ARCTIC SEA ICE and LOCAL VIEW—Downwardly Mobile—

Perhaps the most annoying thing done by members of Global Warming’s Alarmist community has been to expunge historical data from their graphs, in order to emphasize their points. For example, if recent Global Warming is “An Inconvenient Truth”,  it is “An Even More Inconvenient Truth” that it was even warmer in the Medieval Warm Period. Therefore it became convenient to fail to mention the Medieval Warm Period. Why? Because people are less likely to pay attention to an event if that event isn’t “unprecedented”.  The warmer past must be somehow diminished, to sensationalize the present.

People react strangely to “unprecedented” things that disturb the status-quo, especially if they imagine they are in a position of privilege and therefore imagine they have a lot to lose. ( I honestly feel it might be better to be flat broke and have nothing to lose, for, in my experience, such people are less threatened by change. When you hit rock bottom, any change is for the better); (even, at times, the change called death.)

I’ve been aware of how weird the wealthy get, when faced with new things, ever since I myself was the new thing. When I was growing up it was normal for a married couple to have five or six children, and the number of children running around was “unprecedented.”

It was the “Baby Boom”, a collective, orgasmic sigh of relief, after the grim poverty of the Great Depression and the unholy slaughter of World War Two. Times were good for  America, for the United States had the only modern economy and infrastructure unscathed by war, which gave it a gigantic competitive advantage. In my area there was more than enough money to go around, raises were commonplace at many jobs, and even little people felt freed from the constraints of want. Many chose to use their new freedom to have large families. However some felt no joy about either the new-found freedom of little people, or the masses of laughing children. They felt their world threatened, because one does not have to count on their fingers long to calculate such a huge amount of children will make a huge difference, when they become a huge mass of adults.

I happened to get born into a wealthy situation, because my Dad was a Boston surgeon back before lawyers, politicians and insurance agents decided to get their hands on the gobs of money involved in saving people’s lives. When he first got started after World War Two my Dad hardly had to pay any malpractice insurance, and got to keep the gobs of money he made, though he payed little attention to his bank account (being far more interested in the amazing advances being made by medicine.)  In a mere week my Dad made enough to buy a new car, yet he persisted in driving his old, Volkswagen Bug. He actually preferred the crowded, post-war housing development where he and my mother started married life, because he liked the neighbors, but my mother pleaded that we move to a bigger house, so we moved only five miles further away from the hospital, and into what became, for a time, one of the most wealthy suburbs in the world. That is where I got to see, and be repelled by, how very weird wealthy people are, and it likely explains why I have been very downwardly mobile ever since.

Not that the life of privilege didn’t have its perks. The owner of the Boston Red Sox was very pleased by my Dad, after Dad did an operation on veins in the leg of the team’s much-loved secretary, and helped her avoid an amputation. Due to the owner’s generosity I then got to go visit the Red Sox locker room,  and be somewhat stunned by how huge the ballplayers were, when I was only age eight or nine. I got to meet splendid athletes in their underpants, young men few now remember, such as Frank Malzone, Bill Momboquette, Gene Connolly (who also played in the NBA), and Pumpsy Green (the first black to play for Boston.) I met Carl Yastremski before he hit .300. And it meant little to me. They gave me an autographed ball and I ruined it throwing it for the neighbor’s black lab to retrieve. (Man! The money I could get for that ball now!)

What did impress me was how much the massive, muscular players seemed to like my Dad, though he was no athlete. He walked with a limp due to polio. (Maybe they liked him because, in those simpler days, the team secretary was a sort of surrogate Mom for a bunch of young fellows far from their small home towns, and they simply appreciated Dad for saving her leg.) In any case, I was impressed to a degree where I decided to pay more attention to baseball.

I briefly became one of those shrill kids who you want to stifle at a ballgame, with a falsetto voice that can shatter eyeglasses, and which makes the fillings in your teeth wince. I figured this was how fans were suppose to behave: The other team was the “bad guys”, and you were suppose to tell them so as loudly as possible, from a privileged seat directly behind home plate at Fenway Park. Then I learned not to be so shrill, and to stop calling the opposing pitcher every bad name my somewhat limited vocabulary owned.

This change occurred because my Dad was a gregarious dude, and, while Red Sox were striking out, (my grandmother referred to them as the “Red Flops” at that time), he’d be striking up conversations with the fans around him. As he did this I noticed his cheerful face suddenly changed to a sympathetic face. Then he turned to me and told me that the opposing pitcher had injured his arm the year before, but was now attempting something called “a come back.” The owner of the Red Sox, being a gentleman of the Old School, had given the family of that opposing pitcher seats behind home plate, and the pitcher’s daughter was upset by things I was calling her father.

I turned and met the eyes of a small girl about my age. They were eyes that did not accuse me or hate me, but were on the verge of tears. Without a word I shrank down to the size of a termite, and regarded my shoes silently for at least an inning.

I think it was compassionate of God to arrange that coincidence. It gave opposing teams a reality and a face I would have been blind to, if opponants had remained just “the bad guys.” It is odd to think of that little girl now being as old as I am, but I still remember her face. I wonder if she remembers mine. I expect I wore a very funny look, just before I ducked and hid.

Not that I entirely forgave her father for beating the Red Sox. The Red Sox were a seventh-place team, but were not suppose to lose to the Washington Senators, who were a tenth-place team.

The New York Yankees were entirely different. They always won, and nearly always were the first-place-team. It was acceptable, in New England, to despise them. But I found myself drifting from acceptable behavior, even though in many ways I loathed the Yankees. Instead of merely loathing, I found myself wondering about the sanity of New York fans.

I could understand the little girl behind me, because in a boyish way I understood what a “come-back” was, because of my Dad’s recovery from polio.  But New York fans were different. They would boo their best players.

Back when I was young Babe Ruth held the record for most home runs (in a 154 game season) with sixty. Few could challenge the record. Few could even hit fifty. In 1956, for the first part of the season, Micky Mantle hit home runs at an amazing rate that might have allowed him to surpass Babe Ruth, but rather than admiring, the New York Media was hostile. It was the strangest thing then, and is strange now, looking at old, yellowing newspapers. What is there to disparage about a superb athlete having a superb season, especially when it is for your home town team? However the New York media did everything possible to make life harder for the young man. They saw him as a rube, an outsider, and not a member of the New York Intelligentsia. How dare he challenge their icon, Babe Ruth? And, when late season injuries slowed the amazing athlete down, the New York sports reporters “breathed a collective sigh of relief.” Eh? What is there to be relieved about? Why shouldn’t you want a young fellow to succeed?

But, if you have such a hero-worship of the past, shouldn’t the New York Media now have a similar worship of the Medieval Warm Period, and scowl at any who dare to say modern times challenge those distant days, days when Vikings could plow soil in Greenland, soil that is now permafrost difficult to dent with a jackhammer?

Sports reporters are the hope of journalism, and even of the English language, because they wield a pen with far more skill, creativity, and joy than dreary modern poets do, but when it comes to decency, and anything resembling kindness, they can descend to bottoms of barrels pigs and rats will not touch. This heartless attribute might be seen as splendid and courageous journalism, if it were aimed at a corrupt politician, but they attacked young athletes wet behind their ears.

In 1961 the New York Media again disgraced itself, as great members of perhaps the greatest Yankee team hit amazing numbers of home runs. This time two were challenging Babe Ruth’s record.

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The leader at times was again Micky Mantle (right), who now was five years older, and who had to some degree learned to flatter and placate the New York media, but the other athlete was named Roger Maris, young and naive and deemed a “rube” by the sophisticated New Yorkers, who for the most part were weaklings, and who couldn’t hit a major league fastball if their life depended on it, (unless they were lucky, and even then the hit would be unlikely to travel past second base.)

I was only eight years old when this was occurring, and the worst word I knew was “fink.” However, even at that tender age, when I listened to how the press responded, as Roger Maris hit home run after home run (including four in one game), it seemed so weird and deranged I quietly muttered to myself, “What the fink…”

Does the media understand how idiotic their behavior looks to the common sense of a child? Roger Maris was an old man to me, but in actual fact was only 27 years old. I understood the Yankees were the nemesis of Boston,  and therefore you might think I would approve of disparaging Yankee players.  However, young as I was, I knew this was Yankee media,  putting down a great Yankee. (Roger Maris was as brilliant in the outfield, catching balls, as he was at the plate hitting home runs.)

At age eight I already sensed the press was demented. It was as if they felt Babe Ruth was Jesus Christ, and Roger Maris was some heathen false prophet, and the only way to save the soul of New York City was to grind the young athlete into the dirt. You had to live through that time to really understand how reprehensible the behavior of the media was. In some ways they came close to crucifying a young man who did nothing but play baseball extremely well, and help his team reach World Series after World Series. The amazing thing is that Roger Maris was not beaten down by the Beast. Though he was terribly hurt by how he was treated, he beat the old record,  and hit sixty-one home runs. (I cringe admitting the record was broken against a Boston pitcher.)

Roger Maris went right on being exceptional even after he couldn’t play ball any more. Considering how he was treated, you might think he would have been a good candidate for a decent into bitterness and barrooms, especially when he was hit by lymphoma. Instead, when Roger Maris died at the young age of 51, he was spending his time and money supporting research that has since then allowed others to live with lymphoma far longer than he did.

I’m not saying the man was a saint, but he had some exceptional qualities, and the New York media has some explaining to do that they never have done, and show little sign of ever doing. The deranged never explain what they cannot comprehend, any more than your loyal dog explains why he stops wagging his tail when he gets rabies.

I wonder what effect the behavior of that particularly demented media had on my generation. I mean, if you were a small child, would watching how Roger Maris was treated make you want to break a home run record? Be superb in any other way? Speaking for myself, the answer is a simple, “No.”

And Oh sure, in Hollywood movies there was all sorts of tearjerker guff and balderdash about how hard work was rewarded, but little children are not the sheep some think. They see when the emperor has no clothes. I think many in my generation watched how Roger Maris was treated, and thought to themselves, “Hard work will really piss off the people in power.”

Some sort of fork in the road then appeared. Some wanted to become the “new people in power”, while others recoiled from anything to do with power’s derangement. Some strove to become upwardly mobile, thinking they would do better, but many of these people became even more deranged than the deranged people they replaced. Others sought to be downwardly mobile, and to escape the derangement by living under the radar.

Now, before you say that that in America everyone wants to be rich, and no one would actually seek to be downwardly mobile, I would like to remind you that America was not founded to make people wealthy. It was founded on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, and, (at least when I was young), that freedom included hobos.

I likely should only speak for myself, but I think I wasn’t alone in my generation in being turned off by what happened to people who were successful, like Roger Maris (or Marilyn Monroe).

Some say Baby Boomers were spoiled, but there can be a hollowness in a childhood even if materialistic parents give you every plastic hula-hoop and Frisbee you clamor for. Also, when one watches parents who are wealthy, and who have it made, go through the unhappiness of divorce,  one wonders where Love has hid.

If Gandhi could call his life, “Experiments with the Truth”, perhaps the downwardly mobile could call their lives, “Hide and Seek with Love.”  Searching for what wasn’t found in wealthy (but sterile) suburbs can take one down some interesting paths:


But I have already discussed my own search, and in some ways the topic bores me. Rather I confess I have a morbid fascination about the fork I did not take, and the bizarre behavior of people who took that other route.

At this point I’ll return to a dichotomy I noted earlier: Babe Ruth was a sacred cow threatened by any new, “unprecedented” home-run-hitter who threatened his record, and the Medieval Warm Period was a sacred cow threatened by any new “unprecedented” modern temperatures. The dichotomy is in how the past was/is treated. Babe Ruth is raised, (and his love of beer is downplayed). The Medieval Warm Period is diminished, (and its amazing warmth is ignored).

The common theme is a warping of facts. Truth is the Truth, but some feel a need to polish turds and smear gold.

I have heard some argue that a revolution occurred, and the old “upwardly mobile” were replaced by a newer and better “upwardly mobile.” The old were stuck in the past, but the new are freed of such chauvinist habits. (The old made an icon of Babe Ruth, while the new can ignore the Medieval Warm Period.)

I beg to differ. When I consider all the changes I’ve seen, I think the “upwardly mobile” never change. Once they have achieved a certain status, they abhor change. The “dirty word” that is in common to both sides of the dichotomy is “unprecedented.”

When it comes to treating a Truth, whether it be a Roger Maris or a Medieval Warm Period, with the decency and the respect Truth deserves, “unprecedented” is the button to push, if you want to see the status-quo become unhinged.

What causes this derangement? Well, I’d say it boils down to working extremely hard to rise to some level that the upwardly mobile like, (up to that point change is good), and then believing that the “status-quo”, once achieved,  is how things should stay. It is a hypocrisy, which in a sense states that building a house on a beach is a good thing, until the day your own house is finished, and then opposes anyone else building a house at the same beach, because it would spoil your view.

This is basically greed, and an unwillingness to share. The gut response is Neanderthal, “Me here first. This my beach. You no come here.”  However it is put in flowery terms, “Environmentalism deems the sanctity of this pristine stretch of sand a more holy thing than your desire to enjoy it.” (The people most loud about Global Warming and “rising sea-levels” all seem to own shore-front property, even though shore-front property would represent an insane investment, if they actually believed their own sermons about a rising sea.)

I think the prospect of my “Baby Boom” generation all wanting “a place at the beach” deeply worried the affluent, who already had their place. All their talk about “the dangers of overpopulation” was but their unwillingness to share. There was lots of room and much to share, but they were not spiritual. They hated sharing, even to the degree of thinking a reduction in the world population would be a happy event. They sermonized about how there was not enough room and not enough left to share, because they preferred the status-quo, and didn’t want to share what they already had.

This is not to say many hadn’t worked extremely hard and didn’t deserve success. But so did Roger Maris.

The simple fact of the matter is that life involves as much letting-go as it does grasping. Roger Maris grasped the heights, but every athlete knows his days are numbered, and a day will come when he must let go.

When someone cannot let go, we call them an “addict”. They become worthy of our pity, because they achieved some “high”, but then they fall from grace. They become so unwilling to let go of their “high” that they pawn their grandmother’s false teeth for their next fix. In the case of an addict who craves heroin, the cause is obvious; in the case of an aging athlete who craves youth, the cause is hopeless; but in the case of the upwardly mobile, the cause is crafty and sly.

The escape from all this nonsense is Truth,  but, before we escape this nonsense, consider, just a bit longer, the foolishness of “fashion”.

Take out a dollar and look at George Washington’s silly white wig. What was that fashion all about? Or think of Abraham Lincoln’s looming top hat, and understand the fashion of such top hats nearly led to the extinction of beavers, and consequently led to soil erosion and amazing floods, which beaver-dams could have naturally halted. What madness possesses humans that causes them to bother with fashion? Even Adam and Eve, in the perfect paradise of the Garden of Eden, abruptly felt they needed fig leaves. (Very cold and uncomfortable, so God conducted His first sacrifice, and dressed them in furs, before sending them out of Eden.)

As an aside, (which reverts to my days as a small boy), I recall my older sister bemoaning the fact she’d soon be a teenager, and have to wear a stupid girdle and dumb nylons and, worst of all, ridiculous garter belts. (Children see through the nonsense, and know the emperor wears no clothes.) I recall privately then thinking to myself that there was no finking way my sister would ever wear such silly stuff. ( And I don’t think she ever did, as liberation became the fashion, and she donned jeans and boots instead.)

Fashion is a strange thing, for it mimics progress and change, attempts to be new and “unprecedented”, but is usually sheep following sheep and lemmings following lemmings. A fashion we deem normal, and even an example of good taste, this week, will be bad taste next week, and seem like hilarious buffoonery to our grandchildren. Truth watches from the sidelines.

I confess I have made a few attempts to be fashionable in my time, but have not been very successful at it. My wife is aware of this shortcoming, and now helps me out by looking me over before I head out the door, but as a boy I lacked such guidance. Just as my attempt to be a baseball fan bruised me, because I became aware my razzing of opponents hurt a little girl seated behind me, most of my early attempts to be fashionable were such mortifying experiences that I decided it was better to skip the bother.

Just as an example, in first grade I learned about “matching” clothing, and decided to wear red pants with a red shirt to school. This greatly amused the sixth graders, who promptly nicknamed me “pajamas.” Though I did not wear that outfit again, the nickname was not so easily shed. This alone made me reluctant to see any good could come out of attempting to be fashionable.

Once I had skipped the bother of fashion I was free to be a grubby little barefoot boy, and my mind could attend to more important things, like bugs and worms and fishing, baseball players and their batting averages, and clouds and dreams and theory. Fashion served no purpose that I could see, and clothing was more of a matter of function. In the winter I wore a lot because I wanted to be warm, and during the summer I spared my mother the bother of doing laundry by running around in a bathing suit (most of the time.)

The one time I became fashionable was by sheer accident, when wearing grubby jeans with patched knees became “hip” in 1969, but I then just as easily drifted out of fashion when “disco” became the rage. In terms of fashion, I had become downwardly mobile, and, under the radar, could go where the fashionable fear to tread. (Some of the best adventures involve mud.)

I had friends who shared my scorn of fashion, both during my boyhood and adolescence, and I wish I had tape-recordings of our conversations. We were so scornful of the latest fad, blared by the media, that we in some ways resembled old men, for there was, amidst all the sensationalist hoop-la, some genuine talent, yet we were prone to scorn the new like crusty conservatives.  However it was the fanfare we scorned, and continued to scorn, even when we begrudged that the Beatles had some talent, as did Cassius Clay.

My closest friend of all, who unfortunately died in his early fifties,  was in some ways my greatest critic, for he was scornful of any infatuation, and I got infatuated a lot. However he was also my greatest fan, for when I stood my ground, and stated I was not infatuated but enchanted by an actual Truth, and went jaw to jaw and argued long and hard, he might “get what I was saying.” Then the transformation his face went through was a sight to behold. As a light clicked on in his mind he went from scorn to admiration in a way that should have caused him whiplash. But most of the time he did puncture my balloon, and successfully pointed out I was what he called, “brainwashed.”

The opposite of being brainwashed was to think for yourself. This was once called being a “free thinker”, but that term is now connected to a mere fashion, and has bad connotations. (My mother used to joke, in the 1950’s, “I want to be a non-conformist like everyone else”.)

To think for yourself is in some ways lonely, for you are comparing fashion with Truth, which is watching from the sidelines. (I’ll bet you were wondering how I was going to get back to what I called “the escape from nonsense”, twelve paragraphs ago; namely: Truth.)

(Well the fact is, I’m not there yet. The subject of fashion holds some splendid examples of people playing Hide-and-Seek with Truth, so I’m going to run with the ideas in this sidetrack a bit longer, describing nonsense, before I describe “the end to nonsense”)

As a bachelor the fact I had “no taste” was advantageous,  because being unfashionable is a great way to save money. I tried to emulate Henry Thoreau’s ideas in the “Economy” chapter of “Walden”. I never got to the point where I only owned two pairs of pants. (You wear the first when you have to wash the second.) But I felt no shame in faded stuff, or accepting hand-me-downs. There are men in Washington DC who spend more on a single suit than I spent on clothing in twenty years. It didn’t bother me when I got odd looks for wearing T-shirts with strange logos on the front.  (For example: “University of Texas Woman’s Basketball Team”.)

However when I married I immediately had three small children who were mortified that their mother had married a man without a lick of fashion sense. I said common sense was better, and, as we were poor, we’d better have common sense and not spend a fortune on sneakers. I figured that, as a father, I should teach the kids to have a sane attitude about fashion. The kids figured they should teach me the same thing.

My new, eight-year-old son had a “spike” hair cut, which involved wasting what seemed like forever each morning getting his hair to stand up like he’d touched an electrical outlet. I think some sort of wax was involved. One morning I told him he could skip the bother, for it was zero (-17º Celsius) with the wind gusting to gale force, and he’d have to wear a hat. The small boy looked me in the eye and stated that there was no finking way he’d wear a hat. Our first argument began, and would have gotten out of hand, but my wife intervened and stated that if her son wanted to freeze his ears off, I should let him. I relented, but forced him to bring a woolen cap, stuffed into the pocket of his jacket.

At the same time I’d finally been worn down, and bought my two new daughters the ugly boots they had been wailing they would die for. To me they looked all the world like army boots. The girls had pleaded all through the late-summer and fall, but we simply couldn’t afford hundred-dollar boots. However suddenly they were only 14 dollars at a store I passed through, so I got them. With winter’s snows coming, boots made sense. But fashion made no sense, for just then the style shifted to what looked like ballet slippers. That was why the price of boots had plunged. The store was overstocked with an out-of-style item.

My daughters were not thrilled to get the out-of-style boots, but put them on, as we had gotten our first snow, four inches. To me it seemed fortuitous they had gotten such fine boots so cheaply, but they made it clear the new slipper-like footwear would have been a better buy. Then, as I drove them to school, we had to slow to crawl, due to two girls, the “coolest” girls in the school, being unable to walk at the side of the road. Their slippers were so useless in snow they had to pick their way in the treads made by cars, right out in the road.  This meant a long line of cars had to creep along behind them.

I had a good laugh, and did not avoid the opportunity to deliver a lecture to my new daughters, stating that fashion-sense can make a person look foolish, whereas common-sense is based on Truth, which, on this occasion, was four inches of snow. Judging from their expressions, my daughters didn’t appreciate my wisdom one bit.

I found it ironic that I was deemed such an old fuddy duddy, concerning fashion, because when I was a teenager I was part of a mutiny against the authorities at my high-school. While our school didn’t have a uniform, it did have a dress code, and it forbade wearing bluejeans. I stated I had the right to wear comfortable clothing, and, somewhat to my surprise, the authorities backed down. However I figured that, in my case, fashion was not the object; rather the object was comfort. There seemed no comfort, nor sanity, in wearing ballet slippers in snow.

To me it seemed fashion was a way to exploit youth. Thinking back to my own teens, I could recall an exploitation or two. One that sprang to mind, when my girls were clamoring for boots, was the phenomenon of “Beatle Boots.”

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Beatle Boots were all the rage, in 1964, but my school promptly banned them as being “against the dress code”, and parents were spared the expense of buying them. I was actually glad, for they looked darned uncomfortable; I preferred canvas sneakers, if I couldn’t go barefoot.

As years passed and I watched the weirdness of fashion, and saw how much money some made exploiting others, it seemed like Walt Disney must be rolling in his grave, for where he sought to entertain children the corporation bearing his name sought to exploit them, and also their parents. I felt children didn’t need the fuss and bother of being fashionable, at an age their minds should be attending to other things.  While I didn’t like wearing a school uniform, (the one year I attended a school that required one), I had to admit it freed me from having to think about what to wear, first thing in the morning.

Of course, when you start talking about uniforms the Zhongshan Suit springs to mind.

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The designer of this outfit was the great Chinese nationalist Sun Yat-sen, and his aim was freedom. He wanted a sensible outfit that freed the Chinese people from both the expense and bother of their traditional outfits, and from the foreign influence of Parisian fashions, however under Mao the desire for freedom mutated into a monster, during the Cultural Revolution. At that time anything the slightest bit “western” was seen as “counter-revolutionary”, and a person might be beaten to death if his home was searched by the Red Guard and he was found in the possession of a necktie. People wore the Zhongshan Suit because they were scared to wear anything else.

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The Cultural Revolution was a nightmare difficult to imagine. China lost nearly all its school teachers, because the Red Guard saw them as backward, because textbooks used ideas from the past. Teachers were hauled from classrooms and beaten in the streets. Many of the Red Guard’s new, “progressive” ideas were tantamount to madness.

One of my favorite madnesses involves members of the Red Guard scowling at a traffic light, seeing evil in the fact that the color of communism, red, was used to stop traffic. It seemed a capitalist plot. They were in the process of demanding all traffic stop for green lights and go when lights turned red, when (perhaps out of a fear of a massive traffic accident), the Red Guard’s leaders were taken aside by Mao’s second in command, and gently informed traffic lights were not an insult to communism, as the red was on top, and also red benignly prevented collisions among the proletariat.

(The fact Mao allowed this insanity to continue for two years, when he could have stopped it with a snap of his fingers, leads me to believe he was fed up with China, and basically wanted to tear it down and start over. His “Great Leap Forward” had been a miserable failure, and in some ways made China more backwards, as Japan and South Korea boomed and became prosperous by using non-communistic approaches. Perhaps Mao even wanted to avoid getting blamed, by wiping out anyone intelligent enough to point a finger his way. What seemed to occur was that he learned an agreeable situation is not achieved by purging all who disagree.)

In the end not even the conformity of the Zhongshan Suit could prevent humanity’s innate lack-of-conformity (also called individuality) from enduring, and at times shining out. Even when women all dress the same, beauty differs like the colors gleaming from a diamond.

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The final irony of the Zhongshan suit is that, while it was created to free people from tradition, the current president of China wears it as a sign he is rooted in the past. You will notice, however, his wife is not wearing one.)

Chinese President Xi Jinping Visits the Netherlands

Even when an entire nation was forced to wear the same fashion one was able to determine people’s rank. Higher ranking people wore Zhongshan Suits of finer fabric, while the lower ranks bore the courser cloth. This brings up the idea of a “statement” fashion is making, even when it is a uniform. Fashion in some way states what your rank is.

As soon as you bring up the subject of rank, the subject of promotion arises. People want to improve their position. My personal view is that the view of “equality” some socialists advocate comes into conflict with a natural human thirst for self-expression and self-improvement. “Equality” does not mean we should idolize uniformity. We all differ right down to the tips of our fingers. Our individuality means we each have some sort of unique ability or talent, a “gift”,  and society as a whole benefits when the gifts of its individuals are promoted.

But two things have a tendency to rise to the top;  the cream, but also the crap. When you are smelting gold, the crap is called “dross”, and is skimmed away to make the gold more pure. Therefore, when discussing the subject of ranks and promotions, one needs to take into account the fact some seek to rise as “social climbers”, and could care less about the actual gifts they may own (or the gifts of others whom they step on, on their way up the ladder.) All such a person desires is a gratification of their lust for money, power, and fame, (and obtaining the comforts these big three make available.) One needs to recognize such people exist, but also that this doesn’t make all ambition wrong. Rather such tendencies should be seen as the corruption of something good, for the desire to improve is a good thing. What a society should desire is ways to allow the cream to rise, but not the crap. This is not an easy task, and makes life very interesting.

The United States has had its struggles with various sorts of corruption, but on a whole has done a decent job of being a place that allows people the liberty to develop their God given gifts. One final tale, involving fashion and uniforms, demonstrates the complexity of this struggle.

When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 the general view of the United States was not that my homeland was a strong nation that could win, but rather was that we were hopelessly disorganized. The USA was not predicted to get our act together to a degree where we could oppose the organized military-mentalities  of our foes. Unprecedented challenges involving unprecedented weaponry required unprecedented changes. Things indeed did not go well at first, as there was a mad scramble to turn a people, used to being free to do what they wanted, into soldiers who could follow orders. This involved a huge sacrifice of individual liberties, not only by the soldiers themselves, but by the public as well, as goods were rationed. This included the fabric for clothing. Fashions that used a lot of cloth, such as pleated skirts, were frowned upon, if not actually banned. For the most part fashion designers complied, though people could still wear pleated skirts if they already owned them, though what woman would? Pleated skirts were out of style.

Men’s greatest sacrifice was the company of women. There were ten million goodbyes. It was a good-bye “for the duration”, and no one knew how long the war would last, or how it might end.






Then men were plunged into a womanless world, where fashion didn’t mean much.

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Often the good times, few and far between, were womanless and fashionless.

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The largest ship promised no safety.

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If your ship sank you swam in flaming oil, and rescue was uncertain.

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Home, women, and fashion was far away, and the only link was letters.

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Notice the African-American in the above picture, eight months from the war’s start. At sea segregation was also a thing left behind, partly because ships at sea historically had to replace lost crewmen in foreign ports.  This had occurred for centuries, and racially diverse groups were more common at sea than ashore, (and not only a feature of Melville’s “Moby Dick”). In the U.S. Navy African-Americans usually (but not always) worked in the galley, but were trained to man battle stations when under attack.

Bye 11 226693957031da58d4f868212b3b695c

Many Hispanics joined the Navy (and other branches of the military) at the start of the war, and an added reason for doing so was that it would establish the fact they were citizens and not “wetbacks”. Many had fled north from a life of being treated like peons on Mexico, wanting a better life, but lived under the cloud of possible deportation. The elders, among those Hispanic refugees, walked on eggs and were careful not to anger their northern hosts, but their children rebelled from their parent’s subservient, peon-like attitudes, and stood tall and proud.

Fashion 5 Gdoembu

The “fashion-statement” worn in the above picture was called a “Zoot Suit”. It used more cloth than was allowed, after the bureaucrats in charge of rationing determined the limits, but Zoot Suits made before the war were not made illegal, and were worn with pride, in a sense displaying the rank of Americans who were not white, but just as able to flaunt their virility as any other man.

In the frantic scramble at the start of the war the bureaucrats, with their typical intelligence, decide to plop a Navy base right in the heart of a Hispanic section of Los Angeles, with predictable results.

Young, basically sex-starved, sailors were set loose in a residential neighborhood. Bad idea.

(In most ports sailors were directed to a red-light district; in Boston it was called “Scollay Square”, (which was torn down to make room for the equally corrupt place that is now called “Government Center”.) In 1940 church groups in Puritan New England, worried about young sailors being led astray, attempted to save their souls by organizing “church socials” far from Scollay Square that served tea and cookies, and it was at one of those church socials that my mother met a young English sailor who might have been my father, had not the young man died during England’s successful attempt to bring convoys of goods to Russia’s arctic ports, to save Russia after Hitler’s attack. [Incidentally, those convoys cut through arctic waters that had less sea-ice than modern Global Warming Alarmists admit.] The price of that victory was keenly felt by my mother.)

Sailors were less welcome in the Hispanic neighborhood, likely because the sailors were not looking for “church socials”, and also they were predominately of a different race and culture.  As a grandfather, I would not be comfortable with such an invasion of aliens in my neighborhood, and back when I was young I didn’t like anyone even smiling at a girl I was attracted to, (even if she wouldn’t go out with me). It is a situation just itching to escalate into fisticuffs.

In Los Angeles, in 1942, a sailor got his jaw broken by a young Hispanic, and fell to the sidewalk unconscious. His crew mates sprang to his aid, carried him to safety, and told the rest of the crew what had happened. 200 sailors returned to that neighborhood the next night, looking for any young man wearing a Zoot Suit. The “Zoot Suit Riots” had begun.

Bye 9 usc6

They went on for over a week. It was not a glorious moment in American History, as it was a no-win argument from the start. In terms of fashion, it was an argument between the Navy Uniform and the Zoot Suit, but both made a fashion statement for good things. The Navy uniform expressed a willingness to sacrifice and die for the home, while the Zoot Suit expressed young men’s pride in their home. Reasonable heads did not seem to prevail, as the First Lady accused the Navy of racism, and the Governor of California accused the First Lady of communism. (Hmm…times have changed, as roles reverse.) As is usual, in cases of fashion, Truth stood on the sidelines. The fracas continued evening after evening, with the outnumbered Hispanics obstinately refusing to stop wearing Zoot Suits, even when boys only twelve had them ripped from their bodies.

Bye 10 image

In the end the only way to stop the riot was segregation. The sailors were confined to their barracks. Large numbers of Hispanics wearing Zoot Suits were arrested, (with charges so flimsy they were later thrown out in court), and incarcerated in cells.

Someone then suggested the entire riot was a plot of Hitler’s, to get America fighting Mexico. This idea, even if an absurd fabrication, did seem to wake people up to a bigger fight they should be attending to. And, even if Hitler had nothing to do with the riot, it did seem to be of his mentality, so perhaps the suggestion did come from Truth, whispering from the sidelines.

One wonderful thing manifested during this riot, which differentiates it from the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and the difference is this:  No one died.

It is remarkable. More than a week of brawling, broken jaws, black eyes, busted noses, shredded clothing, humiliations, hurt feelings, and, in the end, no loss of life. Actually, if you want my opinion, the affair was more of an expression of life, than a negation. And perhaps it was (and hopefully still is) an attribute of America that people can vehemently oppose each other, without actually killing.

For the Truth is this: Truth is vast. It is bigger than any small mind, or the combination of minds we call a “culture.” It is a kaleidoscope that confronts our petty grasp with endless variations that can either crumple us with despair (if we feel we must “figure it out”) or floor us with wonder (if we sit back and watch.)

Therefore, we shouldn’t take fashion too seriously. Whatever “statement” it makes is not The Big Picture. It is often fleeting and will be gone tomorrow. It is as ephemeral as saying, “I have a headache.”  Yes, it is true, but it is not an earth-shaking truth.

Nor should people seriously believe being fashionable changes you. If I don a white wig like George Washington and a stove-pipe hat like Abraham Lincoln, does it make me as admirable as both men combined, or does it make me absurd?

I will admit that being fashionable does often indicate a person is of the agreeable kind.  You know the sort: Often very nice people. They are quick to nod at whatever you say, and utter things such as,  “Exactly!” and “Precisely!” even when you are neither. But there are times being agreeable is not the same thing as being honest.  For example, if a person nods when you state, “I should get the promotion, and you should keep doing the job you do so very well,” they may not be entirely in agreement when they nod. Peer deep into their eyes. You may see the truth is not pretty, and that they are plotting to trip you up, though they nod and smile.

It might seem a sort of utopia to have all in agreement, but it simply isn’t spiritual. What such an enforced sameness created in China was a situation where Truth hid behind a smiling mask of nodding agreement. You wore your Zhongshan Suit and held your book of Mao’s sayings high, and kept your aspirations to yourself. It made a man sneaky.

It is far better to live in a land that allows people to be disagreeable. For the fact of the matter is that we humans are individuals, and individuality is bound to result in differences. Big deal. Our eyes don’t even agree. Line up your thumb, looking at an object on the far wall, using your right eye, and then look with your left eye, and you’ll see your thumb is not lined up. Does this disagreement between your eyes cause a quarrel? No, (unless you’ve downed ten pints at the pub). Ordinarily the disagreement between eyes results in something neither eye has alone: Depth perception. And in like manner a society that allows disagreement is blessed.

I myself do believe there are truths that are biggies, and aligned with Truth (with a capital “T”), and therefore there is such a thing as the difference between “right” and “wrong”. But this gives no man the right to be a sanctimonious snot, for there are plenty of imperfections to go around. If you want to be aligned with Truth, a good place to start is at the mirror.  In fact the most refreshing fellows are the ones who confess their shortcomings and are able to laugh at themselves.

One of the most horrid shortcomings of modern Christianity is that too many people who go to church are sanctimonious snots. They fail to recognize snottiness isn’t allowed, in their own scriptures. The Christian word for “shortcoming” is “sin”, and sin is not merely forgiven by Christ, nor merely a goof made in youth, but practically a thing you are commanded to have. Saint Paul, despite all his heroic deeds, confesses his failures and concludes “what a wretched man am I” (before moving on to inspiration), and Saint John states, in essence, “If you say you have no sin you call God a liar” (before moving on to inspiration). In other words, we’re human. We screw up. However the escape is Truth, and honesty.

Science is not opposed to Truth. It is the epitome of seeking Truth, (albeit limited by its need-to-replicate), (when some incidents in life only occur once.) It obeys commandments as strict as those saints obey, in terms of speaking the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth.

Most of the arguments I’ve heard that attempt to pit science against religion are uttered by people who, in my frank and not very humble opinion, don’t believe in either. In my younger days I was one of them, and I know all about trying to gratify certain lusts without facing the consequences. It is neither scientific nor religious to believe actions don’t have reactions. Call it Karma if you will, but life involves repercussions: “You’ve had your way; Now you must pay”,


Some other evening I might tell the tale of a time I sat as a drifter in a campground, with a generous fellow I really liked to my right, stating the world was 6000 years old, and a selfish fellow I had to work hard at liking to my left, spouting Darwin. They were the left eye and right eye, and because I was situated between them, I was blessed with a depth perception neither owned. But, as I said, that is the tale for some other evening. For now, you are just going to have to trust me on this:  Truth involves both sides.

This is especially true between men and women. Talk about opposites! Having experienced the failure of divorce and the success (so far) of my current marriage, I’d say this is one of the greatest differences challenging mortals. (The idea of “same-sex marriage” seems a bit like “same-race integration”. Sure, you can do it, but what sort of depth perception can you get with two right eyes?)

In the end, what is most vital and important is to be respectful to your own vision of Truth, while striving to hear others. And what is most destructive is to not try to hear others, and especially to be deaf to falsehood you yourself are confronted with within yourself.

If there was a “fashion statement” people of the United States could wear, like the Zhongshan Suit, it would be a fashion that stated you didn’t have to wear a Zhongshan Suit. In actual fact, when my younger sons recently graduated from collage, they could explain to me the philosophies represented by around ten different fashions worn by certain groups of students. I thought it would have been better if there were as many fashions as there were students, to represent their individuality as God created it, but it did seem a decent start at promoting the idea of “diversity.”

Unfortunately a mutation of this concept seems to be afflicting some american schools, wherein “diversity” involves the rejection of some, especially “whites”, (who represent the old fashioned ways of the “bourgeois and petty-bourgeois”, and symbolize the “counter revolution”). This came to a head recently at Evergreen University, when a professor stated it was actually racist to ban whites from an event.

In a sense this incident resembles the start of China’s “Cultural Revolution”. The faculty don’t seem to understand they themselves will be next to face what their fellow professor is facing. Rather they seem swept up in what is apparently fashionable, but could also be called a mob mentality. They accuse their peer of having,  “endangered faculty, staff, and students, making them targets of white supremacist backlash by promulgating misinformation in public emails, on national television, in news outlets, and on social media.”

I don’t see that he misinformed anyone by stating whites were not allowed on campus,  because they weren’t. Nor did he misinform anyone by saying that he felt this was wrong, for that was his honest opinion. Nor did he misinform anyone by stating that he was going to try to teach his class as usual, because that was what he was going to try to do.  However I’m trying to see the view of the left eye, even though it is obvious, using the right eye, that the left eye is not very accepting of the right eye, if it typecasts such a teacher as “supremacist”, even as it frowns at typecasting. (When someone calls a clean street dirty, it pays to sit in their driver’s seat, and see their windshield is dirty.) In any case, in the end I hope this is another Zoot Suit Riot, and Truth will whisper from the sidelines.

This finally brings me back towards to the start of this wandering essay, which was, in case you have forgotten, how people can respond to the “unprecedented” differently, with people hero-worshiping Babe Ruth and scorning Roger Maris on one hand, and scorning the Medieval Warm Period and hero-worshiping Current Warming on the other. The hypocrisy involves the dirt on the windshield, which sees one element of the past as “revolution” and another as “counter-revolution”, irrespective if the Truth of the present tense.

My conclusion is a bit grim, for I conclude that certain people are so steeped in dogma that they don’t care about the actual facts.  As far as I’m concerned both Babe Ruth and Roger Maris were amazing individuals, and both worthy of our admiration. Why spoil their magnificent achievements with a bunch of bickering? But at least no one denies the actual statistics, in the case of baseball. In baseball the box scores are sacrosanct, (though the fellow in the scoring booth, who determines the difference between a hit and an error, may catch hell.)

In the case of the Global Warming fiasco, actual facts and figures have been, and are being, distorted. This has gone past the point of the left eye denying what the right eye sees. It has reached a point where the left eye denies what the left eye can see.

The left can see there is no so-called “consensus” concerning Global Warming. Patient people have shown them, over and over, that there are many differing views, and that the idea that “97%” agree was falsely obtained. It doesn’t seem to matter, for leftist politicians trot out the authoritarian platitude “97%” as if it was written in Mao’s book. They want the masses to follow their fashion like lemmings. But this is the United States. Only in false elections, in lands where democracy is corrupted, do ideas win elections by 97%, (and in the United States the Global Warming Agenda might not win 50%).

This issue is not merely a matter of bullying the left, and ignoring what the left eye sees. It is a matter of insisting they see what the right eye can see, and what’s more can make visible to the left. It is not a matter that science cannot replicate, which must be a matter of belief, such as Jesus walking on water. It’s not a thing rammed down their throats, but laid gently on the table. It is actual facts.

Let me conclude this long winded essay with a single map of sea-ice, as determined by the Danes, back in the year 1938.

Dane 1938 sea-ice fig11

This map was produced largely using information gleaned by ships, because airplanes were still primitive and had no reason to fly north over sea-ice, and few people of that time even imagined satellites could expand our knowledge. The reason the map is from August, and there is no map from September, is because no sane fisherman would hang around up in the margins of the Arctic Sea when the ice began to reform. There was no air-rescue for a ship trapped by the swift regrowth of sea-ice, and even though the sea-ice minimum isn’t until September, few fishermen would press their luck so far.  They were after fish, and not after scientific data about the minimum. Therefore we should compare the above map of a long ago August with conditions last August.

Thickness Mid August FullSizeRender

It is obvious, comparing the two maps, there was more ice along the coast of Alaska in 1938. But perhaps we should be dubious about Danish records of Alaska, considering no Danish fishermen went that far. Yet surprisingly, the fellows recreating the past do accept Danish records of Alaska, but don’t trust the records of sea-ice where Danish fishermen actually sailed.  They apparently think the Danes were stupid, (or very careless),  and missed ice that must have been there. So they “adjust”, and when we compare the Dane’s record of “extent” with the “recreated extent”, we see they utterly miss the decrease of sea-ice that helped convoys bringing help to Russia once the war started. (Danish records in blue.) (The gap in the records was caused by the war.)

Sea-ice difference 1 fig17

In like manner, when you compare early satellite data (blue) with “recreated data” you notice another dip missed in 1973.

Sea-ice difference 2 fig19

How could the “recreated” data miss such obvious dips, unless the people doing the recreating cared for some agenda that seemed more important than Truth?

I likely should stop there, for in a sense I have made my point. I have explained why people miss the True beauty of a Roger Maris,  a once-in-a-lifetime athlete at his best, because they instead preferred nosing about in the rubbish called “status quo”.  Call it “the agenda” or “the fashion” or “political correctness,” it is wrong. Rather than accepting the Truth, such seekers snub it.

However out of pity I will speak more. For I feel for the young students, who accept the adjusted data, the “agenda”, as a sort of gospel. These poor, brainwashed students are loyal to their corrupted professors, professors who deserve a special spot in hell for what they teach, claiming they honor Truth though I think they know very well that what they teach is “adjusted”. (If they don’t know, they have no business calling themselves knowledgeable.)

It is peculiar that students can be so faithful and loyal to professors who basically mock faith and loyalty, and it is awful how students can rampage when they eventually see their elders were not worth the faith and loyalty that was bestowed upon them. Were the teachers in China not leftists, loyal to Mao? They were dragged from their classrooms and beaten in the streets and, if they survived that, banned from classrooms and sent to plant rice in muddy paddies until they collapsed under the weight of disgrace and exhaustion. (I suppose that is what loyalty earns you, when you are loyal to dogma that disdains loyalty.)

I don’t want to see such a backlash in my own homeland. I feel for that lone professor at Evergreen University, though his politics are very different from mine, because the Global Warming Debate taught me what it is like to stand up for Truth, and be singled out as a “Denier.” I wrote this essay simply to state there is an alternative to such hogwash, and it is Truth. Truth is best. Accept no substitutes.

When you stand up for Truth you can find yourself out of fashion, and be what is called “marginalized”. This is actually a good place to be, because when you are relegated to the sidelines you discover Truth is standing at your side, watching the game with you. Then you discover something even greater. Truth isn’t just watching from the sidelines. Truth is the coach.

Some state Truth is a sort of byproduct of studying Creation, and varies depending on where your study’s outlook began from. “What is Truth?” they sigh, “When Vikings said war was good even as Buddhists said war was bad?” But Truth actually created Creation, and is woven into every stitch of the tapestry we witness every day. It cannot be denied without unraveling occurring.

Engineers know one ignores Truth and laws at their own peril. When politicians under-fund a culvert, perhaps pocketing money for “social impact studies” (or some other way of looting the cash-box), the engineers are the ones who point out a skimpy culvert, only designed to handle a once-every-25-year-storm, could wash out tomorrow, if tomorrow is the day a once-every-50-year-storm hits. Truth will not be mocked. But politicians can avoid getting strangled with the adroitness of eels, which is why the engineers get blamed when a brand-new, under-funded culvert gets washed out. However such slithering can only work so long before the public wises up. Excuses get hollow when all the roads are washed out, and the politician owns a Cadillac. Truth will not be mocked.

Roman engineers apparently got plenty of funding, and were able to build roads and aqueducts that still are in use after 2000 years, but even they couldn’t grasp the scope and reach of Truth, for when they built bridges able to handle a once-every-2000-year-flood, they could not imagine how silly their bridges would look when the green lushness of the Roman Climate Optimum ended, and the rivers simply vanished. (Nor did the Romans dream the greatest threat to their bridges would be people needing building blocks.)


Oddly, apparently the best “Climate Scientist” of those ancient days was a poet named Isaiah, who tended to look at Truth in a non-replicatable, unscientific way. He looked over the lush lands of vineyards and olive groves and green pastures, and forecast it would become briers and wasteland, only fit for wild goats. After that, he forecast, it would again be filled with streams of clear waters. (He got the first part right).

Isaiah’s amazing poetry did more the forecast the weather or discuss physical engineering. It forecast what a culture can expect, when it starts to think social engineering can mock the Truth, and is above the Law. To me it seems that what was true for Israel and Judea 2700 years ago still applies today.

The greatest poets tap into truths that echo down through the ages and never become obsolete. Shakespeare described how what goes around comes around in a manner that doesn’t come across as moralistic, and in fact perfectly describes people we meet today, including the person we greet each morning in the mirror. And all the poetry boils down to this:  Truth is best. Accept no substitutes.

LOCAL VIEW –First Heat Wave–

June 2 FullSizeRender

We have swung from dismal and wet to what Joe Bastardi calls, “Suddenly Summer.” No one is complaining, (so far).  If we can reach 90° (32° Celsius) before the cool front sinks south with thunder on Tuesday, we may even fulfill the requirements for an official heat wave, (three straight days above 90°), and that is rare for these hills.

I’ve got a lot of gardening to do, and will have to schedule it for early in the day, before the heat gets too oppressive, but today is Sunday, The Day Of Rest, and I’m just letting the soreness soak out of old muscles.

Warm at dawn, amber beams baste butter
On the young leaves of June, and I recall,
As I always recall, the pangs of utter
Torture of last days of school, and how all
That schoolmarm sniping suddenly would cease,
And I’d awake, see window make bedroom wall
Twelve golden squares, and feel sublime peace
Knowing no tyrant teachers could make skin crawl.

Oh, to have nothing like that once again!
It makes me wonder over how I could be
So rich when poor, so free, so soothed
When my vacation held no itinerary.
Nothing was a wonderful thing to do
And I wish I could do it again, with you.


ARCTIC SEA ICE —2017 Thaw Begins–

We have reached the short window of opportunity in the arctic when the sun is high (by arctic standards) and relentless. It never sets.  In fact, if the arctic was a flat, snowless desert of dry sand at sea level, the constant heating of the sun would make it hot, and warm fronts would head south. As it is the heat is used up warming the sea-ice from roughly -30°C to zero, and in melting the snow atop the ice (which involves turning a lot of the available heat into latent heat, as the water goes through the phase change from solid to liquid.)  For roughly three weeks before and after the summer solstice the Pole receives more heat than it loses, and we can expect to see temperatures zoom up to just above freezing, at which point they flatten, as all the heat is consumed by the process of turning solid water to liquid water. There are only slight variations from this pattern, summer after summer, but these variations are interesting.

One interesting fact is that during the depth of winter temperatures drop so low that salt loses its ability to melt snow. Above that temperature (roughly -10°C [+14°F]) the salt forms brine which bores down through the ice, but below those temperatures the salt is exuded from the ice and blows about as a powder. Under certain conditions there can be minute drifts of powdered salt at the sides of fresh, flat frozen leads, during the dead of winter. This salt is mixed in with the powdered snow, and any time a surge of southern air invades the arctic in the winter and temperatures are briefly raised above -10°C, the snow softens due to the salt; then it refreezes, which gives the snow atop the ice a starchy quality, and makes the wind unable to drift it. Then, when temperatures finally rise in the spring, the “melt” begins well before temperatures get back up to freezing (and available heat is consumed, becoming latent heat, before you would think.)

Another thing that has to happen is that the ice itself must warm. There are fascinating charts produced by dedicated scientists that show a cross section of the ice, and temperatures at various depths. At the end of winter the ice is coldest at the top and warmest at the very bottom, but when the ice starts gaining heat from above, there is a period when the ice is coldest in the middle. Then, towards the end of the summer, the ice is at zero where it is melting from above and at -1.7° where it is melting from below. At the start of September the ice can be refreezing from above, at zero, even as it is still melting away from below at -1.7°C (which has fooled me many a time, as I think the thaw is over when it isn’t).

Currently there is little visual evidence the ice is melting, but the air temperatures nudge above freezing at times. Down at lower latitudes, such as at Barrow at 70° north, there is enough of a diurnal variation so that, even though the sun is still up at midnight, it drops low enough to the horizon for frost to form. It touched 40°F a week ago, but was cold enough for snow a day later. The ice is still frozen fast to the shore, and shows no sign of budging despite tides and strong winds, as it is apparently over 20 feet thick. (Double error: First, this is the 2016 graph, and second, I misread the bottom as the bottom-of-the ice. The ice is thicker this year. I don’t know why they haven’t updated. Funding? But no use blaming them for my mistake. [Too rushed.])

Barrow 20170609 535eaa087abc4df83c000179

I like to google “Barrow Webcam” and then watch the ten-day-animation from the roof of the bank building, for one gets a feeling for the diurnal variation, just watching the snow and frost form and then melt away on the bank building’s roof, at the very bottom of the picture. (Bit of snow left, just to right of vent in midnight picture below.) (Temperature 28°F [-2.2°C] with a strong north breeze of 22 mph.)

Barrow 20170609 23_27_10_908_ABCam_20170609_072400

The further north you go the less the diurnal variation is, until at the Pole it is absent. O-buoy 14 is still far enough south, at 74° north, for the diurnal effect to be clear. It experienced its first thaw May 25-27

Obuoy 14 0601 temperature-1week

And another June 3

Obuoy 14 0609 temperature-1week

(The little peaks in temperature are caused by what I’ve dubbed BHI (Buoy Heat Islands). In the summer buoys can actually form their own little melt-water pools.)

The milder temperatures often bring north moisture, and fog.

Obuoy 14 0601 webcam

(Fog is interesting, for rather than using up the available heat, it releases available heat in the phase change from vapor to liquid, as it condenses on the side of the cold ice like water on the side of a summertime drink.)

This far south on often sees the counter-intuitive phenomenon of temperatures dropping as the sun comes out. (The landscape has a more rounded look where there had been peaks and sharper features, indicative of the first effects of thaw.)

Obuoy 14 0607 webcam

Further north there are fewer signs of any diurnal effect, and the warming is more usually (but not always) a sign the sun is out. Up at 87° north, across the Pole at Army buoy 2017B, we are seeing a more general slow rise in temperatures, with the ups and downs more due to local conditions than time of day, (and we are sorely missing the visual confirmations of a North Pole Camera). (A plague on those who cut their funding.)

2017B 20170609 2017B_temp

Incidentally, at 2017B the ice has stopped growing thicker, but hasn’t yet started to thin.

Lastly we come to the DMI graph of air temperatures north of 80° latitude. While soaring upwards, it displayed a an interesting blip. First temperatures approached normal, but then sank back below normal, before approaching normal again.

DMI4 0609 meanT_2017

This blip was caused by Byoof (The Beaufort High) being shoved away from Canada and over the Pole, giving the Pole sunny weather, followed by a reappearance of the low “Ralph” at the Pole, creating cloudy weather, followed by Byoof returning.

Obviously there is more to be said about this, but as usual I am strapped for time. I’ll just stick the daily maps below (apologizing for some missing maps.) Hopefully I’ll find time to comment on some ideas I glean from the maps, later.










































For those interested in the yearly decent of ice “extent” towards its minimum, the decent is slower than last year and resembles 2014.

DMI4 0609 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

LOCAL VIEW –Gloomy June–

This is just a quick post to explain why I haven’t posted in so long.

A.) When I find time to write, I have felt attracted to a longer post, which is taking its sweet time to reach a publishable state.

B.) Considering my wife puts up with me, I figured I should put up a screen-house she has wanted for years, (and not the cheap and flimsy version I’ve bought her, from stores, that blows down in a thunderstorms. I thought it would take me only a couple days, but hammers seem to have gotten a lot heavier, and miss the nails a lot more than they used to, but….the project is done, (except for a lot of trim work and painting.)

Gloom 1 IMG_5051

Once I clean up my stuff , we can actually sit outside and not be swarmed by mosquitoes and black-flies.

Gloom 2 IMG_5050

But there is one small problem. The weather is horrible. The high temperature today was 47° (8° C) with a thick, cold mist driving in from the northeast. Below 50 degrees mosquitoes and black-flies aren’t even active. So my new porch is useless, and a miserable place to sit.

3.) It has been a remarkably wet and cold spring here. The leaves have finally come out, and we have had a few sunny spells and even a single hot day, but then things revert to early April’s weather.  I know it is June because the day gets light at five, but three hours later cars still have their headlights on.

Gloom 4 IMG_5047

But teachers haven’t had to deal with unruly children in sweltering classrooms, which is a problem, because they had planned for unruly children in sweltering classrooms, and thought it clever to schedule outside activities.

Gloom 3 IMG_5049

At our Childcare we went outside anyway. Something about a boy’s biorhythms simply know it’s June, and they were wild. I had a hard time keeping up with them on a hike. (It was interesting to watch a eight-year-old who had flown up from Texas heat, romping with the rest; I thought he’d be cold, and eventually he was, but mostly he amazed me by joining right in with the laughter and the rambling through wet underbrush.)

Considering how high the sun is, it is uncanny the noon didn’t warm at all today. It’s worth saving a map of the June nor’easter for future reference (and for arguments with Global Warming Alarmists.)

29170606 satsfc

4.) This sort of weather always makes me introspective. It was actually good therapy to be building a screen house, keeping from withdrawing too deeply, especially because June 6 always makes me introspective as well, thinking of the man I knew who was on Omaha Beach and took a bullet to his heart, but amazingly survived, and of the many who didn’t.  Last year I worked two weeks on my introspections:

This year is no different. Before plunging into summer I withdraw into the past, and walk corridors of history. Hopefully a good post will come from it. Or perhaps at least a half-decent sonnet:

Few things are more dismal than drizzle in June
With the wind from the cold North Atlantic.
The music is dripping; no bird sings a tune;
And wet leaves whip silhouettes frantic.
It’s a cold day, yet I strive to thank it.
A driving mist drenches; nothing is dry.
I put wood in my wood stove, and crank it,
And count my blessings, or at least try
But it is distressing a purple sky’s
Pressing the uplift of June into mud.
Water is stinging my upturning eyes.
This weather’s not stirring my blood
But I’ll sing a sonnet. Old men are wise;
They know black but highlights brightening skies.

Indeed the future looks brighter. Next week I may gripe about the heat!

Gloom 5 FullSizeRender

ARCTIC SEA ICE –A Spring Lull– UPDATED (Twice)

The weather has been fairly tranquil up over the Pole, and I suppose that is bad, if you are after sensationalism. The best I can offer is that temperatures have remained steadily below normal.

DMI4 0523 meanT_2017

We seem to be returning to an earlier pattern we saw reversed to some degree last summer. I’ll call the old pattern “The Quiet Sun Pattern”. Last summer it was reversed by an abundance of milder air left over from a major El Nino, but now that surplus is used up, and we are returning to the former pattern, after a brief interruption.

“The Quiet Sun Pattern”, as I envision it, generally involves above-normal temperatures during the winter and below normal temperatures during the summer.

The winter’s “warmth” is an illusion, as temperatures are far below freezing, and a meridional pattern brings more fuel north for more storms. The winter air has less chance to settle and let the cold sink in, because it is so windy. The sea-ice is fractured and constantly shifted, and the waters beneath the ice are far more disturbed than they are in the deep calm and cold of a more zonal pattern. (I think we need more on-ice buoys, and more research about changes in the waters under the ice.)

During the summer the meridional flow continues, albeit in a more benign manner. For the most part the winds seem to die down, but there are more clouds and more low pressure. Speaking as a merely subjective onlooker, there seems to be less of the high pressure that allows sunshine to beam down twenty-four-hours-a-day for days on end. The most wonderful pictures of melt-water pools and melt-water rivulets and melt-water drains seem to be from before the sun became so quiet. More recently the pools have displayed a disconcerting tendency to freeze over, even in July, and then be covered by drifting snow, even in July, before resuming their melt. Consequently it has become very obvious that the melt from above pales in comparison to the melt from below, concerning the total melt of sea-ice. On a number of occasions the O-buoys clearly demonstrated that the summer melt was over, at the surface, and the autumnal refreeze had begun, before the sea-ice broke up, melted from beneath.

“The Quiet Sun Pattern”, in increasing the low pressure at the Pole, has encouraged the formation of quite a number of small breezy storms, and a few remarkable gales. (By “remarkable” I mean pressures down toward 960 mb, with gale-force winds.) These storms, even the small ones, jostle the sea-ice by reversing the flow of the usual Beafort Gyre and Transpolar Drift.Transpolar Drift Working_area_groß

Besides a shift of winds reversing the movement of the sea-ice above the water, there is a stirring below the water. The Physics of the stirring is wonderful and miles beyond my comprehension. (Google “Ekman Transport” and “Ekman Spirals”).  I prefer to think of the stirring in layman’s terms: The sea-ice is like an oar in the water, and when the ice “pulls” against the water, you see the blade make whirlpools and other examples of agitated water,  This stuff happens even with the smaller storms, that barely nudge the ice. The really big gales make a shambles of the situation, and often expose the water itself to their winds. They result in extreme agitation of the water under the ice.

What does this mean in terms of the melting of the ice?  Well, usually there is a protective layer of colder water between the sea-ice and slightly warmer water beneath. If the water is agitated two things happen. The sea-ice above gets melted faster than usual, and the slightly-warmer water beneath gets chilled more than usual. (Of course, the superficial and shallow media only looks at the surface, and cannot look deeply; therefore you see lots of headlines about less ice on the surface, but never a peep about a chilled “pycnocline”,  (which is the highfalutin, lar-de-dar word for those slightly-warmer waters under the sea-ice).

There should be such pycnocline headlines, because last summer there was not one, but two bombastic gales churning the Arctic Sea in August. There were plenty of headlines about the way the sea-ice was melted, but did a single reporter shed a single tear for the poor neglected pycnocline?

No! What heartless cads these reporters must be! The pycnocline may very well be shivering, chilled to the bone, but do those snotty reporters even turn their heads to look?  No. And why? Because they are shallow people, and shallow people cannot look deeply, and see how significant the pycnocline is. Instead shallow people think a trace gas, a few molecules in a million, matters more. They traipse about like Marie Antoinette (reputedly) saying “let them eat cake”, utterly oblivious to the fact the pycnocline has power, the pycnocline will not stand being ignored,  and the pycnocline will arise and….and…(hmm….I’m getting a bit too carried away)….(delete the reference to guillotines)….melt less ice than usual this summer.

For the moment, however, the power of the pycnocline is subdued, for things are quiet at the Pole. There is very little stirring going on. A hush has fallen. Perhaps it is the calm before the storm? All await in breathless anticipation, for what occurs could be the complete ruin of investors in Carbon Credits, or make them (briefly) fabulously wealthy.

This is a time the sea-ice has strange power, for it “remembers” the cold of a month ago. It is colder than the water below, and colder than the air above. Even though the air above is warmer, it sucks the heat from that air and makes the air colder. At the same time, even though the water below is warmer, it sucks the heat from that water and freezes the water closest to the ice. In fact the ice can be getting thicker, even if the air above is above freezing, because the ice is thirty-below, four feet down.

Of course this cannot go on for long. As the ice sucks heat from the air above and the water below it slowly warms to a degree it loses its power to even stay frozen, but in May sea-ice is a strange substance that messes up common-sense calculations.

When the weather is predominantly calm, the strange power of May sea-ice resists melting, and the “extent” graph slows its decent. This aggravates Alarmists, bu they will not want to listen to the reasons, for it has zilch to do with CO2, and much to do with a lack of stirring winds.

In any case, the “extent” graph has failed to keep up with last year’s “Unprecedented” decent, (which is embarrassing to some Alarmists, who think the melt should be faster.)

DMI4 0523 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

The above graph shows we are closer to the Highest September extent (2014) than we are to setting a new record, but we are also close to matching the lowest highest September extent in the last decade. (2006) [2006 lilac, 2016 red, 2017 purple, below]

2006 vs 2017 Extent May FullSizeRender

Of course, now that “extent” graphs are no longer supportive to the idea of a sea-ice “death spiral”, Alarmists will retreat to the “volume” graphs, which are very flimsy, and full of flaws, because we have a hard time measuring “thickness.” But the DMI graph shows volume greater than last year’s.

FullSize_DMI4 0523 CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20170523

Now, because I know how difficult it is to determine the thickness of sea-ice,  I do question some assumptions DMI makes, as they determine volume. But I would do so respectfully, for I have an inkling of how much work is involved to do what they do. Furthermore, I constantly use their insights, even if I do so with reservations. I am grateful for DMI’s hard work, even if I disagree with some of their assumptions.

Therefore I am embarrassed I have allowed a certain soul to comment on my site who spits on the DMI. You see, PIOMAS interpretations of data state that 2017 has less volume than 2016, and this certain soul has publicly stated that if you don’t agree with PIOMASS you are part of some sort of right-wing conspiracy.

I would like to apologize to all who work at DMI. I’m so sorry things have degraded to this degree. I myself praise your work, even if I disagree with some petty details, and I am hugely sorry some, in their smallness, seek to belittle you down to their own littleness.

We should stand up against those who seek to shrink us to their own shrunken state.

The best way to do this is to ignore them, in favor of simply focusing on what some make be a dull thing, “the facts”, but what is actually the beauty made by a magnificent Creator.

Each day makes us tired, and we eventually quit, and collapse into sleep. Is it over? No, because we are awakened by this magnificent thing called a “sunrise.” Can scientists capture a sunrise with calipers and thermometers? No, but artists can’t capture a sunrise either, with paint and/or symphonies.

Considering neither Scientists nor Artists can capture this thing that brings us from bed every day, how utterly arrogant and ignorant Alarmists seem, when they insist they have everything all figured out.

I do my best to oppose the flamboyant ignorance of Alarmist egotists by simply saying the Truth, as it is revealed to me. If I have time, I will continue to do so by including the DMI maps of the recent past, (which show the quiet lull that currently is upon the North Pole), as an update to this post.

However, no matter how carefully I observe, you can be sure a certain individual will reappear like a bad penny to insist his preconceptions trump my actual observations. I think I may just delete his banality, for I prefer other commentators, who comment with signs they have this thing called “an independent mind.”


As promised, below are the DMI maps for the past ten days.  In them I am looking for a couple of things.

First, I am looking to see any signs of the “MHO”, which is a concocted idea I’m playing around with which may not exist. In theory the MHO is a sort of impulse that travels clockwise (east to west) and provides an entrance for feeder bands that feed the low pressure “Ralph” at the Pole.

Second, I am watching for a certain positioning of “Byoof” (The Beaufort High) on the Canadian side of the Pole, with “Ralph” displaced on the Eurasian side, which creates a Pacific to Atlantic cross-polar-flow. A perfect set-up would look something like this:

Byoof and Ralph FullSizeRender

What this flow tends to do is decrease the ice in the Chukchi Sea north of Bering Strait, by pushing it north, and to increase the ice in Barents Sea, by pushing ice south. This happens to be something we saw develop this spring. On the Pacific side Bering Strait has less ice, while sea-ice is crunched right up against the coast of Svalbard on the Atlantic side.

Ron Clutz posted on the sea-ice in Barents Sea here:

In the comments, he shared this observation: “I note that Barents, at least in the last decade, rarely has an “average” year. Ice extents there follow a “dumbbell” distribution: either Barents melts out early and completely, or it hangs onto significant ice throughout. So maybe this year ice will hang on there.”

What I am keeping an eye out for is a sign the ice doesn’t sit where it is during the tranquility of summer, but instead continues south. Usually this requires the ice shifting towards Greenland and being flushed down its east coast, but there is lore from 1817 which seems to describe a far more general and massive discharge. (Part of me is still small boy, and prefers things to go crash and bang.)

Here is the current thickness map, showing the sea-ice pushed north of Bering Strait and south into Fram Strait and Barents Sea:

Thickness 20170525 Attachment-1


Here are the DMI maps. Hopefully I’ll find time to comment on them later.


When we last looked, the “MHO” (even if it is a sort of optical illusion) had finished a circuit of the Pole, (which was what made me notice it again and comment upon its possible existence). A new MHO feeder-band pumping north from east Siberia had allowed a “Ralph” to weakly form over the Pole. (A “Ralph” tends to interrupt any cross-polar-flow, when it sits directly upon the Pole.) This version of Ralph then weakly meandered south towards western Russia, in the very area that my MHO-theory should have had a east-to-west feeder-band pumping low pressure north.

Of course, when one is looking at ink-blots, one tends to see what their psychologist wants them to see, and this bias extends to weather maps. I creatively decided that, if the MJO (Madden-Jullien Occilation) can weaken and basically vanish from time to time, so could my MHO. The poor thing just happened to run into a particularly stout Scandinavian High-pressure, and was (make up a scientific-sounding word and insert it here.) (Hmm…perhaps it shrank up to the Pole and self-cannibalized itself. Yes…”self-cannibalized” is good.)

In any case, and on the other hand, it could be that,  maybe, perhaps, what might have happened was what was left of the MHO had continued west and was starting to influence the north Atlantic, where low pressure was becoming more obvious, though the lows did seem obedient to west-to-east westerlies, and to refuse to reinforce a polar “Ralph”, as the MHO theoretically should.

Also Byoof was being pushed north out of the Beaufort Sea by a weak low that had absolutely no business being in the Beaufort Sea. (I hate it when weather has absolutely no respect for my theories. It is like “the ugly fact destroying the beautiful hypothesis.”)

The remains of the weak Ralph’s warm sector, in the west Kara Sea, was part of what pulled a new and more vigorous low north into the Laptev Sea, with a Ralph-like “signature” making a hook in the temperature isotherms far to the east of where the MHO should be.

By this point I was ready to shred my theories and make a snowstorm of confetti with them. Byoof was so far astray it was more of a North Atlantic feature, the lows in the North Atlantic were toodling along straight to the east as if westerlies rule and there is no such thing as a MHO, there was no sort of cross-polar-flow whatseoever, and the closest things to a “Ralph” were weak lows in the wrong places (Beaufort Sea and Laptev Sea).

Anyway, by this time the so-called MHO should have proceeded west across the Atlantic and be over Greenland. So I sullenly looked that way, and lo and behold! If a little “signature” hook didn’t just then squeak up Greenland’s east coast, and a little “Ralph” appear on top of Greenland and wander towards the Pole:


Let this be a lesson to you:  If you insanely persist with a bias with dedication, you can find verification at least half as often as a blind squirrel finds a nut.

As this pathetic version of “Ralph” faded south, north of Svalbard, and was swept into the Westerlies, as a small storm in Barents Sea , the MHO theoretically would move further west to the Canadian Archipelago. Indeed a new “signature” hook appears in the Beaufort Sea temperature graph. (Ignore the man behind the curtain, who happens to be a huge gale fading in the Aleutians, whose east “warm sector” side sent a surge of Pacific air up through Alaska.) What is also interesting is how the Atlantic side of Byoof filled in, as a sort of tail ridging back towards the Pacific pumped up and became the new Byoof.

Unfortunately all the lows seem to be drifting west-to-east, as if the Westerlies are creeping north, as they do every summer. It makes it hard to talk about a east-to-west MHO when everything moves the wrong way.

Desperation is a theoretician’s friend. Please notice that the new Byoof is shaped like a mitten. The space between the fingers and thumb is low pressure, and…..Gadzooks! It is moving east-to-west! (Cue Hallelujah Chorus)  (This post is becoming a bit like a PBS documentary.)

By May 23 the old “Ralph”, still malingering in Barents Sea, combined with a low down over central Siberia, and was able to take advantage of the weakness in Byoof, formed by the faint low between the “thumb and fingers” and, in the slightly milder air brought north, a new “Ralph” forms.

Man! It sure took a lot of work, but now at long last Byoof is back where it’s suppose to be, Ralph is parked in the correct position on the Eurasian side, and we finally, finally are getting the Pacific to Atlantic cross-polar-flow I’ve been keeping an eye out for.

It’s a bit hard to explain Ralph forming where he did, using my MHO theory, as, at anything like a constant rate, the MHO would be back in Alaska, or in Bering Strait at best. But maybe I could get away with saying, “It sped up.” No? Well then, I’ll just say the old one “self-cannibalized”, and a new one formed ninety degrees west, around the top of the planet. (If I’ve learned anything from Global Warming, it is that B.S. does not stand for “Bachelor of Science.” )

In conclusion, I hope I have made a description of a dull part of the season entertaining. If you look back at the above maps you will see the isobars are generally far apart, which means the winds have slackened and the ice is shifting less. Also the minus-ten isotherm has vanished from the temperature maps, likely until September.

We are about into enter a brief time, sixty days on the sunniest summer, when the Arctic actually adds more heat to the planet than it subtracts. Not that this surplus sends warm fronts south, for it is largely used up melting ice. However, if the Arctic Ocean was replaced by dry land, warm fronts would come south, for as many as sixty days. It is a time of glorious sunshine twenty-four hours a day (unless, of course, there are clouds). Things will become more interesting. Stay tuned.

LOCAL VIEW –Moody Monday–

Moody 1 FullSizeRender

Sometimes the weekend is too short. I’m not ready for the sheer inanity of my fellow man when Monday rolls around.

I’ve been in an on-line discussion with someone about sea-ice. It has been frustrating because he or she will not talk about the things my eyes can see and that I can point to, but instead resorts to invisible things sensed by satellites, such as “mass-balance.” Finally I gave up trying to show what eyes can see, and basically stated, “Be that way, if you want.” I thought that would be the end of it, but this morning I got this lovely note:

“Caleb, you should be aware by know that the Heartland institute support whatever fake science industry pays them to support. This includes lobbying and generating doubt against regulations on CO2 emissions, ozone-destroying chemicals, second-hand-smoke, endangered species etc. They are part of the paid anti-science forces in the US. You are truly living in a conservative bubble if you are not aware of this. And Fred Singer’s past? For-hire fake scientist…shameful stuff.
I know this won’t be published, I just hope you read this and reflect a bit what kind of forces you are dealing with and endorse.”

Great. I haven’t even had my first coffee.

Anyway, I am reflecting on what kind of forces I am dealing with (if not endorsing.) It made me pout a bit. After all, I am only pointing out what my eyes can see, and discover I am a bad-guy, part of “anti-science forces”. Me!  And I’m such a nice old fossil.

Then, when driving the little children to kindergarten, I discover this lovely object has been parked at the entrance of the high school.

Moody 2 IMG_4929

I think the point of this is to stress the gravity of reckless driving to the high school seniors, who tend to go wild at the time of graduation. However, as is often the case with alarmists focusing on worst-case-scenarios, it immediately backfired. Someone was gawking at the appalling wreck, and promptly went off the road, not fifty yards away.

Moody 3 FullSizeRender

Sometimes human efforts look particularly lame and ineffectual, and I want to stop the world and get off. Funny how often this happens on Mondays.

Take my cheeks in Your palms and raise my eyes
To Your hills, for my vision’s gone heavy.
(Too much talk of itches with hearts so dry
They make thirst.)
                          Faith that has never been steady
Knows most about the worst, yet it yammers
On insistent, (Professor of Dullsville),
As my tired heart slowly hammers
A cage for itself.
                                   Even the seagulls will
Rise from their dumps and let beauty soar
But I need Your help; It would be so easy
For You.
                  You open Springtime’s golden store
Of lemon green, make trees lacy and breezy,
And dab dark pines in honey. One glance kills
All woe, so raise my eyes to Your hills.

Moody 4 FullSizeRender

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Barents Bounce-back–

Over at Tony Heller’s site at I spotted an interesting map which emphasizes the growth in sea-ice in Barents Sea since 2006. (more ice than 2006 shows as green.)

Ice gain 0513 FullSizeRender

With the sun up close to 24 hours a day now, at those high latitudes, the increase in ice represents a significant area where sunlight is reflected back to space, as opposed to 2006, where the reduced extent allowed darker waters to embrace the sunlight and suck it into the sea and….and…and eventually result in the highest September ice extent in recent years?

Hmm. Some sort of flaw is boldly rearing its head here, in terms of the simplistic “albedo” theory of how the Pole is to become as ice-free as it was in prior optimums. If we were comparing apples to apples, the above map should mean we would have more sea-ice this September than in 2006. I think we will have more than last year, but more than 2006 would surprise me (though it is not outside of the range of possibility.)

I only bring this up because I think the “albedo” idea is way, way too simple, and the above map should make that obvious. The “albedo” theory is an idea concocted for the simple, in the manner Santa Claus was conceived to explain Christmas to little children.  It needs to be discarded, in the manner serious Christians discard Santa Claus. The reality is far more wonderful.

Let’s just compare last year on May 16 to May 16 this year; (2016 to left, 2017 to right):


Last year there was open water north of Svalbard, where this year ice piles against the north coast. However, before you leap to any conclusions, lets compare May 16 last year (left) with March 1 this year (right):

The polynya northeast of Svalbard should leap out at you. 45 days ago all the sea-ice between Svalbard and Franz Josef Land was slush and pancake ice, in places only inches thick. One could leap to different conclusions two months ago, and indeed some did.

Some concluded that, if the ice was so thin on March 1, it could only get thinner as the sun rose and temperatures moderated between March 1 and May 16, but compare the maps: (March 1 to left, May 16 to right.)

Hmm. Abruptly the waters between Svalbard and Franz Josef Land are filled with ice 4-7 feet thick. What the heck happened?

Well, a little is due to temperatures being below normal, but largely the change was due to winds.  Earlier in the winter south winds shoved the ice north and created polynyas north of Svalbard (and even north of Franz Josef Land at times) but then that pattern reversed and more northerly winds brought all the ice crunching and crashing back south.

Conclusion? The thickness of sea-ice often has little to do with air temperatures, and with any slight effect CO2 may have on that air. Rather it is largely effected by winds.

I should add it is also effected by the temperature of the waters below the ice. And this is another reason the area shown by the above maps is important, for it is the area where Atlantic water enters the arctic.

Atlantic water has a component brought north by the Gulf Stream, and Gulf Stream water has been subjected to warmth that has evaporated enough water to increase the salinity of the sea-water. Gulf Stream water is therefore more warm and more salty than the arctic water it moves into. The warmth makes it want to rise but the salinity makes it want to sink. For a time the warmth holds Gulf Stream water up at the surface, but after a while it cools to a degree where it’s salinity makes it take a dive, and it then flows as warmer but more salty water beneath the cooler but less salty water just beneath the ice. (At this point it is usually referred to as “Atlantic” water rather than “Gulf Stream” water.) In a very general sense, the cooler water just beneath the ice is the “mixed” layer, the Atlantic (and/or Pacific) water is the “pycnocline” layer, and the deeps are, with amazing creativity, called the “deep” layer.

As an aside, I should mention that some don’t think such stratification exists at the Pole. NASA states,  “At high latitudes, the pycnocline and mixed layer are absent“, and proves it with this lovely graphic:

Sea layers ocean-vertical-structure_clip_image002

I suppose they assume the water is so cold at the Pole the variations of temperature don’t matter, especially as the northern waters that head south are so chilled they take a dive and become part of the “deep layer.”

In truth, slight variations of cold temperatures matter a lot, in the world of sea-ice. A tenth of a degree can be the difference between water being liquid or solid, and that can be the difference between cold water sinking from sight or cold water bobbing as ice at the surface.  Therefore sea-ice scientists, while not telling NASA to go to hell (due to funding concerns) are so rude as to ignore NASA graphics and to speak of the arctic’s “mixed”, “pycnocline” and “deep” layers, and some even may divide the pycnocline into “Atlantic”, “Pacific”, and “Preexistent” layers.

Considering a lot of the melt of summer ice comes from beneath, it pays to attend to any news you can find about what is going on under the ice. It turns out the antics of these layers is insidiously complex. It is not enough to merely get a little data from the north and then flee south to a computer, and attempt to model the antics, for there are too many variables and too much chaos-theory involved. What we really need are real-time measurements from real buoys put in place by real scientists with real guts.

Most of what we know about the antics of waters under the ice was discovered by just such gutsy  scientists, and often what was discovered was things that were not suspected beforehand, and therefore were not included in computer models.

For example, the “mixed” layer is assumed to be mixed by waves, as explained by this simple diagram:


Therefore, when ice forms, there can be no waves, and therefore no mixing, right?

Wrong. It turns out there are at least two mixings that occur even when the waters are seemingly still, under the ice. The first is that the ice, as it freezes, exudes salt as brine, and a steady rain of these brine-droplets wormhole down through the new ice and then rain down into the less-salty mixed layer, making it both colder and more salty, and therefore to differentiate differently from the pycnocline. The second is called “Ekman Spirals”, and is caused by Ekman Transport.

Allow me to pretend I understand this Ekman stuff:  Basically floating ice has a keel, which creates drag, which allows the Coriolis force to influence motion. Even in 1897 Nansen noted that the sea-ice drifted at an angle to the direction the wind blew, and in the 1960’s real scientists with real guts were out on the sea-ice noting strange stuff in the waters beneath,

It should be noted that this does not merely mix waters in the “mixed” layer, but pulls up water from the pycnocline as an upwelling:

Conclusion? Well, the ruckus that has been going on all winter and into the spring, in Barents Sea, has had to have had an effect on the Atlantic water moving north into the Arctic. What might that effect be?

How are we to know, without gutsy scientists heading up there to place real buoys that give us real-time data? I sure don’t trust any model, because a model depends on real-time data. If you put guesses in you will get guesses coming out.

My own guess is that the arctic pycnocline has been effected, and in the future this will effect the sub-surface measurements of the layer of “Atlantic” water in other parts of the Arctic Sea.

How? I think there will be less slightly-warmer-slightly-more-saline water to be stirred up by summer arctic storms, to hurry the summer melt. But this is just a guess. How can I know without real-time data?  And how can that data be gathered, if funding is cut at the Pole, so frantic beltway bureaucrats can line their nests?