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Everything posted by sokolow

  1. Haven't had a chance to sit down and look but I wonder how much they attribute to coast and delta saltwater intrusion.And yeah the general case seems to be that industrialization, universal secondary / widespread tertiary education, contraception, and women gaining social and legal equality push birthrates to replacement or slightly below. Has been true across a diverse array of countries including some with extemely pro-reproductive national religious identities (Italy, Austria. Both well below replacement and showing an increasing tendency to late marriage and first child) and turns out to be largely true for immigrant populations via rapid generational change. Interestingly enough, survey data has suggested that for women and their partners in some of the Eurozone countries, actual family size is less than stated ideal family size. As in, they'd like to have more children but don't find it socially or financially feasible. Edit the upshot is like you say there really isn't a "population bomb" because bithrate drops with elimination of poverty, access to education, medical care, contraception, female equality &c
  2. Only Chicago winters that surpass this one in my lifetime for cold / snow are 77/78 and 78/79. And those I was too young to remember so: A+ gg winter of 13/14
  3. Latest IPCC WG II report is out. Report notes potential negative impacts are global but unsurprisingly will be greatest for the global south and regions that are already impoverished. Edit: wunderground rundown. Most important parts are food and freshwater security, and their follow-ons
  4. Pretty good but doesn't match "Susan. Bring me my pants." from the 23 June 1998 Nebraska tornado
  5. ~2" of fluffy LES on the South Side just for kicks? Sure, why not.
  6. Explore year to year trends in bird sightings and ranges at eBird dot org, brought to you courtesy of the Audobon Society and thousands of checklisting loons like my father: The late winter one is the great backyard birdcount, and their preliminary results are up: We moved to a new place on the South Side and between the LSD prairie restoration, Hyde Park parks, canalfront, and lots and lots of overgrown empty lots I've seen & heard more birds this winter not fewer. There was a thing in the radio about songbird kill but winter hasn't managed to kill off our feral parakeets:
  7. lolé I wander outside to air the dog here on the South Side, home of God's greatest baseball team the 2005 World Champions, the Chicago White Sox and for a few minutes we had ~1000m visibility in a light to moderate snow against all my range markers and meanwhile, a clear view of a near full moon overhead. This winter rules.
  8. … And it melts out in ways particular to its setting. It might “slice out” like this ridgeline “minature ice cap” at the Murtel-Corvatsch ice crest in the eastern Swiss Alps Photo credit as in the image. … which in the case of artifact-bearing ice patches as in the Yukon or Norway (not exactly the same setting but the M-C radio mast site has a very clear picture), in years of intense melt might reveal objects not quite in reverse chronological order, but across a range of eras. The ice sites in Norway have also been tunneled and show angular uncomfortities and other fun geologia. So from the Lendbreen glacier in Norway, researchers have recovered blinds and traps from a 1000 cal. BP hunting camp, a nearly intact(!) Roman-era sweater from 1700 cal. BP, and a leather shoe from 3000 cal. BP. The ancient wooly sweater has a nice diamond pattern: From the History Blog. At the Schnidejoch as well, the age range of artifacts is quite wide, ranging from 6500 cal. BP to 1000 cal. BP. The artifacts there were recovered from near bedrock with no discernable stratigraphic arrangement: Excerpted from Hafner, Albert. "Archaeological discoveries on Schnidejoch and at other ice sites in the European Alps." … raising the question of whether the Great Melt of 2003 slagged several stratigraphic layers in one big push, whether it compacted a few marginal lag layers, whether periods of surface melt concentrated artifacts in hollows, or whether in the last throes of the ice patch the darker artifacts melted downwards like a penny in a snowbank. Hafner argues on the basis of the large swath of recovered leather that ice coverage must have been continual since 4600 cal BP; Reckin would demur. I would too if my opinion counted, based on the differential sun bleaching identified on the Schnidejoch artifacts which were found on northern-vs.-southern exposure. At any rate, the answer to Reckin's question is constrained by what conservators can tell us and what experimental evidence we do have from e.g. the body farm: textiles and leather tanned with pre-modern methods turns to glop (if wet) or dust (if dry) within weeks. Mummies, especially small animal mummies, can probably take brief exposure, but not a lot. The takeaway for cognoscenti who want the details is that these recovered articles and remains were likely “more or less continuously” covered since they were lost or discarded. What's neat, IMO, is what the age distribution of artifacts recovered in the European Alps might tell us about prehistoric human use of alpine resources and travel routes. Martin Grosjean and Albert Hafner observed that artifact finds coincided with eras of glacial retreat, and eras with no recovered objects coincided with periods of glacial advance. They argued that the advance and retreat of the glacier associated with the Schnidejoch ice patch could (given how narrow the pass is) essentially lends the pass a binary open/closed character for human travel: Excerpted from Hafner, Albert. "Archaeological discoveries on Schnidejoch and at other ice sites in the European Alps." Here is their data incorporated with a broader regional view of archaeological data and glacier advance / retreat. Rachel Reckin, “Ice Patch Archaeology in Global Perspective” Ultimately, we see that from the stratigraphic signal amenable to radiocarbon dating preserved by coherent caribou crap layers is the easiest path to establishing the chronology of periods of max temp / min precip. Still, when sites such as the Schnidejoch melt with near completeness, or when the Yukon manure patches slag out entirely, we can argue with some confidence via the disappearance of landscape features formerly stable for 4- or 5000 years that it is now as warm as or warmer at these locations than it has been since the mid-Holocene. From Tom Andrews, “NWT Ice Patch Monitoring Project” newsletter update
  9. Dairy Queen cakes of caribou crap are great and all, but they're nowhere near as cool as Neolithic ice mummies and complete hunting assemblages. North America is shy on ancient ice mummies; it has one glacier body of note, Long Ago Person, a First Nations alpinist who died ~300 cal. BP above the tree line in the mountains in British Columbia. He was found with his gear, but due to the movement of the glacier, he was thoroughly dismembered. The most famous ice mummy is probably Ötzi, or, more formally, “Similaun Man”. You all probably know this, but to recap: In 1991 two German hikers came across his upright, ice-embedded torso somewhat below the most often-traveled touring route. Because I like pictures here is one of the setting, place of discovery marked in red: … and the body. Spoiler alert in case you don't care to see human remains. Both images hosted on Wikimedia. As you can see, that's one heck of a mummy. His internal organs and stomach contents, though shrunken and dessicated, were preserved. In fact, he was so well preserved that his cause of death could be assigned to the fact that he was shot in the back with an arrow – arrowhead still embedded – and bled out. The truly remarkable thing about Ötzi is that archaeologists recovered his gear in various states of intactness: probably all of it. Tunic, leggings, cape, hat, boots, belt, bow, arrows, quiver, fletching kit, firestarting materials, the whole deal. Radiocarbon dated to 5300 cal. BP. I mentioned upthread that when it melted out of the ice, it was to that point the only intact prehistoric longbow, well, it was until one of the SAR crew snapped it in half to use as a digging stick. His copper axe also took a little walksie before being returned once it was realized how important of an archaeological find the body was. Here's one half of the bow: Excerpted from the appropriately named Baugh et. al, “Ötzi's Bow,” first published in the Bulletin of Primitive Technology. A dozen years later in Switzerland's sunny Schnidejoch the next intact prehistoric bow melted out of the ice: From the website, … and a German hiker promptly absconded with it. After keeping it in his garage, or, you know “wherever” he brought it back to Bern in 2005 when the news broke about the importance of the Schnidejoch finds. Facebook ready: From the Kanton Bern press statement. Here's where the Schnidejoch is: Map from And what it looks like: Excerpted from Hafner, Albert. "Archaeological discoveries on Schnidejoch and at other ice sites in the European Alps." In addition to the bow, archaeologists turned up an accompanying quiver, arrows, leggings, a shoe, and assorted pieces of leather. All dated to ~4600 cal. BP. The birchbark bow case: From … So much gear in fact, and so complete, that the archaeological team thought they must have found the last resting place of another ancient alpinist. A “Schnidi” to go with “Ötzi”, on the reasoning that only in extremis would an alpinist offload & dsicard his or her survival equipment. AFAIK no accompanying body was ever found. OK, so here's the point of all this from a paleoclimatic perspective. I mentioned in the previous post that these organic artifacts: mummies, faunal remains from hunting and butchering, leather, textiles, basketwork, wood – don't last long outside their preserving matrix. When Ötzi first emerged from the ice, and in light of the worry the Austrians and Italians had in stabilizing the mummy, it was argued that everyone's favorite Tyrolean murder victim had been buried by snow immediately after death, and that he had remained continuously covered in the intervening 5000 or so years. In a recent overview of the topic, Rachel Reckin asks “well how long do these remains actually last?” She points out that there aren't any experimental studies on the preservation or durability after exposure of these kinds of remains, probably on account of there aren't that many of them to begin with and most archaeologists are more concerned with the challenges of immediate conservation rather than doing experiments on their precious ice mummies. The detailed CSI work on Ötzi suggests that in fact he: 1. sat in a stiff, dry wind for a while, 2. was covered by snow and ice, which 3. melted such that he was immersed in cold water for some weeks and then 4. re-froze. They get this from his “freeze-dried-then-dunked” character and the fact that his reed cape had come apart and was evenly distributed across all the other objects since recovered. This happened sometime between his death and ~3000 cal BP based on the intact stratigraphic layer with organic materials emplaced immediately above. Ötzi's resting place was, like the ice patches mentioned above, one of those protected places that gathered enough accumulation to remain more-or-less permanent, but not so much it started to move as a glacier. Non-glacial perennial land ice accumulates in a variety of ways depending on how its situated, and is maintained by stabilizing topographical and microclimatic features: From Glazirin and crew, “Stability of drjfting snow-type perennial snow patches … And they melt out in ways particular to their setting. It might “slice out” like this ridgeline “minature ice cap” at the Murtel-Corvatsch ice crest in the eastern Swiss Alps Photo credit as in the image.
  10. Don't eat the brownish-black snow. People now and in the prehistoric era go (went) into the mountains for a lot of reasons, not limited to: trade, hunting, quarrying obsidian, flint and other lithic resources, finding surface metals, gathering of foodstuffs and medicines, acquiring status & luxury goods including furs and feathers, for reasons of religion and wonder, and the transhumant. To do these journeys, alpine travelers from the ancient to the modern invented appropriate gear for mountain travel. Here's a very brief blog post that gives an overview: What I like about this is that there's some mention in there that Coast Range alpine environments were and are extreme and in the modern era we would expect persons undertaking such a journey to be experienced and prepared; the message to us is that the Native alpinists of the past were in fact properly geared-up adventurers and explorers of great skill. In the late 1990s two hikers, Kristin Kuzyk and her wildlife biologist husband Gerald, went into the mountains of the Yukon tracking Dall sheep. Their walk was interrupted by the powerful stank of caribou crap. What they found was a patch of melting ice with a slick of decomposing manure oozing out of it. Caribou hadn't been seen there for three quarters of a century. Later, Kuzyk and a colleague turned up a 4000 year atlatl, and kicked off the discipline of ice archaeology. It was a new discipline because scientists hadn't really thought the 1991 discovery of Ötzi all the way through. Finding the mummified tyrolean traveler was a one-off, an amazing gift of chance, and archaeologists didn't put it together that human use of alpine resources on or near the ice might have been regular, intense, and focused enough that – combined with glacial retreat – it would merit a programmatic search for likely sites. In short, getting to these ice patches is a big freakin' pain in the butt to go someplace cold, dangerous and uncomfortable, so why would anyone have gone there, and who wants to stumble through the mountains on the off-chance of finding another Ötzi? Hunting is and was of course a big reason for men and women to be at altitude, and hunting is the reason ice patch archaeology pays off. I'm terrible at hunting. I hate bushwhacking, and I'm bad at being patient so my preferred method is to find a likely spot, put down the rifle, and pick up a book. Hunters ancient and modern agree with me that clowning around in the woods is a bad way to get the job done and a better way is to find where the game is going to be, and go straight there. I'm sure you all are on board with the idea that the north in summer is godawful for flies and mosquitoes. Caribou and reindeer concur, so what they do is haul on up to ice patches in the daytime to dodge the heat and wait out the clouds of biting insects. From the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Center. Ancestral First Nations hunters took one look at that and decided it was a vast, convenient chest freezer full of walking meat. Because these patches concentrated hunters, they concentrated lost or discarded hunting gear. PWNHC The summary below draws on an array of recent publications by Canadian researchers and is illustrated with resources from Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre who approve use of their material for educational purposes. They have a very neat interactive exhibit for young people (linked below). For those of you who want the academic material they have an extensive bibliography (go to the menu) detailing current ice patch research for both North America and the world. Map of the study area: Figure from Multidisciplinary Investigations of Alpine Ice Patches in Southwest Yukon, Canada: Paleoenvironmental and Paleobiological Investigations. Richard Farnell lead author. Like upthread, ice patches are distinct from glaciers; they are static or mostly so, and do not cycle through their ice on century time scales. They frequently form in north-facing lee hollows or other places where snow drifts & accumulates, then compacts to ice on a permanent, semipermanent, or empheral basis. Because they are static, their layers and their contents are less deformed by flow, and they have the potential to preserve a clear chronological record. Their existence is delicate: too much accumulation and you have an active glacier. Too little and the patch melts out. However, they are also robust: the patches have selfregulating feedback features. Organic material in the bottom two crap layers of the Granger patch has been radiocarbon dated to 8000 and 8300 cal BP. Arrowheads and ceramics are durable and relatively plentiful; intact atlatls, darts with points, fletching and binding still attached, baskets, leather, textiles, faunal remains – anything with an organic component – is much more rare and exciting. Some ice patch finds are quite finely made and beautiful, like this copper-headed dart the point of which is worked from a nugget of high quality surface copper and fixed to a barbed bone shaft. Found in the Wrangell-St. Elias NP, it has been dated to ca. 1600 cal BP. E. James Dixon of the NPS via the Northwest Coast Archaeology blog Like Terry mentioned, the oldest objects recovered so far in North America are darts dating back to 10000 cal BP. Artifacts with organic components require unusual conditions (desert, bog, ice, etc.) to persist and must be found and conserved within months, weeks, or even days when removed or exposed from the preserving matrix. There is time pressure for this work. Fortunately caribou would visit patches regularly and in number, and herds would return to favored patches frequently. And caribou like to crap. They crap a lot in the snow. The dark ring of caribou crap is easily spotted from the air, as at this ice patch photographed in 2009 – although in Alaska patches are so potentially many and flight hours so few, there has been development of GIS software to identify likely candidates for aerial survey. Once a likely site is found, it is monitored for emerging finds regularly. PWNHC At likely patches, archaeologists walk the perimeter CSI'ing around for stray ballistics and anything else lost or discarded by ancient hunters. The caribou crap is a fertile (heh) source of data, as is the ice core. Cores can preserve a stratigraphic signal in the ice and capture dust & pollen; the caribou crap itself can be preserved as a seasonal layer or even be frozen as distinct individual pellets. All this material can be radiocarbon dated and the manure contains remains of the animals' diet as well as hair and other sources of genetic material. A madman billionaire could, if he or she wanted, use ice patches as the basis of a Mid-Holocene Park full of prolifically [email protected] ancestral caribou. Pictured are Thomas Meulendyk and Brian J. Moorman of the University of Calgary. Photo via PWNHC. Ice patch archaeology therefore in many ways involves working in conditions directly analogous to the back yard of every dog owner in the Great-Lakes & OHV forum come springtime. PWNHC As the Canadian research groups explain, caribou $h!t stratigraphy produces a well-dated record of local snow accumulation, climate conditions, ecology, and animal behavior. In this figure by Farnell and company showing the radiocarbon dated poop layers of three Canadian reference sites, we can see that the southern Yukon experienced a period of cooler temperatures and / or increased precipitation in the early Holocene followed by a near 2000 year interval during which there was no net ice accumulation or in which that ice was condensed by melting (or both), followed by 5000 years of a mostly stable cool-wet regime. Unlike glaciers, ice patches are small and can react rapidly to their regional climate and indeed their weather -- to a few bad years or a bad summer. Given that, note the necessary boundaries of ice patch behavior which limit the range of regional climate variability during the 2000 year icemanure hiatus: the patch neither accumulated so much ice as to start moving nor experienced catastrophic melt intense enough to wreck the underlying paleoice-and-crap horizon. Further, this is not relict Pleistocene ice; it is early Holocene ice on top of early Holocene poop. That does not, however, preclude there from having been previous icy caribou turd factories at these locations before the existing ones. Figure from Multidisciplinary Investigations of Alpine Ice Patches in Southwest Yukon, Canada: Paleoenvironmental and Paleobiological Investigations. Richard Farnell lead author. These findings combined with other paleobiological research and taken in general agreement with other paleoclimatic reconstructions of the Pac-NW indicate a relatively stable climate in this region on multimillenial timescales from the middle Holocene. At present these ice patches are, of course, melting rapidly. This is the patch above photographed again one year later in 2010. When the patches melt down, crap horizons from layers above mix onto / in with layers below, forming a jumbled “palimpsest” “poop puzzle” or manure “super layer”; exposed artifacts are threatened with rot, disintegration, or destruction via animal (in some places, caribou trampling). Ice patch archaeology is a new discipline but one with a potentially short lifespan as it faces the imminent loss of this unique record of human and animal life during the Holocene. PWNHC As of 2011 the above patch scorched out completely, erasing a landscape feature which had been present and more or less stable since ca. 3500 cal BP. Lastly, Archaeologists in the USA (Front range e.g.) and in Canada have found that bison used make use of ice patches in a similar fashion. Therefore it can truly be said I just sold you a huge line of bull$#!t
  11. thanks! Whats the word up north if you have time to share? I knew that 10kya stuff had turned up and it has implications for theories of human migration but I don't know much more than that.
  12. Also I think you made a typo there, more correct would be "remnants from the pre-Roman subminimum....."
  13. Thanks for reminding me to crosspost this for later discussion of Painter and crew's black carbon paper and discussion of worldwide vs regional coherency of the LIA
  14. The post above was rather long, first because this stuff interests me, second because in addition to being a scientific, technical, or economic issue, the rapid retreat of alpine ice is also a cultural and historical phenomenon. "Cultural" is often taken to be something of secondary importance, not quantifiable in dollar terms, and therefore "optional". But cultural means the sense of shared identity that goes into being from a nation or region, and it means our relationship to the past and those that went before. In bluntest terms, cultural means our relationship to the dead. So when we say the glaciers in the Alps are likely to lose 50% of their area regardless of further warming, that the rate of mass loss in the decade 1996-2005 was twice that of 1986-1995 and four times that of the period 1976-1985 -- overall double the maximum characteristic rate of long-term mass loss in the last two millenia -- we're talking about a profound change in the practical matters of daily life for those who live in or rely on alpine areas. But in the high eastern Alps, the Ortler massif and sourroundings, its also melting out a massive war grave and a historical legacy. Photos and figures from Luca Carturan of the University of Padova, showing mass balance, areal extent, and comparative photograph of the Careser glacier in the Ortler-Cevedale group. Like coventry said upthread these glaciers are not in equilibrium; many haven't "caught up" to the last two decades of warming. Some 80 or so war dead have come to light in the Alps during recent decades, found by alpinists, tourists, or SAR personnel on exercises. Its never "fun" to find a body, but bodies frozen in the ice can be especially eerie because of their state of preservation and odd location: not just buried in the ice, but frozen into walls and cliffs above eye level.Spoilered image is of human remains in case you don't care to see such things. Musea della Grande Guerra via Laura Spinney As with any graves registration group, the aim with such finds is to identify the dead and to rebury them with dignity: Laura Spinney's lengthy article about this topic is here: Spinney notes that in addition to bodies, melting glaciers wash out highly personal artifacts such as letters, poems, and photographs which are frequently still legible. Also still present are scattered UXO, some in rather large dumps, like this collection of ~200-odd medium caliber shells. Maffei Glauco / Trentino Italian / EPA Not perhaps as impressive as old blockbuster bombs they keep turning up in Germany or dangerous as other landmines and UXO still buried across farmland Europe-wide but awake-making nonetheless. The discussion above has focused on glaciers, but for archaeologists what is of even more interest is ice patches -- areas of ice that are static or nearly so. "Glacier bodies" and other material can be displaced quite a ways ot sometimes be terribly deformed by the movement of the ice, stretched into bizarre shapes or ground to hamburger. Glaciers, after all, carve rock. The bodies and artifacts they reveal have tended to be decades, or a few hundred years old. In contrast, ice patch finds have revealed objects and remains of Neolithic age. When ice patches melt out and reveal ancient bodies, leather, textiles, and other artifacts there is a limited time frame to find and retrieve them. Once exposed to sun and wind, they don't last long. Also, in both the case of Ötzi and the Schnidejoch, the first persons on the scene walked off with artifacts of astounding value. The rapid melting of the glaciers and alpine ice means that researchers cannot rely exclusively on the good fortune of passing hikers. Glacier and alpine ice archaeology in the present and future era of rapid melt requires aerial survey, historical research into most likely passes for prehistoric travel, modeling of glacier melt, identification of likely glacier lobes and connected icefields, meteorological monitoring to alert searchers in times of high melt, and topographic analysis of likely places to locate static ice or depressions and hollows likely to collect debris, artifacts, and remains. As with the assessment of hazards such as rockslides, wildfire, and glacial lake outbursts, planning for hydrologic impacts, and economic evaluation of changes to tourism, for alpine archaeology rapid climate change unprecedented on a millenium scale is not theory but a pressing reality. Next time: arcaheology via reindeer crap.
  15. In addition to treasure, the melting glaciers reveal tragedy. One of the places this is most salient is in Trentino-Südtirol. Area in question from a West Point history dept. map hosted at Wikicommons This region was scene to some of the most bitter and terrible fighting of the first World War. Italy's decision to enter the war against the Central Powers was the result of complex geopolitical, domestic and nationalist-irredentist maneuvering with the paradoxical result that some greeted the war with fervor, while others had little if any concrete idea why they were fighting. From Mark Tompson's The White War The last living Italian veteran to have enlisted at the start of the war, Carlo Orelli, died in 2005 at age 110. Fighting on this front took place under some of the most terrible conditions imaginable, even by the standards of the first World War, so much so that there were instances of men refusing to kill any more of their enemies. Thompson again: As the war pressed higher into the mountains -- at altitudes up to 12500 feet -- and became fixed to static positions, Italian, Austrian, and German troops began to entrench, tunnel, and carve salients into the glaciers and cliffs themselves. Soldiers would make use of crevasses and caves as the starting points for bunkers and dugouts. Cutting effective trenches frequently required pneumatic tools. In any case the difficulty of entrneching, relative lack of steel helmets and the rocky terrain meant that splinter wounds to the head were an extremely common way of being killed or injured. Here an Italian solider cuts a gangway to a forward position. From Dallo Stelvio al Garda, Alla Scoperta dei Manufatti della Prima Guerra Mondiale. The Alpini and Kaiserschützen struggled with complex vertical terrain with the aid of ropes and via ferrata; Some of these alpine soldiers accomplished free climbing at modern 5.7 wearing hobnailed boots and carrying cumbersome packs and rifles. It made for impressive photo ops as with this Italian observation post on Piz Umbrail: From Il Capitano sepolto nei Ghiacci . Others undertook hazardous rappels into precarious positions, as told in this report on the discovery of a sniper's nest in a rock chimney on Punta Emma written by Supertopo's Blakey. This is a great adventure-mystery tale, but also emphasizes that alpinists and hikers are frequent (re)discoverers of alpine artifacts, which per. Ötzi and the Schnidejoch, is relevant to the work of doing archaeology: Photo by Blakey. That kind of rappel on a hemp rope, in darkness, is a hair-raising feat. But the respective armies regularly went to similar great lengths to transport basic supplies, ammunition, and guns via ropeway, cable car, block and tackle... ... and plain old muscle power. The Austrians used forced labor, requiring gangs of Russian POWs to haul 88 to 150mm artillery all the way to the high reaches of the Ortler. And some of it is there still, like the three landmark cannons of Cevedale: Photo posted by John Race at the Northwest Mountain School blog. Among all these challenges there was the continual threat of cold, falls, lightning strike, and the danger of avalanche; we think of the mud of the Somme and Passchendaele, but some 50,000 soldiers were buried in avalanches during the mountain war. In other words, the melting glaciers of the alps have a lot of hidden tragedy to reveal.
  16. Archaeology from the ice As temperature continues to warm and glaciers continue their precipitous retreats worldwide, archaeology and allied disciplines have received an odd benefit in numerous artifacts and ancient debris being released for the first time in hundreds, or thousands of years. This post and the next kind of meander through pictures and stories before getting back to the topic of climate change. Glaciers and ice have a history of spitting up odd and gruesome reminders of the past – the ice mummy Ötzi most famously – and of preserving strange treasures for mountaineers to find. Last year an alpinist on Mont Blanc turned up $300,000 dollars worth of jewels lost in an Air India crash from the 1960s: AP Photo. In 1977 a Lockheed Lodestar chock full of dope crashed into Lower Merced Pass Lake and set off a goldrush among the Camp 4 climbing community, who trekked up with Jack Londonesque fervor to hack bales of weed out of the ice. Spoilered picture has image of drugs in case your workplace policy forbids it: Photo by Ron Lykins, who was there: His whole gallery of the dope excavation is here: “The first 7 or so are at the lake in April (chopping pot out of the ice) the others are the snowshoe trip when we found the wing, shots of the wing included.¨ By all reports the cargo was thoroughly soaked in aviation fuel: Two long and highly entertaining threads on the legend here including commentary by a lot of people who were there, assorted authors and climbers of note, and the spouse of one of the flight crew:
  17. In short rapid AGW needs to be a part of the conversation for CA because first because it is already incredibly vulnerable to drought & heat. With AGW well, that would be "real real bad". We don't need that risk. Doing the adaptation and decarbonization now is worth it. Second because it is a major leader in broader US policy what we do matters outside the state; in fact its CO2 emissions per capita are already among the lowest in the nation. late edit: to be slightly more specific about the risks (and given the limitations of regional climate models) using a conservative emissions & sensitivity scenario by late century that would mean perhaps a doubling of heat waves, half again the number of dry water years, a 25% increase in blockbuster fires, a cut in Sierra snowpack by 25% or more, a cut in Peninsular / Transverse range snowpack by yet more; extreme heat days are expected to be yet more frequent in the LA area ranges at altitude. Move all the mountain ecozones up by 300 meters or so. Anticipate a population of 60 million; figure on more pressure on groundwater supply when flows in the Colorado drop by 10% or more. Decide which habitat refurbishment projects in the Delta & elsewhere are going to get scrapped. Start right now and shell out five billion dollars to rehab the Salton Sea.
  18. Yes. Many many people in rural CA are redstate as all get out and either believe climate change is a lie made up by Al Gore or don't give a crap about it. Its not like we don't think about water or fire or aren't educated about it -- lots of rural semirural men and women in CA are seriously involved in their water district or are out there wielding chainsaws and pulaskis. Its a paradox that we don't think on the multibillions & ecological alterations it took / takes -- the immense tax hit and legislative priority! The huge opportunity costs! The elaborate bureaucracy! -- to build and maintain the water projects and wildland management we already have, developed in response to droughts we already experienced, and we don't care to do the accounting projecting that forward in best, likely, bad, and catastrophically bad AGW exacerbated scenarios.
  19. The trick is, like skierinvermont says, is that OK, drought in CA has been bad historically. In fact, paleoclimate indicates it may have been much worse.In fact as is sorta a cliche by now, we had the great misfortune from a planning perspective to have allocated the Colorado's water after a decade of flow measurements done during an abnormally wet decade. And CA has 38 million people and a rather large economy locked in a precarious relationship with water already. As the CA water blog points out, historically bad drought in CA has spurred policy change and infrastructure development: After a century of this and multibillions of private, muni, county, State, and Federal dollars getting spent on water and fire we're starting to hit limits of what can be done with surface & groundwater. Even absent climate change. Again, as skier says, the best guess on what AGW means for CA is notably drier and hotter. So when we get events like the current drought, CA elected officials need to be hammering home for the electorate that as we do policymaking, economic development, land use, individual habit, and so on in the current drought we need to spend one dang minute thinking 30 or 40 years out at the prospect of more people, combined with more (and more) diverse commitments of water, and less water to go around. That conversation has got to be pessimistic about climate impacts for CA and aggressive about being conservative -- because if it turns out that Mike Mann and James Hansen are frauds and charlatans or just plain wrong or whatever and water availability remains much as it is, fine. CA can go back to building tickytacky semirural ranch houses in seismically active burn zones and accept those risks that we're already used to and eventually it will no longer be feasible costwise to waste water on stupid crap and we'll stop that kind of expansion. If they're right, then you got millions of people and billions of dollars of investment sunk into economic activity and infrastructure that is no longer tenable and suddenly its people getting displaced and industry shutting down. If they're right, ... 30, 40 years from now boy will our faces be red.
  20. Have a look at the two blogs mentioned, Weather West and this Tahoe OpenSnow summary: Nothing like a bunch of skiers to give Lakes snow lovers a run for capacity to be disappointed: That 8-station index: Anyhow here's hoping CA gets a thorough soaking through February and March.
  21. Jonger there's a whole thread in Central/Western about the drought and you could get some Bear Flag perspectives on whether the drought out there merits Masters posting about it.
  22. Interesting post and comment stream on antarctic sea ice datasets at Tamino:
  23. 6F on the southside but the dead calm makes it a huge relief.
  24. Yeah it'd be killing bad news for homeless, elderly, and stranded motorists.