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Wed, 19 Jan 2022
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Mr. Potato

The Guardian Relocates The North Pole By 500km

north pole relocated
© google

The Catlin crew was picked up this week, after completing less than 50% of their planned journey to the North Pole and coming up about 500km short. Immediately upon their return, The Guardian reported :
After 73 days, the Catlin Arctic Survey has come to an end. Pen Hadow's team of British Arctic explorers have battled to the North Pole through freezing conditions collecting data about the ice en route.
This reminds me of the legend of "bringing the mountain to Mohammed." The crew reported traveling over 400km, a non-trivial percentage of which was due to floating along with the Arctic drift. See this map of Arctic buoys and their drift patterns:
Polar drift map
© unknown
Polar drift map over the last 60 days.

Document

Global warming explorers in Arctic get nasty shock: polar ice caps blooming freezing

Hurrah! Intrepid explorer Pen Hadow and his Catlin Arctic Survey team are off the polar ice cap and safe and well. This is a huge relief to those many of us well-wishers concerned that they were doomed to die either by frostbite, attack by one of the numerous killer polar bears that stalk the region, or shame that their expedition had turned out to be such a Scott-tastic flop.

They set out to the high arctic 73 days ago full of high hopes. They were going to tramp all the way to the North Pole. (But were frustrated by the unseasonal cold.) They were going to march 1000 km (they managed 434). Above all, they were going to raise awareness of "climate change" by drilling lots of holes in the polar ice cap so as to show how worryingly thin it is, and in how imminent danger of doom. (But their equipment broke in the freezing temperatures and anyway, as Christopher Booker reported the other day, there are US Army buoys which already do this job perfectly well and have found that since last March the ice has thickened by "at least half a metre").

Igloo

'90% of the last million years, the normal state of the Earth's climate has been an ice age'

Last Ice Age
© unknown

Those who ignore the geologic perspective do so at great risk. In fall of 1985, geologists warned that a Columbian volcano, Nevado del Ruiz, was getting ready to erupt. But the volcano had been dormant for 150 years. So government officials and inhabitants of nearby towns did not take the warnings seriously. On the evening of November 13, Nevado del Ruiz erupted, triggering catastrophic mudslides. In the town of Armero, 23,000 people were buried alive in a matter of seconds.

For ninety percent of the last million years, the normal state of the Earth's climate has been an ice age. Ice ages last about 100,000 years, and are punctuated by short periods of warm climate, or interglacials. The last ice age started about 114,000 years ago. It began instantaneously. For a hundred-thousand years, temperatures fell and sheets of ice a mile thick grew to envelop much of North America, Europe and Asia. The ice age ended nearly as abruptly as it began. Between about 12,000 and 10,000 years ago, the temperature in Greenland rose more than 50 °F.

We don't know what causes ice ages to begin or end. In 1875, a janitor turned geologist, James Croll, proposed that small variations in Earth's orbit around the Sun were responsible for climate change. This idea enjoyed its greatest heyday during the 1970s, when ocean sediment cores appeared to confirm the theory. But in 1992, Ike Winograd and his colleagues at the US Geological Survey falsified the theory by demonstrating that its predictions were inconsistent with new, high-quality data.

Better Earth

Attempt To Discredit Cosmic Ray-Climate Link Using Computer Model

cosmic rays
© unknown

Two computer modelers from CMU have written a program to simulate the interaction of cosmic rays with Earth's atmosphere. Because the model failed to predict significant increases in cloud cover, global warming activists are claiming the theory linking cosmic rays to climate change has been discredited. Climate models have failed to accurately predict the current downward trend in temperatures and now we are asked to accept a model as proof of how the Universe works. In truth, the paper cited is nothing more than a study of a computer program, and has nothing to do with the physical reality of how Earth's climate functions.

Appearing in Science under the title, "Study Challenges Cosmic Ray - Climate Link," a review of the paper by Jeffrey Pierce and Peter Adams of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was used as an excuse to cast doubt on the theory that cosmic ray levels affect the creation of clouds in Earth's atmosphere. This theory was first proposed in 1997 by physicists Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen of the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen. They reported that Earth's cloud cover seemed to vary in step with galactic cosmic rays - high-energy charged particles from outer space - striking Earth's atmosphere. The more cosmic rays, the more cloud cover, the more cloud cover the fewer warming rays from the sun reaching Earth's surface to affect the climate.

Bulb

Arctic (Non) Warming Since 1958

From time to time we hear that various places on earth have been "warming much faster than the rest of the planet - as predicted by "the models." One of the places commonly mentioned in that list is the Arctic, based largely on 30 years of satellite data. Fortunately though, we are not limited by 30 years of satellite data, as the Danish Meteorological Institute has records going back to 1958 and GISSTEMP has even longer records.

Fish

Fish That Triggers Hallucinations Found Off British Coast

Image
© BNPS
The Sarpa salpa fish is a potentially hallucinogenic form of Bream normally found in off the coast of Africa
The species of bream is normally found in the balmier waters of the Mediterranean and South Africa, was found by fisherman Andy Giles in his nets in the English Channel.

Mr Giles, 38, caught the fish, which is instantly recognized by its gold stripes running along its body, six miles south of Polperro, Cornwall.

"We were trawling for lemon sole and hauled up the net at the end of the day and almost immediately saw this striped fish, we didn't have a clue what it was," he said.

Footprints

Siberians complain about Bigfoot raiding the onion patch

Image
© Photo: www.kozelskie-zaseki.narod.ru
wild leek
The local Shor people in Kemerovo Region, Siberia, are reporting that something is snatching up the wild leek crop that is a staple of their diet, Itar-Tass Siberia reports. The onion-lovers leave behind abundant large footprints with clearly defined toes, similar to the prints found in the area earlier this year, the news service continues.

Bigfoot sightings are common in this remote section of the taiga and they have received attention worldwide. An expedition headed by director of the International Center for Hominology Igor Burtsev visited the area at the end of March to study footprints found in Azasskaya Cave, but the effort resulted in little new information.

Bizarro Earth

Bury it? Wells would lock away CO² gas in Western Kentucky

Image
© Charles Bertram
About 50 state and energy-industry officials toured an area Thursday where an 8,300-foot-deep well is being drilled near Hawesville. The experimental well will be used to store carbon dioxide.
Beside a cow pasture in Hancock County, scientists are drilling through 8,000 feet of rock, hoping to learn how to lock away forever an invisible gas that threatens Earth's climate and our way of life.

Science fiction? No, but it's a science experiment that, if it works, would be carried out on a scale never before seen.

The idea is to capture the carbon dioxide, or CO², that spews into the air when coal is burned to produce electricity. The gas, which also occurs naturally, is one of the causes of global warming.

Better Earth

Jealous female gorillas solicit unproductive sex

Image
© Cate Gillon/Getty
A female gorilla (left) sends a "come hither" look to the silverback male
Female gorillas get friskier when their silverback has sex with another female, even when they themselves cannot conceive. The finding suggests they use sex to gain an advantage over competing females.

Tara Stoinski and colleagues at Zoo Atlanta in Georgia totted up how often four captive female gorillas invited sex or copulated over two years. They found that even pregnant or lactating females solicited more sex on days when other females were sexually active.

With only one male around, females could not have been trying to confuse him about his paternity, one commonly offered explanation for non-reproductive sex.

Better Earth

David Attenborough: Our planet is overcrowded

Image
© Richard Boll Photography / National Portrait Gallery Commission
David Attenborough
Veteran TV naturalist David Attenborough loves humans as much as other wildlife. But not when global populations are out of control, he tells Alison George

"I'm not doing anything exciting right now, like wrestling with gorillas. I'm working on radio scripts," says David Attenborough, a bit apologetically. Yet while his home in the leafy London suburb of Richmond is no longer full of the woolly monkeys, bushbabies or other exotic creatures his autobiography had living there, it's still a rich habitat. His collection of tribal art dominates the walls, a tribute to human inventiveness.

He has stopped keeping pets since his wife died, more than 10 years ago. "You can't, when you go away filming for weeks," he says. But his home is not entirely devoid of animal life. "I have great crested newts in the pond, and a darling robin that comes in the kitchen."

The latest venture for this veteran of wildlife documentaries is as controversial as anything he has done in his long career. He has become a patron of the Optimum Population Trust, a think tank on population growth and environment with a scary website showing the global population as it grows. "For the past 20 years I've never had any doubt that the source of the Earth's ills is overpopulation. I can't go on saying this sort of thing and then fail to put my head above the parapet."