Has Global Warming scrapped icebreakers too soon?

via  The Business Insider,  January 12, 2018

  • The Navy’s new littoral combat ship, USS Little Rock, was commissioned on December 16 and planned to head for open ocean the next day, with stops along the way.
  • Its departure was delayed, and it has been stuck in Montreal since arriving there.
  • The Little Rock is the fifth Freedom-class littoral combat ship to enter service and the most recent ship to enter service for the Navy.

The US Navy’s latest littoral combat ship, USS Little Rock, was commissioned in Buffalo, New York, on December 16 and scheduled to depart the following day for its home port at Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Florida.

Unfortunately for the Navy’s newest commissioned warship, the weather has not been cooperative.

The ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Todd Peters, decided to delay the departure from Buffalo for three days because weather conditions on Lake Erie. It left on December 20, traveling through the Welland Canal to reach Lake Ontario and then through the St. Lawrence Seaway for a regularly scheduled stop in Montreal.

Photos posed on the ship’s Facebook page on December 27 showed it had made it to Montreal. The ship was scheduled to leave the next day for Halifax, Nova Scotia and then reach open ocean by December 30.

However, because of ice and a lack of tug boats to guide it out, the Little Rock remains in Montreal, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Courtney Hillson, public affairs officer for the US Naval Surface Force Atlantic, told Business Insider on Thursday.

While in Montreal, the ship’s crew has done routine repair work, including on a cable associated with the ship’s steerable waterjet, which is part of the propulsion system. That system has caused problems for other littoral combat ships.

Those repairs were completed on January 4, Hillson said, and in the days since the crew has been doing routine work to “ensure readiness” for any future taskings.

US Navy littoral combat ship USS Little Rock St. Lawrence Seaway iceUS Navy littoral combat ship USS Little Rock heading toward Montreal, December 27, 2017. USS Little Rock/Facebook

The Little Rock is the most recent ship to enter service for the US Navy, commissioned two days after the USS Portland, a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock. The Little Rock is the fifth Freedom-class littoral combat ship to join the fleet. There are also five Independence-class littoral combat ships in service.

The vessel is 389 feet long and has a draft of 13.5 feet, according to a Navy fact sheet. It has a top speed of over 45 knots and displaces about 3,400 tons with a full load.

It has a modular design that allows it to carry out anti-surface, anti-mine, and anti-submarine operations, and the ship’s approximately 70 sailors are trained to perform a number of tasks. It is outfitted with a helicopter pad, a ramp for small boats, and can carry and deploy small assault forces.

US Navy littoral combat ship USS Little RockThe littoral combat ship USS Little Rock is launched into the Menominee River in Marinette, Wisconsin, after a christening ceremony, July 18, 2015. US Navy

Its flight deck is the largest of any US Navy surface combatant, and its armaments include an MK 31 Rolling Airframe Missile System, an MK 110 57 mm gun, crew-served and small-caliber guns, and other weapons systems that can be tailored to specific missions.

The ship is scheduled for more training and combat-systems testing in 2018, Peters, the ship’s commanding officer, told The Buffalo News.

The ship’s crew completed a previous round of assessments scheduled for 121 days in only 63 days. Once the next round of testing and training is finished, the ship will start conducting missions, according to The Buffalo News.

While the Little Rock’s current problems are caused by nature, it has been waylaid by manmade issues in the past.

In September 2016, the Navy halted all littoral combat ship operations after the fourth accident in the span of a year. The halt also prompted the Navy to have leaders at the Navy’s Surface Warfare Officer’s School review the littoral combat ship training program and recommend changes if they saw fit.

Congressional leaders have criticized the littoral-combat-ship program. Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain has blasted the growing cost of the ships as a “classic example” of defense acquisition gone awry. McCain and others also expressed frustration when the White House intervened in May to include an extra littoral combat ship in the Navy’s 2018 budget request.

weather-guessers and almanacs

traffic is a nightmare when it rains in San Diego

In spite of PhDs and supercomputers,  I have observed in The Old Farmer’s Almanac having as good or better record for tracking weather.   OFA18_Continuity__59367.1499713920The natural world – with and without man’s intervention –  is often unpredictable.  After the firestorms particularly in southern California last month, residents knew it would only be a matter of time before the winter rains came and turned the barren hillsides into avalanches of mud.   Today mud, rain and debris adds insult to ashen injury.   Newscasters will converge on the latest personal tragedy,  but other people will also mobilize to render aid, help clean up and show their compassion and humanity.

last week in Boston. Courtesy of Weather Channel.

Across the country, last week in New England and other parts of the Northeast,  a blizzard some were likening to an icy hurricane made life difficult;  the Southwest was balmy and dry.  Perhaps on one winter Sunday morning,  a frozen water heater supply pipe in an attic burst;   for someone else, it may have been navigating sixty miles along unplowed Virginia highway (without snow tires) when an overnight snow caught everyone by surprise.  Or equally resilient, a Pennsylvania widow in her 70s, shovels ten-foot drifts of Lake (Erie)-effect snow every winter to get to her car.    In the Southeast and Appalachia,  weather inflicts misery most years.  “If the crick don’t rise” (and flood the house) is not a quaint form of speech.  In Norfolk, Virginia,  with the threat of an approaching hurricane,  ships put to sea; residents ashore advise newcomers how to avoid the oddly deep ditches on either side of local roads.  For the unwary, hurricanes and late summer downpours may turn cars into submarines.

In California and along the West Coast,  a severe earthquake – once or twice in a person’s lifetime – randomly strikes.   Few flee the state because of activity along the San Andreas fault.  People adapt equally to the weather.   When it rains in winter, fire season the following year may be bad.  Sunshine and predictable temperatures offset even those who lose their property to wildfire.   They rebuild.   In 2017, wine country was devastated by wildfire, then southern California from Ventura northwest to Santa Barbara and to the south,  part of  Riverside county and northern San Diego county went ablaze as well.

Firefighters keep watch on the Thomas wildfire in the hills and canyons outside Montecito, California
Thomas fire, Montecito, Calfornia (Reuters)

Wildfires is the natural disaster that most Californians fear.  It affects most Californians as most of the population live in the regions that prior residents and stewards  have done their best and worst to preserve from fire.   It may take decades for the land to recover.   But Nature heals itself in time.   So I do not spend a lot of time worrying about the weather or climate science or climate change.   I take care of my property and help others where I am able.




Set condition Zebra

In a matter of hours, an awesome and terrifying force of Nature,   Hurricane “Irma”  will batter Florida.  Like another deadly storm twenty-five years earlier,  Andrew, this one has a bead on southern Florida – yet the entire Atlantic coastline and perhaps some of the Gulf along the Panhandle may suffer.  This storm has already obliterated some of the eastern Caribbean islands including Barbuda, and damaged Puerto Rico and is heading toward the mainland.   Potentially, a large swath of human activity will be reduced to rubble and debris.   A week earlier Hurricane Harvey churned into the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana and dumped a record four feet of rain, flooding  cities and towns and creating tens of thousands of people needing shelter.   With Irma yet to make landfall in the continental U.S.,  the toll in property and on lives is not yet known.   And then there is a third storm, Jose,  which may follow his siblings from the western Atlantic and into the Caribbean behind Irma and Harvey.

With the passage of millennia,  the ability to prepare for the predictable storm season, and to track storms through technology has saved countless lives.  And if not able to accurately predict when or where an earthquake will strike,  systems are being improved to give adequate warning – and to survive.   One thing is certain,  in times of crisis,  our community of nations does manage to put aside animosities and rivalries and provide assistance to those in need.

Except some Hollywood actors.   I heard today that actress Jennifer Lawrence thinks hurricanes are the byproduct of Donald Trump’s election.    Sounds a bit like some movie she might have acted in – man-made natural forces controlled by a dictator.    Perhaps Hollywood can offer a virgin for sacrifice – which is how some ancient cultures attempted to appease the Natural forces threatening them.  However, it wouldn’t work with these bloviating types – no virgins to be found.

The world should join in prayer to protect and to relieve those now suffering and for those in harm’s way.


My Ant Can Kick Your Weathercenter Uncle’s Butt any Day!

Ants are a heck of a lot more accurate than weathermen on TV.   Monitoring these ants diligently preparing their nest and moving material and food to and fro, I have received confirmation that they know environmental changes before we do.
In April 1900, an article in the New York Times appeared to confirm the practice – in the age of science / dawn of a new century – noting the behavior of insects including bees and ants, to predict weather fairly reliably.  A hundred ten years later, and we might still find our superior technology at a disadvantage.  This past week, in a particularly cloudless day, these Arizona ants were busy preparing for a downpour, (corroborated by similar observation over a number of years) which by the following day proved to be accurate.   And despite the weatherman on TV stating that there was a minimal chance of precipitation in the following 24 hours,  the ants proved to be the ones prepared.
If technology and wizardry can be outdone by an insect, it doesn’t say much about our Global Warming paranoid- environmentalism, now does it?     I may listen to the TV News, but in a cloudless sky, my money is on the ants predicting whether or not to bring my GoreTex with me tomorrow.