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Ice Age


Attention

Rare Arctic Bowhead whale seen in Cape Cod Bay - only the second in recorded history

© NOAA
A bowhead whale was spotted feeding with right whales in Cape Cod Bay last week
Experts call the sighting rare and remarkable

It is a remarkable sighting, according to experts from the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) in Provincetown. Last Friday marks only the second time in recorded history that a bowhead whale has been seen so far south in the waters of the Atlantic. The whale was spotted swimming and feeding with right whales on Cape Cod Bay on April 11, according to a CCS release.

The first time a bowhead was spotted in our waters was two years ago, when one was observed by CCS researchers off the Outer Beach in Orleans in August 2012.
Ice Cube

Why it's a big deal: Half of the Great Lakes are still covered in ice

© NASA
Over the winter, as polar vortices plunged the U.S. Midwest into weeks of unceasing cold, the icy covers of the Great Lakes started to make headlines. With almost 96 percent of Lake Superior's 32,000 miles encased in ice at the season's peak, tens of thousands of tourists flocked to the ice caves along the Wisconsin shoreline, suddenly accessible after four years of relatively warmer wintery conditions.

The thing is, all of that ice takes a long time to melt. As of April 10, 48 percent of the five lakes' 90,000-plus square miles were still covered in ice, down from a high of 92.2 percent on March 6 (note that constituted the highest levels recorded since 1979, when ice covered 94.7 percent of the lakes). Last year, only 38.4 percent of the lakes froze over, while in 2012 just 12.9 percent did - part of a four-year stint of below-average iciness.
Ice Cube

Coast Guard still battling thick Great Lakes ice - in April

Almost one month into spring, and the U.S. Coast Guard is still breaking up ice around the Great Lakes.

© NOAA
Satellite image of ice cover on the Great Lakes on April 15, 2014. Overall, nearly 39 percent of the Great Lakes were covered in ice as of April 15, including 62 percent of Lake Superior.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, more than 64 percent of Lake Superior was covered in ice as of Wednesday. Lake Michigan was 21 percent covered, Lake Huron was 31 percent covered, Lake Erie was 14 percent covered, and Lake Ontario was 2 percent covered. The entire Great Lakes system was 37 percent covered in ice.
VIDEO. #USCG cutters break a way into #Marquette Harbor, helping local mining industry avoid a shutdown. #Michigan buff.ly/Qd6Fq4 -
USCG Great Lakes (@USCGGreatLakes) April 16, 2014
The Coast Guard on Wednesday released video of the cutter Morro Bay carving up ice in the harbor in Marquette, Mich., nestled along the shores of Lake Superior.
Ice Cube

Half of the Great Lakes still covered in ice: What it means for the region

great lakes ice
© Jeff Schmaltz
The Great Lakes at 80.3 percent ice cover, on February 19, 2014, taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua Satellite
Over the winter, as polar vortices plunged the U.S. Midwest into weeks of unceasing cold, the icy covers of the Great Lakes started to make headlines. With almost 96 percent of Lake Superior's 32,000 miles encased in ice at the season's peak, tens of thousands of tourists flocked to the ice caves along the Wisconsin shoreline, suddenly accessible after four years of relatively warmer wintery conditions.

The thing is, all of that ice takes a long time to melt. As of April 10, 48 percent of the five lakes' 90,000-plus square miles were still covered in ice, down from a high of 92.2 percent on March 6 (note that constituted the highest levels recorded since 1979, when ice covered 94.7 percent of the lakes). Last year, only 38.4 percent of the lakes froze over, while in 2012 just 12.9 percent did - part of a four-year stint of below-average iciness.

And as the Great Lakes slowly lose their historically large ice covers over the next few months, the domino effects could include lingering cold water, delayed seasonal shifts, and huge jumps in water levels.
Snowflake Cold

Snowy Owls dying and having trouble migrating north due to prolonged cold weather

It is time for many bird species to begin their spring migrations and Snowy Owls are among the many species that migrate. Although most birds migrate without any trouble it seems that more and more snowy owls are being found dead along their migration paths. While most ornithologists believe the recently reported Snowy Owls deaths are not related and only accidents, many are still studying the dead birds to be sure.

When a Snowy Owl wearing a GPS tracking device was found dead near Martha's Vineyard, many people became concerned and wanted to know why this bird and so many others were dying. Tufts University veterinary center and Norman Smith, who is an expert on Snowy Owls, decided to find out what caused the bird's death. They named the bird Sandy Neck.

The team examined the bird and released a report with their findings. The report said,

"The necropsy at Tufts showed no trauma except for a minor deep bruise in her left pectoral, no food in the proventriculus (stomach) or gizzard, and no signs of disease or unusual parasites. As Gus (Ben David) noted, she was in otherwise excellent condition - great muscle mass and fat deposits. Nor was there any water in the respiratory system. Mark Pokras (a veterinarian and professor at Tufts) said if he had to guess, she got swamped, swam to shore and went down from hypothermia - but also couldn't rule out drowning."
Attention

Heavy ice likely to have crushed 9 blue whales to death off Newfoundland

© Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans
Blue whale carcasses were spotted on the ice on southwest coast of Newfoundland.

Warning: Disturbing images. Blue whale carcasses were spotted on the ice off the southwest coast of Newfoundland, while a sperm whale carcass washed up on the southeast coast.

Several endangered blue whales have been found dead in ice off Newfoundland - probably crushed to death by ice, says the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

DFO said the carcasses of blue whales were spotted last month, stuck in thick ice off of the southwest coast of the island.

Dr. Jack Lawson, a researcher with DFO, told Global News he and a colleague spotted nine dead whales while flying over the ice, about 40 nautical miles west of Cape Anguille. He said they were around 20 metres long - the "length of two school buses."
Ice Cube

US largest steel mill stands idle due to ice coverage on Lake Superior

Gary works steel mill idle
© AP
Frozen: U.S. Coast Guard a convoy of Great Lakes cargo ships line up to follow an icebreaker on the St. Marys River, which links Lakes Superior and Huron. U.S. Steel said Monday, April 7, 2014 that its largest mill in Gary, Indiana, is on limited production because of a lack of raw materials

U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard crews kept up their battle on Monday to clear pathways for vessels hauling vital raw materials on the ice-clogged Great Lakes, where a shipping logjam forced a weeklong shutdown of the nation's largest steel factory.

Traffic remained largely at a crawl after a winter that produced some of the heaviest ice on record across the five inland seas, where more than half the surface area remained solid this week.

Icebreaking ships slogging across Lake Superior were still encountering ice layers 2 feet to 3 feet thick. In some areas, wind and wave action created walls of ice up to 14 feet high.

United States Steel Corp.'s plant in Gary, Indiana, had resumed limited operations after receiving a shipment over the weekend of iron ore from a company mill near Detroit, which was sending one additional load, spokeswoman Courtney Boone said.

Two ships were scheduled to arrive Tuesday with ore from mines in northern Minnesota following a two-week voyage across Lake Superior, which ordinarily would take three days.

Other companies were hoping their supplies would be adequate to avoid significant disruptions.

'Nobody's stockpile situation is very good,' said Glen Nekvasil, a spokesman for the Lake Carriers' Association, which represents companies that operate 57 U.S.-flagged freighters on the Great Lakes. 'It's still very slow sledding.'
Magnify

How did the IPCC's alarmism take everyone in for so long?

Amazonian Rainforest
© Getty Images
Dire warnings about glaciers and Amazonian rainforests are based on lobbying, not science
When future generations come to look back on the alarm over global warming that seized the world towards the end of the 20th century, much will puzzle them as to how such a scare could have arisen. They will wonder why there was such a panic over a 0.4 per cent rise in global temperatures between 1975 and 1998, when similar rises between 1860 and 1880 and 1910 and 1940 had given no cause for concern. They will see these modest rises as just part of a general warming that began at the start of the 19th century, as the world emerged from the Little Ice Age, when the Earth had grown cooler for 400 years.

They will be struck by the extent to which this scare relied on the projections of computer models, which then proved to be hopelessly wrong when, in the years after 1998, their predicted rise in temperature came virtually to a halt. But in particular they will be amazed by the almost religious reverence accorded to that strange body, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which by then will be recognised as having never really been a scientific body at all, but a political pressure group. It had been set up in the 1980s by a small band of politically persuasive scientists who had become fanatically committed to the belief that, because carbon dioxide levels were rising, global temperatures must inevitably follow; an assumption that the evidence would increasingly show was mistaken.
Dominoes

The game is up for global warming believers


Power station emitting steam and smoke
Charles Moore reviews The Age of Global Warming by Rupert Darwall (Quartet)

Most of us pay some attention to the weather forecast. If it says it will rain in your area tomorrow, it probably will. But if it says the same for a month, let alone a year, later, it is much less likely to be right. There are too many imponderables.

The theory of global warming is a gigantic weather forecast for a century or more. However interesting the scientific inquiries involved, therefore, it can have almost no value as a prediction. Yet it is as a prediction that global warming (or, as we are now ordered to call it in the face of a stubbornly parky 21st century, "global weirding") has captured the political and bureaucratic elites. All the action plans, taxes, green levies, protocols and carbon-emitting flights to massive summit meetings, after all, are not because of what its supporters call "The Science". Proper science studies what is - which is, in principle, knowable - and is consequently very cautious about the future - which isn't. No, they are the result of a belief that something big and bad is going to hit us one of these days.

Some of the utterances of the warmists are preposterously specific. In March 2009, the Prince of Wales declared that the world had "only 100 months to avert irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse". How could he possibly calculate such a thing? Similarly, in his 2006 report on the economic consequences of climate change, Sir Nicholas Stern wrote that, "If we don't act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least five per cent of global GDP each year, now and forever." To the extent that this sentence means anything, it is clearly wrong (how are we losing five per cent GDP "now", before most of the bad things have happened? How can he put a percentage on "forever"?). It is charlatanry.
Snowflake Cold

Hundreds of dead and dying palms legacy of big chill in Florida

© MARK KULAW
What's up with all the dead palms?

From the towering palms at Pensacola International Airport to backyard cabbage palms, the legacy of this winter's unprecedented freeze in early January left hundreds and hundreds of damaged or dead palm trees.

The harsh cold, which saw temperatures in the teen for an extended period, took a toll on plant life in the area, but palm trees in particular have suffered, leaving folks wondering whether they will come back if pruned or whether they should be removed.

"A lot of the palm trees that you see in the area are not recommended for the zone that we're in," said Carol Lord, an environmental horticultural technician at Escambia County Extension. "So they may not come back."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a Hardiness Zone Map that provides information that helps gardeners determine what plants will grow in their area.
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