ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Disingenuous Declines–(UPDATED)

I have been posting less about sea-ice because my main reason for posting was that I derived great pleasure from the cameras on buoys in the Arctic Sea. First and foremost, the views were beautiful. Secondly the views supplied a way of double-checking on the maps produced from satellite data, which often were simply incorrect. (For example, the maps might state the sea-water was three degrees above normal, when the cameras showed the water was choked with ice, and therefore had to be right at freezing.) Once the cameras went unfunded and the views vanished I found the topic far less enchanting.

In any case, after watching the sea-ice since the low-ice summer of 2007 it became obvious there was no “Death Spiral” occurring. The extent is basically the same, year after year, with slight variations. Due to the warm AMO and warm PDO, ice is at lower levels than when the AMO and PDO are cold, but there is no long-term “trend” towards less ice. In essence, watching sea-ice is about as exciting as watching moss grow on a rock. There is nothing wrong with such witnessing, if one can see the beauty of moss, but without the cameras I decided I could find better use for my eyes. I’d rather watch the pumpkins grow in my own garden.

For some time my old posts about sea-ice continued to gather “views”, (some have been viewed by several thousand people, numbers that uplifted their status on “search engines.”) Then such visits ceased. I discovered Google has “disappeared” me on its search-engine. I imagine Google in some manner recognized me as a “Skeptic” and “Global Warming Denier”. I now have a hard time finding my own website, using Google. While this does seem foolish, (as they are making a fine search-engine malfunction), it does not really discourage me. Writers have a craving for attention, and being “disappeared” makes me feel recognized. Also it makes me want to write about sea-ice, when, if they hadn’t tried to silence me, I would have moved on from writing about sea-ice to writing poetry about pumpkins.

I continue to scan the DMI charts and graphs, and to glance over the arctic weather using Weatherbell maps. I just don’t devote time to jotting down observations. There have been no drastic changes this summer, but a few things do interest me.

One thing of interest was a push of sea-ice south towards the Atlantic. In 2007 such flushing of sea-ice south through Fram Strait led to low sea-ice-extent totals. However what I noted this year was ice crushed up against the shores of Svalbard, not merely on the cold east coast but at times even on the west coast, often kept open even in the winter by a northern tendril of the Gulf Stream.

In fact there was more sea-ice this June around Svalbard than in 1596. How do I know this? Because I love history and know Willem Barentsz discovered Svalbard in June, 1596, and that he saw less ice in the same waters.

This sort of trivia does make it hard to get excited about any sort of “Death Spiral”. Of course you will never see a headline, “More Arctic Ice Than 400 Years Ago”, because that doesn’t fit the “narrative”.

There is something so disingenuous about the media’s coverage that it is increasingly becoming just plain silly. It also seems increasingly useless to attempt to have a sane conversation. If you bring up a perfectly true and interesting bit of trivia about the three amazing voyages of Willem Barentsz some people get bug-eyed and purple-faced. You can’t tell them to calm down, for the words “calm down” always seem to have a completely opposite effect.

In any case, if they knew what they were talking about, they would point out a lot of sea-ice around Svalbard may indicated the sea-ice is being flushed south to melt in the Atlantic, and could lead to a low extent like in 2007. Unfortunately they seldom know what they are talking about.

A perfect example was the recent fuss about the “heat wave” in Greenland. Yes, more melted than most years, but the prior two years were cold and stormy and far less melted. But the “narrative” is to beat the drum about melting ice-caps and rising seas, so big numbers were thrown about, such as “11 billion tons melted in a single day” and “217 billion tons melted in July”. These numbers are tossed about without any reference to increases the prior two years, nor any attempt to compare the numbers to the total bulk of Greenland’s huge icecap. They fail to mention that, at that rate, it would take 25,000 years to melt the entire icecap. They also fail to mention there was greater melting the last warm summer, in 2011. Instead they attempt to generate brainless hysteria about “the worst ever.”

image

Delingpole uses sarcasm to attempt to defuse the panic, and does a fairly good job here:

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/08/04/delingpole-greenland-ice-melt-shock-the-terrifying-truth/

In any case, there was a big hubbub about the shores of Svalbard being ice-free a few years back, for people feared Polar Bears would have no place to raise cubs, but now that subject has been dropped. The ice is back. But now the winds have shifted to the south, and the ice may be blown north, and the hubbub may reoccur. I am expecting it any day, for the “wrong way” winds in  Fram Strait have shifted the sea-ice away from the north coast of Greenland. It is (I think) the third time this has happened in two years. (Twice in the summers and once in February.) I expect hoopla about how Polar Bears will drown without ice, although Susan Crockford at “Polar Bear Science” gently pointed out, during the last hoop-la, that Polar Bears are rare along the north coast of Greenland, because they need open water, and open water is too uncommon up there for them to rely on.

Here again study of history is helpful. In 1817 a whaling ship apparently circumnavigated Greenland after a huge amount of sea-ice was flushed through Fram Strait, leaving the Arctic Sea amazingly open. More recently, the original 1950 U.S. military studies (regarding the creation of a base at St. Nord on the northeast tip of Greenland) mention St. Nord likely could only be supplied by sea once every five years. In other words, open water was uncommon, but certainly not unheard of. However such history does not fit the “narrative”, so the press has to be silly, and hysterical, and disingenuous.

In fact, if you are rooting for a decline in sea-ice, you want the ice pouring south through Fram Strait. “Wrong way” flows keep the ice in the arctic and increase the volume. You want the sea-ice crashing into northern Greenland and then being swept into Fram Strait, following the route of O-buoy 9:

http://obuoy.datatransport.org/monitor#buoy9/movie

Temperatures this summer have been a little below normal at the Pole, north of 80º latitude.

DMI 190807 meanT_2019

I personally feel the slightly-lower-than-normal temperatures we’ve seen at the Pole during recent years is caused by the “Quiet Sun”, but Joe Bastardi, who I greatly respect, suggested it may simply be caused by melting ice “sucking up heat”. I wonder. While it is true the phase-change from solid to liquid does result in available heat becoming latent heat, melting occurs ever summer at the Pole. Any who have ventured on the ice in the summer, back through history, have commented on the slush and melt-water pools. But Bastardi may have a point about this summer, because this summer was especially sunny at the Pole. High pressure has dominated, and only in the past few days have I seen anything approaching a “Ralph”. (Anomalous low pressure at the Pole.) I keep an eye on such lows, because in August they can become gales (I think due to the building contrast between summer warmth and autumnal cold) and in 2012 a gale resulted in record low sea-ice extent.

DMI 190807mslp_latest.big

Even though there is a weak “Ralph” at the Pole, you can still see the high pressure extending from Greenland to Alaska. I have already mentioned the melting on Greenland, but Alaska has seen drought and some big forest fires. Meanwhile low pressure systems, rather than hooking up to the Pole as a “Ralph”, have tended to progress east along the coast of Siberia. The current low over west Siberia is drawing south chronic cold to the Moscow area (not mentioned by the media) and the low over central Siberia is drawing summer heat north on its east side, (likely to be soon mentioned by the media.) During the past weeks I noticed two things about these Siberian coastal lows.

First, they often involved below-freezing temperatures, even as the Pole baked in sunshine. Often these temperatures occurred south of 80º north, and so were not included in the above graph. (I likely should have saved those isotherm maps, but my pumpkins required weeding.) The current map has a hint of what I’m talking about:

DMI 190807 temp_latest.big

 

(I should note that in early July there are almost no below freezing temperatures on isotherm maps, yet we are now already seeing the advance of autumn on the ice. (I’ve been told by men who worked up there that even in early August one starts to see a skim of ice on the water pail in the morning.) Explorers and adventures up there all seem intoxicated by the heady warmth of July, and then get suddenly serious in August.

In the above map the below-freezing pockets of temperature, seen extending from Fram Strait east to East Siberia, have been seen before, though earlier this neckless was more displaced south of 80º. The below-freezing temperatures in Beaufort Sea, however, are new. The chill is building, and from now on most of the melt of sea-ice will come from the sea below, and not the air above. The sun is sinking lower, and has less power, even when it is up 24 hours a day.

The second thing I noticed about the low-pressure-systems moving along the Siberian Coast was that they often were offshore, which resulted in west winds to the south of them along the coasts. This at times shifted the sea-ice east, which is a “wrong way” flow, as the Beaufort Gyre ordinarily pushes ice west. This likely has resulted in a pile-up of sea-ice in the East Siberian Sea, perhaps like the situation that sunk the Jeannette in the same area in June, 1881.

In other words, there are two areas of “wrong way” flow and “piled up sea-ice”, one north of Greenland and one in the East Siberian Sea. My guess is that these areas will be difficult to melt, and may result in a flattening of the decline of the “extent” graph, such as we saw last year. I don’t expect a new record low, despite hoopla in certain circles about some days recently where we have been “Lower than 2012” on the extent graph. (Remember, 2012 involved a big storm in August.)

DMI 190807 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

I could go on, but my pumpkins are calling. I just posted this to annoy certain people at Google.

*******

UPDATE:

I came across an interesting article about a glacier down towards the southeast tip of Greenland called the Jakobshavn Glacier. This huge glacier, which dumps enormous amounts of ice into Disco Bay, was long a sort of Poster Child for Global Warming, for it had experienced substantial retreat. Then in 2016 it disgraced itself, and has been banned from the news ever since. Its sin was to advance. Some attempts were made to explain the advance as being due to “warming” speeding up the already speedy glacier, whereupon the leading edge of the contrary ice screeched to a halt, but continued to thicken. This thickening has continued for three years. and, because the glacier is enormous, the thickening is also enormous, and amounts to an increase roughly matching that of a thirty-story-tall building.  Yikes.

What was particularly interesting to me was that the thickening seemed to have little to due with air temperatures, but rather was due to the temperature of the waters of Disco Bay that the ice rode out over. The Bay was a little colder, and little less effective at melting the bottom of the glacier, and the result was the glacier got thirty stories thicker.

I think this observation can be extrapolated out to include sea-ice in general. I feel there is too much emphasis on sunshine and albedo and air-temperatures, and not enough on the water under the ice. I strongly suspect that, as our knowledge increases, we will learn of oscillations in currents, perhaps as measurable as El Ninos and La Ninas, that play a predominate role in whether ice increases or diminishes. It certainly seems to me, looking back at the history of explorers, whalers, sealers, and fishermen in the arctic, that the ice goes through year to year changes too dramatic to be explained from above. As nine tenths of an iceberg is underwater, the real drama happens out of sight.

I also found it quite refreshing that the NASA scientists involved dared even mention that the waters of Disco Bay were colder. Anything anywhere getting colder does not support the “narrative”, and perhaps the NASA scientists paid the price and were “disappeared” from Google. Yet I entertain a slim hope that the so-called “swamp” is being drained, and some good fellows at NASA are getting back to the business of honest science. In any case the post is here:

https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/145185/major-greenland-glacier-is-growing

UPDATE 2:

It is interesting how the weak “Ralph” at the Pole has created the first below-freezing temperatures of the late summer, at the Pole.

This morning Ralph hadn’t yet had this chilling effect. The only below-freezing temperatures were a necklace arrayed around Ralph’s periphery.

 

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Grasshoppers

(Note: This is largely Part Three of my “Weeder Wars” post, which I like and think can stand alone, and may try to publish elsewhere.)

The original farmers of the United States were different from modern “agribusiness”, in that they were not in the business of farming to get rich, as much as they were in it for a quite different reason, (basically to live free, and raise a family, which involved raising the crops that would feed that family).

Farming was way of life, a deed men did without thinking deeply about why they did it, just as we get dressed in the morning without thinking deeply about why we wear clothes. What’s more, they didn’t have the time to think about it. Physically they worked more than twice as hard as we do. This is shown by the fact they ingested more than 4000 calories a day and didn’t get fat, while some us can get fat on less than 2000. In many ways they were a very different people.

It is hard for modern psyches to grasp the fact more than half of all Americans could feed (often large) families without working for any boss other than themselves. Not only did they feed themselves, but they also were forced to be artisans: They spun wool and cured leather and clothed themselves, built their own cabins and made their own furniture and sheltered themselves, burned tallow candles for light and burned wood for heat, and had absolutely no need for government welfare or food stamps. They were the “Yeoman Farmer” Thomas Jefferson admired and called crucial to democracy, and were the “Kulak” Stalin despised, and sought to “purge” from Russia, even if millions starved in the process.

Because I in some ways see myself as a “Kulak”, I can’t help but notice that nothing irks a Socialist more than an individual who is self-reliant, for he is proof we do not need bureaucrats (who make a living off telling us how to live our lives). In many cases independence on my part threatens a bureaucrat’s very livelihood. For example, if you are a social worker, and families are self-reliant and happy, of what use are you? In such a case it is the social worker who needs food-stamps and welfare, and not the people he or she imagines is dependent on him or her.

Not that the original American farmers had an easy life. I could go on in great detail about centuries of conflicts between an immigrant people who could feed a family with 60 acres (New England) or 250 acres (Prairie States) and a native people who wanted to feed their families utilizing 100,000 or 1,000,000 acres. But let me simplify matters by mentioning conflicts between farmers and a grasshopper called Melanoplus spretus.

Melanoplus spretus was North America’s locust. A locust is a grasshopper which can undergo a Jekyll-Hyde transformation. For years, even decades, it can hop around like an innocent grasshopper, but some sort of trigger can cause it to amazingly change, whereupon it looks physically different and it reproduces differently as well. The innocent grasshopper becomes a voracious swarm, darkening the sky and not only eating all your crops, but the wool off the backs of your sheep, and even the leather of your shoes. Although Melanoplus spretus lived in the Rocky Mountains, when triggered by drought or over-population into its locust form, huge swarms traveled east all the way to the farms in my homeland of New England.

It is difficult to imagine how gigantic and devastating these swarms were. The largest could cover an area the size of California and number over ten trillion insects. In a matter of hours, months of a farmer’s hard work vanished. Using a boxing analogy, it was as if, in the tenth round, one’s opponent abruptly morphed into King Kong. And then?

Then farmers fought like hell, as if their lives depended on it, because their lives did. The tales of how they fought back are amazing, but the fighting seemed basically useless. Worst was the fact that, at the end of the summer, these huge swarms would hunker down and lay trillions upon trillions of eggs.

This was hugely depressing to farming families. As the locusts ate everything above ground, farmers knew they might eek by on the incompletely-formed crops that grew below ground: Undersized potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, onions, sweet potatoes and rutabagas might help a family struggle through a hungry winter, but the following spring they would not be able to even plant such root crops, for the soil was infested with locust eggs, and they’d hatch in the spring and eat the first sprouts of every crop you planted. Then, when they had eaten everything in sight, the swarm would arise en-mass and head east, always east. Melanoplus spretus never returned home to the west with trophies of conquest, but continued east until the Atlantic Ocean proved an absolute end to a swarm, and fishes got fat.

It is difficult to see what ecological advantage Melanoplus spretus derived from these banzai charges to the east. As they left the arid west they increasingly moved into lands they were not suited for. Early Mormon history speaks of farmers falling to their knees in prayer when a swarm threatened their crops, and how their prayers were answered by a huge flock of voracious gulls, (which apparently followed the leading edge of the swarm all the way up from the Gulf of Mexico to Utah.)  Also, even when Melanoplus spretus laid trillions of eggs, a very wet spring with standing puddles in the fields could kill every egg. Therefore, not every swarm made it to the Atlantic. No colony was ever established in the east, and the swarming seems a sort of extravagant waste, on the part of Mother Nature.

Melanoplus spretus was but one form of ruin faced by the early American homesteaders. They also faced droughts, floods, hail, and the simple fact their eastern farming-practices were not suited for the naturally-arid western lands. They faced stampedes of buffalo, and the arrows of a native population who did not much like squatters who killed their buffalo.

Lastly, they faced misinformation from callous people who sought to financially gain from the mass migration of millions of basically ignorant farmers. These dishonest people included those investing in railways and farm equipment, and the banking institutions that financed such endeavors. What such profiteers tended to do was make farming look like an idyll, and to fail to mention it is a war. The advertisements in the eastern newspapers of that time look comical, in the way they describe a paradise out west.

One concept that seems strangely modern was the idea of Climate Change. What homesteaders imagined would change their arid 250-acres was not virtue-signaling by buying curly candles or riding electric horses, (or throwing a virgin into a volcano), but rather was through their sweat, as they busted the thick sod, and also planted an acre of trees on their 250-acre-farm. The “climate scientists” of that time, with pompous authority, stated “farming brought rain”, and the naiver farmers believed them, and planted the required acre of trees in an arid landscape. Optimism abounded during the wet years, but then the climate did what it always does, and there came drought and ruin and, with the dryness, Melanoplus spretus.

It is easy for us to look back and smugly criticize, for the farmers made many mistakes. (Remember many were gutsy fathers fleeing sweat-shop factories in cities, seeking a better life for their children, and some had little experience of farming outside of what they read in pamphlets.) Before we are too scornful of them, we should understand that someday people will look back at us, and smugly criticize us for all the dunderhead things we do in the name of “Climate Change.” But what amazes me is how the farmers fought, against daunting odds, and how they became an unrecognized and vital (and very necessary) “part of a process”, which did profoundly change the world, in a way we all benefit greatly from.

It is easy to criticize the changes as being ruinous to the ecology of the prairie, and to the indigenous people dependent on that ecology. The slaughter of the buffalo was appalling, and the fury of the Sioux understandable, but that is because we can sit in ivory towers, blessed by our ability to indulge in a leisurely appraisal. We forget the people of that time were within the fog of war. Even the Sioux were a culture going through radical changes, for they had formerly hunted buffalo on foot, but now were an amazing, new people on horseback.

To the farmers in the fog of war there was little time for leisurely appraisal, for they had children to feed, and often the situation was desperate enough in a mere drought, even before Melanoplus spretus appeared. When the trillions of grasshoppers then descended the way farmers fought insects, back before pesticides, is both laughable and courageous. They built fires and created thick clouds of smoke, and hammered together gadgets that knocked flying grasshoppers into trays of kerosene, which they pulled through their stripped fields with their horses. To kill the grasshopper’s eggs, they would churn the soil with plows, even plowing soil they had no intention to plant.

When they turned to the government for help, moronic politicians wrote a law that punished farmers with a fine, if they didn’t devote two days a year to killing grasshoppers. (I wonder who spied on the farmers, and who dared collect the fines.) The government also offered a bounty for every bushel (35 liters) of dead grasshoppers the farmers turned in. In March, when the baby grasshoppers were small, a farmer might make a dollar a bushel, but by June, when the grasshoppers got big and fat, the bounty shrank to a dime. But even a slender, silver dime was better than zero, when you had a family to feed. To feed their families desperate farmers fished for the smallest hornpout, and hunted rat-like prairie dogs, and even fried the grasshoppers themselves.

The most effective help came from fellow farmers, via churches. Farmers in areas outside the reach of a swarm sent food and fodder to those afflicted. Often the favor was returned in only a few years. When the climate swung from dry to wet the grasshoppers vanished, and the empty fields abruptly held bumper crops even as farmers to the east suffered floods, and then the farmers who had been helped became the generous helpers.

One way or another the farmers got by. It is easy to scorn and sneer at them, for they knew little about soil erosion, or that, by busting the sod, they were creating the loose soil that would blow as enormous clouds in the Dust Bowl. During the Dust Bowl over a million farmers lost everything and became refugees, and we can now sit back in our ivory towers and say “tsk tsk” about their ignorance, but perhaps we display a certain ignorance by forgetting that much we know about soil erosion came through mistakes they made. They were the ones actually learning from their mistakes, and actually suffering in the fog of war.

Some of the things they learned had benefits of a magnitude they likely could never imagine. For example, when dealing with Melanoplus spretus some farmers hit upon the idea of planting crops that matured in the spring, when the grasshoppers hadn’t hatched or were still small. Refugees from Russia then remembered stuff they planted in the late summer in Siberia they could harvest the next spring, called “winter wheat”. It would form a turf in the late fall, and in the spring swiftly send up fruiting shoots. Tiny, baby grasshopper might stunt this fruition, but they couldn’t stop it. This Kulak idea took off, spreading from farmer to farmer until, even when the grasshoppers were around and the crop was lessened, enough was salvaged so that people had, at least, a little bread.

Environmentalists and Sociologists without callused palms, who often can’t even mow their own lawns, do like to repeat “tsk tsk” about the mistakes made by those farmers. The buffalo very nearly did become extinct, but through the Grace of God and the alertness of early environmentalists, they were saved. The Sioux nearly became extinct as a people, but through the Grace of God and their own innate toughness, they survived. Thick prairie sod nearly became extinct, and only remains in scattered parks.  A type of grouse farmers called “the prairie chicken” did become extinct, which was sad even for farmers, who liked to hunt and eat them, but that extinction is now is used as a reason to condescend, “tsk tsk”. Yet I almost never hear ecologists mention another extinction.

As the year 1900 approached there was a drought, and farmers anxiously looked west for the skies darkening with Melanoplus spretus, but the grasshoppers didn’t come. Farmers were too busy with drought and hail and bankers to pay much heed to this good fortune, but up in the mountain valleys a few looked around, and could see no Melanoplus spretus. Perhaps due to cattle being driven up mountain river floodplains and changing the habitat, the grasshoppers had not merely become scarce. They vanished from the face of the earth. The last one was seen in Canada in 1902.

The extinction of Melanoplus spretus likely contributed to a new and unexpected disaster that hit those struggling farmers, which was the phenomenon of bumper crops. So much wheat was produced that, due to the economic principle of “supply and demand”, the price of wheat fell so low that farmers couldn’t make any money selling it. Of course, even with prices at rock bottom, some profiteering people got rich. (Don’t get me started on the moral decrepitude of such people. They like to claim they “fulfill a need”, but whores “fulfill a need”, and it doesn’t make them one bit moral.) In any case, railways stood to make money by holding a monopoly on the shipments of grain, and commodity markets made money even as prices crashed, and sellers of farming equipment made money repossessing equipment, and bankers made money repossessing farms. At times it seemed the only ones who didn’t get fat off the bumper crop was the farmers who actually created the plenty.

 

The farmer is the man.
The farmer is the man;
Lives off his credit ‘til the fall,
Then they take him by the hand
And they lead him from the land
And the banker is the one who gets it all,
Yet the farmer is the man.
The farmer is the man.
Some people disagree
But it’s obvious to me
That the farmer is the one who feeds us all.

        (Song from “Farm Aid” concert, circa 1976)

Farmers are the salt of the earth, for without them we all starve, but as a rule they barely subsist, in materialistic terms. On the great American plains they came and went like dust in the wind. (And I am not talking about a few, but rather millions of families.)

One reason Abraham Lincoln was elected (with less than 40% of the popular vote) was because he offered poor people “free land” via the “Homestead Act”. This act offered any man, from any slum or eastern, hardscrabble farm, 250 acres out west, for not a penny down. All a man needed to do was head west, make his claim for a particular plot, and live there for five years. A no-brainer, right? Millions of families with little to lose ripped up what roots they had and headed west to lay claim to 250 acres for free.

We can still look at the records kept by those long-ago bureaucrats, and one appalling thing is that roughly half of the families couldn’t even fulfill the stipulation that they live on the land for five years. Therefore, right off the bat, we have over a million families defeated by the fog of farming’s war. What became of all those families?

Continue on through farming history, through disaster after disaster, to the Dust Bowl, when more than a million more farming families were driven from the land. The 250-acre-farm largely became a thing of the past, and entire communities basically became ghost towns. And one wonders, “Who in their right mind would ever want to be a farmer?”

What this fails to measure is intangible to Socialists, (and also many Capitalists), who measure all in terms of status and money.

Millions of American families came to the prairies, and millions left, and almost none saw a long-term material profit, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some farmers were so amazingly tough that not even the Dust Bowl’s temperatures of over 110 degrees Fahrenheit could defeat them. These survivors were heroes.

Back in my drifting days I had the good fortune to be befriended by a retired farmer from Garden City, Kansas, who liked to sip beers and become garrulous, and regale me with tales of how his family survived the Dust Bowl.

His father was a Polish refugee who was too smart to ever enter an agreement that would allow a bank to take his farm, or to ever buy equipment on an installment plan that would allow his equipment to be repossessed. Perhaps he didn’t modernize as swiftly as other farmers, but he completely avoided debt. Even when he experienced complete crop failure, he didn’t owe anyone anything.

The gruff father’s practicality is perhaps best shown by the fact that, when he became aware he had contracted tuberculosis and likely would soon die, he moved to a barn so his children would not be exposed to the bacteria. However he was too ornery to die, and from the barn he commanded his family with the discipline of Captain Bligh. Between dust and tuberculosis, he could barely breathe, but neither man nor beast wanted to see him emerge from the barn in a rage, for he was ruthless with his whip. Modern “animal rights” people would likely sue him, and he’d also likely be in jail for “child abuse” for how tough he was on his many sons, but he got his family through the Dust Bowl, to the blessed day the rains returned. (My farmer-friend told me that, because the heat and drought had been so chronic in the 1930’s, his childhood created the impression that Dust Bowl conditions were simply were how the world always was, and that, when the rains returned, it then seemed downright bizarre to look around in the spring and see all the Kansas fields be green.)

When the rains returned their farm, which had somehow managed to survive without an income, suddenly had an income. At this point the father seemed to feel he had won his private war, and passed away, but his strapping sons were not happy, having an income. As best as I can tell, life was too easy. After a decade fighting for survival, bumper crops were like a life without battlefields for a Viking, or life without football for a linebacker. After Pearl Harbor all the brothers rushed off to fight Japan and Germany. Only one son, my friend, remained to run the farm with his mother, because he was too young to enlist, and also because the American government basically ordered him to stay.

My friend was a bit ashamed that he, the “baby”, stayed at home and didn’t fight Hitler, but I pointed out someone had to “feed the fighters”. I said he was the “hero” who fed the “war effort”, both the soldiers overseas and the workers toiling in munitions-factories at home, but my flattery fell flat. He said he was uncomfortable because he had made enormous profits during the war. He could handle poverty, and even derive joy from such a rugged life, but wealth made him strangely miserable.

Something about this tough farmer’s attitude seems utterly beyond the capacity of most socialists, (and also many capitalists), to comprehend. They cannot conceive of people who are not enthralled by money and status, and who live for something else.

When I asked him what he did with all his money, he laughed. He said that when the rains returned, and Kansas farmers got rich, they traded-in their beat up, old Model-A Fords and drove Cadillacs. Then, when the ground was frozen in the winter, they would go roaring across the wheat fields around Garden City in their fancy cars. Sometimes they’d tie the hood of an old truck to a long rope, upside down, as a sort of sled they pulled behind their Cadillacs, and would drag bunches of gleeful children behind them. When I asked the old wheat-farmer if any children got hurt, he shook his head, and stated the experience educated children about the importance of holding on for dear life.

When I asked if farmers did economically sensible things, such as reinvest their profits, he looked bored, and said “Yes”. So many farmers had lost their farms in the Dust Bowl that there were lots of 250-acre-farms to buy dirt cheap, especially if they abutted your farm, but such successful expansion seemed to bore him. He could fluently discuss a mini-Dust-Bowl drought in the 1950’s, and high prices during the Korean War, but he always seemed ready to yawn as I pestered him with such pragmatic questions.

Instead what seemed to really animate him was the subject of his children. When I asked if any of his children became farmers, he sat forward and eagerly told me they were too smart to become farmers, and then began to tick off the colleges they had attended, proudly stating how much smarter they were than he was. After college they all had gone on to prestigious corporations and big businesses he could brag about. It seemed all had become very successful, but to me it seemed his children’s success was due to the “character” inherited from the farming life, even among children who desired to leave farming far behind. Yet I confess that, when I first looked at the old farmer, I didn’t suspect there was any iron under the rust; he appeared to be just an old Yahoo; one might suspect he was a character without suspecting he had any.

I eventually gave this old farmer credit for “defeating Hitler”, even though he stayed “home with his Mommy”. You can’t judge a book by its cover.

It also seems to me that the millions of farmers from families who lost their farms in the Dust Bowl (or earlier) also deserve a degree of deference.

Why? Because even as they became homeless, they saved millions in Africa, Asia and Europe. They were “part of a process” that turned an obscure Siberian wheat into a huge American surplus, shipped far and wide in fifty- or hundred-pound sacks, labeled “USA”, often for free as “foreign aid”. As much as ecologists gripe about the diminished ecosystem of the buffalo, there are many people alive in Africa, Asia and Europe who might never have been born, had not American “winter wheat” arrived in time to prevent their grandparents from dying of famine.

When I speak of being “part of a process” I should stress this process is largely unforeseen, and almost never part of a Socialistic “five-year-plan”. When politicians debated the Homestead Act in 1859, winter wheat was not mentioned, and no one stated a consequence of the Act would be that devastated parts of Europe would receive food ninety years later.

Indeed, when I speak of being “part of a process” I am trespassing into mystic territory, involving beliefs such as “Manifest Destiny”. Basically, I am stating small people, merely struggling to “get by”, and perhaps only successfully holding a homestead for a few generations, have a huge effect, greater than that of governments. This may be why Stalin was so determined to eradicate the Kulak. He intuitively saw the Kulak represented power, though they themselves felt small.

Hopefully a few Sioux see that the flood of American settlers onto the Great Plains, as a crazy, pale-faced people who basically wrecked the Sioux’s ecosystem and way of life, and then largely vanished over the horizon, was “part of a process”. The suffering of the Sioux is at least in part made bearable because millions in Asia, Africa, and Europe were benefited. (It is also made bearable because, in some areas, where the Sioux once became a minority, they now have regained the majority, because they persisted as the farmers fled).

But what did the farmers themselves get out of their struggle?

“Character”.  A wonderful classiness, immeasurable by those who seek mere money and status and who are consequently not much different from old-fashioned Hindu enslaved by their ancient caste-system, where some are deemed “Brahman” and some “Untouchable”.

Socialists often fall prey to such typecasting, and can be as enslaved to class as the most ardent royalist, though Socialists usually seek to make the royal (and the successful) the “bad guy”, who unjustly “oppresses the poor”. Socialists see the solution to such injustice as being to crush the upper class (the “bourgeoisie”) and the middle class (the “petite bourgeois”) (and this includes Yeoman farmers), and to make the poor (the “proletariat”) a sort of new upper class. Yet such socialists only perpetuate the caste-system, though they howl they oppose it. They resemble a person opposed to promiscuous sex, who cannot get his mind off the topic. They cannot escape the trap of dividing people into categories, nor grasp the liberating concept of, “All Men Are Created Equal”.

One of the best tales about the tough times the farming families endured is John Steinbeck’s “Grapes Of Wrath”, which I was required to read in school in 1968. I particularly remember Steinbeck’s amazing, vicious description of the man buying broke farmer’s cars, profiteering from their misfortune. The description was so brilliantly effective that it caused me to become hugely bigoted towards used-car-salesmen for decades, (until I actually befriended one). But Steinbeck ends his tale failing to mention what happened next. He leaves one with the sense that the poor Dust Bowl “Okies” were forever ruined.

Indeed they did suffer a nasty downfall, from a people with middle-class houses and 250 acre farms and state-of-the-art tractors and other farm equipment, to being homeless migrant farm-workers, picking grapes, (before Mexicans with green-cards picked the grapes), and living in rented tar-paper shacks. But that was not the end, because, though disdained and belittled as “Okies”, they were people with “character”, who raised fine children and grandchildren who changed the world in a way absolutely nobody saw coming. Their children and grandchildren now make far more money than they could ever have made, back on the farm, working on things called “computers” in a place called “Silicon Valley”. Steinbeck never foresaw this, and instead seemed prone towards Socialist solutions. Yet what raised the ruined farmers called “Okies” to plush suites in Silicon Valley was not socialist food-stamps, but rather was “character”.

This “character” seems to be a thing that can be lost, if you become too divorced from the farming life that brought it about in the first place. It does not seem to matter if you are rich or poor. It happens to the rich grandchildren of Okies in Silicon Valley, and to the impoverished grandchildren of sharecroppers in America’s inner cities. Once this difficult-to-define “character” is lost, then even a beautiful, golden state like California, richest in the nation with the best educational system, can crash in flames to one of the poorest and most ill-educated, with an entire new group of “Okies” homeless on its streets.

Certain kind people take pity on children in slums, and their charity allows such youths to spend a summer on a rural farm. The host-farm is usually not an agribusiness, but a more old-fashioned farm. I have even read of inner-city youth being sent to Indian Reservations in the Pacific Northwest, where they learned to harvest salmon from rivers and abalone from the sea. In nearly all such cases the children are permanently, positively changed.

Not that they change in the manner some desire: They don’t abruptly wear suits and attend church, if Christians sponsored their escape from slums, and in fact they may go right back to the gangs and drugs they briefly escaped, but they are different; they are changed; they own the odd thing called “character”. People who study such things have discovered, through “follow-up-studies”, that more than a decade later many of the now-mature recipients of such experiences still claim a brief vacation on a farm was “the most influential experience of their life.” But what was the influence?

As the owner of a back-to-nature Farm-Childcare I am into my eleventh year of dealing with clueless children. Not that such children, even at age three, are not far smarter than I am, when it comes to the subject of how to operate a computer or a cellphone. However, they haven’t a clue where food comes from. They are amazed (and delighted) to learn carrots and potatoes come from “dirty dirt”. They are amazed (and delighted) to discover eggs come from a chicken’s “stinky butt”. Sometimes, to the horror of their parents (and requiring amazing diplomacy on the part of my wife), these children are delighted (and amazed) to see that meat involves “killing”.

Although parents are vaguely troubled by a political-incorrectness inherent in “dirty dirt” and “stinky butts” and “killing”, in the end the parents thank me. Why? Because they have seen an undeniable blossoming in their child. But I try to tell them I am not the cause. I did not invent the fact carrots come from “dirty dirt”. I did not invent the fact that eggs come from a “stinky butt”. I did not invent the fact all meat comes from “killing”. I am not the Creator; I am just showing what He has already done.

I did not create the pines, and I did not create the wind, but when I take a frenetic kid out and he gets dreamy and far calmer, looking up and listening to the wind in the pines, parents treat me like I changed the child. It actually was something far greater than I. All I do is show children what already is.

But it is not merely the children in slums, and the children of overworked parents who use a computer for a babysitter, who stand to gain from being reintroduced to the farm and the outdoors. It is also the grandchildren of Okies who work in Silicon Valley. They are as deprived as the ghetto-abiding grandchildren of sharecroppers who have never plowed or planted, and who see only asphalt. (The difference may be that, rather than only asphalt, they see only computers.) But, sadly, the deprived of Silicon Valley are blind to their deprivation, and sometimes scorn the heartland’s earthy citizens as “Deplorables.”

Many in Silicon Valley embrace socialism, some with the fervor of Mao’s “Red Guard”. They have either forgotten, or never studied, their own Socialist history.

When Mao felt the Red Guard had outlived their usefulness, what did he do with their youthful zeal? He had the army round them up and shipped them off to rural areas to be “reeducated.” (In essence the result of Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” was that China became a police state.) There is a delicious irony in the way Mao then praised the benefits of “life on the farm”, though he disliked the Yeoman Farmer as much as Stalin did, and strove to replace the self-reliant farmers and artisans, whom Jefferson admired, with the “collective”.

Sometimes I like to play the devil’s advocate, and to ask how my Farm-Childcare is any different from a Gulag. Am I not snatching children from the video games they desire? Initially many children loudly express their dislike of the outdoors, and announce an unwillingness to walk even fifty yards. Am I not a sort of brutal Mao to urge them onward, and isn’t my “reeducating” a sort of brainwashing? I can only answer that the children seem to quickly adapt, and that they wear smiles, and sometimes they don’t even want to go home, which isn’t observed too often in Gulags.

When I think more deeply, I enter debatable territory, but will throw a few ideas out to be mulled over. One idea is that I allow far more freedom than a Gulag, and in fact freedom is at the root of what I attempt. While children seem made nervous by a complete lack of boundaries, they like freedom within certain limits; IE: They don’t want to be left alone to meet a bear or coyote in the woods, but they like being left alone to build their own forts.

Children like having a rough idea of the rules under which a sport is played, but also like having the freedom to spend half their time arguing about the rules (which is how I played baseball as a boy.) Rather than “organized” sports, my Childcare has “disorganized” sports. While I do oversee the sports, to prevent bloodshed, I try to stand back as I oversee freedom. And, as I stand back and watch, it seems to me that one important quality of freedom is that it involves experiencing and playing-with limits and limitations.

It is quite fascinating to watch children play with limits and limitations, (even when the limit they are testing and playing-with is me.) Sometimes, for example when building a fort, they are dealing with a physical limitation and are young engineers, attempting a Tower of Babel, and then bursting into tears when it falls down and they are confronted with “Murphy’s Law”. Other times they are dealing with social limitations, for example when determining the ownership of a particular stick which looks perfectly ordinary to me, and certainly not worth arguing about. Sometimes they ask for help and sometimes they want to “do it themselves”, but always they are “part of a process”, involving a subject and an object.

As I stand back and watch I notice a difference between the children who “get along” and those who “don’t get along”. It seems to involve the difference between a willingness to be “part of a process”, and a craving to “control the process”, and this often seems to involve whether the child’s faith has been nourished or shattered. (Unfortunately, we have a severe drug-problem in New Hampshire, and some small children have witnessed parents become unconscious or even die, and these unfortunate tykes are raised by grandparents who send them to my Childcare.)

Of course as soon as I broach the topic of “faith” I risk provoking broadsides from both Atheists and Believers, but I must say that a child who has had their faith nourished tends to be cheerful and to trust others, while a child who has had their faith shattered tends to be a bit of a bully, (in several different, manipulative ways), and to chronically distrust others. The first tends to trust being “part of the process”, whereas the second is suspicious and wants to “control the process”. The first has a hard-to-define “character” which the second lacks. Lastly I should stress that the “faith” does not seem to be encouraged by constant flattery and “participation trophies”, but rather by the actual experience of ups and downs, accompanied by the security of knowing they are watched over by people who will help if asked.

At this point I likely should come completely out of the closet and return to the point I made earlier, when I stated I am not the Creator; I am just showing what He has already done. Furthermore, He is not done; He is still doing, and will help if asked.

While it may be politically incorrect in the minds of some to say so, I’ll coda my conclusion by stating this: Children are very small and helpless, playing under a Sky that is giant and can be merciless, yet they often play as if with a close friend, whom they trust more than any mortal. As a “Child Care Professional”, I often just stand back and watch “the process” in awe.  It is a process all should yearn to be part of, but only a fool thinks he controls.

Sadly, though I offer a beautiful witness, Silicon Valley does not want to hear my witnessing. Google has in some ways “disappeared” me from its search engine. Likely their action is due to my past “Sea-ice” posts, which dare to point out certain Alarmist “proofs”, (that Global Warming is a threat), are failing to manifest in the predicted manner. This makes me a “Global Warming denier”, and Google apparently feels this justifies them basically enacting a childish censorship, tantamount to the children at my Childcare shouting, “La-la-la! I’m not listening!”

This is sad because Google was formerly the best search engine, but now they are choosing to make their engine malfunction. They soon will be surpassed by another, for even a competitor slow as a turtle can pass a rabbit, if the rabbit lays down on the job.

I am not particularly hurt by Google’s disdain. I’ve been an obscure poet all my life, so obscurity is a landscape I’m familiar with. I don’t feel “marginalized”, for I’ve experienced margins are important and “part of the process”. Even if Google seeks to bully me with the power of a trillion grasshoppers, I am not a victim. I am a beneficiary. Why? Because I am gripping with white knuckles the Thing that made Okies great, while Google, (the Okies who became great), have lost their grip, and may well be like a trillion grasshoppers soon to become extinct.

Socialism Reattempted

I have been working on a political cartoon that would portray, in a picture, the sheer ignorance of certain “political correctness” and “virtue signalling.”

I use the word “ignorance” because it is the most spiritual way of stating another brother or sister doesn’t know what the -bleep- they are talking about. It is better to call a politician “ignorant” than a “liar”, when they promise everyone free cheese mined from the moon.

Truth is beauty, but ignorance is the lack of Truth, and tends to create ugly consequences. The way to solve problems is through Truth, albeit often solutions appear in a slower and more painstaking manner. Ignorant promises of quick-fixes may draw a crowd, but the happy crowd becomes an unruly mob when the promises are revealed to be lies. Then the ugly mob requires policing, and all too often what began as benevolent promises deteriorates into brutal oppression. (For example, Venezuela.)

When one has been sold a shadowy snake-oil, there is a sad moment when one realizes the stuff doesn’t work. It is during such times Truth may be called “cruel.” Also there may be a period when one undergoes disbelief and denial. During such times ignorance takes on a life of its own, fighting for its very existence, like a shadow attempting to avoid vanishing in a beam of light. Ignorance can then become dangerous, like a cornered rat, but also comical, for there is something humorous about the sight of a person attempting to cling to a shadow.

For example, when I have studied long and hard to glean some tidbit of Truth, (for example about Arctic Sea-Ice), I find it comical when some young whippersnapper, who knows nothing about the topic, acts as if they know more, and furthermore claims I should be censored. In some ways they work harder to censor Truth than to know Truth. Such behavior deserves a cartoon.

In order draw out the humor and create a cartoon one needs to adjust the contrast, placing events together in a way that reduces ignorance to absurdity. While I haven’t worked out the details, I have been toying with the idea of comparing the 1968 Democrat Convention with the 2020 Democrat Convention, and guessing what young Democrats outside the convention might protest about, concerning the politics of Democrat higher-ups, inside the convention.

In 1968 Democrat policy had us in the Vietnam War, but the young Democrats, who faced being drafted and being forced to fight and perhaps die, were demanding a reason to die, and refusing to fight without reason, but rather than reason they were attacked by the police of the Democrat mayor of Chicago, whereupon the youth began chanting, “The whole world is watching.”

In 2020 Democrat policy seems at least as ignorant as 1968’s, and it occurred to me young Democrats might be equally frustrated, but have a different chant outside the Democrat convention. This time it might be, “The whole world is laughing.”

(For in my eyes the lack of Truth involved among Democrats makes much, spoken as gospel by the “Politically correct”, appear so ignorant it sounds like the soliloquies of Shakespeare’s fools. But modern youth are not always the fools their brain-washers assume, and already bristle at some of the ignorant suggestions they are asked to swallow, if they are to be “Politically Correct”.).

My personal cartoon of this situation would have 1968 and “The whole world is watching” on a first frame and 2000 and “The whole world is laughing” on the second, but lots needs to be worked out. I’m not sure I’ll ever get the details of the picture right.

Therefore I was glad to see a fellow did get a lot right, and displayed, in a different way, the joke of “Political Correct Ignorance”, at least in part:

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Greenland “Heatwave” Hype–

Sometimes the rants of Alarmists amuse me. Rather than moan softly and roll my eyes, I sit back and admire how something ordinary can be turned into something that sells newspapers (and/or attracts grant-money.)

In my last post I mentioned how a “blocking high-pressure” has persisted over Greenland, leading to lots of sunshine and far fewer North Atlantic gales ramming into the mountains and dumping copious amounts of snow onto the icecap. I warned this would reduce the yearly increase in Greenland’s “ice-balance”, even without including any summer melting. A massive amount flows off the ice-cap as glaciers and calves off into the sea, all year long, and, if not replaced by huge snows, the “ice-balance” dips. Alarmists were mute when the “ice-balance” blipped upwards the past two years, but I warned they would find their voices this summer as the ice-balance fell.

I neglected to include a further warning. Some ice might actually melt, especially with the blocking high-pressure making sunshine so persistent. Ice and snow always does melt on Greenland, especially at the very edge, although it doesn’t melt back as far now, as it did in the Medieval Warm Period, when the Vikings were able to raise several thousand cattle and over 100,000 sheep and goats. Though summer thaw is normal, when any sort of thaw occurs you can expect the Press to beat their drums. As the start of summer thaw has occurred yet again, and the Press has gone ape, I thought I’d give examples of some of the stages the Press’s hoop-la typically goes through.

First, a dramatic photograph is needed. Such pictures are usually of the dramatic meltwater rivers that form in the south of Greenland, where very thick ice pushes south into milder Alantic air and nearly twenty-four-hour-a-day sunshine, and also slopes down from an altitude of over 10,000 feet, where its cold, towards sea-level, where its above freezing. Obviously the top of the ice will melt, especially where a slope faces south, and the streams of melt-water that then get going in June and July can thunder. In New England we call such abrupt melting of snow and ice a “freshet” and they are usually brief, as we run out of snow to melt, while in Siberia the Lena River can rise sixty feet as the snows melt. However in Greenland the supply of snow and ice is not only boundless, but the streams are not running over rock and sand, but ice, and they cut crystal canyons and even find crevasses where they plunge underground. Ice-geologists have to be very careful, because one slip and you get no second chance and can’t hit the “replay button”, be they do take wonderful pictures of fantastic formations. The holes melt-water pours into are called “moulins” and they can be small:

Or they can be huge:

And I can understand why a young, strong geologist would want to get someone to pay him to look at such wonders. I myself prefer to stay home and, on a hot day in July, to type “Moulin images” into my search engine, and then sift through the thousands of pictures from glaciers all over the world.

I assume the Press does the same, to find a picture to sensationalize the screaming headline GREENLAND MELTING, (though sometimes they accidentally use a moulin from a glacier in Alaska or Tasmania.) But the picture the Press used this year was really unique, and made me chuckle.

The Press of course will fail to mention this is not an icecap. It is a lake or inlet, nice and flat, which does what lakes and inlets do, (freeze in the fall and thaw in the spring). This is a picture of some coastal-Greenland meteorologists heading out to retrieve some equipment before it sinks to the bottom.

You can tell this pictures is taken from a lower elevation because the mountains are snow-less and brown. To the upper right of the picture there is some evidence of the edge of the true Greenland icecap.

Once you move up onto the actual icecap and move away from the edges, temperatures rarely nudge above freezing, and are often far below. The deep snow compacts under the weight of year after year’s worth of snow, becoming this compact (yet surprisingly drafty) stuff called “firn”, and then finally compacts into the glacial ice, roughly a mile thick, from which ice cores are drilled. These ice-cores, when examined, do show a difference between winter snow and summer snow, which creates a yearly layer and allows the dating of cores. But they apparently show something else which is interesting.

Around once every 40 years a “blocking high-pressure” creates enough sunshine to actually create a thaw which can be noticed in the ice core records.

Such a thaw can’t merely be a few minutes above freezing. It must last long enough to soften at least the top sixteenth of an inch of snow, making it more like the sticky stuff that boys fling at each others in snowball fights, than the drifting powder which boys find fairly useless.

Please observe that, in the eyes of the media, a photo of the sun softening the top sixteenth inch of snow up at 10,000 feet would make a boring picture, (which is why the Press uses pictures from other places, in order to increase the sense of drama and sell more papers).

Also sometimes the temperatures nudge above freezing for such a brief time that the snow doesn’t even soften, nor leave a permanent record for ice cores. I assume the recent event was just such a brief thaw. However it is still possible to drum up drama and sell newspapers, even from such an inconsequential event….as follows:

First of all, the Press can stress the inconsequential event occurred over a vast area, and a sub-headline may scream, “40% of Greenland thawing.” Then the Press will include a graphic that is honest, but misleading if misinterpreted, such as this:

The above map has nothing to do with how much water was produced, or how much the sea–levels rose, but rather shows where temperatures inched above freezing enough to make snow sticky. It is a large area, for June. To me it demonstrates how the “blocking high-pressure” has made it especially sunny up there (and especially dismal, cold and rainy down in New England, where I live.)

The next step is to take the above data, (which involves “area” and not “amount”), and sensationalize how early the “area” is. But in fact, even if the top sixteenth of an inch of the snow over the entirety of Greenland softened, it wouldn’t produce even a trickle of water. It takes more serious melting to produce melt-water creeks and moulins. However to sell newspapers (and get grants) a graphic is created that is all about “area.”

It may be true that the mid-June “area” is “unprecedented” for so “early” (though in actual fact it should be expected, as the sun is near its highest), and it furthermore may be true the word “unprecedented” sells headlines, (especially when coupled with pictures of floods), but I must say, at the risk of being a “party poop” and “wet blanket”, that “area” is not the same thing as “amount”.

The records we have from the Greenland icecap are gathered by tough men in rough conditions, and I will not put such men down, but the data they gather are records that are recent, and can’t show the scope of history. The “average” of the above graph can’t include unseen variations hinted at by the history of Vikings in the Medieval Warm Period. And they don’t include “amount”.

Let me give you an example of how “area” can mean next to nothing, in terms of “amount”.

When we read that this “unprecedented” area is above freezing, it involves individual stations. Let us look at such a station, way up over 10,000 feet.

As you can see, at this station temperatures poked above freezing twice in a period of roughly fifteen minutes. (Not enough to flood Florida or the Netherlands). (And maybe not even long enough to soften the snow enough to be noted in future ice-core records.)

Yet this station’s temperatures are included in the blaring headline, “40% of Greenland Above freezing. Thaw Unprecedentedly Early.”

I suppose the above station deserves its fifteen minutes of fame as much as the next man, but I am not expecting a wall of melt-water to descend upon us, from the north, any time soon.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –A New Old Pattern–

I read an article in a Russian shipping-periodical recently that basically derided Americans for being fools about sea-ice. Once sentence, roughly translated, stated, “Two things that don’t go away in the summer are sea-ice and American’s insistence it will.” This demonstrates that Alarmists are making America a laughingstock.

As Alarmist’s error becomes increasingly obvious the only truly alarming thing is the behavior of Alarmists themselves. They resemble a man at a bar defending his beloved home team, when he has had too much to drink. The actual statistics may show that his team is in last place, but one tends to be reluctant to bring such facts forward, because the drunk cannot be relied upon for rational responses, and is clenching his fists.

It used to be fun to debate Alarmists, because they would bring up actual facts and statistics, and this forced me to think. I was constantly learning things I hadn’t known about oceanic currents and atmospheric circulation and the chemistry of the atmosphere and sunspot cycles and the history of the arctic. Now that seems to have largely ceased, as the responses have degenerated to the level of, “Your mother is fat and wears army boots.” Or even, “Fossil fuel leads to child-porn”:

Green New Deal advocates: “Pipeline and resource development leads to man camps, human trafficking, and child-porn rings.”

 

 

 

 

This could be dismissed as the grousing of a sore loser, or of a dangerous drunk at a bar, were it not for the fact many Alarmists are adamantly prone towards socialist thinking of the sort that allows “purges”.

Some of the most disgraceful behavior seen in human history has involved one section of a society blaming another without much rhyme or reason. Christian Germans fought alongside Jewish Germans in World War One, but after the Germans lost that war so-called Christians blamed the Jews for their defeat, and their society went through a decade-long paroxysm of neighbor attacking neighbors. In like manner Russia took umbrage at its more prosperous yeoman farmers when its socialism led to hunger, and dubbed them “Kulaks” (tightfisted),  and sent hundreds of thousands to Siberia, with a suspiciously large percentage dying before they even arrived in Siberia. Getting rid of the better farmers contributed to one of the worst famines in Russia’s history. Over and over history demonstrates such hateful “purging” behavior proves to be a case of biting-the-hand-that-feeds, and/or cutting-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face, and such atrocious behavior towards neighbors should be resisted wherever it appears. Even if such wolves don sheep’s wool, point out their teeth; resist the so-called “resistance”; point out when so-called “Christians” are not Christian.

Partially this involves firmly pointing out when Truth is obfuscated with the shallow, hypocritical  deceits of doublespeak.  This is a topic that could go on for 10,000 words, but it boils down to being clear and specific, and not getting swept up by waves of generalization. For example, when I speak of the “elite” I need to be aware some leftist protesters don’t have a penny to their name. In like manner when leftists claim they are the “resistance”, they need to be asked to be specific about who exactly and what exactly they are “resisting”. For another example, the word “liberal” means “generous”, but some so-called “liberals” fail to qualify, for what they give is never their own money but instead is other people’s tax-dollars. If you are truly generous your wallet should get thinner, but their’s get amazingly fat.

A second way to avoid the socially disastrous “purge”-mentality is to reduce the other’s arguments to absurdity.  This is particularly easy to do, concerning sea-ice. Just as it was an embarrassment to Democrats to have protesters outside their 1968 convention chanting, “The whole world is watching,” it will be equally embarrassing to have protesters outside the 2020 convention chanting, “The whole world is laughing.”

Why is the whole world laughing? Because the doom-and-gloom Alarmists stated the low sea-ice of 2007 was the beginning of the end, and the Arctic would be open water by 2012. They got very excited in 2012, for that was a very low sea-ice year as well, even lower than 2007, and they could shout, “See?!! See?!! It’s happening!!!” The problem was, it wasn’t. The Arctic was nowhere near ice-free in 2012, which proved their 2007 prediction incorrect. They should have been hanging their heads, not dancing in glee. And since then the sea-ice has only increased, which is in direct violation of the “Arctic Death Spiral” theory, (which states decreases should “accelerate”, due to changes in “albedo.”)

It is now seven years since the arctic was suppose to be ice-free. Can you believe it?  (Time flies when you are having fun.) Seven years! But will the Alarmists stop their antics? No. Now they are saying it will be 2030 that the Arctic will be ice-free. I likely won’t live so long.

At what point do you stop taking such panic-prone people seriously? Up to a point you try to be polite, but its hard when they are never polite in return, and instead use the word “Denier” like Hitler used the word “Jew” and Stalin used the word “Kulak.” Eventually you simply have to be impolite, and just laugh in their faces.

Reality speaks Truth, and the facts say the sea-ice has been low because the AMO has been in its “warm phase” for most of our adult lives.  Now the AMO is hithering and thithering about the neutral state, and will perhaps tip into its “cold phase” within five years.

AMO 201904 amo_short

The reduction of sea-ice extent this spring has been fairly typical for recent years. There is no sign of an accelerating “Death Spiral.”

DMI Extent 20190615 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

You’ll have to forgive me if I don’t get as excited by this graph as I used to get. I used to get excited if it dipped into “lowest-for-date” territory, but after following this graph for approaching two decades, (and also studying history), I’ve come to see the behavior as typical for a warm AMO. In other words, it is pretty humdrum. At my age I have to increasingly chose my battles, and it isn’t worth my time to bulge veins in my forehead about what is humdrum.

The “area” and “volume” graphs are also fairly humdrum, but the temperatures-above-80-degrees-latitude graph is worth a comment.

DMI 20190615 meanT_2019

This graph is interesting because it hasn’t followed a pattern established in recent years. In the past decade the temperatures have shown warm spikes during the winters, as relatively moist and mild plumes of air have come north, and then temperatures would abruptly fall below normal in May, once the sun was up and beginning to influence temperatures, and then temperatures tended to remain below normal through most of the summer. This year the winter spikes were far more modest, but temperatures haven’t fallen below normal in May. What has changed?

An honest answer is, “I don’t know.” But I have noticed changes in the “pattern”. There has been high pressure at the Pole much of the spring, with little sign of the anomalous low pressure I used to call “Ralph.” The low pressures have politely circled the Pole down near the Arctic Circle, behaving themselves and obeying the textbooks.

One effect of having high pressure at the Pole is that there are fewer clouds and more sunshine, and, when the sun is up 24-hours a day, this may explain the temperatures in the above graph moving from a degree below normal to a degree above normal. At the same time I need to be cautious that I am not doing what Alarmists do: Deny the facts.  The fact is that I assumed the “Quiet Sun” was what led to the cooler summer temperatures at the Pole. My assumption is shot full of holes, so far, and I will be watching temperatures at the Pole carefully, as Spring gives way to Summer.

The high pressure over the Pole has extended south as a “blocking high” over Greenland, which has led to a loopy jet-stream bringing colder-than-normal temperatures in sub-polar regions, especially the Central USA and Northwest Europe. This blocking high will also lead to a lower “ice mass balance” in Greenland, but this is not due to melting (so far in the spring) but rather is due to much less snowfall. (It is important to be aware of such changes, as Alarmists are prone to cherry-picking data; they didn’t like to bring up Greenland the past two summers when the ice-balance was increasing, but the subject will likely be brought up this summer, with ice-balance decreasing.)

Currently the low pressure systems rolling around the periphery of the high pressure squatting on the Pole are becoming a bit larger, and the one between Western Russia and Franz Josef Land has been wobbling east in a manner that encroaches upon the Pole, and is even a little “Ralph-like”. (Typical; no sooner do you figure out a pattern then it changes!) A smaller storm sits in the Canadian Archipelago, and the High Pressure is reduced to a weak ridge over the Pole.

 

The lows rolling along the north coast of Eurasia have pushed a lot of sea-ice north out of the Kara Sea, and then west and then south into the northern Barents Sea. As always, it is amazing how mobile the ice is. After a fuss about there not being enough sea-ice against the east coast of Svalbard for polar bears, a great deal crunched south, not only against the east coast but even into the west coast regions of Fram Strait, usually kept open by a warm tendril of the Gulf Stream.

There has not been so much “wrong-way-flow” in Fram Strait as last year, and increased amounts of ice flushing south should reduce the volume of sea-ice in the Arctic but may increase the cooling of the North Atlantic.

Across the Pole the extent of sea-ice in Bering Strait has been less, as sea-ice was pushed north there. In terms of the Northwest Passage, both the eastern approach from Baffin Bay and the western approach from Bering Strait seem to be opening up, so I have hopes we may gain some actual pictures from the adventurers who have the time and money to attempt the passage. But I fear they may be discouraged by a major clot of ice persisting in the central passage around 100 degrees west latitude.

It is interesting to note that semi-circle of thicker sea-ice created by the northward push of sea-ice in Bering Strait during the winter. Such features tend to persist, and are helpful when attempting to gauge the flow of the ice during the summer. Often ice-watchers think ice has melted when it has merely moved.

It’s also interesting to see the ice seems to be nudging the coast of Alaska at Barrow. As Barrow is one of the few places left where we have an actual webcam, I thought I’d take a look, and the midnight sun revealed….a wall of fog. Oh well, we’ll wait on that.

Without any buoys with webcams, or any adventurers (so far), there is little eyeball evidence to use, assessing the situation. One can track the paths of buoys without cameras, and surmise the sea-ice is not being flushed from the central arctic:

However I must confess the above squiggles sorely lacks the fascination I derived from the old buoy-webcams. I miss them greatly. If anyone discovers any new ones, please tell me, and I’ll jump for joy. With the hot days of July approaching, views of sea-ice are wanted.

The only other news is that the Hudson Bay thaw has just begun in the Northwest, with the ice still quite thick to the south. While the sea-ice is less in areas of the Arctic Sea’s periphery, it is quite compacted in the Central Arctic.

Stay Tuned.

LOCAL VIEW –Beautiful Breezes–

Winter may be conceding defeat, at long last, (though they are still getting May snows to our west, in Denver and Minnesota).  After our bit of sleet here last week, the south finally broke through the veritable wall of chill that always seems to keep New England cold, even when the Mid-Atlantic states swelter, most every April (and, this year, into the first half of May).

The dividing line between summery-warmth and early-spring-chill is often shown on weather maps by a warm front approaching New England from the south. We Yankees watch the approach of this warm front with both hope and cynicism.  On rare occasions it flies right past us: I recall one hot spell in the first days of April (in 1990?) when we hit 90ºF, but such events are rare. More often the warm front stalls. Things conspire against it’s progress. The waters south of New England is chilled by winter; mountain ranges to our west allow cold air to crouch low, and to refuse to budge. To our west the warm front may proceed north to Albany, Burlington, Toronto, even Montreal, but it dips south to the east, and can’t cross New England.

The warm front is attached to a storm to our west, and the south winds ahead of that storm are assisted by high pressure to our east, (which is a westward extension of the Azores High, locally known as the Bermuda High).  As the storm is deflected to our north by this high, it eventually finds a “weakness” and proceeds east to our north, “over the top” of the high pressure. As the storm passes to our north it drags a cold front south, and the cold front usually passes over us just as the warm front is tantalizingly close, brushing the warm front (and all its warm air) out to sea.

If the cold front is powerful, then clear, crisp weather follows, but if the cold front is feeble, and if the Bermuda High is strong, the cold front becomes stationary just to our south, and dreary weather continues, as the stationary front eventually becomes a warm front as the next storm approaches. Sometimes the front undulates like bumps on a shaken jump-rope, and a series of weak storms pass.  But this isn’t all that interesting, unless you are a meteorologist. In fact it irks you, if you are stuck in New England, suffering cold and cloudy weather, craving spring.

By May, to our north, the nights are getting short and the days very long, and there is simply no way the north can generate arctic air, with so much sunshine. Rather than “arctic fronts” the cold fronts start to be called “polar fronts”.  Also the boundary between the north and south retreats north, as does the “storm track”. Therefore it is usually May when we finally see some truly summer-like air make it this far north. Hallelujah!

I will post all the interesting maps at the end of this post, but, knowing some are bored by maps (an attitude which I fail to understand, but respect), I’ll simply state what we experienced.

One thing I should mention is that an indicator of clean waters, called by some “the State Bird of Maine”, appears just when the weather gets nice. It is called “the black fly.”  It is a reason many who move to New Hampshire depart after a summer or two. If you work outside, as I do, you tend to like cold mornings, as black flies don’t pester until temperatures approach 60ºF, and also you tend to like breezy days, when swarms of insidious insects try like heck to swim upstream and get to you, but fail, just downwind.

One nice thing about this cold and wet spring is that the chill kept the black flies at bay. I got lots of vegetable gardening done. However it was also weather great for growing grass, but not so great for mowing, as the grass was too wet.

At this point I should mention another thing. I draw a distinction between gardening and gardening. Eh? My distinction boils down to this: “Can you eat it?” I spent years, even decades, working as a so-called “landscaper” for charming, rich old ladies, producing a crop you could have stored in a teacup. It wasn’t a total waste, for my work did feed me, my wife, and five children, but it bugged me that no actual food was produced. The old ladies had money, and their pay bought food, but all our work in gardens produced no actual food. Therefore, to this day, I have an almost allergic reaction towards non-productive gardening; (IE: “landscaping”.) I don’t mind growing sunflowers (seeds are high in protein), or roses (rose-hips are high in vitamin C) or day lilies (buds and wilted blooms make a delicious soup) but I very much mind cutting the grass. No one eats the grass. It might be acceptable if the cut grass was fed to livestock, which you could eat, but it isn’t.

In any case, my wife doesn’t want to hear my brilliant arguments. When the grass at our Farm-Childcare gets long, she believes we look more “professional” if it is cut. Because I believe I should chose my battles, I meekly cut the damn stuff. Fortunately it has been so rainy this spring that I haven’t often had the ability to cut the damn grass. But consequently the grass has gotten deep. I have noticed my wife giving me glances of an aggrieved sort. The time has come to act, or face consequences.

Yesterday would have been a perfect day to mow, as it was hot and muggy, and the black flies came swarming out. Back in the day I could keep them away by chain-smoking, as they don’t like smoke or nicotine, but since my lungs told me I had to quit such fly-repellent, I have found an inferior repellent is the exhaust of a mower. But yesterday, just when the grass started to dry out, the humid heat would produce a drenching downpour, and therefore the best use of my time was in the vegetable garden, where I produced future food for humans by planting seeds, and was present-tense food for clouds of hungry black flies.

Today would have been a perfect day to work in the vegetable garden, as the surge of tropical air fed a storm passing to our north, and as it strengthened it brought south a cold front, and then, as the departing storm strengthened further, the winds increased to a point where the average speed approached 20 mph, and a few gusts approached 50. There was not a black fly in sight.

At this point I should mention a final thing. At the northern latitude where I live you had better plant as early as you can. You have a limited “window of opportunity”. The growing season is so short that many crops will fail to mature, if you wait too long. Furthermore the sun is as high in late May as it is in early August. Farmers know that, after early August, the sun gets too low, and growing slows down. If you plant a bean after early August, it may sprout more quickly than it does in May, but then the sun is so low the bean grows in slow motion. If you plant in May you see results fast.

Therefore, on a breezy day in May, without a black fly in sight, the last thing I wanted to do was mow the grass. Yet I had to do it. I approached the mower with a bad attitude. To my own amazement I swiftly felt I was more lucky than I believed possible.

The grass was so long (and my rider-mower has such problems) that I had to creep, and the job took forever. (I exaggerate, but it did take hours.) Yet by the time I was done I felt blessed, for I can think of no other way I could have been forced to sit on my duff outside, and witness how wildly beautiful a windy day in May actually is.

There are times it is good to see what an ass you are. Behind my mower, I left cropped turf, basically a Marine crew-cut, as ahead of my mower I witnessed long grass responding to the wind. Have you ever watched long grasses on a windy day? How they ripple and shimmer? And sink and bound-back? How beautiful grass can be, yet what beauty was I making? Producing cropped turf behind me, that fed none?  (Maybe this experience should make me more understanding of those who cut me down, feeding none). In any case, it was amazing that the long grass I detested, when I began, became grass that was my guru:

What a wonderful windy wind it was
With gulped air clear from Canada; sky clear
As well; green grasses displaying the laws
Of brisk breezes; bounding far faster than deer
On the run; and shining and shimmering,
Rippling in clear sun’s pure white: A cool light
So different from yesterday’s simmering
Tropical humidity: Sheer delight
Whisking away the wetness; sweet sighing
Drying the dampness, then deeply roaring
To make new-leafed boughs bow, and trying
To make grasses bow. But bowing’s boring
If you’re hay in the wind. Instead, you prance,
And make ups-and-downs be part of your dance.

(To those of more scientific inclinations, I hope to find time to update this post with meteorological maps explaining the situation which led to the above sonnet.)

*******

Here are the promised maps, (from the Weatherbell site, which offers a 7-day free trial subscription, if you love weather maps.)

Yesterday’s map shows a strengthening 995 mb low departing over Nova Scotia, with strong breezes (blue) in its wake, and a cool, Canadian high-pressure pulled down over the Great Lakes to our west. The “Bermuda High” that gave us warm south winds is weakened to a small circle off Florida,  partially by a sub-tropical storm (actually given the name “Andrea”) moving through it and out to sea over Bermuda. As “Andrea” fades northeast the Azores High, to the lower right margin, will again extend west and combine with the unusually strong (for southerly latitudes) 990 mb low over Nebraska, which gave Denver snow on its cold side, and which is drawing warm air from the Gulf of Mexico on its warm side (and causing tornadoes where the cold and warm clash), and south winds will surge north again.

AA1 gfs_mslp_uv10m_conus_1

The Canadian High suppressed the above-normal warmth (red) to the southeast states, as much of the north and west was below-normal. (Blue, green and purple.) The cold and rain to the west is seriously delaying spring planting in America’s breadbasket.

AA2 gfs_t2m_anom_conus_1

The warmth is expected to rebound in the east in two days:

AA3 gfs_t2m_anom_conus_10

And then a ripple of cold again rides “over the top” of the high pressure, perhaps giving us thunder in three days.

AA4 gfs_t2m_anom_conus_12

The upper-air 500 mb maps have shown a stubborn ridge in the east, and deep trofs to the west that are forced to head north and then ripple up and over the eastern ridge.  Yesterday’s map showed above-normal pressures weakened to the east by “Andrea”, (light red) as the trof to the west is impressively below-normal (purple). The last trof, which was impressive out west, is far weaker, as it reaches Maine.

AA5 gfs_z500_sig_conus_1

If this pattern persists some places out west might not be able to plant at all, which makes my small, experimental garden a little more meaningful.