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Messages - Sebastian Jones

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Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2019 melting season
« on: April 17, 2019, 07:56:30 AM »
OK, here is my crappy graph- many thanks to Oren for explaining how to attach it...Advance apologies that the April dates appear as negative May dates....Nonetheless, the trend is clear, breakup is a week earlier than a century ago. Something similar is evident regarding freeze up too, but freeze up is way more complex because it is affected by river height, which drops during fall.

Glaciers / Re: Glaciers worldwide decline faster than ever
« on: March 25, 2019, 02:45:14 PM »
A multi- year glacier monitoring program conducted by an environmental studies class in Iceland provides a record of glacier retreat.

The rest / Re: Relative sanity of fringe groups
« on: March 05, 2019, 04:26:11 AM »
It is difficult to choose between the anti-vaxxers and the climate denialists for the most harmful group.
The anti-vaxxers are causing death and disfigurement every day, but one hopes this fad will fade away or be legislated out of existence.
Climate denialists are threatening the very future of life on earth, but their influence wanes with every fire, flood, storm and drought.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: February 24, 2019, 04:48:45 AM »

Now I wonder why so often the ox is preferred over the horse. What I found on the internets is a bit contradictory. The horse can exert more power in short time (in fact you can work them to death quickly - I've once seen one sweating like hell and almost collapsing after half an hour of timber pulling.). The ox is slower and can work longer (contradicted by ). I guess the major point today is the price. A horse collar nowadays is way more expensive than the simple ox yoke.

Back in the 1980s I found myself unemployed and at a loose end in the Yukon one fall. So I went to Edmonton where I heard there was plenty of work. I wound up getting an interview at a show jumping and dressage stable because I had a fair bit of experience working with horses (and dogs). The interview however took place in a dark stall where I was informed I had to be acceptable to the biggest animal I've ever seen that was not an elephant.
"Mosquito" was a Holstein ox that was taller than my 6 feet at the withers, and beef to the knees as they say and must have topped a ton easy.
In the dark, Mosquito rose and rose and rose to his feet in the way that anyone who has watched a cow stand up will recognize.
He snuffled me with his wet nose and I scratched him in the 18 inches of space between his eyes and thereby got the job.
I worked with him for six months, mostly mucking out horse stalls.
The advantages of an ox over a horse (which is really the point of this post) are that they have a really low gear- so they can shift a stupendous load at a really slow speed, and their patience- they are really happy to stand and chew the cud for ten or fifteen minutes while one shovels shit into the pick-up sized sledge he pulled.
The main reason Mosquito had a job was his emissions were non-toxic to the very expensive horseflesh whose shit we were hauling.
One day we got to haul a Mac truck out of the ditch in our lane way- very satisfying!

Consequences / Re: Weird Weather and anecdotal stories about climate change
« on: February 08, 2019, 04:21:55 AM »
Regarding the issues around meteorological stations moving, I worked on a climate adaptation plan for our community a few years back. Part of our work involved climate projections. We wanted to start with base lines. This proved really problematic because the station moved multiple times, and is now 14km from the original location, in a narrow valley perpendicular to the original wide open location. The new location is prone to summer frosts, colder cold snaps, much lower winds and more precipitation. So we were really handicapped. The meteorological records did not line up with records else where- ya know, the ones that show a warming in the early 20th century, cooling until the 60's and warming since then. The best record we found, which turned out to be a perfect match for global trends, was the dates of the ice break up on the river, which has been recorded annually in exactly the same way since the 1890s because locals bet on the exact time of breakup.

It is minus 33 degrees here in Dawson City Yukon this evening. I'm teaching a Wilderness First Aid course, which involves a certain amount of rolling around in the snow simulating injuries, and of course, rescuing the ill or injured "casualties". My students are Canadian Rangers, probably about the most competent outdoors people in Canada. We are all complaining about the cold snap. When I check the weather forecast for the next five days of the course, it will continue in the minus 30s. We are all not very happy  about this. Brrr! However, also in the forecast are the climate norms for this season. Guess what the normal low for this date is? Yup, minus 30. 20 years ago, we would have found minus 33 to be quite pleasant, and would never have dreamed of complaining about temperatures above minus 40. Now THAT is an indicator of global warming.
The biggest change we are seeing here is the loss of the coldest temperatures.
The link is subject to change as the day progresses.
I see it is now minus 34....

Arctic sea ice / Re: Arctic Image of the Day
« on: December 05, 2018, 09:05:41 PM »
Am I the only one that checks in with the webcam in Utqiagvik to see if the house on the left hand side of the image has its door wide open again?  It's cold up there.  Why is the damn door open so often?  Maybe we should call them to let them know?

no your not alone, perhaps that shack is used as a dog shelter or for other animals or perhaps they store something there that should not warm/melt but at the same time should stay protected from precipitation and/or winds.

even though i'm curious like yourself, i'm quite sure that they have a good reason to do things how they do them. people that far up north have learnt early not to neglect protecting their home and stuff. let's see, perhaps we get an answer one day.


It is an arctic entryway, it is designed to stay below freezing but out of the snow and wind. It is a good place to leave gear that will suffer if it thaws. The door will probably get closed when it get colds enough so that the inside temp stays below freezing. If it has a door...

Science / Re: Early Anthropocene
« on: October 21, 2018, 06:03:08 PM »

The "megafauna extinction" by immigration of early hunter-gatherers, as pointed out in Terry's post indeed seems very flawed.
There is a similar one for Australia which seems to match chronologically but has little else going for it as well.
In America, we're talking a handful of primitive people wiping out 37 species, predators and prey, species of no interest whatsoever to humans.
Highly unlikely and not, as often thought happening overnight but over thousands of years.
The other main argument against this theory being of course, that if arrival of a few primitive people could have such massive effect then why is this not the case everywhere?
Why are there elephants, hippo's and lions in Africa when it is the cradle of mankind?

I hesitate to wade into this topic, as, for some reason, folks get really worked up over it. Probably because it speaks to something fundamentally unsavoury about our species and poses serious issues about how we can achieve true sustainability.
But, well, here goes.
While we may never have real time video of early humanity causing mass extinctions whenever they arrive in a new place, it beggars belief that EVERY TIME a new land is colonized, the indigenous mega fauna is decimated.
Forest Dweller characterizes early Americans as primitive. In actual fact, early Americans were no more primitive than all of us on this forum.
Also, a very small amount of ecosystems science education shows us that the animals that are characterized as being of little interest to humans are dependent on an ecosystem disrupted by the removal of the easy prey.
And, finally to answer the question about why mega fauna persisted (until modern times) in Africa and South Asia- that is where humanity evolved, and so the animals were able to learn coping strategies over hundreds of thousands of years.
I could bang on but I shan't!
For a deeper yet accessible examination one could do a lot worse than read "The Call of Distant Mammoths " by Professor Peter D. Ward, University of Washington.
ISBN 0-387-98572-7

Science / Re: ECS is 2.5
« on: October 19, 2018, 08:15:33 PM »
Witnessing the science being developed on this thread is the reason I was initially attracted to the Forum .
Fascinating stuff, thank you very much Ned W - and to Sidd, FooW et al.who contributed.

Arctic sea ice / Re: What's new in the Arctic ?
« on: August 21, 2018, 08:51:14 PM »
A disturbing development in the Bering Sea- historically the north Bering has been divided from the south by a pool of cold water that is a result of ultra cold brine sinking from the sea ice to the bottom. The location of this cold barrier varies from year to year, but in 2018 it is entirely absent for the first time in the 37 year record.
This means that more southern species such as pollock are moving into the Bering Strait area, displacing indigenous species such as capelin and sand lance, disrupting the food web and is probably the cause of hitherto unexplained die-offs of sea birds. While the physical conditions in the Bering are unique, and very different to the arctic ocean in general, the vanishing of this latitudinal stratification has troubling implications for the retention of sea ice, not just in the Bering but in the wider arctic as well.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2018 melting season
« on: August 16, 2018, 08:16:37 AM »
It looks like a miserable evening in Barrow- Utqiaġvik officially-even though all the ice seems to have gone:

Consequences / Re: 2018 ENSO
« on: May 25, 2018, 04:29:05 AM »
NOAA predicts a better than even chance of El Nino developing in 2019. Story and links to the studies:

Arctic sea ice / Re: Land snow cover effect on sea ice
« on: April 21, 2018, 05:35:24 PM »
Bbr2314 makes a definite prediction a few posts upthread: " I think despite snow melt you will still see more snow this year, and June will feature record cold." Despite the vagueness about what is meant by record cold in June (where? just in the the N.E. of N. America? Northern hemisphere? Globally?), we shall, by June, be able to test his hypothesis empirically.   

Policy and solutions / Re: Bikes, bikes, bikes and more...bikes
« on: April 20, 2018, 12:55:22 PM »
Check out this Canadian company that has cracked the nut of self driving bikes:

A Canadian company, inspired by the move towards self driving cars and trucks has developed a self driving bike:

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: December 20, 2017, 09:17:52 PM »
Bob Wallace asks why we cannot have sustainable growth so long as the inputs are sustainable.
I do suspect he is asking rhetorically, but on the off chance he is not, I'll take a crack at his question.
Systems cannot grow indefinitely because they would eventually consume everything else, which is not sustainable....
Consider an organism: it goes through a period of rapid growth until it matures when growth essentially stops.
The global human economy will either follow this trajectory, or copy that of a cancer which never matures but overshoots its resources and crashes/dies/kills its host.
Bob further asks if stopping continued growth is dooming countless millions to abject poverty.
There is plenty of wealth in circulation currently, enough to provide every inhabitant of the planet an average 1950s American lifestyle. We have a problem of distribution, not a shortage of wealth.
There is a powerful argument to be made that we have already overshot our sustainable footprint and that we are now faced with the much more difficult task of managing shrinkage.

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