Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Great news for international shipping! (2)

Those BBC wankers are still at it, y'know.

Yesterday on the News At Ten they had a piece on the melting of the Arctic ice cap, saying that the Northwest Passage was now ice-free for the first time since records began*, and showed footage of two icebreakers laboriously smashing their way through 6' thick ice (which is not very thick by Arctic standards, but hey).

Seeing as this passage was navigated a hundred times in the last hundred years (per Sunday Times) I don't see what there is to get excited about.

This story was torn to pieces by Peter Risdon and DK (links here).

Maybe the Panamanians ought to get on with widening that Canal after all.

* in 1978.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here's a dude who studies the Iceland ice cores. He says

"In short, the ice cores tell a clear story: humans came of age agriculturally and industrially during the most stable climatic regime recorded in the cores. They also indicate that today, Greenland is roughly 20°C warmer than it once was.

Scientists who have studied the cores agree that the Earth experienced large, rapid, regional-to-global climate oscillations through most of the last 110,000 years, of a scale that agricultural- and industrial-age humans did not face".

http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/eismayewski.html

If I've read this correctly, that means we've been lucky for the last 10,000 years since we really got our skates on, in that climate variations have not been as large as they could be. It's not so much whether it is hot or cold - the Inuit snuggled down in Iceland and adapted, although I wouldn't want to try that in Antarctica - but that if you don't know what to expect, you can't adapt quickly enough.

I'd like our run of luck to continue, but if there are geothermal forces at work they might overwhelm the placatory effect of me yelling 'turn that light off'.

I don't think it matters if the North West Passage opens up. It just means China will be able to send container loads of flip-flops and bras over the top rather than the roundy-roundy route.

That may be a questionable thing from the European bra-mountain point of view, but from the point of view of the China Bra Manufacturing Co, the question will be do they risk sending it that way to cut the shipping costs at the risk of getting caught in the ice, or do they stick with the old routes? I reckon they will risk it during the summer.

I wonder if merchant seamen think 'I wish this was a shorter route' or if they think 'thank goodness it is a longer booking and we are going the warm way.'

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Greenland cores, not Iceland cores.

One country is named after a supermarket. Easy mistake to make.

I worked in a freezer centre one summer and it was hell. Every customer came in saying 'You are working in the right place' which was rubbish because every freezer put out gush of hot air.

To ward off heatstroke the staff took it in turns to go and stand in the coldstore/deep freeze next to the hanging lambs. You had to have a mate outside for the obvious reason that if they left you, you'd be dead in not very long.

In those days they didn't put up signs such as 'do not lock yourself in the deep freeze as being frozen to death can be injurious to your health and frostbite is unsightly' as they trusted us to have just enough sense not to do it.

Thinking about it, a sign might have been a good idea.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Or even better, just have a handle on the inside?

Penny Pincher said...

I just thankful that we do have Global Warming as I spent so many of my teen years been frightened about the mini ice age 'they' told me was on its way...

Mark Wadsworth said...

Yup. global cooling (caused by pollution and Co2) always frightened me more than global warming (caused by pollution and CO2) does now.