The North Pole is now a lake! Are you afraid yet?

Summary: Fear rules our hearts, affecting people on both the Left and Right. It makes us easy to manipulate. We fear minorities.  Terrorists. Socialized Health Care.  Running out of oil. Chemicals. Climate change. And many more things. All of these are rational concerns. It’s the fear that makes us vulnerable to propaganda, which our ruling elites have seen and exploited (as rulers have done so often in the past, to so many peoples). Here’s a small example, nicely illustrating how fears are fed — and reason flees.

No Fear

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone
…. I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

— The Litany against fear is an incantation used by the Bene Gesserit (from Frank Herbert’s 1965 book Dune)

Naked Capitalism posted links to How we became what we are today. See some dark origins of the New America and The secret, simple tool that persuades Americans. That molds our opinions. The replies showed that these posts hit a raw nerve. Rebuttals discussed things I didn’t say; some were to the opposite of what I said. I suspect their fear prevented them from directly addressing the issues I raised (which were, of course, speculative). It gets better.

One rebuttal was that I was a “climate denier”.  I replied that —

I rely on the the IPCC and major climate agencies. … The larger firm conclusions of climate scientists: two centuries of warming, coming in pulses (ie, waves) … Anthropogenic warming has been the dominate factor for a century or longer (only since WW2). … The Earth’s atmosphere continues to warm, at an accelerating rate (not since roughly 2000).

The replies were quite odd, most assertions of tribal identity rather than debate. One reply in particular illustrated how fear works, this comment by Lidia:

The North Pole is a frickin’ LAKE, you ass. You are either being paid well for these posts, or you are off your meds. I swear, these Baghdad Bobs are going to be crowing about the earth cooling right up until their proteins start congealing from the heat.

Lidia links to one of the of stories about this photo, with the headline “The North Pole is now a lake” (82 thousand entries on Google).

Polar melt pond
From the North Pole Environmental Observatory

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Feel Lidia’s hysterical fear, fed by all the lies she’s been fed. Although she is no  doubt intelligent and educated, Lidia’s fears appear to have driven away her sense. Note her delusional belief that I think the Earth is cooling, and that the Earth might warm more than today’s hottest deserts). Her statement is wrong on every level. She’s an eager consumer of a fake story that went viral — passed on by people who didn’t check with the source (exactly the same behavior they mock when conservatives circulate disinformation).

But times are changing. Two years ago a fable like this would circulate without rebuttal, except by skeptics — professional and amateurs — who would be ignored by journalists and science institutions. No longer. The scientists at the North Pole Environmental Observatory, operator of the cameras, quickly responded by posting “The NPEO web cameras and summer melt ponds”.

  • The cameras are not at the North Pole, but 345 miles south.
  • The melt pool lies on top of the ice, is only about 16 inches deep, and extends only 60 to 170 feet from the camera (it’s a wide angle lens).
  • Most important, melt ponds are typical for this time of year at this location (there are pictures from summers in the 1950s of US submarines surfaced at the North Pole in open water).

Andy Revkin gently debunked this in an article at the New York Times’ Dot Earth column. This information was pointed out to Lidia — in vain, of course. Alarmists run from science like vampires from holy water.

More about the melting polar ice

Melting of the arctic ice is driven by warming, but there are other factors at work.  The two most important are a natural one — changing wind patterns — and an anthropogenic one — increased deposits of soot (largely from burning of that arch-pollutant, coal in China).  The IPCC reports spell this out, as it is mainstream consensus science. Here are some sources of more information.

(a)  Non-technical articles about the effect of winds on polar sea ice:

  1. Winds, Ice Motion Root Cause Of Decline In Sea Ice, Not Warmer Temperatures”, Science Daily, 20  December 2004
  2. NASA Examines Arctic Sea Ice Changes Leading to Record Low in 2007“, NASA, 1 October 2007 — “Nghiem said the rapid decline in winter perennial ice the past two years was caused by unusual winds..”
  3. Wind contributing to Arctic sea ice loss, study finds“, The Guardian, 22 March 2010 — “New research does not question climate change is also melting ice in the Arctic, but finds wind patterns explain steep decline.”
  4. A major factor is The Arctic dipole anomaly, as explained by the National Snow and Ice Data Center, June 2010
  5. Report from the Alfred Wegener Institute, 8 June 2012 — “North-East Passage soon free from ice again? Winter measurements show thin sea ice in the Laptev Sea, pointing to early and large scale summer melt. … these clear differences are primarily attributable to the wind.”

(b)  Some of the large body of research about wind’s effect on the arctic, usually ignored by journalists (it would ruin the narrative):

  1. Fram Strait Ice Fluxes and Atmospheric Circulation: 1950–2000”, Torgny Vinje, Journal of Climate, August 2001
  2. Response of Sea Ice to the Arctic Oscillation” by IGNATIUS G. RIGOR, Journal of Climate, 2002
  3. Arctic decadal and interdecadal variability” by Igor V. Polyakov and Mark A. Johnson, American Meteorological Society, 15 September 2002
  4. Variations in the Age of Arctic Sea-ice and Summer Sea-ice Extent”, Ignatius G. Rigor & John M. Wallace, Geophysical Research Letters, 8 May 2004
  5. Arctic climate change: observed and modelled temperature and sea-ice variability“, Ola M. Johannessen et al, Tellus, August 2004
  6. Rapid reduction of Arctic perennial sea ice“, S. V. Nghiem, Geophysical Research Letters, 4 October 2007 — Free copy here.
  7. Global and regional climate changes due to black carbon“, V. Ramanathan, Nature Geoscience, August 2008
  8. Summer retreat of Arctic sea ice: Role of summer winds“, Masayo Ogi, Geophysical Research Letters, 18 December 2008 — Free copy here.
  9. Influence of winter and summer surface wind anomalies on summer Arctic sea ice extent“, Masayo Ogi et al, Geophysical Research Letters, 2 April 2010 — Free copy here.
  10. Recent wind driven high sea ice export in the Fram Strait contributes to Arctic sea ice decline“, L. H. Smedsrud, et al, The Cryosphere Discussions, 5 May 2010

(c)  For non-technical explanations about the effect of soot on polar ice:

(d)  Samples of the large peer-reviewed literature about the effect on climate of soot (black carbon) deposits:

Our new national symbol?
Our new national symbol?

For More Information

For more information see the other FM Reference Pages:

Other posts about the melting polar ice:

  1. About that melting arctic ice cap, 17 April 2010
  2. Fear or Fail: about the melting Greenland ice sheet,
    24 May 2010
  3. About the coming sea ice Armageddon!, 19 June 2012
  4. Mother Jones sounds the alarm about global warming! This time about the north pole, 10 December 2012

Posts about Climate change propaganda:

  1. An example of important climate change research hidden, lest it spoil the media’s narrative, 22 May 2009
  2. An army of Davids storm the walls of the scientific establishment, 19 June 2009
  3. About those headlines of the past century about global cooling…, 2 November 200
  4. Quote of the day – hidden history for people who rely on the mainstream media for information, 12 February 2010
  5. The hidden history of the global warming crusade, 19 February 2010
  6. Fear or Fail: about the melting Greenland ice sheet, 24 May 2010
  7. Lies told under the influence of the Green religion to save the world, 30 July 2010
  8. Puncturing the false picture of a scientific consensus about the causes and effects of global warming, 20 September 2010
  9. More about the forecast for flooded cities in the late 21st century, 16 October 2010
  10. Looking into the past for guidance about warnings of future climate apocalypses, 17 October 2010
  11. Kevin Drum talks about global warming, shows why the Left’s credibility has collapsed, 17 October 2012
  12. Hurricane Sandy asks when did weather become exceptional?, 28 October 2012

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Fear Wolf

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17 thoughts on “The North Pole is now a lake! Are you afraid yet?

    1. Your statement makes no sense to me. I can imagine versions of that which are true, but those are not relevant to this post. Can you explain what in this post you refer to?

    1. I too well understand. Reading the news induces daily panic attacks, leaving me impotently quivering. Fortunately the 1% can rule the world while we gape slack-jawed at our screens.

      We will bake amidst the floods and storms during the droughts resulting from global warming while the Chinese take over the world.

      Islamic terrorists will use electro-magnetic pulse weapons to make Shari the law of the land. This leads to civil war between them and the vast hordes of Hispanic immigrants.

      Peak oil. Peak phosphorous. Over-population. Extreme species extinction. Chemical pollution. So we will be too weak to deal with the coming super-plagues.

      The government goes bankrupt as the dollar becomes wastepaper during the next hyperinflationary Great Depression.

      But we will not care because a Carrington Event will destroy the world’s electronics, so we cannot see the asteroid impact that sterilizes the planet.

      Of course I might get lucky and die of congested arteries this evening.

    2. Maybe if we are all kept afraid enough we will sell whatever liberty we have left to purchase the “freedom” offered.

  1. Black carbon deposits in the arctic as a driver of arctic melting

    Arctic surface temperature change to emissions of black carbon within Arctic or midlatitudes“, Maria Sand et al, Geophysical Research Letters: Atmosphere, 30 July 2013

    In this study, we address the question of how sensitive the Arctic climate is to black carbon (BC) emitted within the Arctic compared to BC emitted at midlatitudes. We consider the emission-climate response spectrum and present a set of experiments using a global climate model. A new emission data set including BC emissions from flaring and a seasonal variation in the domestic sector has been used. The climate model includes a snow model to simulate the climate effect of BC deposited on snow.

    We find that BC emitted within the Arctic has an almost 5 times larger Arctic surface temperature response (per unit of emitted mass) compared to emissions at midlatitudes. Especially during winter, BC emitted in North-Eurasia is transported into the high Arctic at low altitudes. A large fraction of the surface temperature response from BC is due to increased absorption when BC is deposited on snow and sea ice with associated feedbacks.

    Today there are few within-Arctic sources of BC, but the emissions are expected to grow due to increased human activity in the Arctic. There is a great need to improve cleaner technologies if further development is to take place in the Arctic, especially since the Arctic has a significantly higher sensitivity to BC emitted within the Arctic compared to BC emitted at midlatitudes.

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