The Elfstedentocht proxy

Posted: May 21, 2013 by tchannon in data, weather


Some time ago I came across talk about a long distance ice skating race held in the Netherlands during deep winter when the ice on the canals is thick enough. Someone had noticed there is a possible match with solar activity. I happened to notice a file on disk here and twigged what it was. This makes an apt article given the recent paint drying excitement of the Alaskan Nenana river ice melt. On doing a quick web trawl something new turned up.

I don’t recall who or where this was raised, thank you whoever.

According to a Wikipedia article a race nearly took place 2012, with critical information

On 6 February it was announced that the committee had met the previous evening for the first time in fifteen years.

which tends to confirm there have not been condition approaching safe since the last race, held 1997. Also near solar minimum. No doubt historically there will be other almost races, sorry, I have no information.

The weather needed is a particularly long cold spell, probably a fortnight or more.

Elfstedentocht 2012 – the race that did not happen.  (you will need to scroll down to the section of that name)
— wikipedia

The race does have a bi-lingual web site

Post by Tim Channon

  1. tchannon says:

    Doesn’t seem familiar but will do fine for extra information.

    Now I can look other stuff appears.

    Okay so that is about a paywalled GRL paper, more about the Rhine.

    Not paywalled (what a surprise) is a rebuttal. I’ve not done more than a quick scan so if anyone wants to report, good. I did spot Crown Copyright so that puts CRU/Met Office all over it (quick check, yep).

    Click to access thinice.pdf

    Looks like news given the publication date 25 April 2013

    Say they can’t reproduce the result and imply the authors were cherry picking. This is about central Europe, not the skating race.

    Main thing I have noticed for Europe is the lack of change, once that is data incompetence is taken into account. Some untold tales here, partly about fingerprinting stuff still in development.

    The underlying effect at work on the cold will be winter blocking which is about polar circulation.

  2. roger says:

    This is the Eleven Towns skating race which in the eighties and nineties was an excited part of conversation amongst my clients during that time when I was exporting to Holland (now retired).
    There were opportunities in later years for the race to go ahead, but I remember talk of Health and Safety and Insurance problems causing revision of the ice parameters that would allow it to take place.
    How delicious if the cold sun and ocean cycles were to overcome the nannying naysayers and what was 20 years ago regarded as a national sporting event were to be restored.

  3. tchannon says:

    Now that sounds about right. What I actually think, very hard stuff, is too extreme for public writing but I am reasonable.

  4. TammoNL says:

    1979 was a strong winter, organising the iceskating tour was close. 1982 it was very close. Three consecutive years was 1940, -41 and -42. The year 1987 was almost a repeat of a three in a row tour, but the tour was cancelled. (dutch)

  5. tchannon says:

    Ah, local knowledge, the wonders of network.

    Odd how runs of things happens but perhaps this is the Hurst exponent, not ordinary random, episodic at various different scales.

  6. TammoNL says:

    And yes Roger, the regulations changed. For the bigger masses of people, a lot more people and spectators are expected than in say the seventies and the eighties of last century, the required ice thickness was raised. (if i recall, from 10 – 12 cm to 15 – 18 cm)