Monday, November 05, 2018

Is the Arctic set to become a main shipping route?

The BBC is pushing this old fantasy again.  And in good BBC style they start out with a deception -- when they claim: ‘But in 2014 the Nunavik became the first cargo ship to traverse the [Northwest] passage unescorted when it delivered nickel from the Canadian province of Quebec to China.’ It fails to mention the obviously important fact that Nunavik is an icebreaking bulk carrier with quite a high ice-rating

In 2014 the Nunavik became the first cargo ship to go through the Northwest Passage without an icebreaking escort ship leading the way. Climate change is increasingly opening up the Northwest Passage, an Arctic sea route north of the Canadian mainland.

Could it herald an era of more cargo shipping around the top of the world?

Back in the 19th Century there was a race to map and navigate the Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean as a shortcut between the North Atlantic and North Pacific.

Explorers would take ships up Greenland's west coast, then try to weave through Canada's Arctic islands, before going down the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia.

The problem was that even in the summer the route was mostly blocked by impenetrable ice. On one of the best-known expeditions - that of the UK's Sir John Franklin in 1845 - all 129 crew members perished after their two vessels got stuck.

Today, more than 170 years later, a warming Arctic means that the route is increasingly accessible for a few months each summer.

And according to some estimates, Arctic ice is retreating to the extent that the Northwest Passage could become an economically viable shipping route.

For shipping firms transporting goods from China or Japan to Europe or the east coast of the US, the passage would cut thousands of miles off journeys that currently go via the Panama or Suez canals.

The Canadian government is certainly hopeful that this will be the case.

Late last month the country's trade minister Jim Carr said that the route "will in a matter of a generation, probably be available year round".

At the moment it is still a risky business though, with ice remaining a serious problem.

But in 2014 the Nunavik became the first cargo ship to traverse the passage unescorted when it delivered nickel from the Canadian province of Quebec to China.

Tim Keane, manager of Arctic operations for the ship's owner, Canadian maritime transport firm Fednav, was on board the Nunavik for the journey.

He says that the trip was pleasantly "boring" - the ship didn't have to spend days struggling through ice.

Instead it did the journey from Quebec to China in 26 days, more than two weeks less than the 41-day return via the Panama Canal.

"From a distance point of view it makes tremendous sense to use the Northwest Passage when it's available to you," he says.

While Fednav doesn't have immediate plans to use the route again, it remains a possibility depending on the cargo's destination, and the time of year.

A year prior to the Nunavik's journey, another large vessel - the Nordic Orion - became the first cargo ship to go through the passage, albeit led by a Canadian coastguard icebreaker.

Owner, Danish company Nordic Bulk Carriers, said afterwards that "we hope and expect to do it" again.


The importance of unresolved biases in 20th century sea-surface temperature observations

Luke L. B. Davis et al.


Biases in sea-surface temperature observations lead to larger uncertainties in our understanding of mid-to-late 20th century climate variability than previously thought.

A new analysis of sea-surface temperature (SST) observations indicates notable uncertainty in observed decadal climate variability in the second half of the 20th century, particularly during the decades following World War II. The uncertainties are revealed by exploring SST data binned separately for the two predominant measurement types: “engine-room intake” (ERI) and “bucket” measurements. ERI measurements indicate large decreases in global-mean SSTs from 1950 to 1975, whereas “bucket” measurements indicate increases in SST over this period before bias adjustments are applied but decreases after they are applied.

The trends in the bias adjustments applied to the “bucket” data are larger than the global-mean trends during the period 1950-1975, and thus the global-mean trends during this period derive largely from the adjustments themselves. This is critical, since the adjustments are based on incomplete information about the underlying measurement methods, and are thus subject to considerable uncertainty. The uncertainty in decadal-scale variability is particularly pronounced over the North Pacific, where the sign of low-frequency variability through the 1950s-1970s is different for each measurement type.

The uncertainty highlighted here has important – but in our view widely overlooked – implications for the interpretation of observed decadal climate variability over both the Pacific and Atlantic basins during the mid-to-late 20th century.


Climate skeptics are the knowledgeable ones

A unique and fundamental difference, IMO, between climate change sceptics or realists, and climate change alarmists is that sceptics must absorb alarmist ‘science’ and corresponding media releases in order to provide a broad understanding of both sides of the debate. Objectivity and oversight can then be carried out, where the mainstream media will not, by detecting errors, exaggerations and even outright lies that exist within the masses of human-induced climate change information disseminated by the CO2-centric legacy media.

THIS is not a scientific observation, though it is quite accurate when you assess the complete lack of knowledge by climate alarmists to the vast body of climate science contradicting global warming dogma. The story or finding that best fits the alarmists catastrophic narrative qualifies, everything else is outlawed.

THIS is problematic as it foments a culture of groupthink where objectivity is heresy, scepticism is “denial” and questions are forbidden. In this environment, scientific discovery and advancement is stifled, debate is (intentionally) shut down, truth and reason an unnecessary evil.

THANKFULLY there are a growing number of dedicated and unpaid sceptics or climate realists across many different forums and mediums who are questioning what is all-too-often demanded as fact or the accepted view of the (bogus) “97% consensus”.

TRUTH seekers working in their free time are doing what the post-modern mainstream media will not do any more – question dogma, authority and the preferred wisdom of the day using little more than empirical data, common sense and reason.


Canada's carbon tax could go much higher after 2022 review

A government document quietly posted online confirms what many have long suspected: that the government is eyeing raising the federal carbon tax beyond the current ceiling of $50 per tonne.

On Wednesday, amendments to the federal carbon tax legislation were posted on the Canada Gazette – the government’s official newspaper – and the document describes how the already controversial $50 per tonne price that comes into full effect in 2022 may be just the beginning following a five-year review that could very well call for steep increases.

“The overall approach will be reviewed by early 2022 to confirm the path forward, including continued increases in stringency. The review will account for progress and for the actions of other countries in response to carbon pricing, as well as recognition of permits or credits imported from out countries,” reads the text. This text does not make its way into the actual legislation but is rather part of the “regulatory impact analysis statement” that explains the amended legislation.

This actually isn’t the first time versions of this text have cropped up in government documents though.

Earlier this year, when journalists and the public were only just starting to really pay attention to the issue, the government released a technical briefing paper on the carbon tax that explained that “the Pan-Canadian Framework includes a commitment for a review of the overall approach to pricing carbon by early 2022 to confirm the path forward.” This is pretty common stuff though, periodic reviews of legislation, so it perhaps wasn’t flagged as noteworthy to anyone. And the sentence ends at “path forward”, without specific references to increases.

But the full sentence first cropped up at least two years ago, before the issue was under its current degree of scrutiny. An October 2016 backgrounder from Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna’s office uses that very sentence: “The overall approach will be reviewed by early 2022 to confirm the path forward, including continued increases in stringency.”

Now all of this makes total sense when you consider it from the Liberal perspective. As a number of astute observers, including my colleague Lorrie Goldstein, have pointed out multiple times, the current carbon tax levels are enough to be a pest on taxpayers but not enough to seriously put a dent on our current emissions levels or get us to our current targets.

Hence, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and McKenna have been criticized by environmentalists for basically just adopting the same targets as former PM Stephen Harper.

But surely the Liberals, with all of their passion for the issue, have known this all along. And they’ve left us a trail of breadcrumbs in their various backgrounder documents to tell us just that.

Besides, Postmedia revealed last year that other government docs show the Liberals were told by bureaucrats they’d need to ramp up the tax to $300 per tonne if they want it to be effective.

Here’s the question we should all now be asking then: just how high will this tax go? As The New York Times recently reported, “the United Nations report estimated that governments would need to impose effective carbon prices of $135 to $5,500 per ton of carbon dioxide pollution by 2030 to keep overall global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit.”

That would be the same fear-mongering UN report that tells us if we don’t act within the next 12 years there will be irreversible catastrophe.

If the Liberals are re-elected, what will their 2022 report recommend? If that UN report, the new holy book for climate zealots, says we’ve got to at a minimum almost triple it to $135, surely they’ll at least recommend that figure, if not $300 or more.

We can’t say we weren’t warned. Expect it to go up in the years ahead. Way up.


Fake heatwave in Eastern Australia

At mid-afternoon in Brisbane on Saturday, my thermometer read 31C.  But a normal summer mid-afternoon temperature is 34C, so there is nothing out of the ordinary about the current temperature

Good news for weekend beach-goers as Friday's heatwave will spill over onto Super Saturday.

Records were smashed across New South Wales on Friday, as Green Cape in the state's far south-east broke its November record by six degrees and Wollongong's highs of 36C represented its highest ever early Spring mark.

While temperatures will not reach as high as Friday's scorcher, those in Australia's east coast can expect the above-average heat to continue.

Persistent warm north-westerly winds blowing in from central Australia will see Sydney hit 30C on Saturday, making it perfect weather to hit the beach.

According to Bureau of Meteorology's (BOM) forecaster Rose Barr, temperatures in western parts of the state will stretch past 30C.

The western suburb of Penrith is expected to see highs of 36C.

Meanwhile in parts of Queensland, temperatures could push up to 40C over the weekend.

However those looking to top up their tan should bare in mind that the heatwave won't last much longer.

BOM meteorologist Rose Barr told Daily Mail Australia that the hot spell is likely to linger until Tuesday.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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