The Polar Vortex has gotten the entire American Midwest in its icy grip and reports I read from all over– I’m an expedited driver and I’m on Expediters Online– show that travel has not been a good idea anywhere within five states from here (here being the Western ‘Burbs of Chicago). So, sitting here reading what other people write and thinking a bit.
First, Global Warming. Now, before anybody starts jumping down my throat let me say straight up this is my opinion, based on my observations in “looking out the window” and “going outside and shoveling snow” and of course following road conditions in a multi-state area for professional reasons. OK. It’s COLD out there. Chicago got down to -16F this week, right now it’s only just above zero F and it won’t get terribly warm for some time. In other words, it’s the weather we usually get sometime in January in Chicago. Happens every year. I would note that it got colder than it has in years past– sticking my nose out the door and getting it near froze off tells me these things– so right now my personal observations run counter to the AGW propaganda that I’ve been hearing about.
Come to think of it, Chicago summers have run milder recently than I remember from when I was a kid, too. We get the occasional 90+ F degree days, but I do remember a year when we reached 100 for several days and no rain so we had grass fires that had to be put out, and backyard barbecues were definitely a no-no. Late ’70s, early ’80s if I remember right, the winters back then were more severe and the summers hotter– so I would say based on personal observation that we’ve moderated a bit if anything, though this winter looks to be shaping up to be colder and snowier than years past.
I’ve been following the hapless “scientists” on that ship in the Antarctic on the WUWT blog, and I have to wonder if any of those geniuses ever read history in their lives. They might have learned of expeditions where men lost ships and some lost their lives– the Antarctic is not one of the most forgiving places on the planet, even when you go well prepared both in equipment and knowledge of the conditions it can catch you and make you dead, and these guys on this latest expedition didn’t seem to be prepared at all for what they found. Here’s a clue: Sea ice can trap and crush your ship. It’s happened before, it’ll happen again. You think you’ve got everything covered, then the wind shifts and closes your way of escape, and even with the most powerful engines in the toughest icebreaker on the planet you can find yourself in trouble you can’t get out of without help. These guys didn’t have the most powerful engines on the toughest icebreaker, what they had was a ship that had been toughened against ice but still would not have qualified if they had really given the issue the serious thought that polar expeditions should demand.