Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Arctic ice cap

I've been reading an amazing philosophy book called The Book of Absolutes by William Gairdner, a guy described as "a best-selling author, businessman, and independent scholar." --My kind of guy. (I'm no best-selling author, but I fashion myself a businessman of some type, and I attempt to be an independent scholar.)

Anyway. I thought I should look him up. What is he about? What kind of business is he in? (And why and how can he write such top-notch scholarly work?)

My search brought me to Gairdner's personal website, his blog, and, rather quickly, to a post about US Submarines at the North Pole in 1959 and 1962.


"In view of the recent global warming hysteria," he wrote, "you may be interested in the US Navy photos at the website below which has a number of photos showing US submarines surfacing at the North Pole in open water, 50 years ago!"

And he provided a link to a page dedicated to photos of the USS Skate (SSN-578). Do a "find" on pole to see photos of surfacings in open water at the North Pole . . . in March 1959 and August 1962 (at least).

But then Gairdner adds a postscript:

"A day after posting this, a friend sent me this link, a site that has intriguing in-depth info on the polar ice question - and more photos of submarines surfacing in water at the North Pole."

Oh, yes! Intriguing, indeed!

The opening quote alone, is worthy of attention:
It will without doubt have come to your Lordship's knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated.

(This) affords ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened and give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than they have been for centuries past, and that discoveries may now be made in them not only interesting to the advancement of science but also to the future intercourse of mankind and the commerce of distant nations.
President of the Royal Society, London, to the Admiralty, 20th November, 1817
But ignore this "ancient" historical reference. John Daly, the author of the page in question, provides far more information and thoughtful interpretive data . . . about global air temperatures, ice thickness, and more . . . as well as an instructive reference to how statements by scientists who are supposed to be "in the know" can skew our perspectives.
In August 2000, a Russian icebreaker, the Yamal, took a group of environmental scientists on an excursion into the Arctic Ocean. When they got to the North Pole they were greeted by an expanse of open water, photographs of which became the subject of sensationalist reporting in the media.

Among the scientists on the cruise was Dr. James McCarthy, an oceanographer, director of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University and a lead author for the IPCC. "It was totally unexpected," he said in a report to the media. Another scientist aboard, Dr. Malcolm C. McKenna, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History, remarked "I don't know if anybody in history ever got to 90 degrees north to be greeted by water, not ice."

"The last time scientists can be certain the pole was awash in water was more than 50 million years ago."
proclaimed the New York Times in an article entitled `The North Pole is melting' (August 19, 2000).
Daly comments, "In the end, the New York Times retracted the story. But we should not be too quick to blame them - it was IPCC scientists aboard the Yamal, particularly James McCarthy, who first started the scare story. The media simply took his word at face value assuming his scientific credentials would be sufficient authority to support the story."

Lots of worthwhile stuff to ponder at The Top of the World: Is the North Pole Turning to Water?


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