A School Bus for an Ice Age
Suppose we do have a little ice age. How will we get around from place to place, on all of that ice? The red contraption pictured above may be one answer to the question. Believe it or not, it is used during colder winters as a School Bus, to ferry children living on Madeline Island to their mainland school in lovely Bayfield.
Though the trip offers a breathtaking panorama in a winter-wonderland sort of way, with this part of Lake Superior taking on the look of the grandest, most pristine ice rink the imagination can conjure, the windsled is purely utilitarian.
The 9,000-pound vehicle, propelled by its twin fans and steered by a driver much the way a regular bus would be, is heated and has padded benches with room for about 20 students. Beyond that, there are no luxuries. Loud and bumping along at 18 miles an hour, it hardly qualifies as a thrill ride...Because of the pounding it takes on the ice, the windsled is a high-maintenance machine. It was built in 2000 with a grant of half a million dollars from the federal Department of Transportation.
...The windsled was built by Arnie and Ronald Nelson, brothers who own a local construction business and who operate the sled under contract with La Pointe and the school district. It is kept light on its feet by its forward motion and the way the design disperses its four and a half tons over its 336 square feet.
The Nelsons regularly check the ice for safety. Once it freezes to a depth of greater than 11 inches, as it typically does by mid-to-late winter, the bay is deemed safe for cars and light trucks. A road is then plowed in the top layer of ice, and at that point the students are shuttled across by minivan. The ice road is open to anyone who wants to drive it. And many people do.____ImpactLab
So the ice sled is mainly used when the ice is too thick for boats but too thin for cars and trucks. I have ridden in air boats before, and driven many miles over frozen lakes. But an air-boat ice sled is a bit of a novelty for me.
I suspect that some type of hovercraft--similar to some US Navy vessels I observed in operation--would also be capable of carrying several dozen school kids across many miles of ice and snow. But honestly, when the weather gets too bad, would it not be simpler just to provide a classroom at home?
Whether we are truly headed into an extended duration ice age (lasting for decades at least) or not, it is not a bad idea to consider our options, just in case.
Remember: if the sun does decide to take it easy for a while, we will need to burn more fuel to stay warm. And since our capacity to grow biomass for electricity and fuel will be diminished during a period of weaker sun, we will have to look elsewhere for our sustaining heat and energy. Unless westerners get cracking, building new fission reactor power plants, we will no doubt have to burn more coal. A lot more coal.
The interesting thing to me about Archibald's predictions for an ice age beginning within the decade, is that he is putting his predictions boldly within the near future--where they can be refuted by reality. Contrast that boldness with the weasels at the IPCC, NASA Goddard, etc. who place their catastrophes well into the future. There is no fudging Archibald's theories. If they are wrong, we will soon know it. The CAGW orthodox tautology, on the other hand, can be used to explain virtually any climate whatsoever--short of a genuine ice age.
Labels: global cooling