I’ve noted in earlier posts that a lot of the coldest arctic air has been dumped into the oceans this winter, out over the Sea of Okhotsk on the Pacific side, and down Baffin Bay past Newfoundland, as well as through Fram Strait, on the Atlantic side. This has given the big cities of Europe and of eastern North America a break, in terms of heating bills when prices are high. However it seemed to me that the oceans should be chilled, but there is only a slight sign of chilling.
I assumed this was because cold air has thinly dispersed molecules, while the water’s molecules are closely packed. The air is outnumbered, and is swiftly warmed as it passes over the seas. Yet there does seem to be slight cooling, as the clash between cold air and warm water creates an imbalance which results in the explosive development of storms, illustrated as follows in a paper by Josph D’Aleo:
These storms assume great magnitudes, though little noticed beyond those who risk sailing midwinter seas. Several have had pressures dive below 27.75 inches of mercury (940 mb) this winter, and such storms, while lacking the ferocious eyewalls of hurricanes and typhoons, often have gale, storm and even hurricane forse winds farther from their centers than tropical storms and contain more energy overall. All of this energy has been lifted from the seas, and much is dispersed to outer space, yet they don’t leave the distinctive stripes of cold water that hurricanes and typhoons do, as their low pressure is more dispersed, and also the waters at the very surface are not so warmed in midwinter as they are in the summer. Yet I have my hunch that, while the robbery of the ocean’s warmth is less obvious, it is occurring and ongoing.
Therefore, I noted with interest when places where people usually go to flee the cold reported snow on the beaches.
On the Atlantic side Mallorca was seeing snow right at the water, where late February temperatures usually range between 62 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit, and one beach had only seen temperatures dip below freezing a tenth of a degree, one time in its recorded history.
By the time I paid attention the cold storm was drifting off towards Italy, small but getting great attention, as far to the west yet another huge storm got no attention at all, out in the middle of the Atlantic, sucking very cold air out of the mouth of Baffin Bay, as had been happening all winter
In the above map a second unnoticed storm is roaring just southeastb of Svalbard, dragging cold air through Fram Strait. Most of the cold air is swung towards Norway, but a weak front has made it to Scotland. This invasion increases as the northern storm shoots a second, stronger cold front south, in the next map.
You’ll notice the storm making the news is weak, over Sicily with a pressure of only 1011 mb, while the storm south of Greenland has a pressure of 964 and hurricane force winds, yet generates no press at all. However, I have my hunch the Atlantic is being chilled in some manner which may not be reflected in the temperature of the air or water right at the surface, but may be more obvious 100 feet down or a thousand feet up.
On the Pacific side there was one of the oceanic storms which did generate media attention earlier this winter. Though the storm itself never came ashore, it’s southside winds directed an “atmospheric river” of moisture (the “Pinapple Express”) towards California, swiftly changing drought conditions to floods.
I don’t have fond memories of the Pineapple Express, because during my drifter years I arrived in California in December of 1982, and had a line of an old Al Stewart song stuck in my head for months, “It never rains in California…but girl, don’t they warn ya…it pours. Man! It pours.” That winter of 1982-1983 set an all-time record for rain, and the sun almost never peeked between the clouds. Most days were dark and dismal, and I have only two really happy memories.
One was when an older brother, perhaps noticing I was a bit gaunt on my emegency diet (rice and beans), took me out for a lunch of chicken enchilada verde, under a wind-whipped awning facing the sea. Surfers in black wetsuits were out creasing the sides of enormous waves, when suddenly they faded into a milky shroud, and for about five minutes the rain turned into a pelting shower of sleet. The pellets rolled off the awning and scattered across the wet sidewalk to cluster in puddles, and the situation was so absurd we couldn’t help but smile. My brother told me he’d never seen it sleet in Santa Cruz before.
The second happy occation was when the rain finally quit, which it did in April entirely, and without much adieu. The endless rain broke into a cloudless sky, and it didn’t rain for months. But the day the sun first came out I have never seen so many smiling faces in all my life.
In any case, I perked up with interest when I heard it didn’t just sleet on the beaches of Santa Cruz for five minutes, and there was even slush in tidal pools.
I was also interested because the rain was going to set yet another all time record. (The last time, after 1982-1983, was around ten years ago; that time it annoyed me because I could no longer brag that I arrived in California in the “rainiest year ever”.)
This does spoil the Alarmist narrative of several months ago, which involved predictions of a megadrought lasting until 2030, and ski areas closing due to lack of snow. Currently several areas are closed because they have too much snow.
In any case, I am not going to be a fool and venture a forecast. I am merely observing unusual snows coming in off the waters.
We have been spared the more brutal side of winter (so far) but there have been a couple of cold shots, brief reminders we’re not off the hook. They are like a left jab in a fist fight, quick and then gone, but you notice you are a bit dizzy.
The cold air really has had to work to reach us, as the pattern wants to divert it all out to sea. A couple of maps will demonstrate how the cold air had to back track from Baffin Bay, rather than taking the normal route down the east slopes of the Canadian Rockies from Alaska. Then cold swiftly is sloughed off to the east, and we are back into a more benign southwest flow.
The first map shows a bombing-out low in the upper right corner, in Baffin bay, delivering much of the arctic air associated with it into the Atlantic east of Labrador, but a little is leeching west into the northern lobe of a mostly moderated high (“polar” rather than “arctic”) which is following a mild storm crossing New England. Because New England is in the warm sector, and because the following high pressure is not particularly cold, the weather bureau had to be on its toes to alert people to the sneaky cold coming around the top. They did a good job, but people still got caught off guard. Sneaky cold is called “sneaky” for a reason.
My own experience was perhaps typical. At 2:30 we were still enjoying near-record warmth at 55 degrees, (12.8 Celsius), and I was enjoying walking around fifteen pounds lighter because I wasn’t wearing my heavy coat and snow pants and bulky boots. I didn’t want to bother with that stuff if I didn’t have to, and thought I might get away with it. What could go wrong? I had only two and a half hours before the last child would be picked up, and then I’d be free for the weekend.
Yes indeed, as I thought that, there was, if not an ominous drum-roll, an actual, distant roll of thunder to the north. The clash between cold and warm was creating midwinter thunder, which is always a delight to me, but not a very good sign if you expect balmy weather to continue.
I mentioned to a teen-aged intern working with me that we might want to get rain-gear and warmer clothes, and she scoffed, and I said I’d be right back. I’d left most of my winter garb at home, but did locate an enormous mad-bomber rabbit-fur hat, and a couple of huge mittens, and walked back out looking like a slender lollypop with big hands. At age 70 I don’t care what I look like as much as I care about staying warm. However the teen-aged intern did care about looks, even though the wind was starting to whip cold showers and the temperature began dropping like a rock. My head and hands stayed toasty, but the rest of me quickly got drenched and cold.
Soon sleet began mixing with the rain, but also sunbeams. A big, high rainbow arched across the purpled sky. The wind gusted so strongly it even lifted the soddened leaves, which had been flattened by snow but exposed by the thaw. Most of the kids delighted in the crazy weather, staying warm by racing about in some sort of fantasy brawl involving sticks that were lasers, and fleeing many pursuing invisible aliens. However one little toddler felt the sucky weather sucked, and wanted to be picked up and held.
Both the intern and myself could commiserate with the toddler, because we had shared her sickness, due to a thoughtless mother who had dumped the little child off when the child should have stayed home, early in the week. We had comforted the child then, both had caught the child’s cold, and then the intern stayed home a couple days as I worked at less than a hundred percent, and now we were comforting the child for the final forty minutes before her mother came to pick her up, as the wind whipped and sleet pelted and wet leaves swirled.
I gallantly unzipped my wet coat to wrap the toddler, (but actually confess it warmed me as well), and attempted to distract the child from the misery we were midst. The rainbow worked. For around three minutes. Then I sent the child in with the drenched intern to help another intern do the end-of-week cleaning indoors.
Then I turned my attention to the other children, who were not bothered a bit by the abysmal weather. As they raced about I kept myself moving. The cold isn’t so bad if you keep moving. I picked up sticks the wind had blown from trees and put them by the place we have campfires, and picked up the gloves and hats kids were leaving strewn about. As their parents pulled into the parking lot I alerted the kids it was time to go, and handed them their hats and gloves. They all looked radiant. I felt ashen gray. Sometimes the last ten minutes of a Friday is the longest. I was shuddering, and wet to the skin.
But then the final parent came, and hip-hip-hooray, I was done! I headed home and skipped my usual Friday beer, opting for a half-shot of brandy. Then I loaded both fires, and even turned up the propane heat, but I couldn’t stop shuddering. It was 28 degrees outside, (-2 Celsius) which meant it had dropped 27 degrees in three or four hours, but it was 72 inside, so why was I still shuddering? Hmmm…
When I was young my mother, a trained and “registered” nurse, had a dread of something called a “relapse”. To my great annoyance, she would make me stay in bed a full day after my temperature returned normal after a sickness, to avoid a “relapse.”
Apparently relapses were something nurses had learned about during the Spanish ‘Flu. If you hopped out of bed too fast, you could wind up back in bed for an extended stay. Or die. I found the concept somewhat mysterious. Relapses only seemed to be a danger when I felt fine and could hear my friends playing outside. On Monday mornings, when I felt awful and did not want to go to school, there was never any danger of a relapse and I got booted from bed.
However now it seemed I was experiencing a genuine relapse. I had babied myself through some ailment all week, and was on the road to recovery, but then had stood out in arctic blasts looking like a lollypop with large hands. My mother was likely rolling in her grave, if she was watching, but hopefully heaven doesn’t look backwards.
I knew I must be feverish when I had absolutely no desire for beer, and just desired bed. Basically I slept like a rock Friday night, snoozed all Saturday, shivering, (except for spells after taking a couple aspirin when I felt wonderful waves of warmth). I only arose to tend fires and use the bathroom and ingest chicken soup. (My wife later informed me the teen-aged intern spent her Saturday the same way, which made me feel a bit less like a frail, old fossil.)
Despite sleeping Friday night, and most of Saturday, I slept right through Saturday night, and now am bounding back, revived. Can’t remember when I last slept so much. And now I look at the weather maps to see what I’ve missed.
The north winds that gave us our cold shot (with temperatures to 17 [-8 Celsius] Saturday morning) are now relegated to the upper right corner of the map, up in Baffin Bay, and again are pumping the cold air down into the Atlantic to our east. And again we are in the benign southwest flow, and could again see temperatures in the fifties tomorrow.
And that’s pretty much the news from here, except for a bit of thinking I did while feverish. I likely should quit here and make this like a Lake Wobegone post where “all the children are above normal”. In fact I’ll make a break below, so readers can bail if they wish to avoid an old man’s cantankerous rambling.
My feverish thinking involved all that cold air that has been missing us, and chilling the Atlantic. I’ve noticed the water isn’t as chilled by those winds nearly as much as I expected. Not only here, but on the far side of the Pacific, civilized areas have been spared the wrath of winter as blasts of cold air have been diverted out to sea. Yet the seas show little sign of being cooled by months of blasts, except at the very edges, where the sea-ice extends outwards a bit more than usual.
You can see the extended sea-ice in Baffin Bay, or in the Sea of Okhotsk on the Pacific Side, but only spots of blue east of Japan or south of Greenland. The air doesn’t really effect the water. However the water hugely effects the air.
Joseph D’Aleo wonderfully described the amazing and explosive power warm water has when cold air moves over it in a paper he wrote. I urge the scientifically inclined to seek it out, but I’ll just nab a couple illustrations from the paper which demonstrate the power the ocean has to generate super-storms. The first illustration shows cold air like a lid on a hot ocean.
The second shows when the lid is blown off and so-called “bombogenisis” occurs.
As I lay in bed thinking it seemed, to my feverish common sense, that water should have more power than air, because air is dispersed molecules bouncing about far apart, while water is densely packed molecules close together. In terms of molecules, air is hugely outnumbered by water. When cold air tries to chill water, you have a lone cold molecule taking on ten-thousand warm molecules. But when that same warm water tries to warm cold air you have ten-thousand taking on one. Who do you suppose will win such a battle?
The water will win, unless the water is chilled to a point where it is water no more. Once sea-ice forms, the air is no longer utterly changed by the ocean. But away from sea-ice air is utterly changed. It is not only warmed, but is supercharged with the most potent of greenhouse gases, namely water vapor. In the above illustration the air is not merely warmed, but also moistened.
Though my locale has been spared this winter, I have studied what I call “fisherman maps” of the Atlantic and Pacific, watching the amazing storms few care about because they seldom effect us. Each of these storms demonstrate water having a huge effect on air, as air, to be honest, has a minuscule effect on water. While it may be true winds whip up water, it was the water’s warmth and moisture that made those winds in the first place. Water wins, in terms of power.
Such super-storms are not rare. It is actually rare to have a pacific “fisherman map” as storm-free as today’s…
…which has no storms and only two gales. But note it has three “developing storms” and two “developing gales”. Winter brews storms by sending cold air over warm water, but the power is not in the cold air but in the warmer water.
Lastly, the power sent aloft by super-storms is not merely some sort of insipid water vapor, as if water vapor was an “inert” greenhouse gas. Water vapor also holds energy, though it is “latent energy”. It is not heat-energy measured by a thermometer, nor wind-energy measured by an anemometer. Rather it is latent, and lurking, and able to perplex and confuse all who downplay water vapor, in favor of any gas which holds no latent energy. Such as?
Such as CO2, which makes up a small part of our air. Only one in 2500 molecules in our air is CO2, and all the changes to levels of CO2 people fret about do not change that “one” to “two”. (320 ppm to 420 ppm may change “one” to “one point three”, but it remains a tiny fraction of 2500).
As I lay in my sickbed I wondered who could believe one molecule in 2500 could warm an ocean when an entire arctic blast could not chill it. Instead the ocean warmed the arctic blast, and turned its bone-dry air into a super-storm drenched with moisture.
If air is so slow to change the temperature of water, and water is so quick to change the air, why would we look to one 2500th of the air as a reason the water has warmed?
The oceans have warmed for the past sixty years, which should lead to an out-gassing of CO2, because warmer waters are less able to hold dissolved CO2. Even so, that out-gassing is a minuscule amount among greater gases that also have a minuscule effect, as air is outnumbered, in terms of molecules, compared to water. Also, if oceans are warmer, they must also be “out-gassing” more water vapor, which happens to cancel out much of CO2’s “greenhouse effect”. Yet all of this is like fretting about a flea on a stallion. The true big kahuna is the sea.
The argument that a tiny, trace gas controlled the enormity of our climate demanded, from the start, overwhelming evidence, because the idea basically sounds nutty. It was as nutty as the idea of drifting continents. You had better get your ducks in a row before you propose continents drifting about. But in the case of drifting continents scientists got their ducks in a row. In the case of Global Warming scientists just got nasty, which divorced them from science, so they were not scientists any more. Instead they just became nutty. Maybe to some degree richer, but nutty. Maybe to some degree holding prestigious positions at universities, but nutty. Perhaps holding some backroom power in government bureaucracies, but nutty.
Being somewhat nutty in my own way, perhaps I have a word of warning to rich nuts in prestigious positions of power. You can bully and bullshit all you want, but, as a “childcare professional” I must sadly inform you, you are transparent to the young. The young are not merely impressionable clay you can mold with nutty propaganda. They innately recognize a lie by the dead way it makes a heart feel. Then, because you represent a dead way, they will turn away from you, hungry for life, hungry for something that does not involve money or prestige or power, but what could that be?
Hmm…It seems I heard, through the fog of my fever, some sort of murmuring about some sort of stirrings of a “revival” someplace called Asbury…
…But of course you insist those “revivalist” folk are silly. What is not silly is to believe one molecule out of 2500 of already-thin air warms the mile-deep oceans. Or so your Nuttiness insists.
Begging your Nutiness’s pardon, but perhaps you do not know how you look, through the eyes of honest youth. You say what? CO2 is a poison gas but air by derailed trains is safe? Can you have actually said that? Need you have your nose pushed into it like a dog?
An interesting aspect of Global Warming is that, when you scrutinize the statistics, it turns out the increases are never where ordinary people would notice them. Not that people would notice a single degree of temperature change, but such overall, world-wide changes largely occur either where people don’t live, or when they are asleep. Most of the warming that sways the “world average” occurs in the arctic, where very few live, or at night, where the daily low can be a higher low than usual.
In other words, when you read that the (much altered) statistics for the United States show a recent period was the “warmest ever” (or since records have been kept), it does not mean we are sweltering like the poor farmers did during the Dust Bowl. Daily high temperatures are nowhere near as hot as they were in the 1930’s. Nearly all the high temperature records were set back then. How, then, is it warmer? It is warmer because it does not get as cool at night?
Night before last we had an opportunity to set a new record for the warmest low temperature for the date, due to being wonderfully placed in the current pattern. A storm was bombing out just east of Labrador, (at the right edge of the map below), but the discharge of arctic air was largely to our east, and the cold likely was more of a concern to the coral isle of Bermuda than us. Why? Because an actual Bermuda High, associated with balmy summer days, had formed, bracketed by the Newfoundland storm to our east and a Great Lakes storm to our west. We were nestled in a southwest flow, seen in the isobars of the map below.
I am to some degree excited by setting records, albeit in a cynical way. On one hand I don’t think setting records shows any “trend”, because we largely only have records going back a hundred years, which means, all things being equal, each year has the same one-in-a-hundred chance of setting the record. On average the odds are that every place should set between three and four records a year.
However Concord, New Hampshire has records going back to 1869, 154 years, and to set a “record low high” there would be good click-bait for my blog, which needs all the help it can get because I am Shadow Banned, for I don’t subscribe to the politically correct balderdash about Global Warming, (and several other politically correct balderdashes.)
While I confess it is pretty cynical to see things in terms of whether they are “click-bait” or not, I also confess that I myself am attracted to what is sensational more than what is merely everyday, although sometimes the everyday is more praiseworthy.
Even in ugly events, we gravitate towards the war in the Ukraine and the earthquake in Turkey, and ignore lives being wasted in our own communities due to the ugliness of various types of everyday ignorance. Generous people will give to help people far away, even while ignoring people trapped by lingering bitterness right next door.
In wars and in natural disasters, there are examples of heroic behavior that restores our faith in the goodness latent in all people. I sometimes wonder what heroic behavior would look like in my neighborhood, without a war or natural disaster. Might it not be as simple as reaching out to a discouraged neighbor and giving them courage? Such behavior might not make the newspapers, but is praiseworthy and does not go unnoticed in heaven.
One reason I persist with writing, even though Shadow Banning has proved highly effective in my case, is because I’d rather be noticed in heaven than on the front pages of Fake News. Also, being fake just doesn’t appeal to me. It just seems so…so…so fake. What really seems sensational is Truth…which causes trouble even in First Grade.
In any case, to get back to being cynical, I was a bit excited we might set a new “record high low” as I slumped in my armchair by the stove, after a long day at my Childcare. I briefly scanned the Fake News about shooting missiles at weather balloons after they had completed their spy-missions, and telling people poison gas from derailed trains was safe but CO2 was a poison gas. Nuts. Then I turned to the weather maps, which are more exciting simply because they are the Truth, and also I like any weather events that are out of the ordinary, for they reveal what the ordinary does not.
In the balmy (for winter) southwest wind the temperatures didn’t drop as the sun did. In Concord the “record low high” was 40 and the winds kept temperatures up near 50 (Fahrenheit). It seemed unlikely the temperatures could drop ten degrees. But then…..(drum roll)…..the wind died.
If you look back up at the above map you will notice New Hampshire is still back towards the crest of the ridge of high pressure, and not yet under the cloud deck of the advancing storm, nor fully in its southwest flow. Therefore, for the start of the night, “radiational cooling” could occur.
Radiational Cooling is Truth, and therefore very cool. Without going into Plancke’s Law, or long-wave versus short-wave radiation, it basically is the fact a clear sky at night sucks up heat from all below. In a summer heatwave, this is a good reason to leave your house and, swabbed in mosquito repellent, sleep as naked as legally possible on the back yard’s lawn. The sweltering heat will radiate away from you, up into the starry void of outer space. But in the dead of winter this same heat-loss is why the coldest temperatures occur when sky is clear and there is no wind, (and wind non-farms are motionless and produce no power to warm with).
When it is neither summer nor winter, farmers agonize about how frost might destroy their dreams, and often destruction is a matter of less than a degree, brought on by a lack of wind and by radiational cooling.
Radiational Cooling can be amazingly local. I have seen frost on the hood of my truck but not the windshield. I’ve seen it in the lower side of my garden but not the upper. And like all farmers I’ve attempted to intervene, when possible, and to prevent frost from damaging.
One way is to run a sprinkler. Making everything drenched means there is more water to freeze, and freezing water involves the release of latent heat, which occurs during the phase change from liquid to solid, and, when the temperatures are only a tenth of a degree below the freezing point, the release of even a small amount of latent heat can actually save a crop.
Another way is to disturb the dead calm that heightens the effects of radiational cooling. The same amount of heat is lost to a clear sky in a wind, but calm localizes the loss. In some cases frost only forms in still air below the level of your knees, and by burning campfires at strategic parts of your garden you create updrafts, which demand compensating downdrafts of milder air, and again the crop is saved.
This is likely one reason why the phenomenon of “urban heat islands” exists. In the winter, during still conditions, every house creates an updraft just like a campfire does. This messes up the radiational cooling which formerly occurred at that location, and the weather station records higher nighttime lows, even some “Record High Lows”.
However recent studies show that the most dramatic examples of “Urban Heat Islands” occur not in Urban, but Rural, areas. When a place, that once had a single farm house midst fields, has only a few suburban abodes built in those fields, the disruption of radiational cooling is most pronounced.
This does not change the amount of heat in the total atmosphere, but rather stirs the air at the very bottom, so the air by our thermometers can’t measure only stratified, still air at the very bottom, with warmer air out of reach up above, but the rather the same two airs mixed. It looks warmer, but isn’t.
In which case, to return to the topic, I should have had high hopes that a small city like Concord, New Hampshire could create enough updrafting to halt the radiational cooling. But the temperatures seemed to be taking a nose dive down through the 40’s.
I was weary from work, (children can be exhausting) and though I might have liked to have stayed up to watch Concord’s thermometer, my eyelids became like lead. I was a bad reporter and a bad scientist, because I said, “the heck with this” and went to bed.
Being an old man, I had reason to arise in the middle of the night, and as I did I blearily checked the temperature in Concord. Blast. It was 39. It had just missed having a Record Low High. No “click bait” for me. But then I glanced at the clock. It was 1:30 AM. Hope revived. Perhaps it reached only 41 by midnight, which would set a “record low high” for yesterday, if not today.
The house was too warm, despite the wood stoves being shut down to “low”. However I like to keep them going, to “keep the edge off” when the cold returns. (It is easier to keep a house cozy when the furniture is warm.) So I checked the wood stoves between yawns, and one looked like it could use a log, so I stumbled to the porch to get one, and also to check my own minimax thermometer.
As I stepped out I noted the big moon’s light was muted. An overcast of alto-stratus was swarming north ahead of the advancing storm. Also I could hear sighing in the pines, as winds picked up: Far from ideal conditions for radiational cooling. And, when I checked my minimax thermometer, I saw temperatures locally had jumped four degrees, to 46 from 42, (the 42 recorded at an earlier point in the night when radiational cooling was obviously stronger).
But what about Concord? Did their temperatures, down in their river valley, also rise four degrees, from 35 to 39? Or are they far enough north and east of me that the cloud cover and wind hadn’t reached them yet?
This can be determined by people who do not have a business to run, and wood stoves to tend to. But in my humble opinion what it shows is how the records can be swayed by minor local influences other than CO2, and are fickle, even whimsical, and amount to yet another variable, among the too-many-variables we seek to understand, as we seek to understand the chaos called “weather.”
(Anyone who calls our current level of understanding “settled science” cannot tell an ass from an elbow. )
However, for “click bait”, I’ll say the cloud cover and wind did not reach Concord, and that they set a new “record high low.” Yowza! Yowza! Read all about it, here on my blog!
However I will not say this means you need to stop using gas stoves.
A truism we are often made uncomfortable by is that, in order to build up, we often have to take down. We are comfortable with God as a creator, or sustainer, but less comfortable with God as the “dissolver” (which I prefer to “destroyer”.) However, in the end, our mortal lives do come to an end. We do get dissolved. It is part of the process, and it is best to have a good attitude about the inevitable, like the old Blood Sweat and Tears song, “…when I’m gone there’ll be one child born to carry on.”
As a student of history, I get to see across the expanse of time and watch how nations rise and fall. One develops a sort of detachment. One cannot participate too deeply in the thrill of victory and agony of defeat, because one will lose their objectivity. And, objectively speaking, many of the primary figures in history come across as very subjective, even to a degree of being buffoons. They relish the thrill of victory as they rise and agonize about the agony of defeat as they fall, and seldom have the humbleness that knows that when they are gone one little child will replace them. “What!” they exclaim. “I am irreplaceable!”
Well, I suppose it is true one is irreplicable. But so is everyone else. We are each as unique as our fingerprint, but the Creator is so creative He easily can replace the irreplaceable with the equally irreplaceable. Assyrians were replaced by Babylonians who were replaced by Persians who were replaced by Greeks who were replaced by Romans. Each were beautiful when they sprouted and budded and bloomed, and worth sustaining as they fruited, but worth pruning when they became unproductive.
A historian attempts to step back and be objective, and not to get too sucked into the affray we call “current events”. A true historian even doesn’t care about the current event called “getting paid”. He will insult his sponsors and be fired from his job, because he sees a higher truth.
It is helpful to be a poet, because then no one is paying you to begin with. You don’t have to worry about losing your position at a university, unless they hire you as a dishwasher.
As a poet I’d like to chat about a news item in the papers almost exactly a century ago, regarding fish. The paper was the Washington Times, and the date was June 6, 1922. It contained this map:
There is something fishy about this map. How is it even possible? They had no satellites in 1922. Likely they had no airplanes. It was five years before Charles Lindbergh became the first to fly across the Atlantic in 1927. Did the reporter just make it up?
Judging from the article, the reporter did consult Adolf Hoel, proffeser of geology at the University of Christiana. Perhaps Adolf sketched the map on a napkin as they chatted in a Cafe. But how did Adolf gather such data?
The reporter goes on to mention a wise old fisherman, who had sailed the waters 54 years, Captain Martin Ingarbrigtsen. Perhaps his experience contributed to the above map. The fisherman was a primary source of data for the U.S. consul at Bremin, Norway, Mr. Iffey, who relayed the information to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
What is refreshing about all this is that there is no Global Warming crap involved. There is no narrative. There is no agenda. There is no bias. There are just honest men relaying information about an interesting and perhaps extraordinary change. And what was the change?
The 1922 article states, “Formerly vast shoals of whitefish were found about Spitzbergen, but last summer fishermen sought them in vain.” Later the article states, “On the other hand, other kinds of fishes, hitherto unknown so far north, have made their appearance. Shoals of smelt have arrived, and immense schools of herring are reported by fishermen off the west coast of Spitzbergen.”
This 100-year-old data has importance to all who want to increase the amount of fish we can harvest from the sea, without overfishing. We need to differentiate rises and falls in fish populations that are natural, caused by swings of natural cycles, from those caused by overfishing, or by altering the fishes environment by reducing coastal marshes and rivers, or by destroying the sea-bottom with dragging nets.
For example, we are actually reducing our supply of protein when we “reclaim” ocean marshes to grow grain, for those marshes are so vital to the life cycle of fish that for every pound of protein we gain from grain or rice we lose ten pounds of protein we might have had from fish. Often draining marshes is not a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul; it is a case of killing the goose that laid the golden egg.
It is hard to see a smelly marsh might be better than manmade dikes and landscapes like Holland’s, and the only way to overcome such difficulty is through honestly reporting the facts.
The United States has perhaps gone too far, when it comes to “protecting wetlands”, but it has good advice to offer China about the dangerous prospect of destroying the fisheries of the Yellow Sea by developing the wide wetlands along its coast. It is a situation where China could starve its people by growing more rice.
However, in order to understand changes man causes, we must understand the changes nature causes, without any help from man.
The 1922 article may be indulging in a bit of sensationalism, for papers were guilty of that even back then, but basically, its report is describing what we now know, that they didn’t know then: The antics of the WSC (West Spitzbergen Current) can drastically change conditions, by changing where it stops being a surface current and instead becomes subsurface current. The 1922 article describes summer water temperatures switching from 5 degrees above freezing to 28 degrees above freezing.
This would explain the way sea-ice disappears, in the above map, especially along the route the WSC takes to Svalbard. It would be incidental data, from before the age of satellites.
What is most fishy is how Alarmists loathe such data and want to blot it from the record. My guess is that it spoils their narrative. They want to show current melting has never been seen before. But it has happened. It happened in 1922, and many times before. And the sea-ice must also return, over and over, for it to happen, over and over.
In 1922 the article sensationalizes the fact fishermen could sail to the north coast of Svalbard and even to Raudfjorden, but the fact of the matter is that bay was first mapped by Willem Barents in 1496. History seems to show the sea-ice comes and the sea-ice goes.
Why are Alarmists so threatened by history? God creates sea-ice, sustains sea-ice, and dissolves sea-ice. It is a cycle.
Perhaps they find it fishy. It suggests that they too are part of a cycle. They are part of a process, and were given power by God, saw power sustained a while by God, but, like the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, and even little, old me, will soon face a day when power is dissolved by God.
Now that Alarmists have gone whole hog on the sheer malarkey of their non-science, it is hardly worth the time rebutting their pathetic contentions any more. This frees me up to spend more time simply watching the most splendid rebuttals of their contentions, which are the realities of the weather. Compared to the glory of nature, the propaganda of politicians seems like the nitpicking of spiders in front of a tsunami. With their tweezers they can tweeze all they want; they sound as sad as a piano with one string.
Originally I looked at the reality of the weather to ascertain if what the Alarmists claimed was truth was truly true, and when I found evidence it wasn’t, I thought they might be interested to know they were in error. They weren’t. Instead they called me a “denier”, and subjected me (and many others) to censorship and shadow banning.
I suppose this treatment did bum me out, in some ways, but in other ways it was life as usual. I was never of the “popular” crowd in school, and was not the sort of young fellow a young woman would want to see approaching, to ask them to dance. Often I wasn’t even accepted among the nerds. Therefore I had to learn how to survive without flattery. I had to play the game without cheerleaders.
I think that attempting to live midst such disdain is actually too much to ask of any man, especially a young man, for we all need, if not praise, then uplifting. And the thing I found as a substitute for public acclaim, which was most uplifting, was the reality of the weather; AKA the beautiful clouds out the classroom window.
One wonderful thing about the reality of the weather is that it doesn’t care a hoot about our politics. It does what it does, irregardless of whether we throw virgins in volcanoes or buy electric cars. The only politician who seemed to grasp this was King Canute, when he ordered the tide to stop rising, in order to demonstrate to his flattering courtiers that he lacked the omnipotence of God.
It seems Alarmists utterly lack the humbleness of King Canute, for they feel they can stop the seas from rising. This audacity would be a joke if it was not actually spoken in their speeches.
Two reasons for the awe that leads people to believe in a Higher Power, (even if they detest religion and think they are Atheists,) involve the macrocosms and the microcosms of human understanding and comprehension. Once one understands how huge our galaxy is, and how many stars it contains, and then moves on to grasping the fact our universe contains more entire galaxies than can be counted, then some part of our tweezering intellect burns out, and we just shake our heads in wonder. In like manner, when we turn our minds to minutia similar wonders overwhelm us, as we wander into the worlds of sub-atomic particles and “energies”.
Perhaps the most depressing thing about Alarmists is that they miss this wonder. They feel God is out of business, for now they control the macrocosms and microcosms. They control the weather and they control the viruses. Oh! How powerful they are! They are like the puffed-up, adolescent football stars and cheerleaders whom all other students were suppose to honor and flatter, back in high school. Only it is not high school we are talking about. It is real life, and we are not immature teenagers.
To me there is something fundamentally insane about people who think they control the weather, and have jurisdiction over who shall get sick or not. They have elevated themselves to the status of God, and in the process have dismissed God as a higher power. This is insane because, sure as shooting, a day will come when a storm they did not forecast looms, and sickness they claimed they’d cured afflicts them, and on that day they will have no one to pray to.
This is not to say that there are some others among us who are mysteriously gifted, in terms of weather and/or in terms of healing. But such such people have no need to mock God while enacting Alarmism’s mockery of omnipotence. Why deny a Creator exists, when stating that same Creator gave you a gift?
My father was a surgeon who loved science and who loathed quacks, and snake-oil salesmen, and malpractice lawyers who exploited misfortunes. A story-teller, one tale my Dad loved to tell was about a witch doctor in Africa. The witch doctor made missionaries angry by curing people with a foul, stinking tea, when missionaries could not cure the same people with prayer. As my father told the tale, there was one missionary who did not condemn the witch doctor as a witch, and actually sent his sick converts to the witch doctor to drink his putrid tea. Not only did the sick get better, but the witch doctor became much more friendly, because he had finally met a Christian who didn’t condemn him for curing people. The missionary and the witch doctor developed a friendship that lasted decades, and eventually involved them hearing the news that penicillin had been discovered in England. The production of purified penicillin involved a long and complicated process. The witch doctor, in concocting his rancid tea, also employed a process that involved many steps. But how could an uneducated man in darkest Africa stumble upon penicillin? The only answer is: It was a gift. Maybe some degree of experimentation, of trial-and-error, was involved, but the guiding light was a gift.
In like manner I’ve met some in my time (usually men who spend much time outdoors) who are gifted, when it comes to sniffing out a storm which even the weather bureau doesn’t see coming. They are gifted. When you ask them how they know, they often just shrug, or give some unsatisfactory answer such as “they felt it in their bones.” In their cases as well the gift doesn’t seem to be given without some degree of trial and error. In other words, work is involved. Yet I too have worked, and my trial and error continues to mostly involve error. I am like a person who practices the piano but happens to be tone deaf. I lack the gift.
Gifts might appear to manifest in some cases without a lot of hard work, for example in the case of Mozart writing music at an early age, but even he was not above work. After all, a child picking out chords on a harpsichord at age three is practicing, just as a child learning to walk is practicing, and practice is work. However the gifted seem to have done a lot of the work before they were even born. Is it some memory from a past life? Is it a skill picked up during preincarnation in Limbo? Is it due to the mutation of some chromosome? Heck if I know. I just work under the general principle that every child is born with some gift, and therefore has value and a part to play in creation. That statement alone can get me into enough arguments to keep me busy.
But the point I am trying to work my way around to is that the people gifted do not deny the existence of the Giver of the gift. They are humble, and lack the audacity of Alarmists. They do not think they control weather, or sickness and healing. They do not claim to be all-powerful and all-knowing. Only Alarmists are so insane.
I’m weary of their bragging insanity, and of the media blaring their braggart nonsense, so I have clicked off the news, and also have largely withdrawn from debate about Global Warming. Why plunge into fog when one can remain elevated under clear skies? Why depart from pure waters to the company of those who delight in intentionally muddying waters? Some feel one can “win” a debate about Truth with lies. It is best to just skip their juvenile reality. Far better is the beautiful reality of the weather.
On a different site a commenter made me laugh by pointing out that, in terms of weather, “average” weather never happened. Surely he was indulging a bit of hyperbole, but it derived power by being so close to the Truth: “Average” is a theoretical number created by a reality which almost always is either “above” or “below” the theoretical number.
The theoretical number around the hills where I live in New Hampshire sees temperatures drop to a winter rock-bottom where the “average” high is 29 degrees and the “average” low is 9 degrees, which gives us a “average” mean temperature of 19 degrees, (-7 degrees Celsius).
In other words, if things were “average” then we should go through a prolonged period in the depth of our winter when temperatures do not rise above freezing. But they almost always do. It is so noticeable and even predictable that it has its own name, “The January Thaw”, and people expect it, as if it was an “average” thing to occur even thought it is not “average”.
This year the “January Thaw” has been especially prolonged, so you could say it has been longer than “average”. (Around this point the word “average” is starting to look a bit tattered and dog-eared.)
Several times the temperature 29 degrees Fahrenheit (-1.67 Centagrade) has not been our high temperature, but our low temperature. This has given us mean temperatures at least ten degrees above “average”. However 29 degrees is still cold enough to make snow. Such snow is not the light, dry, drifting powder-snow one expects when mean temperatures are 19 and “average”, but rather is heavy, dense and wet stuff local folk call “glop.”
It strikes me as a bit amusing that having temperatures more than ten degrees above normal at times, in the depth of our winter, has not given us the snow-free landscape where, according to several Alarmists (who apparently copy each other), “our children will not know what snow is any more.” Instead we have glop. Glop is snow so heavy plows sometimes break down trying to push it around. And, as I run a Childcare, I can tell you children know all about glop. Would you like to know what they, who have not been educated at liberal colleges, know?
If so, then allow me to describe our last glop-storm.
Sunday should be a day of rest, but I was physically active, for an old coot pushing seventy, cleaning up from our last glop-storm and making ready for the next. As I huffed and puffed, loading firewood on the porch, I had to stop and catch my breath, and attempted to look picturesque, by pretending I was merely scanning the skies and sniffing out changes in the weather. And because I did that so often, I actually did notice the changes, which were so subtle and beautiful it made me want to quit the work, and go write a poem.
The north winds behind the prior glop-storm had brought temperatures down to nearly “average”, but those winds shifted to the south and you could feel the north relenting. The cut of the wind relaxed into a sort of softness. I felt the next storm surely must be rain, but the forecasters were sure we’d get snow.
What they somehow knew, and I didn’t, was those south winds from a storm to our west would shift to northeast winds, as that primary storm to our west occluded and basically vanished from the map, and a secondary “coastal development” took over.
In the map below you can see the secondary has taken over, and the only sign of the primary is dashed orange lines, and a curl of clouds.
I was impressed by the forecaaster’s skill, as snow began falling as I went to bed Sunday night. The forecast was for six-to-ten inches by morning. (School had already been cancelled, though we keep our Childcare open, as we are needed.) But the rain-snow line was very nearby to our south, and I was well aware how difficult it is to forecast what amounts to a difference between 32.1 degrees and 31.9. I was not particularly surprised when I awoke at two in the morning, and saw rain out the window. Apparently the primary low, which didn’t even exist on maps any more, pushed just enough warmth north to switch the snow to rain, as the radar map showed.
The radar showed purple, indicative of freezing rain and sleet, and my thermometer read 32, so I knew this was not the sort of rain that melts snow much. When I went to open our Childcare at 6:45 it was still 32, and the windows of my Jeep were suggestive of freezing rain and not rain. As I shoveled the front walk I noticed the snow had a crust on top, more like freezing rain than wet rain. Temperatures might be thirteen degrees above normal, but the glop was still glop.
The forecast insisted the rain would change back to snow as the secondary low grew stronger and moved over Cape Cod into the Gulf of Maine, but I was in no mood to send children out to get wet in cold rain, so I had to endure innocent darlings totally trashing the Childcare indoors.
The children were excited to see the rain change back to wet snow out the window…
…And I confess I was glad to get the children dressed in their body-armor snowsuits and out the door. I hoped to put them to work rolling snowballs, which they adore, but we were disappointed to discover the crust of ice that freezing snow put on the snow made rolling snowballs impossible. However the snow was very sticky, and could be shoveled to the sides of our igloo-in-progress.
I was doing most of the work, as the children were persuaded by a cynic in their midst that a roof on a snow-fort was one of those silly ideas adults have, like tooth fairies or Santa Claus. I didn’t mind. Occasionally I had to break up snowball wars, but mostly they did their thing, (which seemed to involve making paths), and I worked on the impossible roof. But I did notice the kindly south winds, and the the southerly movement of low skud, shifted around to the north, as the storm headed by to our east.
One thing that seemed odd was that there was no increase in the winds. The trees were still white with the burden of the last glop-storm, and more burdened by freezing rain, and now were being further frosted by wet snow, but there was no wind to blow the white from the boughs. The flakes were big and wet, as the passing low created bands of snow. (If you want to show off your meteorological jargon, call the bands “mesoscale”.)
We were short-handed, but, because school was cancelled. a high-school-aged “intern” showed up to make some extra money, and this meant I did not need to bring the children in for lunch, and put all their wet snow suits in the drier, and get them settled down for nap time. Rather, she did all that, while, huffing and puffing, I could stay out and complete the igloo, which, because the small cynic doubted me, had become a thing my old ego deemed important. It was likely unwise to huff and puff so much at my age, but I managed to finish the job.
Rather than noticing my masterpiece, please notice the woods in the background, burdened with glop. From those woods, as I worked in the child-free silence of falling snow, I heard occasional loud cracks, like the report of a pistol, followed by crashing and thumping, like large limbs falling to earth. This is not a good sign.
We lost power at our Childcare around 2:30, when the children were just rising from their naps. The place was still warm, and it was not particularly hard to dress them to go out and play again. I’d rushed off to attend to other details, but was glad to hear the kids were very impressed my igloo had a roof, and my wife took a picture for our website of seven small children sitting within. Then I rushed back to watch kids play in the dwindling light of the ebbing day, (made especially dark with no power), as one by one their parents arrived to pick them up. Nearly every parent had an adventure to talk about, describing trees down across highways, and losing power at workplaces.
I spend so much time with small children, dealing with the way they think, that I have come to value the all-too-short time I get to spend with actual living and breathing adults. Perhaps it is because I am coming from a different perspective, but it strikes me adults have no idea how amazing they are. A tree can close a highway as they go to pick up their child, and they just make a joke out of the experience. They find their way around the obstacles. They lose power at a workplace, yet get their job done. They don’t like glop, but accept it as “average” and get on with life.
But for Alarmists, glop is a disaster. Rather than above “average ” temperatures causing less snow, glop creates snow so heavy and dense it shuts down schools.
The storm was heading off, just a feature on my “fisherman’s map”:
But the glop took time to clean up. Arriving at work at 6:45 this morning to shovel the inch of overnight snow and salt the walks, I discovered the schools needed a two hour delay before opening. Also we had no power at our Childcare. But we opened, with a wood-stove’s fire upstairs to warm the children, and with snow melting in pots on that stove to use, if we needed to flush the toilets. Power came back on at 9:30, so we never needed to flush toilets with melted snow, but the point I want to make is that glop didn’t stop us.
Actually, when the sun snuck briefly under the cloud deck at sunrise, the way glop bent a pine’s up-reaching boughs down like a hemlock’s was downright beautiful.
It is important to remember Glop is beautiful, because our local forecast is for more of it. Tomorrow night we are suppose to get a quick thump of a half-foot of snow, turning to heavy rain, which will turn snow to slush, which will freeze as solid as iron as winds turn north afterwards.
If “above average” gives us so much winter, what shall happen when things swing to “below average”? For surely things must do so, in order for “above” and “below” to average-out into the “average” (which hardly ever happens).
One major reason I shifted from being reluctant about being vaccinated for the China Virus,`to adamantly refusing to being vaccinated, was the death of Robert Felix on June 10, 2021. He suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, but had the painful affliction under control with medications, however, after getting “the jab”, his arthritis flared out of control and he swiftly was confined to a wheelchair and, soon afterwards, died.
I felt a great sense of loss, because, although we’d only met “on line”, he had been very kind to me. On several occasions I fear I, being at times an offensive person, offended him, and that never sits well with me; I don’t like offending people who have been kind. I sent some apologetic texts, but wanted to meet with him personally at some point. Abruptly he was gone. What was unspoken seemed it would be forever unsaid.
When I thought about it, I decided I was being selfish. It was all about me. Death is a gateway to further life, (I believe), and Robert’s destiny was to move on. The best I could do was to honor his memory and keep alive the good work he did.
Robert got in trouble with politically correct Alarmists because, rather than thinking we should be worried about Global Warming, he felt we should be concerned about a climate cycle bringing a return of Ice Age conditions. He had studied the subject and wrote a book.
I tended to offend Robert by clumsily joking he was as biased towards cold as Alarmists were towards warmth. He had every reason to take offense, for he was very different from Alarmists, in that he was not guilty of B.S.
Everything Robert did was, in my opinion, sincerely devoted to Truth. Unlike certain “climate scientists”, he never (that I ever saw) compromised on Truth to get a grant or endowment or advancement or the cheap fame of media attention, and Robert likely “blew his chances”, by offending bigwigs on a regular basis. I just hope the bigwigs felt as small as I felt, when I stepped on his toes.
Even when I had offended my friend and he was not in the mood to talk with me, I always visited his website “Ice Age Now”, because it was a treasury of information concerning a topic the media avoided and avoids like the plague: Places on earth where it was colder than normal. The media always focused on where the planet was (and is) experiencing a hot spell. The media completely neglected the fact these events tend to balance out, and temperatures ten degrees above normal in one place will be balanced by temperatures ten degrees below normal in another. “Ice Age Now” was like an antidote to such one-sided reporting. The fact of the matter was that, where Al Gore stated, “the planet has a fever”, it was the media that had the fever, and Robert Felix was the cooling cure.
Robert was and is irreplaceable. His website should be a treasury of historic information, and I find it a bit suspicious that so many wrenches have been thrown into the works of what should be part of the public record. It is hard to access his site, and to a suspicious codger like me it seems someone does not want his memory to even exist.
However, though I cannot match his ability, it seems one thing I can do, to honor his memory, is to, (in a much smaller way than Ice Age Now did), note that there are places colder than ever seen before, right now, on our planet. The very fact such places exist are possibly more indicative of a coming Ice Age, than of Global Warming.
Therefore it leapt out at me, grabbing my attention and making me immediately think of Robert, when I saw that both Iceland and China were getting headlines for cold, while browsing through Tony Heller’s website, “Real Climate Science”.
Having spoken of places where it is very cold, I would not want you to think I was one-sided. After all, when temperatures are below normal one place, they are balanced by temperatures above normal in another place. And one “other” place happens to be right where I live in New Hampshire. I will now show the results of temperatures far above normal, at a Childcare I run.
I should hasten to add that ordinarily, in mid-January, our snow is usually powder, which sifts dryly in the wind. It is useless stuff, in terms of making snowmen, or igloos, (or pasting a teacher in the face and knocking their glasses off with a snowball as a “joke.”) Temperatures must be ten degrees above normal to make our snow sticky.
However snow is snow, in terms of “albedo”.
“Albedo” is a magic word for Alarmists, for it measures the ability of a surface to absorb sunlight, or else bounce it back to outer space. Snow has a huge ability to reflect sunlight to space without absorbing much heat. Alarmists assume temperatures ten degrees above normal will make less snow, and therefore the planet will reflect less heat, and get hotter and hotter and hotter until the oceans boil.
However the above picture shows the result of temperature well above normal. It doesn’t look like less snow to me. Furthermore it is not light and fluffy powder snow, which quickly shrinks under bright sunshine until a foot is like an inch of wet felt, but rather it is heavy, dense snow about as light and fluffy as cement. (You will have to trust me about this, as I’m the poor old man who had to huff and puff building that igloo.) Snow that dense snapped the branches of trees and knocked out the power at my Childcare from lunch until the purple darkness of closing. Furthermore, if the sun ever shines again, (and lately I’ve had my doubts), you’ll want sunglasses just as much for this cement-like snow as you do for powder snow, but this sort of solid, cement-like snow does not wilt like powder snow does. It just sits there and seems to say, “I will not melt until May.”
Well! Who would have thunk it? Snow produced by warmer temperatures is harder to melt? If that doesn’t infuriate Alarmists and get you shadow banned, they are not paying attention. For if warmer temperatures produce snow more difficult to melt, then maybe Robert Felix was right.
Maybe it is time for the Alarmists to all rush over to the other side of the boat, for when the snow says “I will not melt until May” perhaps, just perhaps, it is also ininuating….
We have been enjoying a mild January, however often this has been followed, in my experience, by some wild weather. I won’t regale you with garrulous tales, and simply will post a picture of the cold building up in Siberia.
For Americans, -62.7 Celsius translates to -80.86 Fahrenheit.
Air this cold tends to build over land, and not the North Pole, which is a sea, and radiates “warmth” (if you can call salt water below the freezing point of fresh water “warm”) up through the thin skim of sea-ice that covers it. The Pole has trouble getting below -40. Siberia, on the other hand, has no trouble at all. It generates the coldest air in the northern hemisphere.
Cold air sinks, (the opposite of a hot air balloon that rises). Air this absurdly cold sinks like a rock and, because solid earth gets in its way, it tends to spread out. In cases where the spreading comes in contact with warm and humid air from the tropics, the clash can generate amazing storms, and the western sides of such storms consist of strong, north winds which pulls the Siberian air further south. An “arctic outbreak” occurs.
Who will get it? China, due south? Or will it head east across Bering Strait and down the spine of the Rocky Mountains to make North America shudder? Or will it be like Tolkien’s Mordor and make Europe rue the east wind? Some years it does all three! And meanwhile the North Pole can actually be above normal, and Alarmists can fret there is not enough sea-ice to the north, as the Yellow Sea freezes in China and Chesapeke Bay freezes in Virginia.
In any case, don’t drop your guard. This winter’s a long way from being over.
What a difference a day makes. First, here is my woodpile before the snow.
And here is the same woodpile this morning:
This is the sort of heavy, wet snow that causes weathermen to have fits, because it’s flakes are right on the verge of melting into rain, and in fact, if they fall a couple hundred more feet through above freezing air, then they are rain. For example Wilton, roughly eleven miles to our north, only had a couple inches of snow mixed with rain, and they are only a couple hundred feet lower. Meanwhile due south eleven miles, down much lower (where the “Flatlanders” live) in Townsend, Massachusetts, they saw no snow at all until at the very end. But we got a foot and a half (46 cm).
The snow was so sticky it took down branches and even entire trees, and as I start this post we have no power and my laptop is down to 20% power. I have no connection to the web, though my phone can still deliver texts, albeit very, very slowly. My oldest son, who snowplows in the winter, said Peterborough is a shambles, and he was one of the last trucks to weave through the fallen limbs and arcing electrical lines before route 124 was shut down. He had to travel to Jaffrey, which wasn’t much better, to come home. In essence the communities on the shoulders of Mount Monadnock were just high enough to get snow rather than rain, and got clobbered.
It might not seem fair that we get clobbered while people ten miles away get off Scot free, but it goes with the territory. People who live here long enough adapt. For example, as I began this post I was warm by my man-cave wood-stove, with my coffee cup atop the stove (rather than in the microwave) to rewarm my brew. My wife had pots of snow melting on both wood-stoves to flush the toilet with, plus a pot melting beside the wood-stove to wash dishes with. She could cook because, even though the electric “sparker” doesn’t light the burners of our propane stove, we can use a match to light them. We have candles for light. So having no power doesn’t slow us down much.
What slows me down is the thought of shoveling the front walk. Such snow is like wet cement. I’m pushing seventy and smoked too much when younger, so my armchair has its charms.
I did eventually push myself to dodder outside and shovel a pathetic path down the very center of the steps, and then walk through the deep snow to my jeep. It’s embarrassing to admit, but even walking through deep snow gets me huffing and puffing. I shoveled the plow-created snowbanks in front of my Jeep a minimum amount, and then clambered in. A good thing about a Jeep is that you don’t have to shovel much; you just put the vehical in four-wheel-drive, and go!
I drove to the nearby town center to see if they had power, and if I could make my weekly deposit at the bank. It’s not much of a center. It doesn’t even have a traffic light. But it does have a blinking orange light, and it was dark. I knew that meant the power was off and the bank would be closed. Oddly, there was a line of cars going through its ATM machine; I suppose the automatic teller runs by a battery.
Both the local market and local gas stations knew better than to be closed at a time when business was bound to be especially good, (for no one wanted to drive far). Both had generators humming. The market was doing a brisk business in “breakfast sandwiches” for the people who couldn’t cook at home, and the gas station was doing a brisk business in gasoline for those who did have generators. There are plenty of people who are prepared for power outages, but even those who lack generators need gasoline for their snow blowers. Driving further I saw snow blowers in action, and have to admit they looked sad. Rather than shooting powdery snow thirty feet away they were barely able to curve a limp arc of white molasses five feet.
Plows weren’t doing much better. They would get halfway down a drive and the weight of the snow would be so great the truck couldn’t budge it. My son said the trick was to angle the plow and swerve to the side halfway down the drive, and then back up, and then proceed straight ahead until you needed to angle the plow again. Plowing took much longer.
As the snow came down heavily yesterday it became obvious the plow wasn’t going to make it to my Childcare in time to clear the entry and drive for the parents who would soon arrive to pick up their children. When younger I might have gone out and shoveled like a madman, but now I’m too old for such heroics. What I did instead was drive to and fro and back and forth and in and out until the tires of the Jeep had packed all the snow down. The lot was a bit slippery, but nobody got stuck.
I bring up all these anecdotes just to demonstrate how people can respond to calamity, especially if they have seen the calamities before. But as I brag a bit about how self-sufficient the local people are, I do notice when fossil fuel is involved. If the Green New Deal fanatics have their way, there will be no gas for the plows or for the generators, and the testing will become far more rigorous.
For this reason I was hoping for a mild winter. The milder the better. (If you don’t use much oil or propane or electricity, there is less of a chance you will run out.)
One of the mildest winters I personally recall was 1975-1976, when it seemed all the storms headed north to the west of New England and we were always in the warm sector, on the warm side of storms. I think there were records set for snowfall in Minnesota that year, for they were on the wrong side of all the storms, but that was their problem. Here, even up in Maine, where I lived back then, it was relatively snow free. Because, this year, all the storms were going up to our west at the start of this winter, I hoped we were in a pattern similar to what we saw back then.
This is mere memory on my part, and one problem with personal recall is that it tends to be a general impression, without much foundation on fact. When one recalls one must confess they neglected to save weather maps from the papers, or record temperatures day by day. And what I actually recall about 1975-1976 was how disappointed I was. I was young and wanted a wild and crazy winter, and thought such a winter would be more likely up north in Maine, but instead I labored through a winter which would have seemed mild even down in Massachusetts. So that is what I remember. However I do like those meteorologists who are far more specific, and have past maps on their fingertips.
One such weatherman is Joe Bastardi, who was forecasting a cold December, and, midst the slew of examples he gave, he happened to mention a cold December in 1975-1976.
Cold December? I prodded my memory, and realized there was evidence I wasn’t paying attention. Why? Likely I was writing the Great American Novel or some such thing. I was only jarred from my inward contemplation by the arrival of my nemesis for Christmas. (At that time my nemesis was a big brother.) As my brother and I practiced the high art of dysfunction I awoke to the fact early December had been so cold even the salt water had frozen. There was a big slab of sea-ice in the Harraseeket River in front of my parent’s abode.
The following will show you how different my memory is from that of a tried and true meteorologist:
I only recall that slab of sea-ice because my older brother was too lazy to row a rowboat around it. It was only fifty feet across but perhaps three football fields long. Therefore, after testing the ice with an oar, he got onto the ice, pulled the boat onto the ice, and then pushed the boat across. The ice was so thin, and so rotted by thaw, that it cracked under his feet, but he didn’t fall through because he supported his weight on the stern of the rowboat. As he reached the far side of the floe the ice completely disintegrated beneath his feet, and the boat wallowed down through the slushy ice, but he did a sort of push-up on the stern, with his feet above the water, and then swung his feet around and into the boat. A local lobster man, who had watched the spectacle, commented, “That fellow is off his f—– rocker,” likely because the lobster man knew the water was so cold it could all but paralyze a person plunging into it, and kill a man in five minutes.
I liked hearing my brother was “off his f—— rocker”, because we were intensely competitive at that point in our lives, and he often expressed the opinion that I was the one who was “off his f—— rocker.” I liked hearing the lobster man suggest it might not be me who was the nut. What does this have to do with meteorology? Absolutely nothing. But it does suggest December 1975 was cold.
Joe Bastardi had been going on about the cold December for a long time, literally since August, and I was amazed to see things develop in a way very much like what he had predicted. While the cold might be bad for the energy situation in the short term, I still had hopes it would give way to a warmer winter in the long run.
How can cold lead to warmth? Well, sometimes the stormy spell will climax with a gigantic outpouring of arctic air that leaves the arctic so depleted that no cold can follow, so what follows is a lovely winter thaw. But I was also aware there are different, particularly nasty patterns, which do manage to swiftly reload, and to hit southern lands with successive arctic blasts. I was aware of this because 1976-1977 was so unlike 1975-1976. What caused the difference?
Usually any southward movement of arctic air involves a dip in the jet-stream. (Back when I was young, meteorologists called this dip a “low pressure trof”. The fact meteorologists spelled “trough” incorrectly was proof they were practical Science majors, and not nit-wit English majors like myself. They would spell a word like it sounded, and dictionaries could be damned. Out of great respect for those vanished scientists I will spell trough, “trof”, for the rest of this post.)
Ordinarily low pressure is centered at at the Pole in the upper atmosphere, with higher pressures to the south. Winds swing around and around the Pole, west to east, and if those winds remain west to east the flow is called “zonal”. A zonal flow tends to trap the cold at high latitudes. However sometimes the west to east flow gets perturbed and wavy, and when a wave pokes north it is called a high pressure ridge and when it pokes south it called a low-pressure trof. But sometimes the trof gets so huge it actually moves the the center of the polar rotation south along with it. That is when newspapers scream about the “Polar Vortex” coming south, (without a clue what they are screaming about.)
These super-sized trofs involve storms and cold outbreaks which often are remembered in the record books, but involve such a derangement from the normal state of affairs that they are often followed by a period of dull weather. The polar vortex has to regrow back up where it belongs, and before it is regrown the jet stream circling the Pole lacks its ordinary vigor. The arctic has “shot its wad”, and has nothing left to send south. The south takes advantage, sending thaws north. Occasionally this can brew up a decent storm, when a vast area of snow-cover creates enough “home grown” cold, and that cold needs no reinforcements from the Pole, and is able to clash with the thaw in a wintry way. However such storms don’t tend to stress people as much; temperatures are just below freezing, and often they are bracketed by thaws. For the most part a mind numbing arctic outbreak involving the Polar Vortex is a reason to hope. One hopes that, if you just hang in there, you’ll see a prolonged thaw, and can eventually stand in the sun, and even stick your neck up from your scarf a little.
However the most severe winters don’t involve the Polar Vortex being uprooted and coming south. It may wobble, or drift to one side of the Pole, but it stays home. And from its home it directs successive pulses of arctic air down one channel, created by a trof which somehow gets locked in place, or else wobbles to and fro at roughly the same longitude. Down at the bottom of such trofs people at lower latitudes experience the worst winters of their lifetimes. The hoped-for thaw never comes. The cold never quits.
I found myself remembering such a winter when I chanced across a Seth Borenstein article titled, “December Serving Up Baked Alaska…”
I have been rolling my eyes over Seth’s Alarmist take on weather for over a decade. (Heck, it might even be two decades by now.) But, even though he tends to use information to leap to preposterous conclusions, he does tend to use actual facts as his springboard. In fact I tend to like his writing the way I once liked Robert Felix’s site Ice Age Now. At Robert’s site I could learn of cold waves and snowstorms no one else reported about, and in Seth’s articles I read about warm spells and thaws every Alarmist wants to report, but often Seth is the first.
However as he talked about warmth in Alaska it triggered my Way-back Machine.
The winter of 1976-77 was one of the coldest I can remember, on the east coast of the USA. That was back during the “Ice Age Scare”. And one thing I remember was that it was hot and very dry in California, and mild in western and central Alaska, because the jet stream looped far to the north, off the west coast. But then it turned sharply south, drawing a cross-polar-flow of bitter cold air from Siberia to Eastern Alaska and the Yukon, and then down the east side of the Canadians Rockies and southeast, spreading out across the USA clear down to Florida.
I remember Pacific storms would head north, missing drought-afflicted California, and then crash into the wall of arctic air, dwindling into a little ripple of low pressure that came down the boundary between Pacific and Arctic air formed by the Rockies. I’d watch these “Alberta Clippers” carefully, because usually they just delivered the next installment of arctic air, but some hooked north on the east coast of the USA and became gales and gave us snowstorms.
I was young and hot blooded and cold didn’t bother me, and the winter had all the misery I wanted (and had been so disappointed about not seeing the winter before). I had a wonderful time that winter because, despite twelve foot tides twice a day, Casco Bay froze so solidly that you could walk for miles and visit islands. I think the start of my interest in sea-ice was simply due to spending so much time upon it. Here is a picture of me upon the salt water in January 1977, writing on sea-ice (with my dog Zeus.) (Picture taken by my friend Joe Nichols.):
One lesson I learned from that winter was that warmth in western Alaska is by no means a sign of a warm winter overall. In fact it may be a sign that we in eastern USA need to be on guard. Hold onto your hats, and pile your firewood near the door. Have a back-up plan for when the power goes out, or the oil and/or propane isn’t delivered.
In actual fact our government’s hate of fossil fuels made me heap firewood even though I am reaching a point in my life when lugging firewood has lost its appeal. I’d much rather just sit back and turn up a thermostat. But without fossil fuels a thermostat will not work. And even during a mild winter, this far north, you either want the thermostat to work, or want to have a heap of firewood.
The question I have is whether this winter will be cold or not. I’d like a mild winter, for then I’d have firewood left over and wouldn’t have to buy as much next year. But a mild winter like 1975-1976 would put me on guard for a monster winter like 1976-1977.
But I just don’t see a sign the arctic will send the “Arctic Vortex” south and “shoot its wad.” Even the December chill seems very balanced with the Polar Vortex remaining at the Pole and having trofs rotate around it. Look at the map I’ve used in prior posts of what computer models see for the situation round Christmas.
Despite how deep the trofs are, the situation looks very balanced. If you include the cold in the mid Atlantic and mid Pacific, the trofs look like the five arms of a starfish. There is no sign (yet) that the Polar Vortex prefers one trof to another, and is going to surge down on one side of the Pole and “shoot its wad”. Rather the pattern looks sustainable. It looks able to reload and repeat. In which case the thaw I hope for would be less likely, and the worst-case-scenareo (for a world which foolishly has fossil fuels in short supply) seems more possible.
I confess my inability to state which option will come to pass. All I want to do is point out what we might look for. If the worst-case-scenario develops, knowing it is about to happen might be helpful and allow one to make preparations which seem appropriate, “in time” and not “too late”.
What I am going to be looking for is the “reload”, and a map that looks like the above map again in January, and again in February, and again in March, and even in April. That is a development I very much hope NOT to see.
Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
P.S. The power is back on and I again can link to the web. One of the first things I did was to peruse the long term forecasts, and immediately noticed the snow forecast for Christmas weekend has been changed to rain. The storm looks likely to go west of us, which gets me remembering 1975-1976 again. This is good news if you like low energy bills in New England. The news is not so good in Minnesota, or even down in Texas. I can see temperatures as much as twenty degrees below normal forecast for Christmas, to our west.
It doesn’t seem fair that we get off Scot free, but the weather plays by its own set of rules.
I nabbed the picture below from Joseph D’Aleo’s excellent blog on the Weatherbell website. He was describing a triple-arctic-outbreak hitting China, Europe, and the USA, which some models suggest will climax around Christmas. (A kindly Christmas present may be to invite an elderly person on a fixed income into your house, if you can afford warmth.) But what I noticed was how warm the arctic was.
It might seem like common sense that, if the cold air comes charging south from the Pole, some warm air must be sucked up behind it to replace it. I suppose you could say it is a “chicken-or-the-egg thing”, and argue that the warm air pushing north is what caused the cold air to come charging south. But, if you are going to use old sayings, you might as well say it is “six of one or a half dozen of another.” Cold air and warm air are what they are, and add up to the same total, no matter where they are placed.
However the placement of the cold air does make a difference in terms of our heating bills. A “zonal flow” keeps the cold air up at the Pole and keeps our heating bills low, whereas a “meridienal flow” allows arctic outbreaks (such as the above modeled temperatures illustrate), and high heating bills.
Heating bills, (and whether one can get fuel at all), matters to people. Arctic sea-ice does not. However it long had been the policy to attempt to scare the public with the prospect of an ice-free arctic, as if that was a bad thing. (I have argued it is not, but let’s skip that for now.) So let us scrutinize the arctic briefly and determine whether all the red on the above map is causing the Arctic Sea to have open water.
First, the DMI temperature map shows spikes, as the warm air comes north.
Remember that the freezing point of water is shown by the blue line on the above graph. (273.15 degrees Kelvin = 0 degrees Celsius). The peaks in the temperature spikes are at roughly -17 degrees Celsius, or zero Fahrenheit. You are not going to see much melting at such temperatures.
However, the above graph is a “mean” of all the high arctic, a sort of blend and average, and if you cherry pick you surely can find places where the warm air coming north was above freezing. So I conducted a search for articles emphasizing such cherry picked warmth. They are not as easy to find as they used to be, but here is one from the Associated Press:
To find counter cherry picking one once could go to the Ice Age Now site, which sadly is no more. However here is a counter from No Tricks Zone, which was reprinted on Watts Up With That:
So which is it? Is it very warm or very cold?
Well, it is the North Pole and close to the winter solstice. The sun don’t shine. So mostly it is cold. And incursions of warm air getting that far north don’t stay warm long. Look how swiftly the spikes in the DMI graph plunge back down to levels closer to “normal”. So where does the warmth go? It doesn’t melt any sea-ice. Largely it is lost to outer space. Not only is the warmth of the air lost, but further heat is lost as the southern moisture in that air goes through two phase changes, first to liquid and then to ice, and the potential energy (“latent heat”) in vapor is freed, and then lost.
I would argue this is a bad deal for the energy budget of the planet. We’d be better off if that heat stayed south and was retained here on earth. Instead it comes north and is lost to outer space, as the cold heads south and spreads snow further south than normal. This snow falls where there actually is sunshine, and nothing reflects sunshine back to outer space (“albedo”) quite as well as freshly fallen snow. So this is bad for the planet’s energy budget as well. And here is a graph from a prior post showing the snow-cover at record levels.
Lastly, when we check the DMI “extent” graph to see how low the sea-ice level is, we notice it is higher than other recent years.
Now, for the fun of it, let us return to the Associated Press article, and laugh at some of the language they used.
‘“The entire Arctic is hot except for small portions of the central and eastern Canadian Arctic and a very small portion of Siberia,” Thoman said from a warmer than normal Fairbanks.’
I love the use of the word “hot”. DMI says the mean temperature up there is -17 Celsius, (zero Fahrenheit) and the Associated Press uses the word “hot”.
‘Sea ice matters because in areas of the Arctic there’s no sun in the winter and the atmosphere is cold. But if there’s open water, that’s usually warmer than the atmosphere.
“Think of that as a heating pad and it’s just emitting heat into the atmosphere,” Thoman said.’
Open water? The Arctic Sea froze over a couple weeks ago, and now increases in the extent graph involve waters outside the Arctic. Hudson Bay is just completing its yearly flash freeze, and the Sea of Oshkosh is starting, and soon places as far south as the northern Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence will be included in the “extent” graph. But open water in the arctic? Did the Associated Press bother to look at the Naval Research Lab graph of the Arctic Sea’s ice-thickness?
I could go on, but I think my point has been made. The Associated Press is propaganda, which I think people are getting tired of. More and more roll their eyes. Furthermore, the unclear funding of such balderdash seems to be shifting away from arctic sea-ice, which no one really cares about (except oddballs like me), to other subjects which are the “front line” of current politics. The poor scientists who have been susceptible to a sort of bribery, and produced malarkey to gain grants, are seeing their funding dry up.
Some sort of problem is occurring far away, due to the fact the money used to bribe people is basically created out of thin air. Either it is printed with nothing to back it, by irresponsible governments, or it is virtual money on the internet, which is currently creating the fiasco called “The FTX crisis”. Money which people thought was so very important is simply vanishing into thin air. That is because it was created out of thin air.
I prefer Truth. When you study nature you are dealing with something solid. Meteorology is a study of thin air which is more solid than the money some slaver over and are bribed by.
I’m going to keep my sea-ice posts shorter than they used to be. Hopefully I’ll make them more frequent. The next I hope to write will be about the yearly Hudson Bay refreeze.