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Arctic temperatures soar 25 degrees above normal in the dead of winter (smh.com.au)
249 points by kevinyen on Feb 24, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 147 comments

Using events like this to illustrate that global warming is happening is about as scientifically significant as when Trump used the recent US cold snap to imply that global warming isn't happening. I'm not saying climate change doesn't exist--it certainly does--but outlying events like this aren't by themselves particularly unusual. "Normal", after all, is at the top of a bell curve, and deviations from normal should be expected.

This is a false equivalence. The reasons they’re being linked are important too. When Trump and others point to cold snaps as evidence against climate change, they’re just drawing a straight line from one to the other with no rationale or explanation in between. When extreme events like this are linked to climate change, they’re presented as illustrative of a well studied phenomenon that definitely causes this sort of thing to happen.

It’s like if I take the Lord’s name in vain and then get sick and you tell me this shows that I shouldn’t swear. Then you lick a handle on the subway and get sick and I tell you this shows how disease is transmitted by germs. The two may look superficially similar, but the underlying reasoning is important.

I don't think the main thrust of your argument is wrong, however, your sickness example is also a false equivalence.

There's nothing logically or philosophically or scientifically preventing both explanations for why we each got sick from being simultaneously true. You're attempting to draw a dividing line between "religious thinking" and "rational, scientific thinking". No such division existed throughout history. Even today many "scientists" think along religious terms while many religions are evidence-obsessed. Counter-examples abound.

It’s not about one explanation being logically impossible. It’s about one explanation being factually untrue.

The scientific significance of these two events (Arctic warming and the recent US cold snap) is not comparable. If you would like more information, you can start by referring to the wikipedia article on climate change in the Arctic [0], and the skeptical science page on why cold weather isn't evidence against global warming [1]. There are numerous other publications available online which discuss these issues that I'm sure you will be able to find.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_in_the_Arctic

[1] https://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-cold-weather...

Even single data points can be statistically significant if they are extreme enough. But here is a fact that often gets ignored: the Northwest Passage, which was famously impassable for centuries, now regularly has civilian cruise ships navigating it in the summer. I was on such a cruise a few years ago. Not only was the NWP navigable, we actually had to go out of our way to find any sea ice at all.

They're different by orders of magnitude. This spike is occurring in context of record low winter ice following a record low the previous winter following decades of a declining average. Yeah, the 25 number is a spike on the edge of the bell curve, but this bell curve is consistently shifting, and thus so are these spikes.

That's OP's point. It is only a spike, not an event that points to climate change. A climate change event example would be an average yearly temperature changing significantly.

As a lay person, I think the poles are much more symbolic of the total state of the weather/water system in the micro level than anywhere else on earth. An observation with several sigmas of difference from average at the poles probably translates to very widespread conditions.

This comment shows up on every thread on this topic. Have a look at this data another user posted: http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

The last three years have been highly above average in the arctic. This isn't "arctic has one warm day!". It's "the entire year is abnormally warm in the arctic, like the past three!"

The appropriate comparison would be the US having a whole winter which is 10-20 degrees colder than normal.

I don't know global warming is happening because of this news article. This news article worries me because I know global warming is happening.

How does the 'I know' bit advance the discussion?

At some point, it's silly to expect every comment to make a full and comprehensive argument. Like how I can worry about something falling from the sky because "I know" gravity exists. So when I see something straight above your head growing larger coming straight towards you as it falls, I know it will not change course, and I don't feel the need to explain general relativity to you before I suggest you ought to get out of the way.

The discussion isn't about whether we know it's happening or not. We should stop letting deniers move the goal posts.

The discussion is we know this is happening, what do we do to stop it?

I don't understand what you mean by "advance the discussion."

When Trump uses the expected weather for the time of year to illustrate nothing is happening it is not exceptional so does not prove a thing. But if something exceptional happens it is a data point in a data set indicating there is a change.

Hot weather in July in the Northern hemisphere is not unusual and does not require explanation or study. Snow in July would be unusual and would require explanation and study.

We are talking about average values with an high degree of deviation - so it is normal the values to be out of the average (“normality” never happens in meteorology).

The problem is how much and how often this happens: global warning is very likely to be caused by human activity.

Future looks ugly, everybody is (maybe unconsciously) afraid and at fault. And instead of looking for a solution I use my brain 40 hours/week to solve useless problems. Those who have also money send cars in the space. What could go wrong.

It's all about chaos theory. The degree of deviation is directly relative to the amount of energy in the system. Cool the system off, and the deviation (weather) will cover a smaller range. Add energy to the system, as we are doing, and what you EXPECT to see is a titanic chaotic system behaving as chaotic systems do: becoming more chaotic, and widening its range of possible outcomes (and most likely, shortening their duration, because everything becomes more unstable).

Insane heat waves AND insane cold snaps is very much part of 'global warming', or the consistent moderate increase in energy we're doing.

Thousand and ten-thousand-year storms and extremes become yearly or monthly events as the range of the system's outputs has changed. Expect other cold snaps… and ridiculous, dangerous heat waves… and other sorts of dangerous and destructive weather events.

Solution easy, just get all countries in the world to agree to stop burning fossil fuels now whatever the cost. Then just have to tell all the poor people in [poor country] that they can't live like we do because we got there first and messed it all up.

We're all sure gonna be kicking ourselves after it all goes Mad Max. Completely avoidable, yet all but inevitable with no off-switch in sight in the real world.

We can barely even get people to sort their trash or turn off the lights when they leave a room.

So yeah, we're doomed.

> bell curve

The thing is the curve is moving towards higher temperatures and we get unexpected deviations more on one end than the other. And have you considered these events may be not significant - yet, because the science department is hopelessly understaffed?

I think this is meant just to be a 'cherry on top' type of data point, as it's almost universally understood that our climate is indeed changing.

Isolated abnormal events aren't significant to illustrate global warming is happening, but an increasing frequency of abnormal events is.

Bigtime. And the range of 'abnormal' event, and its frequency. And these events can include unseasonal coldness.

Granted, but I can just picture the people posting this to Facebook citing it as definitive proof that the world is melting.

The fact that it is easy to imagine someone misusing a piece of data is hardly worth mentioning. There is no conceivable piece of data which couldn’t easily be misused by someone.

There’s definitely a fine line, but let’s be real, Facebook was never really about fine lines and nuance.

If your standard is worrying about what people will post on FB then paralysis is your only option.

What? Facebook shapes public opinion, so does this site. Is public opinion not worth worrying about?

A huge majority of public opinion as expressed on FB is just the echo of some bot, somewhere. Maybe it matters in some sense, but again, if you pander to thst standard you will never say a word.

There is a qualitative difference which makes it beyond improbable that the changes we observe happen by chance.

Let's say your assumption is that the things we observe happen by chance. Now, we have, say 100 years of temperature records. If only the last year just happens to be the warmest year of all observations, there would be an 1:100 probability that this was by chance.

Now, Wikipedia says: "A 2013 article published in Geophysical Research Letters has shown that temperatures in the region haven't been as high as they currently are since at least 44,000 years ago and perhaps as long as 120,000 years ago. The authors conclude that "anthropogenic increases in greenhouse gases have led to unprecedented regional warmth."[12][13]"

So it is way more than one warm year in 100 years.

But to comprehend the unlikelihood that this happens by chance, consider another record. Look at this graph:


It shows that the instrumental temperature record sind 1880 to today. You see that since 1980, every year was warmer than all the years before.

What is the probability of that for the hypothesis this happened by chance? From 1880 to 2017 are 137 years. The last 37 years have higher temperatures than all the years before. Assuming that no systematic change is happening, the probability is the same as putting the numbers from 1 to 137 into a box, drawing blindly 37 from them, and discovering that you have drawn the numbers 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, and so on, until 137. What is the probability of this?

It is given by the binominal coefficient:


with n = 137, k=37, 1 : n! / (k! (n - k)!).

Using Python:

    >>> def fak(n):
    ...     if n <= 1:
    ...         return 1
    ...     return n * fak(n-1)

    >>>def binom(n,k): 
    ... return fak(n) / (fak(k) * fak(n-k))
    >>> n=137
    >>> k=37
    >>> binom(n,k)
So, the probability it happens by chance is

1 / 3902541575254646835963436276286280

Do you still think it happens by chance?

I think OP was implying that your kind of reasoning is desperately needed, not just isolated evidence (although, I didn't read the article yet). Alas, your comment is preaching to the choir, not the audience OP might have had in mind. Although, the article is on an academic site -- so much for the audience.

xkcd had a nice illustration: https://xkcd.com/1732/

At this point believing or not believing in climate change is analogous to religion. I have trouble believing any facts or data would swing a significant portion of either side of the debate. Denying climate change is easy. We're not going to see places like New York City move swiftly underwater and the problem is so abstract it's easy to call BS. Short of Trump changing his mind and using his super power of convincing conservatives to go along with things they otherwise never would have gone along with we will continue in this pattern for probably our life time.

As someone who is convinced of climate change, I like to think my mind would be changed rather easily with some comforting graphs and believable theories on how those graphs show the earth is in fact not warming ever more rapidly since the industrial revolution.

I mean, that would be really really nice.

As far as I understand the argument from people like Alex Epstein and a host of other climate alarmist sceptics is a little different.

Everyone is agreeing there is climate change, in fact there have always been climate change and according to them the climate have been much worse than it is now.

Most sceptics even agree that humans affect the climate.

The discussion as far as I can understand is to what degree do humans affect it. I.e. is it enough for us to worry about it.

There is as far as I have been able to learn no actual consensus, in fact, ICSC has been lowering their projections over the last 10 year or so.

If you want to figure out whether you should worry or not may I suggest you try and find out what the official consensus on humans effect on the climate is. You will be surprised how little certainty you will find. I certainly was.

Enough certainty for us to have now solidly moved from prisoner's dilemma to campers' dilemma http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.ch/2017/06/facing-climate-be...

Then show me the numbers.

I am pretty agnostic here, but if you want me to worry I need to see more than "enough certainty" and as many say "enough significance" without ever providing any actual hard numbers.

I am not a scientist but I know that if you can't actually show any concrete numbers then you have interpretation i.e. no consensus.

It's frustrating when you are trying to figure out what's up and down in this discussion.

Oh man, if someone dug up actual, solid data that showed that all of our understanding of ice cores and historic temperature and co2 was wrong, and irrefutably so, I'd be overjoyed.

This is, after all, rather like living with the sword of Damocles over my head. I'd really rather not have it dangling there, glinting menacingly at me, but wishing the sword wasn't there doesn't help one jot.

Climate change denialism has more in common with Flat Earth Theory than religion of any stripe. (Which makes so many Americans buying into it all the more frighting.)

...and flat earth theory also has a lot in common with religion.

I'm sorry, but it is impossible to be a truly intelligent person that also believes in any religion without serious cherry picking or psychological compartmentalization. I say this as someone that loves studying religion (I have a degree in it), but I study it as an artform of human expression or an oddity that once was, not as a serious pursuit of self-completion. Hopefully, we can one day study those that deny basic climate science and geology the same way...

> ...and flat earth theory also has a lot in common with religion.

I wouldn't say so. At least not in the epistemic/anti-epistemic way that parallels climate-change denialism. Most religions make a lot of unfalsifiable claims. Since opponents cannot conclusively falsify those claims, it gives religious adherents an epistemic place to hide and claim personal religious experiences, etc.

Most religions have not, in the main, been conclusively refuted, since they involve events that happened thousands of years ago, and even when something is shown to have not happened, the adherents have good precedent for claiming that a given portion is allegorical. Since religious interpretation is rife with different viewpoints, they'll even have a respected theologian to point to who called it in advance.

Flat-eartherism is a horse of a different color. It makes a bunch of falsifiable predictions, which have subsequently been falsified many different ways. Then its proponents just ignore the evidence and keep on believing their viewpoint anyway. Epistemologically, climate change denial has a lot more in common with this than it does with religion.

I say this as an anti-theist. I don't have much good to say about religion, but I'd rather deal with someone who believes things which can't be proven rather than someone who believes things that have been conclusively disproven. Religious people are in that way a lot like anyone else. They aren't as deluded as someone who can look at clear evidence and simply ignore it.

>>Most religions have not, in the main, been conclusively refuted

That's because most religions have as their central tenet a completely unfalsifiable claim: that there is a god.

One should remember that many unfalsifiable things are true.

Zero falsified things are true (plus some false negative rate)

Personally, I believe in God because it’s tautological. Saying there is a god is like saying half of children are above average. As soon as you reference a line in the universe, there is inevitably an ultimate point on it.

Edit: I will add that I don’t think God is truly omnipotent. She is bound by the laws of physics, same as us, and will die with the universe. Perhaps sooner. But my article of faith is that she will long outlast me. If I’m wrong, and God dies on my watch, that’s a bridge I needn’t worry about til I get there.

This is just what I said, but, yes, you are grasping the thrust of my comment.

I like to think of myself as intelligent, and I am religious. I'd like to gain some insight into exactly what kind of serious cherry picking I'm doing. Could you provide some examples of what you had in mind when you wrote your comment?

I have a hard time understanding how someone can get a degree in religion without noticing how unfalsifiable most religions are.

I'd also be interested to hear what great new evidence has arisen since the 19th century that makes religion so foolish. Take Maxwell for example. He knew about the age of the Earth and recognized the validity of Darwin's theory of evolution. Yet he was by all accounts a very religious man.

I think your example of Maxwell makes my point. Let's assume Christianity for a moment, since Maxwell was a Christian. In order to accept the consensus of evolutionary theory while still maintaining one's faith, one must either cherry pick ("the Genesis account was wrong"), compartmentalize ("I accept evolution as true and ignore the conflict with my faith") or appeal to the problem of interpretation that all religions face ("Genesis was obviously not meant to be taken literally and is mere metaphor"). The last option tends to fall under cherry picking itself since it changes with time. Until evolution was accepted as fact, it was mostly taken for granted that the Genesis account was literal. Now days, unless you adhere to creationism, you must assume part of your theology to be metaphorical under no rational basis or risk being outed as a fool that believes in fairy tales. Thus, while Maxwell was a great scientist and definitely had smarts in that area, it would seem to me that he compartmentalized, accepting a philosophy as true that his own scientific pursuit would otherwise find false. A modern example would be William Lane Craig who I find to be a very eloquently formed speaker and obviously quite learned, but for some reason, ignores basic scientific truths in order to preserve his faith.

Lets start with why you think the particular religion you practice is the one?

If you think, all are the same, then you are now moving towards existence of a superior being and possibly creationism.

Pretty much all major religions are compatible with each other. You can move towards a particular sect if you have specific needs. A polytheist Christian would tend towards Catholicism, etc.

I don’t think you need to adhere closely to one single tradition in order to be “religious” if that’s what you’re getting at.

To answer your question directly though, I was raised in a Christian church. I adhere to some basic form of that. Humility, forgiveness, we were made in Gods image, the original sin of the knowledge of good and evil, etc.

I think religion is a better comparison or at least an aspect of religion. Climate change denialism strikes me as having similar features with creationism. Both require believing in a vast global conspiracy of compromised academics - motivated by atheism or liberalism. Both willfully dismiss scientific evidence and consensus if it challenges their world view. But they will proudly admire the very rare academic (invariably not qualified in climate science or biology) who - outside of normal scientific process - become celebrities by providing bias reinforcement.

"Flat Earth" is not about convincing normal people Earth is flat. Sure you get a few that genuinely believe it because they lack the skills to evaluate evidence, but that's not the point. By using it, you have "fallen" for it's utility. It's a common theme if you study disinformation.

Actually claiming there are a lot of climate change denialist out there is probably more religious.

Most skeptics if not all of them agree there is climate change, most of them even agree some of it is man-made.

The discussion is how much and you won't find any consensus on that no matter how much you try to ask for it.

In similar ways, majority of people that believe in climate change do nothing (or barely anything) to fight it. No one is reducing their heating/cooling, no one is changing their diet, no one is measuring their heating patterns and trying to optimize it (by no one I mean barely anyone).

People still want their 24/7 AC, their steaks, their huge cars, their big heat inefficient houses, their plane flights etc.

No one does a thing.

Believing in climate change, or not believing, when reflected in the actions of people, is in my eyes completely equivalent.

That's not true. Many people in "developed" countries reduce their energy use, and their use of energy-intensive products, in order to help reduce climate forcing. And they've done so for decades.

However, it is true that too few people in "developed" countries do that. And it's also true that too many people in "less-developed" countries lust after energy-intensive lifestyles. So overall, its unlikely that overall climate forcing will decrease. Unless solar energy and battery usage take off exponentially enough.

Even worse, there's already enough CO2 in the atmosphere to drive substantial climate change. And the poles are warming fast enough to drive substantial CO2 and CH4 outgassing from melting permafrost.

So maybe it's just too late. And so maybe the rational option for those alive now is to party hearty. Russia and China probably like that path.

Or live wisely so you have the financial means and health to move you and your family elsewhere when need arrives, probably in our lifetimes for 80% of the world.

Right. That's arguably the prudent take on "party hearty". There's always the tension between "do fun stuff now when you can enjoy it most" and "save for later when you'll have more free time and less likely income".

Ah understood. You were looking at the national level with countries like China and Russia "party[ing] hearty" by not significantly curbing C02 emissions. Those individuals who benefit directly from oil and coal (as they do in the US) will extract gains and use it to pad offshore bank accounts. Meanwhile the rest of us should take a prudent life and be prepared for shocks ahead (like land and cost of living soaring in climate-friendly cities). On a more personal level, ideally savers find ways to extract more late-life enjoyment out of their deferred-enjoyment lifestyles.

The US is still partying hard. At least, relative to much of Western Europe. Much of Eastern Europe still has too much inefficient Soviet-era infrastructure. And yes, China has had slack in most climate agreements.

I'm not sure that many people do that.

A good comparison would be FOSS. Richard Stallman inconveniences himself to the point of absurdity, but I'm pretty sure barely anyone does anything close to it.

I changed my diet, I live in good housing, but when I put the numbers on paper, I'm not doing much at all, and could do much more.

> Richard Stallman inconveniences himself to the point of absurdity

I'm not sure that's an apt comparison. rms simply has a workflow that doesn't require the use of proprietary software. It's not that inconvenient for him.

In on-topic comparison, it would be having a lifestyle where you'd simply have no use for a car: you live close to work, enjoy riding a bicycle, etc.

Of course, finding that workflow or lifestyle might limit some options, but once you accept that, it's not all that inconvenient.

So do vegans have a workflow that makes their diet convenient. The thing is, one has to start somewhere, and no one starts anywhere because they see the change as inconvenient.

> So do vegans have a workflow that makes their diet convenient.

I suppose so. More home cooking, sourcing ingredients, finding small markets, knowing the right restaurants, etc.

> The thing is, one has to start somewhere, and no one starts anywhere because they see the change as inconvenient.

That's probably and unfortunately very true, in software as well as food and CO2 reduction.

"Eat your vegetables" is never the answer. In climate change, because of the coordination problems, "Eat your vegetables" is so emphatically not the answer that it shouldn't even be discussed as anything except a desperate, ineffective stopgap.

People will keep eating candy. They will never eat their vegetables, unless they taste like candy. It's pointless to imagine worlds in which they eat their vegetables and everything is great because, although it's possible to write a plan to get from here to there, those worlds are strictly fantasy. The plan can not be followed. I could also write a plan for the sun to rise in the west—and it would also fail, for largely the same reason.

If you want to solve the problem, make a better, cheaper vegetable that tastes like candy.

Vegetables are expensive because subsidies are small. There's no free market in agriculture.

I'm not exactly sure how candies are causing climate change.

Sorry, I don't follow. Are you extending the metaphor or answering literally? Candy is the fossil fuel-intensive lifestyle and eating vegetables is choosing to cut back.

I thought candy was delicious CO2 intensive food. Not a complete lifestyle.

Although, food is just one part of the equation. I've never said diet is the only change necessary to make. A person in the first world would do more by not using AC and heating than switching to a different diet, so one might optimize there. Although, not many want to optimize there, so it's easier to change the diet if they wish to lower their footprint.

"Eat your vegetables" at least works for some people, myself for one. It's not like climate change where being good helps only if everyone is. Anyone who internalizes the reasons vegetables > candy will want to eat vegetables and be personally better off.

It's even worse than that: the small percentage of people who have changed their consumption patterns out of concern for the environment are probably having zero or negative impact.

For instance, the following products are worse for the environment than their alternatives:

1. Hand-crafted, locally produced goods

2. Non-factory farmed food

3. Organic food

There are also simple things that one can do, that have an impact. For example, one could go on holiday to a local destination rather than flying half the world. Or you could cycle to work rather than traveling by car every day.

(Sure, in the grand scheme of things, these will make small differences, but we have to cut our use of fossil fuel everywhere.)

Or you could try to affect the things that do matter in the grand scheme of things: E.g , demand more regulation for CO2-heavy industries, find ways to support CO2-neutral energy production, demand anti-deforestation clauses in trade agreements, etc.

Having one less child has far more of an impact than all of those lifestyle changes combined.

Yeah, but then you are probably reducing the frequency of people who care about the environment in future populations, which may be a net loss.

Extrapolating that out environmentally concerned people should have as many children as possible and outbreed those not concerned about greenhouse emissions?

Such a statement seems to assume that the mind is an immutable object only created in childhood.

While it certainly causes cognitive dissonance for some, an SUV driving redneck carnivore with no children has created far less emissions than a public transport using vegan environmentalist with 2 kids.


Mostly I’m just saying that, given that most aspects of personality are 30-80% heritable, I think people should really think twice before contributing to a future with less long-term thinkers in it.

Certainly do understand the motivation, it just seems like a race environmentalists can't win.

There are better ways to change minds.

And providing education for and/or adopting other children so that they learn how to live responsibly.

I think this advice can be simplified greatly: reduce your expenditures. If you're spending less money, then you are consuming a smaller share of the world's bounty.

Reducing energy use doesn’t necessarily mean reducing expenditures. I mean, reducing expenditures can be good if you’re saving for something else, but you don’t have to.

Instead of buying and fueling the car, you can buy the luxury bicycle.

Instead of flying to Venice, you can rent a sailing yacht. Or whatever is local to your area.

It’s like dieting. The impulse is to reduce, naturally because you’re cutting things out, but eventually you figure out that you can fill your life with other experiences.

If you save that money instead it goes into a pool that is invested in things that then go and spend it elsewhere.

So your position is that personal consumption does not result in additional resource usage?

I'm not completely sure. I just know how modern economies work. If I don't use it, the economy optimizes so that someone else will.

So we should exclusively eat factory-farmed food to save the environment?

Despite factory-farming being one of the main drivers of CO2?

Factory farming is very resource intensive, but it is less resource intensive per unit of food produced. Just look at the prices at your local grocery store!

Check out the Leadership and the Environment podcast (disclosure: I host it).


> We're not going to see places like New York City move swiftly underwater

How do you know?


I live in Whitehorse, Yukon. For reference I drive due South to Alaska.

The weather here is nothing, and I mean nothing like it used to be. It would reliably be -40 for all of Jan and Feb in the past. The river would freeze to the point of holding the massive festival ON the river with cars, tents, thousands of people ,etc.

The river has not frozen for a decade, it regularly goes above freezing in Jan and Feb, and even some of the mighty lakes up here don't freeze enough that you want to walk on them. The ice used to be so think my 4 ft. ice auger wasn't long enough to let me ice fish.

We still have the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous festival, it's just on land now.

It's actually happening this weekend! It's always the last full weekend in February, in case our city piques your interest ;)


Anecdotally, I've also heard from a couple of farmers that the wind up here is different than it was in the '70s.

haha, I'm away right now, but I live in Whitehorse, I've been to Rendezvous many, many times :)

My first year it didn't get above -40... daytime high temps :)

Two Yukoners in the thread! I'm way further south in Regina, but it's good to see Canadians who aren't from Vancouver or Toronto!

And as a crazy question, given that there's only a population of 25k in Whitehorse... what's the tech scene like? :)

The tech scene is.. well.. interesting.

You can really only work for the big Telco (Northwestel, owned by Bell), or the Yukon Government, or the city. Each have an overall IT team of something nearing 100 people, with lots of hardware, software, BAs, PAs, etc. etc.

Each has their pros and cons, each is incestuous and everyone knows everyone. Tons of people have worked for all three and hop back and forth as the seasons change. Once you have been in town a couple of years everyone knows you.

There is also a couple of small development shops.

A few people have worked really hard to get a maker space going (Yukonstruct) and from all reports it's doing great. Lots of members, lots of workshops on programming, 3D printing, etc. etc.

The money in the North is decent, and I only pay ~20% income tax, so it's a great place to sock away savings.

I think there's ~50-200 software developers up here between freelancers and businesses? Of that maybe half of them are fulltime.

I know of a couple webshops that are mostly WordPress/Drupal-based, mostly running Mac+Linux.

I think Make IT is the most serious custom software vendor, they ship some Scala but I believe are mostly Windows-based. http://www.makeit.com/

FWIW NWTel is also Windows-based, but I'd wager that per capita the Yukon has more Linux users due to the more rugged/self-sufficient/off-grid appeal.

YuKonstruct also opened a co-working office on Strickland called (co)space, they offer desks and a few private offices, though those might be filled. https://cospacenorth.com/

I just got a small office down the street from them for $300/month, but I think most small office spaces go for $400-500.

Renting a house is $1,400+, but the vacancy rate is less than 2% for detached houses and townhouses, IIRC. Our gov't releases handy stat booklets, and has one for rentals, so maybe I'll get around to scanning it this week.

I was just poking around the YuKonstruct site. This is incredible! I wouldn't have expected something that awesome in such a small town. It beats the pants off the Makerspace in Regina!

Thanks, you two, for the insight. I have idly looked at the Northwestel careers page off-and-on for a year or two, but I'm not sure I'd make a very good "company man".

I was with NWTel for 4 years. It's certainly a "Company man" kind of place. Old, old, old school management from the 1960s.

But the perks of living in the North are immense. I miss it every day and know for certain I will be back there when I'm done roaming Africa.

I'm interested in the tech scene in Whitehorse for... reasons... as well

What are the job prospects like out there? Is it all mining and mining-related stuff like PLC?

Note that this is in Celsius - for us Americans, this is 45 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.

25°c is 77°f, not 45.

It's a temperature difference, not an absolute temperature

25deltaC = 45deltaF (just multiply by 1.8 for delta C to F)

Oops oops yes, mea culpa. Note to self: avoid (posting to) HN after a few drinks. Thanks to all those who corrected me.

REDACTED: No.. not oops. He's wrong, you're right.

Ah why did you reply to your own comment instead of pressing edit. I thought you were the grandparent poster replying to the correction. God damnit.

The "+32" in the conversion from Celsius measures to Fahrenheit measures is to account for the base offset differences in the absolute measures.

yeah this is referring to how high it is above normal, not actually 25 degrees celsius. there was a delta of 45 deg Fahrenheit.

Kinda...but you want 77 - 32 (which is 45).

That's not how converting relative Celsius to Fahrenheit works. If I say "it's 10 degrees Celsius colder today than yesterday", that's the same as saying "it's 18 degress Fahrenheit today".

Thesee graphs show the mean temperature of the arctic for each day of the year for the last 50 years, measured hy the Danish meteorological bureau:


Last 3 years have been truly crazy.

Good article but I really wish they'd stick to one unit of measurement. And the world standard measurement at that.

Was hard from the beginning to understand the severity of the situation with no units denoted.


Here in Toronto, it's been 16˚C this past week. In February. We've had about 2 or 3 real snowfalls that stuck around for a few days before melting.

As somebody who loves ice skating outside, it's really frustrating. And I love the snow.

Every year it seems like the winter gets a little milder...

Anecdotal: New Hampshire has experienced both record breaking high temperatures (> 70˚F) and record breaking low temperatures (< -10˚F) this winter. Either one might be just, eh, we're having a warm or cold winter. Both within two months is weird.

It snowed the day after it was 75˚F.

That's how it's happened here. Another commenter mentioned that while we've had such highs, we've also experienced record lows. What they didn't associate was how they have come back-to-back.

It's rather usual for a northerly place like Calgary to go from -20˚ to +20˚ Celsius (or the reverse) over the course of a day due to Chinook winds from the mountains. They're really quite a sight if there are any clouds—you can watch the wall of whatever front is blowing in.

In Ontario, it's rather unusual for the same kind of phenomenon, and we've experienced it multiple times this winter.

> it's been 16˚C this past week

One single day hit 16 at the max. Another hit ~14. That's a very generous way of looking at our weather this winter. This has been a much snowier winter than last year as well (and some others of recent memory).

Yes it's been unusual to have the final 2 weeks of February average above 0 during the day.

Both December and January were very cold with a monthly mean temp of -5˚C (ref: http://climate.weather.gc.ca/climate_data/daily_data_e.html?...). By mid-January there were a ton of stories in the media about how cold our winter had been and various records had been set. Everyone in the city was complaining about this winter for most of it (until recently).

Example: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/fourteen-cold-h...

It seems the cold moved to central Europe, giving us -15 degrees celsius at night in the upcoming week.

It seems that this is directly caused by the arctic temperature rise: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudden_stratospheric_warming

Relevant quote: Following a sudden stratospheric warming, the high altitude winds reverse to flow eastward instead of their usual westward. The eastward winds progress down through the atmosphere and weaken the jet stream, often giving easterly winds near the surface and resulting in dramatic reductions in temperature in Europe.

see also (in german): http://www.meteoschweiz.admin.ch/home/aktuell/meteoschweiz-b...

Some of it's here on the west coast of the US too. It hit -18C here in central Oregon the other day, and has been snowing a bunch.

And some of us in Eastern Europe are expecting -24 °C .

Anecdotal: 3 days ago it hit 78˚F/25.6˚C here in NYC, the hottest ever recorded for Feb 21 and ever recorded for all of Feb. The previous record for Feb 21 was 68˚F/20˚C in 1930. The previous hottest day in all of February was 75˚F/23.9˚C in 1985. The average high temp for NYC in Feb is usually 44˚F/6.7˚C. This year it's 49˚F/9.4˚C.

FWIW, a 30 year gap between record highs is not supportive of global warming. Global warming should be making record weather events more common, which would imply records being broken in rapid succession.

> Global warming should be making record weather events more common

Not necessarily. If there was no long term warming trend, records would become less common over time, since they would be weather-related random values and there are more previous year data points to compare against. A warming trend would act counter to that effect, but not necessarily overcome it.

Yeah, but we haven’t been measuring temperatures for that long.

>Every year it seems like the winter gets a little milder...

yes it does.

Anecdotal: its unusually cold in Seattle this winter. So goes both ways.

Didn't the same happen last year, with arctic polar region being warmer than sub-arctic latitudes? Maybe it's the new normal climate or at least semi-persistent like El Niño?

It actually says so in the article,

“This next batch of abnormally warm air is forecast to shoot the gap between Greenland and northern Europe through the Greenland and Barents seas. Similar circumstances occurred in December 2016, when the temperature at the North Pole last flirted with the melting point in the dark, dead of winter. Similarly large jumps in temperature were documented in November 2016 and December 2015.”

It happens every year? Therefore it's not unusual.

So that makes this, “This latest huge temperature spike in the Arctic is another striking indicator of its rapidly transforming climate.”, uh, what?

A few years of this does not make it normal.

While we're quoting the article:

> These kinds of temperature anomalies in the Arctic have become commonplace in winter in the past few years.

Implying they haven't been in the past.

> A few years of this does not make it normal.

I wasn't implying that.

> Implying they haven't been in the past.

Nor that.

My only intention was to agree with the original commenter that the title and start of the article made it sound like this one event was a complete anomaly.

Later on we find out that, no, this has been happening for a while.

If it is not an anomaly then we need to know how frequently this temperature spike happens. Multiple times during the winter? Has it been spiking only in the last few years. How anomalous is it?

Am I not allowed ask these questions?

Another commenter posted a link to climate data from the Danish Meteorological Institute for the artic region for the past 50 years:


For most of the dataset the winter temperatures have followed the model fairly well (of course there are spikes), but for the last few years the winter temperature has been significantly higher than the model.

The "of course there are spikes" is the whole reason I'm commenting in this thread. If there are spikes (if spikes are the norm) then the article that has been posted is not news. News is something anomalous, no?

Not news: "there's been this major spike the last few days! (oh btw, there have always been spikes)"

Sort of news: "there's been this major spike the last few days! the severity of the spike is fairly unprecedented, it happens once every 50 or 100 years"

Worrying news: "there's been this major spike the last few days! these have been happening more and more frequently. they have been getting more and more sever. increase in frequency is X%, the increase in severity is Y%. these increases have been going on for Z years. this falls outside climate change variability by V%.

Alarmist news: "there's been this major spike the last few days! omg, climate change!"

That Danish data set you linked to. Have you have noticed that the numbers jump around at the edge of the year? Check out the break between 1999 and 2000. I can see by eyeballing it that the winter temperature has been somewhat (not significantly) more erratic (not higher) than the model which is 1958-2002. How much more erratic though? I don't want you to interpret the data for me using your words, I want the percentage differences themselves. I'll make up my own my mind about what words to use to describe the variability if that's okay with you.

Here's what it says, “Calculation of the Arctic Mean Temperature The daily mean temperature of the Arctic area north of the 80th northern parallel is estimated from the average of the 00z and 12z analysis for all model grid points inside that area. The ERA40 reanalysis data set from ECMWF, has been applied to calculate daily mean temperatures for the period from 1958 to 2002. From 2002 to present the operational model (at all times) from The ECMWF is used for mean temperature calculations.”

So we're getting one number for everywhere north of the 80th parallel? What are the 00z and 12z analysis?

The document they link to explaining the methodology leaves me with more questions than it answers: http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/documentation/arctic_mean_temp_da...

Doesn't warming of the coldest parts of the world mean there will be more usable land? I have read that global warming could have benefits for countries such as Russia.

There will be a net loss to global agriculture for a couple reasons:

1. Climate change implies increased variability in weather--hotter summers, wetter winters. Agriculture does best in a relatively stable environment. Just look at California--extremely wet winters followed by extremely hot wildfires. It's hard for a species to thrive in a very wide variety of conditions. Not impossible, of course, with humanity being the crowning example of that kind of flexibility, but it's harder for an annual grain like wheat, rice, or corn to pull off.

2. Less sun at northern and southern latitudes mean a shorter growing season.

There are a few other reasons I can think of for why yields will generally drop, among them ozone pollution, but they're not related to climate change specifically.

California is one of the most agriculturally diverse and productive regions in the world. I'm not sure what your point is, but implying agriculture struggles in California is just plain wrong.

I apologize, that part was poorly written. What I meant is that the kind of weather variation California's been experiencing will become the new normal, and the worse said variation is, the worse yields will become in general.

We have plenty of "usable" land - valuable land is another matter, and the land that will be revealed isn't particularly valuable, at least not for decades, if not centuries. Furthermore, the melting itself will cause immense damage both by raising water levels and releasing all the crap (methane, primarily) that's in it.

Yes. Also, some regions of land that are currently usable will become less usable. I think some analyses/forecasts of this also talk about the "quality" of the land involved for agriculture (it's more than just a binary usable / not usable distinction).

There's a book discussing the business opportunities being created by global warming - "windfall" by McKenzie Funk.

Usable land is not the same as arable land - the soil in these regions is not capable of supporting anything like modern agriculture, and wouldn't be for centuries. Soil is an incredibly complex mixture of stuff, and takes a long time to 'grow'.

Too bad Russia has no people to use it with.

I see three common attitudes towards global warming. A. It's BS, there's no such thing. B. It's happening, but it's no big deal, we'll solve this problem thanks to growth and innovation. C. It's happening, we need to do something about it.

A and B are instance of cognitive dissonance.

I'm in category C. I would be in favor of any measure that could help reducing the risk even if it decreases greatly my comfort. But I don't see this happening. Even small harmless restrictions are not taken. Try to tell people that they should drive smaller and less powerful cars for instance.

But maybe the rational attitude to have (which is less heard) is to stop caring as we're not going to solve this anyway. We're not going to solve our mortality problem either and we don't worry too much about this. Future generations will have it harder than we had (climate change, pollution and resources depletion) but why should we worry about them (esp. if we don't have kids)? It's not like we really care about miserable people living now.

How much statistical significance can have an anomaly that lasts only 24 hours?

Suppose you know for a fact that this place has never experienced such an an event like this over the last x years with x a large number. Furthermore you have strong evidence the Earth is warming. Then this happens. Such an observation can be significant. It depends on the situation. I don’t know if this event qualifies. I don’t know enough but someone who studies the issue made the tweet. To his trained eye this was noteworthy. Not proof but noteworthy.

There is no global warming.

Deep Bore Into Antarctica Finds Freezing Ice, Not Melting as Expected | National Geographic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyjt5zpNAeg

At the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica, scientists used a hot-water drill hose to create a hole through the thick ice until they reached the perpetually dark water. What they found surprised them. Christina Hulbe/University of Otago/K061

Real weather information: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6VhLE7qAeW8NZm6PsXGGrQ/vid...

Warmer temperatures will mean we may need to change where we farm our food and move some cities but it's much better than things getting colder. It may even be better than the current climate, given it may actually increase the amount of land where food is arable.

Sure, just a simple little matter of rearranging our entire food supply; relocating at least 39% of the US population, not to mention a few hundred million residents of China, India, Bangladesh, etc.; decades or centuries of turbulent and unpredictable weather (hurricanes are so exciting!); massive ecological upheaval during which most species on earth either have to migrate to new habitats, evolve, or go extinct (and don't forget it'll be the shortest-lifespan creatures that will adapt most quickly to their new circumstances -- so goodbye trees, hello swarms of insects!)

Sure. Great idea. Brilliant. Why wouldn't we welcome it?

Assuming for a moment that you're serious or even a little accurate, consider for a moment the cost of the infrastructure the human race has built over centuries based on traditional climate patterns. Now imagine build all that again, no not from scratch, but it's still a vast endeavour that we will struggle and suffer to make succeed, if we even can.

Though I don't "welcome global warming", I think this is a good point of debate.

The comparison to "getting colder" isn't really valid, as it is not the only option.

Most people would like things to stay the same. Perhaps we should be looking at what temperature would be the most beneficial to the planet as a whole.

If we were to create a new earth, what would be the ideal temperature, how would we manage it, where is that in comparison to where we are now, how can we get there.

Is it a dangerous question? probably.

Since human cognition is based from previous cognitive state and interpretation of sensory input, precise communication requires mapping the communicative symbols as closely as possible to your desired semantics.

Earth itself will do just fine at any temperature that's below literally evaporating. Various life on this planet has evolved to thrive in wildly disparate climates, and short of complete eradication of an ecosystem, surviving organisms both tend towards better suitability for their given environment and adapt their environment towards better suitability for them (both with limits). We humans should be looking at what temperature ranges would be the most beneficial to human society as a whole. Sure, that's incredibly self biased, but as a human, I contend that's an incredibly useful bias to have.

My starting point with that question is to say humans are best suited to the global climate under which they evolved. Muck about with that at your peril. Try it out on the hot-spare planet first please.

Attempting to adapt the environment will have unforeseen, probably serious, consequences. I for one hope we do not try, or have no choice but to try, geoengineering attempting to avoid catastrophe.

I completely agree with your first point. One of the key problems is that humans are the most adept species in billions of years at adapting the environment. Over time, the more likely a thing is to happen, the more that thing does happen. Adaptation is most likely to occur in the form of adding energy, and as Applejinx noted elsewhere in this thread, adding energy to a chaotic system increases its degree of deviation.

Quite, and we've never tried geoengineering on a global scale. We've had enough problems from localised changes from agriculture or introduced species.

To your second point I've always preferred climate change as a term over global warming as some areas will end up cooler, others more changeable. Especially if one of the major ocean current systems slows or stops.

Climate evolves over scales of hundreds of thousands to millions of years. It is frustrating to see fellow geoscientists use some 100 years of anomalous temperature data as absolute proof of permanent catastrophic change.

Having read parts of the official IPCC report, there are still significant holes all the way down to the treatment of the woefully incomplete data used to draw admittedly uncertain conclusions. The picture is nowhere near as certain as many have been lead to believe, and it is difficult for me to take climate change reporting seriously, because as soon as one moves past published literature, the concept of uncertainty is abandoned for politicized groupthink.

Now, it is not unreasonable to assume that something is happening. And, given the chance that it is not transient, it makes sense to hedge our bets and reduce emissions. However, even here I hesitate because of an almost total void of literature discussing the potential benefits of a warmer earth.

Such is the curse of taboo.

Climate works slowly when there aren't a billion cars and other industry. A visible analogy is the reduction of animals and plants due to human activity.

A warmer weather is an 'unknown'. We have trouble with EVERYTHING. We hardly know anything atm with the stable environment so a whole new challenge of future planet might be just to much. It is already to much.

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