To A New Paradigm With FPB

Snow Job – Maybe The Next Ice Age Is Just Around the Corner

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Are you caught up in the global warming debate? There is another theory, less-talked-about, that suggests we could soon be entering an ice age. Glacial ice core samples show that the onset of cooler weather may happen quickly.  Consider this alternative, starting with the photo above. And those which follow.

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 There are winners and losers when the Earth’s weather changes. For example, the food producing region of the Northern Hemisphere has moved north as weather has warmed.

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And our high latitude forays notwithstanding, we prefer the current state of the earth to that of the dark ages in Europe, during this planet’s last mini-ice age. We’d love to do the Northwest Passage someday, which the current warming makes possible.

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But not everything is going quite as predicted. For example, where the Arctic appears to be warming, some reports suggest the other end of the world is cooling. Might be time to visit Tierra del Fuego while we still can.

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Here in Southern Arizona we’ve just had a blizzard.

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And while we love the appearance of our Sonora desert covered with snow, we would not want to make a habit of it. Of course if you are mobile, perhaps have your own escape module, you can chose to avoid the cold, or embrace it if the mood strikes. Then you have the best of all worlds.

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There is another, more serious side to the climate change dialogue, which at present gets short shift in our opinion. What if the long range computerized weather models are wrong? What if this warming is part of a natural cycle, possibly unrelated to man’s impact on the planet and a shift to a cooler climate, say a snap into another ice age, which could be overdue, is just around the corner? We think it prudent to spend some scientific effort and planning on this possibility, even if  it is considered remote, since the impact of global cooling could be truly disastrous to the well being of homo sapiens.

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OK, it is early in the morning, we are feeling a little vulnerable without our own escape vehicle, and the moon is full.

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Time to get off this box of soap and get back to the job of remedying our present state of unease, so we are ready for the next ice age.


Posted by Steve Dashew  (February 28, 2013)




13 Responses to “Snow Job – Maybe The Next Ice Age Is Just Around the Corner”

  1. Simon Says:
    Beautiful pictures, as allways, thank you! Desert plants in the snow is not something that happens ofthen, in it really looks special. (Well, your skill with a camera could have something to do with that…)

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  2. Stan Creighton Says:
    Fantastic photos as always. I’m new to photography but peddling fast. Can you share what software you use to process the photos? Are any/all of these HDR? Favorite photo guides/websites? I suspect you have a subset of cruisers like me who learn from your photo expertise as we do from your cruising expertise.

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    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Hi Stan: We always shoot RAW. Much more latitude with what can be done in post. Basic software is Lightroom 3. This covers 75% of our needs. The rest is in Photoshop using NIK filters. In the case of these photos, they were shot in very weak light at first, then in the evening with moonlight, then pre-sunrise, at sunrise, and finally in clear morning light. Our favorite was the moonlight shot (Canon 1DX, 18-35mm lens).

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  3. CJ Says:
    Kinda hard to make it to Tierra del Fuego without your own FPB, don’t you think? Interesting comments about climate change. No doubt some underfunded college professor with a few graduate assistants are looking into it, but since it doesn’t dovetail with the current political orthodoxy of “We’re killing the planet but unwilling to do anything about it” I doubt any of it will ever see the light of day in mainstream media coverage. That said, “Frozen Earth,” by Macdougal is a fascinating read on the subject of once and future ice ages. And I’m sure I speak for the majority when I say we’re really interested in seeing how you plan to “remedy your unease.”

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  4. CJ Says:
    Stan: +1 on the Canon DSLR + RAW + Lightroom combination. Run it all on a 27″ iMac and you’ll be in photo nirvana. A good website to peruse would be http://www.luminous-landscape.com. Check out both Martin Evening’s and Scott Kelby’s books next time you’re in Barnes & Noble. Both will cover Lightroom front to back, but have different styles.

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  5. Sid Fisher Says:
    An interesting and thought provoking point of view, heightened by the fact that much of Spain has just suffered from snow storms. Fortunately, this part of Almeria has been spared and in a few weeks time I shall be back aboard my own escape vehicle preparing for a voyage South.

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  6. Steve Says:
    Steve, I’d be interested to see what you are referring to on the South getting colder. The sea ice extent is growing but the much more massive and important glaciers (given their position above sea level and contribution to seal level changes) are seeing higher than predicted warming. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20804192 As you mention the Arctic continues to warm as well – “The average sea ice extent for January 2013 was 13.78 million square kilometers (5.32 million square miles). This is 1.06 million square kilometers (409,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average for the month, and is the sixth-lowest January extent in the satellite record. The last ten years (2004 to 2013) have seen the ten lowest January extents in the satellite record.” http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ I spent much of the past two decades in the Polar regions and glaciated ranges of the world. I’ve been at the camps where some of the ice cores you mention were collected and have had the chance to question the scientists doing the analysis. I clearly remember attending lectures over ten years ago predicting skepticism from the public because of the local cooling events that would be caused by increased moisture in the atmosphere because of the increased evaporation and convective activity as the planet overall warms up. So far their predictions are holding up. With all that said, these are incredibly complex systems with unexpected feedback loops we are only beginning to understand (methane releases from thawing permafrost and how changing ocean pH levels are impacting carbon uptake are two examples) – hard to say what will happen for sure but for now I’m not buying any real estate in lower Manhattan . If you are ever in San Francisco in early December, I’d suggest you attend the American Geophysical Union annual meeting – close to 20,000 earth scientists of all disciplines present papers on their research. It is fascinating and enlightening.

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  7. Michael S Says:
    Steve, I suggest reading this: http://www.amazon.com/Plows-Plagues-Petroleum-Control-Princeton/dp/0691146349, an interesting essay that suggests we have been warming the climate for over 8000 years through agriculture, possibly already preventing the onset of another ice age by accident. The mini ice age aligns with massive post-Columbian population loss in the Americas due to smallpox and other diseases: previously cleared land from the Andes to the Great Lakes began reforesting, pulling CO2 out of the air. While industrial C02 is warming the climate, its’ not like it’s a new thing. More recent models point to a CO2 level of 450ppm, where we are headed, warming the climate by 2=3C globally. The last time that happened, 3.5m years ago, the sea temperature at the equator was marginally different from the sea temperatures today: Imagine a permanent El Nino state. The difference of course was at the northern poles, where the temperature was 15-20c different than what we have today. Ellesmere Island was a larch forest inhabited by giant camels and oxen. While a greening arctic creates a positive feedback loop because of loss of albedo and permafrost melt, it also creates a longer-term negative feedback loop due to increased absorption of CO2. Modeling all these positive and negative feedback loops is impossible at this time. Without agriculture we’d probably be at a CO2 level of 250ppm, historically that’s the level that triggers glaciation and ends an interglacial. Ice age? We’re in one, and the world has been in one for 2.5m years. We’re merely in an interglacial, a period of relatively low ice in 2.5m year long epoch. People don’t realize that the earth is in an anomalous state, over the last 500m years the last 2.5m years is a cold aberration, the coldest the world has been for over 600 million years, the conditions that created this ice age state are relatively unstable. CO2 forcing is changing the climate. But rather than us being the creators of apocalypse we’re merely the species kicking the third leg from the unstable stool our current climate is based on. The earth is not the placid predictable constant world people think it is.

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  8. Steve Says:
    Michael – thanks for the tip on the book. No argument here. I have walked through downed petrified forests in Antarctica – Southern Beech trees in this case – and seen the deglaciation at more moderate latitudes. It was really interesting looking at mud pulled up from under 3,500 ft of West Antarctic ice and seeing shell fragments. At some point in the last two million years there was water not ice over that seabed. It was particularly sobering when the ice we were standing on was a glacier sliding towards the ocean at 1.2 meters per day. Change has happened before and is coming again. Having seen the models evolve over time, I agree that while modeling is getting better we have a long way to go. With that said I am disappointed we aren’t spending more time thinking about what to do with the refugees when a significant portion of the coastline is underwater or local drought/floods/topical storms interrupt food and drinking water availability. Good time to have a boat and be mobile!

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  9. Scott D Says:
    Hello Steve, One other aspect that NASA and NOAA are starting to give more weight to is space weather. Our atmosphere has been shrinking for a while now and that is directly related to solar activity. The lack of solar activity has caused our magnetosphere to weaken which in turn allows more of the suns energy to reach earth. Also there is a theory floating around that when planets, the sun, and sun spots line up just right that the earth experiences more powerful and frequent earthquakes. One very good resource is http://www.youtube.com/user/Suspicious0bservers. Not keen on dropping links onto other people’s domain but I thought this was appropriate. Thank you for all you do. The FPB looks awesome!

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    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Thanks Scott: Watched the video. Very interesting. Raises some interesting questions. We would love to hear more from others on this topic as well.

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  10. Jeff F Says:
    Hello Steve – amazing. Really enjoy your photos, your thought provoking questions (both written and captured via images) re: environment, nature, ocean, and food & water security. Love your boats and design philosophy. Very sad to see our glaciers melting so rapidly. I can’t imagine standing on them -in such beautiful and fantastically remote places- and fully knowing they are rapidly disappearing. It must be a special experience. Love your photos- do you sell them on Smug Mug? I noticed your HD videos are hosted there. Jeff

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    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Thanks Jeff: No time to get photos up f or sale. Maybe later this year.

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