A more viable regime

What kind of regimes do we get? Is it random? Hanna Newcombe wrote something interesting:

“Any partly ordered pattern can move in two directions. Either to less ordered patterns, which would be breakdown, or to more ordered patterns, which would be breakthrough. A breakdown is very much more ordered (frequent) while breakthrough is very rare, but this climb to less probable structures is what constitutes climbing Mt. Improbable.

In evolution, natural selection loads the dice against entropic degradation (breakdown) by making the degraded patterns less viable (survivable) by natural selection, and favoring the (much rarer) breakthrough by making it more viable. Natural selection works like a ratchet, against breakdown. Genetic mutations are usually harmful, rarely beneficial. Yet we climb Mount Improbable with their help, while preserving the law of entropy. Natural selection is cruel, but effective.” – http://peacemagazine.org/archive/v24n4p26.htm

She wrote of more viable and less viable. When we get climate regime shifts, perhaps we’re getting the more viable regime. We are getting an advancement similar to an evolutionary advance.

Evolution seems to advance in steps. I think it’s worth considering that our climate does as well.

How lake ice melts

“A wonderful description of how lake ice melts away appeared on the web blog “Air Mass”, hosted by the Star Tribune’s Bill McAuliffe. Ed Swain, of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency describes the process of freezing and thawing lakes.”


At the link:

  1. In the late fall, the lake loses heat to the atmosphere, and then on a day or night when the wind is not blowing, ice forms. The ice gets thicker as long as the lake can continue to lose heat.
  2. In most Januaries and Februaries, snow both reflects sunlight and insulates the lake. With a thick snow layer, the lake neither gains nor loses heat. The bottom sediment is actually heating the lake water slightly over the winter, from stored summer heat.
  3. Around March, as the air warms and the sun gets more intense, the snow melts, allowing light to penetrate the ice. Because the ice acts like the glass in a greenhouse, the water beneath it begins to warm, and the ice begins to melt FROM THE BOTTOM.
  4. When the ice thickness erodes to between 4 and 12 inches, it transforms into long vertical crystals called “candles.” These conduct light even better, so the ice starts to look black, because it is not reflecting much sunlight.
  5. Warming continues because the light energy is being transferred to the water below the ice. Meltwater fills in between the crystals, which begin breaking apart. The surface appears grayish as the ice reflects a bit more light than before.
  6. The wind comes up, and breaks the surface apart. The candles will often be blown to one side of the lake, making a tinkling sound as they knock against one another, and piling up on the shore. In hours, a sparkling blue lake, once again!

I agree the ice melts from below. That’s based on my rarely seeing melt water on top of the ice. If it were to form, and the ice underneath was a degree or two below freezing, the melt water would freeze. How does the snow on the ice melt? I’d guess mostly from the top.I have to admit, ice with a greenhouse effect is new to me. I’d learned that ice insulates though. It does look for the most part ice warms lakes.

The Constructal Law

The constructal law proclaims that this is why we find a similar tree-like structure in all designs that move a current from a point to an area or an area to a point. The lightning bolts that flash across the sky generate a tree-like structure because this is a good design for moving a current (electricity) from an area (the cloud) to a point (a church steeple or another cloud). The circulatory and nervous systems of biological creatures generate a similar tree-like design because they too are moving currents from a point to an area and from an area to a point. – Wikipedia

Scale doesn’t matter. 

Robert Sapolsky: