Broad Oak: your emotional support animal

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Great God! this is an awful place

Do Captain Scott’s words chime with you? They certainly do with me. I can’t read anything about the Antarctic without being reminded of his ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. Beryl Bainbridge wrote a fine novel about it called The Birthday Boys. Worth reading if you come across a copy.

From Wikipedia

For this and other reasons, Antarctic sea ice extent is one of the parameters I keep an eye on in my fruitless desire to anticipate the global climate’s next move.




So this chart of Antarctic sea ice extent concerns me a little, but it’s an emotional concern all concerns must be. As you see, Antarctic sea ice has been spending quite a bit of time well above the 1981-2010 average.

Is it a herald of anything? Well for me there is something awesome and scary about the Antarctic, much of it deriving from Scott’s words and what we know of that tiny tent where he finally succumbed only eleven miles short of One Ton Depot and safety. Defeated by hunger, exhaustion and the implacable cold of the Antarctic.

My head says it doesn’t mean much in terms of climate change and it probably doesn’t, but my heart says keep an eye on it all the same.

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3 comments:

Sackerson said...

Especially haunting, that 11 miles. So close.

Sackerson said...

I'm given to understand that it's not just the extent of sea ice that matters, but the thickness, and that winds circulating the perimeter of the Antarctic landmass patterns have recently spread the sea-ice wider but the volume has decreased.

A K Haart said...

Sackers - so close and they knew it too.

Yes, there appear to be lots of complications with sea ice generally. Watch the data and draw as few conclusions as possible unless trends become obvious. Which may be a long, long time.