I thought the book was getting too long and chose to leave this (especially lengthy) chapter out. It never saw the editor, but it’s a good read, and quite damning to the global whiners. Enjoy. -Brian
It was September, 1993. Bill, Hill, and Al had held the White House for nine months and were doing their darnedest to undo twelve years of Republican rule. Abusing their executive privilege, their first act mandated federal funding for abortion in the U.S. and abroad. Next, they rammed through their “Reinventing Government” initiative, which eliminated nearly 400,000 jobs that primarily supported our military. Their “Motor Voter” campaign created a far too convenient method for registering non-citizens to vote. And topping it all off, Al Gore’s book, Earth In The Balance, had just been released in paperback and was receiving fawning attention by the media and causing a widespread knee-jerk panic. Most totally ignored the book’s obvious religious overtones.
Thankfully, though, pioneers of the then up-and-coming internet news scene didn’t. An e-mail was soon making the rounds juxtaposing quotes from Gore’s book with quotes from Ted Kaczynski’s (a.k.a. the Unabomber’s) ranting manifesto. So amazingly close in nature were the quotes, the challenge, of course, was to determine who actually said what. Readers were consistently shocked to find out that statements they had attributed to Gore were actually written by Kaczynski.
As a television meteorologist, I had agreed to be the keynote speaker on an Alaskan cruise to the Inside Passage that was to benefit Children’s Hospital. Our destination was magnificent Glacier Bay. My role on the cruise was to provide our 75 guests with a glimpse into the Alaskan climate and present them with a primer on glaciers. I had done my homework and was excited to share my knowledge—especially in light of Gore’s claims that the melting northern ice was a sure sign of impending disaster.
It was the midpoint of our week-long itinerary. We had just made an evening departure from chilly, drizzly Sitka. Our group was comfortably seated in a plush, velvet-covered lounge enjoying a variety of hors d’oeuvres, fine wines, and beverages. Excitement was in the air, as the next morning we would awake surrounded by monstrous cliffs of glacier ice.
I began my talk by noting that in the world of climatology an ice age is known as a glaciation. The most recent glaciation, I told them, had ended about 10,000 years ago. During the height of that age, deep rivers of snow and ice had pushed as far as 45 degrees latitude north, which is the latitude of Chicago and New York City.
In North America at that time, glaciers also slid off the tops of the Rockies, Olympics, and Sierras, scouring the valleys below. The great mountains of Eurasia also were covered with similar massive highways of unprecedented ice. Even Mt. Kilaman-jaro in Africa was inundated with snow the likes of which have not fallen since.
This glaciation left a widespread footprint on the North American landscape which can still be seen today. The Great Lakes and the Finger Lakes were carved by the moving ice through the old valleys. Most of the lakes in Minnesota and Wisconsin were scraped out by glaciers and later filled with the glacial meltwaters. It is believed that the Ohio River drainage system was formed from the melting ice and snow. Long Island, New York, was also formed by the moving glaciers, as were the vast watersheds of Canada. It was certainly a wintry time for planet earth, a cold snap that lasted thousands of years.
I explained to this well-educated group how incredibly fast the deep freeze came upon the earth—almost without warning—and that beneath the ice, snow, and frozen tundra of the Arctic Circle, researchers have found evidence of lush tropical forests and both fossilized and frozen remains of a variety of animals, complete with preserved skin and tissue, including the saber-tooth tiger, jaguar, lynx, wooly mammoth, mastodon, horses, camel, saiga antelope, bison, caribou, moose, sheep, musk-ox, yak and more, 66 species in all. Talk about a flash freeze! For two centuries traders have been harvesting ivory tusks from this region, some tusks 12 feet long. In fact, in Siberia, where the Lena River empties into the Arctic Ocean, it is estimated that some 25,000 mammoths have been discovered in the northern reaches of Russia alone—some even preserved with undigested vegetation still inside their stomachs. In other words, prior to being buried in snow and ice, the very region in which we found ourselves on this Alaskan night had once been part of a tropical paradise.
“What happened?” a guest inquired, asking the obvious question.
“Climate happened,” I replied.
An inquisitive chuckle spontaneously spread through the room. I continued to explain that, following that glaciation, the climate of the world gradually warmed. The snow and ice retreated north and gave way to marshes, prairies, and forests. Every few thousand years or so the weather would again change and snow would pile up and glaciers would form and advance, only to retreat into another phase of climate warming.
“But what about Gore’s book? He claims the polar ice is melting because of man’s influence.”
“You’re right—Mr. Gore does make that claim,” I answered. “But keep in mind, the glaciers we’re about to see tomorrow were first documented by Captain George Vancouver in 1794, and almost 100 years later they were studied again by John Muir, who found they had retreated 48 miles since Vancouver’s writings. By the early 1900s, they had decreased even further. The question I ask is who was to blame for that melting—the Eskimos burning whale oil?”
My answer received a light, beverage-enhanced smattering of laughter, but the truth is, glaciers continually retreat and advance with weather changes.
The next morning we awoke to the sounds of enormous glaciers calving into the frigid Glacier Bay. We quickly donned our cold weather gear and shuffled to the upper deck to witness these 20-story chunks of ice crashing into the deep blue waters. As we watched in awe, not a person was thinking that the earth was in peril, but rather, that we were observing its weather system working just as it always has for millennia. In fact, some of the world’s fastest growing glaciers are currently in Alaska, leading some scientists to wonder if our planet is preparing for a major global cooling.
Most people are shocked to discover that, despite all of the obvious and natural warming that has occurred since the last glaciation, there are at least 160,000 glaciers throughout many regions of the world today. In the State of California alone there are 497 glaciers. These are the party-hardy rivers of cool that have not just survived the ice age, but in some cases are even thriving in the current climate. With so many glaciers spread about the globe, though, less than a hundred have been thoroughly studied for more than five consecutive years, and those that have been have been specially targeted by global warming scientists whose ideology, livelihood, and funding depends on glacial shrinkage.
Obviously, then, thousands of glaciers that are growing go under- or unreported, or in some not-so-surprising instances, grimly spun by the news media as “a harbinger of man’s destructive influence on our climate.”
A dramatic case in point occurred on September 20, 2002, when twenty million tons of surging ice and debris from the Kolka and Maili glacier roared fifteen miles down a steep canyon in southwestern Russia, killing some 150 people and destroying several small villages in the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania.
But this wasn’t the first time this particular glacier grew and surged off the side of Mt. Dzhimarai-Khokh. That would have been in 1902 when 32 people were killed. Again, in 1967, this same glacier came crashing down, but fortunately without any loss of human life. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which spends millions of our tax dollars each year to monitor the world’s glaciers via satellite, admits that the Kolka/Maili events were the result of the glacier growing. Predictably, NASA says the 2002 occurrence was undoubtedly the result of global warming, implying the glacier was shrinking, not growing.
Russian scientists, however, strongly refute NASA’s claim and say the 2002 tragedy was completely consistent with that glacier’s and region’s history. Writing for the Russian Academy of Science, geologist L.V. Desinov emphatically notes that this unfathomable display of nature’s fury “was caused by the surge of [the] pulsating Kolka glacier.”
Many noted scientists in Russia are extremely concerned about the reality of surging glaciers and wide shifts in temperature. An August 25, 2006, press release from the Russian news and information agency NOVOSTI reports that scientist Khabibullo Abdusamatov and his colleagues at the Russian Academy of Sciences astronomical observatory expect “a repeat of the period known as the Little Ice Age” with “cooling to peak between 2055 and 2060,” urging authorities to start preparing for a “future climate change [that] would have very serious consequences.”
So, who are we to believe—local Russian scientists studying the historical record with no personal or organizational agenda, or guys like James Hanson who runs the “global whining” unit at NASA? My lot would be cast for the Russians. And while I’m at it, I would also value the testimony of scientists at the United States Geological Survey office in Alaska who did some marvelous reporting on one of the world’s great floods of all time which took place right in their own backyard in the Tongas National Forest.
While global warming enthusiasts continue to search the world for dramatically melting glaciers, they purposely avoided this whopper of a story involving the spectacular Hubbard Glacier in Alaska, a mighty highway of ice 73 miles long and 6 miles wide, advancing at a steady clip of over 100 feet per year for the last 20 years or more.
The Hubbard is fed from snow originating atop Canada’s highest peak, Mt. Logan, which overlooks the Arctic horizon from a dizzying height of nearly 20,000 feet. This mighty monolith eventually empties into Russell Fiord and the aptly named Disenchant-ment Bay with continuous chunks of calving ice the size of a city warehouse.
On July 15th, 2002, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) issued a press release that received little, if any, major media attention, warning that “Alaska’s Hubbard Glacier is surging” and “advancing so rapidly that it has nearly cut off Russell Fiord from Disenchantment Bay.”
The Hubbard had created a virtual dam, turning Russell Fiord into a lake, which was rising six inches a day. There was nothing that could be done to stop the glacier’s steady movement. The lake soon spilled into the nearby Situk River basin and devastated the village of Yakutat—all but destroying the world-class salmon and steelhead fishing in the area. An August 16, USGS press release headline screamed, “Second-Largest Glacial Flood Worldwide in Historic Times Occurs as Russell Lake Glacier Dam Ruptures.” Despite the historical and environmental value of this event, hardly anyone noticed, as global-warming enthusiasts around the world and their accommodating major media ignored it.
The USGS described it this way:
The immediate threat of overflow of water from Russell Lake caused by the advance of Hubbard Glacier, North America’s largest tidewater glacier, is over…. The trapped water in the 70 square-mile lake broke free to the ocean on August 14 in a spectacularly roiling and chaotic 36 hours, making the torrential channel into the sea an extremely fast-moving and dangerous river full of large chunks of ice and debris, and resulting in both U.S. Coast Guard and National Weather Service advisories…. The one-hour peak discharge of 1.9 million cubic feet of water per second reached on August 14 is the second largest glacial lake outburst worldwide in historical times….
Similarly, though not as catastrophically, the Hubbard had dammed the Russell Fiord in 1986, as well, which gave dramatic insight into the speed of this glacier.
“Since 1986, Hubbard Glacier has continued to advance into Disenchantment Bay and Russell Fiord at an average rate of about 105 feet per year, but large tidal currents have kept a channel open between the glacier and hills to the south,” the USGS reported.
Why was such a climatic event of epic proportions involving a fast-growing, fast-moving, glacier virtually ignored by the mainstream media? The most obvious answer is that it does not fit the deceptive template of man-caused global warming and might confuse the masses, resulting in a possible decrease in donations for Greenpeace or making some of Al Gore’s predictions of glacial melting appear pathetic.
The overwhelming evidence shows that global warming is no longer a theory—it’s a reality…we see all around us today glaciers that have survived for 10,000 years, now facing the prospect of melting away in a single century. – Al Gore, September 2, 1997
If you interpret Gore’s 1997 claim conversely, it sounds as if he longs for the last ice age.
Here is what should be undisputed. The size of a glacier appears to be one of the most significant factors in determining a glacier’s response to a changing climate. Essentially, the larger the glacier, the longer it takes to be affected by a changing climate, an effect I refer to as the amazing memory of H2O (after all, a glacier is 100% water). To illustrate, two years ago my family and I were in the Sierra Nevada during a monster snowstorm. Three to four feet of snow fell during the course of this early December weekend. In our effort to feed the pines CO2, our family of six drove up to the high country in two 4-wheel-drive vehicles, one being my aforementioned beloved truck.
After a great time of skiing and sledding, we were ready to return home. The bed of my truck was filled cab-high with fresh snow. Since it was near Christmas and the decorations were already in place outside our home in the Bay Area, we kept the snow in the bed hoping some would be left to dump at the feet of our lighted Frosty-the-Snowman in the front yard.
During the 220-mile drive, the temperature climbed from below freezing to 60 degrees. By the time we got home, our truck full of snow had been reduced to a couple of small piles (but still enough to joyfully pack around ol’ Frosty). Despite the lack of freezing temperatures, remnants of the snow stayed with us for a few days and makes my point, namely, water, especially in its frozen state, has a long memory.
Using that analogy, scientists agree it would take the enormous ice sheets of Antarctica or Greenland 10,000-100,000 years to respond to any global warming that might be occurring now. A large mountain glacier would take 1,000 to 10,000 years before responding to warming today, while a smaller glacier would take 100 to 1,000 years.
Thus, it is possible that the retreating glaciers now used by fanatics to raise funds to fight global warming might actually be just recently responding to the effects of the Medieval Warm Period, which ended 600 years ago, or of an even warmer period that occurred 6,000 years ago. In any case, the documented evidence demonstrates that glaciers are a useful tool, even for deceitful people to use for great gain.
Case in point: a few years ago, the eco-alarmist group Greenpeace placed two photographs of a glacier in Svalbard, Norway, side by side in an urgent financial appeal to their supporters. The first photo, taken in 1918, showed the massive glacier flowing down the sides of a great mountain range and into the back end of a sweeping valley. In the foreground was a quaint village. The second photograph, taken in 2002 from the same location, was positioned next to the original so that the uniformed observer was left with the dramatic impression that the glacier had retreated dramatically. This sleight-of-eye photography was distributed to Greenpeace-niks around the world, along with this predictable warning: “The blame can be put squarely on human activity. Our addiction to fossil fuels releases millions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and this is what is causing temperatures to rise and our future to melt before our eyes.”
However, an article carried in Britain by the Telegraph exposed the Greenpeace ad as a trick. The story read, in part, “‘Pictures released by Greenpeace claiming to show how man-made global warming has caused Arctic glaciers to retreat are at best misleading and only illustrate a natural phenomenon,’ says a leading glaciologist.”
The leading expert was Norway’s esteemed Dr. Ole Humlum, professor at Oslo University. In the article Professor Humlum further points out that the “glacier had already disappeared in the early 1920s as a result of a perfectly natural rise in temperature that had nothing to do with man-made global warming.”
It turns out that the glacier had virtually melted in the 10 years immediately following the 1918 photograph and had since re-grown.
This Greenpeace fraud later became the blueprint for a gag used by Al Gore in so-called documentary An Inconvenient Truth. His 1928 and 2000 photographs of Africa’s 19,340-foot Mt. Kilimanjaro show similar glacial decreases. However, Al conveniently forgot to tell his audience when most of the ice actually melted. Fortunately, though, someone else did.
In November, 2007, Britain’s Guardian Reporter (why is it that these kinds of investigative articles are usually only carried in the foreign press?) ran a story that boldly began, “A new study on the dwindling ice cap of Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, suggests that global warming has nothing to do with the alarming loss of its beautiful snows.”
The study, published in the American Scientist, also stated that, while Kilimanjaro’s glacier had declined 90% between 1880 and 2003, most of the decline “had already taken place by 1953,” researchers “state that the decline in Kilimanjaro’s ice has been going on for more than a century and that most of it occurred before 1953.”
In addition, the study continues, “Another important observation is that the air temperatures measured at the altitude of the glaciers and ice cap on Kilimanjaro are almost always substantially below freezing (rarely above -3oF). Thus, the air by itself cannot warm ice to melting. …When pieced together, these disparate lines of evidence do not suggest that any warming at Kilimanjaro’s summit has been large enough to explain the disappearance of most of its ice, either during the whole 20th century or during the best-measured period, the last 25 years.”
And finally, the capper, “It is certainly possible that the ice cap has come and gone many times over hundreds of thousands of years.”
While I commend these researchers for exposing the disconnect between the temperatures and Gore’s African glacier, I laughed out loud when I saw the following ridiculous headline on the BBC: “Global Warming Boost to Glaciers.”
Like the content within the article, this headline trips over itself in an attempt to not give the skeptics like me an ounce of pleasure. The story involved a study by researchers at Newcastle University in the U.K and subsequently published in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate. The scientists were researching 100-year temperature trends in the western Himalayas. In the process, they observed that the region’s glaciers were actually growing.
In a feeble attempt to dramatize the obvious, the reporter wrote, “They found warmer winters and cooler summers, combined with more snow and rainfall, could be causing some mountain glaciers to increase in size.”
That is what I used to call a kitchen-sink forecast—one a TV forecaster should always avoid: “That’s right friends: warmer, cooler, more snow and rain. Oh, and for you folks watching in the mountains—be careful of that glacier. It’s gonna grow as fast as bacteria in a Petri dish, slide downhill, and grind your house into wood shavings. Back to you in the studio.”
What cannot be missed in the research is that these glaciers, like those in the Himalayas, are the primary source of water to millions of people. Trying to put it all together (and keep the funding flowing?), one of the research co-authors used a good dose of mental gymnastics to link this essential water source to global warming/climate change.
“The impact of climatic change is important for the longer term management of water resources and to help us understand what is happening in the mountains under global warming.”
These Himalayan glaciers are growing, and thus, the stored water reserves are increasing. This is a good thing. But we cannot seem to have good news when it comes to glaciers, as politicians in the U.S. constantly remind us.
THE HILLARY/MCCAIN BIPARTISAN PROPAGANDA TOUR
In August, 2005, network television newscasts and major newspapers carried the story of the U.S. Senators who visited Alaska in search of evidence for man-made global warming. Led by Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican John McCain, this trip was nothing more than a well-planned photo-op designed to pretend that these politicos were on the cutting edge of environmental issues. But the reports, themselves, actually exposed them for what they were.
The Anchorage Daily News reported, “Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton, touring Alaska this week to view melting permafrost and shrinking glaciers, said the evidence is mounting that global warming is real and human activity is significantly to blame.”
Now, my guess is that Clinton and McCain weren’t shown the growing Hubbard Glacier.
The story included this “insight” from McCain: “‘The question is how much damage will be done before we start taking concrete action,’ McCain, R-Ariz., told reporters at the Hotel Captain Cook Wednesday morning. ‘Go up to places like we just came from. It’s a little scary.’”
Note, also, that the senators were visiting in mid-August—a time when Alaska usually experiences its most significant melting. Even advancing glaciers look a bit weepy when the summer temperatures get above freezing. Those not knowledgeable about the contour and climate of the region, like the caring senators, can easily be duped into believing that what they were witnessing was actually global warming in action, rather than the normal August melt that it was.
The media tour didn’t get much better.
“Clinton, D-N.Y., said the scientists and Native people she’s spoken to on this trip to Alaska and Canada’s Yukon Territory make the case with convincing and moving particulars. ‘So I don’t think there’s any doubt left for anybody who actually looks at the science,’ she said. ‘There are still some holdouts, but they’re fighting a losing battle. The science is overwhelming.’”
Clinton’s response was a typical tactic used by global whiners, that is, using labels such as “holdout” or “fighting a losing battle” against anyone who questions or disagrees with their “informed” conclusions. But no one dared ask how much or how little science was actually presented to the Washington delegation. For example, were they told that the highest temperature ever recorded in Alaska (91°) occurred in 1931 in Anchorage? What was occurring in the blistering global heat-up of the planet back in the 1930s to have caused such unprecedented warmth? Seems to me the constituents of these “public servants” would want to know.
How about the actual temperature trends in Alaska? If the senators were honestly concerned with the science, certainly it would have been valuable to visit the Alaska Climate Research Center (ACRC) and speak with some of their brilliant people. Dapper white lab coats and professorial black horn-rimmed safety spectacles would have made a great photo-op. But they passed on that one because they would have no doubt heard a lecture from scientists regarding a well-known phenomena called Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).
Every two to three decades water currents in the Pacific Ocean mysteriously shift dramatically enough to allow Arctic air temperatures to sharply spike upward. Like the much-publicized El Nino weather pattern, which periodically warms the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the western United States by many degrees, the PDO does the same thing in its northern waters and lasts longer. It was last “switched on” between 1976 and 1977.
We can imagine that Hillary might have interrupted, “Obviously what we are talking about is a correlation between anthropogenic CO2 concentrations and the PDO,” and that the news media would have been awestruck at her knowledge.
But her “brilliant” moment surely would have been left on the cutting room floor as the ACRC scientists would have assured her there is no such correlation. The PDO just occurs. Again, climate happens. The pattern has been observed in temperature data derived from tree rings, reaching back at least 1,000 years. Moreover, a look at the temperature data in Alaska after the PDO kicked in shows something the global warmers want to hide: “since 1977 little additional warming has occurred in Alaska.”
The following graph illustrates ACRC’s findings regarding the giant temperature jump associated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation in Alaska. Notice after the 1976 rise, the average temperature is at least flat or perhaps slightly cooling.
The Hillary/McCain story does not end here, but rather gets more Hillary-ous. Covering their coverage of the propaganda tour, the press reported, “She [Hillary] was struck by the account of a 93 year-old woman she met at a fish camp they helicoptered to from Whitehorse, Yukon. The woman told her she’d been fishing there her whole life but that lately the fish have strange bumps on them, growths Clinton said sounded like some sort of tumor.”
In their desperation to provide an ad hominem example of climate change, they risked the life of the 93 year-old woman by flying her in by helicopter to meet with Hillary. And there, before God and man, “Dr.” Clinton distinctly diagnosed the first man-caused, global warming fish tumors! And no one in the media even questioned it! Something they are prone to do, even when the irony is glaring.
ARCTIC ICE SHRINKAGE?
In March, 2007, explorers Ann Bancroft and Liv Arneson began what was to be a long march across the Arctic Ocean to raise awareness for global warning. Instead, they came close to receiving a Darwin Award (awarded posthumously because the recipient has usually died tragically as a result of his own stupidity, thus spitting themselves out of the human gene pool).
According to newspaper accounts:
The explorers, Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen, on Saturday called off what was intended to be a 530-mile trek across the Arctic Ocean after Arnesen suffered frostbite in three of her toes, and extreme cold tempera-tures drained the batteries in some of their electronic equipment.
“Ann said losing toes and going forward at all costs was never part of the journey,” said Ann Atwood, who helped organize the expedition.
Talk about irony—losing toes to frostbite and suffering equipment failure because of plunging temperatures on a trip to fight global warming. And adding to these women’s deserving of their Darwin Award nomination, NASA reported that in 2007 the Arctic had experienced the most sea-ice melting in some thirty years. Theirs would have been one heck of an interesting, if wet, “walk.”
So what is going up north? First some background.
The Arctic Circle is the northernmost region of the earth. Its southern fringe extends to the edges of the North American and Eurasian continents. Beyond those edges, though, it’s nothing but an ice-covered ocean virtually void of direct sunlight for the better part of six months out of the year. The North Pole sits atop this region on ice that is only 6-9 feet deep. Temperatures in the winter average -30°F and in the summer hover near 32°.
Ever since the last glaciation, the Arctic ice has experienced gradual, subtle, but notable shrinkage. In addition, the more recent historical record shows that this near-uninhabitable region of the planet regularly experiences both ice clogs and ice melts.
As an illustration, the legendary Northwest Passage, when free of ice, allows an open waterway from the North Atlantic to the North Pacific, which has only been crossed a few times by ship. First sought out by explorer John Cabot who had heard tales about it in the 1490s, the Passage wasn’t confirmed until the 1850s by Robert McClure, when his own voyage was uncompleted due to poor weather conditions.
The first documented crossing of the Passage wasn’t completed until 1905, when, after waiting in a frozen Arctic dock for two years, a patient Norwegian, Roald Amundson, capitalized on a remarkable heat wave that occurred that summer and made it to the Pacific in just two weeks—a record that still stands to this day. The resulting ice melt was the start of several years of record Arctic warming through the first decade of the 20th century.
The next successful crossing didn’t occur until 1940 when a Canadian expedition took more than two years to navigate the passage. For the last 30 years, temperatures have been generally warmer in the Arctic, primarily due to periodic changes in ocean currents (and more than a little fudging of the term “Arctic”). However, during these three decades there have only been a handful of successful Passage crossings, including the only one during the summer “mega-melt” of 2007.
What was not reported was what happened following the big melt.
Sea ice around the world has only been monitored via satellite by NASA since 1979, so, it is important to keep in mind that when that agency speaks of the most ice or the least ice in history, they speak of just slightly over thirty years. During a 10-day period in the fall of 2007, the sea ice re-grew at a record clip, quickly shutting down the Passage. NASA satellites recorded the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean growing 58,000 square miles per day. But read the spin applied in a little noticed press release from NASA’s National Snow and Ice Data Center dated November 14, 2007: “Clearly, September ice extent was far below normal, and the November 14 image shows significant sea ice growth compared to the image taken two months earlier…Record sea ice growth rates after a record low may sound surprising at first, but it is not completely unexpected.”
So how does this massive ice growth square with global warming? Pull out your government decoder ring and motion-sickness tablets for the next portion of the spin:
The more ice that survives the summer melt, the less open water there is for new ice to grow. When summertime ice extent hits a record low, on the other hand, large areas of open water provide room for the ice to grow once temperatures cool off enough. While summer warming of the upper ocean surface can cause wintertime sea ice re-growth to lag initially, as the fall season progresses and sunlight weakens, the rate of energy loss from the ocean increases. That heat loss coupled with a large area of open water creates ideal conditions for sea ice to form rapidly over large areas.
In layman’s terms: “Sadly, winter has returned, and it is now colder. Sea ice is growing like we have never seen before, and our big mega-melt is over. Unsurprisingly, climate continues to happen.”
And while we’re at it, another important fact that has gone unreported in the claims of unprecedented Arctic ice melting is that the size of the Arctic has expanded, or more precisely, has been expanded. In years gone by, the word Arctic referred to the Arctic Circle, roughly 66 degrees north latitude. That latitude is the southern extent of the circle and the southern most area of the planet that receives 24 full hours of sunlight on the June 21st summer solstice. This region of the globe includes portions of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia, and Iceland.
However, several years ago the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA), funded by the United States and working in lockstep with the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, decided to expand the Arctic by about 50%, or approximately 4 million square miles! By adding the naturally warmer temperature monitoring stations on the fringe of the newly expanded Arctic, global warming proponents have been able to more easily hype global warming, more readily provide visuals of ice-free waters, and, perhaps more importantly, create an environmentally sensitive region they can “protect” from oil companies and SUV drivers.
Besides the Alaskan fish now plagued by global warming induced tumors, I’m sure you’ve heard the one about the polar bears dying because of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV). The mantra continually repeated by global whiners is that the polar bears are in a 25-year countdown to extinction. Their reasoning goes like this:
One would think, then, that the Arctic Ocean is littered with the carcasses of drowned polar bears. But guess what?
At the risk of further upsetting global whiners, I liken polar bears to the devil in many ways: wrapped in pure white fur and appearing harmless enough, even playful, from a distance, when given the opportunity, they’ll tear your insides out as quickly as you can ask, “How’s the salmon fishing around these parts?” Be assured, these giant carnivores are hardy creatures that do not succumb easily to the cruelties of their environment.
Polar bears of the Arctic are so frighteningly plentiful and ferocious that residents of Barrow, Alaska’s northern-most city, are always heavily armed with loaded shotguns when out and about and are instructed to shoot to kill at close range, aiming for the head/neck so as to avoid wounding and infuriating these massive creatures. Polar bears are voracious meat-eaters that snack on a whole seal every four days and are able to store hundreds of pounds of body, and given their thick, waterproof fur, can withstand some of the coldest temperatures and numbing winds nature can produce. These magnificent creatures are also capable of swimming up to 100 miles in open water without any difficulty. In short, polar bears are the ultimate survival animal.
Al Gore even had to use an animated polar bear drowning in his movie, because finding one actually drowning in the wild is nearly impossible.
Despite the documented evidence to the contrary, the automobile industry, hedging its bet against sales losses, launched ad campaigns aimed at putting the SUV/dead polar bear fear to rest. In 2007, Ford Motor Company issued a press release announcing a global campaign (not seen in the U.S.) to highlight their efforts to combat global warming:
Cologne, March 28, 2007 – Ford of Europe is launching a new advertising campaign for its bio-ethanol powered vehicles. The imaginative campaign visualizes animal babies still in the womb, and proposes Ford FFVs “for the next generation.” “We know climate change is real, and we’re committed to doing something about it by bringing a range of sustainable, low CO2 technologies to our customers over the next few years,” said Stephen Odell, vice president of marketing, sales and service for Ford of Europe. “Our new campaign uses powerful imagery and is aimed at educating car buyers about the benefits of bio-fuel technology, as well as strengthening Ford’s position as a leader among European volume manufacturers for FFVs,” he added. The campaign kicks off this month in Sweden, Europe’s most advanced flexifuel market, and includes a striking television ad plus print ads, as well as a dedicated internet site. From Sweden, the campaign is planned to roll out across other European markets where Ford Focus and C-MAX flexifuel models are sold.
The “powerful imagery” noted above were dolphins, elephants, and polar bears, all in the womb, accompanied by hauntingly beautiful music. The vehicles highlighted were SUVs.
I know a lot of creative people in the advertising business. They do market research and get the pulse of what is going on inside the consumer’s head. Obviously, Ford figured there were enough global whiners in Europe who believe SUVs kill animals without even hitting them. The Ford people brilliantly responded with a TV and print campaign that would allay those fears by using all the quintessential politically correct animals. Elephants truly are endangered (not because of climate change but because of greedy, Third-World ivory traders), dolphins are not endangered but are practically worshipped by everyone, and…polar bears? They’re not endangered, but they effectively sell the global warming agenda.
In a May, 2007, story in the Christian Science Monitor not carried by any of the other mainstream news operations in the United States, this enlightening paragraph stands out:
“There aren’t just a few more bears. There are a…lot more bears,” biologist Mitchell Taylor told the Nunatsiaq News of Iqaluit in the Arctic territory of Nunavut. Earlier, in a long telephone conversation, Dr. Taylor explained his conviction that threats to polar bears from global warming are exaggerated and that their numbers are increasing. He has studied the animals for the Nunavut government for two decades.
Dr. Taylor is one brave, independent scientist who is willing to tell it like it is. To the contrary, in that same article, Andrew Derocher of the liberal World Conservation Union makes an excuse for the polar bear population boom: “But Derocher still maintains the polar bear is threatened, even if its numbers aren’t down all across the circumpolar region where the giant bears live and hunt. ‘Of the 13 polar bear populations in Canada, at least two are in decline,’” Derocher says.
So, if the numbers, according to Derocher, are down in 2 out of 13 regions, could that possibly mean that in the other 11 regions the population is increasing? Yes, and why? In part, at least, because of the seal population. Seals throughout much of the recently expanded Arctic are protected and hunting them is restricted. Since the 1970s, in the eastern Arctic and northwest Atlantic, the harp seal population has boomed from 2 million to 5 million, creating a polar bear smorgasbord. Remember, these are massive creatures that dine on a blubbery seal every few days. Even the indigenous locals agree there are more polar bears today than ever.
In a region north of the area studied by Dr. Taylor, the Christian Science Monitor talked to Pitselak Pudlat, an Inuit hunter and manager of the Aiviq Hunters and Trappers Organization at Cape Dorset, Baffin Island. Pitselak says, “I’m pretty sure the numbers [of polar bears] are climbing. During the winter there were polar bears coming into town.”
To counter, activist Derocher whines, “The critical problem is, the sea ice is changing. We’re looking ahead three generations, 30 to 50 years. To say that bear populations are growing in one area now is irrelevant.”
So whom do we believe? The locals, who for generations have been observing the bears and whose livelihood depends on a healthy bear population, or the activists who claim to have a 50-year crystal ball that renders the locals as irrelevant?
The plain truth is that the polar bear population is thriving because polar bears are not just survivors but adapters. They have been roaming the northern latitudes since before the last ice age, putting them in play for 130,000-250,000 years on the geological time-scale, a time in which the world was significantly warmer than it is today. So when my mother-in-law (the consummate contributor of odd facts for my radio show) hands me an “urgent” fundraising letter she has received from the Environmental Defense Organization that states, “For polar bears—and indeed, for untold number of species—stopping global warming means the difference between life and death,” we know that the global whiners do not want to hear the science, they just want to be proclaimed right.
In the same appeal letter, the EDO president drives home his point in bold print: “The Earth is round, Elvis is dead, and yes, climate change is happening. There is a sea of evidence pointing to the reality of global warming….”
When your enemy resorts to trying to simultaneously be funny and talk trash, you know you are winning the war.
ANTARCTICA: PLENTY OF SCIENTISTS, TOURISTS, BUT NO WARMING
When I share the following information with everyday folks who have been slowly sipping the global whiners’ brew, they commonly feel like they’ve been ripped off, but truth be told, the ice and snow pack in Antarctica is actually growing and the temperatures are cooling, just like its cousin is experiencing in the far north.
Unlike the Arctic, though, which is a floating slab of thin ice at the top of the world, Antarctica is actually the earth’s southern-most continent. Approximately twice the size of Australia, it lies mainly within the Antarctic Circle and is surrounded by ocean. It is covered almost entirely by a year-round sheet of ice and snow to an average depth of 6,500 feet. As a result, the surface of this region is mostly a brilliant white. White has what is referred to as a high “albedo level,” which means things like packed snow reflect most of the heat generated by the sun back into the atmosphere. Conversely, black (as in the asphalt adjacent the thermometer at the airport as discussed in chapter one) has a low albedo and absorbs heat like a sponge does water. Because of the inherently low albedo level of Antarctica and its annual mean temperature of -57ºF, the continent is obviously uninhabitable by humans. In addition, Antarctica also is the highest continent in eleva-tion with an average height of 7,380 feet, and the winds at the bottom of the earth are known to howl up to 200 miles per hour.
The word Arctic comes from the Latin, arcticus, which means “bear.” Antarctica, then, means “without bears.” There are no polar bears at the South Pole, but there are thousands of private and government funded researchers (an average of 4000 annually), thousands of eco-tourists buzzing the region by boat and helicopter, and millions of penguins. Despite the enormous carbon-footprint generated year-round by the researchers with their artificially super-heated buildings, hundreds of gas-guzzling vehicles, and tourists, not to mention the noxious waste (excrement) created by the penguins, there is no global warming in Antarctica.
The cooling of Antarctica was first let out of the bag in 2002 in an honest research paper crafted by a scientific team led by Peter Doran of the University of Illinois, Chicago. The research received widespread notice when it was presented in a number of scientific journals, including Nature. The nuts and bolts of the story were also reported online in the January 14th edition of the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s news service.
Quoting from Doran’s presentation in Nature:
Although previous reports suggest slight recent continental warming, our special analysis of Antarctic meteorological data demon-strates a net cooling on the Antarctic continent between 1966 and 2000, with similar pronounced seasonal trends…Continental Antarctic cooling, especially the seasonality of cooling, poses challenges to models of climate and ecosystem change.
Translation: Many scientists whose careers depend on the earth having a fever are challenged to find a way to explain this cooling trend to their financial supporters.
But before the global whiners hammer me for making such a big deal out of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation ocean currents as being responsible for the warming of the Arctic waters, make note that those same whiners occasionally use the Southern Hemisphere’s version of the same effect to explain the cooling on the South Pole.
A research paper authored by David Schneider of the University of Washington in 2006 blames the Antarctic Oscillation for causing the 1ºF drop in temperature in the 1990s, and average temperatures have not risen since.
On February 15, 2007, in the proverbial belly of the liberal beast—San Francisco—the American Association for the Advancement of Science was holding its annual pow-wow. David Bromwich, professor of atmospheric sciences in the department of Geography and researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University, presented his latest research on the southern continent’s climate: “‘It’s hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now,’ he said. ‘Part of the reason is that there is a lot of variability there. It’s very hard in these polar lati-tudes to demonstrate a global warming signal.’”
Wait a second, a researcher daring to make a statement that rubs against the grain of his peers? Okay, he tries to grease his research a bit with the “variability” line, but so far so good. He continues, “The best we can say right now is that the climate models are somewhat inconsistent with the evidence that we have for the last 50 years from contin-ental Antarctica.”
Don’t you hate it when those darn computer models just won’t jive with the evidence?
But Dr. Bromwich bravely plods ahead, confessing that no trace of man’s influence on world temperature can be found at the South Pole: “We’re looking for a small signal that represents the impact of human activity and it is hard to find it at the moment.”
And some think they’ve found it in an appendage of land that extends away from the continent and outside of the Antarctic Circle into the warmer waters near South America. One can only wonder if Dr. Bromwich was referring to the scenes shot on the Peninsula used by Gore in his award-winning film, giving the naïve viewer the unavoidable impression that Antarctica was melting like hot wax. They were cleverly captured on a piece of real estate that represents 2% of the entire continent. Two percent! And while it is true that the glaciers on the Peninsula have been decreasing of late, it is not because of global warming. The melting is due to a combination of factors. One is the aforementioned Antarctic Oscillation. Another is that the Peninsula extends into the significantly warmer waters of the nearby waters known as the Drake Passage, a mere 500 miles from South America. And a third factor is a unique phenomenon involving local winds known at the Katabatic winds.
Changes in local winds can have a dramatic effect on the temperature. We see it regularly in the United States. When the infamous Santa Ana winds blow in Southern California, the fire danger warnings are set at red alert. In October, 2007, those devilish winds contributed to some of the worst fires in history. All told, the wind-aided blazes scorched a half-million acres, destroying thousands of homes and buildings. There is not a credible meteorologist in the world that would ever link the Santa Ana winds to global warming, but, of course, the major news media never let a small thing like credibility get in its way, as evidenced by CNN host Anderson Cooper as he teased an upcoming story on the fires in this way: “At the top of the next hour, as I said, the big picture. These fires are really a piece of it. Fire, drought, global warming, climate change, deforestation, it is all connected, tonight, 9 p.m. eastern—‘Planet in Peril’ starts in just 30 minutes.”
I’ll cut Cooper some slack because he is a news guy with prematurely gray hair and, like most of his colleagues, probably did not excel in science class. And his writers are toeing the company line because they want viewers. Borrowing Gore’s philosophy, they figure, to Hell with science.
Meanwhile, back to the Katabatic winds: they originate on the peaks of the Antarctic’s interior mountains and race downward into adjacent canyons, rapidly drying out and warming as they descend. Converging with other airflows, the current of warmth swirls its way out to the Peninsula. Over a period of time, the enhanced air temperature causes the glaciers of the region to melt and spectacularly crash into the sea. Due to natural irregularities in overall air circulation, the Katabatic winds can vary in intensity, just like any downslope mountain winds. When they blow and the temperature warms during certain times of the year (such as the eco-tourist summer cruise season), there is, without a doubt, some of the most spectacular glacial melting a global whiner, or anyone, for that matter, will ever see.
But in addition to the overall cooler temperatures in Antarctica, its sea ice and snow are also increasing.
In 2002, NASA had a remarkably unbiased moment that only a few observant watchers caught. According to an August 22, 2002, posting on the Goddard Space Flight Center website: “While recent studies have shown that on the whole Arctic sea ice has decreased since the late 1970s, satellite records of sea ice around Antarctica reveal an overall increase in the southern hemisphere ice over the same period” (emphasis mine).
Whoops—more sea ice in Antarctica? Cooler temperatures? More snow?
On May 20, 2005, in an absurdly titled piece in the New York Times, “Warming Is Blamed for Antarctica’s Weight Gain,” we read,
The surface of eastern Antarctica appears to be slowly growing higher, by about 1.8 centimeters a year, as snow and ice pile up. …The accumulation occurring across 2.75 million square miles of eastern Antarctica corresponds to a gain of 45 billion tons of water a year….
The story never really addresses the global warming/more snow connection, but it implies that if all of that snow were to finally melt, there would be 45 billion tons of water to deal with and coastal property available in Kansas.
In 2003, the Antarctic experienced the worst weather in 46 years with snow so unbearable the year-round Russian research station, Vostok, established in 1957, had to be evacuated because supplies could not be brought in.
And what about those cute penguins? Global whiners tell us their numbers are in decline, but they don’t tell us it has nothing to do with warming, lack of snow, or thinning ice, but rather, more to do with less procreative activities between penguin husbands and wives. Besides, if it were only an issue of warmer temperatures, that would be a pretty difficult argument to make, since Emperor penguins thrive at Sea World in San Diego in a daytime average temperature of 70º, nearly 100º warmer than what they experience back home in Antarctica.
So, what, then, is really interfering with the court-n-spark habits of the penguins? Humans—specifically tourists. You see, like any decent, monogamous, married couples, penguins like their romantic times private, at least, only among other penguins. The human problem is especially troubling to seabird ecologist Eric Whoehler. “There are more than 25,000 tourists in a three-month (summer) window,” he writes, not counting, of course, thousands of researchers and film crews who are constantly bird watching our tuxedoed friends. Unless there are either less imported humans or more imported window blinds, my guess is that the penguin population will continue to decline, no matter what the temperature.
 Earth in the Balance, p. 23.
 R.F. Flint, Glacial and Pleistocene Geology, New York, Wiley, 1957, p. 471.
 The Quaternary Era, Vol. II, London, Edward Arnold Co., 1957, p. 650.
 Article, “Ivory,” Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 12, 1956, p. 834.
 Ibid, p.470.
 “Catastrophy on Kolka Glacier in Northern Kaukasus in 2002,” L.V. Desinov,
Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Science, http://www.isprs.org/publications/related/ISRSE/html/papers/1020.pdf.
 NOVOSTI, “Russian Scientist Issues Global Cooling Warning,” August 25, 2006.
 Remarks by Vice President Al Gore at Glacier National Park, September 2, 1997,
National Archives and Records Administration, http://clinton3.nara.gov/WH/EOP/OVP/speeches/glacier.html.
 “Arctic environment melts before our eyes,” Greenpeace news story, August 7, 2002, http://archive.greenpeace.org/earthsummit/news_aug7.htm.
 Telegraph, August 17, 2002.
 Guardian Reporter, November 26, 2007.
 BBC News, August 24, 2006.
 Anchorage Daily News, August 18, 2005.
 Article published in Tech Central Station, tcsdaily.com, January 22, 2002, Sallie Baliunas, Ph.D. and Willie Soon, Ph.D., Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
 Temperature Change in Alaska, posted February 28, 2007, climate.gi.alaska.edu.
 Associated Press, March 11, 2007.
“ NASA Examines Arctic Sea Ice Changes Leading to Record Low in 2007,” October 1, 2007, http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/quikscat-20071001.html.
 Australian scientist Tim Flannery quoted in The Canadian Press, April 21, 2006, reported by Dennis Bueckert.
 Interview with Steven Amstrup, research wildlife biologist, USGS, published in The Times, UK, December 18, 2005, reported by Will Iredale.
 Christian Science Monitor, May 3, 2007, Reported by Fred Langan
 Canada Division of Fisheries and Oceans, Stock Status Report E1-01 (2000).
 Environmental Defense fundraising letter, signed by Fred Krupp, President, Fall 2007.
 Doran, et al, 2002.
 http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2002/01/14/antarctica020114.html, “Antarctic Summers Cooler Amid Global Warming.”
 David Schneider, a University of Washington postdoctoral researcher in earth and space sciences, lead author of a paper detailing the work, published Aug. 30, 2006, in Geophysical Research Letters, reported by ScienceDaily.com, September 6, 2006.
 “In the Line of Fire,” Anderson Cooper 360, CNN, October 23, 2007.
 “Satellites Show Overall Increases in Antarctic Sea Ice Cover,” August 22, 2002, http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/20020820southseaice.html.
 “Warming Is Blamed for Antarctica’s Weight Gain,” Kenneth Chang, New York Times, May 20, 2005.
 “Russia abandons Ice Station Vostok,” Dr David Whitehouse, BBC News Online, March 4, 2003.
 “Retreat of the Penguins,” Leigh Dayton, The Australian, September 5, 2007.
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