ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Intentionally Sooting Sea-Ice–

While I am working on a post about the 2018 minimum, I am not all that interested in the subject, as the “Death Spiral” was disproved several years ago, and this year just does it again. To prove the same thing over and over is about as exciting as catching a fish, letting out line and allowing the fish swim away still securely hooked, and then catching the same fish again.

The only reason people get caught up in proving the same thing over and over is because the “Death Spiral” crowd insist on proving the wrong thing over and over again. I suspect that, for some, politics is involved and it is their version of telling “The Big Lie.” However in terms of scientific discover it is yawningly dull. I’d far prefer to move on to fresh discovery.

I started thinking about sooting sea-ice not because the Death Spiral Crowd talks about controlling sea-ice by buying curly light bulbs, but rather because Joe Bastardi was talking about seeding hurricanes. He was venturing that it might be possible to destabilize storms by weakening a section of the eyewall.

Joe has carefully examined every hurricane and typhoon he’s been able to, since he first became fascinated as a boy over fifty years ago, and his study has poured through history books to study storms before he was born, and he has noticed things have to be perfect to keep a hurricane mighty, and sometimes small things can cause a storm to lose its punch.  For example, Hurricane Katrina, though mighty, decreased from a Cat 5 to a Cat 3 storm as it approached land. Though awful, it could have been worse. Joe’s knowledge has been proven by his ability to foresee the strengthening and weakening of storms. He is mulling over how we might lessen damage by seeding storms as they approached land.

This idea is not new. Men flew into storms to test the idea of weakening them by seeding clouds back in 1947.  It was called “Project Cirrus”. A hurricane was chosen that appeared to be headed out to sea, but it began a turn even as planes flew out to seed it, and after being seeded, it continued to turn and headed straight for Savannah, and clobbered Georgia. Lawyer’s eyes lit up, there was all sorts of litigation, and meteorologists decided maybe they wouldn’t continue with the experiments.

However the idea wouldn’t die, and Hurricane Esther was seeded in 1961. Some were worried because Esther performed a remarkable loop. However it did weaken.

 

From the “success” of seeding Esther was born “Project Stormfury”. Here’s a picture of the crew in 1966:

 

The first hurricane Stormfury seeded was Beulah in 1963. The first days flights missed their targets, and the second day’s flight hit them. They looked to see if the expected results occurred.

Beulah’s inner eyewall fell apart and a larger eyewall formed, and it’s winds slowed by 20%. You can see why the fellows were encouraged. But was it man-caused, or was it what we now call natural “eyewall replacement”? They didn’t know about eyewall replacement back then. They were actually gathering data that both proved their theory and led to their theory’s demise.

They cancelled the seeding of Betsy in 1965 but forgot to tell the media, which reported the storm had been seeded. There was an uproar when Betsy smashed into Florida, and congress very nearly cut off their funding.

The final storm seeded was Ginger in 1971. I don’t know when it was seeded, but suspect they were blamed for the storms zany track, even if they seeded it after it performed its looping and backtracking.

They continued to exist as an entity for a decade longer, but did most of their study in their minds, marveling at the increasingly wonderful pictures made available by the swiftly improving satellites. But it doesn’t matter what you do, some people are bound to be suspicious. A “Chemtrails” crowd existed even back then, and Fidel Castro insisted that Stormfury was an attempt to “weaponize” hurricanes. A plan to move the project to the Pacific was torpedoed by outcries from both China and Japan. Maintaining the airplanes was expensive, and Stormfury eventually died a quiet death due to Reagan’s push for budget cuts and also because the researchers themselves were becoming aware that eyewall replacement could be normal and natural, and not due to seeding.

Two things become apparent looking at Stormfury. First, that scientists can take a hard look at data and disprove their own theories. Second, that people who know next to nothing about the data can raise an almighty fuss even when you don’t do anything (as was the case with Betsy.)

Suppose I leaked out that I’d sent a fireworks rocket I made at home and it exploded confetti in the middle of Hurricane Florence a couple of weeks ago, and claimed my confetti had diminished the storm from a Cat 4 to a Cat 1 at landfall. Rather than any praise I can bet you a hundred lawyers would now be knocking at my door, half to sue me for flooding in North Carolina, and half to sue me because Florence unexpectedly turned south into South Carolina. And not a single one of them would know a thing about hurricanes.

I far prefer the studious attitude of Joe Bastardi. He watched Florence with a fierce concentration, bringing fifty years of knowledge to bear but also displaying the obvious delight and wonder of a child when he saw something he had not noticed before. He is not too old to be constantly learning.

That is science as science should be. Before seeding a hurricane there should be concentration on what is to be expected, and awareness there may be unexpected consequences. (There will be the usual outcry from tree-huggers, who complain shooting polar bears is evil, until the bear is looking in the window of their child’s daycare.) Only after a careful assessment,  involving much input, should the experiment be undertaken. Then their should be careful observations of what occurs, and a follow-up assessment of results.

This is not the case in much of the fuss about sea-ice. Largely for political reasons an amazing amount of money has been poured into research about sea-ice, and we know far more than we did, and things the equivalent to “eyewall replacement” are  becoming evident, but the “Death Spiral” crowd stubbornly refuse to see anything but a Death Spiral. It would be as if the Stormfury scientists refused to see that anything, besides their seeding, could influence a hurricane’s eyewall.

For example, we are now far more aware the sea-ice has greater mobility than some initially assumed, and at times is far more mobile than other times when it is far more static. Rather than any sort of focus on how such fluctuation might effect sea extent levels (and therefore effect albedo and other effects, which would have further effects),   the Death Spiral crowd claims CO2 is the culprit. That’s their story and they are sticking to it, as stubborn as mules.

This is especially exasperating when they refuse to use the resources provided by history. Where Joe Bastardi is always eager to read about what hurricanes did before he was born, the Death Spiral crowd seem determined to “erase the Medieval Warm Period”, and anything else that disagrees with what their model was programed to produce, which is basically that the Arctic Sea was wall-to-wall ice until just recently.

This is tantamount to a willful blindness, a refusal to see that which is marvelous and wonderful, that which can teach us much about how sea-ice behaves, and that which can teach us whether we would benefit by covering a large amount of the ice with black soot.

I’ll end with a comment I posted at WUWT. We were wondering if icebreakers might influence how able the sea-ice is to be flushed out of the arctic, or be melted in other ways, but I like my comment because it also describes how wrong scientific opinion can be, and how actual observation can correct errors:

“As an example (of how sea-ice can be relatively static and then very mobile) I’d like to point out the history of the good ship Jeanette, which set out for the North Pole from San Francisco in 1879. They were buoyed by three false hopes.

1.) They believed the North Pole could not be covered by ice, because salt water behaves differently than fresh water. The coldest fresh water rises, and therefore the surface of ponds freeze, but the addition of salt causes the coldest salt water to sink. This is scientific fact. Therefore the waters of the Arctic Sea could never freeze, (unless from the bottom up) for such waters would sink as they cooled, and be replaced by warmer waters rising from below.

2.) Sea ice was tested and found to be fresh water. Therefore it could not originate from salt water, and must be due to inflows of fresh water from rivers along arctic coasts. Therefore all sea-ice would be concentrated along arctic coasts, and if you could penetrate that sea-ice you’d find open water off shore

3.) Some whalers had reported landing on Wrangel Island with a lot of open water around, and therefore it seemed Wrangel Island might be a doorway to the open seas beyond.

Wrong. The Jennette was trapped by sea ice short of Wrangle Island, near Herald Island. The sea-ice had increased since the whalers found open seas, and during the following 21 months the sea-ice erratically took them barely a degree longitude per month to the west. (During this time an icebreaker would have been handy).

But then the sea-ice situation changed radically. The ice began to shift, and the Jeannette was crushed. The 33 members of the crew headed southwest, making it to the New Siberian Islands on ice, but facing open water as they headed to the swamps of the Lena Delta. (Only 13 made it out alive.)

Meanwhile two ships following behind, looking for the lost Jeannette, did not find the Jeannette because they (including the Naturalist John Muir) were able to land upon both Herald Island and Wrangel Island and dilly-dally about surveying both islands. They failed to find the Jeannette but found lots of open water, because the sea-ice was in motion, and moving far faster than it had formally moved.

We know how fast the sea-ice moved, because the crushed Jeannette didn’t sink (though parts of it likely sunk, being iron,) and instead moved, in the next 36 months, more than halfway around the earth, in terms of longitude. The sea-ice the crushed beams and planks were squeezed by moved west along the entire north coasts of Russia and Scandinavia, likely north of Svalbard, and took a left through Fram Strait and then down the entire east coast of Greenland, and then took a sharp right around Cape Farewell and were found nearly three years to the day of when the ship was abandoned, in Baffin Bay off Julianehåb. Miles? You figure it out for me, but the ship was abandoned at 77° 15′ north and 154°59′ east, and the wreckage was found at around 60° 70′ north and 46° 05′ WEST.

Yowza.

This incredible movement of sea-ice in 36 months is what gave Nansen the idea he could park the Fram in Sea Ice in East Siberia and drift across the Pole.

But me? I lack Nansen’s ambition. Instead I sit back and say, “Yowza!” I see that, once sea-ice takes it into its head to move, tremendous forces are involved, and the entire fleet of Russian icebreakers can’t matter much more than fifteen mice standing before an avalanche with stop signs.

And if the mighty Russian ships matter so little before such power, how stupid it is for silly people to think buying curly light bulbs and all other forms of virtue-signaling will have the slightest effect?

Not that we shouldn’t consider ways we might deflect disasters when they are apparent. We should consider spreading black soot on sea-ice the same way we consider seeding hurricanes. However such actions involve at least a basic understanding of the forces we are attempting to influence.

Sad to say, politics has utterly polluted the understanding of many, concerning sea-ice. Unless and until we remove this rot, the subject of sea-ice cannot even reach the level of a basic understanding. Politics is like taking a stupid-pill. It might be screamingly obvious that all mankind would benefit if we spread soot and reduced sea-ice, but political correctness would shout more ice was better.”

 

 

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LOCAL VIEW –Hurricane Heights (and heat)–

I have seen summers in these hills when we never make it above 90°F: Gray, rainy summers where we were hard pressed to ever make it above 80°F,  when east winds off the cold Gulf of Maine could even keep temperatures below 60°F. Such summers always left me feeling cheated, for I grew up down on the flatland’s west of Boston where it was far warmer. A true heatwave of three days topping 90° is rare in these hills, and therefore I was pleasantly surprised to see this forecast for the start of July:

Hurricane Heat 1 IMG_6910

I love hot weather, even though I don’t get to kick back and watch the corn grow as much as I’d like.  Perhaps it just reminds me of being young and spoiled. I can recall laying on my back on a hot day as a boy, holding a Popsicle up in the air and letting it melt drop by drop into my mouth,  and feeling perfectly content. Or, perhaps there was a sort of unrest, but it was the unrest of peace, of listening to a symphony.  There was no to-do list.

I’ve had some heart-to-heart talks with God recently about whether it might not be wise to spoil me in that manner again. How is it I am not worth spoiling, now? Certainly I am as perishable, if not more so.  Yet now, if I tried out laying on my back and letting a Popsicle drip into my mouth, I’d get “the look” from my wife. When I try to watch the corn grow, I see the weeds grow instead. Rather than relaxed, summer becomes hurry-hurry, worry-worry, scurry-scurry.

The ironic aspect to the frenetic pace of running a farm-childcare is that I, in some unspoken ways, seek to spoil the kids. I want them to catch what I caught from being spoiled by my own Depression-era parents, who experienced too much poverty and toil and war, and wanted a better life for me. Therefore I fight my losing battle with weeds so they might munch edible-podded peas at their leisure, and teach them the old maxim, “Plant peas on Patriot’s Day (April 19) and pick ’em on Independence Day (July 4).”

Hurricane Heat 3 IMG_6924

And I struggle with cords and pumps and chemicals and filters, because there’s nothing like splashing in a pool to make a heat-wave bearable. (Our local ponds are OK, as long as you don’t mind leeches.)

Hurrucane Heat 2 IMG_6915

And then there’s the exasperation of fishing, of teaching how to put a worm on, and take a fish off, a hook; of tangle after tangle after tangle after tangle; of casting that is flailing and shoots hooks into shrubbery or another child’s hair or puts my life in danger, all for the dubious honor of seeing a child catch a first fish that isn’t virtual.

Hurricane Heat 4 IMG_6931

And then there’s the modern, liberated, young suffragettes. Back in my day, girls didn’t even want to go fishing, and thought fish and worms were icky, and they certainly didn’t gross out their guide by kissing fish.

Hurricane heat 6 FullSizeRender

Kiss frogs? Maybe, because a frog might turn into a prince. But I don’t want to see what sort of prince a fish turns into, and sure as heck don’t want him hanging around young girls at my Childcare.

But I digress. The point I was making was that all sorts of effort goes into making an idyll, all sorts of hurry-hurry, worry-worry, scurry-scurry, all sorts of exasperation and irritation….and then all is redeemed. A light descends and softens a child’s eyes, and just the way they look around at God’s green creation tells me that they “get it”, and that I have successfully passed the baton I received from Depression-era parents on to a new generation.

Hurricane Heat 5 IMG_6933

The mistake people (including myself) seem to make is to visualize the descent of the Light as being conditional. After all, the Depression-era was a brutal time, yet people who went through it seemed to grasp that Light could be found in small things, even in simply sitting, whereas Baby-Boomers who were spared the brutality and were pampered strangely knew thirst and discontent. The attempt to exclude brutality at times led to exclusiveness, to a sort of gated-community of “the elite” which, rather than an ivory tower, became a vacuum, devoid of the very air that hearts need most.

To me the escape from this conditional exclusiveness seems to be to cultivate the attitude of a little child: Children accept the cards as dealt, while the grown-ups attempt to bully and bribe the dealer. It is the grown-ups who scramble to come up with four hundred dollars a month to pay for an air conditioner. For a child, when it’s hot, it’s hot, and when it’s not, it’s not.

I love the warm mornings, (all too few
This far north), when I can sit on the stoop
And watch the dawn grow last webbed drops of dew
Before the day bakes, and watch last bats loop
And dart, and hear first birds sing, and not put
On a shirt.
                       It’s like I’m a boy again,
Though I’ll confess I wince walking barefoot
Now.
                Once I lost shoes in June, and then, when
I looked again for those shoes, it was fall
And they didn’t fit. I could tread over
Sharp stones and barnacles, and I recall
Broken glass didn’t phase me.
                                                           Now clover
Is what my feet prefer to tread upon,
But still I love the feel of summer dawn. 

One reason I was able to be content as a child was the sense the Depression-era grown-ups were taking care of things. True, there would be occasional shadows, times I intuitively sensed all was not well,  but for the most part I was blissfully ignorant about things such as divorce, mother’s-little-helper pills, and the Vietcong. I was nearly eleven before the assassination of John Kennedy first deeply shook my faith. Before then I had a sort of heedless and thoughtless faith.

Now my faith is more thought-out. Now I am the Baby-Boom-era grown-up, taking care of things. It doesn’t matter how inadequate I feel; it is my turn to be the elder. My faith allows me to  sit back and enjoy warmth that is rare in northern lands, but my contentment is not complete, for I am always on the lookout for trouble. When it’s hot I keep peering west for the purple skies of thunderstorms, and to the high clouds, for hints of a hurricane.

Many of my ancestors were involved with trade and sailing ships, and were  forever scanning the skies. A hurricane could turn a fat profit into a total loss, and therefore they were always on the lookout for “hurricane heights.”

What were “hurricane heights”? I can’t say. A lot of that wisdom was lost with the last captain of the last coastal schooner. All I can say is that they studied the sky in a way we cannot imagine. I know nothing of the nuances they knew, but do know they noticed high clouds don’t move the same direction low clouds move.

Modern meteorologists know about such differences through studying surface maps, which show the direction low clouds move, and comparing them with upper-air maps, which show the direction high clouds move. They have a huge advantage over the captains of coastal schooners, because they not only know how the high clouds are moving far to the west, and far to the east, but at times, when the sky is completely overcast, they know what high clouds are doing directly overhead, which the captains of schooners might not know.

But the captains of schooners had an advantage over modern meteorologists. When modern meteorologists blow a forecast they suffer embarrassment, yet seldom lose their jobs, but when the captains of schooners blew a forecast they lost their lives, or, if they crawled ashore, they had lost their cargo and therefore their livelihood.  Therefore what those old timers knew about high clouds involved an immediacy, urgency, and focus which modern meteorologists can’t imagine.

Also the captains of coastal schooners were not reading tickertape from a distant buoy or squinting at a satellite’s picture; they were right on the interface between sea and sky. They were right there, and there’s no buoy or satellite than can substitute for a man’s skin and hair. I often wonder if the most amazing discoveries concerning insights gleaned from the movements of high clouds were made by captains who died ten minutes later. Those sailing ships were not designed to handle hundred knot winds. Yet amazingly some captains survived hurricanes, in ships completely demasted yet controlled by a storm jib on a bowsprit. And when these crippled ships limped back to port their captains brought weather-data you do not learn in colleges, but can hear echoes of to this day, in taverns by the sea.

Me? I’m in awe of both the bygone oldsters and the modern meteorologists. What I know about “hurricane heights” is but crumbs a mouse gathers from a banquet. And what I gather is this:

Hot spells in New England tend to end with thunder, and also with a change in the movement of high clouds. When it was hot high clouds came from the southwest, but after the thunder they come from the northwest. Then it is delightfully cooler, with northwest winds. And upper air maps shows a “trof” (meteorologist spelling) crossing  New England. It is like a the dent a schoolgirl makes in a jump-rope, when lifting it up and down, and will be followed by the bump in the jump-rope, called an upper air  “ridge” (ordinary spelling).

As this upper air ridge approaches the refreshing northwest breezes die, and winds shift to the southwest, and people await the next summer hot spell. However worry-warts like me me get anxious, and start scanning the sunrise sky for hurricane heights.

Joe Bastardi called such ridges, “a ridge over troubled waters,” (a pun on an old Simon and Garfunkle song). Old schooner captains also worried when summer ridges past. They searched south for hurricanes. And true to form, as a hot ridge recently passed over New England, tropical storm Chris formed just off the Carolina coast, to the south.

20180709 satsfc

Such a hurricane shouldn’t trouble me, for they nearly always are steered out to sea by the upper-air “trof” following the upper-air “ridge”. Maybe such storms only concerned the captains of coastal schooners, because they too went “out to sea”, right where the hurricanes went,  and then those captains confronted conditions lubbers can’t imagine. (There was no Cape Cod Canal, and in order for New York City to build its tenements Maine lumber had to be shipped far “out to sea” to get around Cape Cod.)

Even people who stay ashore on the coast face high surf and rip tides, as such hurricanes go “out to sea”. But my farm is inland, up in the hills. Barring an unimaginable earthquake, these hills aren’t going “out to sea” any time soon.  Why should I care?

It is because the upper atmosphere does not always behave like waves going up and down on a schoolgirl’s jump-rope. A school-girl’s jump-rope never breaks off a bump into a circle that gets bigger and bigger and becomes a hurricane, boring from the surface right up into the upper atmosphere.

Once such a circle appears on meteorological maps they become an entity that has a life of its own. Usually they are steered by the steering currents, but they are also an impediment to the flow, like a boulder in a river, and therefore they have an uncanny capacity to alter the steering current. They can even steer the steering current. They impede the steering current to such a degree that upper-air winds are deflected. With a hurricane in the way, rather than aiming northeast the steering currents may be deflected north, or even, on very rare occasions, northwest.

Meteorologists who are wiser than I describe this as a “positively-tilted trof” being replaced by a “negatively tilted trof”, with the result being that a hurricane that ordinarily would go out to sea curves north or, very rarely, northwest.

Even when the hurricanes come north they tend to weaken over the cold shelf waters, and to suck dry air in from land, and have the most intense winds by the “eye-wall” collapse. Also they tend to curve away northeast at the end, which keeps the strongest winds east of my hills. Thus all the storms of my lifetime have been breezy and warm summer rains,  with some branches and rotted trees falling (and perhaps knocking the power out for a few hours). The next day’s news has pictures of surf and banged-up boats down on Cape Cod and in Buzzard’s Bay, and there can be flooding due to torrential rains, but the news  is never as bad as I know it could have been. In a sense I’ve spent a lifetime scanning the skies for hurricane heights I’ve never seen.

And what is this worst case scenario I envision? It is a hurricane that doesn’t dawdle over a colder shelf waters, but rather accelerates up the coast, cutting northwest as it plows inland, putting my hills to the east of the eye-wall. The blow-down of trees would be unimaginable to people now alive.

Actually I can’t say such a storm has never occurred in my lifetime, for Hurricane Carol took that track when I was one year old. I don’t remember it, but do recall being shown the fallen trees in the woods as a boy. They were trunks all laying the same way, on scrubby hillsides, and as we hiked I heard my Dad talk with other grown-ups about the older, mossier trunks being from an earlier hurricane (1938), and my grandfather commenting one summer was wetter (I can’t recall which summer) and that meant one hurricane uprooted trees and the other hurricane snapped them off.

To my boyish mind  it seemed such hurricanes must happen fairly often, but here it is 64 years later and we haven’t seen anything like them since. The scrubby hillside is now reforested with 64-year-old trees, and the fallen trunks have been melted down by rot and are mere green stripes of moss on the forest floor, with peculiar piles of stones at the ends, showing where the ripped-up bottoms once thrust tangles of earth and stones and writhing roots, and my grandfather said I should look for exposed arrowheads. Where the Depression-era elders saw two such storms in sixteen years we have been spared, but perhaps, just as the tree trunks have faded, so has the public’s memory of what can happen.

The sensationalist media is so eager to hurry on to the next headline it seems to have amnesia, like a person with dementia, only a person with dementia at least has some long-term-recall, even when they can’t remember where they put their car keys. The media is worse, with a forgetfulness more like a person who has smoked way, way too much marijuana, who cannot even remeber what car keys are for.

The media doesn’t even seem to fact-check any more, crowing a single day of hundred degrees is a big deal the Great Plains, where it once was over 110°F, day after day after day after burning day, during the nigh-intolerable Dust Bowl summer of 1936. Then, on July 13, 1954, it touched 120°F in Kansas, there were 100 degree temperatures noted in places from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and when you took all the high temperatures from all the station across the USA, north and south and east and west, the average was 95°F. (See post at realclimatescience.com) .

When the media ignores this striking past to sensationalize the more modest present, they not only make people less respectful towards what our forebears endured, but also make people unaware of what might happen again, (because it happened before). I have concluded that, in a strange way, the media generates a discontent where people once knew contentment despite hard times, and fosters a foolishness where people once were wise.

I refuse to be that way, so I sit and scan the summer’s warm dawn skies for hurricane heights, seeking high scarlet feathers and dappled intricacies from the southeast, at peace, but ever watchful.

But still I love the feel of summer dawn
Though I know her ways. She can’t disguise her
Devilish tricks. Her smiling lips won’t stay upon
My smile. She’ll leave. I’m older, wiser,
But still her kisses are reminding me of
A place I hope to return, after death:
The land before birth; a landscape of Love;
A time without time that takes away your breath.
Most have amnesia, and forget the breast
That fed them, and the peace before that time.
The work-a-day world puts all to the test
Like hamsters in wheels, or lemmings that climb
In a terrible rush to get to the top,
When the way to be wise is to stop.

LOCAL VIEW —Damocles Hurricanes—

One sad side-effect of the Global Warming nonsense has been the promotion of people who think it is a sign of their cleverness to abuse the trust of others. They think stepping on others is uplifting. In the long run this is never true, both for the individual and for the society they belong to, but humanity owns a bad habit of learning the Truth the hard way: Mankind has a long tradition of thinking it is wise to lie. The process of learning that this dishonesty is the mother of much misery is the climax of many an ancient tale and tragedy.

For example, consider the snake in the Garden of Eden. The tale doesn’t go into what the snake’s motives were, but the result of misleading Adam and Eve was that, when the snake stood before Judgment, after he presented his case he discovered he didn’t have a leg to stand on.

Serpent with Legs Serpent JS papyri

So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.”

Eden was a state of naked Truth, but outside of Eden Truth becomes problematic because humans are afflicted by the subjectivity of their desires. For example, once one leaves the oasis one discovers a thing called “thirst”, and when thirst becomes extreme in a blazing desert one can quite honestly state “Water is the most important thing there is.” Then, after their thirst is quenched, they can with equal honesty state, “Many things are far more important than water.”

The same phenomenon is embarrassing when it involves human sexual thirsts. One reads a beautiful poem one once wrote about their spouse basically stating, “I only have eyes for you,” and then one looks across the room at an aging form who, perhaps, weighs 300 pounds, and then compares that form to a beautiful temptation that is smiling adoringly from another part of their life, and one no longer has eyes that don’t wander. One becomes an honest hypocrite, for one was truthful when they stated, “I want only you”, and one is equally truthful when one later states, “I hanker for another.”

In order to attempt to make some sort of sense out of sways of fickle desires people developed various moral codes, wherein one was expected to be “true” to their word. Rather than being swayed this way or that, one chose to take a stand. Some foundations are better than others, as every engineer learns.

But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.

Of course the typical con artist is certain that he is well founded; he is the wise person, and the trusting people he is fooling are “chumps.” This idea, that people who trust are chumps, actually represents the slow corruption of the wisdom of Solomon, which initially stated, “There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.

This idea, which basically states a spendthrift winds up broke, devolved over the course of time, and 1587 entered the English language in Dr. John Bridges’ work, “Defense of the Government of the Church of England,” as, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” Eventually this further mutated into “A sucker is born every minute.”

There is interesting dispute about who said this first.

https://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/04/11/fool-born/

Confidence Trickster Hungry-Joe-04

But there is some part of the human psyche that knows “what goes around comes around,” and that a day of reckoning will arrive for every confidence trickster. Yet often we can’t help but smile at the doomed trickster, when he is only exposing the foolishness of others. (Or we smile unless we are the fool being tricked.)

An example of such trickery-we-smile-at is seen in the two swindlers who fool all but a child in Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Emperors New Clothes”, an amazingly short story which has entertained people all over the world, and is well worth reading and rereading, as it is brief yet profound.

http://www.andersen.sdu.dk/vaerk/hersholt/TheEmperorsNewClothes_e.html

Another (American) example of trickery-we-smile-at involves Mark Twain describing Tom Sawyer getting his disagreeable job of whitewashing a fence done, by others, who actually pay him to do the job for him. In like manner the American master of short stories O. Henry devoted a small book called “The Gentle Grafter” to the doings of confidence tricksters, and as one reads one often tends to have as much, if not more, sympathy for the criminal as for his victims. (And before my English friends tell me Americans have always tended to be rebels with no respect for the law, I remind them they don’t mind a notorious outlaw of their own, remembered as “Robin Hood.”)

I think we are only fond of confidence tricksters because they are exposing some sort of vainglorious snobbery that afflicts their victims, (unless we ourselves happen to be the vainglorious chump.) We may all be egotistical in some way, but some egotists step over a threshold into to landscape of inhumanity towards others, and we do not at all mind seeing such people taken to the cleaners and humbled. We know life could be better than such pompous victims make it, and that they are in some way guilty of an indefinite crime. Even though they may have done nothing that can be prosecuted, and even may be kind to those closest to them, those less near and dear perceive an aura of unkindness, of exploitation which leaves the poor poorer, and widows and orphan worse off (despite public shows of vainglorious philanthropy).

In other words, both the confidence trickster and his victim neatly fit into the category of “deserving punishment”, if what we value is both honesty and kindness. In many ways one cannot be the victim of a con unless wants to get something “valuable” for a price so low that slang describes it as “a steal.” Meanwhile a person disinclined towards such greed and “stealing” is more difficult to con. A true saint is impossible to con, (though he or she likely did not become a saint without downfalls in their past.)

In our innocent youth, the distinction between what was right and what was wrong seemed clearer, and the bad guy was recognizable because, after he stated what he plotted, he tended to go, “Nyah ha ha!”

Dishonest_John

As I watched old Westerns or Cartoons as a boy there was always an expectation that, in the end, the “bad guys” would “get what they deserved.” “Dishonest John” would mutter, “Curses! Foiled again!” In the end honesty and kindness would triumph.

I can’t claim I have seen this process prove true, as I have watched the world over the past fifty years. To the contrary, Dishonest Johns who call themselves wise have, in one way or another, stated that dishonesty is not merely legal, but the way to get ahead. Even the most moralistic tale on TV is punctuated by ads that are often outrageously deceitful, and politicians have become notorious for making meaningless promises, and being a sort of antithesis to a person who is “true to their word.” Therefore capitalist democracies cannot claim to stand for honesty, nor look down their noses at communism, despite communism’s clearly stated dogma that dishonesty is proper and wise and part of effective propaganda. Islamic theocracies also apparently state it is acceptable to lie to an infidel, which begs the question, how can the infidel learn the Truth if they are lied to? Yet Christian authorities have disgraced their religion as well. When it comes to “bad guys getting what they deserve”, it seems the dishonest have escaped punishment and done very well, so far. But I also feel the public has a growing sense of a Sword of Damocles hanging over their collective heads.

Sword of Damocles-WestallPC20080120-8842A

I think the public is not only aware when they are being lied to, but is aware that such dishonesty has its consequences. However the rich and powerful of the world are unable to extract themselves from the various sorts of deceit that brought them to power, and are trapped in a dishonesty that makes the public increasingly nervous.

To the powerful a jittery public seems one more thing they can exploit, by putting themselves forward as prophets and saviors, but often they are too obviously more interested in power and wealth, and therefore their self-promotion is merely further con-artistry, and only makes the situation worse.

In many ways I think the entire Global Warming absurdity is but a manifestation of a vast guilty conscience, afflicting the entire world. There is a general sense that humanity on a whole has been misbehaving, and must reap what it has sown, in some way, shape or form. Even when people themselves don’t identify with being the “bad guys”, they know their leaders are short on sainthood, (or, if they idolize certain leaders, then some other power the leader can’t control, such as “Big Oil”, is short on sainthood), and therefore the nation as a whole will “get what it deserves”, and the comeuppance won’t be pretty.

It is for this reason there are so many movies in the theaters based on an apocalypse or on post-apocalyptic themes. Many people have the general sense they are aboard a runaway train, or riding a raft above a thundering waterfall. The very people who caused fret in the first place then further exploit this sense of anxiety and hopelessness, but increasingly they can see people aren’t buying the snake oil. The con artists have created a monster, and like snake oil salesmen they need to leave town in a hurry, or face public rage, but in the case of Global Warming there is no place to run, for the scam has been worldwide.

The cure for this downward spiral is quite old and simple. It called, “the Truth.” Truth has a wonderful, refreshing quality, because you don’t need to make it up. It simply exists, involving neither policy nor strategy, neither trickery nor treasure nor trammeling. It is free for the taking, but dreadful to behold or even consider by confidence tricksters, for they not only need to confess, but fear they will have to give up ill-gotten goods. Therefore they are in the position of someone riding a bubble, which all know must someday burst.

Riding a bubble produces anxiety in both leaders and the people led by them. Some try to reassure, and some yearn to be placated, and some become restless and just wish the damn bubble would just burst, even if they must become the ones who do it, through drastic and violent actions. Few turn to the obvious answer, which is the Truth. Many succumb to the blame-game, jabbing pointing fingers at others, and few understand Truth belongs to no one, yet is available to all.

Hardest of all to grasp is that Truth requires an admission of ignorance. As ambiguous as it sounds, to know It we have to admit we don’t know It. This does not occur merely within an old fashioned Catholic confessional booth, but publicly and generally. “If we say we have no sin than the Truth is not in us.”

A confession of ignorance is actually an attribute of good scientist. It indicates an inquisitive mind. A person wearing a white coat, claiming authoritively to have all the answers, is all too often a pretender, and even an enemy of science. The Global Warming Alarmist’s arguments that a “consensus” prevents all further discussion is a sure sign of con-artistry, and of having something they don’t want exposed. A true lover of Truth welcomes questions, and what they doubt is pronouncements.

There can be little doubt we are facing a time of Climate Change, not only because the climate always changes, but because some major indicators of change are changing. The AMO, PDO, and Sunspot cycle are all undergoing profound changes, and an inquisitive mind wonders what changes they may prompt, and postulates various causes and effects, curious to see if such postulates will prove true, partially true, or be completely disproven.

It is no sin to forecast such changes, but it is sheer arrogance to claim absolute certainty, and especially to claim that CO2 is the cause of every change. Either that or such claims are a sign of great insecurity, and that the claimant is clinging to a straw in the hopes it will support them.

One thing to use, when making a forecast, is the past. One looks for similar situations, and wonders if history will repeat itself. One aspect of ignorance is to avoid looking at the past. One attribute of certain Alarmists is that they insist that what is occurring has never happened before, and is “unprecedented”, and they become quite angry with you if you point out “the only new thing under the sun is the history you haven’t read.

For example, in 1798 the sun went “quiet” in a manner similar to today’s sun, and there were enormous volcano eruptions in 1810 and 1815. Therefore one might wonder if history might repeat itself, and, if so, why. This is simple inquisitiveness, but to some Alarmists to even consider the sun and not CO2 might influence climate is not curiosity but “denial”, and a few even think the inquisitive should be hauled before a tribunal and punished. When it comes to inquisitiveness they prefer the horrors of The Inquisition, and place the inquisitive in the position of Galileo.

Inquisition Galileo_before_the_Holy_Office

In conclusion, these days any weather or geological event tends to involve a chorus of claimants clouding the issue. On one hand there are con artists who insist that, whatever the event may be, it had to be caused by CO2. On the other hand there is a public afflicted by a general sense of guilt and dread, fearing mankind will “get what it deserves.”

I heard this dual chorus when I looked into the volcanoes that have recently been rumbling in Bali and elsewhere, and I noticed it again when I observed recent hurricanes. The hype and sensationalism clouds the issue.

There are now two ex-hurricanes crossing the Atlantic towards England:

Twin Hurricanes two_atl_0d0

As these hurricanes arrive in Britain, as remnants, they will influence the development of a typical autumnal gale to the north. I personally am curious to see whether they will weaken or strengthen the gale. As big blobs of tropical moisture they might be expected to fuel the gale, but, because they have already spent so much of their energy, they might actually hold less “fuel” than tropical air that was pure and “unused” would hold. Which will it be? I think this sort of curiosity on my part is scientific, although, by confessing my ignorance, my curiosity certainly doesn’t put me forward as an authority.

However I confess I am also curious about the hoopla the two storms might generate, especially if the autumnal gale turns out to grow large. Join me as I study my fellow man. Though the storm has yet to develop, I have already come across the usual madmen in white coats, raging CO2 is to blame, and the usual doom-and-gloomers moaning and sighing it is a sign of End Times. Stay tuned, for in some ways such people are more fascinating than the weather (though you might not want to invite them to dinner.)

LORE OF THE LINE STORM (Hurricane Jose–Updated)

Irma 1 peakofseason(8)

In the lore of New England the “line storm” was a storm expected to occur near the equinox. Because, as the above graph shows, the first peak in hurricanes occurs ten days too early, and the second, minor peak doesn’t occur until October, people who never get outside, and instead dither about indoors looking at graphs, can scorn the idea of the “line storm” as being a mere superstition.

But….(cue the twilight zone music)….I once didn’t dither about indoors as I do now. I once was young and went out on the water. To be blunt, those who haven’t been out on the water, (even in a small boat on a lake), when the winds start to rise and the sky darkens and life laughs at insurance adjusters, are missing something.

We would laugh at a person who thought he had a grasp of the weather who had never heard of a thermometer. A thermometer is vital, we think. But stepping outside?

Do not tell me you are wise when only
Books advise your eyes. Action speaks louder
Than words, and an island standing lonely
Needs another, if it is to proudly
Utter truths about Love. You must get out
Into the wind to know about weather.
Otherwise our intellect struts about
Like a peacock with a lone tail feather.
Even a small child, who hasn’t yet learned
The sky talks back, goes out and faces sky
And his face is lit up, with shadows spurned
As poetry fills each innocent eye.
Children worship best: They look up and lack
The ways we argue when skies talk back.

Americans once knew far more about the out of doors. More than half owned a farm and worked the soil, and a lot of the others sailed seas on small craft that would make OSHA cringe. To go to sea and never be heard of again was not all that uncommon, and, considering we all must eventually die, I’m not entirely sure I would not have preferred to die going “Yeee-Ha!” as my craft met a mighty wave, to surviving and eventually festering in a bed with tubes in my arms, with cancer, which we call “progress.”

I wasn’t too smart at age 18, and headed out to sea in 1971 on a voyage from Boston to Jamaica (don’t ask what for). In 1971 the “line storm” happened to be a hurricane called Ginger, which also headed out to sea, way out onto the mid Atlantic. And if you had studied books at that time you knew no storm so far out to sea could ever represent a threat to Cape Hatteras. But…

Hurricane Ginger 1971 220px-Ginger_1971_track

As chief (and only) meteorologist on the small craft I am proud to state we hesitated to the north and avoided Ginger, however a cold front absorbed what was left, and then that front just lay along the coast. I advocated further hesitation, fearing a nor’easter might brew up on the stationary front, but the captain was sick and tired of hesitation, and so we sailed south, smack dab into the nor’easter that brewed up.

Nor’easters are also considered “line storms”. After the summer quiet, when seas tend to be slack in New England, they first start to brew up when the first chilly cold-fronts come south in September. You would have to include them in your data, along with hurricanes, before you could accurately determine “line storms” were “superstition”. (Also you would have to narrow your focus to the waters near New England, where the lore was focused.)

In any case, at age 18 I experienced a reality that is somewhat different than what you experience indoors at computers. Entitlement? Yes, I was entitled to die, if I didn’t make an effort to do otherwise, (though I was so seasick the prospect of death wasn’t entirely unappealing.)

I’m not sure the nor’easter was particularly bad, but the small yacht was forty miles out to sea, and both the mainsail and jib halyards broke. Sails crashed flapping to the deck, and the engine quit, and we had no radio, and GPS hadn’t been invented. In other words, we were in the position which was not all that uncommon to find yourself in, back before engines and radios, in the age of sail. My ancestors likely would have gone, “Ho hum. Get the storm jib up.” I was disgracefully and utterly freaked out, and only functioning because I didn’t want to die.  Besides doing things I had no idea I was capable of, (such as climbing a whipping mast to thread a new halyard in the pulley atop a mast when the craft isn’t quiet in a harbor,) I also took meteorological observations. After all, once you’ve fixed what you can fix, there’s nothing to do but go up and up and up a big swell, and down and down and down the other side, over and over and over, so what else are you suppose to do at the helm, but observe? However those observations are through eyes that see differently than you see at a computer. (You are going to have to trust me about this, if you think virtual sailing’s the same.) For one thing, you can’t click to a new site when you get bored. You must observe, and observe, and observe…

For me this was a once in a lifetime experience. However for my ancestors it was far more everyday. It makes their lore a bit more credible, as, if they lived long enough, their experience included something scientists make a big deal about, called “replication.”

One interesting thing about the line-storm lore is that such storms were not seen as markers of the solstice. Heck, any calendar could do that. Rather they gave clues about the weather of the following autumn.  One was suppose to pay attention to how the line-storm ended. If it ended with warm weather it meant a different autumn lay ahead than if it ended with crisp, cold breezes from the north.

To some this might indicate they were sensible to storm tracks and weather patterns, in their own way. But to others it is just superstition.

In any case, with September 20 approaching a superstition named Jose is creeping towards New England.

11:00 PM AST Thu Sep 14
Location: 25.5°N 68.0°W
Moving: WNW at 8 mph
Min pressure: 989 mb
Max sustained: 70 mph

Hurricane Jose 1 025306_wind_historyHurricane Jose 2 025306

Hurricane Jose 3 vis0-lalo

5:00 AM AST Fri Sep 15
Location: 25.9°N 68.7°W
Moving: WNW at 8 mph
Min pressure: 989 mb
Max sustained: 70 mph

Hurricane Jose 4 vis0-lalo

11:00 PM EDT Fri Sep 15
Location: 27.4°N 71.0°W
Moving: NW at 9 mph
Min pressure: 983 mb
Max sustained: 80 mph

Hurricane Jose 5 vis0-lalo

I am having some sort of problem with WordPress wherein it fails to keep my updates. This is a test to see if it happens again.

8:00 AM EDT Mon Sep 18
Location: 33.5°N 71.2°W
Moving: N at 9 mph
Min pressure: 976 mb
Max sustained: 85 mph

Hurricane Jose 11 vis0-lalo

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Demanding Accountability For Failed Forecasts–

Extent 20170913 SIE_seasonal_n

Well, here we are again. The Pole is not “ice-free” at the minimum, once again. Once again the voices that were so adamant have gone silent. In fact the silence is deafening.

Instead the uproar has switched over to hurricanes, which is patently absurd,  because anyone who has studied history knows Harvey and Irma are not out of the ordinary. In 1886 a hurricane wiped out the city of Indianola, Texas, and it was one of seven. I repeat, seven. Seven hurricanes clouted the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in a single season.

1886 Hurricane Season 800px-1886_Atlantic_hurricane_season_map

Not that it will do the slightest bit of good. The far left not only refuses to look at the past, but goes further. They suggest that people like myself, who bring up what they fail to mention, should be “jailed for crimes against humanity”.

Hate on display – climate activists go bonkers over #Irma and nonexistent climate connection

As if jailing a person like myself isn’t threatening enough, prominent people such as Eric Idle (of “Monty Python” fame) suggests I should be “put down.”

Kill Skepics Screenshot-2017-03-17-at-10.33.58

Formerly my response has been to reply as if the “put down” was not a threat, and to respond with a “put down” of my own because, after all, it often is easy to reduce Alarmist’s arguments to absurdity:

hurricanes-not-worse

However, though the meteorological facts wielded by Alarmists are not alarming, there comes a point when their behavior does become alarming.  A threat is a threat. After all, I do run a Childcare, and the last thing I need is some crazy person arriving with a gun. And, even if the people speaking the threats insist they are only utilizing hyperbole as a form of rhetoric, there are nuts who take them at their word, and show up at softball fields in Washington DC and start blasting away at congressmen.

It would only be natural for me to be intimidated, and to close this blog and creep off and hope to go unnoticed. However I have been putting up with this sort of crap for ten years now. My courage, and the courage of all who dare to be Skeptics, has already passed the test. The simple fact is that such nonsense demands a reply:

These nasty screechers need to be reminded that Freedom of Speech has limits. Beyond a certain point a peaceful protest becomes “disorderly conduct” and is called a “riot”. In like manner, to urge murder, mayhem, and destruction is called “inciting a riot”.

A good way to remind people, and to clarify this distinction, would be to arrest someone in a state that has sane judges. Have a so-called “test case”, and if necessary bring it all the way to the Supreme Court.

I sometimes think the far-left is resorting to what Mao resorted to when his “Great Leap Forward” proved an abject failure and resulted in China becoming economically backward. How did Mao then respond? Mao then incited a horrible nation-wide riot called the “Cultural Revolution.” Perhaps some young fools see themselves as American versions of China’s “Red Guard”, and see their uncivil procedures as part of some sort of “glorious purge.”

Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and our nation will pass this test of our character. “Now are the times that try men’s souls.”

I never would have believed this state of affairs could have evolved, when I first began observing sea-ice. It originally was an escape from my problems, a view of blue skies and cobalt waters and white and turquoise snow and ice. Now the scene has shifted to battleship gray.

Obuoy 14 0913 webcam

And also, by the way, the sea-ice hasn’t melted, yet again.

I am the last to state there should be punishment for failed forecasts, considering how many I myself have blown. However there should be accountability. When you blow a forecast you should admit it. However there is an amazing lack of humbleness among many Alarmists, and at times it seems to involve a complete disconnect from reality.

It is no fun to be a party-pooper, but the simple fact of the matter is that some have to do that job.  Otherwise the night of ignorance never knows the cool light of dawn, and hypocrisy reaches levels so extreme people wind up hurt.

One example is the simple fact Trump donated a million dollars to help Texas after Harvey, and rather than admiration he earned sneers from those who said it was nothing but ” a sleazy tax deduction.” Yet there is nothing but silence from such people after millions upon millions were raised to help the people of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, and little of the money made it to the people who needed it, due to how Hillary handled that money. To excuse such a glaring difference in how politicians handle money as “mere politics” is a level of heartlessness which crosses the boundary of humanity into the wasteland of inhumanity, and any who accept it need to know the eyes of Haiti (if not God) are watching them.

These are not times men should remain silent.

 

HURRICANE MATTHEW –Updated Sunday Night– Concluded

When I went to bed last night the various experts seemed certain Hurricane Matthew would head out to sea south of New England late next week, which is just fine with me.

When I was younger I was eager to see a storm bring ruin, because I could show off my prowess with a chainsaw afterwards, and make a heap of money, and also get a lot of free firewood. Now I’m 63, and my aspirations are more modest. I’d rather sit in a chair and think about hard work. Or perhaps watch a young man stack the wood I had delivered, (rather than cutting it for myself), and I am a bit grumpy that I am not yet fabulously wealthy, and have to stack the darn stuff myself.

frost-6-img_3958

I would have put off even starting the job, but the old friend who delivered the wood let it spill into the neighbor’s drive a little, when he unloaded his dump truck, so I had to hustle out and get cracking. When I was younger I enjoyed the way my muscles felt when I worked hard. Now…not so much, but at least the pile is started.

frost-7-img_3960

It seems a bit amazing to me that I actually pay $250.00/cord for wood I once only paid for with sweat, however there is nothing like the radiance of a wood-stove in January. Heat coming up through the floor registers just doesn’t match it.  Also I like the way I am not paying Arabs for my heat, (beyond, perhaps, a bit for the gas and oil in a chain saw). Also there is an old saw (pun) about how firewood “warms you twice.” There is many a winter scene I might have missed, if I didn’t need to go out and get more firewood. Lastly, it keeps you in shape.

If a hurricane hits us, it will seem foolish to  have paid for wood, for trees will be down all over the place. Chainsaws will be going nonstop for weeks. People in New England have no idea of what a huge mess it will make, because the last powerful hurricane to bisect New Hampshire was Carol in 1954. (Donna in 1960 was further east.) Carol pretty much flattened all the trees on the hilltops around here, but since Carol 62 years have passed, and a sapling can get pretty tall in 62 years. Our streets are lined with lovely trees that all could become lovely roadblocks.

I was pretty certain that, when the AMO moved into its “warm” phase again around 1990, we would see a return to the situation that gave New England so many hurricanes between 1930 and 1960.  I tried to alert people who seemed to be unaware, and be building or buying homes in unwise places. I saw myself as a sort of Paul Revere, but have been a sort of Chicken Little, for no really bad hurricanes have ever hit us.

Still, I figured people should at least be educated to what “might” happen. One effort was printed by Eliot Abrams in his blog, back in June of 2006:

http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-blogs/abrams/good-news-and-s-1/3657

I always found it a bit annoying that there wasn’t a disaster, after I predicted one, but 2006 was particularly annoying, for that was the year Bill McKibben made big money publishing in National Geographic , warning about hurricanes, but rather than saying what-happened-before-could-happen again,  he spoke a lot of hoopla about how the hurricanes would be “unprecedented” and caused by “Global Warming.” He was every bit as wrong as I was, but he got all sorts of press, and likely could pay someone else to stack his wood.

Call it envy if you will, but I grumbled a lot to myself as year followed year with no hurricanes, and I got only abuse, as McKibben got richer and richer. Finally, in August, 2012, I ventilated and had my rant published on Watts Up With That.

Hurricane Warning; McKibben Alert

In Many ways I think this is my best effort, when it comes to being a Chicken Little about hurricanes, and, if “The Big One” ever does hit New England, my rant will make me look  like a Paul Revere. It began:

I would like to venture two predictions which I believe have a, (as they say,) “high degree of probability” of proving true.

The first is that a terrible hurricane, as bad as the ferocious 1938 “Long Island Express,” will roar north and bisect New England. True, it might not happen for over a hundred years, but it also might happen this September. The fact is, 1938 showed us what could happen. 1938 set the precedent.

My second prediction is that if such a storm happens this September, it will not matter if it a Xerox copy of the 1938 storm; Bill McKibben will call it “Unprecedented.”

It really makes me wonder: Why on earth would such a seemingly smart person want to make such a total fool of himself? How can McKibben call so many events “unprecedented’ when all you need to do is open a history book, and you can see so many other prior storms set precedents?”

The post is worth reading, if you want to read about the history of past storms, and also about what a storm similar to the 1938 hurricane might do the the structures we have built since 1938, especially in Boston.

However I’ve been there and done that, and have to stack wood. I simply haven’t the time to write the whole danged thing all over again. Anyway, after being wrong so many years, who the heck would listen?  It has been something like 4000 days since a major hurricane has hit the mainland of the USA. Both McKibben and myself look like total jokes. Therefore I was glad to go to bed, and not feel I had to warn anyone. Then, when I got up  this morning, to my dismay I see the GFS computer is producing this track:

hurricane-matthew-1-gefs_al14_2016100100

Oh bleep. Right over Boston. So I do have to dust off my Chicken Little outfit and run around squawking, after all.

Well, consider it done.

The storm is still a week away, and there are many things that could knock it off track or weaken it, so I’m only raising an eyebrow slightly, at this point. But I will keep watching, and update this post if things become exciting. Expect a lot of hoopla, even if it goes out to sea.

It’s the first major hurricane we’ve seen in a while, and is over very warm water that should keep it well fed:

hurricane-matthew-3-20

It’s eye-wall looks like it is going through some sort of reformation phase, which has weaken it to a strong force 4 from a weak force 5, but that is still one heck of a storm.  Steady winds of 155 mph is something we can’t imagine. A sky-diver falling in a belly-down position is experiencing winds of 125 mph. Therefore 155 mph winds could pick you up and blow you away like a leaf.

hurricane-matthew-2-max_web_trop_atl14_storm_info_1280x720

SATURDAY NIGHT UPDATE

The European model takes it safely out to sea:

hurricane-matthew-5-eps_al14_2016100112

But the GFS has it clobbering Cape Cod

hurricane-matthew-4-screen_shot_2016_10_01_at_7_36_15_pm

The Hurricane itself? It has no idea what to do, with so much advice, so it currently is being very indecisive and wobbling in a small circle like a spinning top. (I now realize this animation below automatically updates. The wobble no longer shows.)

INSOMNIA UPDATE 

hurricane-matthew-6-max_web_trop_atl14_storm_info_1280x720

SUNDAY MORNING YIKES UPDATE   (Or, pick your poison)

The thing about computer models a week away is that they can jump about quite a bit from run to run. Last night’s GFS 0000z run had Matthew safely out to sea:

hurricane-matthew-6-gfs_pr6_slp_t850_east3_312

But this morning’s 0600z run? Yowsa!  New York City gets clobbered!

hurricane-matthew-7-gfs_pr6_slp_t850_ne_27

If you allow your emotions to be swayed by all these various runs you will become a nervous wreak, a mere shadow of your normal confident and happy self. If I were you I’d take it easy, and maybe check out your generator, if you have one. Don’t rush out and buy one, like I did around 20 years ago when Eduard (?) was suppose to hit Boston, and then swerved a hundred miles out to sea. (I couldn’t afford it. If you can afford it, buy one.)

Me? Well, personally, I am going to party like mad all week, for at this time next week I could be dead.

(By the way, this is a really good time to go to the Weatherbell Site and sign up for their one week free-trial. Most of the above maps are from that site. And Joe Bastardi is quite good, tackling the unpredictable whims of such storms, while Joseph D’Aleo is a brilliant teacher.)

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE  –CALM DOWN–

The models continue to show a lot of options for route Matthew will take.

hurricane-matthew-8-al14_current

These models can be roughly divided into two camps, the “faster” and the “slower”.  The faster models have Matthew hook up with a trough to the north, and the trough whisks it nicely out to sea. The Canadian “JEM” model typifies this idea, with the storm on its way out by Sunday, and the focus of people returning to football.

hurricane-matthew-9-cmc_pr6_slp_t850_east_277

The slower models have Matthew miss the connection with the trough to the north, and instead of zipping out to sea the storm just stalls and prowls about off the south Carolina coast. While the above map shows the storm heading out on October 9, the below “European” map shows it still hanging back on October 13.

hurricane-matthew-10-ecmwf_slp_precip_east2_41

One interesting possibility is shown by  the small storm to the north of Matthew in the above map, which would be a second tropical low sucked into the first.

In essence, my take is that even a chronic worrier like myself can kick back at least until Sunday, by which point we will know if the storm is going to be “faster” or “slower”.

But if you really need to worry, I won’t deprive you. The computer runs we see tend to be an average of many runs, and there are always a few runs, called “outliers”, that stray from the mainstream and march to a different drummer. The GFS may be suggesting Matthew will head out to sea, but check out the outliers. A few crash right into Massachusetts, and one very much resembles the 1938 hurricane (but slower).

hurricane-matthew-11-screen_shot_2016_10_03_at_11_29_31_am

Nearly exactly a year ago Hurricane Joaquin was threatening, and then the predicted path went from freaking out New York City to being a fish-storm.

This has happened so many times it is a bit like the “Boy Crying Wolf” to warn people. However, as I said last year after Joaquin turned out to be a false alarm, “I stand by my guns, when it comes to the fact that one of these days one of these storms will look all the world like it is going out to sea, and then will swerve back northwest and shatter the windows of Boston’s skyscrapers while ripping just west of town, heading north at 50 mph. However even a blind squirrel can find a nut. I will be wrong 99 times before I am right once…”

(A storm taking the path of the left hand map above would completely flood New York City’s subways. They have had countless close calls and warnings, (including Hurricane Irene in 2011) but they only use the warnings to collect taxes. Then they spend all the money on “administration”, and never fix the subways with better pumps and better protection.)

I hope I keep on being wrong, and when the one time in a hundred arrives, I am long gone. I’ve done my job, which is to be a Chicken Little. I deserve a break, so I’m just going to calm down.

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Looks like Matthew is swerving NNE a little. Pray for the people of Haiti. They are poor on a good day, and have a couple bad ones ahead.

TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE  –Pray For Haiti–

My gorge has risen this morning, as first thing I read this morning (on another site) was a somewhat sneering comment about the people of Haiti being “those permanent victims”. Unspoken was the idea they deserve what they get. Admittedly they are poor, and that poverty extends to poor government, but I don’t subscribe to the mind-set that seemingly wants to “reduce overpopulation” by keeping poor countries poor. It seems a sign you are one of the so-called “elite”, when you  smack your lips eating cherries while watching misery in the Third World on TV.

There are many problems with the concept of “nation building”, but that is no reason to not try to help others help themselves. My little church sent a group of seven teenagers to Haiti back in the late 1990’s and they actually had a wonderful time. The main project was to build a strong structure of cinder blocks in a neighborhood where most homes were made of flimsy tin sheeting. I can’t help but think a cinder block structure will now be where people flee, if winds get over 100 mph.  Sheets of tin will be but flying guillotines.

Stewart Pid alerted me to this remark over at WUWT. “The NHC estimates winds speeds using aircraft. There was a NDBC discus buoy that recorded surface sustained winds at 67 knots maximum. Category 1 hurricane threshold is 64 knots. Mathew was barely a category 1 hurricane when it passed directly over buoy number 42058. The NHC has been doing this for years, making wind speed claims greatly in excess of actual recorded surface winds.”

If it is true winds are not as bad as the NHC reports, I’ll call it an answered prayer. Because that is all I can do, at this point: Pray. I have none of the power of the “elite”. I have enough trouble using my waning strength to help people in my own small corner of the planet, and the only worldly power I have is the power of a single vote. So it only natural (if you own a thing called a “heart”) to turn to otherworldly power, and to pray for brothers and sisters in Haiti.

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(Talk about other worldly… A fellow named Frankie Lucena was aboard a hurricane hunter above Hurricane Matthew last night, and got some pictures of electricity discharging in the upper atmosphere above the storm. I guess you could call it “lightning”, and it is known as “sprites”. We didn’t even know this sort of lightning existed, when I was young.)

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TUESDAY EVENING UPDATE  –Complications–

Hurricane Matthew has smashed through the east of Haiti, and our vaunted media reports 5 deaths. Does not compute. Complications arise, which any competent media, with even the most elementary educations, would wrestle with. What are the complications? Well, either the government’s Hurricane Center is completely inept, and the storm is much weaker than they say, or our government’s reports about the conditions in Haiti are completely inept, and the poverty Haitians purportedly endure does not exist.

The simple fact of the matter is that around 60,000 in Haiti are so down-in-their-luck they are living in tents. (I know about that. I lived in a tent and slept in my car for long periods, when I was younger, and down-in-my-luck.) Others live in flimsy houses made of sheets of metal nailed to 2-by-4’s.  None of this stands up well to 125 mile/hour winds.

My gut feeling is that those people have been through sheer hell, if the winds were as high as the Hurricane Center proclaimed. Sheet metal is not nice stuff, when it is blowing about at 125 miles an hour. 5 deaths?  A foot of rain on hills stripped of vegetation can turn a dry brook into a brown torrent carrying trees, cars and houses. 5 deaths? A storm surge of ten feet, with twenty foot waves on top, is hard on people in Florida with comfortable cars and interstates to flee upon, but Haitians have nowhere to flee. 5 deaths?

My gut feeling is that our media is utterly inept. They have no on-the-scene reporters in Haiti. They are so bankrupt they can’t afford it. Anyway, any reporter with the guts to take on such a dangerous assignment  would also have long ago had the guts to tell their editors to take their job and shove it. Their remaining workers are timid souls, who believe “news is reporting what you are told to report”. Most news they get they obtain through social media, because they are too timid to go out and see things for themselves. Why should I heed them? I can obtain stuff through social media myself. I know the waters were chest deep in the Main Street of a small town in the southeast Haiti, because I read the “tweet”.

Why should I care? Well, I suppose it is because my little church cared for Haiti a quarter century ago, and, after our teens joined other teens from other small churches to go south and build some cinder-block structures, and we felt all warm and cozy about what a good thing we had done, some lady from Haiti came north to thank us (and, of course, to seek more help). In the process of thanking us she sort of punctured our self-righteousness,  because in the process of saying why she was thankful she described the reasons, and this involved describing the brutality of the reality. For me it was a real eye-opener.

After she spoke to our church, I sought the woman out and asked the sort of questions our wimpy media is too spineless to ask, and she seemed downright relieved.  I asked politically incorrect questions, but never with malice. We had a talk that was full of laughter and understanding, and which the “elite” think cannot happen between a conservative, white-skinned bumpkin from New Hampshire and a very-dark skinned social-worker from Haiti.

The result was that my world became larger. I cared for people beyond my horizons. If I ride a taxi in Boston, and the driver is Haitian, I want the “news from home”.

Our president could care less. He thinks that, because his skin is dark and mine is whitish, people from Haiti will automatically flock to him. But my family has more experience of the agony  of slavery than he can imagine. (Look up Robert Gould Shaw, who died with his black troops in the American Civil War.)  Our president’s black skin has no knowledge of slavery, and in fact he of the “elite”, too high and mighty to sink to such lows. What do the “elite” really care about a nation of slaves that rebelled from their masters, like Haiti?

I personally think the suffering in Haiti at the moment is more than “5 deaths”, but it might make our president look bad if, after 8 years of his leadership, our close neighbors had not even the slightest improvements, as he spent billions on wind turbines and solar panels that are failures. Therefore the media, as meek and timid souls, does not dare report the actual suffering in Haiti that is actually happening.

I could be wrong.  Maybe it is the Hurricane Center that is wrong, and Matthew passed through Haiti with breezes and showers. If that is the case, how are we to trust government scientists about Global Warming? If they can’t get today right, how can we trust their ideas about tomorrow?

That is only the first complication I have to report.

The second involves a glitch in the confidence Matthew will move as predicted. The glitch is a second tropical storm to the east-northeast  of Matthew, named “Nicole”.  In the map below, Matthew is the big storm between Cuba and Haiti, and Nicole is the small blob of clouds way out in the Atlantic, to the east-northeast .

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The glitch is this:  When two tropical storms exist in close proximity something called the Fujiwhara Effect occurs. In theory this would whip the eastern storm (Nichole) forward,  but cause the western storm (Matthew) to slow, or even stall.

No computer model sees this yet. All seem to see the “faster” option, (which I mentioned earlier) which whisks Matthew out to sea, only brushing the east coast of the USA.

No model sees the “slower” option, wherein the Fujiwhara  effect stalls Matthew, and causes us a great deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Personally, I hope this coming Sunday sees Matthew whisking out to sea, and our focus on football, and Haiti.  The last thing I want to see is Haiti’s trouble happening here. But at least the hurricane is past those people, and winds are dying down in Haiti.

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WEDNESDAY MORNING  UPDATE

Cuba’s mountains have weakened the hurricane slightly, as it passed through the Windward Passage.  Waters are warm and the storm will likely intensify as it moves away from the mountains. The Bahamas have no high peaks.

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The only Tweets and Facebook  posts I have seen come from far from the center. Port-au-Prince only received strong breezes and heavy rains.

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON –HAITI CUT OFF–

Hurricane Matthew is back out over water and the eye has reappeared, and likely it will strengthen as it moves northwest through the Bahamas towards Florida. (Notice the second tropical storm, Nichole, to the right.)

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All attention will look ahead to Florida now, as Haiti is forgotten. However the “Drudge Report” had an apt picture from space of a skull-like Matthew hitting Haiti.

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The death toll is not being released; government officials are simply stating “We don’t know,” which is the truth, for the bridges are washed out and the roads flooded and all phone and cell-phone connections seem lost. The tweets we do get show rains were extreme even far from the center over by Port-au-Prince, and people may be having trouble recharging their phones.

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The further toward the track one traveled the more extreme the damage would be, but to get any idea of how incredible such winds and tides are it is helpful to look at Westernmost Cuba, where the buildings were far more sturdy.

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This demonstrates the winds were as strong as hurricane hunter aircraft suggested, at ground level. However Matthew was “weakened” by the time it hit western Cuba. The storm surge was around nine feet. As Matthew hit Southwest Haiti the winds were 20 mph higher and the storm surge was likely over ten feet. People were camped on flat-lands by the sea, in tents and in tin sheds, and afraid of leaving their few belongings, and basically stayed and prayed.  Unless some leader rose, who got a great many people to head for the local highlands, I fear the death-toll must be in the thousands.

I find the media silence peculiar. Perhaps they fear causing a panic in Florida. However the survivors in southwest Haiti likely need help now, not tomorrow. We do have an aircraft carrier and hospital ship headed down that way,  but they have a hurricane to avoid.

Continue to pray for them, because most of us cannot help in any other way.

Wednesday Night  –Fujiwhara Craziness–

I just watched some young fool on the Weather Channel say Matthew’s winds have weakened because it is disorganized. Total Nonsense. Compare it with the picture above. It is quite obviously better organized. It’s central pressure is even lower. The drop in wind-speed is some glitch caused by needing to take the pulse from a distance. There are times one needs to use the eyes God gave us, but the young fellow on the Weather Channel is displaying a surprising respect of authority. (Maybe that’s what got him his job.)

Now our concern should be the Bahamas. I visited those islands back when I was eighteen and very disrespectful of authority, aboard a “borrowed” sailboat. The isles are largely low, coral islands, and no place you want to be when the ocean rises ten feet, with huge waves and high winds. I am praying for the inhabitants, who were very kind to a forlorn object like myself, cast upon their shores, with the captain of my ship so violently ill I thought he might die.

I am also praying for the engineers behind the building of the hotels in Nassau. They likely are not sleeping well. No engineer wants to see his structure blown down, but they are also under unreal pressure to “keep costs low.”  It is somewhat amazing how much the costs rise, if you engineer a hotel to withstand 130 mph winds, compared to what they are when you engineer a hotel to withstand 110 mph winds. The one thing about Nassau is that, unlike Haiti, we likely will get swift pictures of what has happened. It looks like the eye might go right over the capital.

As far as Florida is concerned, I think they are doing the right thing to evacuate the coast. It is better to be safe than sorry.

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Notice tropical storm Nichole, to the right of the map. This, and the young meteorologist Tom Downs over on the Weatherbell site, may actually succeed in getting the word “Fujiwhara” into the vocabulary of the mainstream media. (If so, it will be fun to watch, as puffed people attempt to pontificate, like they know what “Fujiwhara” means.)

We don’t even know if Matthew will hit Florida, or stay just off-shore. That seems work enough. However, looking beyond, some models are showing Matthew pulling a loop, swinging out to sea only to curve back around and hit Florida again, due to the Fujiwhara effect.

I’m not worried about that. After all, I don’t live down there. What I am worried about is stuff that is above my head, in the upper atmosphere. I don’t understand the workings of that world, up there. But it does seem that, when these hurricanes create massive updrafts, it does some destabilizing that needs to be rectified, and you see these odd, very-fast streamers of high clouds heading north around the edges of hurricanes. I suppose, guessing greatly, that they are a sort of jet stream. I have never seen one “steer” a storm, but then, I have never seen what brings certain hurricanes north to New England at unheard of speeds of between 50-60 mph. I just see it has happened in the past.

I am worried about something that the models are not showing. They have produced an incredible number or tracks, all over kingdom come, over a few short days, but not one is mine.

Because the upper atmosphere’s jet streams are a subject miles above my head, there is no way I can talk about the subject scientifically, and therefore the best option is to talk about it facetiously:

You young whippersnappers can’t forecast like the oldsters could. Heck, back when me and George Washington used to chop down cherry trees together, we thought nothing of forecasting storms years in advance. Why, as late as 1868 a Limey named Lieutenant Stephen Martin Saxby published a forecast, on Christmas, in the “Standard of London”, and it began…“I now beg leave to the state, with regard to 1869, that at seven a.m., on October 5, the moon will be at that part of her orbit which is nearest to the earth…”

Now I reckon you so-called scientists got your noses in the air, because you can’t figure out how to read the moon, but Saxby nailed his forecast. You fellows keep changing yours, every time your computer goes “urp.”

Up in the Bay of Funday the fog burned off on October 4, 1869, and it was a surprisingly warm day for October, even called “oppressive” by some. Then the south winds began to pick up, and the skies to the south grew dark and threatening, and by sunset it was raining and the winds were starting to howl. The tides were high, due to the new moon, but once the dark fell the wind went mad. In Moncton some farmers headed out to the flats to get their livestock in the dark, and then the thirty-foot-tall dykes protecting those lowlands were topped by a storm surge like none ever seen before, and sea waters came roaring across the flats, drowning lots of livestock, and farmers as well, though one fellow survived by riding a haystack that slowly got more and more waterlogged, sinking lower and lower until the fellow thought he was a goner, because not only was the stack sinking but the outgoing tide was sucking him out to sea, but luckily the stack sunk so low it grounded on the submerged top of the dyke, and there he stayed as the waters drained away, revealing a shattered landscape. Over in the state of Maine, entire forests were flattened, and the floods were so bad not a bridge survived in the north.

Now, when you young fellows can forecast a storm like that, ten months in advance, come back and maybe we’ll talk about naming a storm after you.

(On a side note, the hurricanes that clobber New England don’t dawdle on their way north, for in such cases cold waters weaken them swiftly. The ones to watch out for accelerate to amazing forward speeds of 50-60 mph, (and some nit-pickers might say they are no longer truly and purely “tropical”, but they have unholy power at their cores). So forecasters to the north should be wary of swiftly developing jets, that can suddenly suck a storm north.)

THURSDAY MORNING  –BAHAMA BASHER

This graphic says it all. More later.

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Picture from Haiti. Still no reports from southwest, but a helicopter view was not pretty. Likely no clean water, which can lead to cholera in a hurry.

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Church will be at the usual time.

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In westernmost Cuba, they do have their cellphone service back.

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On the Weatherbell site Joe D’Aleo posted this cool satellite view of Matthew over the Bahamas, Nichole to the east, and, down in the lower right corner, the new kid on the block?

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HAITI DEATH TOLL TO 103 ;  HARDEST HIT AREAS STILL CUT OFF

Besides salvaging belongings, one task seems to be to dry things out, as everything is drenched. It is important to boil all water, but hard to start a fire.

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THURSDAY EVENING  -Honing In On Florida

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FRIDAY MORNING REPORT  –EYEWALL OFF-SHORE (So Far).  Haiti Death-toll “jumps” to 253.

The inner eye-wall of Matthew looks like it fell apart and the out eye-wall looks like it is contracting, which is a sign of a strengthening storm. If the eye-wall gets over land the winds turn from gales to crazy. It is the eye-wall winds that have nasty vortexes sort of like sideways tornadoes, and do the worst damage.  So far the eye-wall hasn’t made an on shore appearance, and all the hoopla looks laughable. Fine with me, though I do not like the weather service to get laughed at when they gave the proper warnings. Pictures from Haiti and Cuba should alert people to the “worst-case-scenario,” which we pray stays off shore.

We are starting to get a few reports from the cut off parts of Haiti, and Time magazine reports the death toll “jumped to” 253. No, fellows. The death toll didn’t “jump”, you just didn’t report it, just like you are still not reporting how many died.

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The body of a man who perished during Hurricane Matthew lies on a piece of wood as survivors prepare to place his body in a coffin, in Cavaillon, Haiti. Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. Haitian officials on Thursday dramatically raised the known death toll from Matthew as they finally began to reach corners of the country that had been cut off by the rampaging storm. Interior Minister Francois Anick Joseph announced that at least 108 had died, up from a previous count of 23. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

The pictures we get are still from the edges, and from wealthier neighborhoods with sturdier structures.  The slums are only viewed from helicopters. People are drying drenched laundry and waiting for water. Water is so expensive some can’t afford food, as the ocean’s salt water flooded the fresh-water wells.

People walk on a street next to destroyed houses after Hurricane Matthew hit Jeremie

People walk on a street next to destroyed houses after Hurricane Matthew hit Jeremie, Haiti, October 6, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

If you want to become angry at the UN, please consider the following:  People catch cholera from water made dirty by sewerage that contains the germs from people called “cholera-carriers.” There was no cholera in Haiti. If the UN had wanted to keep Cholera from being a problem, all they needed to do was screen its workers, and make sure they sent no cholera-carriers. They did the opposite, and sent workers from Nepal, where cholera is rife. It seems so stupid I have the paranoid sense it must have been intentional, to “reduce over-population.”  Cholera currently represents a threat of killing more people than the hurricane.

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SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE  –We lucked out; Haiti didn’t.

Hurricane Matthew did give the coasts of Georgia and South and North Carolina strong winds and very heavy rains (over a foot in places) but the worst of the storm surge dissipated out to sea and never brought its full brunt to the USA coast. This is of small  consolation to those who have suffered, but the fact of the matter is that things could have been much, much worse, especially in Florida. Now most of the storms energy has been expended in rain to its north, and though still a formidable gale, especially on its west side, it has been dubbed “Post Tropical.”  The actually center has little activity with it, in the second map below.

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Tom Downs has a very good post at the Weatherbell site explaining what a huge difference even a fifty mile change in the track of the storm to the west would have made, and why the governors did the right thing to evacuate the coasts, though many are laughing at them now. You can’t always trust on luck, as Haiti knows.

The death toll in Haiti rose, as I expected, to 877, and now silence has again descended. I have the sense the officials involved are hiding the true nature of the disaster, likely out of shame. Some of the poor were not even aware the storm was coming, so inadequate were the preparations.

This is not due to a failure on the part of people to send money. The failure rests squarely on the shoulders of the leaders in charge of investing the money wisely. In the case of the World Bank, they may not have invested unwisely, and rather did not invest it at all.

I find these figures hard to believe, but will put them down:

After the disastrous 2010 earthquake the World Bank collected and oversaw a account holding 351 million, called the Haiti Reconstruction Fund. How much of that fund has been utilized? Out of 351 million, slightly less than 17 million.

I find this totally disgusting. For one thing, I am sure the officials didn’t dawdle, when it came to making certain their own  salaries were paid. Secondly, there is no shortage of cheap labor in Haiti. The average person subsists on a dollar a day, and I’m certain you could get some good work-crews together paying the men ten dollars a day. Even using primitive methods, carrying dirt in baskets, the people of India built a decent system of flood control dams. Tall dykes could have been built to protect the southern cities from storm surges, as was done in Galveston after it was destroyed.  Now it is all 20-20 hindsight.

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There are some who suggest the actual intent of the UN and the World Bank is not to help such people, but rather to “reduce over population.” That is a terrible thing to suggest, tantamount to genocide, but I can’t say they are doing a very good job of defusing the suggestion they are evil. You cannot blame the leaders of Haiti, for how they use the money is so largely dependent on the overseers. (One thing I heard was the Haitian officials were not allowed to use the aid on anything but things directly related to earthquakes.)  In any case, a human disaster is occurring, and the press is silent.

I expect the Haiti Reconstruction Fund records may soon be “accidentally deleted.”

http://www.haitireconstructionfund.org/documents/steering_committee/en

SUNDAY AFTERNOON –Matthew Fades–Haitian Horror Continues–

I did a bit more study of the history of Haiti this Sunday, and it seems to me that the nation has had more than it’s fair share of oppression, brutal dictators, outside exploiters, and ill-advised spiritual “authorities”. In some ways it seems Haitians are a people with a chip on their shoulder, who have every reason to have a chip on their shoulder, but who draw abuse by asking for it. It is a most exasperating sort of history to read about, and one Evangelist even suggested Haitians had made a deal with the devil, and were reaping the consequences. I doubt they are any worse than the rest of us, in that respect, and in a sense they remind me of the rest of us, only they make our shortcomings more obvious.

However as this started out a study of hurricanes and not Haiti, I think I’ll save the rest of my thinking for a Halloween post.  For some of Haiti’s horror is like that, and a warning to the rest of the world of what we could make our lives be like.

Speaking of which, I guess I’ll settle back for a presidential debate between a couple of Halloween characters.

The real danger is humans, not hurricanes. (Though we do have Irene waiting in the wings.)

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LOCAL VIEW –First Frost–

We have had a summery fall, with a few summer-like waves of refreshing Canadian air, welcome because they push out the heat and humidity, but the southern warmth quickly pushed back north, hot and muggy but usually dry, until at long last a southern surge  brought us some rain, which our parched landscape accepted with a deep sigh of gratitude.

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That single band of warm rain, bececting the southern border of New Hampshire, gave us more rain than we’d received in the entire month before. It was slightly less than three inches. So parched was our landscape that the brooks didn’t even rise. The land sucked it up like a sponge. The drought wasn’t ended. But at least the woods didn’t crisply crunch as I walked through them, after that extended torrent (between 4:00 and 8:00 AM), and I wasn’t searching the historical records for evidence of state-wide forest fires any more. Instead I worried southwards, about hurricanes. (Notice, in the map below, the ex-tropical storm off the Carolina coast.)

20160919-satsfc As the welcome wall of moisture swept north, a flimsy, poor-excuse-for-a-cold-front basically faded away over us, as we sank back into a tropical flow from the south. Up in that flow came a poor-excuse-for-a-hurricane. It had no rain, and no wind, but wonderfully strange skies. They were hurricane skies, without the hurricane.

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When it really became obvious the skies were different was when the skies gave way to a hurricane sunset. When I was young, old-timers warned me to be wary of sunsets that were not just red in the west, but crimson wall-to-wall, from west all the way overhead and down to the east, especially at the time of the “line storm” (when the sun crosses the equator).  “Red at night, sailor’s delight” was not true for the “blood sun”.

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In a sense it was as if a atmospheric gap passed over us with a sign on it, “This Space Is Reserved For A Hurricane”, but no hurricane chose to utilize its reservation.  I found it odd. It seemed especially odd because several tropical storms have milled about over warm waters without showing the slightest inclination towards the explosive development that sailors once dreaded. In like manner fronts have approached New England this summer, and had signs on them, “This Space Reserved For Severe Thunderstorms”, and we got not even a sprinkle nor a grumble.

Only a true Alarmist would gnaw their nails about no hurricanes and no severe thunderstorms. It is a blessing, (though we could have used a little more light rain). However I thought it was wonderful that, even though we did not get a “line storm” right at the solstice, (the time the terrible 1938 Hurricane passed though New England, completely changing the landscape in three hours), a sort of Space-reserved-for-hurricane passed over at the right time, with a hurricane sunset. It made the old-timers I once listened to seem less out-dated.

When I was knee high to a grasshopper, the old-timers I annoyed were all born in the 1800’s, and could remember when sailing ships were still common. Right up into the Great Depression men in New England made decent money shipping cargo up and down the coast on schooners. They lived lives Insurance Companies would now frown upon, and endured the whims of the weather, and therefore knew things about what the winds do that we have forgotten, now that we use satellites in outer space to tell us which ways the winds blow, and seldom step outside and wet a finger.

Now I’m the old-timer, but even though I’ve lived much more of my life outdoors than most modern people do, I’m not as smart as those old sailors were. Also, when it comes to satellites, I’m not as smart as the young. At times I think I epitomize the worst of both worlds. However perhaps I am a bridge between the two worlds.

One thing the old-timers knew about, back when more than half of all Americans lived on farms,  was that when the nights get longer the Canadian air-masses, so welcome during the summer, when the nights are too short to do damage, gain power. It is the power of longer nights, leading to frost. Frost does great damage to the productivity of a garden, and the old-timers would anxiously sniff the air on cool nights, even in August. By September they expected frost, and this was especially true when conditions were dry, (because moister and lusher foliage has a power to resist frost which drier foliage lacks.) Around here the first frost was expected around the solstice, and any extension of the growing season was deemed good luck.

However the modern forecasters, parked indoors by their computer screens, were completely blind-sided by our first frost this year, on September 26. This sort of surprised me, because usually those fellows will use the slightest excuse to puff their self-importance, setting off wailing warnings on weather-radios, and many’s the time I’ve been awoken at three AM by my weather-radio warning of the slight possibility of frost in mountains fifty miles north of here. This year there was no warning. Low temperatures were predicted to be around 40°F (+4.4°C).

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If people with gardens actually depended on the government, they might be pissed off, because with adequate warning a sprinkler can be set out in the garden, and a slight spray of water can extend the growing season. (Not that things grow much more, as the sun gets lower and weaker. One year, close to the water on the coast of Maine, I managed to protect my garden nearly to Thanksgiving in November, and what amazed me was how stunted the growth was. It was nice to have things fresh from the garden, but I recall the Swiss Chard grew short, squat leaves, like triangles.)

The small scale farmers around here don’t need the government to tell them to expect frost in late September. Either they protected their tomatoes,  or else they said, “the heck with it.” When the frost came without an official warning, the really angry people, I expect, were the little old ladies who had their hot-house plants out on the patio, and saw them killed, because the weathermen didn’t warn them. And it is such ladies, and not farmers, that the weathermen should kowtow to, for such ladies have the big bucks and donate to PBS and the meteorology departments of colleges.

Me? I wasn’t angry. I expected frost. It happens. Heck if a change of government will change the date of the first frost. It happens. It really seems primitive and savage to me that some think anyone but the Creator controls the weather. I see little difference between savages who think throwing a virgin into a volcano can control nature, and those who think buying curly light-bulbs and separating green bottles from brown bottles can control nature.

I mean, if you believe in such stuff, shouldn’t you just go to the Creator, and say, “Begging your pardon, Creator, but could you please make it snow this Christmas, after folk have finished their shopping?” Isn’t it a little bit insulting to the Creator to think you can control Him? “Your attention please, Creator, I have purchased curly light bulbs, and henceforth You will do as I say!”

I was part of a generation that felt it could boss the Creator absurdly. “Your attention please, Creator, I have purchased a tablet of LSD, and henceforth you will expand my consciousness as I say!” (What a fiasco!) Therefore, now that I am an old-timer, I am less inclined to tell the Creator how to run the universe.

I am more inclined to attempt to emulate Abraham Lincoln. When asked if he wanted the Creator to be on “our side”, his polite, considerate (and, by modern standards, politically incorrect,) response was, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

In order to be like that, one has to be humble. One has to be able to confess they are not in control of all things. In such a situation one should heed little children, because they have no control whatsoever. Call it Karma or whatever-you-will, they have no control of the situation they are born into.

There actually was a Child-care philosophy that was all the rage, a while back,  that focused on giving children more of a sense they were “in control.” Rather than saying, “Get in the car”, you were suppose to say, “Would you like to get in the car?” The aim was to stimulate a child’s creativity (as if they needed any help with that!) The fear was that, by bossing children around, you were crushing their talents. What was discovered was that too much freedom made children feel abandoned. Walls were not seen by the child as being like a prison’s, but instead walls sponsored a cozy sense of safety. A child did not want the deep responsibility of being in control of everything. They wanted to trust those details to the grown-ups.  

The trust of children is quite amazing to witness, in cases where the parents have serious problems, and you might think a child would prefer foster care. Even when parents are heroin addicts and both are in jail, a little child will prefer them to  saintly foster care. Parents are a “given”, just as weather is a “given”.  Just as we don’t control the weather, children don’t control their fate, yet they are a heck of a lot more optimistic and cheerful than most adults. Like the captains of old schooners, they sail through situations that would turn an insurance adjuster a deathly shade of green. Therefore I watch children carefully, to see how they respond to a first frost.

 

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Is that young man cursing Big Oil, or Big Green? Is he cursing Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton? Or is he not cursing anyone at all, and instead just filled with wonder?

As I get older I get younger. Maybe it is because I have to deal with kids so much, or perhaps senility is creeping in. Increasingly, cursing seems stupid. Increasingly, wonder seems wise.

When I think back to the old-timers I knew in my youth, it seems they were less troubled by not being in control. Just think how anguished a modern insurance agent would be about a cargo vessel with no engine, dependent on the whims of the wind. Yet the old-timers simply accepted the whims of the wind as a given, and worked like mad responding. In like manner, a first frost got everyone working like crazy to save what they could from the garden.

Perhaps it is working with computers so much that makes people think they are in control. People have the sense that they only need to rewrite the program, and any glitch will be fixed. Before you know it people are attempting to create a reality that is “risk free”.

That is not how the Creator made the world. A “risk free” environment is a bed you can hide beneath, and even there you are mortal, and, after hiding for seventy years, you die.  At some point one wants to come out, and face the sky, and maybe even sail.

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Now stand back, all you bankers of men’s hearts,
For I am going to stay the wheels of time
And command leaves stay green, when first frost starts
To spill paints across the hills. I’ll climb
The clouds and yank the slumping sun back north.
My hair will turn dark again, without dye.
I’ll again gush ardor, (whatever that’s worth),
And make fall’s maudlin poems be a lie.
I’m tired of autumn songs being so weepy
So I’ll derange the seasons with tulips
And wake poor bears just when they’re sleepy.
The only frost will involve my mint juleps.
And then, when asked why I’ve altered Creation,
I’ll just explain it’s my standing ovation.