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…
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.
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: http://sites.google.com/site/arcticseaicegraphs/
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
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.