Alaska On The Rocks

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

From the “weather is not climate” department, the sea ice is in early and thick in Alaska. It makes me shiver just to look at the picture. They had to use an icebreaker to get fuel to Nome.

Figure 1. The Bering Sea region in Alaska. Anchorage is at the upper right. The Aleutian peninsula and chain runs down to the lower left. Ice covers all of Bristol Bay, and extends well out from the shore to the west. Photo Source

I fished commercially up there, in the Bering Sea. I’ve lived in a container in the Peter Pan Cannery boatyard in Dillingham, and gill netted for the noble salmon in Bristol Bay, drunk too much and worked it off laughing in a blazing hot steam bath with some Yupik guys trying to roast me out the door by cranking up the heat. I’ve made great money in driving sleet arguing with the herring regarding the eventual fate of their roe in Togiak, and seen the walrus hauled ashore in their thousands on Round Island. Those fisheries kill a man or two a year, plus the usual crushed hands and feet and the like. But I haven’t fished the January Bering Sea crab fishery, the one made famous as “The Deadliest Catch”. Figure 1 shows why I don’t do that.

The Bering Sea ice this year is in early, and it’s thick. Not only that, it’s moving south fast. The crab fleet has some $8 million dollars of gear in the water, and the ice is moving south at twenty miles a day. Usually ice comes in later and thinner, and moves south at three miles a day. Boats are tied up to the Dutch Harbor docks. At St. Paul Island, out of the photo to the left, the crab boats usually sell their loads to the processor boats. It is also totally iced in. Millions of dollars have already been sunk into moving the crab boats and the processor boats and the crab pots to Dutch. If this cold continues, the season will likely be a total bust.

My point in this post? Awe, mostly, at the damaging power of cold. As a seaman, cold holds many more terrors than heat. When enough ice builds up on a boat’s superstructure, it rolls over and men die. The sun can’t do that. The Titanic wasn’t sunk by a heat wave.

The thing about ice? You can’t do a dang thing about it. You can’t blow up a glacier, or an ice sheet like you see in the Bering Sea above. You can’t melt it. The biggest, most powerful icebreaker can’t break through more than a few feet of it. When the ice moves in, the game is over.

Now me, I’m a tropical boy. My feeling is that well-behaved ice sits peacefully in my margarita glass, making those lovely cold drips run down the outside, and giving me a brain freeze when I hold the glass to my forehead.

But when ice jumps out of my glass and starts running all around painting the landscape white and solidifying the ocean and falling on my head and freezing my … begonias, well, at that point the fun’s over. I call that “water behaving badly”.

And if you want to worry about a climate related occurrence, I certainly wouldn’t worry about the dread Thermageddon™, the long-foretold and ever-receding premature heat-death of civilization.

I’d worry about water behaving badly …

Best of the cold to my friends in Alaska, stay safe on the ocean, and my regards to all,

w.

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Mark
January 27, 2012 11:08 am

Well said W.
Where did the picture come from? I’d love to scan around the satalite images of other areas up there right now.

Louise
January 27, 2012 11:11 am

“My point in this post?” You may have ‘pointed’ it out but I still can’t see it…
Other than “don’t worry, it’ll be fine, trust Granpa Willis, it could be soooo much worse” that is

Jason
January 27, 2012 11:11 am

The polar bears are in for a rough winter.

timg56
January 27, 2012 11:12 am

Willis,
About that cold and ice – just spent 8 days trying to get power back to 400,000 people due to a winter storm caused outage. 8 – 21 inches of snow followed by freezing rain can put a hurting on trees. And where do they fall? Well, quite often on power lines.

Mark Foster
January 27, 2012 11:15 am

Amen Willis. Let’s pray those tough guys upthere can make a living and keep their life. Gnarley work to say the least. I’ll say my prayer for them after work while nursing my warming ice cold marg. Cheers, Mark

timg56
January 27, 2012 11:16 am

Louise,
I believe his point is similar to this – if you have to go without the convienance of electricity, do so in a warm environment is almost always perferrable to doing so in a cold one. I bet I can get about 400,000 amens to that where I live.

Tony
January 27, 2012 11:18 am

I saw an interesting article on this from NASA of all places. Obviously not endorsed by James Hansen where they talked about the lack of cold in the lower 48 and the extreme cold in the Artic. And instead of blaming global warming or Run away climate change they spoke of the Arctic ao being high and La Nina imagine that NASA telling the truth about weather. Not one mention of Man made climate change I couldn’t believe it.

kbray in california
January 27, 2012 11:22 am

Louise says:
January 27, 2012 at 11:11 am
Is the cold having your nose drip into your keyboard ?
Your comments are snotty.

Austin
January 27, 2012 11:22 am

Spent a few years up there fishing with relatives. Halibut on mile-long trot lines in February with forty below offshore winds – Its absolutely brutal. I realized that some people – the natives, both Inuit and Tlingit, and the Laplander Finns – had very real genetic adaptations to that kind of cold. I did not.
I wonder when break-up will be this Spring?

Resourceguy
January 27, 2012 11:25 am

Alaska in winter should be the required field camp of all Masters and Doctoral candidates in climate sciences. In winter of course

Luther Wu
January 27, 2012 11:26 am

Willis Eschenbach sez:
Now me, I’m a tropical boy. My feeling is that well-behaved ice sits peacefully in my margarita glass, making those lovely cold drips run down the outside, and giving me a brain freeze when I hold the glass to my forehead.
__________________________
I’m sure that you neglected to mention other ways to get a margarita brain freeze. Otherwise, you just aren’t drinking that margarita fast enough.

Bill Parsons
January 27, 2012 11:30 am

Jack London needed an editor, too.

January 27, 2012 11:34 am

Near record cold in Fairbanks this year – coldest in 40 years for January. Average of nearly -25 F throughout the month. Here in Anchorage a very cold winter also, with 22 days below zero so far.
There are a couple things you can do with ice. One would be to simply dirty it up with soot or something very black to help speed up melting. But nothing is going to melt outside in Fairbanks this January. Cheers –
http://newsminer.com/view/full_story/17310167/article-No-records-yet–but-January-has-been-cold-in-Fairbanks?instance=home_lead_story

8364khz
January 27, 2012 11:35 am

Joined MV Falmouth Bay as R/O 21st February, 1984. Up through Unamak passage, Bering Sea and down the coast of Kamchatka. Vessel iced up and ice on inside of cabin porthole. Never saw any sea ice then.
Yes Willis, not very nice.
Jmac

Jenn Oates
January 27, 2012 11:37 am

I am now and always have been a pansy…not that I didn’t know this before, but I’m occasionally reminded just what a useless piece of over-educated flesh I am, and now is one of those times.
From sunny northern California, I say Brrrrrrrr…

January 27, 2012 11:40 am

Same thing in today’s Toronto G&M Tony. Maybe the first time in 20 years no “CO2 dunnit” in a climate related article.

8364khz
January 27, 2012 11:40 am

Should have said…
Joined MV Falmouth Bay, Seattle, as R/O 21st February, 1984.
There is something about getting older… Can’t remember what it is though.

Louis Hooffstetter
January 27, 2012 11:45 am

For scale, Google Earth shows the long axis of Kodiak Island is approximately 140 miles long (not including the 2 smaller islands to the SSW).

January 27, 2012 11:46 am

Beautiful terrible picture Willis, thanks?
I’m a tropical guy also, and I don’t want to win this debate this way; a pirric victory.
Yes, there was no man-made global warming, yes, we are all frozen!

Brian in Bellingham
January 27, 2012 11:49 am

It will be interesting to watch Deadliest Catch this year when they show that part of it. Frustrated crabbers talking about how cold it is, how they have never seen ice this far south, wondering where “global warming is”, etc. Might be an eye opener for people who don’t pay attention to what is really going on and only get their information from the MSM.

January 27, 2012 11:51 am

Fisherman, farmer, gambler, mathematician, climatologist, original thinker, etc, etc. Is there nothing you haven’t achieved, Willis? How old are you? (P.S. I’m just a jealous admirer).

Rujholla
January 27, 2012 12:09 pm

Another thing I’m wondering about — there has been 12+ feet of snow around the portage glacier area this year — I wonder if that will reverse the shrinking trend, as that is certainly more snow than I ever saw there when I lived there.

agw nonsense
January 27, 2012 12:10 pm

Brilliant post All the best to you from myself and the skipper and crew of Angelica (TV show HardLiners) here in Australia

Steve C
January 27, 2012 12:11 pm

Cool. Should make for a good late finish to the Nenana Ice Classic then.

Scarface
January 27, 2012 12:15 pm

@Louise
Tell your leader that warm is good, cold is bad and that you’ve learned that over here.
The truth will set you free.

January 27, 2012 12:16 pm

Just send the liberals up there. Their hot air will melt it in no time.

John Cooper
January 27, 2012 12:26 pm

It could be a rough Iditarod this year. It’s so cold already that some of the mushers are unable to train their dogs.

January 27, 2012 12:27 pm

Ice :
When you drink vodka over ice, it can give you kidney failure.
When you drink rum over ice, it can give you liver failure.
When you drink whiskey over ice, it can give you heart problems.
When you drink gin over ice, it can give you brain problems.
Apparently, ice is really bad for you.

Bill Jamison
January 27, 2012 12:35 pm

As a huge ‘Deadliest Catch’ fan I’ve been following the weather and sea ice in the Bering Sea for a few years now. This year started off rough with the huge “arctic hurricane” that prevented Nome from getting their normal pre-winter fuel supply and it’s only gotten worse.
I can’t wait to see how it all plays out on the TV show this summer!

Anteros
January 27, 2012 12:44 pm

Willis –
One of your best posts.
I made the point recently at Climate Etc [well, I do it frequently..] that six degrees ago when my ancestors were sitting in an oak forest in Southern Britain and the great Barrier Reef was still a Eucalyptus forest, life was accepted as it was. But, had a modern sensibility existed then, there would have been many people [‘alarmists’, they would have been called] saying that the prospect of six degrees of warming (and a 400 foot sea level rise) would have signalled the end of life on earth. Whereas now we think our current climate as fine and dandy and any warming would be….er… the end of life on earth…
I had a comment from some loon saying “But it was an ice age then!”. My response had to be, of course, that we are still in an ice age – as you hinted at in your post.
The modal temperature of the planet for the last billion or so years? About 7 degrees warmer than now…
The only downer is that in the first week of February the RSS data is going to show 15 years of cooling.
I wonder if all the greatly relieved alarmists will allow me to go to their “Thank God it’s not warming any more” parties even though I’ll be moaning about how it would be nice if it got a little milder…..

Will Nelson
January 27, 2012 12:44 pm

More on the order of 3-20 mi/day…but still hazardous. http://pafc.arh.noaa.gov/marfcst.php?fcst=FZAK80PAFC

Alan Watt
January 27, 2012 12:48 pm

The Bering Sea ice this year is in early, and it’s thick. Not only that, it’s moving south fast. The crab fleet has some $8 million dollars of gear in the water, and the ice is moving south at twenty miles an hour. Usually ice comes in later and thinner, and moves south at three miles an hour.

Twenty miles an hour? Do you mean twenty miles a day perhaps?
At that speed the poor polar bears won’t even be able to climb up on the ice because it will smack into them, knock them back in the water, then freeze on top of them so they will all drown.

Viv Evans
January 27, 2012 1:01 pm

I am full of admiration for the people living up there, working to make a living. The last two winters here in the UK, when the whole of the British Isles were frozen over, should have taught every alarmist, Phil Jones especially, that cold is not a good thing!
Personally, I prefer the maritime climate: not too cold, not too hot, and am happy to put up with having four seasons in a day, as long as they stay within the range prevalent on the Celtic fringe.
Here, all one usually needs all year round is a T-shirt, a woollen jumper and a coat. (Yeah, ok, jeans – don’t want to frighten the rest of the population!). add and subtract the cover according to the weather.
One thing people living on the celtic fringe know is that humans do not melt in the rain, so no need to be scared of a few drops or a downpour. Oh – and clothes do dry. Eventually …

Louise
January 27, 2012 1:04 pm

I have yet to see any reliable statistics that enable us to see whether a warmer or colder climate will lead to more deaths (across the globe) in the future.
It has been reported that tens of thousands of elderly french people died as a direct consequence of a particularly warm summer (2009?). I have also heard statements that there were a number (again in the thousands) of extra deaths due to the cold in the UK in 2010 (although not directly due to hypothermia as some have claimed). Does anyone have a link to actual facts rather than political spin on this issue?
It is all too easy to say cold kills more than heat does, surely that depends upon where ‘most’ of the population happens to live? Those in the sub-sahara are unlikely to suffer frostbite just as those in Alaska are unlikely to suffer sun-stroke.

Mickey Reno
January 27, 2012 1:08 pm

Now, now, we all know that, outside of an Al Gore or Michael Moore propaganda film, one small data point does not a climate make. Except, of course, when more people than usual are killed by a tornado, which, due to it’s emotional impact, necessarily invalidates normal observational methods and scientific rules. 😉

January 27, 2012 1:09 pm

and the ice is moving south at twenty miles an hour. Usually ice comes in later and thinner, and moves south at three miles an hour.

You mean per day, I would hope.
[Too right, fixed. -w.]

kim2ooo
January 27, 2012 1:09 pm

Louise: flat landers and landlubbers won’t “get it” – We don’t expect it from them. 🙂
It’s the Actual people who work, everyday, IN the climate / weather – That understand climate / weather.
PS A passenger on a cruise ship to Antarctica has less knowledge of climate / weather – than a first year seasoned deck hand. 🙂

adolfogiurfa
January 27, 2012 1:12 pm

It´s just the “Gore Effect”!..or perhaps polar bears want to visit their savior at his beach property in California. 🙂

Jason H
January 27, 2012 1:14 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
January 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Bob Mount says:
January 27, 2012 at 11:51 am
Fisherman, farmer, gambler, mathematician, climatologist, original thinker, etc, etc. Is there nothing you haven’t achieved, Willis? How old are you? (P.S. I’m just a jealous admirer).

Sixty five next month, and there are still far, far more things I haven’t done than things I have done. My CV is here if you are curious …

Willis is the Jaime Heineman of climate skeptics: he’s done more things than I can imagine, and uses those experiences to educate the masses. Hats off to you, sir.

kim2ooo
January 27, 2012 1:17 pm

Louise says:
January 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm
I have yet to see any reliable statistics that enable us to see whether a warmer or colder climate will lead to more deaths (across the globe) in the future.”
Here’s where your logic fails you.
People live all over the World without AC……What do they ALL people share in common – When it’s cold?

January 27, 2012 1:18 pm

W.
Your history reminds me of similar litany. See: Second Hand Lions Bar FIGHT Scene
The balmy global warming sirens don’t stand a chance against “old man winter”.
Considering the historical glacial cycle, we will need all the global warming we can get!

Robert M
January 27, 2012 1:26 pm

The crab fleet has some $8 million dollars of gear in the water, and the ice is moving south at twenty miles an hour. Usually ice comes in later and thinner, and moves south at three miles an hour.
No, No, Miles per day, not miles an hours.
Can you imagine the screaming if the ice was moving south at 20 MPH!!!

January 27, 2012 1:36 pm

At 20mph the ice will reach Hawai’i in a week!
We are doomed! We are doomed!

John
January 27, 2012 1:36 pm

Meanwhile, down here in Georgia, we are having a heat wave. Daffodils in full bloom in the second week of January, Lenten roses blooming and Forsythia budding. Weather extremes are to be expected with AGW

Garry Stotel
January 27, 2012 1:36 pm

I come from Russia, and remember that when I was a boy I had to wade through snowstorms at -15F (-26C) to school at half seven in the morning, and how snow used to blow up my trousers and get into shoes. How my face would freeze and on getting to school I could not talk for a while, until I gained control of the facial muscles.
Since then I detest cold, and all those fat rich people that from the warmth of their moderate climates that tell me that cold is good, and warm is bad, particularly so when they do it taking some kind of moral high ground.
It is a kind of a personal thing for me.

Stephen Richards
January 27, 2012 1:37 pm

Louise says:
January 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm
I have yet to see any reliable statistics that enable us to see whether a warmer or colder climate will lead to more deaths (across the globe) in the future.
Louise, For christ sake get a grip. 10s of thousands died in france!!! Ok let’s just try to educate you a little. I’m a municipal councillor in france and am well aware of the problems caused by the summer of, wait for it, 2003. There were an ESTIMATED 11000 deaths which were attributed to the heat in Paris and other major cities ( not the countryside). Most deaths occured in August when the french leave the cities in droves to go to the countryside leaving the elderly and infirm at home. Some of those attribute to heat were of the old folk falling down stairs trying to get water and the rest were of old folk who didn’t get enough water. As a result of these deaths the French gov introduced a new tax of 0.5% of taxable income to pay for soin à domicile during August. Home visit nurses. The average summer temperature (july august) in Paris was about 30°C so not incredibily hot. Elsewhere, where I live me saw temps touching 41°C with low humidity and even for an old guys like me it wasn’t sudden death. However, I suggest you go and look at the British gov site for deaths during Dec 2011 and winter 2010 and winter 2009. You will come to see that cold is many times more dangerous than hot. You will find info eleswhere showing crop losses to cold as opposed to hot (note hot not dry, plants don’t like dry). Last year 2011 we had 2 days of 40°C here with no discernable problems but 5 months of dry with killed several of my trees.

January 27, 2012 1:38 pm

Well Robert at 20miles/day the ice will reach Hawai’i around August.
And we’re still doomed!

Rob Crawford
January 27, 2012 1:39 pm

Back when Hansen was pitching the Coming Ice Age, we had a couple winters that were cold enough in the continental US to convince people he was right. I remember ice in the dog’s water dish — which was sitting in the kitchen — and frozen pipes and having to get into the house over an inch-thick sheet of ice while having casts on both of my feet.
Gimme warmer over colder any day.

Louise
January 27, 2012 1:41 pm

Kim2000
Do you have anything based on science rather than anecdote to say?
People die due to heat and due to cold. Not many people die of sunstroke in the Arctic or frostbite in the Sahara. People die in Northern Europe due to heat and due to cold (air conditioning is still rare, central heating is standard).
Should the average temperature increase by 2C will more people die due to increased heat than no longer die due to cold?
Can anyone point to any scientific studies in this area?

Reply to  Louise
January 27, 2012 2:00 pm

Louise
Is this? If it is not, please detail what would be enough.
Otherwise there is no point in talking.

Stephen Richards
January 27, 2012 1:41 pm

Louise, it’s also worth noting that the French have the highest average age in europe.

Dr. John M. Ware
January 27, 2012 1:41 pm

Excellent post, though I also wonder about 20 mph–that would be nearly 500 miles a day. Twenty miles a day, though slower, is still very impressive: 5/6 of a mile per hour (about 4400 feet), over 70 feet a minute, over a foot a second; that’s fast!
I also know and can testify, from my own limited experience, how difficult it is to overcome cold, ice, and snow. This winter has been (so far) blessedly mild in Virginia. While I can’t count on that regime’s continuation, I can be thankful for lower electric bills and no hazardous snow-shoveling.

DesertYote
January 27, 2012 1:46 pm

Louise
January 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm
I have yet to see.
###
Your right.

Louise
January 27, 2012 1:47 pm

Stephen Richards – I have looked at seasonal deaths due to cold in the UK. The statistics include things like flu and novovirus which are more prevalent in winter. Very few of the UK deaths are due to hypothermia (contrary to the popular media). Clearly this is a similar issue to that you see on France. Summer deaths in the elderly were not as a direct result of individuals overheating. In the UK, winter deaths include old people slipping on ice and breaking hips that then lead to immobility and pneumonia.
I can see your point of view – can you not see mine?
The media tell us heat kills old people in France whilst at the same time it tells us that cold kills old people in UK. It’s all hype. The truth is much more subtle.
I would still like some actual facts – not media hype, does anyone have any?

Ed Moran
January 27, 2012 1:54 pm

@ Jenn Oates, you’re doing just fine.
At least you know what you don’t know. (Shades of Rumsfelt.)
Oh! Bye the way, you can’t be over educated. The crime is when you use your education to try to remove editors and try to get them kicked out of university.
Regards,
Ed Moran.

Bill
January 27, 2012 1:57 pm

Louise,
I don’t have a link to give you but it should not be too hard to find information.
But, just think about this. It’s very clear that life flourishes in the spring and summer and that as winter approaches, life slows down and creatures have to put on layers of fat and store away food and hibernate to make it through the winter. And that you need far more calories to survive in the cold than in the heat. The climate models predict it will be Siberia and the Arctic that warm up the most. Healthy people can freeze to death at 50 degrees F without enough food. But healthy people in the shade will not be bothered that much by 100 F (this is +/- 25 F from a comfortable 75 F) and will require much less food to survive than at 50 F. You can take off most of your clothes at 100 F to cool off or splash water on your self. At 50 F, you need extra food, warmer clothes and the expenditure of energy (fire, etc.) to stay alive if it drops 10 F at night. When it drops 10 F from 100 to 90, you are fine. This is just common sense and common experience, it is not rocket science.
If the growing seasons in northern US and Canada become a few weeks longer, might this not compensate for effects due to increased drought in the southern US? If you are going to speculate, you need to speculate about the good and the bad, not just doom and gloom. I think that is the point many of us make.

Ed Moran
January 27, 2012 1:59 pm

8364khz
That thing you’re trying to remember. It’s erm, hold on, I had it a minute ago, erm… Mother, whats for tea? What do you mean I was emailing somebody? When?

Ed Moran
January 27, 2012 2:02 pm

@ Ed Moran
By the way, I’m his wife not his Mother.
Linda.

Susan C.
January 27, 2012 2:10 pm

Sea ice expanded in a similar fashion about 4100-2500 years ago ( the so-called “Neoglacial” period) – only it kept happening for more than 2000 years and blew as far south as Dutch Harbour.
Sea ice at this time not only extended down to Dutch Harbour but it stayed well into summer. If such conditions occurred again now, even temporarily, it would keep northern fur seals from reaching their breeding grounds on the Pribilof Islands (St. Paul and St. George). Males start arriving in early May on and pregnant females arrive in late June-July to give birth and mate. Sea ice around the island definitely impedes this.
So watch the ice extent in late April-early May and see if we hear about fur seals in trouble.
see article in the journal ‘The Holocene’ 2007 (SJ Crockford and SG Frederick), ‘Sea ice expansion in the Bering Sea during the Neoglacial: evidence from archaeozoology.’ vol. 17 (issue 6), pg. 699-706

clipe
January 27, 2012 2:10 pm

Alaska related by a bit of a reach.
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/5471088-post11.html

Jantar
January 27, 2012 2:24 pm

Maurizio Morabito (omnologos) says:
“Well Robert at 20miles/day the ice will reach Hawai’i around August.
And we’re still doomed!”

Well maybe it has. We are having snow in New Zealand to low levels in January. That’s supposed to be mid summer.

Rosco
January 27, 2012 2:33 pm

Loise quotes “tens of thousands of elderly french people died as a direct consequence of a particularly warm summer” – I’m not sure it was that many BUT the major reason was undoubtedly the design of accomodation. Masonry buildings with little ventilation can become uncomfortable during periods of extreme heat and people tend to ignore precautions like remaining hydrated.
Places where heat is the norm do not have the same consequences.
As a citizen of the sub-tropics who has experienced the freeze of Alaska I’ll take the warmth over the cold anyday even though my Scottish ancestry means I suffer in the humidity and heat.
Without energy it is easier to survive the heat – given at least 12 hours is “cooler” – than it is to survive extreme cold.

January 27, 2012 2:36 pm

Louise
Re Statistics on deaths to cold vs warmth. See:
Ch 9 Human Health Effects, Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change, Interim Report 20119.1. Temperature-Related Human Mortality p 362

. . . that if no adaptation had taken place, there would have been 1.6 additional deaths per million people per year due to warming in the hottest part of the year over the period 1976–2005, but there would have been 47 fewer deaths per million people per year due to warming in the coldest part of the year, for a lives-saved to life-lost ratio of 29.4.
That, of course, represents a substantial net benefit from the warming experienced in England and Wales during the three-decade period. When adaptation was included in the analysis, they found there was an increase of only 0.7 deaths per million people per year due to warming in the hottest part of the year, but a decrease of fully 85 deaths per million people per year due to warming in the coldest part of the year, for a lives-saved to life-lost ratio of 121.4. . . .
The data clearly demonstrate the people of the Castile-Leon region of Spain are much more likely to die from a cardiovascular disease in the extreme cold of winter than in the extreme heat of summer. The same was found to hold true with respect to respiratory and digestive system diseases. Cold has been found to be a much greater killer of people than heat almost everywhere in the world, and in conjunction with almost any type of illness.

With supporting references etc.

Windy Wilson
January 27, 2012 2:37 pm

SOME say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To know that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Robert Frost (of all names!), 1920

kim2ooo
January 27, 2012 2:41 pm
Dave
January 27, 2012 2:42 pm

Brian in Bellingham says:
January 27, 2012 at 11:49 am
“It will be interesting to watch Deadliest Catch this year when they show that part of it. Frustrated crabbers talking about how cold it is, how they have never seen ice this far south, wondering where “global warming is”, etc. Might be an eye opener for people who don’t pay attention to what is really going on and only get their information from the MSM.”
NASA will pay to have the entire fleet relocated to tropical waters where they will fish for marlin instead of crab.

gerard
January 27, 2012 2:50 pm

That’s the reason Gore and crew are heading to Antartica!

Arnold
January 27, 2012 2:54 pm

In early 1200s we had to abandon “wineland”(New foundland etc and Greenland because of the colder climate. To cold for the crops.
Norske Vikinger overlever alt, også klimaskifter.

January 27, 2012 2:58 pm

Question: What has Willis not done and where has he not been?
I’m amazed at your depth of experience Mr. Eschenbach.

Robbie
January 27, 2012 3:11 pm

One message to Mr. Eschenbach: This piece is cherrypicking and nothing more.
If one wants a more complete picture on sea ice. Take a look at:
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_stddev_timeseries.png
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_daily_extent_hires.png
I wonder what sea ice extent will be at its lowest point in summer 2012.

adolfogiurfa
January 27, 2012 3:11 pm

If the Bering´s strait gets covered, after thousand of years, with ice, that would be the opportunity for americans to go back to asia!!

Rob Crawford
January 27, 2012 3:20 pm

“I wonder what sea ice extent will be at its lowest point in summer 2012.”
Cherrypicking and nothing more.

ntesdorf
January 27, 2012 3:39 pm

“the ice is moving south at twenty miles an hour.”
Here in Sydney, we will be relying on the Equatorial waters melting this ice wall before it causes any problems in Sydney Harbour. However Louise may be in danger of not getting another fatuous comment off before she is entombed in ice.
In Sydney if the mercury reaches 44 degrees Centigrade, we put on a hat and walk on the shady side. No worries there, but in Nome, real problems.

Arnold
January 27, 2012 3:49 pm

It is far away from the issue here, but a Norwegian guy named Jarle Andhøy, sailing a russian boat, Nilaya,, are now near by the Rossea(Rosshavet), looking for “Berserk”. Lost 2 years ago.
In Rossea they will meet seeice, and a struggle. (My englese is not god).
They are searcking for 3 dead fiends(and reasonds), 2 years ago. A southpole-mission.
Currage ala Roald Amundsen. Follow him at nrk.no.
Not to bother others they are traveling without a emergency-transmitter. Want not to endanger others nomore.
Sorry to disturb you about this.

January 27, 2012 4:01 pm

Just for a little balance in the “weather in not climate” arena, check the sea ice page http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/
Overall, the Arctic ice is close to a record low.
The temperature near the pole is way above average.

Henry Galt
January 27, 2012 4:06 pm

Louise
“flu and novovirus which are more prevalent in winter. ”
All four horsemen “prefer” the cold.
Pestilence.
Famine,
War.
Death.
All increase with cold and decrease with a rise in T.

mfosdb
January 27, 2012 4:14 pm
Dan
January 27, 2012 4:24 pm

from the NWS Anchorage ice desk :
FORECAST THROUGH MONDAY…165W TO 175W…COLD NORTH WINDS THURSDAY
WILL MOVE THE ICE EDGE TO THE SOUTH 10 TO 15 NM. WINDS WILL TURN TO
NORTHEAST FRIDAY AND MOVE THE ICE TO THE SOUTHWEST 10 TO 15 NM ON
FRIDAY. THE WINDS WILL BECOME MORE EASTERLY OVER THE WEEKEND. EXPECT
ICE MOVEMENT 12 TO 15 NM TO THE SOUTH SOUTHWEST SATURDAY AND 12 TO 15
NM TO THE SOUTHWEST SUNDAY AND MONDAY. THE NET ICE MOVEMENT WILL BE
TO THE SOUTHWEST 45 TO 60 NM.

Katherine
January 27, 2012 4:32 pm

Louise, how about these:
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/494582_3
A simple assessment of the immediate effect of rising temperature can be made on the assumption that particular degrees and patterns of heat or cold will continue to produce the same mortality rates as they did previously. Lack of daily statistics has prevented accurate assessment of this kind for some regions, but outside the tropics, it indicates that rises in temperature over the next few years would increase heat-related deaths less than they decrease cold-related deaths. For example, on this assumption, the rise in temperature of 3.6°F expected over the next 50 years would increase heat-related deaths in Britain by about 2,000, but reduce cold-related deaths by about 20,000.[5]
http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/494582_2
Statistical analysis shows that the winter mortality rate is closely associated with cold weather. Time series analysis on deseasonalized data, using multiple single regressions,[6] shows that cold spells are closely associated with sharp increases in mortality rates. The deaths continue for many days after a cold spell ends and account for all of the excess mortality rate in winter.
…One mitigating factor in relation to heat-related death in relatively cool countries such as Britain is that increased deaths during a few days of hot weather are followed by a lower than normal mortality rate. The likely reason is that many of those dying in the heat are already seriously ill and even without heat stress would have died within the next 2 or 3 weeks.

Keith Pearson, formerly bikermailman, Anonymous no longer
January 27, 2012 4:33 pm

Willis, you truly are a Renaissance Man. Or Cliff Claven, not sure which. I kid… 😀 I do enjoy reading of your experiences, and appreciate the lessons as well.

William Sears
January 27, 2012 4:35 pm

The contrariness of Thunder Bay (Ontario) continues. It is absolutely balmy here.
http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/city/pages/on-100_metric_e.html
It has been like this for weeks and it often gets above zero (Celsius). I’m sure that when it warms up elsewhere we’ll be freezing. Maybe the glaciers will bypass us.

markx
January 27, 2012 4:51 pm

Willis,
That was a piece of poetry.
You are right up there with the greats right now: Shakespeare, Yeats, Milton, Bob Dylan, Willis…..

January 27, 2012 4:53 pm

Come on Markx,
You know that Dylan doesn’t belong in that group.

Richard Patton
January 27, 2012 4:54 pm

Rob Crawford says: January 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Back when Hansen was pitching the Coming Ice Age, we had a couple winters that were cold enough in the continental US to convince people he was right. I remember ice in the dog’s water dish — which was sitting in the kitchen — and frozen pipes and having to get into the house over an inch-thick sheet of ice while having casts on both of my feet.
Gimme warmer over colder any day.

And I can remember a 3″ snowdrift in my bedroom when I was in high school during those “an Ice age is coming!” years (in a house that wasn’t built with a blizzard in mind-the only blizzard PDX has had in the last 60+years). I agree with most of the writers-give me more global warming, please!

neill
January 27, 2012 4:54 pm

No wonder Willis is so prolific (though not necessarily always right) — looking at his CV was a bit of paradigm-shift.
Indiana Eschenbach, I presume?

tobyglyn
January 27, 2012 5:02 pm

Tim Folkerts says:
January 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm
“Just for a little balance in the “weather in not climate” arena, check the sea ice page http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/
Overall, the Arctic ice is close to a record low.
The temperature near the pole is way above average.”
Wow, that sounds very scary but since all this ice loss is supposed to be due to anthropogenic global warming rather than regional warming how about global sea ice, is it close to a record low too? 🙂

markx
January 27, 2012 5:19 pm

Jan 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm The Poems of Our Climate says:
“…Come on Markx,
You know that Dylan doesn’t belong in that group….”
Correct POOC, I simply put him in there to lift the standard a bit and let Willis know how outstanding that really was…

Stephen Singer
January 27, 2012 5:27 pm

Louise here is yet another link to warm vs cold mortality. Lookup Indur Golkany in Wikipedia you’ll find a link to his numerous post on WUWT many about this matter and others.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/06/winter-kills-excess-deaths-in-the-winter-months/

Bob
January 27, 2012 5:40 pm

Did Hemingway or London cast you as a character in one of their stories? How about “Old Man And The Sea”?
Do you still carry a skinning knife? Don’t tell me you have a hook.

Truthseeker
January 27, 2012 5:42 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
January 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm
My CV is here if you are curious …

Looked at the CV. My take is that you are an accountant who cannot hold a job done for any length of time … 🙂
Best wishes to you and your family.

Luther Wu
January 27, 2012 5:48 pm

tobyglyn says:
January 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm
“…”
________________
SMACKDOWN

Luther Wu
January 27, 2012 5:55 pm

Bob says:
January 27, 2012 at 5:40 pm
“Did Hemingway or London cast you as a character in one of their stories? How about “Old Man And The Sea”?
Do you still carry a skinning knife? Don’t tell me you have a hook.

___________________________
Rumor: Hook
Reason: Skinning Knife
This Week: Poet
Last Week: Peasant

Claude Harvey
January 27, 2012 6:00 pm

Willis:
I spent the winter of 1962-63 on Adak Island running and maintaining the troposcatter communications system for R.C.A. Services Company. We lived in Quonset huts tied down with massive cables that kept them from blowing away. We bought our beer from the Navy PX at 15-cents a can and the four of us in my hut drank up the monetary equivalent of a new Volkswagen in one year. Adak is the most forlorn, windblown wasteland in the Bering Sea. In those days, the crab fleet came to Adak with two processing ships and stayed for three months docked in Smuggler’s Cove.
Each crabber (75-foot wood boats) typically brought in 3,000 pounds of King Crab every three days and was paid a dollar a pound at the dock. That was big money when a new Volkswagen cost $1,740 and a Jaguar XKE was $6,500. I made a fine living on the side servicing the crab boat radars. They couldn’t find their crab pot buoys without radar. It took me a couple of trips to the boats to get the hang of their economy. I charged my first customer $25 for repairing his radar. The captain was so embarrassed at my paltry fee he threw in a couple fifths of Canadian Club and three, ten-pound King Crabs. I later asked a deck hand what they were used to paying in their home port of Seattle. He said, “$150 minimum just to come look at the thing and half the idiots we’re sent can’t fix it.” I fancied things up pretty quickly after that.

January 27, 2012 6:14 pm

In hot places where they may not have air conditioning, they can use inexpensive fans, as I do when it gets to hot.
A few days ago I was reading about the over two hundred deaths in Northern India due to the cold.

January 27, 2012 6:31 pm

Willis, Right On!
Louise the pretend intellect says:
January 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm
I have yet to see any reliable statistics that enable us to see whether a warmer or colder climate will lead to more deaths (across the globe) in the future.
Answer: that is because you rely on non-logic, incapable of your own thought.
It has been reported that tens of thousands of elderly french people died as a direct consequence of a particularly warm summer (2009?). I have also heard statements that there were a number (again in the thousands) of extra deaths due to the cold in the UK in 2010 (although not directly due to hypothermia as some have claimed). Does anyone have a link to actual facts rather than political spin on this issue?
Answer: During the “little ice age” people in Europe were eating their own children to survive. Once again you are incompetent and reveling your ignorant babble.
It is all too easy to say cold kills more than heat does, surely that depends upon where ‘most’ of the population happens to live? Those in the sub-sahara are unlikely to suffer frostbite just as those in Alaska are unlikely to suffer sun-stroke.
Answer: Great populations hang out in Antarctica. Maybe you should too.
Unbelievable you survive your own inadequacies. Take a trip without a pill.

January 27, 2012 6:37 pm

Willis:
I fished commercially up there, in the Bering Sea.
Is there anything you haven’t done?

jimbojinx
January 27, 2012 6:47 pm

As I sit here at my desk in my seaside condo on Maui, in my skivvies, with all windows open and the temp at 80F, my anxiety at the thought of that ice flow from Alaska hitting the island is guaranteed to keep me up all night- with frosted “Big Swell” beer the only medicine !
When you drink vodka over ice, it can give you kidney failure.
“When you drink rum over ice, it can give you liver failure.
When you drink whiskey over ice, it can give you heart problems.
When you drink gin over ice, it can give you brain problems.
Apparently, ice is really bad for you.”
I love it !!!!!!

Jeff L
January 27, 2012 6:51 pm

As a point of reference, all of our field operations on the North slope (yes, I am one of those oil guys the AGWers despise) this week have been shut down because it’s too cold ; we shut down @ -50 F; It’s been -50 to -60F with wind chills around -80F all week – bring on the global warming so we can find new oil reserves :))

George E. Smith;
January 27, 2012 6:55 pm

Heck of a picture thereWillis, reminds me of that not too long ago picture of the last snow in the British Isles.
And the sad thing about “The deadliest catch”, what a total waste of effort. The only thing less worth wasting good eating time on, than Alaskan King Crab is San Francisco Dungeness Crab.
They simply aren’t worth the trouble trying to crack open to extract the tiny scaps of meat in them.
I got treated to lunch in a very fancy Palo Alto “seafood” restaurant the other day by someone to whom paying for lunch doesn’t hurt a bit.
They had “mussels” on the menu, so I asked the waiter what kind of mussels they were. He went back and asked the chef, who told him they were PEI mussels, aka Prince Edward Island mussles, from that other goodawful place up in the arctic, that’s always buried under miles of ice.
So I asked him if they had any New Zealand green shell mussels, and he said no, they don’t offer those because they would have to charge two dollars extra for them.
So I told him that’s the way it is; bait is always cheaper than seafood.
Clearly nobody in this place had ever laid eyes on NZ green shell mussels. Obvously that place doesn’t know beans about seafood, so in future, I’ll go to my regular place, that always has the NZ ones and always at the exact same price as the PEI bait.
And every person, I have ever shown the greenies to in that restaurant, has never again ordered PEI mussels.

nofreewind
January 27, 2012 7:10 pm

Bering Sea ice area
http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.2.html
About 16% increased anomaly.

January 27, 2012 7:25 pm

Ice flips boats ? I’d be travelling south too !
20 miles an hour does seem fast ? 20 kms maybe ? or the upper limit of a 10 to 20 estimate ? maybe a blurred vision typo.
I was reading 2-3 days ago that sea ice forms quicker when it’s relatively warmer e.g. minus 20 rather than minus 30. Sorry I don’t have the link. not that I would goad a warmist, but I’m surprised it wasn’t mentioned before now.
fascinating reading from my fan assisted 29 degree C ‘cave’ – it’s maybe 37C outside. of course our bodies are wonderfully adapted to heat, and I feel cool.

Duncan
January 27, 2012 7:25 pm

And in the Baltic, they’re complaining about the lack of ice and how it’s going to ruin the icebreaking season.
I meant to link Wuwters info on how to bet on Baltic ice a couple days ago.

Richard of Brisbane
January 27, 2012 7:30 pm

Willis, very impressive CV.
There are a few 19 year olds who already know as much as you and are convinced AGW is real.
Keep up the good work.

Rational Debate
January 27, 2012 7:32 pm

re post: Willis Eschenbach says:
January 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm

agw nonsense says: January 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm Brilliant post All the best to you from myself and the skipper and crew of Angelica (TV show HardLiners) here in Australia

Dang, they don’t show that here in the US, I’d love to see it. My best wishes to you and the skipper and crew as well, my friend, stay safe on the awesome Southern Ocean,
w.

Perhaps ‘agw nonsense’ knows of an official site that streams the show that he could point us to? Otherwise, Willis, if you’d like to watch it and aren’t adverse to this method, you can find links to it from unofficial sites such as:
http://watchseries.eu/episode/hardliners_s1_e1-90659.html
Note: I use firefox with popup blocker on and adblock plus installed (an add on that I highly recommend anyhow) – suspect the pages would otherwise have all sorts of ads and possible popups…
IMDb.com (Internet Movie Database) lists it as a documentary with 2 episodes. I’d suggested Deadliest Catch to you long ago in a different thread because while I don’t watch it regularly, I love it – so I’m awfully interested in seeing HardLiners too!!
Kind regards, and the best of luck to yourself, AGW Nonsense, Captain and crew of the Angelica!!

Rational Debate
January 27, 2012 7:51 pm

re post: Louise says: January 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I have yet to see any reliable statistics that enable us to see whether a warmer or colder climate will lead to more deaths (across the globe) in the future.

Louise, just research “excess winter mortality” a little bit. It’s pretty clear that cold kills far more than heat. Note, excess winter mortality isn’t primarily from hypothermia etc., but from various processes – disease (flu, pneumonia), heart attacks, etc., – that aren’t well understood but are clearly linked to cold no matter where you live.
Consider also the issue of crops, growing season length, etc. Clearly warm is better there also, provided it doesn’t come with severe drought (such as the Dust Bowl in the USA in the 30’s).
Humanity’s historical records also show that during warmer times such as the Medieval Warm Period, Roman Optimum, etc., humanity fares far far better than during colder times (e.g., Little Ice Age, Dark Ages, etc.).
Obviously it’s a complicated issue, involving more than simply changes in temperature with all other constants held unchanged – but overall it certainly seems pretty clear that life overall fairs far better with a bit of added warmth rather than the reverse.

January 27, 2012 8:02 pm

Louise, where are you? I am waiting for you to come back and counter all these evil people and this made up proof that cold kills. /sarc off.
That being said, do you get it now, Louise? COLD KILLS, PERIOD.

January 27, 2012 8:15 pm

Willis, thanks, I appreciate it as always.
Cold kills. Warmer is better.
@Louise, it is not hard to Google such things. One easy-to-establish fact is that mortality rates after a heat wave drop for a time. The established reason is that the heat hurts those near death while hardly affecting the healthy. However, cold spells kill indiscriminately, and mortality rates rarely drop afterward. The Christmas blizzard we had a few years ago nearly took a 30-ish, hardy man and his mother because it stranded their car. He and his mother decided to walk rather than taking their chances waiting. She lost consciousness due to the cold, and he carried her. He managed to find help before he succumbed, but the doctors said barely. Both lived, but both very nearly died. Neither would have been harmed if the car stalled on a record hot day here. My point is that weather extremes primarily take the unprepared. Cold is much more efficient at overcoming us, even when we are prepared. As an aside, consider agriculture. Surely no one will advocate a cooler planet will be easier on farmers. Seems I recall hearing just a week or two ago to expect US juice prices to climb as Florida’s orange growers were getting whacked with a freeze.

January 27, 2012 9:01 pm

Robbie says:
January 27, 2012 at 3:11 pm
UM Robbie you need to read the first line of the post “from the weather is not climate department” stating very clearly that it is talking about Alaska ice not everything and as one person asked how about the GLOBAL ice is that at near record lows too? Because just concentrating on one region is just as bad cherry picking wise as anything Willis has done here except he stated clearly for those who think that this was not referring to anything but the Bering sea and Alaska.

Rational Debate
January 27, 2012 9:02 pm

re: David L. Hagen says: January 27, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Your history reminds me of similar litany. See: Second Hand Lions Bar FIGHT Scene

An awesome movie.

dp
January 27, 2012 11:05 pm

Most of my time in Alaska was spent working on marine radar systems, frequently in the crow’s nest, undoing ice damage to the scanners. Cold, miserable stuff when water goes bad. An S-band scanner on an oil tanker in Valdez one day, 5 more on Crowley tugs the next – ice makes no exceptions.
Those ships and boats can’t not have radar, though, so they made it worth my while and I worked very hard to be sure the radars still worked at the next scheduled service. Talking with a captain of a boat with empty crab pots on it because the radar failed is not a conversation you want to have, and you won’t have it twice.
From Kodiak to Cold Bay to Barrow, to the beautiful ice village of Valdez, wouldn’t have missed it for anything. Watching the sun rise in Barrow is a special experience given that it takes place over a matter of weeks. At 66 its a life I won’t live again but its a life I think of fondly.
Many of the boats have deck heaters – for the deck, not the crew. Spent more than a few hours with a Louisville Slugger in hand clearing ice from the rigging, gunnels, railings, and spools helping to level the keel following the ice storms that blow through. If you are a lazy Jack and don’t keep up with it you will go over. Your best friend is the cloths dryer in the laundry room – 30 minutes aloft, 10 minutes tumble dry for the head cover, coat, and gloves. Boots too if nobody’s looking.
I did also enjoy doing the same work in Acapulco and Pearl Harbor, though. You have less need to fear the elements, as you have pointed out. Louise should spend 6 months out on the line to get a better appreciation for the cold and how it impacts heat sources like people. If you go over the side in arctic waters you will likely join the food chain. Not so much if you’re wading the blue waters of Moorea or Malaita.

Matt
January 28, 2012 12:29 am

gosh – ice breakers can’t break through one foot of ice? What are you trying to say? A sailing yacht can do that. Looking up ice breakers at Wiki reveals that they can plow through ice 2.5 meters (that is 10 feet) thick at 10 knots / 19Km/h.

January 28, 2012 12:56 am

“The Titanic wasn’t sunk by a heat wave.”
True, true.
There is a clear relation between SST and ice cover. Cold, cold ocean around Alaska.
http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom_new.gif
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_bm_extent.png

chinook
January 28, 2012 1:31 am

An interesting article that offers a perspective for those who (almost)unbelievably can’t grok stone-cold and how it affects all life forms.
I’d like to see a sailboat, any sailboat, capable of breaking one foot of ice and survive intact. I live along the Great Lakes and the long history of boats(ships) much sturdier than sailing vessels sinking in Winter times from ice and storms seems to disprove sailboat icebreakers…but, that’s only anecdotal evidence.
Funny times we live in when so much innate knowledge is no long innate and that, along with common sense, the all so obvious and provable fact that cold is much more stressful and uninhabitable and the resulting mortality than warmth, isn’t obvious to everyone. Maybe those who can’t grasp the concept of killing cold should move off of their balmy islands for awhile and go to Alaska or anywhere seriously cold, just to learn a perspective that seems to have been forgotten at some point in the far distant past. Our ancestors knew better and didn’t need someone to Google-up proof for them.

Jerry
January 28, 2012 1:33 am

Most of my time in Alaska was spent mountain biking the Iditarod trail in late February. I experienced -35F to 40F temperatures and no two years were ever alike in the decade I did that sort of thing. Warm, cold, snow, no snow and everything in between, heck we even had rain one year. Glad I’m not there this year.

Truthseeker
January 28, 2012 1:43 am

Willis Eschenbach says:
January 27, 2012 at 10:27 pm
Best wishes regarding the friendliness disability, it’s conquerable, don’t give up hope …
Willis, I may have trained as an accountant but I have successfully managed a good career in the IT field so it turns out I do not have a friendliness disability …
I am one of those that come in after the project guy has “delivered” the said project and actually make it work for the those that have to live with the results on an ongoing basis.
However you seemed to miss the point of the smiley face after my comments (maybe the /sarc tag was required?).

dp
January 28, 2012 1:43 am
January 28, 2012 2:07 am

Having been a few years sailor (engin room), instead of (then still obliged) military service, amongst others on a tanker, we had to deliver fuel to Stockholm, January 1966. Temperature then was -20°C, not an ideal temperature if you have to repair the motor of a lifeboat. After the delivery the tanker was locked in the ice, because a severe storm did drive pack ice from the North Baltic down to the South. After a few days we were set free by an ice-breaker and the last ships of that winter followed the ice-breaker in convoy to open waters. My deepest respect for the crew of the tanker and ice- breacker that rescued Nome from a disaster.

John Marshall
January 28, 2012 3:03 am

Very true Willis. Mind you those crabs do taste good. A few years ago we went to the US on holiday and stayed in West Yellowstone, Montana, and had an Alaskan Crab meal, in Bulliwinkles Bar. What surprised me was the low cost of this meal. The crab was about a day old and flown into West Yellowstone, prepared and served, all for $17. Amazing taste and great value, and the beer was good as well.

Kelvin Vaughan
January 28, 2012 4:10 am

8364khz says:
January 27, 2012 at 11:40 am
Should have said…
Joined MV Falmouth Bay, Seattle, as R/O 21st February, 1984.
There is something about getting older… Can’t remember what it is though
It’s, it,s it,s oh damn I can’t remeber either!

James Caffey
January 28, 2012 4:24 am

Louise a simple comparison: Try breaking down in your car in the NW of Australia during summer and compare that with breaking down in Minnesota during the winter. If you get stranded in plus 40C as long as you have water you will be fine. You will survive indefinitely. Try surviving stranded in a blizzard.You will last hours at the most unless you have a heat source or are rescued. I’ve experienced both and I can assure you the first example is preferable.

ozspeaksup
January 28, 2012 5:40 am

Louise.:Those in the sub-sahara are unlikely to suffer frostbite .
ummm
well go LOOK at the snows IN Sahara just this week!
and yeah it HAS happened before so warming didnt do it.

January 28, 2012 8:03 am

Speaking of ice breakers, it seems one captain is practicing in Kentucky for service in Siberia:
Eggner Ferry Bridge Hit By Delta Mariner Ship In Kentucky (PHOTOS)

Mick J
January 28, 2012 8:42 am

Re heat versus cold deaths. This study draws the conclusion that cold related deaths are significantly life shortening whereas heat related deaths have less impact in this respect.
http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/rest.91.4.659
Report conclusion.
Our findings indicate that increases in mortality caused
by cold temperature are long lasting. We find evidence of a
large and statistically significant permanent effect on mor-
tality of cold waves. By contrast, the increases in mortality
associated with heat waves are short lived. The increase in
mortality that occurs in the days immediately following heat
waves appears entirely driven by temporal displacement.
The aggregate effect of extreme cold on mortality is
large. We estimate that the number of annual deaths attrib-
utable to cold temperature is about 0.8% of annual deaths in
the United States during the sample period. This effect is
significantly larger among males living in low-income ar-
eas.
The main contribution of this paper is to document the
importance of a previously unrecognized determinant of
gains in life expectancy in the United States. Over the past
several decades, the U.S. population has moved from the
northeastern and midwestern states to the southwestern
states. This secular trend has resulted in a diminished
exposure to cold weather. We calculate that every year,
4,600 deaths are delayed by the changing exposure to cold
temperature. Such effect on longevity accounts for 3% to
7% of the overall increase in longevity experienced by the
U.S. population over the past thirty years.

dp
January 28, 2012 8:47 am

The unmentioned component of the Oil for Nome story it what it represents in terms of energy supply and delivery. It is useful to observe the Renda delivered diesel and gasoline, not firewood, not coal, no wind mills, no solar panels. The economies of scale in the global oil industry made it possible to deliver the most appropriate energy the world has ever known, on short notice, using assets on hand, from across the world.
In December a Russian tanker was called out – a rare one, too, as there are not a lot of tankers in the world that can follow an icebreaker through that mess. Because of engine problems it almost did not make it. The reason she was called out? The massive storm that hit Alaska in 2011 blocked the usual path of fuel which is barged in from Washington State.
The Renda was carrying Korean diesel fuel. People should think about that when they start grumbling about globalization. It stopped in Dutch Harbor and picked up gasoline. That required a waiver of the Jones act, btw. The Renda followed the US icebreaker Healy, a shadow of her former self, through hundreds of miles of pack ice and ice ridges. On arrival at Nome the ship was required to stand off shore because of the gentle bottom slope. A guy with a tractor, fueled not by carrot juice, corn oil, coal, solar, or rechargeable batteries, laid in an ice road to allow stretching hoses made from petrochemicals the 4 miles to the distribution head.
Efficiencies of scale put this rescue on the drawing board. Oil made it possible. No wind mills were used in this delivery. If green energy zealots have their way and we lose those efficiencies it is quite possible Nome will become a ghost town for a winter or two, then disappear all together.

Mick J
January 28, 2012 8:57 am

Colder weather related deaths does not only include hypothermia but also includes problems that become fatal for those with circulatory problems, these can come to the fore even at 17c.
From an earlier blog at WUWT.
“Since extreme cold has gripped much of the Northern Hemisphere, some newspapers have been keeping a tally of the number of deaths obviously caused by extreme cold (e.g., freezing). But the BBC’s Health Correspondent, Clare Murphy, in a very timely and, in my opinion, excellent article, How cold turns up the heat on health, reminds us that many more deaths occur from chronic conditions that are exacerbated by cold weather. She also notes that, “For every degree the temperature drops below 18C, deaths in the UK go up by nearly 1.5%.””
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/06/winter-kills-excess-deaths-in-the-winter-months/

January 28, 2012 12:09 pm

Jeff L says:
January 27, 2012 at 6:51 pm
As a point of reference, all of our field operations on the North slope (yes, I am one of those oil guys the AGWers despise) this week have been shut down because it’s too cold

My youngest daughter worked on the North Slope until a few years ago as helicopter pilot. They might not fly during such extreme cold conditions, as the rotor blades could break off, because getting too brittle. Same problem for lots of steel equipment I suppose.
Nowadays she works in Nigeria, quite a different (weather) climate, but not directly the safest country of the world for its (political) climate…

Green Sand
January 28, 2012 12:42 pm

Barrow sea ice progressing well this year
Barrow Sea Ice Thickness and Sea Level
Barrow Sea Ice Mass Balance Site 2012
The Mass Balance Site was deployed on landfast sea ice in the Chukchi Sea at Barrow, Alaska on January 11, 2012. At the time, ice thickness was 0.97 m (38 in) and snow depth was 0.05 m (2 inches).
The latest measurements available are of Jan 28, 2012, 11:15 AM AKST
Air temperature:
-32 °C, -25 °F
Ice thickness:
1.12 m, 3 ft 8″
Current ice growth rate: 0.9 cm/day (3/8 in/day).
http://seaice.alaska.edu/gi/observatories/barrow_sealevel/brw2012/BRW_MBS12_overview_complete.png
Data from previous years can be found:-
http://seaice.alaska.edu/gi/data/barrow_massbalance

jimbojinx
January 28, 2012 12:52 pm

“Spike in deaths blamed on 2003 NYC power outage”
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/01/27/spike-in-deaths-blamed-on-2003-nyc-power-outage/#ixzz1kmvpFDh9
Imagine a power failure in NYC in the dead of winter…..cardiovascular and respiratory deaths would skyrocket much more that they did in the summer of ’03.

January 28, 2012 1:13 pm

@Willis:

Sixty five next month, and there are still far, far more things I haven’t done than things I have done.

Some time in February, you ought to post your “Bucket List”.
Given your “Been There – Done That List”, your Bucket List ought to be quite a read.

tty
January 28, 2012 3:19 pm

Matt says:
January 28, 2012 at 12:29 am
gosh – ice breakers can’t break through one foot of ice? What are you trying to say? A sailing yacht can do that. Looking up ice breakers at Wiki reveals that they can plow through ice 2.5 meters (that is 10 feet) thick at 10 knots / 19Km/h
Matt, It is clear that You know very little about either ice or icebreakers. There are indeed a very few icebreakers that can break 2.5 meters thick ice. I suppose all eight Russian nuclear icebreakers can do it, and the Swedish Oden and perhaps one or two Finnish or Canadian ones, but.probably no others. Incidentally no sensible person would run at 10 knots in such heavy ice, since there is always an appreciable risk of running into a pressure-ridge, and a sudden stop from 10 knots would be quite dangerous.
And a sailing yacht has precisely zero ice-breaking capability. And as for breaking one foot thick ice you might be interested to know that here in Sweden, where we have a lot of ice in winter and use ice-roads quite a bit, one foot thick ice is considered safe to use for trucks weighing up to 4.5 tons. Ice is pretty tough..

John Billings
January 28, 2012 4:11 pm

People who live in Alaska expect it, prepare for it, and are used to it. They are unlikely to need, or appreciate, expressions of concern, nor psychological counselling. One comment to Willis: those out on the high seas fear neither heat nor cold, but wind and the associated high seas.

January 28, 2012 4:59 pm

That’s the problem with the AGW crowd – they have it back to front – it’s temperature driving the biosphere that ends up producing more CO2, not the other way around.
Of course if you are suffering from excess hubris then it might be plausible to put the idea that humans are causing the warming, (and in virtual reality la-la land quite so), rather than accept the reality that, as hairless simians, we tend to react to changes in the environment, and doing it quite well, it seems if Willis’ life experiences are any guide.
The big question then has to focus on the cause of the temperature fluctuations that changes climate, and to me it’s the plasma.

richard verney
January 28, 2012 5:10 pm

@John Billings says:
January 28, 2012 at 4:11 pm
////////////////////////////////
I do not agree with your dig at Willis. Whilst it may be true that you are more likely to come a cropper in strong winds and high seas, cold and ice undoubtedly pose significant risks and probelms for any commercial shipping.
One should not under-estimate the dangers of a cold sea. The reason why so many people died in the Titanic incident was due to the cold sea. Survival rates in that cold water was measured in minutes perhaps 10 to 15 at the very outside. People in life vest would have survived had a similar incident (perhaps a vessel floundering on an unchartered submersed rocky outcrop) taken place in the warm waters of the Med for the 1.5 to 2 hours that it took the Carpethia to arrive on the scene.
One can see a simialr casualty rate in the Estonia incident when a ship sunk (a RoRo failing to properly close its doors) in the Baltic in winter claiming a 1000 or so lives. Many people died not simply in the cold water but also on life rafts (due to Hyperthermia). Cold is a very serious problem for any mariner.

richard verney
January 28, 2012 5:19 pm

For all those arguin cold verse hot related deaths, Cold can kill in minutes and that is why the ultimate adventure was the trek to the North or South pole and why the intrepid explorers of old are still held in such high esteem today.

John Billings
January 28, 2012 5:34 pm

richard verney says:
January 28, 2012 at 5:10 pm
I’m not digging at Willis. Just saying that every seafarer knows that there is no particular danger in heat or cold. But there is horrible danger in wind, because that can turn your boat on its ass and throw you into the sea 200 miles from land. And this is the greatest fear, and there is none to surpass it among those that go to sea. That’s all.

Richard Patton
Reply to  John Billings
January 28, 2012 5:46 pm

Having spent many years on the sea-the WORST thing that a sailor can face is fire, which is why we drilled on fighting it so often. There is no fire department to call for help and if you can’t get it out yourself you will find yourself in the water much further than you can swim, with a very high probability that you won’t make it.

Craig Moore
January 28, 2012 6:03 pm

Did you ever party with the polar bears? http://i851.photobucket.com/albums/ab73/gottabuzz/BearBBQ.gif

u.k.(us)
January 28, 2012 6:34 pm

I put a 🙂 on the end of some of my comments to indicate a friendly disagreement, or even a facetious reply.
I leave it up to the reader to recognize the punctuation.
Most do.
That said, I bid adieu.

Douglas DC
January 28, 2012 7:48 pm

John Billings- I have 11,000 or so hours in aircraft big and small. did a bit of bluewater sailing in the north Pacific.Plus some riverine and bay sailing. owned two sailboats. I have a Pacific Crabber
as an in-law.he’s been to the Bearing in winter. Willis is correct.100%. I’ve been near a passenger in a Commuter Airliner,a DC-7 Airtianker,and a few other aircraft. Every time I have been truly
afraid it was due to weather caused inicdents. The two worst involved ICE on the wings and the engines. Nothing is any more disconcerning than seeing you are now heading down in a Piper
Chieftain shaped ice sulpture. Or, being vectored into a windshield cracking, riviet popping, hail storm by ATC. Yup,I too fear the cold..

u.k.(us)
January 28, 2012 8:20 pm

Douglas DC says:
January 28, 2012 at 7:48 pm
===========
Just out of curiosity, what de-icing systems did that Chieftain have ?
Props?, boots on the wings ?, weeping wing?

trbixler
January 28, 2012 9:39 pm

Does the snow in Alaska add to the Glaciers? If so is the 30 ft of snow interesting.
http://www.nodeju.com/17959/alaska-buried-under-mountains-of-snow.html
Seems like cold temperatures and lots of snow means that it might not all melt by next winter.

phlogiston
January 28, 2012 9:46 pm

Those Bering sea crab fishermen needn’t worry bout being iced in – the Beaufort Gyre will blow it all away in no time.
/sarc off

Sue
January 28, 2012 10:57 pm

Louise wrote: “I have yet to see any reliable statistics that enable us to see whether a warmer or colder climate will lead to more deaths (across the globe) in the future. … Does anyone have a link to actual facts rather than political spin on this issue?”
Here’s a WUWT story about temperature-related mortality: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/11/23/new-peer-reviewed-study-global-warming-lowers-death-rates/#more-28224
From CO2 Science: Lives Saved per Life Lost Due to Global Warming
Reference
Christidis, N., Donaldson, G.C. and Stott, P.A. 2010. Causes for the recent changes in cold- and heat-related mortality in England and Wales. Climatic Change 102: 539-553.
“For more on this important topic, including results from all around the world, see the many items we have archived under the subheadings of Health Effects (Temperature) in our Subject Index at http://www.co2science.org/subject/h/subject_h.php .”

dp
January 28, 2012 11:37 pm

John Billings wrote:

I’m not digging at Willis. Just saying that every seafarer knows that there is no particular danger in heat or cold.

If you’ve never been at sea when your winches look like frozen walnuts and the sheets won’t follow the spool nor bind, cleats are iced over, your snatch cleats won’t, and your cold hands are all that keeps the main hauled close and those hands are tired from doing this for hours, when the tiller has a mind of it’s own and your fatigue has given it its head and you issue a sailor’s prayer the iron helmsman doesn’t fail but if it does the lanyard won’t, your storm tri-sail has sagged under the weight of rime ice, and your compass is a snowball then you have much to enjoy about the sea ahead of you.
One hand for Jack and one for the ship is the rule, and sometimes the odds toss you the need for a third hand you don’t have. That is when Neptune owns you. You have only one job and that is to not let that happen. But now the brightening wind seems bent on boxing the compass and blowing snow is drifting across the waves say it is time to reef the main and take a quartering sea – which hand to use, Jack?

JamesS
January 29, 2012 7:36 am

Louise, here are two links from the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) regarding heat-and-cold-related deaths. The first is “Heat-Related Deaths — United States — 1999-2003”, at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5529a2.htm. The other is “Hypothermia-Related Deaths — United States — 1999-2002 and 2005”, at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5510a5.htm.
The cold-related article focuses on three particular cases, while the heat article does not; but they both give the basic statistics for heat-and-cold-related deaths in the US over those times, which are these:
“During 1999–2002, a total of 4,607 death certificates in the United States had hypothermia-related diagnoses listed as the underlying cause of death or nature of injury leading to the underlying cause of death (annual incidence: four per 1,000,000 population).”
“During 1999–2003, a total of 3,442 deaths resulting from exposure to extreme heat were reported (annual mean: 688).”
The articles present those stats in slightly different ways, but if you calculate the annual mean for both you’ll see that the cold mean 1151 beats the heat mean 688 by 67%. I’d say that’s a statistically significant difference in the two causes of death.

Cathy
January 29, 2012 7:55 am

Wonderful writing.
This line, of course : ” Awe, mostly, at the damaging power of cold . . ” is the kernel that poor Louise seems unable to process.

DanJ
January 29, 2012 9:43 am

I live in Finland. It is January. If I were to go out tonight and sit still in my front yard wearing my normal summer clothes, I’d be dead in the morning. Our climate is quite literally lethal for an unprotected human. Some days ago on WUWT there was a mention of the famine in the 1790’s over here, when two consecutive crops were ruined by cold weather. A third of our population died. Such was the risk of living on the outer edge of what was considered arable land.
Of course, tonight we are all safe and snug in our winter wear and warm houses, and since extreme is the norm at these latitudes, tomorrow morning kids are off to school and adults are off to work. Not because we are especially hardy, but because humans are adaptable, and the human spirit is indomitable. All over the world, people have adapted beautifully to their surroundings. Still, a warmer climate has generally meant an increase in wealth and happiness, and cold has meant increased risk of poverty and disease.

phlogiston
January 29, 2012 12:12 pm

Snowy owls are making a rare mass migration south from the Arctic and showing up across the USA:
http://news.yahoo.com/snowy-owls-soar-south-arctic-rare-mass-migration-175336821.html
Global warming must be making the heat intolerable up there (NOT)

b_C
January 30, 2012 6:56 am

Ah, yes … Thermageddon™: the threat of doom perpetrated by Thermomongers.

Skiphil
January 30, 2012 8:46 am

I don’t yet know more about this film (see review link below) than what’s stated in this review, but I’m already seeing talk on social media that National Geographic has bought the rights and that there’s the beginnings of a push to show it in schools. I’ve seen enough of glaciers in the western USA including Alaska to know that they are often reduced over the past two centuries since the LIA, not merely the past decade or two. However, the meme now is “melting glaciers” so people here who have a way to contribute to this public discussion may want to be ready for this:
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/chasing-ice-sundance-film-review-284913

timg56
January 30, 2012 12:31 pm

On the what do mariners fear question – I’ll side with Richard Patton. Fire ranks as the number one concern for most sailors. However that doesn’t make Willis wrong. If you sail (motor or steam) in cold weather regions, then ice is probably the bigger concern.
I have to admit that my sea experience doesn’t include ice accumulation as a problem, as we cruised under it. If we had a concern it would have been colliding with it. Fire, on the other hand was a big threat. A fire on a sub can quickly incapacitate the entire crew.

John Billings
February 4, 2012 5:21 pm

There seem to be a number of fair-weather fishermen on this thread.
I’m not here to school anyone on anything.
But the deep sea men of the world know one thing above all else: Only the wind can do the worst of all things, which is to separate a man from his boat. All else is trivia.
And I will extend an open invitation to any fair-weather keyboard warriors to contradict me on that. None of you have experienced the northern North Sea.

Jessie
February 5, 2012 1:14 am

John Billings says: February 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm
Why do captains take their vessels out to sea when the cyclone and her [his] path is predicted to pass/collide on their course or mooring?
Speaking from observed experience.

Richard Patton
February 5, 2012 2:37 pm

Jessie says: February 5, 2012 at 1:14 am
 

Why do captains take their vessels out to sea when the cyclone and her [his] path is predicted to pass/collide on their course or mooring?
Speaking from observed experience.

First of all, the expected center of a cyclone in 48 hours has (usually) a 300-600nm error radius. Second the gale force wind radius of a cyclone, especially an extratropical cyclone, can be over a thousand miles. And while I was a forecaster for the Navy forecasting for ships from the Bering Sea to the equator and the West Coast to the Date Line I saw more than once storm force winds (50kt and above) spread across greater than a 500nm mile reach. There is no ship in the world that can get out of the way of something that large, especially if it is a hurricane or typhoon that has gone extra-tropical. Speeds of those systems have reached 45kts. A nuke ship could reach those speeds in calm seas, but when the waves start coming up the speed of the ship has to go down unless the captain plans to visit Davy Jones Locker.

Jessie
February 6, 2012 3:19 am

Thank you for your response Richard Patton. Appreciated.

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