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Dutch canals freeze for the first time in twelve years


[CC licensed photo courtesy of Flickr user Ferdi]

Canal ice skating is part of the Dutch national identity, but according to the International Herald Tribune, climate change and pollution have turned Holland's annual canal-freeze into a rarity. Holland's canals have frozen for the first time in twelve years this month, thrilling the citizens of the land of Hans Brinker:
Hundreds of thousands of skaters, their cheeks as red as apples in the freezing temperatures, took to the ice, and hospital wards were filled with dozens of people with fractured arms, sprained ankles and broken legs.

Train engineers were ordered to go slowly to avoid hitting skaters who clambered across railway tracks to get from one frozen canal to another. Even the minister of defense, an avid skater, fell and broke his wrist. His ministry announced that the national defense remained in safe hands, even if one of them was in a cast.
Do we have any readers here who have found themselves out on the ice in this winter? I've heard that canal skating is popular in Ottawa, Ontario. Is anyone enjoying any other skating hot-spots?

[International Herald Tribune]

I know this is a pretty insanely uninformed question, but since we're sitting in Michigan in -14 degree cold with snowfall and low temperatures on the increase steadily for the last ten years...I'm just not feeling the effects of global warming here.
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Saw the argument on Metafilter that stuff like this is local and global warming is really happening... It's just isolated pockets...

Except it's not. 60+ cold weather records set in the US in recent months, including snow in Vegas. Canada had its first white Christmas across the entire country in almost 40 years.

And remember folks, the Romans grew GRAPES in England. If that happened now, they'd say "Look, global warming!". So what is the explanation for that hundreds of years before the industrial revolution?

And what bugs me more than anything is how people who question global warming (not deny it, but question it, like any sensible person should), the arguments from the people who agree with it are getting so rabid and desperate that they're comparing them to creationists.

Yes, because believing some fictional being created all this 5000 years ago is exactly like questioning the hype about global warming as we all sit and freeze our asses off across the northern hemisphere...
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No, no, no. you don't understand. The fact that it's getting colder is masking the global warming effect. A decade of temperature decline is covering up the fact that temperatures are increasing.

See, the observed cooling proves that it's getting hotter!

C'mon. Think about it logically! =)
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The climate change argument is a tough one.

Yes, I do believe that climate change is occurring and that much of it can be linked to human activity.

For the record, however, it is the International Herald Tribune that stated that the failure of Holland's canals to freeze in recent years was due to climate change - not me. That being said, I certainly think that it is possible for "global warming" to be responsible.

As for the larger argument, I am suspicious of the movement afoot to discredit the concept of global warming because it is so closely tied in to the petroleum and energy industries. Big Energy is so very clearly interested in convincing the world that global warming is a myth. Why is this? Furthermore, why do some efforts by industry to discredit climate change happen clandestinely - through energy-funded think tanks with names like "The We Like Nature and Puppies and Groovy Clean Air Foundation"?

I smell petrodollars at work.
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I'm not convinced by EITHER side of the argument to be honest. There is too much money involved behind both camps to be able to trust any of them. You're anti, you get those sexy oil company dollars, and you're pro and you get to sip cocktails with Al Gore and be the cool kids being handed cash to defeat the evil oil companies.
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A few extreme lows is to be expected as a slow transition from La Nina takes place, but the annual average for this year is likely to be above the 30-year mean. (see NOAA Climate Diagnostic Center)

It never ceases to amaze me when I see folks declare a cold day during winter justifies dismissal of an empirically evident shift in the climate.
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Yes, some places are experiencing record cold this winter. I'm in northern california and we're getting record high temps (mid70s, nothing impressive) and absolutely no rain this winter. It's a global climate shift... Not just "warming" or "cooling".
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Aw, I saw replies so I opened up the comment section expecting to read some romantic ice skating stories. Oh well, I guess global warming discussions will dominate any weather related story
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The "global warming" lemmings need to be eliminated NOW! The next time some dope tells you about CO2 emissions, punch them in the mouth and kick out all their teeth.
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Not 'believing' in global warming is akin to not 'believing' that oceans are made of water. The science is clear: the Earth is warming.

I tend to divide people who don't 'believe' in global warming into two camps:

(1) Those who simply haven't seen or read the facts.
(2) Those who don't want to face the truth because they somehow feel 'guilty' for having been born in North America and unconsciously a bigger part of the cause than someone from Ghana.

So for those who feel guilty: get over it. None of us knew about it. So how do we fix it?

And for those who simply haven't seen or read the facts? Why haven't you? Is it because you never had the time... or is it because you don't want to know about it because you might then fall under Category 2?

If it's the latter... the answer is the same: None of us knew, so Get Over It. How do we fix it?
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I've developed what I think is a unique view about the whole global climate change fiasco.

Regardless of whether the earth is warming or not; that said warming is caused by man, the sun, faeries, or cattle flatulence; there are far more reasons to take up the "green" mantle than to not. Conservation for the sake of conservation should be enough for everyone. This isn't our planet, we're only borrowing it from the future generations.
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reminds me of the stupid things I did as a kid. Theres a lake near where I live, that me (and my brother) would go 3wheeling on, with innertubes tied to the back in winter, when the lake froze.

needless to say, kinda a stupid thing to do, when you're not 100% positive on how frozen the lake is.
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I agree with a lot of the opinions on here!

I think myself that this is a natural heating/cooling of the planet. We just havent been educated enough since the past hundred years or so to deal with it.

Our carbon emissions are a stones throw into a big pond compared to natural carbon emissions.

Time will tell, it may get a lot hotter in the summer months, and a lot colder in the winter months. Could be the entire opposite! We wont know until its happening.

Im all for reducing carbon emissions however at the same time I think there needs to be the same measures in place to increase global warming if need be.

The latter should be much easier.

Its not going to be easy either way though. Were just going to have to evolve as a species to make it past any changes.
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Wow; I see the, "Is anyone enjoying any other skating hot-spots?" question in the post, and click to see the comments about people having a good time ice skating, and what do we get instead? A retarded flame war over global warming. Or is it Global Climate Change now? Wonderful.

This crap takes the Neat out of Neatorama.
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Erm guys....In the past two days we've experienced a heat front....sort of. All of the snow is gone, and it's not that safe anymore to tread the canals. But we've had one entire week of natural icey goodness (ice skate manufacturers rejoiced:-P).
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Skating on ice was never my forte, and watching others do it always makes me kinda sad.

Now, on to global warming! The planet knows what it's doing, and has been through far worse threats than us. But I've seen the Dennis Quaid movie, which seems like good science (I'm looking at you, ozone layer hole), and the polar caps are collapsing, spreading icy air/water currents south.

It's tragically unnerving when someone comes in out of the record-breaking cold, and says, "Global warming, my ass!" It's like saying you're not sick because you're not sneezing.
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Yes. It's global climate change now. It's a more accurate term.

And no, just because it gets cold somewhere for a week, doesn't disprove global warming. That's not science.
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Wow, I didn't mean to start a war by any means...I don't deny any of the overarching research. In fact, in my original post I mentioned I was woefully uninformed on the topic. But from a 'man in the street' perspective...we've seen a steady decline in temps and increase in snowfall over the last ten years for sure.

I guess I should have said...I bet that was a cool sight to see in Holland this year. I know we're freezing our tulips off here.
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Oh wait... what about global warming...

just more indication of this "global warming idea" being bs...

also... record lows this week...

i rest my case
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Wow, since when did Neatorama become the go to place for people who don't believe that climate change is man made? And I'm really getting sick of people who think global warming isn't real because it's cold where they are. Fact is, that these changes have been happening slowly from the last 150 years and will continue in the future. I say slowly from our perspectives, however from the planet's perspective this change is extremely rapid and unprecedented.

Please stop denying it just because there is a cold winter one year. Lets look at this instance. In Holland what was once so regular that it became ingrained in their culture is now something that hasn't happened in 12 years!

And to an earlier poster who said that the "global warming crowd" gets angry when you question them, that is because the science is there and unquestionable and you people refuse to accept it. It's like watching a smoker dying from lung cancer and then he tells you it cant be the cigarettes because he knows a guy who lived to 92 and smoked everyday.
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Sometimes I wish we'd have a Minesotan winter here in the Netherlands, but without the snow. Snow actually ruins perfectly good ice.

Unfortunately for us, Dutch, the best of winter is already over. We had a week or so to skate and now the thaw has come and the ice is gone.

Ice-skating on the canals in the coutryside is the most amazing thing: the closest thing to flying without aid that I know of. But I guess in the United States with so few canals simply there is simply little space for skating. That is only one of the reasons I could never live there!
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As a Dutch citizen (a Frisian actually, now -that's- ice skating folk for ya) I can say that the whole global warming link is just a bunch of hot air. At least for now. If you do some trend analysis on the frequency and length of winters in the Netherlands, it turns out that current data -could- still fall within normal bounds.

However, we are on a downward slope of the graph and it is a bit steeper that you'd expect, so if it turns out that it won't come up again as you'd expect, then you'd have some serious data to feed the global warming discussion.

I personally do believe global warming is a reality, but I don't base that opinion off of weak data like the recent lack of skating on canals, rivers, streams and lakes. Where people get the idea that it's just canals is beyond me. Perhaps they're confusing the Netherlands (a country) with Amsterdam (a city) as, I'm sorry to say, Americans are wont to do.

There's some real magic to ice skating on natural ice though. I highly recommend you try it if there's some serious ice out there, or at least take a hike over rivers and lakes, it's magical being out there in a transformed world, which you don't normally get to see from that side. It's not as similar to boating as you might think. Skating beats hiking for speed and freedom though. The kind of flow, speed and presence you can achieve on good skates is unlike anything. Perhaps somewhat similar to riding a motorcycle vs. driving a car.
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I'm Dutch, I went skating and it was... fantastic! The pucture in this article is just exactly as it was. Shame it's above freezing now... fun's over.
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"Global Warming" was changed to "climate change" a few years ago - just when the voodoo religion of the global warming alarmists realized that Global Warming was easily disproven by . . . the Globe not Warming.

They saw that global temperature averages started dropping between 2000-2005 and they realized that their religion would be losing adherents quickly when they cries of "Global Warming" were met with, "haven't you been reading the news? It's been getting colder this last decade."

So they changed the call to "climate change".

Diabolical - now any change demonstrates their theory.

It gets hotter - climate change.
It gets colder - climate change.
It rains more - climate change.
It's drier - climate change.

This people need to get a life.

The Fossil Fuel age is drawing to a quick conclusion, and release of sequestered CO2 is going to be very low on the priority list in a few years when we can't feed everybody using draft horses.
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What Grismar says: it was so much fun to be able to skate again. We did too, in one of the most beautiful spots in the Netherlands, the Weerribben. Because -oh, irony- the canals in Amsterdam, where I live, were NOT frozen over because the citycouncil forgot to stop the flowing of the water. Stupid.
And will you guys please leave Hans Brinker out of it? He never existed
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ok, here is a quote from further up on the comments:
(1) Those who simply haven’t seen or read the facts.
(2) Those who don’t want to face the truth because they somehow feel ‘guilty’ for having been born in North America and unconsciously a bigger part of the cause than someone from Ghana.

you doofus......have you ever been to a third world nation that is an emerging industrial nation (south american countries, india, china etc)and watched the stacks of paper mills, powerplants, steel mills? they don't abide by EPA air emission standards that we do. i've spent my entire life working in US industry and the traveling I did to foreign countries shocked me, as I then realized it isn't the US that leads the charge for pollution. wake up, America!
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The majority of the winter here has been in the 60s despite the promising surprise snow we had in early December. Boooo to the ice-skaters and their ice and their freezing temperatures and their winter weather.
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btw, this article points out the rarity of this degree of cold happening in recent history....

"according to the International Herald Tribune, climate change and pollution have turned Holland’s annual canal-freeze into a rarity. Holland’s canals have frozen for the first time in twelve years this month"
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A balmy -32 degrees Celsius yesterday in Manitoba Canada where Winnipeg boasts an 8.5 kilometre skating trail down the Assiniboine River- that's -25.6 degrees Fahrenheit and a distance of a little over 5 miles for the folks in Myanmar and the U.S.A. who don't do metric.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/Skating_trail_opens_to_Omands_Creek.html
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I live in Ottawa and I've skated on the canal (the world's longest skating rink). I go every year, but the ice is really bad quality and it's usually really really cold. The beavertails are good, though!
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The skating trail in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, mentioned above is the longest in the world.

And the temperature today is -7 C (19 F)
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It's been a good old Canadian winter this year. Like the ones I remember as a kid. So much snow that your house looks like a fortress from all the shoveling, and bitter cold for weeks at a time. I love it! I live in Edmonton and unfortunately the North Saskatchewan is not frozen. However, I have gone to some outdoor rinks built by the city, and lots of people have been out to local lakes and streams to skate. Outdoor skating is so much fun, no boards just open ice and snow!
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Greenhouse gas effects are being stopped/masked by particulate pollution, or so sayeth NOVA. After 9/11 while the planes were grounded temperatures were significantly higher.
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What a strange way to talk/write about skating on canals in Holland. Global warming was not the subject, but yes it's for the first time in 12 years that people here in Holland can skate on canals. The ice has now all gone so the hopes for an Elfstedentocht (11 cities tour) have also gone.
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I live in Guelph, Ontario, Canada and we are having a humdinger of a winter. I took up skating again two years ago after not skating since I was a kid. It's exhilarating!!! There is an adult skate at the local arena and it's a treat to see people of all ages but especially seniors, skating arm in arm, to an amazing soundtrack of '50's hits. The hockey players are so graceful on the ice...even the 70-year-olds. Ah. Iconic Canadiana.

I take lessons at my university and I never thought I'd be jumping after just one season of a serious attempt to learn to skate better. I learned a waltz jump last week. It's a trip!
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