Beyond Extreme

“Sea-ice extents are declining for all months, but as assessed over the period of satellite observations (1979 to present), the extent at the end of the melt season in September is dropping at the remarkable rate of 13 percent per decade (relative to the average September extent from 1981 to 2010). Permafrost is also warming and, in some areas, thawing. Areas of treeless, windswept tundra are being taken over by shrubs. And the Greenland Ice Sheet is melting at an accelerating rate, contributing to rising sea levels. But through all of my time studying the Arctic, never have I seen anything like the events of the last year.”
 
See Crazy times in the Arctic
Trump extols the virtues of “extreme vetting” but extremes are rarely of any benefit. There is too much collateral damage. The Arctic is a major influence on the weather/climate where I live and the weather in the Arctic is beyond extreme. We had one day with anything like normal cold this winter despite lots of northerly winds. That’s just not right. So much depends on cold winters here: plants like trees need dormant periods to organize for new growth and to germinate seeds, and animals need that burst of growth in the spring to feed their young. Having warmer and shorter winters upsets them all. As an old guy, I don’t really like cold much any more but that’s less relevant than how Nature is doing. I depend on all those plants and animals more than my heating bill accounts.

One of the animals most stressed by the rapid large changes in the Arctic is the polar bear, Ursus maritimus. It’s main food-source are seals which it can skillfully hunt from sea ice. With less area and time for sea ice, the polar bear fasts more and is in worse shape at the end of summer to hunt and raise young in the winter. This is good news for seals but bad news for the fish the seals eat and for the polar bears. 17 years ago when I first lived amongst the polar bears it was already evident that the bears further north were in much better shape and grew much larger than the ones further south. Now the differences are huge.

In the Arctic, there are few if any trees. One of the few shrubs I found in my day were willows that managed to grow in sheltered spots near water. That willow is spreading like weeds is good for ptarmigan and rabbits, I suppose, and probably for Inuit but all the other changes offset that slight benefit. Inuit, too, hunt seals from the ice…

Here, I’m already able to grow USDA Zone 4 plants when Zone 3 is what is shown on the maps. This will change all our forests but the change is happening much faster than the forests can adapt. The result is turmoil rather than cycles of life. There are bound to be winners and losers. At the moment, I feel like I am winning but my children are losing. They may never again experience the weather I did as a child.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
This entry was posted in family, politics, weather and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Beyond Extreme

  1. ram says:

    “Why don’t you move there?”

    Probably if he was much younger and not retired he would. Many skilled young people are moving there to take advantage of Chinese employment opportunities, especially in engineering and high technology fields.

  2. dougman says:

    “Meanwhile, over in China, some real leadership is being shown were a homegrown electric vehicle is selling well.”

    Why don’t you move there?

  3. The Wiz wrote, “people like you have been so successful in muddying the waters on global warming enough that at this point its probably too late to prevent the worst of what ever is happening from coming to pass”.

    Meanwhile, over in China, some real leadership is being shown were a homegrown electric vehicle is selling well. Beijing is motivated because you just can’t hide air-pollution that’s visible. I think Trumpists wanting to suppress world trade by negotiating individual agreements with every country with Trump being the bottleneck will lead to China becoming dominant in many ways in the vacuum left by Trump’s balloon. Already China is way ahead of USA in investment in Africa and thanks to killing TPP, China will take over most of the Pacific as far as trade/influence/power goes. Trump is threatening established agreements and taking a different position depending on the hour so no one will trust USA or anything USA says for years to come after Trump leaves the stage.

  4. Wizard Emeritus says:

    “Climate change – global warming virtue signaling, is just a transfer of wealth and bring down economies and balance them all out. ”

    Of course Dougie, the ebil Cabal is attempting world dominance by faking a global crisis. All the disastrous weather in the west and central US is just a normal variation – nothing to worry about. And of course the poster from Australia must be hallucinating – the changes that he is experiencing are perfectly normal…

    But not to worry Dougie , people like you have been so successful in muddying the waters on global warming enough that at this point its probably too late to prevent the worst of what ever is happening from coming to pass. So you should be safe from the depredations of actually having to care about someone beyond yourself.

    So why don’t you just sit back and watch the dear leader make America grate er great again…

  5. dougman wrote, “in 1922 the Arctic went through a warming spell, was that due to global warming?”

    It is normal that complex systems like climate deviate from the norm. The problem here is that the recent deviations are several times the standard deviation. This is not normal. There have been records of ice kept for a century or more. Nothing like the present conditions have been seen by humans before. There’s all kinds of evidence of that like permafrost, fossil record, aboriginal recollections as well as scientific measurements.

    The record of those days shows folks navigated to 81° 29′ N latitude. This summer folks will be able to sail to 90° N latitude in ice-free water. This page shows the pole was nearly exposed in 2016-December. At the rate things are going, there well be no ice at all one summer in the Arctic in my dwindling lifetime. Even last month, January 2017, ice at the North Pole was only 80%.
    Things are well below the norm.

  6. dougman says:

    Continuing further, here is a decent write-up on the 1920-30s period.

    During the 1920s and 1930s, there was a dramatic warming of the northern North Atlantic Ocean. Warmer-than-normal sea temperatures, reduced sea ice conditions and enhanced Atlantic inflow in northern regions continued through to the 1950s and 1960s, with the timing of the decline to colder temperatures varying with location. Ecosystem changes associated with the warm period included a general northward movement of fish. Boreal species of fish such as cod, haddock and herring expanded farther north while colder-water species such as capelin and polar cod retreated northward. The maximum recorded movement involved cod, which spread approximately 1200 km northward along West Greenland. Migration patterns of “warmer water” species also changed with earlier arrivals and later departures. New spawning sites were observed farther north for several species or stocks while for others the relative contribution from northern spawning sites increased. Some southern species of fish that were unknown in northern areas prior to the warming event became occasional, and in some cases, frequent visitors. Higher recruitment and growth led to increased biomass of important commercial species such as cod and herring in many regions of the northern North Atlantic. Benthos associated with Atlantic waters spread northward off Western Svalbard and eastward into the eastern Barents Sea. Based on increased phytoplankton and zooplankton production in several areas, it is argued that bottom-up processes were the primary cause of these changes. The warming in the 1920s and 1930s is considered to constitute the most significant regime shift experienced in the North Atlantic in the 20th century.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0079661106000036

    How is Mark Serreze able to make decisions based on only 20+ years of observation, when long-term weather changes have been recorded.

  7. dougman says:

    Climate change – global warming virtue signaling, is just a transfer of wealth and bring down economies and balance them all out. Canada’s carbon tax is the perfect example of this.

    This shit that Pogsey believes is hilarious. Fro example, in 1922 the Arctic went through a warming spell, was that due to global warming? Perhaps the Arctic goes through changes, as does the rest of the plant, you know, we call them “seasons”.

    https://docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/mwr/050/mwr-050-11-0589a.pdf

  8. ram wrote, “The present government here is so hostile to living things, that if they know the location of an endangered species they will seek to kill it”.

    You should help change your government in that case.

  9. ram says:

    I, for one, really welcome your frank accounts of weather, climate, flora, and fauna, in your area. In the Southern Hemisphere, with the WAIS breaking up and soon to collapse, the weather and climate have really gone “ape shit”. You’ve read my descriptions of how an area that used to get significant snow falls in my grandparent’s time is now subtropical or even possibly now fully tropical and the changes in flora. Parrots species that were said to have been migratory, are now year round residents. Some mammal species seem to be reverting back to their mega-fauna ancestors, although perhaps with enhanced intelligence and longer lifespan. Small lifeforms, and some not so small, only previously known from the fossil record are making a reappearance. It doesn’t make the news, but I’ll send you pictures if you are interested.

    The present government here is so hostile to living things, that if they know the location of an endangered species they will seek to kill it, so I will not report exact locations, and for many species I’ll say nothing at all.

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