on the arctic snow has a tendency to wind up on a pedestal like a statue. For example, the DC-3 that crashed on Fletcher’s Ice Island was originally at the level of the snow:
But years later was elevated:
Simply by wandering from site to site, seeing as much of the Pole as I could from my armchair, I found my views of the Pole were altered, especially concerning what conditions are like during the height of summer. There is no “cool of the evening” because it never is evening, and the temperature seldom drops below freezing. (The slush on and around Fletcher’s Ice Island could be so deep the men stationed there wore hip-waders, back in the 1950’s). Consequently I’ve become less alarmed than Alarmists are, by signs of melting at the Pole in July.
In fact, I originally was drawn into the tussle with Alarmists due to a melt-water pool that appeared at the Pole in July, 2013:
This resulted in quite a hubbub among Alarmists. One article began, “If the image above doesn’t scare you about the effects of global warming, you must have ice water in your veins. That’s the North Pole — or at least that’s where the camera started its mission. It’s now a lake.” I attempted to soothe the above writer by pointing out it was just a melt-water pool, and would likely drain down through the ice when it found a crack, which was exactly what happened.
The sad thing was that before I was proved correct my comment was deleted from the Alarmist site for being that of a “denier”. However here at this site I went from my usual 40 views a day to 700. That was my introduction to the wonderful world of sea-ice politics:
When I reread the above post from July, 2013, I am struck by my own ignorance. I’ve learned a lot since then, simply following the principle of “curious minds want to know.” But back at the time what I was struck by was the fact that Alarmists didn’t even know melt-water pools would drain down through the sea-ice, but still could look down their noses at me as if I was the ignorant one.
Sad. But the fact some put appearing knowledgeable over actually knowing shouldn’t be allowed to stop us from learning a little more, and here’s what I’m curious about:
The Russians talked about two distinct flows in the arctic, one flushing sea-ice down through Fram Strait and one cycling sea-ice around the Pole. This past winter seems like a flusher. The Polarstern, holding the MOSAiC expedition, (and its associated buoys) has been making good progress down towards Fram Strait.
I notice this path is similar to the route shown taken by the first Russian N.P. expedition in 1937. The men on that expedition were picked up by icebreakers in Fram Strait, and delivered back to Russia aboard the icebreaker Yermak, built in 1898.
Russia still picks up its sea-ice expedition crews using icebreakers. Here are the crew of N.P. 36 being retrieved:
So who do you suppose we should go to, to learn about icebreakers, or about sea-ice? Greenpeace, or the Russians? Not that I’d be inclined to go to the Russians for advice on other topics, but in terms of sea-ice, the Russians rule and Greenpeace drools.
If I could, I’d go to them hat in hand and be very respectful, asking for more information about the past. I have my hunches that the discharge of ice into the Atlantic may have something to do with how the AMO switches from its “warm” phase to its “cold” phase, which has implications for farmers and fishermen further south, but that will have to wait until a future post, (if the Corona Virus doesn’t get me first).
Some people seem to have forgotten that sea-ice is dreadfully important, according to Alarmists. The fate of the world is determined by icebergs in the arctic, but instead everyone is in a tizzy about some piffling virus down south that will be here today and gone tomorrow. But fear not, for your courageous correspondent will not allow such distractions to swerve his piercing concentration from what truly matters: Sea-ice.
Or…well…as an ex-smoker with compromised lungs, perhaps I do wonder, just a bit, if the virus might be the end of my world, but, if so, the rest of the world will do just fine without me, and like the old song goes, “there’ll be one child born to carry on.”
In the meantime I refuse to dwell on morbid stuff, and prefer the antidote, which is Truth. I’ve decided the poet John Keats was more right than he could have known, at age twenty-four, when he wrote, “Beauty is truth; truth beauty”.
When I originally entered the discussion, concerning sea-ice, it was due to the fact the wonders of the web allowed me to visit the arctic in July, via the North Pole Camera, and besides making my hot days feel cooler, I was was ravished by the sheer beauty of the vistas revealed. However, clashing with this loveliness was what has come to be called “Fake News.” Back then it was called “The Consensus”, and “they” were outraged whenever I pointed out what the North Pole Camera made quite obvious: The sea-ice was not in a “death spiral”.
Fifteen years have past, and the quivering indignation of the politically-correct has gotten old and stale (to me at least). It is quite obvious that they care, and care deeply, but it is also obvious they do not care about the Truth. Therefore, if the Real does not matter, they must live in an odd state of unreality, swooning over shadows when not running after rainbows. As a poet, I always thought I was the hopeless romantic, but the politically-correct make me look like a rank amateur, when it comes to waltzing about in the wonder-world of an opium eater.
In fact, though I never thought I’d see the day I’d say this, poets and true scientists are brothers, for both are in love with the Truth. And they both have come to recognize they are disliked by the politically-correct.
Considering a virus from China, with an IQ of .00001, might snuff out my brilliance in a matter of 36 hours, if I happened to inhale it, I am not inclined towards being patient any longer with the politically-correct. Fifteen years is long enough. If those bozos don’t get it by now, then I fear their cases are hopeless. In some way, shape or form they are addicts, who would sell their grandmother’s false teeth for their next fix, even if their next fix is not heroin, but rather some politically-correct desire such as power, or money, or fame, or sex, or not having to work a Real Job. They have stepped beyond being merely ignorant, and have become actively opposed to Truth.
I think it is hard on the American psyche to deem any man so opposed to Truth that they are in effect an anti-Christ. Americans respect differing views, and the two-party-system is a way of making differing views work together and to, through compromise, make something better than either side is able to achieve alone. It is like two eyes, on either side of a nose, creating a depth perception neither eye owns. However for such a system to work Truth must rule. Both sides must be honest about what their views are, bring forward honest facts, and treat the loyal opposition with dignity.
“Fake News” involves none of that. Truth is disregarded. Rather than the opposition being treated as loyal, and with dignity, they are wished dead. Rather than principles of love the ruler is, (and there is no way to say this kindly), anti-love, and anti-Truth, and therefore by definition the anti-Christ.
I think the American public has been slow to wake up to the monstrous dishonesty of what they have been dealing with. They have been dealing all along with a cyclops, who cares not at all for any view but his own, and who is only interested in pretending to support “diversity” as a way of gaining power, planning on then crushing diverse views because they are seen as opposing views. But Americans, with kindness and generosity, would never call the person they are debating anything so rude as the anti-Christ. They can’t imagine a neighbor could be opposed to the very foundations of American liberty-of-views. At times they’d deem even a rabid dog a “differing perspective”. Only recently has it started to occur to many, “These people don’t care about my views; they want me gone.” Often this wake-up-call hits home as they realize, when watching Fake News, “These people don’t care a hoot about Truth.”
At the risk of sounding like one of those people who says, “I told you so”, I must remind you that more than a decade and a half ago I told you so. We who like the subject of sea-ice have been dealing with the happy horseshit of politically-correct Alarmists since our hair was still brown. We have been abused, and abused, and abused, on and on and on, and all for what? For telling the Truth.
Therefore, while others are just waking up to the horrid and disgusting falsity involved in “Fake News”, to lovers-of-the-Truth-about-sea-ice, such falsity is old hat. To some degree sea-ice lovers are jaded. If I die in thirty-six hours, strangled by own phlegm, it will be in the knowledge I fought the good fight, and that we would not be in the mess we are in had anyone heeded what I warned about, fifteen years ago. You other folk, who stood idly by as things went from bad to worse, will have to carry on without me.
Big deal. My death will not stop the spring from coming. Truth is almighty. The daffodils will bloom and honking geese will come north without needing my directions as a traffic cop. Truth is infinitely bigger than I am, and also infinitely bigger than the politically-correct, and will overpower and outlast both of us.
The preacher Andy Stanley tells a good tale, imagining what Saint Peter thought as he took his last look around Rome as he was led off to be martyred. He must have wondered if he had made the slightest difference, by standing by Truth. What he couldn’t see was that the Coliseum would someday be in ruins, but a massive cathedral would arise and be called “Saint Peters”, even as “Caesar” became a name given to dogs.
At the risk of sounding melodramatic I’ll say that I sometimes see the skepticism of True Scientists as a sort of modern day martyrdom. It is not as bloody and physically cruel as martyrdom was in the time of Rome, but it may in some ways be more painful, for it tends to be a psychological martyrdom. And at times I’m sure such thinkers look around as Saint Peter once did, and wonder if they have made the slightest difference. I say they have, for if they stand by Truth they stand by That which wins in the end.
However I’m becoming morbid, and I said I wasn’t going to do that.
Therefore, because I may not be dead in thirty-six hours, I’ll just do what I did when I started these sea-ice posts, all those years ago. I’ll just sit back and observe the sea-ice. It is a beautiful part of the world, and observing such beauty is to observe a certain Truth, whether you are a scientist or a poet. The fact the politically-correct get irate when you speak what you see only demonstrates that they are psychologically troubled individuals.
Before I move on from the absurdity of politics to what is actually happening at the Pole, allow me to share an example of a time simply observing-reality got me in trouble.
Years ago there used to be cameras floating about the Pole, sending us pictures of what was actually occurring on the surface. There were also satellites miles overhead estimating conditions at the surface. At some point the satellites were stating temperatures at the surface were well above freezing, but I noticed the cameras showed the melt-water pools on the sea-ice were skimming over with ice, and snow flurries were drifting snow over that skim of ice, and therefore I suggested the satellites might need to be re-calibrated. Lord Oh Lord! Did the politically-correct ever scold me! How dare I!? I must be a “science denier”, to question the satellites!
Now, years later, a bunch of genuine scientists are drifting on a “MOSAiC” ship up by the Pole, and one thing they have “discovered” is that there is an astonishing difference between temperatures at the surface, and temperatures measured by weather balloons only a few meters above the surface. Temperatures at the surface are much colder.
Well, Du-u-uh! I could see that years ago, which was why I suggested satellites should be re-calibrated. But where I earned scorn, the MOSAiC scientists may win a Nobel Prize. Now I ask you: Is that fair?
It does not always pay to be ahead of your time. Ask Alfred Wegener, who suggested continents drifted, fifty years before it became politically and geologically correct to say so. Wegener (and others like him) is (and are) proof the politically-correct are actually backwards, and are therefore silly when they describe themselves as “progressive”. The Truth is: The most progressive thing already exists, and awaits us giving up on our saddles on high horses of status and popularity, and instead dismounting and walking on the grounded firmness of facts, of Truth.
That being said, I will depart from my preachy, high-horse lectern, and instead will practice what I preach by walking the beauty of what actually is going on up there at the Pole.
This time of year is when the daylight breaks on the northernmost sea-ice, and the sun then refuses to set for six solid months. You might think, under such non-stop sunlight, the sea-ice would immediately start to get thinner. People get this impression looking at the “extent” graph beginning its yearly decent in March:
In actual fact the initial decrease in the “extent” occurs far from the Pole, in places off the edge of arctic maps like the Sea of Okhotsk or the Saint Lawrence Seaway. At the Pole the ice keeps right on getting thicker, sometimes even after air temperatures at the upper surface touch freezing.
How is this possible? It occurs because the ice does not thicken at the top (unless you count the meager snowfall) but rather at the bottom. All that is needed to thicken the bottom is for the water against the ice to give up its heat to ice slightly colder than the freezing point of salt water, (which varies depending on the salinity of the water, but tend to be around -1.7º Celsius, or 29º Fahrenheit). And during the coldest part of winter, the ice at the top may be forty below, the ice three feet down twenty below, and the ice next to the water at -1.7º Celsius. In May, just because the surface has warmed does not make the ice three feet down immediately warmer; it still is at twenty below, and therefore the ice beneath it still behaves as if it is winter, and keeps getting thicker.
The process of melting the sea-ice therefore involves warming the core of the ice, which is three feet down. Not only the must the water beneath the ice lose its heat upwards, but the air above the ice must lose its heat downwards. It takes time to erase a sort of memory-of-winter that lives in the ice, and for a long time the sun can shine brilliantly without seeming to have any effect. Even when the snow starts to wilt and the first melt-water appear as slushy darkness on the surface (usually in late May or early June) it can remain well below freezing three feet down.
Another interesting and highly complex dynamic involves the fact that salt has no power to melt ice below temperatures of -21ºC (-6ºF), but increasing power as the temperature increases. At +1ºF a pound of salt will melt 4 pounds of ice; at +20ºF it will melt 6 pounds of ice, and at +30ºF the same pound will melt 46 pounds of ice. This creates fascinating and complex dynamics, first as the ice gets colder and then later as the ice gets warmer. (Don’t ask me to explain it all because I can’t.) In the end the salt tends to be exuded from some of the ice, becoming brine, as temperatures cool. Lots of this brine bores down through the sea-ice, but some at the surface gets stranded and finally exists as a fine powder, as the water sublimates away in the dry atmosphere. Below temperatures of -6ºF salt blows around with drifting snow without having any effect, and when temperatures are a little above -6º the salt melts just enough to make the drifting snow into a crisp, hard surface (which has some name I can’t remember at the moment). In any case there is more salt than one would expect at the surface, (and also in the atmosphere right up to the stratosphere, contributing to ozone holes because the salt holds traces of iodine and bromine.) This salt caused great consternation among early arctic explorers, for they thought their supply of drinking water could come from the sea-ice, but at times the ice was too salty to drink. (They learned to look for “old ice”, which was largely salt free.) But we don’t need to drink the water, so what interests us this time of year is the change between ice at 20ºF and 30ºF, when the salt goes from melting six times its weight in ice to 46 times its weight. And if that isn’t complex enough for you, entertain your mind with the fact that using salt to melt ice makes temperatures colder (think of an old fashioned ice-cream-maker.)
If you look back through my old posts, and especially the comments, you will see the topic of salt discussed as far back as 2012 by people far smarter than I am. You would think Alarmists would be interested, as it seems obvious salt melts ice, and Alarmists are big on the topic of ice melting. A few were indeed interested, but they tended to become Skeptics as they learned the devil is in the details. Other Alarmists didn’t want to hear about the details, for they were only interested in the narrative, “The sea-ice is in a Death Spiral”, and if you brought up details it meant you were a “science denier”, for “the science was settled”. (This is not scientific thought, but it did teach me about how “Fake News” is created.)
Considering we’ve been discussing things like salt, and the time it takes to warm the ice three feet down, for eight years, it is just a little annoying that some of the scientists aboard the MOSAiC expedition are walking about with their index fingers poking up in an Eureka manner, saying stuff we wondered about eight years ago. However the point should be made that, while we were sitting on our duffs squinting at images from a camera on a buoy, they have actually gone up there in the dead of winter, and are gathering actual data. In effect they are the buoy, and they are the camera, and they are gathering all sorts of data I never even considered. I am happy for them, and their excitement.
I thought it would be fun to go through a month worth of maps, (keeping in mind that a bit below the Pole, towards Svalbard, is the MOSAiC crew).
When I last posted maps a very zonal flow had kept cold concentrated at the Pole, as milder air from the south wrapped around the edges of the cold, from west to east. After a single feeder-band brought the Pole its warmest (but still well below freezing) temperatures of the winter, temperatures had crashed to the coldest of the winter. Meanwhile what I called a “spear” of milder temperatures had moved west to east along the Eurasian coast.
What was interesting about the following week was how that “spear” of milder air along the Eurasian coast chilled. In the temperature maps you can see the green isotherm areas fade and turn blue. This demonstrates that even though the sunlight has returned and is pressing towards the Pole, in early March, the days are still too short and the sun is too low to prevent heat from being lost to outer space.
After a week the high pressure at the Pole, a sort of center of the Polar Cell, is being squeezed out and eroded, and we seem to be getting back to a pattern seen earlier in the winter, where low pressure dominates from the North Atlantic to along the Eurasian coast, while high pressure dominates from Bering Strait to the Canadian Archipelago. If the center of the Polar Cell exists at all, it has swung from Bering Strait nearly to Hudson Bay. The low pressure around the periphery has reverted to the Atlantic side, but the lows are shadows of the massive storms we saw earlier in the winter.
Around March 9 we again see the oddity of this winter. Other winters lows seemed to weaken as they left the North Atlantic and were starved for warmth and moisture, but this winter we have seen storms of surprising strength in Barents and Kara Seas. Above we see a weak low probing towards the Pole from the Kara Sea, and following lows entering Kara Sea, bringing up a feeder-band of milder air. The two are about to combine and cause a ruckus. Watch how the isobars tighten over the location of the MOSAiC expedition, intensified by a high pressure being pumped up over the Canadian Archipelago. An Aleutian low gets sucked north over east Siberia to weakly enter the mix.
If you look at how tight the isobars are in the above map, you can understand things might have been less than comfortable for the scientists working in the MOSAiC expedition. Notice how, though the storm (now a borderline “Ralph” (anomalous area of low pressure at the Pole)) has drawn a feeder band north, that milder air isn’t reaching the MOSAiC crew. They have been experiencing extreme cold for a long time, yet the ice around their ship starts cracking up.
For some of the scientists the opening of this lead was a fortuitous event, for they wished to study something I’d never consider: The amount of greenhouse gasses that escape from the ocean into the atmosphere via open water at the Pole. They could measure the amount of CO2 and methane without needing to trudge and tempt hungry polar bears, seeking open water. They didn’t have to even leave their ship. And surely such data is interesting, in it’s way. (Not to me, much, but likely to others.)
However the fact the sea-ice began breaking up around the ship, despite temperatures being below normal, also awoke other scientists to something bumpkins like myself understood years ago: Open water at the Pole can occur even in the coldest conditions, if the winds are right. This was known by Navy captains aboard submarines under the ice way back in the 1950’s. But it is nice to see what was Truth then is still Truth now, and that young whippersnappers are still able to raise an index finger, say Eureka, and see the Truth.
However, as delightful as science is, some aboard the ship must attend to more banal subjects, such as survival, and the stressing and crack-up of the sea-ice did not make life easy for such people. Nor did a thing called, “The Corona Virus”, occurring to the south.
The crack-up of the sea-ice complicated matters, for the next delivery of supplies was planned to be by air, with aircraft landing on a nice blue-ice airstrip on a nice plate of sea-ice, but the stormy weather cracked the ice. So of course those in charge of logistics made plans to fix the airstrip by extending one side of the broken floe’s rump-of-an-airstrip, and they were busily at work when they heard maybe the idea of delivering by air was a bad idea, because some involved in the flights “tested positive”, and it might be a bad idea to introduce the Corona Virus to the Polarstern and MOSAiC expedition. Instead it might be wise to drift down to Fram Strait with the supplies they had, and be helped down there by an icebreaker, if need be. And after that a silence descended, concerning logistics, I suppose because the slightest hint the expedition was being tested or in trouble might result in sensationalist headlines. Such attention would be quite the bother, when you want to gather data about methane escaping through cracks in the Arctic Sea.
I suspect there is very cool story involved, for when you compare the above picture with the picture below, you just know the ice has been through a commotion.
The scientists aboard the ship have seen first hand how, even at very low temperatures, open water can appear. They have also witnessed how swiftly such water freezes over, and how the sides of such leads then can clap together and form pressure ridges. Air temperature matters little, concerning sea-ice, for what is here today can be gone tomorrow. Open water can appear and then disappear in the blink of an eye. (View from MOSAiC radar.)
Of course bumpkins like myself knew about all this years ago, using data gathered by our lying eyes from much, much cheaper cameras on much, much cheaper buoys, but I will confess it is good to get some affirmation from people who have actually gone up there and put their lives on the line, and don’t just sit on fossilized duffs gazing at computer screens like I do (when my wife lets me).
I confess I worry just a bit about those men and women up there, but I am glad I don’t have to set up equipment connected by cables in minus fifty windchill, only to see cables snapped by some dumb lead. Instead I merely concern myself with whether the sea-ice is moving that cast of characters towards escape in Fram Strait, lickity-split. And so far, so good.
(See drift of buoys associated with MOSAiC at end of post.)
Speaking as a poet and not a scientist, one thing I noticed when I was young and foolhardy, and went to sea and found myself in over my head, is that I escaped with my life. At times I could take no credit for my escapes, and had the sense kindly guardian angels watched over me. (Either that, or a man born to be hung cannot drown.) I get the same sense watching the isobars in the maps below. Perhaps it is merely the arctic cooling the North Atlantic as the AMO shifts from a “warm” phase to a “cold” phase, but it is handy if you are in an ice-bound boat up there, and want to be blown down to Fram Strait. I’ve watched the drift of ice up there a lot over the years, and often noticed “wrong way” flows where the sea-ice is bottled up and prevented from moving to Fram Strait, but this year the Trans Polar Drift seems especially accelerated, which may turn out to be good news for the fellows aboard the Polarstern.
I’m not going to comment on the maps much, except to note you can see the storms prefer the Eurasian side, and also see air from the south swirled and cooled as it heads towards the Pole, but the Pole start its yearly warm-up.
The Pole continues to lose more heat than it gains until mid May, roughly a month before the solstice. In the winter it can only gain heat from south winds and the water under the ice, but now the addition of sunshine, riding ever higher in the sky, tips the energy-balance toward a point where, for roughly sixty days, the North Pole actually gives the planet more heat than it loses. (If it were a flat, dry desert it would become baking hot, but fortunately our Creator designed a nifty refrigeration system up there.)
Don’t get April-fooled, and stay tuned.
UPDATE: Below see drift of buoys associated with MOSAiC expedition down towards Fram Strait.
I have lost a lot of my interest in the arctic, because the nameless “left” has largely retreated from that battle. Not that they have surrendered, and confessed that their “Global Warming” panic was merely a political creation. In the last month one young Democrat running for president (in 2028) has claimed the world will end in 12 years “if we don’t do something” about Global Warming. Not to be outdone, a second Democrat candidate (for 2020) claimed the world would end in only 10 years, “if we don’t do something.” The political posturing gets far more attention than any actual facts about sea-ice, which makes truly interesting science hard to find.
Unfortunately (for such candidates) the public is growing jaded. The situation is like being long ago told, by a commercial, “Buy Now! The sale ends at midnight!” The ploy might have worked the first time, but a lot of midnights have passed since then, and yet the same inane advertisement keeps running. The public has realized the sale really doesn’t end at midnight, and all further exclaiming about such an “end” looks increasingly insincere, if not silly. No one is buying it…….or are they?
I find myself studying the delusion and the deluded more than the actual sea-ice. The arctic sea-ice was suppose to be gone by now. We’ve been hearing the Alarmist guff about an ice-free Pole for at least thirteen years. (I first heard an earlier hippy-version way back in 1971, back when we used to sit around deciding how the world was going to end, so we wouldn’t have to get a Real Job.) This headline’s from 2008:
The only way politicians can continue to repeat such refuted claims, without understanding it makes them look stupid, is because they have been educated that making such refuted claims makes them look wise. Not only have they been spoon-fed untruths, but they have not been taught to analyze and correct. They have “drunk the Kool-aid,” ingesting the poison of false values while blithely thinking it is virtuous to do so. I am turning into an old crank, for while my own children seem to have grown up with brains that function, young politicians make me feel that beyond my walls we have raised a generation of imbeciles.
While I do not like the word “reeducation”, (due to its association with communist atrocities and brutality), it seems to me these brainwashed people need to be awoken to the fact they have been lied to. Not that I advocate any sort of forced “deprogramming”, but mistaken people need to see their mistakes. But such persuasion is never easy, for a number of reasons.
First, the human ego never likes being told it is wrong. Being wrong involves crumpling up neatly-drawn plans and throwing stuff away and going back to the drawing board, which is work. In the game of “snakes and ladders”, facing-a-mistake is a snake, and people prefer ladders. People prefer progress, however, as engineers know, it is far better to face mistakes early, before you build, than to build and then have a building come crashing down. (“Global Warming” may be now be facing a political version of the latter.)
Second, young people have an innocent trust that their teachers know what they are talking about. Some teachers don’t, and only repeat what they see in books, in a robotic manner. It hurts young idealists to have their trust in teachers broken, and to understand some teachers define “teaching” as being more like a parrot, than as being a person who truly understands the subject they are talking about.
Third, people find it hard to believe that their fellow man could lie to their face, willingly and willfully, and with full knowledge they are perpetuating a deceit. One might expect such evil behavior in a “bad guy” with a black hat and twirled mustache who snickers “Nyah-ha-ha” in a movie, but not in someone they feel is a friend. To realize another is treating you as a sucker admits you have been, to some degree, a sucker, (up to that point, at least), and no one likes admitting they’ve been a fool.
The above difficulties are exacerbated when false values include making-money and/or gaining-awards and/or basking-in-the-flattery-of-social-prestige. We tend to prefer employment to being unemployed, financial security to anxiety, acceptance to rejection, and acclaim to being ostracized. Because we cannot get everything we desire, we must at times compromise and, sad to say, some of our compromises are mistakes. For money we compromise when we shouldn’t, for acceptance we compromise when we shouldn’t, for peace we compromise when we shouldn’t, and so on.
In the case of Global Warming the exacerbation was extreme because literally trillions of dollars were involved. In attempting to seek out the origins of the fallacy, one suspects some very rich people had to be at Global Warming’s roots.
For this reason some suspect the very wealthy members of the “Club Of Rome”, (formed over a half century ago in 1968), have been behind much of the Global Warming advocacy. They announced, (in “The Limits To Growth“, published in 1972), that mankind was running out of resources and time. Because they had so much money and power, they seemed to feel God had placed them in the position to save mankind from a disaster, which they felt was sure to come if populations kept increasing as resources ran out. They gloomily foresaw the degradation of the environment to a degree where the entire planet would become an overgrazed, industrial wasteland and desert, (and they based their ideas on computer models, even back when only very rich men could afford computers). In 1970 they foresaw the disaster would be upon us by 1990.
Others pointed out, and continue to point out, that their computer models contained some underlying assumptions that were very pessimistic, and which over the past half-century have proven untrue. Robert Solow, winner of the Noble prize for Economics, described the Club of Rome’s ideas as “amateurish” and “simplistic”. The Club Of Rome in fact didn’t see how innovative humanity can be, when faced with problems. (This has not discouraged the Club Of Rome from continuing to forecast doom, and their computer models continue to foresee the collapse of civilization, now confidently expected to occur in the middle of the 21st century.)
The Club of Rome likely does not stand alone on the pedestal of blame, but they publish their ideas, and therefore are more exposed. After the Soviet Union fell on Christmas, 1991, they didn’t rejoice at the end of the Cold War, but instead worried that mankind would lack an enemy to fight, stating, in The First Global Revolution, “Every state has been so used to classifying its neighbours as friend or foe, that the sudden absence of traditional adversaries has left governments and public opinion with a great void to fill. New enemies have to be identified, new strategies imagined, and new weapons devised.”
Particularly cynical (to me) is the statement by King & Schneider, “In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill. In their totality and their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together. But in designating these dangers as the enemy, we fall into the trap, which we have already warned readers about, namely mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself.”
This gloomy view of mankind and its future seemed to generate a need to create a scapegoat for man to fight, and furthermore to encourage a sort of “ends-justify-the-means” mentality wherein it was acceptable to lie, in the process of creating the scapegoat humanity could rally around fighting. I don’t know why they didn’t feel they could just tell the truth, but I imagine an element of condescending snobbishness was involved, wherein they felt humanity was just too stupid to be told the truth. In truth they themselves were the stupid ones, for in the end Highest Truth inevitably works its way to the surface, and it is then that liars have egg on their face.
In a sense we are now seeing that Abraham Lincoln spoke truth when he stated, “You cannot fool all of the people all of the time,” but Lincoln began that statement with, “You can fool some of the people all of the time”, and that is what we are now dealing with: A sort of residue of trusting people, brought up to see “carbon” as a scapegoat, and as a foe.
Some describe these trusting people as “sheeple”, which seems a bit snide and condescending to me. I actually find trusting people far easier to work with. But a problem occurs when it dawns on them they can’t trust. An entire range of reactions is then possible, from apathy to panic to fury to humor to a white-hot determination to stand for Truth. History demonstrates that when faced with such duress some nations crumble, while others experience a “Finest Hour”.
It seems plain to me the United States has arrived at such a tipping point. I have no idea how things will turn out, but do know that at such times every voice matters. While it can be difficult and even dangerous to speak the voice of reason among the raging, often such a voice can turn the tide, and has great influence among the silent even if the speaker is shown the door. The “left” has been all too willing to utilize this “voice” in a shrieking and impolite manner, protesting as conservatives attempt to speak, but conservatives must persist, (hopefully in more soothing tones), if the United States is to remain a two-party-system where Freedom, especially Freedom Of Speech, is a way of life.
Therefore, yawning slightly, I will again debunk what has already been debunked. And that is the idea that the sea-ice over the North Pole is in a “Death Spiral”, and also that, if the sea-ice ever did melt completely away, it would have terrible consequences. While debunking I’ll also point out some attributes of the strange mental state called “Alarmism”.
The “Death Spiral” idea is silly because the sea-ice has melted away in the recent past, without terrible consequences, (and in fact likely with pleasant consequences, in many northern lands).
The evidence is there, but there has been an effort to hide it. I know this sounds a bit paranoid and crazy, but in order to create a “narrative” wherein people could become bug-eyed about sea-ice melting, one had to “erase” the fact it has happened before. The most notable incident involved a scientist being told “we have to erase the Medieval Warm Period”. However the effort to “erase” evidence that disproves the so-called “narrative” has been far more widespread and absurd. Because so much money has been involved, it has pulled the strings of weak people who allowed themselves become puppets for the production of propaganda. Meanwhile such manipulation of monies completely baffled the honest scientists, who care far more about science than “propaganda”, even to a degree where they forget to deposit their paychecks at the bank, until the bank (or their wife) complains.
I wish I had the time to entertain you with all the examples of this silliness I have witnessed. The book would be hilarious, were it not for the fact some very decent and honest scientists have abruptly seen their funding denied, because their honesty clashed with the “narrative”.
I don’t have the time, and instead will merely mention the funding dried up, all of a sudden, when it came to placing cameras on the sea-ice on the Arctic Sea. Where we once could see what was going on up there, a sort of iron curtain has fallen. Only four years ago there were, at one point, eight functioning cameras sending us pictures. Now there are none. What happened?
I’ll give you my take, which is that initially the pictures supported the “narrative”, but then slowly such images began to undermine the “narrative”, at which point the pictures were no longer welcome. I know this sounds like a conspiracy theory, but it just seems odd that, even as it became far cheaper to place such cameras, suddenly there was no money available to do so.
Initially the cameras supported the “narrative” because they showed sea-ice melting in the summer. In actual fact, the sea-ice had always melted in the summer, but normal people didn’t know this. (I myself didn’t know this, back when I was normal.)
In fact, the sun never sets for six months, at the Pole. There is no “cool of the evening” because there is no evening. The sun just rides around the horizon, around and around, higher and higher, so of course temperatures rise. Temperatures commonly rise above freezing in May and then, on average, remain above freezing day after day, week after week, all the way to August. So is it any wonder the sea-ice melts?
This has nothing to do with Global Warming. It has been happening for millennium. But the cameras allowed us to see what only a few hundred arctic explorers had ever seen before. It was wonderful! It was beautiful! But I’m afraid it failed to be alarming enough.
Not that they didn’t try. The cameras showed the melt-water pools that form on the sea-ice during the summer, and sensationalist headlines made it sound like such pools were a new thing. But then a cantankerous old coot like myself would point out such pools were described by arctic explorers clear back to Henry Hudson in the 1600’s, and also that, when a crack formed in the ice, the water typically drained down and the pool vanished. This could result in embarrassment for Alarmists. For example, in 2013 they dubbed one such pool “Lake North Pole”, claiming it signified the beginning of The End, but no sooner had they drawn everyone’s attention to that camera’s view, when the pool drained and vanished, and instead the camera showed a view of a midsummer snow on polished sea-ice.
The fact the cameras at times embarrassed Alarmists, showing freezing where Satellites indicated thaw, or snowfalls at the peak of the melt-season, or waters clotted with sea-ice in a location other “official” maps showed open water, made them seem unhelpful, to those most interested in the “narrative”. The cameras, initially supportive to the “narrative”, had become a liability. As a cynical old coot, I feel it is no great wonder that the funding dried up.
Nor is it a great wonder to me that richer Alarmists no longer invested in other arctic endeavors. We used to be able to get pictures from all sorts of crazy dudes who planned to prove how bad Global Warming was by being the first to row to the Pole in a bathtub. Or, well, maybe not a bathtub, but in other inadequate craft.
What amazed me most about such young adventurers was: They always got funded. The money was flowing like rivers, but now it has dried up. I think they tended to show too much sea-ice and not enough melting, and failed to support the “narrative.”
I was sad to see that, for the first time in years, there was no “Barneo” base at the Pole this April. Many tourists were willing to fork out $20,000 to ski at the Pole, but there was apparently not enough extra “science money” to make the truly marvelous event, (which even included a yearly marathon), worth the organizers getting over various political differences.
Officially the 2019 Barneo base didn’t happen because of bickering between Russia and Ukraine, but in the past such bickering was lubricated out of existence by a surging inflow of money. Now the money has dried up. Forgive me if I sound overly suspicious, but I think Barneo was also unhelpful to the “narrative”. There was something about the sight of jets landing on the ice (to unload wealthy tourists) that failed to support the idea the Pole would soon be an open ocean.
To me this seems to demonstrate how, as soon as you agree you must “erase” some element of Truth to promote your “narrative”, you have become compromised. Some idealism has egged-you-on into a predicament where you will wind up with egg-on-your-face.
This is not to say that the people who promoted the “narrative” didn’t mean well. They deemed their lies “white lies”. However when they had money and power they could seduce all sorts of people to do what they wanted, and to be at their beck and call. Sad to say, but many scientists, faced with a choice between working in the field they went to college to study, or flipping burgers in a fast-food joint, will chose to work in the field of science, even if it requires some compromise. Some “white lies.”
Nearly every job I’ve ever worked has involved putting up with stuff I’d rather not put-up-with. Compromise is part of life. But it should not involve too great a disregard of Truth.
I’ve worked for employers who demanded discipline. For example, I worked for a place where you could be fired if you “punched in” one second late. This seemed ridiculous to me, because some people tended to sit around the time-clock shooting the bull and drinking coffee for a half hour after they punched-in, while other got right to work. The Truth was that the time-stamp on the time-clock’s punch-card didn’t indicate how hard a man worked. But the boss didn’t want to hear my debate, so I compromised, for a while, and made sure to never be one second late. Eventually I would refuse to obey such discipline, and got fired, but I knew I deserved it. However I knew I could just go get another job. If I left a job in a factory I could go work in a cannery.
I think it isn’t so easy for scientists. It is harder for them to just go get another job. Albert Einstein did need to flee fascism and Germany, but if he had been driven to get a job running a fork lift, I shudder to think of the complete disaster which might have ensued. (To be honest, I didn’t always do so hot myself, as a poet operating a forklift.) (Cue sound-effect of much breaking glass.)
It seems a bit sad to me that funding is no longer flowing like wine, to study melting-at-the-Pole, because I know there are certain scientists who were hired, and asked to compromise a great deal, to make that subject their specialty. Employers shouldn’t just cut the funding for such faithful slaves. Sadly, whoever is funding the Global Warming idea is now treating some scientists like industrialists once treated coal miners, once the miners got old and were no longer useful. This is unwise. Kipling stated there is no fury like the fury of a woman scorned, but I think the fury of an abandoned slave may be as bad. When you deny a man all income, honor, and dignity, despite loyal service, a mere mouse may become a cornered rat.
Fortunately I don’t need to worry about losing income, honor and dignity, concerning sea-ice, because such study is only my hobby. True, due to some stuff I don’t understand concerning “search-engines”, my old posts about sea-ice used to get me over 700 views, and this post will likely get only 40, but this will not effect my income. Or my honor and dignity. After all, sea-ice is just my frickin’ hobby, and I’ll do it even if nobody “views.” The best things in life are free, but sometimes you are the only viewer. For example: That sunrise you saw, a while back. You might have wished there was someone you could share it with, but there wasn’t, yet it was majestic all the same. It was a joy just for you, and all your own (nor were you truly alone, in a spiritual sense).
Some Alarmists lack such joy, and sadly are lodged in unhappiness. They are unhappy because the sea-ice refuses to obey them. Here is the latest evidence:
The sea-ice “extent” graph seems to show a “recovery”. Rather than the “accelerating decline” predicted by “Death Spiral” theory, we are above the depths reached during the low-ice years in 2007 and 2012. The recent “maximum” was higher than last year’s, and, despite great excitement by Alarmists about a recent dip in “extent”, we are not in any way, shape or form headed towards an ice-free summer, this year.
As I look at the above graph, it with an awareness Alarmists seem to lack, concerning the past. I can only suppose it is because, where they must “erase” for the sake of a “narrative”, I simply accept history as it is.
And even most-recent history shows April cannot predict September’s minimum. In 2006 the extent in April was one of the lowest, in recent history, but by September the 2006 minimum was one of the highest, yet this highness, while making 2007 far higher than 2006 the next April, didn’t keep 2007 from having a September minimum which was the second lowest, in recent memory. Obviously the situation in April means little. If it meant much, 2006’s minimum would be lower than 2007’s, in September. In actual fact 2006 is one of the highest recent September extents, as 2007 is one of the lowest. April’s extent, in and of itself, is a lousy predictor.
Because I know recent history, I had a hard time getting all bent out of shape by a recent dip in the above “extent graph”, which some Alarmists claimed was proof all Capitalists should become Communists. Yes, you heard me right. They did claim such a preposterous thing. Look at the small downward blip in the graph, and imagine the leap of faith required to conclude it had such a huge political significance.
Forgive me, but I didn’t even want to join the discussion.
Such discussion has always repelled me. This is a bit of a side track, but I think my dislike was formed by a mildly traumatic event at the end of my boyhood. Back when I was a grubby little boy some elders felt I might be improved by cleaning up what I wore, or having my hair cut more often, but I always found such fussing annoying. I had better things to do, and preferred hiking and fishing to being neat and tidy.
My slovenliness reached a peak around 1965, when, as youngest in my class, I was the last to show any sign of growing pubic hair, in the showers after gym class. I was the last true boy, and got in trouble with authorities by being grubby and careless, and wearing jeans to school ( illegal, back then) and having hair over the tops of my ears (also illegal) or wearing tattered sneakers, (you were suppose to wear shoes). I didn’t mean to rebel; I simply was neglectful. Meanwhile my pals were hit by hormones and abruptly became insanely interested in fashion and females. They got in different trouble by daring to wear fashionable clothing, which broke certain school dress-codes. Their jet-black pants were too tight and too short; so tight about their ankles they could barely get them over their feet when they put them on, and they wore expensive footwear called “Beatle Boots” which the grown-ups banned because they were boots and not shoes. None of this made a lick of sense to me, for, after all, I was still a boy. What made sense was hiking and fishing.
I think the experience shaped me. Because I was youngest I saw, like the child seeing the Emperor had no clothes, that what was politically correct in 1965 was silly. My mind was impressed, and my thought was shaped in a way which saw the “fashion” others desired was actually repellent.
Therefore, when hormones hit me only a year later, I had no desire the wear pants tight around the ankle and Beatle-boots, because that seemed silly. Rather I would do what was not silly. Quite accidentally I was seeking an “alternative lifestyle”. And what was the alternative? At that time it was to remain a child, a Huckleberry Finn, and to continue hiking and fishing, but to do so with the fever of an adolescent rather than the quietude of a boy. I learned to have a (nearly) complete disregard for fashion and political correctness. I had no idea this made me more adult than many adults. I was merely “thinking for myself”.
I think by 1967 the fashions of the politically correct became so shameful that many men have zealously burned all evidence, and developed amnesia. It was a fashion called “mod”. Men wore polka dots. I remember it quite clearly: Absurd, brightly colored polka dots. Not just ties, but sport coats. But nearly all evidence has been erased, like the Medieval Warm Period. What man would confess to being such a fool of fashion?
There was no way you were going to get me to dress in polka dots. Sorry, but even the slight chance, (very slight), that I could seduce a babe couldn’t trick me into wearing such peacock buffoonery. I stuck with my dirty jeans, and stuck with neglecting to get my hair cut until my shaggy locks got me rebuked by the school principle, and I stuck with hiking and fishing.
Then, in 1969, to my complete astonishment, dirty jeans and shaggy locks became fashionable and politically correct. As the youngest senior in my class I was abruptly the guy who was ahead of the curve, the guy who saw what was hip before all others, the guru of fashion.
I won’t pretend the flattery didn’t sway me. Every dog has his day. But, as fashion moved on to “disco”, I was like a guru wistfully watching all his disciples rush off to John Travolta.
Forgive me if I am belaboring my point, but it has been the experience of my life that a large part of “political correctness” is superficiality. It has next to nothing to do with the underlying Truth. At best “political correctness” is a dirty reflection through a warped mirror of what is actually occurring in the honest foundations of society, and at worst it is a complete misrepresentation.
There is much in my life I am not proud about, but one thing that makes me smile is that I still walk about in dirty jeans. I am what I am. I have been spared a great deal of bother and nuisance, by skipping fashion (most of the time) and instead focusing on work, and skipping political correctness, and instead focusing on Truth.
The Truth is that we are not threatened by the melting of arctic ice. The Truth also is we would be better off if the sea-ice totally melted. If it melted, we might return to climatic periods described as “Optimums”. If the sea-ice utterly melted northern climates under “arctic regimes” might instead experience “maritime regimes”.
In terms of Greenland, replacing the current “arctic regime” with a “maritime regime” would have a huge benefit. Permafrost would fade away, so you could dig a grave, as the Vikings once did. You could raise fodder, and deliver midwinter water, to 100,000 sheep and goats and 2000 cattle, as the Vikings once did. On good summers you could grow barley for beer, as the Vikings once did.
But some assume such evidence must be erased, along with other proof the Medieval Warm Period was warmer. What perverse ideology can be so stupid? Why erase what actually happened? Why erase actual experience which provides science with data, and which then corrects our past mistakes and furthers our future’s thought?
Who would do this? It is at this point my sense of humor kicks in, and I remember the persons who felt it was so dreadfully important to dress in “mod” fashions in 1967. I always wondered how the minds of such people work. What are you telling yourself when you don a ridiculous polka-dot outfit? For that matter, what was Abraham Lincoln telling himself when he donned his stove-pipe hat? (I like to believe he was muttering curses under his breath, the way I did when my mother made me dress in a suit and go to dancing school, when I’d rather be fishing.)
And why did George Washington wear that silly wig? Oh…wait…..he didn’t wear a wig. That was his natural hair, (though he may have powdered it.) Wigs were for people who went prematurely bald, especially when they went bald as teenagers.
Why should you go bald at such an early age? It was a side-effect of a revenge Native Americans had upon Europeans. (No, not the addiction to tobacco.) The revenge was a sexually transmitted disease which Columbus (or his crew) brought back to Spain, and which swept through Europe as the worst epidemic since the Black Plague. To abruptly go bald (often in a patchy manner) as a teenager became a sign you had not been chaste, and to hide from the shame (made so blatant by the abrupt, patchy baldness), people wore wigs, if they could afford them. (Even a cheap wig cost a week’s wages), (but a side-effect was that wigs helped people avoid the annoyance of lice. They shaved what hair they had left, and if lice got in their wig they could just boil the wig. Problem solved). But, as wigs were expensive, they became status symbols, and the rich bought and wore amazingly tall and curly and flowing wigs, whereupon they were called “bigwigs”.
The irony is, of course, that wearing such a wig would not fool the wise, who would know you wore wear the hairpiece because you had been immoral and contracted a SID which might (before antibiotics) eventually rot your brain and cause tragic insanity.
But, to the simple, a bigwig is impressive. The wigs in the above painting may have costed more than a layman could make in half a year. (Isn’t it odd how people can turn hiding shame into a status symbol)?
In my humble opinion “Global Warming” is a sort of polka-dotted “bigwig” that silly people use to impress other silly people with. Alarmist dogma has little to do with virtue, just as contracting syphilis has little to do with virtue, but the dogma becomes a sort of “bigwig” that intellectually bald people use to hide their intellectual shame. In actual fact they may be as weakened and clipped as Samson was after Delilah was done with him, but, (by virtue signaling), the politically-correct state, “Look at me! I have more hair than Samson had, at his most mighty!”
I wonder if they think they are fooling themselves. After all, at some point men took off their “mod” suits, and they did not put those absurd outfits in the closet, and wait for such bizarre garb to come back into fashion. They threw the polka-dot suits into the rubbish, (or perhaps burned them), to destroy all evidence they had ever been so ridiculous.
In like manner Alarmists are backpedaling from their fashionable statements, regarding the Arctic being in a “Death-Spiral”.
One last-ditch effort to prove there was less ice, even when the “extent” increased, involved stating that, while the “extent” might have increased, the expanding ice was thinner and had become something they dubbed “rotten ice.” What mattered was suddenly not “extent”, but “volume”.
Of course measuring the “volume” was very difficult, and involved variables and margins-of-error much greater than measuring “extent”, (and indeed the best-science involving volume-measurement may be worse than the best-science is regarding what the weather will be ten days from now), but, for what it was worth, the “volume” graph was going down, even as the “extent” went flat and even rose slightly. “Volume” became the new talking-point, and the new proof the “Death-spiral” was ongoing.
But drat! Wouldn’t you just know it? Just as “Lake North Pole” vanished as soon as they got people looking at it, as soon as they got people looking at the “Volume” graph, it shot upwards last winter. Don’t you just hate it, when that happens?
I myself figured the sea-ice volume grew because last year a sort of “Wrong-way-flow” prevented sea-ice from being flushed south through Fram Strait in the more usual manner. At times these wrong-way winds even pushed the ordinarily-piled-up sea-ice away from Greenland’s north coast. ( Sensationalist Headline: “Open Water North Of Greenland Proves Sea-ice Is About To Vanish. Polar Bears Will Drown”). This year has seen the wrong-way winds quit, and lots of sea-ice has been flushed south through Fram Strait to cool the Atlantic. As such sea-ice melts its “volume” drops to zero, and is subtracted from the total, so I expected the “Volume” graph to fall. Surprisingly, it hasn’t (so far):
If you are actually interested in arctic sea-ice, the refusal of “volume” to diminish is a fascinating development. But if you are interested in promoting a “narrative” it is incredibly annoying. This is one heck of a way to run a “Death Spiral”.
In fact, where we formally saw an attempt to “erase the Medieval War Period”, we may now be seeing an attempt to “erase the Death Spiral”.
I can’t say I blame whosoever may be involved. It is darned embarrassing to be predicting a sort of end-to-the-World, (though I reiterate that I think an ice-free Arctic Ocean would be a good thing), but then to, year after year, have your prediction be proven wrong. It seems quite normal and natural to change the subject. In a way it seems like burning an old, “mod” suit with blaring polka dots. Some things are best forgotten.
The problem is, we are not talking about mere silly outfits people chose to wear. We are talking about trillions of tax-dollars, the sweat of hard-working taxpayers, and how such dollars are spent. Are they spent wisely, or are they wasted on polka-dots?
With funding for cameras, and crazy adventurers, and the Barneo blue-ice jetport, all mysteriously vanished, just about the only pictures of sea-ice I can observe come from postings on the small-town websites of little communities in Alaska and Canada, who sit by the sea and have to deal with sea-ice, as it clogs their harbors every winter. Often the ice can keep boats from bringing fresh groceries, and the local people must either hunker down and subsist on stored-up blubber and canned goods, or rely on icebreakers and airlifted goods.
On Labrador Island they rely on icebreakers and ferries with strengthened bows, but there were shortages last winter. There is always a struggle to get supplies across the Strait Of Belle Isle, due to sea-ice.
(First, I should note that, if the “Death Spiral” is real, that ice shouldn’t even be there. Last winter it was described as “the worst in thirty years”. But never mind that.)
Second, with all the advancements in technology, surely last winter should have seen more fresh vegetables than ever, out on the island.
The lady in the picture has been running her market forty years, and she stated last winter was the worst, in terms of getting fresh vegetables.
How is it possible that 40 years ago, way back in 1978, the Canadians who lived back then could do a better job delivering groceries than the modern generation of politically-correct idealists can do?
Attempting to poke into the details, I had to descend into the bizarre world of Canadian politics, which currently involves lots of polka-dots, and not much sanity. Apparently they replaced an old, tired, but adequate ferry called the “Apollo” with a ferry that butchers the English language with the ungrammatical name, “Qajaq”.
As a boy I learned it was very bad luck to ever use the letter “Q” without the letter “U” after it. (After all, look what happened to Iraq). (Also, if I wrote “Q” without “U”, I might be kept after school, which was very bad luck). No good could possibly come of naming a ship “Qajaq”, but for Canadians it has become very stylish to write “Q” without a “U”, as doing so is apparently a sort of virtue-signaling, indicative of “sensitivity” towards “indigenous peoples.” (I’m not sure how sensitive naming a ferry “Qajaq” actually is, for I think in Inuit “qajaq” is the plural of “qyaq”, which is a skinny little kayak; in any case, an odd name for a car-carrying ferry.)
Qajaq lived up to my superstitions. Even with the help of ice-breakers, it could not deliver the groceries, and for weeks couldn’t even leave port. The people who live out on the island, and the truck-drivers dependent on the ferry to earn their living, grew scornful of the politicians who had mismanaged. After around a month the coast guard used ice-breakers to barge a minimum of groceries out to Labrador Island, but the ships were not designed for cargo and many groceries froze solid and had to be returned.
I learned all sorts of bits about the Canadian government, eavesdropping in small town chat-rooms. Apparently a large amount of money was squandered on “cronies” who built a road to the ferry terminal, but not enough money was spent on the ferry itself. Also, although the politicians were very proud of the Qajaq, because it had only half the “carbon footprint” of the Apollo, the local people scornfully stated this goal was achieved only by having a puny engine, merely half as strong as Apollo’s, which meant that, even with a reinforced bow, that the Qajaq couldn’t push through sea-ice the Apollo had once shouldered through.
I bit my tongue, for it is not my place to butt into a neighbor’s business, but I did want to mention that their politicians seemed to spend far too much time being “sensitive” about naming their ships, and far too little time being “sensible” about shipping.
The way to avoid mismanagement is to hire sensible managers, and the way to be sensible is to take a hard look at facts. It is distinctly unhelpful to “erase” the facts, yet much political-correctness seems aimed at not-allowing certain facts to be faced. Certain subjects must not be broached, certain realities must be avoided, certain sleeping-dogs must not be disturbed even with a ten-foot-pole, until one is reduced to mincing about on eggs, more focused on polka-dots and big-wigs than what really matters. It is only then that politicians cease being helpful and begin to be hazards, more concerned with genuflecting than with making sure groceries are delivered. Even the most garrulous old store-owner knows there comes a time to “stop talking and to start stocking” (the shelves). When a politician can’t see this, and becomes more busy erasing things such as the Medieval Warm Period than with delivering the goods, then troubles arise. It is when shelves are empty that people tend to dust off an old Winston Churchill quote:
“The loyalties which center upon (the leader) are enormous. If he trips he must be sustained. If he makes mistakes they must be covered. If he sleeps he must not be wantonly disturbed. If he is no good he must be pole-axed…”
This was what got Donald Trump elected. People were sick of mismanagement. The politically-correct were horrified, and attempted to pole-ax Trump even before he took office, which demonstrates they did not read the rest of the Churchill quote:
“…But this last extreme process cannot be carried out every day; and certainly not in the days after (the leader) has been chosen.”
The simple fact of the matter is that what matters is not polka-dots, nor how big your wig is, but how you manage the cards dealt out to you. There are people dealt nothing but deuces who amaze all with their success, and there are those who are dealt aces who fall flat on their faces. (Hmm. Might be a poem in that.)
Some people, though seemingly dealt only deuces, Become locomotives and never cabooses. Other elite ones are dealt only aces Yet traipse into trouble and fall on their faces.
It is true that a lot depends on your teammates; a fantastic soccer player will never be a winner if his goal-tender takes his eye off the ball to admire a blond babe in the stands; a great quarterback will have trouble completing a pass if his blockers are spineless and his coach is the moronic relative of a moronic owner. However some, even when dealt the worst hands, still manage to manage. There are ordinary people you meet every day who only manage to be ordinary by defying incredible odds. Conversely, there are pompous bigwigs who think their feces smell better than everyone else’s, utterly oblivious to an impending pole-ax.
The nice thing about a two-party system is that no actual pole-ax is involved. No guillotine is rolled out to chop off your head. There is no “Terror”, no Stalinist purges, no horrible Maoist “Cultural Revolution”, no “Night Of The Long Knives” where Hitler assassinated his best-friend Brown-Shirts although they had lifted him to power. Instead, in a two-party system, you are subjected to what the sports-world calls “being benched.” You are not kicked off the team, but you are told to go sit down and think about how you contributed to the fact the team lost the last game.
A problem arises when one wants so badly to have star-status they cannot abide even the thought of any sort of demotion. Their mother told them they were wonderful, and it hurts them tremendously when they find out they are merely ordinary. They received a trophy in school, (sometimes a “participation trophy” for doing nothing beyond showing up), and they expect life to give them another. They feel “entitled”, and feel they should be quarterback even if not gifted in that regard. Even if they are five-foot-two and can’t throw, they feel some “injustice” is involved if the best way they can help the team is to sell hot-dogs in the stands. They have lost the ability to see the facts a good manager sees, preferring to “erase” certain aspects of Truth, and to live in a rosy dream-world that can only remain rosy if reality doesn’t rear its head with ugly repercussions.
If one erases things such as the “Medieval Warm Period”, one eventually winds up with a so-called “false narrative” one is dependent upon, and then one becomes overly focused on things such as naming a boat, or “carbon emissions”, and the repercussions are empty shelves. Karma then tends to be ruthless. What goes around comes around.
In a way it is amusing, for often a reason some get sidetracked is because they feel “life isn’t fair”, and then, after their sidetrack leads them deep into a forest of buffoonery involving polka-dots and big-wigs and other forms of virtue-signaling political-correctness, they become extremely indignant when it turns out life is fair, after all.
It is difficult to explain the unfairness of life, for God’s Creation involves a vast, intricate complexity beyond the capacity of the human psyche to completely comprehend. Why are some born rich and some born poor, some born beautiful and some born ugly, some born sharp and some born dull? Is it due to the Karma of past lives? Is it due to evil White Men exploiting? Is it due to carbon emissions? Is it due to eating too much beef and not enough kale? Or is it merely a given in life, called “troubles?”
Having spent most of my life attempting to avoid trouble but getting into plenty, I tend to feel troubles are part of life, (and that, in fact, life would be boring without them).
If anyone was going to successfully avoid trouble, I would think it would be a man with super-powers, who could walk on water, and raise the dead, and give sight to the blind, such as Jesus is believed by some to have been. But even Jesus didn’t seem to avoid trouble, nor promise his followers an easy road: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
This is not to say that some elements of truthfully facing-trouble don’t defy basic mathematics:
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.“Truly I tell you,”he said,“this poor widow has put in more than all the others.”
To people only focused on the mathematics of money, and not the entirety of Truth, this statement made by Jesus is illogical. Their minds, in over-focusing on money, have “erased” other things that matter.
I seem to see, in history, a rising and falling of people nearly as predictable as the rising and falling of tides. Initially people focus on Truth in its vast and incomprehensible entirety, and are made swiftly aware of their inabilities and mistakes, but are equally swift to respond to Truth’s corrections. People call Truth inanimate, but Truth does give people a swift boot in the posterior if they neglect to factor-in certain elements. Call it “Divine Intervention” or call it “Murphy’s Law”, Truth is swift to correct and discipline those people humble enough to admit their mistakes, and who eagerly learn from them. Because they are swift to learn they rise on a tide of Truth, and often gain prosperity, popularity, and power.
But then the rot sets in. People enjoy prosperity, popularity and power, and these three things are seen as being worthwhile in and of themselves, even to the point where Truth slips from the center of people’s attention. The “erasure” is slight at first, but the addiction is insidious, and slowly makes inroads upon the initial, steadfast focus on Truth. The tide is falling, though the people heading down often think they are richer, more famous, and more powerful than ever. Towards the end they become the butts of jokes, utterly focused on polka-dots and big-wigs, and amazingly blind to the Truth that brought about prosperity, popularity and power in the first place. This downfall is described by some as “being given to sin.”
This realization has been an unexpected side-effect of studying sea-ice. It has occurred because one cannot talk about what the sea-ice is actually doing, in actual terms, without at some point treading upon the vast and duck-like flat-feet of Alarmists, and being exposed to the sputtering bombast of their wrath.
(Pause, if you will, and reflect back upon the painting of the pompous “bigwigs” I portrayed earlier in this post. Better yet, go back and look at the picture, and imagine telling those gentlemen about the real reason they wore their wigs. Do you think they’d be nice, hearing your words?)
In other words, even if you want to talk about sea-ice and sea-ice alone, there are individuals who change the subject. They seem to prefer to distract one’s focus away from the Truth about sea-ice, and instead towards their personal ire. Their logic smells of red herrings. They don’t want Truth to be the center of attention, preferring that they themselves be the center. Have pity on them. They are very needy fellows, because they need help.
As interested as I am in sea-ice, I feel Alarmist’s cries for help must be respected. That is why I go on such long side-tracks, attempting to explain the antics of my fellow man, when sea-ice is often more interesting. To walk heedlessly past a person dressed in polka-dots and big-wigs, when they are crying out for help, is in some ways like walking past a person sinking in quicksand.
Of course, they are unaware they are crying out for help. Part of their derangement is that they think I am treading on their vast toes. Which is why solving their silly problem is taking so much longer than it should.
It is a pity Alarmists are so needy and require so much pampering, because there is actually some interesting stuff going on at the Pole. With the “Death Spiral” now a dogma undergoing what seems to require an erasure much like the “Medieval Warm Period’s”, there are far fewer pictures to look at, so we aren’t able to closely examine the changes we dimly see in other data.
What are the changes?
There was a shift in weather patterns that led to fewer charges of Atlantic air north over the Pole, especially in Fram Strait. But on the Pacific side there was a push of sea-ice north through Being Strait. If I had time I’d love to study this shifting pattern in greater detail, (rather than deal with the denials of those who, for over a decade, have called me “a denier. “)
The air was a little milder than normal over the Pole, when compared against thirty-year-norms, last winter, yet it was far colder than most recent winters.
Notice how the red line actually dipped below the green line twice during the depth of winter, which hasn’t happened since 2015. Also the “peaks” above normal were far more modest. Compare the warm surges last winter (above) with the warm surges the prior winter (below).
If you add up the area of the space between the red lines and green lines you get a rough estimate of the amount of chill the sea-ice was exposed to, which can allow you to make a guess at how much thicker the ice got. However the milder air also tends to lead to more snow, which further insulates the ice from chill, and may further decrease the thickness of the ice. Therefore, because last winter had colder temperatures, and likely less snow, the ice may have thickened more, which may partially explain the failure of volume to decrease, despite more sea-ice being exported south through Fram Strait.
However less snow may have a contrary effect, now that the sun has risen north of the Arctic Circle. The snow has the ability, due to its high albedo, to delay the melting. Less-deep snow may mean an earlier start to the formation of melt-water pools. (And here is where cameras would be such a help.)
Despite the fact temperatures (and likely humidity) have been above normal during recent winters, this has changed, year after year, during the month of May. Often May has seen the first below-normal temperatures in many months, and quite often temperatures have remained more often below-normal than above-normal through much of the following summer. I’ll be interested to see if it happens again this year.
The fact summer temperatures are below-normal tends to suggest the sunshine is weaker. The so-called “Quiet Sun” may be showing its effect. Oddly, the “Quiet Sun” may also be showing its effect even when it doesn’t shine at the Pole, during the winter, and may be causing the warmer winters at the Pole.
This is utterly contrary to ordinary thought. How could a weaker sun make it warmer?
Warming might happen because the sun’s energy does not merely manifest in a way measured by thermometers, but also as energy measured by anemometers. A weaker sun might lead to weaker winds. If those weaker winds happened to be Trade Winds, the result would be less up-welling of cold waters to the west of continents down towards the equator. Less cold water at the equator would allow there to be more warm water (an El Nino rather than a La Nina), and this leads to warmer and more-moist air heading north to the Pole.
The arctic is in many respects a desert, with air that is very cold and very dry. The introduction of even a slight amount of moisture can have a huge effect in terms of temperature. The same amount of evaporated moisture which would result in a very small temperature rise at the equator, (and might even lower temperatures if a thunderstorm resulted), can result in a spike of winter temperatures at the Pole of over twenty degrees, (still below freezing). It is therefore wrong to give arctic temperatures the same “weight” as tropical temperatures.
In fact, if you give arctic temperatures the same “weight” as tropical temperatures, and created an “average” between the two, you might even create a statistical error, wherein the increase at the Pole would have the effect of “masking” a growing decrease elsewhere. A slight amount of mere moisture, at the Pole, could consequently corrupt the “Global Average Temperature”, which some politicians place so much importance upon.
I wish I had time to continue. I have only brought up two lovely variables which thermometers don’t measure, namely Trade Winds and humidity at the Pole. Truth is far more complex and beautiful, and includes far more subtlety than temperature, humidity and wind-speed. It is for the best, if we wish to be good stewards of the gift we call “our planet”, to remain humble, concerning our relationship with Truth. We must be constantly ready to be corrected.
The alternative seems to me to be an arrogant refusal to accept correction, and a behavior which seems basically adolescent. It seems but an immature, audacious certainty that “the science is settled”, and that Truth has nothing more it can teach us. It is the ossified enunciation of paralyzed thinking, addicted to polka-dots and enamored of big-wigs, and the great irony is that, in seeking to avoid correction, it invites more and greater corrections. In the end such Alarmism is simply a way of cruising for a bruising.
I am not of the Global Warming Skeptics who immediately mock all who sail arctic waters as being silly Alarmists aboard a “Ship Of Fools”. Why? For three reasons.
First, I was once young, hot-blooded and very foolish, and went to sea. The sea is a hard taskmaster, and has a way of jarring your mentality from foolishness to reality. I cannot say that what the sea does is to make you more “grounded”, for such speculation is groundless, as the sea is. The sea wakes you to way of being beyond the ken of bankers, for there can be no fences, no acres bounded by lines on a deed, nor any of the neat calculations made by the material-minded.
Therefore, when anyone one gets off their under-exercised posterior, and stops their armchair speculation and goes to sea, I intensely envy them. I know their eyes are about to be opened.
Second, one way to have your eyes opened is by on-the-scene reporters. This is why I bewailed the de-funding of the North Pole Camera and the wonderful “O-buoys”. They were the on-the-scene reporters which tended to counter “Fake News”. They were the “Free Press” the Founding Fathers sought to protect with the Bill Of Rights, for they produced pictures that tended to counter the “satellite data”. Not that the satellites lied, but the data they produced had to go through a filter called a “model”, and this had to be interpreted in a certain way to produce a “satellite map”, and then the media would focus in on certain parts of that map and exclaim the North Pole was melting, but the North Pole Camera was politically incorrect, and showed it wasn’t melting, by showing melt-water pools freezing over with ice.
What do you do, when on-the-scene reporters report data that differs from what politicians believe is true? In a healthy society you take the politicians to task. In an unhealthy society you get rid of the reporters.
Forgive me if I seem overly suspicious when I note that four years ago we had seven cameras floating on the ice, and now we have zero. But it doesn’t really matter, for now we have actual people up there. In some ways they are better than having cameras up there. No one cares much if cameras vanish, but if actual people are threatened, interest is heightened. Awkward questions get asked: How can sea-ice, which Al Gore suggested would be gone by 2014, be threatening lives?
Allow me to digress at this point, and counter an incorrect impression many have about the North Pole. They feel it was formerly rock-solid ice, and only now is there melting, and open water between shifting floes. History tells a different tale, which brings me to my third point.
If you look back into the mists of time you learn that, because whales tended to frequent the rich waters where sea-ice meets the open sea, and because whales could make a man rich, men have pushed their luck and sailed north to the sea-ice as far as we can look, using the paperwork of port officials who taxed the whaling ships when they arrived home. It may well be that sailors did things under the table, without reporting to government officials, but we have official records of where the “edge of the sea-ice” was right back to the 1500’s. We know there was open water on the west coast of Svalbard, because ships found it more economical to land there and process whale oil there, so that the master painters of the materialistic Netherlands could use their imagination to portray what was described by whalers in taverns.
I could go on. England did not become a world power because they sat back and speculated in armchairs. Back when they were nobodies, just an obscure island off the edge of Europe, they had sailors seeking the Northeast Passage over Scandinavia and Russia. But I will skip that sea-ice data from the 1500’s, beyond stating it exists.
Instead I wish to stress that, for literally hundreds of years, sailors in the arctic have known “open” water can close in like the jaws of a hyena and crush a ship. Not that it stopped them, for they had guts, but it was common knowledge. That is why Nansen designed the Fram to be an odd, round-bottomed tub. When the ice came crushing in the entire ship was lifted. (Building such a ship was an amazing display of fund-raising with no profit in sight.)
The USS Jeanette was not so lucky, and was crushed by sea-ice close to the New Siberian Islands in 1881. The crew was able to cross sea-ice to the New Siberian Islands, but had to cross open water to reach the Lena Delta, which gives us an idea of the sea-ice conditions in 1881.
Meanwhile crushed parts of the Jeanette moved east with sea-ice across the Pole to Fram Strait, and then down the east coast of Greenland, and were found WEST (!) of Cape Farewell on the southern tip of Greenland, in 1884. This shows us the ice was mobile back then, as it is today.
It also is what gave Nansen the idea he could lodge the Fram in sea-ice and simply drift with the highly mobile sea-ice to the Pole.
Why do I bring this up? It is to show what we already know, which certain Alarmists refuse to admit. To be blunt, they behave extremely indignant when you talk about stuff that happened 137 years ago. They you call you a “denier” for bringing up history, and therefore they cannot be students of history.
Therefore I tend to think that they would not be the best people advising you, if you were sailing north last spring. They might fail to mention how sea-ice can shift, and crush ships.
Therefore when a yacht does get crushed, and sinks, who is guilty? Is is not the people who called me, for stating what history teaches, a “denier”? Are they themselves not the true “deniers”, for failing to mention how sea-ice can shift, and crush ships? And instead entertaining a malarkey which states such worry is not to be heeded?
I have no desire to sit on a high horse, and judge Alarmists, though they have sat on high horses and judged me. Let God be the judge. And God speaks from the non-banker wisdom of the sea. The truth of the matter is this: If you mess with the sea, the sea messes with you.
But don’t get me wrong. I don’t scorn these two fellows who got their yacht sunk. I envy them. They dared leave their cozy couch of armchair speculation, and be real. They learned what the sea can teach, in a beautiful landscape:
And they took this beautiful ship to the eastern mouth of Bellot Strait, (which is a wonderful short-cut which past explorers didn’t know about, and which has made possible Northwest Passages which past explorers could not achieve) and there they learned what the sea teaches. In a matter of minutes they went from being two guys aboard a plush yacht to being two guys standing alone on sea-ice, praying like crazy others paid their taxes, and a helicopter might arrive to rescue them. And boy were they happy when, after hours and hours, they heard the sound of the approaching helicopter.
In like manner another politically-correct ship set sail full of teachers and students brimming with a liberal desire to document the demise of sea-ice in the Northwest Passage due to Global warming. All had a preconceived notion of what they were about to witness, aboard their mighty ship.
How embarrassing. This big ship apparently had to maneuver to avoid the very sea-ice they were suppose to be documenting declining, and ran aground. Students and teachers had to be rescued by helicopter.f
In other words, if you want to prove what you already know, stay at home. Sit at your computer. Never go to sea, for the sea will shatter your preconceptions.
Oddly, though this trip advertised they would transmit many pictures of their journey, there seems to be a strange absence of on-the-scene pictures of the grounding. Perhaps they fear lawsuits. But I find it annoying that despite having on-the-scene reporters we recieve no on-the-scene reports from Kugaaruk.
Information is power, and I can’t help but wonder if certain information is withheld because it fails to support “the narrative”. The teachers and students were not going to sea expecting to have their eyes opened, but rather to “further” knowledge they already had. They thought they already knew. But when information is disinformation, one is denying oneself the power information offers.
We have actually known since spring the sea-ice was thicker this summer. The information has been available. The Canadian Coast Guard recently texted:
“Good morning, Due to heavier than normal ice concentrations in the Canadian arctic waters north of 70 degrees, the Canadian Coast Guard, recommends that pleasure craft do not navigate in the Beaufort Sea, Barrow, Peel Sound, Franklin Strait and Prince Regent. CCG icebreakers cannot safely escort pleasure craft. Operators of pleasure craft considering a northwest passage should also consider the risk of having to winter in a safe haven in the Arctic, or in the case of an emergency, be evacuated from beset vessels. Safety of mariners is our primary concern.”
It was for this reason the Dogbark, a yacht attempting the Passage from the west, turned around to the east of Barrow and headed back. Information gave them power, and after scooting through Bering Strait they have had a cozy stay in Nome and now are heading south towards warmer waters.
It is sheer foolishness to suppress information, whether it be current or the history of the Jeanette in 1871. Yet we have seen the promotion of a narrative involving an “Arctic Death Spiral” long past its expiration date. It included the idea the sea-ice was formerly solid, extending from shore to shore in the arctic, when we already knew the Arctic Ocean has always been riven by leads. Even in the dead of winter, at temperatures far below zero, these frozen-over leads were thin enough for submarines to surface through in the 1950’s.
During the slushy summers areas of open water can become as large as small seas, far from where boats could reach, but were seen by the earliest Nimbus satellite pictures. The Nimbus picture below is from close to the sea-ice minimum, September 9, 1969, and shows a vast “hole” of open water, surrounded by sea-ice, north of Alaska.
To suppress such information is to create misinformation, and generates the narrative-supporting illusion that such sea-ice conditions are a new thing. However we do have three sailors navigating the ice and open waters seen in the above picture, 49 years later. Their description (translated) of conditions on an ice floe in a gale is hair raising:
Last night was very rough: in the late afternoon, our plate breaks in 2 in the swell despite being more than 3 miles from open water. Then the swell forces, the forecasts indicate a max towards 23 hours, the night will be long, it is gray, dark and wet … We take care as we can not to think too much about what is happening outside ; with Eric, we play a game of chess but we have trouble concentrating, the plates bump and move, it’s rather tense, we end up making quarters to monitor.
But then conditions improved:
At 2 o’clock, it finally calms down and, in the morning, we discover a chaos of ice all around us, all the ice is broken, crushed. We leave, there is still a little swell, it is not very comfortable in the middle of the ice then we navigate in open water for 5 hours and finally, we find the pack ice, first well broken then the plates become more in more beautiful. Under a beautiful sunset, it is difficult to stop and we are super happy to find the safety of the ice away from the open sea. Tonight, for the first time in a long time, we do not hear the water or the plates banging, we will sleep well!
The great thing about these on-the-scene reporters is that they do not filter the truth. When it’s thawing they report thawing, when it is freezing they report freezing. When it snowed in July they reported snow, when the above gale sucked Pacific air north they reported the rain. They have no preconceived narrative to cling to, and are immersed in the narrative called “present-tense reality”. They have their hands full dealing with the Truth the sea presents them with, hour by hour, and are having their eyes opened as only the sea can do.
We too are having our eyes opened by their reports, or should have our eyes opened if we have eyes to see with. For one thing, the “Death Spiral” is again debunked. Why? Because it is suppose to be an accelerating phenomenon; it is suppose to feed off itself; open water is suppose to absorb more sunshine making more open water. The death spiral is not allowed to go backwards. To have levels of sea-ice increase ruins the theory.
Instead of clinging to a failed narrative, and making somewhat absurd efforts to erase evidence that the narrative has failed, it would seem wiser to face the Truth, and cast about for a narrative that works better.
To seek a better narrative is in some ways to “fight city hall”, when the old narrative has involved considerable investments of money, power and prestige. Some say “you can’t fight city hall” and “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” and in the eyes of such people to be a Skeptic of the “Death Spiral” is foolishness, and even a sort of social suicide. But I’m an old man, and can’t be foolish by going to sea anymore. So this offers me a new way of going cruising for a bruising.
A better narrative? Well, perhaps the sea-ice comes and goes due to influences of the AMO and PDO. (Tap tip to Joseph D’Aleo.)
Perhaps the sea-ice shrinks when the AMO is warm, and, on the Pacific side, when the PDO is warm. And perhaps the sea-ice grows back when the AMO and PDO turn cold. And guess what? Both cycles have recently moved from warm to neutral.
The anomalous area of low pressure I dubbed “Ralph” has strengthened into a gale, placing our on-the-scene reporters in danger.
When we last checked in on August 23 the high pressure “Sven” ruled the Beaufort Sea as a weakening “Ralph” ruled the Pole.
As both Sven and Ralph weakened winds slackened over the Beaufort Sea, but Ralph was recieving reinforcements, arriving from Barents Sea and bringing Atlantic moisture to feed Ralph. By August 26 our sailors knew they were in for a blow.
The past two days have seen winds increase over the Beaufort Sea, and I suspect our sailors are too busy to report. Prayers are in order.
As they made their way south they reported conditions similar to what the O-buoys showed us, which are not what some Climate Scientists portray. Sitting in warm offices the “experts” describe the areas of open water as places “absorbing heat”, and pontificate about the high albedo of unmelted sea-ice being replaced by the low albedo of open water, stating this will lead to Global Warming. People on the scene describe a situation that is anything but warm. Sebastien described the splashes of salt water freezing to his dry suit and the deck becoming very slippery. Also the reflectivity of sea water rapidly increases as the sun lowers to the horizon, surpassing the reflectivity of dirty snow.
The open water experienced, in reality, is not a warm place, by the end of August, and the man at the helm likes his hot soup.
They seem to depend on flat bergs of ice to haul up on, in order to rest.
However at this time of year the bergs are still melting from below, and rest can be disturbed. (Notice the snow is not slushy, but has a crust.)
A flat expanse of ice they pushed the boat over can crack up in a matter of hours. (Notice the twin trails made by the catamaran hulls do not match up.)
As the ice breaks up what appears as 100% ice on a sea-ice map is no longer stuff you can pull a boat up upon to ride out a storm. In fact it becomes a churning, grinding mess you don’t want your boat to be in, in a storm. (Notice the slush seems to be refreezing.)
At last report they were skirting the edge of this ice, heading east-southeast, looking for a larger and more solid berg to haul up on and ride out the storm on. If they find one, there is a chance it will break up under the duress of oceanic swells moving under the ice. If they can’t find one I doubt they will stay midst the grinding. They will have to face the storm on the open water, either hove-to behind a protective berg, or running downwind under a storm jib.
I don’t know what they expected to do, if they had actually crossed the Pole, and reached the Atlantic north of Svalbard. The North Atlantic is not for sissies, yet they do not seem to have faith in their craft, in open waters in a storm. But sometimes you have to have faith in your boat even when you entertain doubts, and it is amazing what a small boat and stout men can get through. I hope this is not the last picture they send.
In their warm offices, sea-ice experts are likely hoping this storm churns the sea-ice and reduced the wiggly line on “extent”, “area”, and “volume” graphs, for they are worried they may lose funding if the so-called “Death Spiral” fails to manifest.
They have no idea what real life worries are.
They reached the edge of more solid ice, which is drifting east. They have decided to not risk the water, and instead to haul the boat over the ice to Sachs Harbor, 183 miles to the east. Fortunately the sea-ice is drifting that way, and if O-buoy 14’s history is anything to go by, they will continue to drift that way at this time of year (which is not the direction the Beaufort Gyre drifts; perhaps Bank’s Island forms an eddy.)
The drift, nearly a mile an hour, will slow as “Ralph” weakens, but today they will drift twenty miles the way they desire. Not bad.
Sachs Harbor has a population of 900, but does have an airport. They inhabitants will likely be delighted to see three Frenchmen appear out of the frozen sea, providing a Polar Bear doesn’t find them first.
They’ll likely fly out, parking the boat there. Then the question will be, will they return and try again next summer?
One great source for pre-satellite-era records of sea-ice is the logs of whaling ships. Alarmists of the sea-ice-breed are made very uncomfortable by the fact that greed, and daring, and desire-to-support-families, led whalers to seek the whales at the very edge of the sea-ice, which happened to be where plankton was prolific and life was lushest and whales tended to congregate.
When sea-ice Alarmists estimate the state of sea-ice in pre-satellite times they make some assumptions which likely are audacious and incorrect, such as that the extreme extent of 1979 was the “norm”. The data we have, as a basis for old maps, is sparse, and sea-ice Alarmists infill areas that we have no data for with solid ice. Then they have big trouble explaining how it was sailing vessels were hunting in areas they claim were solid ice, considering a wooden whaling ship, powered by flapping sails, had none of the powers of a modern metal-prowed icebreaker, powered by diesel or even uranium.
The simple yet driving motivation was that back then whale-oil was a superior form of lighting a home. It was cleaner and brighter than tallow candles. Tallow was basically sheep-fat, and few purified it to lanolin. The poor burned tallow and the wealthy paid much more for whale oil. For a young man whaling was a more exciting and lucrative way to earn a living, than herding sheep. Consequently men went to sea for whales, and the wealthy had whale oil lamps. Somewhat accidentally, in records of whaling clear back to the 1100’s, we have records of the edge of the sea-ice back to the 1500’s as whalers sought the northern seas where whales congregated, and from the old records we’ve gleaned sea-ice trivia, such as that there was open water by Svalbard in the early 1600’s.
The failure of sea-ice Alarmists to study history often gets a bit embarrassing. They speak with supposed authority, and make asses of themselves. This has happened again, with the past summer’s Atlantic-to-Pacific flow pushing the sea ice away from the North coast of Greenland, and the media, with the help of discredited “experts” such as Peter Waldhams, blazing headlines about the open water north of Greenland being something that has never been seen before.
Peter Waldhams has garnered a lot of free publicity by, year after year, stating, in April. that the Pole would be ice free the following summer. Year after year he is proven incorrect. As people pay less and less attention to him he gets more and more desperate to attract attention, and this year he employed the emotional topic of cuddly polar bear cubs, stating the polar bears cubs would starve, due to the ice shifting away from Greenland, (though he knows less than I do about polar bears).
Dr. Susan Crockford, who likely has scrutinized every published paper written about polar bears in English, as well as many in other languages, promptly took him to task. Apparently polar bears simply do not live in northern Greenland, (nor do seals, nor, for that matter, do Eskimos).
I would like to add, to Susan’s excellent rebuttal, a few comments concerning other times the sea ice was absent on the north coast of Greenland, as was noted by Whalers of the past. (It gets a bit tiresome belaboring these old points, but the Waldhams of the world never listen, and my hammering-away never penetrates their thick skulls, so I have to be repetitive to counter their repetitive guff.)
Back around 2004 the late John Daly noted on his site that the British admiralty records of November, 1817, contain a statement that begins:
“It will without doubt have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated….”
I found this statement odd, for this disappearance of sea-ice occurred at the same time as very cold conditions occurred in Western Europe (though not in Eastern Europe) called “The Year Without A Summer”. I sought help in my quest for answers with this Post on “Watts Up With That” in 2013.
The comments from that post were wonderful and of great help to my continuing education. In a nutshell, what I have learned is:
Sea-ice usually piles up against northern Greenland due to the Transpolar Drift, and then either crunches west along the coast of the Canadian Archipelago or else east, where it is ordinarily flushed south through Fran Strait and down the east coast of Greenland. However this flow is by no means steady. O-buoy 9 taught us the sea-ice not only surges and retreats with every storm, but also with every tide. In Fram Strait the progress south is anything but regular, with “wrong-way” flows possible if the ordinary high pressure over Greenland’s icecap is replaced by low pressure. And, last but not least, there can be a major derangement of the ordinary flow, brought on (apparently) by volcanic eruptions and the onset of a “Quiet Sun”.
A highly unusual situation was created in 1816 by the onset of the Dalton Minimum coinciding with two of the millennium’s largest volcanic eruptions, in 1810 and 1815. The atmospheric flow, usually around the planet, was so perturbed it came right over the top and flushed a very large amount of the Pole’s sea-ice down into the Atlantic, so cooling the Atlantic’s water that Western Europe had a cold summer (sort of the opposite of this summer, when the water by Britain was warm.) Meanwhile the whalers, heading up into Fram Strait, were astonished by the lack of ice. Many parts of the North Greenland coast were first seen, explored, mapped and named, at that time. One whaler commented that, if his job was exploration and not hunting whales, he could have sailed to the Pole. Another apparently circumnavigated Greenland, heading north through Fram Strait and then west and then south through Nare’s Strait into Baffin Bay.
In other words, two hundred years ago the sea-ice wasn’t merely nudged north from the north coast of Greenland. It was completely gone.
These reports greatly excited the British Admiralty, which had high hopes the climate was changing and a new trade route could be established over Canada to China. With the great war with Napoleon finished, they had a 600-ship-Navy sitting about doing very little, and therefore it was possible to embark upon a great 30-year period of exploration, seeking to find a Northwest Passage. Besides leading to the Franklin tragedy, it gave (and gives) us many other sea-ice observations, (which the likes of Peter Waldhams steadfastly and obstinately ignore).
Meanwhile it was getting harder and harder to find whales. One of the last places where whales were common was the North Pacific, up in Bering Strait. In 1846 the North Pacific fleet of whalers numbered 292 ships, but couldn’t supply enough oil. Prices were very high, and whaling was worth it. But so was seeking other sources of oil. Then, in 1858, a new supply became available in Pennsylvania.
By 1871 the North Pacific Whaling fleet had shrunk to around 40 ships. Prices had crashed, and it simply wasn’t worth spending two years at sea getting oil, when railways had been built to Pennsylvania, and the new supply was just hours away.
In 1871 the final fleet, perhaps desperate for profits, was pressing it’s luck, north of Alaska in late August, and, on September 2, 33 of the ships were trapped by a wind shift that brought ice south against the shore of Alaska to their west, and then pressed more sea-ice in on them. A ship was crushed and a few others developed leaks, and the captains met to make a decision on whether to wait for the wind to shift, or to abandon their ships. On September 12 they chose to abandon their ships and travel 70 miles by longboat to the seven ships safe in open water, on the other side of where the ice was jammed against the Alaskan shore. (If they had waited two weeks a wind-shift would have opened a channel along the shore, but with the open water already starting to skim over with ice they were not willing to gamble.) They then enacted an amazing escape, with over a thousand people (including the wives and children of some captains), escaping to the seven surviving ships, which dumped their cargoes to make room for the people, and brought everyone safely to Hawaii in October. Not a life was lost, though whaling was basically finished, as a profitable business.
Besides being a good story, this history tells us there was open water north of Alaska in 1871, and makes sea-ice Alarmists look a little foolish when they suggest such open water on that coast is a new thing. How could it be a new thing, considering the Eskimos themselves were whalers, and went out whaling to the east of where commercial whalers dared to go? And also considering that the whales themselves need air to breathe and do not travel under solid ice? (Larger whales can break through ice that is a foot or two thick, but don’t like to trap themselves in such a predicament. When trapped by swift movements of sea-ice they remain trapped in areas of open water rather than diving under the thicker ice, even when attacked by polar bears at the edge.) (How whales know how thick the ice is, I can’t say.[sonar?])
My personal guess, judging from all I’ve read, is that the sea-ice is currently somewhat further from the coast of Alaska than “normal”, considering the PDO has been in it’s warm phase and we are still in the lagged-period after a “super El Nino” and a “noisy sun”.
People use the odd word “recovery” for the increase in sea-ice, when more sea-ice is usually related to periods of hardship for humanity. I think true “recovery” is less ice, and that we have been in a long-term “recovery” from the Little Ice Age, but I worry that the decrease in sea-ice that we have benefited from may be coming to an end, with the sun going “quiet.” The PDO has recently sunk back from its “warm” phase.
Also there are more obstructions to those seeking to complete the Northwest Passage this year than last year. Forgive me if I sound like a Global Cooling Alarmist, but there is thick sea-ice against the coast east of Barrow, thinner ice along the coast by the Mackenzie Delta, and a major plug of ice in Franklin Channel, preventing the use of a favorite shortcut.
At this point we turn to our on-the-scene reporters, such as the family aboard the “Dogbark” (Hat tip to Nigel for supplying the link.) They found mostly ice-free water as far as Barrow. (Notice fresh snow on the roof, and ice on the distant horizon.) (Note: I was unaware when posting that this picture automatically updates.)
However east of Barrow they started to see more ice.
And then they received news Franklin Strait was starting to refreeze already, and also that a small boat, further east than they, was trapped. So they chose to head back. They had discovered the arctic was not as “ice-free” as they supposed.
Meanwhile the three adventurers in the iceboat-catamaran we’ve been following are making excellent time, now that they chose to head back. The wind that opposed them is now with them. They are also moving into an area with scattered ice and much open water. They actually don’t want too much open water, as that allows seas to build and their craft is small. But the ice is drifting the right direction now, and they made nearly ten miles of progress one night, hauled up onto ice and sleeping. However the nights are swiftly getting longer and the cross-polar-flow puts them on the cold side of the Pole. They still face the danger old whalers faced, of being frozen to a standstill, and faced with a long hike.
This brings up an interesting point about the “extended summer” at the Pole, as seen by the DMI temperature graph.
This mildness at the Pole is largely due to the Atlantic air flowing that way, displacing the colder air towards Alaska and south of 80º north latitude (which is south of what the DMI graph measures.) The map below shows the sub-freezing temperatures displaced towards Bering Strait. (You should remember warm “noon” is up, in the map below, and cold “midnight” is down, towards Svalbard.)
The above shifting-of-cold-off-the-Pole made me wonder if a warmer Pole might be a sign of a colder autumn and winter, in places further south, because cold air wasn’t hanging around up at the Pole, and instead was exiting south. So I decided to compare the DMI gtraphs for one of the warmest autumns I recall, when there was no frost (in my garden) until mid-November (on the coast of Maine), to the following year, when it was so cold there was already sea-smoke in late November. The two autumns were 1975 (left) and 1976 (right).
In this example, when it was colder at the Pole it was a warm autumn on the coast of Maine, while, when it was warmer at the Pole, Maine experienced an early onset to winter.
While this is admittedly a single example, it does suggest (to me at least) that we are better off further south when the cold stays up at the Pole. However this August the cross-polar-flow is continuing on, past the Pole and past Alaska, all the way south through Montana to Texas, which creates a reactionary flow up the east coast of the USA, and makes it amazingly wet and muggy here in New Hampshire, in the summer, (but suggests coastal snowstorms for our winter). For summertime, when the storm-tracks usually stay quietly demure to the north, the current storm-track seems loopy and winter-like,
Of course this pattern can change. I should leave the long-range stuff to the masters like D’Aleo and Bastardi. In fact there already seems to be a shift in the cross polar flow, from Atlantic-to-Pacific to Siberia-to-Alaska. Not that we haven’t seen some Siberia-to-Alaska stuff all summer, in the form of weak versions of “Ralph” (low pressure) swinging across in a fight with the Siberian”Igor” (high pressure), for domination of the Pole. What has been most striking (to me) is that things don’t travel around the Pole, and the flows seem far more meridional (loopy) than zonal.
Most recently we saw a shift. Rather than high pressure from Siberia we saw a Scandinavian high “Sven” head north behind the last Siberia-to-Alaska”Ralph”. Incidentally Sven’s appearance was what convinced our three adventurers that headwinds would defeat their effort to reach the Pole. However Sven was followed by an Atlantic version of Ralph, and this sneak-attack-from-the-rear bumped Sven off the Pole into the Beaufort Sea, right over our sailors.
Let’s look at the maps.
On August 17 Sven expanded north as the last Siberian “Ralph” retreated down into Canada. (Ironically, Sven’s expansion briefly gave our sailors southern headwinds just when they turned south to escape northerly headwinds.)
Then, by August 20, Sven had shifted across the Pole and was scooting the sailors swiftly down towards Alaska. An Atlantic low was deciding not to do the normal thing, which would be to prefer the warm waters and updrafts over the Siberian coast, but instead to counter-intuitively head north for the downdraft-inducing cold sea-ice of the Pole. Why? Perhaps Sven deflected it, or perhaps the old remnants of the Siberian “Ralph” across Baffin Bay attracted it, (or perhaps both), but in any case a new “Ralph” was born.
By August 22 the clash between Sven and Ralph was creating a new cross-polar flow from Siberia to Canada. Ice was being pushed back towards Greenland, rather than away. (Media crickets). Our sailors were still getting north winds that help them. Less Atlantic moisture was being drawn north.
Noon is up, in the map above, whereas noon is down, in the map below. Notice how much colder the Pacific side is, in the map below. Night is having an increasing effect in the north, as it swings around the Pole like the hand of a clock, or like a spoon stirring a pot.
This morning Ralph has conquered the Pole. (I would appreciate it very much if people forgot the forecast I made last spring, stating that we would not see Ralph reappear, due to what I thought the lagged effects of the La Nina would be, for, “Thar He blows!”) (And models suggest he will stay a while.)
For those interested, here is the sea-ice “extent” graph. (Yawn.) Due to the thickness of the remaining ice at the Pole, I think the future graph is more likely to copy the navy-blue 2014 line, than the green 2016 line, as we approach the yearly minimum.
And here is the comparison of thickness between last year (left) and this year (right):
Generally speaking, the ice has been pushed from the Atlantic side to the Pacific side. If you are a sea-ice Alarmist I suggest you focus on the Atlantic side, and how the sea-ice has been pushed north from Franz Josef Land, Svalbard and Greenland. Pay no attention to how this push has compressed and thickened the sea-ice in the Central Arctic, nor to how the sea-ice off Eastern Siberia and Alaska has increased, where there was open water last year.
Me? I am intrigued by the cross-polar-flows, and how they feed the creation of “Ralph” at the Pole. I am mulling it over, and comparing it with the amazing cross-polar-flow of around 1816, which dumped so much ice down into the Atlantic, to a point sea-ice even was drifting up on the beaches of Ireland. Hmm. If that happened again it would likely involve me in all sorts of squabbles, because I’d be suggesting the Quiet Sun, and not CO2, was the boss.
I think these squabbles occur because I attend to the study of the past, whereas the Waldhams of the world have no clue what happened, and are largely inventing things out of whole cloth, because it “sounds right” and “feels right”.
But at least there is one thing we can all agree upon. It is this: Al Gore was wrong, and the arctic will not be ice-free by 2014.
In my last post I touched upon the state of enchantment brought on by the sea. Bankers likely deem it a form of mental illness, but I hold that Bankers are the true sickos. They cling to cold gold and call it “securities”, but there’s no way to keep death from knocking someday on your door, and then bankers will see just how secure they actually are. The bankers who make lots of other people insecure in their attempts to be “safe” themselves will then face a day of reckoning, like a sailor facing a storm at sea, and the form of enchantment they then experience will between them and God. But, for now, they can’t even imagine such a world, unshackled by deeds and mortgages, exists. But sailors can, and it draws them out to sea, where there are no fences; out over swells into situations that many would shake their heads at, seeing only discomfort.
One such adventurer is named Sebastien Roubiret, who has taken it into his head that it would be fun to sail over the North Pole, from Barrow, Alaska to Svalbard in the North Atlantic.
At some point Sebastien must have noticed that an iceboat that skims over frozen lakes is similar in shape to a water-skimming catamaran, for he has worked very hard creating a craft that does both.
He traversed the Northwest Passage in 2007, in a trimaran with no engine, which may have been the first time the Passage was made by sail alone. Then he attempted to cross the pole in 2011, an attempt aborted by various structural weakness, which he likely learned from.Then perhaps encouraged by the low-ice year of 2012, he and a friend named Vincent attempted to cross the Pole in 2013, and swiftly learned sea-ice isn’t flat.
There often are pressure ridges parallel to the coast of Alaska, formed by the ice crushing against that coast. Sometimes (like this year) they remain right against the coast, but other years they can be blown many miles north, while retaining their structure. In either case they present formidable obstacles, and were described by one man skiing to the Pole as “crazy ice.” Once past these mini-mountain-ranges the ice tends to be flatter, but Sebastian had to battle to get north, often making more progress due to the eastward-drifting Beaufort Gyre than northwards, due to their own efforts.
Whatever you may say about the sanity of such adventurers, they do serve as on-the-scene reporters, and innocently describe things which flummox both Alarmist and Skeptics alike. No satellite could see the 50°F (+10C°) temperatures they experienced in the middle of thick and very dirty ice, one day.
The dirtiness of the ice, so far from shore, sparked interesting debate, largely between those who thought it was pollution from Chinese power plants and those who felt it was volcanic ash. However a new idea arose that it was algae that grows on the bottom of the ice, incorporated into ice when it freezes and thickens in the fall, and concentrated when ice melts and becomes multi-year ice., and sometimes brought to the top of the ice when ice is flipped like a pancake by storms. It did seem to so darken the ice that more sunshine was absorbed and local temperatures were higher, but there was some consternation among Alarmists in 2013 because, despite all this surface heat, the ice was refusing to melt in the manner they expected. Likely the big storm in 2012 used up and disturbed all the slightly warmer water in the pyctocline, and the water under the ice was colder, but whatever the cause was, the sea-ice refused to melt in 2013 as many Alarmists had confidently forecast.
As August passed the boat struggled north, making better time on flatter ice, as much as 35 miles in one day, but temperatures drop rapidly in August, and hoarfrost grew on the boom and rigging.
They continued to battle north. As I watched the big gale of 2013 brew up, and saw it fail to melt ice in the manner of the 2012 gale, and typed comments from my cozy computer, they were out in that gale. They struggled on as temperatures dropped below zero (-17°C) in early September, passing 82°N latitude,
But finally they had to give up and accept an ignominious rescue from the Russian icebreaker Admiral Makarov.
The log of their 2013 attempt (in french) can be found here:
If you think that adventure would be enough for any man, you don’t know sailors. Sebastien got to work crowd-sourcing, and finding sponsors (such as the makers of the solar panels on the side of the boat, and the people advertising on the sails), and worked on a new and improved craft, and this time he found two crewmates willing to go on an adventure.
Like last time, the ice is worse than the year before, with sea-ice right up against the shore in Alaska. (2017 left, 2018 right)
Again they’ve had to battle through pressure ridges to find flatter ice.
Again they’ve experienced summer warmth that will be good publicity for those who wish to promote the idea of Global Warming.
Above is a great publicity shot for Alarmists. Not that Sebastien has bought into all that. He’s been dealing with the arctic at least since 2007, and likely knows there is more sea-ice this year than there was in 2007.
I just pray those fellows don’t get too cavalier about the dangers they are midst. Just a few years back we lost two experienced scientists who were careless, skiing across ice in their long underwear on a hot day. The water under the ice is salt water, chilled below the freezing point of human blood, and a man can die in five minutes in such water. These three have described breaking through rotten ice up to their thighs. But perhaps I’m a worry wart and a party pooping old pill.
They certainly seem happy. They are finally making some progress north over flatter ice.
The most recent log posting seemed especially joyous.
It was not until the afternoon, after 8 miles on the ice, to begin to see darker clouds, which means that there is water below! We aim directly at the dark gray and we find … water! it’s done in two stages: we sail on the water for a short time before returning to the ice.Then, we find the water with the fog. At this point, we are far from imagining that we will sail until late in the evening. And that’s what we do. There is almost no more ice and we are looking for fresh water to drink (water from the melt lakes on the ice). Who would have believed it ? Tonight, we sleep above the 71 ° North and it became difficult to find a correct plate to install the camp. The day is not over because Seb must get to work to repair the saffron, nothing serious but it must be done! We can not wait to be tomorrow. The icing on the cake: we had the company of belouga and seals all day, it’s beautiful, we never get tired in the Arctic.
Who do you suppose is richer: These young men or a banker?
(We’ll see if they’re singing the same tune a month from now, when temperatures start to plunge. But, for today, I envy them. Not that I don’t also pray for them.)
They are well north of 72° latitude now, picking their way through scattered bergs, which is likely a great relief after dragging their boat over ice. (I get the feeling their craft doesn’t often coast over ice like an iceboat on a lake.)
The fact they are now boating north exposes some misconceptions we get from maps we use. Maps often show solid color for an area a boat can get through, for example, “50% ice”. That is also an area that is 50% open water. By carefully steering (and also by having a drone that can fly ahead to scout out the best routes) one can get around the bergs, and need not spend 50% of their time dragging the boat over bergs.
The “thickness” maps have several problems. First they tend to average out the thickness, so that an area that is 50% covered with 6 foot bergs will look entirely covered by ice three feet thick. An area 25% covered by 6 foot bergs will look entirely covered by ice 18 inches thick. Second, there is the constant confusion between melt-water pools and open water. I have observed melt-water pools, especially when they have black stuff on their bottoms, (soot, volcanic ash, algae, or all three), melt down until the bottom fell out and they were round windows to the deeps. Imagine how difficult it must be to determine when a pool is atop ice, and when it is open water, from miles away, up where satellites fly.
For this reason it is far better to have a “reporter on the scene.” If we can’t have our O-buoys and North Pole Camera, then we will have to settle with what we can glean from icebreakers and adventurers.
I’d also like to respond to some who seem to think the three men aboard the boat are silly tree-huggers. Wrong. Perhaps they are young and foolish, but they are aware they are at risk. They may be enjoying themselves, but it isn’t a game. Most tree-huggers don’t have encounters with 1500 pound bears, as Sebastien had in 2013.
This particular bear was apparently untroubled when peppered with bird-shot, but did amble away when they shot a flare at its feet. But that is history. The point I wish to make is that Sebastien has been here before, and is well aware the halcyon days of summer are short lived. He is under no illusions about what lies ahead in September, when temperatures plunge. Currently temperatures are slightly below normal, but above freezing. But look ahead and see how they plunge in September.
The DMI maps show us that already the below-freezing isotherm is becoming a little more common. Also the anomalous low pressure I’ve dubbed “Ralph” keeps attempting to knock more typical high pressure from the area. The last “Ralph” is fading into the Canadian Archipelago, but a new one is deepening and taking the same route, from East Siberia to Canada, ahead of them. While it has been assisting them with following winds, they are about to be faced with head winds.
In my old age I am becoming a bit of an armchair adventurer. My armchair makes me like a man marooned on an island; it may be tropical and comfortable, but it’s darn boring. I want to quit the island and go to sea, but old men become too feeble to crew. Then, because I lack the stamina to go out and get myself in trouble any more, I instead read about others going out and getting in trouble. This then gives me bits of factual trivia, which I can then use, to get in trouble from the supposed safety of my armchair.
When my Dad was old his manner of “livening things up a bit” was to annoy someone like my older sister by being atrociously politically-incorrect. He wasn’t very racist, but would intentionally make some statement that made my sister’s hair stand up. Of course, when she was younger she had a militant zeal that made it very easy to offend her. I used to do it all the time innocently, without meaning it. For example, one time I called a man from China a China-man, and my big sister exploded, “What do you mean by that!?” Backpedaling across the room and looking for a window to escape through, I quavered, “A man from China?”
I’m getting a bit like my Dad, in that I backpedal less, and tend to just be amused when others get mad. For example, one way to get people fuming is to call an Eskimo an Eskimo. You are suppose to call them “Inuit”, and if you use the word “Eskimo” it means you lack spiritual grace. I then beg to differ, by hitting them with some armchair trivia:
The word “Eskimo” means “People who lash on a snowshoe”, and it is a good, solid, Native American word. I see nothing racist about it, unless it is racist to notice a neighboring culture is different. It was used by the Innu to describe outsiders, and likely specifically applied to the Micmac to the southeast, but also more generally applied to my Abenaki ancestors to the south and to what are now called Inuit to the north. The original word sounded something like “ayasâkimew”, and it took the French to mangle it into its current form in English. In any case, I don’t think it bothers Eskimos to be called Eskimos, as much as it bothers university prigs, (who dislike being called “university prigs” even more than they dislike Eskimo being called Eskimo.)
I respect the word “Inuit”, as the word Eskimos use to describe themselves, and also respect the word “qallunaat”, which is the word they use to describe outsiders. It means, “People who jump to conclusions”, which some prigs might say is a heck of a lot more racist than “People who lash on snowshoes”. But I don’t take offence at all.
When I lived out west I spent a lot of time living with Navajo, and discovered their name for themselves was “Dinè”, which means “the People”, and their word for white Europeans was “Belighana”, which meant, “People who we fought”. I never got in a single fight with the Navajo, and sure wasn’t going to start one, about what I was called. I don’t object to how words are defined, for I tend to feel language is a beautiful thing.
In fact, if I was going to quibble with the Eskimo it would be that they don’t show proper respect for the English language. A sacred English-language tradition I was taught by my elders is that the letter “Q” must always be followed by the letter “U”. Because the pen is mightier than the sword, great power is involved, and you sure don’t want to mess with a power more mighty than a sword. (Of course, it was probably university prigs who mangled the spelling of Eskimo words.)
As a person uneducated by university-morality, but taught by Masters about the power of the English word, I advise Eskimos to reject the misuse of the letter “Q”. (It doesn’t even make sense, as the word “qallunaat” sounds, to the average ear, like it begins with a hoarse “H”.) I hereby warn Eskimos that it is very bad luck and “bad medicine” to use a “Q” without a “U” following it. Bad things happened to me when I tried it, in school. And just look what has happened to the nation of Iraq.
In any case, you can perhaps imagine the trouble I can get into, sitting here in my armchair, when I ventilate such views. Perhaps it is not as much fun as sailing in a stormy sea, but it does “liven things up a bit”.
One rule I try to uphold, while trying to stir things up, is to stick to the Truth. There is no need to use any sort of falsification, to get people going.
I see this all the time when discussing Global Warming. Truth drives people absolutely wild, and in many ways they seem to prefer to be told bunkum. Why does this happen? I suppose this phenomenon occurs because, once we have used a smattering of data to create the assumptions we call “a belief”, it is annoying to have to dismantle the assumption and start all over again.
The more data that goes into making the assumption, the harder it is to dismantle. It doesn’t matter if the belief is in “God” or is in “There-is-no-God”, people resist seeing their belief dismantled, and when their belief is dismantled they can experience trauma and even go into shock. Therefore it may seem cruel of me to “liven things up a bit”. I try to know when enough is enough, and not to “liven things up too much.” However there are some people who deserve a shock close to that of an electric chair. They are often either “university prigs” or “overbearing Christians”, and can be so rude and obnoxious, when pontificating how righteous their beliefs are, that they deserve to be shocked by Truth, and having their high-nosed utterances exposed as being balderdash and blather. And this is precisely what Jesus did, when he tore a strip off the Pharisees (Matthew Chapter 23), poking fun at their ostentatious tassels and phylacteries, and saying they “strain at a gnat and swallow a camel”. Of course, he did get crucified, which may explain why I am more of a coward. I just speak itty-bitty Truths, about far-away sea-ice.
Besides those (like me) who get in trouble for questioning Global Warming, there are those who get praised for speaking bunkum. This is called “supporting the narrative”. People are placated and feel soothed when they hear things that they already believe. This is why some websites (both Alarmist and Skeptic) are basically echo chambers full of parrots, and delete differing views. They don’t want anyone “livening things up a bit”. But I find such sites more boring than the company of a corpse, for, even though a corpse has nothing to say, it at least scares you a bit. The only thing scary about an echo-chamber-website is that the people in it find delusion soothing. Far better are sites alive with discussion.
One bit of silky-smooth, scientific-sounding bumkum I once heard, regarding sea-ice, was after a very low sea-ice extent, the summer of 2012. Basically the premise was that the ice would be even less the following summers, and be largely gone by the summer of 2015. We now know such a premise is bunkum, for the sea-ice is still with us, but the premise sounded feasible at the time. However what seemed most impressively scientific-sounding was the “mechanics” involved, supporting the premise.
The suggestion was made that, because so much new “baby-ice” had formed during the winter of 2012-2013, the summer of 2013 would see more melt-water pools. Why? Because old, multi-year ice was crumpled and uneven, and melt-water would run off surfaces with a pitch, but baby-ice was nice and flat, and many more pools would form. Why would this speed the melting of ice? Well, melt-water would be darker than white snow, and would absorb more heat from the sunshine. It was an eloquent explanation. But then I came along and spoiled things with the Truth. What Truth did I state? Well, there were cameras bobbing around on arctic buoys, and they did not show smoother ice. In fact there were more pressure-ridges than were seen before. There were also adventurers out on the ice, and the pictures on their Facebook pages did not show smoother ice. In fact one adventurer stated he had never before seen sea-ice so riven and tortured, and he dubbed it “crazy ice”. These observations revealed that the above-described “mechanics” of the original premise, although silky-smooth and scientific-sounding, was built upon bunkum.
Just in the past few weeks a silky-smooth hypothesis has been offered for the very thick sea-ice that piled up on the coast of Newfoundland, which caused problems for the fishermen up there. It was explained that the striking increase in thicker amounts of piled-up sea-ice seen on the Newfoundland coast was due to Global Warming melting sea-ice. (Huh?) A lovely explanation then was given, stating the phenomenon was like Styrofoam in a bathtub. (Eh?) If the bathtub was full of Styrofoam from side to side, you could puff at a piece of the foam and the Styrofoam wouldn’t budge, for there was no space for it to move. However if the tub’s surface was only half full there would be space for Styrofoam to move, and when you puffed at a piece of Styrofoam it would scoot over the surface. Less was more, for less Styrofoam meant the Styrofoam could move more. And this explained how less sea-ice could move more, down to the shores of Newfoundland and, in that one place, “look” like more, though there was in fact less.
Don’t you just love it when a scientist comes down to our level and explains things in terms we little children can understand? We should all nod and wear enlightened expressions and say “eureka” and nod some more. But then I came along and spoiled things with the Truth.
It just so happens that, due to the need to resupply the Hudson Bay company trading posts, we have 350 years of records of sea-ice conditions in that area. There were also whaling ships that sailed further north after whales, and we can consult their ship-logs. Also British explorers, who sought ways through the Northwest Passage, kept surprisingly scientific records, and American explorers who wanted to be the first to reach the North Pole also kept records. And finally, because I, in my armchair, like to get away on vicarious adventures involving the daring exploits of sailors, I have perused these stories, and consequentially (and somewhat accidentally) my memory owns all sorts of trivia about sea-ice conditions of the past. Therefore I immediately recognized the bunkum involved, in the statement that sea-ice is now more mobile than it once was, due to Global Warming.
One adventure I was awed by was that of a group of men camped on the sea-ice beside a ship, who woke one morning to see the ice they were on had broken away from the ship, leaving the sailors and their Eskimo guides marooned on sea-ice, far from their ship. This occurred at the very top of Baffin Bay, by Nares Strait. Then these men drifted over 1800 miles south aboard their berg, to a rescue by sealers off the coast of Newfoundland.
This adventure does tend to suggest that sea-ice moved in the past as it moves today, and that history, in turn, suggests that such motion is not merely a modern thing, and is not caused by Global Warming, and, in conclusion, that suggesting otherwise is pure bunkum.
But I gained other trivia as well, for one does wonder why the men on the ship didn’t pick up the marooned crew. One scrutinizes the history for the reasons. And it turns out the expedition was government-funded science.
Oh boy, can I ever have fun with this!
Unfortunately I don’t have time, at the moment. As a teaser, I’ll just state the captain was murdered, there was a lot of drunkenness, half the crew drifted off on an iceberg, the boat later sank, but (miraculously, considering how unforgiving the arctic can be), no once else died.
The moral of the tale I hope to tell will be that a ship needs one captain who is obeyed, and that to sail by a bureaucratic committee is bound to be a debacle. Politics always complicates leadership, because in-fighting and jockeying-for-position results in either overt, or subtle and secret, mutiny.
And Science? Science involves all sorts of debate, but there should be no doubt who the captain is. The captain is Truth.
Truth is not honored when the second half of this motto is followed: “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” And bullshit is just another word for bunkum. And, sadly, climate science has allowed political and financial pressure to make bunkum just another word for Global Warming.
(If you are interested in the men marooned on the iceberg, check out this old book, written in 1874, and containing views that are likely not entirely objective. (But are we ever?) The time adrift-on-a-berg begins in chapter sixteen.)