China: (2010) Worst Sea Ice in 30 years

From China Daily (From 2010 – to give perspective):

The highest volume of sea ice in three decades has affected fish farming, sea transportation and offshore oil drilling.

Those living on Juhua Island, the largest in the gulf, are no strangers to the situation. Bohai freezes every year and villagers are usually prepared. “The island has a long history and we have become used to life in winter, so in autumn we start storing rice, meat, vegetables and other necessities,” said Liu.

So, not all THAT unusual to have a freeze, but just the worst in 30 years… So, about that 60 year cycle of temperatures and things warming from 1970 to 2000…

More of the article:

In Bohai, all at sea on the ice
By He Na in Huludao and Zhao Ruixue in Laizhou (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-01-27 06:57

Where you can see the date. January 2010. So we ought to start watching China for more news of Sea Ice in the next month or two. If we have a repeat “that matters”. As it is, we clearly are not having “Global Warming” if we’re where we were 30 years back…

Shipping, fish farming hit by worst freeze in three decades

There is no need for fishermen to chain their boats to the shores of Juhua Island; they have all been frozen firmly to the spot since the Bohai Bay turned into a massive ice rink.

From the beach, the seascape is a glistening, unmoving block that has become impossible for ferries to navigate. Tricycle riders are the only ones brave enough to transport residents across the 7.5-km of ice that separates the island from Xingcheng, the closest city on the mainland in Liaoning province.
The island’s 3,200 residents have been cut off from the mainland since Jan 5 when the ice became too thick for boats to pass through. As it is hard to judge the depth of the ice, the local government banned pao bing and set up special patrols to prevent it. But people are still taking the risk.

Jan 5. So that makes it about 3 or 4 weeks from now if we are going to have a ‘match’.

But by a couple of weeks later, it was the worst sea ice in 40 years…

Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) — China’s worst sea ice in 40 years showed signs of receding after subzero temperatures and strong gales froze parts of Bohai Sea, where Cnooc Ltd. drills for oil and natural gas, for more than three weeks.

The ice floes have decreased in size, with 32 percent of the sea frozen as of today, the State Oceanic Administration said. That compares with 39 percent yesterday.

China faced its coldest winter in at least 50 years as heavy snowfalls disrupted overland transportation while fog and high winds shut seaports, including Qinhuangdao in Bohai Bay, from which the nation ships half of its seaborne coal. Tianjin, China’s third-biggest cargo port, has been unaffected by the sea ice that first appeared in early January, said Yu Rumin, chairman of Tianjin Port (Group) Co.

Oh dear… Not only is it the icy, China had it’s worst winter in 50 years. This is just getting worse and worse…

This Year?

WUWT has a nice sea ice page, and right now it has some graphs showing sea ice rising a bit faster than last year, or even several years.

NOAA Sea Ice Area page

NOAA Sea Ice Area page

Notice the red line is above all but 2008 and about to break into the band of the averages. Looks to me like things are just doing a regular wobble and we’re wobbling back to the cold side.

If you hit the WUWT page, you can see that sea ice is already forming in the very top end of Yellow Sea, in the part called the Bohai Sea. More ice pages here:

It will be interesting to watch where the ice ends this year. Though it will be hard to get another “worst in 30 years” what with last 2 years standing in the way…

Sidebar On Fish, Murder, and China

The thing that got me headed this way was a story in the crawler on the news. That happens a lot for me. Some “not much of story” in the eyes of the news editor that, to me, says maybe there’s a bit more “there there” than what they see.

So last year, they had sea ice interfere with oil drilling and fishing in that area. Notice that the date on this article is January 2011. If you are not catching enough fish, what do you do? Well, maybe you fish a little further south where it’s warmer… and maybe just a bit in someone else’s waters where you don’t take fish from your Chinese Comrades:

Sea ice interrupts offshore drilling, fishing in China’s north
23:19, January 07, 2011

Rapidly expanding sea ice has interrupted offshore drilling, fishing and other economic activities in the Bohai and Yellow seas.

The Meteorological Bureau in China’s northeast Liaoning Province said Friday 9,795 square kilometers of ice had developed in the two seas.

Shandong Provincial Maritime Affairs Bureau has decided to dispatch rescue helicopters and fishing inspections boats to monitor the situation and aid rescue operations if required, said a bureau spokesman.

As the sea ice expands, the maritime affairs department has ordered the closure of the Binzhou and Haimiao harbors.

The ice has also interrupted the loading of cargo at Weifang and Dongying harbors, China’s coal and oil transportation hubs.

What happened THIS winter (well, fall…)?

South Korea Accuses Chinese Captain of Stabbing Coast Guard Officers

Published December 11, 2011

Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea – A South Korean coast guard officer was killed and another injured Monday when they were stabbed by a Chinese captain whose boat was stopped for suspected illegal fishing in South Korean waters, officials said.
The coast guard said it has seized about 430 Chinese ships for illegal fishing in the Yellow Sea so far this year, up from 370 last year. The coast guard usually releases the ships after a fine is paid, though violence occasionally occurs.

IMHO, we’ll be seeing more of this kind of thing.

So, we have the scramble for food, we have territorial disputes picking up, we have clashes.

Oh, and we have ice starting to interfere with the Chinese “coal and oil transportation hubs”. As we cycle back into a ‘regularly cold’ and icy 30 year cycle, this will continue and get worse. IF we are also in a Maunder Minimum type event, this will be getting even worse than that.

The useful bit is that we now have a simple yardstick to watch. China / S. Korea conflict in the Yellow Sea. Sea Ice being a problem in December, with troubles in January. Add in some watching for crop failures in North Korea from cold summers and it’s a pretty easy way to pick up a non-fudged view of what’s really happening.

So time to start China Watching…

For this year, though, it looks like North Korea is doing OK. It’s got 8.5% more harvest than last year (though that is measuring from a low year) and has food imports:

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (the)
North Korea harvest improves but serious nutrition concerns persist

Food and Agriculture Organization, World Food Programme

Rome, 25 Nov 2011 — An assessment conducted by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) indicates an improvement in the main annual harvest for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) compared to 2010 but highlights ongoing concerns over the nutrition situation, particularly among young children.

The joint FAO/WFP report, published today, estimates that while harvests are expected to increase by about 8.5 percent over last year, the country will still have a cereal import requirement of 739 000 metric tons. With planned Government imports for the year at 325 000 tons there remains an uncovered cereal deficit of 414 000 tons.

The report concludes that nearly 3 million people will continue to require food assistance in 2012. Pulses and fortified blended foods are recommended specifically to address the problem of protein deficiency, to help recovery from a severe lean season and to prevent a further spike in malnutrition.

There is more at the link about other indications of ongoing food problems, including folks foraging for wild foods

”In 2011, coping strategies adopted by many people in DPRK to alleviate food shortages have included sourcing supplies from relatives living in rural areas, the collection of wild foods, and using local informal market mechanisms. In some cases, factories and other enterprises assisted their workers by organising expeditions into mountains or by directly distributing purchased food.

So they are basically living on the edge. Getting time off for organized food scavenging.

As we get a colder world, they will have it even worse, and they have nukes. At some point, something is going to give. The question is just “what”… That is what makes it important to keep an eye on the Yellow Sea and sea ice as we enter the new year.

Subscribe to feed

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in AGW and Weather News Events and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to China: (2010) Worst Sea Ice in 30 years

  1. Mike Jonas says:

    A dose of reality – “Worst” Sea Ice means the MOST sea ice. Amazing how the warmists have got away with portraying less ice as BAD.

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    @Mike Jonas:

    Good point… In China and Korea I’m pretty sure they are not lauding the arrival of more ice. Warm is good, cold is bad…

    Oh, and while I don’t know what percentage of oil and coal enter through those ice exposed ports, but it might be worth watching for China shifting to a more seasonal buying pattern with more summer buys of coal and oil…

  3. George says:

    Record cold in Iceland

    Record cold in Bahrain

    Record cold in Alaska

    And note this from the Alaska article

    Just this past week, it was announced that the largest glacier in Chile at the southern tip of South America, the PIO XI GLACIER, is “growing at the astounding rate of 50 meters in height, length and density every day!”

    Located in the Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, the PIO XI GLACIER is as big as the city of Santiago, Chile’s capital. It is the largest glacier in the entire Patagonia Icefield with a surface area of 1265 square kilometers. The past four winter seasons combined, again since 2007, have been the snowiest in more than 200 years in extreme southern Chile and neighboring Argentina. One town at an elevation of 4,500 feet gauged more than three feet of snow in a single day on July 24, 2011. Thousands of sheep and at least three dozen people died in the all-time record blizzard from exposure.

    On Nov. 18, it was announced that glaciers in the southern Pyrenees of Spain are likewise growing, especially the glacier called ‘HELL.’ (I guess that ‘hell’ really is ‘freezing over.’)

    I have more but only three links to an posting is allowed, if I recall.

  4. E.M.Smith says:


    It is site configurable. I’ve had it over 5 since almost the beginning. Right now it’s set at 8 links. So “line away” ;-)

    No need to spread things out in a bunch of small comments….

    Snowiest in 200 years in Patagonia? Maybe I need to watch there more closely… They have good wine too ;-)

  5. R. de Haan says:

    It was not only China that got it’s fair share of winter weather, ice and snow.
    I spend quite some time following the rescue attempts of several ships stick in heavy ice in the Sea of Ochotsk

    The Sea of Ochotsk has been the poster child of the climate alarmists resulting in numerous articles about the “dramatic” loss of sea ice.

    However, when last winter the dramatic events developed when a number of big ships got caught in the ice and rescue attempts failed for weeks MSM failed to report.

    Only Eureferendum carried the news first hand.

    Only a few weeks later dozens of ships got stuck in the Baltic.

    This winter Nome, Alaska missed it’s fuel carrier because it got stuck in the ice in November right after the mega storm that struck, leaving the town without it’s winter fuel stock.

    At this moment in time the USA only has a single ice breaker which is not suited for thick sea ice.

  6. dearieme says:

    ” North Korea is doing OK. It’s got 8.5% more harvest than last year”: how do you know?

  7. adolfogiurfa says:

    A globalized “Gore effect”!!! :-)

  8. E.M.Smith says:


    Source quote in the article. Add in low ‘western bribe’ demands this year and that the summer weather was OK to confirm. There were a couple of other articles I read too (but didn’t link) that confirmed some bits. Realize “OK” is a very modest hurdle. Below ‘recovering well’ and ‘good’ and ‘better’ and ‘great’ and ‘spectacular’. Just one step above ‘bad’. Roughly the same as ‘tolerable’.

    FWIW, I don’t expect it to last. Next cool summer they are toast, IMHO. When is that? Inside a decade, likely about 2 years.


    Yes, he’s grown so much he is influencing the whole planet. The theory holds that his added mass has caused the polar wobble to increase, causing more severe weather in both hemispheres ;-) It goes by the unwieldy name of “Al Gore planetary instability crisis”…

  9. I’d certainly like to see an independent team get a look at how the ice satellite instrument data is processed. It is intriguing to me that this sort of thing (unusually cold winters in the North Atlantic and North Pacific) are accompanied by ice “nearly the lowest on record.” That thought is reinforced by reports like this.

    Especially since the ice reports show the occasional massive blip as reflectivity changes and they have to recalibrate to get the desired reading. The ice changes reflectivity as it has a water layer on top, and they tune the processing until they get the result they want. Is it the right result?

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  10. cm says:

    Hi E.M.
    The JAXA website has some interesting stuff about how tropical storms cool the oceans.
    have a look at this,you can see the energy transfer from sea to storm in the trace quite clearly.

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    @cm: Really nice video!

    I’ve felt that effect in Florida. As a storm passed off shore, the whole land mass cooled due to air being sucked into the storm.

    @Keith deHavelle:

    I have my doubts about the ice detection too. Snow vs ice vs water vs frozen fog? Sure you can sort that out real time 24 x 7… And depth too?… But it’s usable enough for most things.

  12. George says:

    Rainy summer in Norway reduces feed production which in turn has reduced dairy production resulting in a butter shortage:

  13. E.M.Smith says:


    That’s a fun one! Silly people… Busting a visiting Russian bringing in black market butter during a 30% or more butter shortage? Silly people, ought to just invite the Russian Butter Trucks to roll in and sell it by the kilo…

    Oh Well, why let market forces fix a problem when you can have government intervention make it worse instead…

    Butter can be frozen for months ( I usually buy 4 or 5 pounds at a shot and put 3 of them in the freezer) so this is entirely fixable. Just load up a freezer ship with butter and haul it in…

    Ah, well. So we can add watching the butter price in the north as a useful metric ;-)

  14. Pascvaks says:

    ‘you got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, and know when to run, you never count your money when your sitting at the table, there’ll be time enough for counting when the dealings done’ (The Gambler)

    When you’re freezing and your people are hungry it really does matter what you believe in and how much you bet on ideology. I can’t believe there isn’t 10 good men in all of NK to save it from the stupidity in control now. But then Lot had the same problem.

  15. George says:

    North Dakota is bracing for both record cold weather this winter and drought. (Remember COLD periods tend to be DRY periods, not the other way around as the ‘climate change’ spinners would have you believe).

    And here we see the development of the “cooling is really warming” meme that I predicted would come:

    Osborne places some of the blame on a switch in ocean currents that’s melting more north polar ice than usual. That creates an above-average amount of open water, which in turn affects the jet stream, a current of fast-flowing air at high altitudes that plays an important role in weather formation.

    He does have a point though, but the problem is that the only ocean that is currently warming is the Indian Ocean. The rest are actually cooling. I wonder what “switch” in ocean currents he has in mind. Also, ocean currents are driven by the wind. He implies here that the wind is responding to the current, it works the other way around.

  16. George says:

    Blizzard for Southwest Monday. Amarillo on the dividing line between 3 inches and 9 inches of snow depending on if it starts as rain or not.

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    Probably ought to have checked on this back in January / February, but it looks like it was nice and cold in the seas off of China:

    Feb. 1, 2012. The National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center issued a sea ice blue alert recently. [Xinhua]

    Many seashells and sea cucumbers had died from suffocation due to icy conditions in Bohai Sea off Qinghuangdao city, Zhang Zhijun, director of the Fisheries Bureau of Changli county under the jurisdiction of Qinhuangdao, said on Sunday.

    Almost all the shallow sea’s buoys and an estimated 80 percent of its kelp had been caught up in the ice and carried off, leading to significant economic losses for local fishermen, Zhang explained.

    Zhang said it was the second time over the past six years that the region was hit by serious sea ice, a result of low temperature since January.

    It is expected that floating sea ice off the cities of Qinghuangdao and Tangshan will not ease in the next few days, said Zhang Wanlei, an engineer for Hebei Marine Forecasts.

    On Friday the North China Sea Marine Forecasting Center of the State Oceanic Administration said the maximum outer edge of floating ice over the Liaodong Bay north of Qinhuangdao had shrunk to 57 nautical miles from 74 nautical miles a day earlier.

    But the National Meteorological Center warned on Sunday that a new cold wave will sweep China nationwide from Sunday evening to Tuesday, bringing gale winds and plunging temperature by over ten degrees Celsius in some areas in the north.

    Probably more stories out there if a bit more digging were done.

Comments are closed.