In some ways these are sad days for sea-ice Alarmists, despite the fact the melt-season is in high gear, and currently looks like it will be a good one (if you prefer a warmer climate.) The days are sad because sea-ice has lost its status as a vitally important issue, with the public’s focus shifted to pulling down statues. The topic of melting icebergs has been relegated to a back burner, where it simmers away, the ice melting much as it has melted for thousands of years, with interesting cycles but no massive earth-shaking changes.
The shift in public attitudes must also be alarming to sea-ice Alarmists because people no longer pretend to be scientific. There used to at least be a pretense that science was involved; one at least wore a white lab-coat to appear to be a scientist when speaking balderdash. Now wearing a white coat has itself become politically incorrect.
I could see this coming. To tear down statues is not all that different from altering the temperature records; one does not like the record of the past so one tears history up like Nancy Pelosi ripped up President Trump’s State Of The Union speech.
We old-timers have been aware of such shenanigans for decades, since James Hansen gave his speech about the dreadful future promised by Global Warming before congress back in 1988.
For a long time I thought this was a fair debate, involving differing interpretations of shared data. I was stunned when I first understood the data itself was being fudged, faked and falsified. This occurred when Steve McIntyre looked at James Hansen’s data and forced him to backtrack for a while. It occurred thirteen years ago, on August 8, 2007.
I was hugely scandalized that data should be “adjusted”, but, when I vented my displeasure, I experienced my first nasty backlash from those who virtue-signal more than they think. Now thirteen years have passed, and the situation has festered like a boil building to a head. We are currently experiencing a lot of pus coming out, and it is uncertain whether the patient will survive.
The entire “Black Lives Matter” balderdash likely has Martin Luther King rolling in his grave, for it most definitely does not involve men being measured by the quality of their character, but instead involves a superficiality even shallower than skin-color, called “virtue signalling”.
It involves bullying, and the way to stop a bully is to stand up to him. However many are in a state of shock and are (for the moment) cowed. People are attempting to placate the bully by backing off and genuflecting every virtue signal they can think of, which only encourages the bully and makes him more obnoxious.
Virtue signaling is about as superficial as you can get, involving things like the color of your hat. If I take off a blue hat and put on a red one it means little about what thoughts occur beneath my hat, but some make a big deal and threaten. The entire process of thinking and debating and sharing ideas has given way to a state of temporary insanity.
It is said that a mob goes mad as a group, and regains its sanity one by one. I am praying that this process has already begun.
One silver lining is that beyond the balderdash, far from the maddening crowd, the sea-ice scientists are being left alone. They must like doing their work without the scrutiny of the press being so pestering. The Polarstern plowed its way back to its original locale in the sea-ice in early June, and the scientists are now back to work in the non-stop sunlight and thaw of summer.
One thing I am fascinated by is their study of the ecosystem on the underside of the ice. The algae and krill are more lush than expected.
It might seem absurd to suggest that such festoons of algae could have anything to do with politics, and it is to be greatly hoped that the scientists on the ice escape all such absurdity, but I can look back fifteen years and recall receiving a tongue lashing for even suggesting such algae might exist.
The problem seems to be that the politically-correct assume they own an answer without ever bothering to examine the evidence, and at times arrive at conclusions even before any evidence exists to be examined. However I was a curious cat who had eyes and tended to see things that didn’t fit the narrative.
In the past it was felt that the Arctic Sea was like other seas, and life thrived along the edges where seaweed had rocks to grow on, but that the waters became relatively sterile as you moved out into the deeper places where there was less seaweed. Because seaweed was at the bottom of the food chain, without it creatures higher up on the food chain would become scarce as you moved away from shore. Therefore the politically correct view was that, as sea-ice shrank away from the shores, arctic cod, and especially seals that eat cod and polar bears that eat seals, and which rafted together on the sea-ice, would have less and less food. They would starve and it would be evil humanity’s fault for shrinking the sea-ice.
As I recall a discussion was occurring about “soot” on the sea-ice, back before Skeptic sites like “Climate Audit” or “Watts Up With That” or “Real Science” existed. I think Joseph D’Aleo’s “Icecap” site existed, and though John L. Daly had passed away his site was still up as a resource, but I tended to hang out at the uproarious Accuweather “Global Warming” site, which at that point hadn’t become the echo-chamber it later became. In any case, the debate back then was about whether the ash would accelerate the melting of sea-ice, and whether the ash was natural and due to volcanoes, or unnatural and due to coal-fired power plants. There were various links to pictures of “dirty ice”, and among the pictures was what looked like a berg flipped upside-down, with its underside fouled by algae like the bottom of a boat. Therefore I proposed a third reason for “dirty ice”, namely algae.
Yikes! The backlash was amazing. I had questioned the narrative, and got to see how the politically-correct behave when you fail to virtue-signal in a manner that supports their narrative.
Now fifteen years have passed and the idea of the sterile Central Arctic has been quietly discarded, for it turns out the Arctic Ocean is unique, because so much algae forms on the bottom of sea-ice that krill and cod can thrive even in the middle of the ocean. In fact a new theory was devised, stating less sea-ice would starve animals because there was less ice for algae to grow on. This theory became problematic because, first, the sea ice is close to shore in the spring and only gradually withdraws, and second, it has been discovered there are opportunistic open-water species of algae that thrive when the ice vanishes. These discoveries are on-going and fascinating, but fail to answer this question: Did the politically-correct ever apologize for being incorrect, and for bashing those who asked smart questions?
No. They always shift the goal posts when their “consensus” becomes too absurdly incorrect, but they never apologize to those they sneered at, even when it turns out the people who questioned had valid reasons to question. If anything, some of the politically-correct have gotten even worse, doubling down until they are frothing at the mouth and tearing down statues.
Hopefully such thrashings are the final spasms of a dying beast. Likely it is wisest to resist getting dragged down to their level and brawling, especially as some of us are getting too old for such fun. However it is not wise to back away from a bully. Instead confront them with the Truth they do not want to hear, quietly and kindly and with steadfast persistence.
One person who has been good at persisting is Susan Crockford at her “Polar Bear Science” site. She has been terribly smeared and bad-mouthed, but simply states the scientific numbers about polar bear populations increasing. Her summary of how the “consensus” is incorrect, and how it is downright hysterical at times, can be found here:
Part of the politically-correct narrative is to portray polar bears as thin and starving, helpless and meek. Susan calls pictures of emaciated elderly bears “polar bear porn”, explaining polar bears are at the top of the food chain, and starvation is a common form of death for ancient bears. However hungry, lean bears, filmed to tug on viewer’s heart-strings, sometimes fail to be properly meek and pitiful.
Another who has persistently stressed Truth, as opposed to “The Narrative”, is Tony Heller at Real Science. He is very good at pointing out the discrepancies between the raw data as it was actually collected, and the “adjusted data” which largely erases the blazing heat of the Dust Bowl years. Also he points out much conveniently-forgotten history regarding times of low sea-ice in the past. Recently he has focused on how the “consensus” is attempting to censor dissidents, (including himself.)
It is sad that so many are blinded by the politics, for an interesting summer is developing on the Arctic Sea. I was not surprised by the swift melt towards Eurasia, as much of its winter’s ice was blown to the Canadian Side. However I confess surprise at the melt north of Bering Strait, for the PDO seemed to be trending towards its “cold” phase during the winter. The abrupt reappearance of the “hot spot” south of Alaska caught me off guard. In any case both the “extent” and “volume” graphs are at record low levels for early July, which seldom means much by September, but should make Alarmists happy. It is what they should be focusing on, rather than toppling statues.
What will be interesting to now watch is whether the melt slows, for most of the unusually thin ice has melted, and now the melt is reaching the thicker, piled-up ice, which is always difficult to measure in terms of volume. I can’t recall ever seeing so little sea-ice in the Kara Sea at the same time so much remains in Barents Sea and around Svalbard. Usually the situation is reversed. Also, north of Fram Strait, the Polarstern and MOSAiC expedition is drifting west rather than south, which suggests that (for the moment) the sea-ice is staying up in the Arctic rather than being flushed south.
For a while there were some weak manifestations of “Ralph” (Anomalous Low Pressure) at the Pole, but now high pressure rules. The spring and early summer has been less stormy than usual, with lots of sunshine and with the typical light fogs that form when mild air touches snow. Temperatures all over the Pole are currently above freezing nearly everywhere, which is typical for July.
However these above-freezing temperatures have averaged just a hair below normal, which we can perhaps blame on the Quiet Sun.