The headline from the 12 January 2012 Nome Nugget (“Alaska’s Oldest Newspaper!”) strikes a chill into one’s heart:
Nome in long deep freeze.
The Nome post of the National Weather Service reported that Nome reached a temperature of -40oF for the first time in almost 13 years on Thursday, January 5. The last time Nome recorded -40oF without windchill was on February 1, 1999. Bob Ten Eyck, meteorologist with the NWS in Nome said the low on Sunday still recorded a -30oF, making it 12 consecutive days of the 30-below-cold-snap. He said that the normal temperature for January is 13oF and the normal low is -3oF On New Years’ Eve, droves of people — more or less dressed for the -32oF — converged on Middle Beach to look at the New Year’s fireworks but the rockets didn’t make it high over the horizon due to the cold air.
Cold air is far denser than warm, don’t forget, so those rockets—and the rare airplane that takes the risk—have to struggle mightily. What would happen to global aviation if the air over the entire planet cooled, and therefore became denser? Increased fuel prices, that’s what. Economic turmoil! The poor will be harder hit than the rich, you can just bet. And then there will almost certainly be more and deadlier airline crashes.
It’s been so cold for so long at Nome that the very ocean itself has hardened its heart and turned to stone. I mean, it froze. The town cried out for help. Their pleas were heard and a rescue attempt to deliver emergency fuel was mounted several weeks ago.
But the thick ice slowed down the US Coast Guard ice breaker Healy, which struggled for days on end to break the ice to escort the Russian fuel barge Renda, which arrived last night to the delight of the gas- and oil-starved city. Residents were so thrilled that the fuel had arrived…that they had to sit and wait.
Why? Because government regulations require that fuel can only be unloaded during daylight hours. And we know how much daylight northern Alaska receives in the dead of winter.
George Will warned us about the coming cold wave twenty years ago. But would anybody listen? No, they would not: and we now suffer. From Will’s 31 May 1992 column:
Then there were “many signs pointing to the possibility that the Earth may be headed for another ice age” (The New York Times, August 14, 1975), moving “toward extensive Northern Hemisphere glaciations” (Science, December 10, 1976) and facing “continued rapid cooling of the Earth” (Global Ecology, 1971) and “the approach of a full-blown 10,000-year ice age” (Science, March 1, 1975).
Dear Concerned Reader and Friend of the Earth: these are scientists making these claims, not politicians. These quotes appear in learned, peer-reviewed journals. They cannot, the must not, be ignored. Will continued:
“[A] new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery” (International Wildlife, July 1975) and that “the world’s climatologists are agree” that we must “prepare for the next ice age” (Science Digest, February 1973). Newsweek reported (April 28, 1975) “ominous signs” that “the Earth’s climate seems to be cooling down” and meteorologists “are almost unanimous” that “the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.”
The world’s climatologists agree! Meteorologists are nearly unanimous! My dears, this is a consensus, a non-ignorable scientific phenomenon. Just think about what will happen to agriculture! If only it would warm instead of cool, then productivity would increase.
The Christian Science Monitor reported (August 27, 1974) that armadillos had left Nebraska, retreating south, and heat-loving snails had retreated from Central European forests, and “the North Atlantic is cooling down about as fast as an ocean can cool,” glaciers “have begun to advance” and “growing seasons in England and Scandinavia are getting shorter.”
Widespread animal migration can only mean—there is no other explanation—that rampant global cooling is here. Oceans, with their vast heat inertia, are cooling. Glaciers on the march. Growing seasons shortening.
If we do not act, what’s happening now in Nome will soon happen where you live. The Nugget reports that “Nome has not been above 0oF since Dec. 23 and broke records on January 3 with -37oF (old -34oF, 1949), Jan. 4 with -38oF (old -34oF, 1917) and tied with the old record of -40oF from 1917 on Jan. 5.”
This stretch of inclement weather was never before seen in the entire “105-years of climatological history in Nome.”
What more evidence do you need, skeptic? The debate is over.