Sea Ice Panics, Liberalism, Politics, History, Alarmism, Smurphy’s Law
Posted by greg2213 on December 23, 2012
The post was back in October, but what the heck.
It’s a wonderful read by Caleb Shaw which wanderers over a variety of topics.
Guest post by Caleb Shaw
During hot spells in the summer I often find it refreshing to click onto Anthony’s “Sea Ice Page,” and to sit back and simply watch ice melt. It is an escape from my busy, sweaty routine, as long as I avoid the “Sea Ice Posts” where people become anxious, political, and somewhat insulting, about the serene topic of ice melting. However by September there is no way to avoid the furor generated by melting ice. It reaches a crescendo.
I used to like the September Panic because I often could hijack a thread by bringing up the subject of Vikings. I’d rather talk about Vikings floating around during the MWP, than a bunch of bergs floating around and melting today.
The September Panic also entertained me because I used to learn about all sorts of things I didn’t know about. The debate always involved people clobbering each other with facts, and hitting each other over the head with links. In the process you’d learn all sorts of fascinating trivia about Norwegian fishermen in the 1920’s, and arctic explorers in the 1800’s, and even some science.
For example, fresh water floats on top of saltier water, unless it is the Gulf Stream, which is saltier water floating on top of fresher water because it is warmer, until it gets colder.
This science crosses your eyes, in a pleasant manner, and leads inevitably to discussions about thermohaline circulation, which is fascinating, because so little is known about it.
It also leads to discussions about how the freezing of salt water creates floating ice that is turned into fresh water by extracting brine, which forms “brincicles” as it dribbles down through the ice at temperatures far below zero and enters the warmer sea beneath. This in turn leads to discussions involving the fact that, with such large amounts of brine sinking, surface water must come from someplace to replace it, and in some cases this surface water is cold, while in other cases it is warm.
The fact the replacing waters can be warmer leads to discussions about the northernmost branches of the Gulf Stream, and how these branches meander north and south. This in turn leads to talk of the unpredictable nature of meandering, the further downstream you move from the original point where the meandering starts, and this, (if you are lucky,) will lead you to Chaos Theory and Strange Attractors.
(In the case of the Mississippi River, the subject of meandering leads you to the Delta, plus the topics of Engineers, New Orleans, and Murphy’s Law.) (In the case of psychology, the meanderings of the human mind leads to the conclusion humans are utterly unpredictable, unless they are psychologists, in which case they obey Smurphy’s Law, which states a psychologist will succumb to whatever ailment he is expert in.)
In conclusion, the September Panic can be a source of fascinating thought, providing you are willing to drift like a berg and wind up miles off topic.
I’ve been through this all before, during the Great Meltdown of 2007, and its September Panic. Those were great times, for in the period 2006-2007 the so-called “consensus” put forward a great propaganda effort, including the movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” and won Oscars, Peace Prizes, and a sound thrashing from Skeptics.
Lots more here: September Panics and Smurphy’s Law