ARCTIC SEA ICE MELT —The Death Spiral’s Debunking—

This is the continuation of a long series of posts, the last of which can be found at:  ARCTIC SEA ICE MELT —Flat-lining Death Spiral—

I’m going to skip my usual introduction. Those interested in seeing my evolving views can research earlier posts, and their introductions, which include a certain amount of contradictions. (For example, I may state I’m fed up with politics and am going to exclude it from my observations, and then some event will trigger a rave.)

Instead I am simply going to state it has become all too clear there is no “Death Spiral” occurring at the Pole.  All the hoop-la and press about a Doomsday scenario was much ado about nothing. Not only is the Pole failing to melt away, the Pole isn’t even managing its ordinary amount of melting.

I’ve been following this issue carefully since the low-ice summer of 2007,  and I would like to remind people what we were told. We were told that the lack of ice would involve a scientific-sounding word (which my spell-check still doesn’t believe exists), called “albedo,” and rather than the arctic reflecting incoming sunlight, the darker water would absorb it, and the Arctic Sea would become warmer until there was no ice. Rather than a benign situation, giving the east coast of Greenland a more maritime climate such as the Vikings experienced in the year 1000, an ice-free Arctic Ocean was portrayed as a “tipping point” that would trigger other warming events, leading to “runaway warming” that would threaten the very survival of humanity.  We were told immediate actions must be taken. We were informed that already the situation was so dire that the Arctic Sea was likely to be ice-free as early as 2012 or 2013.

So here we are, at the height of the melt season, when temperatures are at their warmest at the Pole. Let us travel up there and see what we see:

webcam

What we see is a surprisingly solid ice-pack, without even the ordinary melt-water pools, blanketed by a light, fresh fall of snow. Remember that scientific-sounding word “albedo”?  If you check your charts, you will see nothing on earth reflects away sunlight as well as a fresh fall of snow.

In other words, even if you accept the Alarmist’s theory that open water will absorb more sunlight and lead to runaway warming, there is no open water to see. There are no melt-water pools to see. There is only freshly fallen snow, with the highest albedo nature can produce.  Only covering the pole with shiny foil could possibly reflect more sunlight than what you are seeing with your lying eyes.

Last year, though the ice was solid, at least we had some fine examples of melt-water pools. In fact a large pool roughly the size of a football field appeared right in front of our camera, and looked like this:

NP July 26 npeo_cam2_20130726072121

Certain media outlets thought this pool of July 26 was a great excuse for screaming headlines, “North Pole Melting!”  The problem is, such melt-water tends to find fissures in the ice and drain away, and no sooner had the media attracted attention than the picture looked like this on July 28:

NP July 28 npeo_cam2_20130728131212

and a few days later (July 31) snow fell and it looked like this:

NP July 30 npeo_cam2_20130730191253.jpg 2

The same media outlets that made such a big deal about a melt-water pool became absolutely silent when the scene changed in a matter of days, and have remained absolutely silent this summer. Perhaps they can’t sell as many papers by saying, ” The world isn’t going to end, after all.”

This is not to say that there still isn’t time for a sensationalist headline, this summer. Just as it snows in July at the Pole, it can rain, and we may get a pool. What is more, there is a crack in the ice just behind the yellow cork-like object on the ice in the first picture, and a second crack in the middle of the nearest pressure ridge crossing the scene. Either or both could open into what is called a “lead,” as we saw in front of the North Pole Camera 2 this year before it was demolished by a growing pressure ridge.  (See earlier posts.) The media missed a golden opportunity for hysteria there. Any sign of water at the Pole can generate headlines.

However open water isn’t that unusual. If you look through my earlier posts you will see old pictures of submarines surfacing at the Pole in open water a half century ago, and a lead opening up right in the middle of a scientific base (where cargo planes were landing 60 days earlier) in the 1970’s. The only reason open water is deemed newsworthy now is because it is attached to the end-of-the-world “Death Spiral.”

Sorry, but it ain’t goin’ t’happen, this year. First, the ice is refusing to melt in a speedy fashion, and in September may even show an increase from recent years:

DMI2 0727 icecover_current_new

This refusal of ice to melt suggests the Arctic Ocean is very swift to respond to the AMO (Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation) becoming “cold.”  The AMO is not due to turn permanently “cold” for another five years, but currently is going through a sort of spike away from the “warm” phase. Of course, it may be turning to its “cold” phase five years early, which would be newsworthy, (but they’d ignore it), however I expect it to switch back to “warm,” and for arctic sea-ice to decrease again next year. But, if the media starts to scream about a “Death Spiral” all over again, they will look a little foolish, because it will be so obvious the ice actually is responding to the AMO.

Second, for the second straight summer it has been colder than normal over the Pole.

DMI2 0726 meanT_2014

This chart is especially interesting when you notice how much colder this summer is than the summer of 1979, when Alarmists say it was colder and the ice was more “healthy,” (but much more slush and melt-water was evident at the surface.)

DMI2 0727 meanT_1979

There are interesting arctic dynamics being revealed by Mother Nature in these two graphs, but a “Death Spiral” isn’t one of them. In fact the entire business of a “Death Spiral” increasingly seems like a a sort of fraud created by people who lack a real purpose, and don’t truly understand the meaning of the word, “death.”

This was driven home to me by the simple fact I faced two funerals this past week, and had to think about death, which I ordinarily avoid thinking about. In the sadder example a young father was out enjoying relief from the summer heat on his motorcycle,  and his life ended instantly when another driver simply didn’t see him. A mother instantaneously became a widow with two sons to raise. She now has to find a way but cannot see a way.

That is the sort of real problem real people deal with. Their plans and hopes and entire world really does end, yet they must go on. The last thing such real people need is some untrue theory about a “Death Spiral” that doesn’t exist, and about some end-of-the-world that isn’t going to happen, justifying extra taxes that accomplish nothing and help no one, except for the leeches sucking those taxes up.

In any case, this summer has debunked the “Death Spiral.” I’ll continue my observations until the melt season is officially over, but as far as I’m concerned the argument is over.

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Sorry if that came across as overly grumpy. It’s just that sometimes those so-called “experts” get to me.  How they can pat their own backs and think they are saviors of humanity is incredible, considering they haven’t a clue what humanity entails.

Now I am swearing off politics, and am planning to return to the arctic sea ice seeking what I originally sought: Truth and Beauty. For there is a peace found in merely watching clouds form, or watching ice melt, that is unlike any gains gleaned by human pursuits.

*******

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

(This report, first time visitors will be interested to know, likely describes the weather surrounding the crushed ice-floe where the ruins of our North Pole Camera lie, for the attached weather station is still reporting. There is a slight chance the weather station fell into the sea and now bobs as an independent buoy, unattached to any ice.  (This was the fate of last year’s weather station, which eventually grounded on the north coast of Iceland.)  However the satellite view shows little open water between the many floes and bergs, and I think it is unlikely our weather station is in the water yet.)

Our crunched conglomeration of high tech concepts drifted on light, predominately west winds of 5-10 mph, easing south to  84.714°N at 3:00 PM, bumping back north to 84.719°N, before ending the 24-hour period at 9:00 PM at 84.712°N, 17.122°E. This is the furthest east we’ve reached at any time this summer.

Temperatures reached a high of +0.2°C yesterday afternoon, and then sank to a surprisingly low -2.1°C at 6:00 AM, before rebounding to -0.9°C at 9:00 AM.

Pressures rose slowly to 1009.1 mb

JULY 27   —DMI Afternoon Maps—

DMI2 0727B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0727B temp_latest.big (1)

Midnight is at the top of these maps and noon at the bottom, which heightens the Scandinavian warmth and deepens the chill towards the Bering Straits. “Art” and “Stepper” are joining forces over the Pole, creating a warm flow north through the Laptev Sea and a cold flow down into the Kara Sea. “Gus” is just appearing on the map, southeast of Greenland, as the high pressure “Scanty” reluctantly bids adieu and eases southeast off Scandinavia.

NEW CAMERAS   —Cold continues—

These pictures are the O-buoy cameras 9 and 10, which I turned to when our old and faithful North Pole Camera lost its showdown with a pressure ridge.

Camera 9 has drifted quite close to the Pole, around a hundred miles to the Canadian side, and much closer than the North Pole Camera would be, as it drifted 300 miles south before getting crushed. O-buoy 9  sits on roughly four feet of multiyear ice.  On clear days the satellite view shows this ice may have been fractured last summer, but was refrozen into a fairly solid sheet last winter, and hasn’t been broken up by the series of Polar storms. The ice 300 miles south at the NorthPole Camera was, on the other hand, very shattered.

There is an obvious crack visible in the picture, however no sideways motion associated with it. A less visible fault is in the pressure ridge that crosses the view in the near background. Around three weeks ago the entire background shifted roughly six feet left, and then, after several days, shifted six feet to the right, back to its original position. In a sense this ice is solid like California is solid.  It has its own San Andreas Fault.

This view demonstrates a sort of white-out different from the ones caused by blowing snow. This one is caused by fresh snow and cloudiness causing a complete lack of shadows. Adventurers complain they stumble as they walk, for they can’t see the unevenness of the ground.

Temperatures did thaw briefly, earlier, but have fallen below freezing again.

webcam

temperature-1week

Our southern view is roughly 800 miles south of the Pole, at 77 degrees north latitude, north of Alaska in the Beaufort Sea. With the sun higher and stronger at noon, and never quite setting at midnight because it is north of the Aectic Circle, the melting is more intence and melt-water pools more common. In fact here is a picture from somewhere around five to ten years ago, show just how many melt-water pools there were on the ice floes.

.Ice-melt ponds SIZRS July melt ponds

Some Alarmists said that there were more of these melt-water pools than there formerly were, and that their increase was a proof of Global Warming and the “Death Spiral” and the eventuality of an Ice-Free-Pole. This year those pools started to form, but recently have refrozen. They are not suppose to do that, if you believe in the “Death Spiral.”  However they don’t seem to care a hoot for political correctness, and the current picture shows they are continuing to stay frozen, and that temperatures remain below normal. (By the way, all pictures and graphs in this post can be clicked, to give you a larger and clearer image.)

webcam

temperature-1week

JULY 28  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0728 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0728 temp_latest.big (1)

“Art” continues to retain its identity over the Pole, which is something of a surprise because, last week, models suggested it would have faded by now. Perhaps it is being fed by a plume of mild moisture “Stepper” is bringing up through the Laptev sea. As “Stepper” moves up to join “Art” and they wobble off towards Canada the part of Stepper left behind in central Siberia, “Stepperson,”  will gather strength and be the next low to gain king-of-the-world status atop the Pole, by Wednesday evening.  Meanwhile “Gus”, now approaching Iceland from the west, will attempt to be the first storm in a long while to successfully cross the Atlantic and cross northern Scandinavia on Thursday, and likely be sitting where Stepperson now sits  south of the Kara Sea by next weekend.  However that far out models are not to be trusted.

If Gus actually dies plow through northern Scandinavia the Baltic will see the warm east winds give way to west winds off the Atlantic for a while, though high pressure and east winds are likely to return after Gus passes.

Remember it is noon to the top of the above maps and midnight to the bottom. It is surprising to see so many blobs of subfreezing temperature isotherms up that way, during the warmest part of the day. The subfreezing air north of Svalbard and in the Kara Sea demonstrates that the warmth over Scandinavia is denied access to the north, though perhaps the passage of “Gus” will change that.

NEW CAMERAS  —The gray chill continues—

Our northern camera sees a bleak, cold view, with a lack of thawing. The recent snow was quite light, only an inch or two, and ordinarily would swiftly sag into gray slush. The fact it is still white demonstrates how cold it has been.

Most of the melting comes from below. Remember that nine-tenths of an iceberg is under water, and though that pressure ridge in the background may only be three feet tall, it has a keel sticking 27 feet downwards.  Because the water it sticks into tends to be just above the freezing point of salt water, and the ice is fresher water, the melting is slow, but it does melt away gradually. As the keel gets smaller below the pressure ridge slumps down above, and I think those ridges do look smaller than they were in April.

I wish they’d fix the Army site, which is still reporting data from July 22. I imagine the guy in charge took a well-earned vacation, and his replacement is like me, and all he needed to do was touch the computer to screw everything up. However, when the regular guy gets back, we can see if the ice is getting thinner, at certain buoys that measure such things.

webcam

Our southern camera shows some fog, which ordinarily indicates thawing, especially as fog releases latent heat when it condenses on snow, (or on the outside of your cold drink’s glass on a muggy summer day). However the thermometer continues to show subfreezing temperatures.  Likely the warmth is aloft, perhaps only a hundred feet up, and an inversion keeps the cold clamped onto the ice. In any case, the thaw is still on hold.

webcam

I would like to predict an Alarmist response to the lack of thawing, before it happens. They will state, “Oh, it is just a weather pattern, which has increased the cloudiness and prevented the albedo from being high.” I will remind them I was never allowed to suggest it was “just a pattern”, back when the melting was occurring. Even if I merely asked, “Could it not be just a pattern?” I was scorned and called a “denier,” among other things. I’ll try not to call them any names, (beyond the quite correct term “Alarmist,” for they are alarmed and that is the dictionary definition.) However I will ask, “How is it you allow yourself what you would not allow me?”

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

After a brief westward wobble at noon yesterday, our heap of junk moved steadily east In a light breeze if 4-9 mph, at first veering a little south to 84.671°N at midnight, and then backing a hair north to 84.681°N at 6:00 AM, before a final lurch south to finish at at 84.679°N, 17.513°E at 9:00 AM.

The temperatures remained below freezing throughout the 24-hour-period, which is no way to run a thaw. It included a twelve-hour-period below the freezing point of the slightly brackish seawater,  dropping from -0.9°C at 9:00 AM yesterday past -1.7°C at 3:00 PM to the low of -2.5°C at 9:00 PM remaining there past midnight and only nudging up to -2.2°C at 3:00 AM, only passing the freezing point of saltwater before 6:00 AM and arriving at the days high of -0.7°C at 9:00 AM. There’s some darn cold air circulating around the Pole this summer.

The pressure slowly rose to 1011.7 mb.

JULY 28   —-DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0728B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0728B temp_latest.big (1)

Even as “Art” slides off the Pole towards Canada “Stepperson” is moving north through the western Kara Sea to take its place as the top-of-the-world Low. “Gus” is moving over Iceland on his way to Norway. Though the high pressure “Scanty” has faded down into Ukraine the warmth lingers over Scandinavia.  The cold persists towards Being Strait, despite a finger of warmth poking north through the Laptev Sea.

NEW CAMERAS  —Hints of sun and thaw?—

In wan sunshine, with temperatures just touching freezing, I see a few signs the thin snow cover may be thinning to a slight degree. Partly this may be due to sublimation, though humidity is high.

webcam  Our southern buoy also shows signs of wan sunshine, and temperatures have also risen and touch freezing. Of you look at the largest melt-water pool to the lower right, the surface appears more like slush than smooth ice. Also a sort of island to the pool’s left side is reappearing, after being hidden by snow for a while.

webcam

THE RARITY OF WHAT WE ARE SEEING

I just went through 50 years of DMI polar temperature graphs, and only 1969, 1972, and 2010 have the graph dip as low as it now dips, right when it should be at its highest. Here is the 2010 graph, followed by the 2014 graph.

DMI2 0728 meanT_2010 DMI2 0728B meanT_2014

JULY 29  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0729 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0729 temp_latest.big (1)

I tend to sip my coffee in the morning, and blearily regard these maps, looking for what I didn’t expect. Noon is to the top, and midnight at the bottom.

“Art” drifts towards Canada as expected, but is drawing up more warmth on its east side than I expected, and is retaining more strength than I foresaw.

The sub-freezing pockets of cold north of Alaska, despite the warmth of the day, have been there so long I’ve come to expect them, though I can’t explain them. How is that home-grown cold created?

“Stepperson” is moving up towards the Pole, but I expected it to pull more warmth up its east side than I see. The Laptev Sea seems bounded by subfreezing pockets of cold.

“Gus” is proceeding from Iceland towards Norway as expected, but I’m leery of that meek bit of high pressure standing in its way, northwest of Norway. Scandinavia has rebuffed so many storms this summer that I half-expect the same to happen to Gus, though the models still forecast Gus to plow right through Northern Scandinavia.

NEW CAMERAS  —The land of the midnight cloudy—

Once again there is no turquoise and silver to see, as we gaze north.

The northern camera shows less snow on the ice. I never expected that light snow-cover to last the way it has, however temperatures are hovering right around freezing and perhaps the thaw can now resume.

webcam

The southern view suggests to me some snow flakes are sticking to the camera lens. That would be surprising, considering the map shows high pressure. I am going to adopt a wait and see attitude. The camera produces a new picture every fifteen minutes or so.

webcam

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

Our forlorn camera, its tripod legs sticking tragically skywards like a dead cow’s, drifted in aimless circles in light airs of 5 mph, and as little as 2 mph,  moving north, south, west and east, and winding up slightly further west, at 84.666°N, 17.686°E. The big news is we finally made it above freezing, but not before spending most of the 24-hour-period as a complete failure, when it comes to thaw. We hit the period’s low of -2.1°C at 9:00 PM last night,  were still at -0.4°C at 3:00 AM, but had achieved +0.4°C at 6:00 AM and had climbed to the giddy heights of +0.6°C as the 24-hour-period ended at 9:00 AM.

However at least it is thawing somewhere. This year has been terribly disappointing, if you happen to get your thrills from watching ice melt.

The pressure continued to rise, to 1015.4 mb.

JULY 29 —DMI Afternoon Maps—

DMI2 0729B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0729B temp_latest.big (1)

There is some really interesting stuff going on in these maps, but duty calls elsewhere. I hope to get back to it later, but the short version is that there will be two polar storms in the next 96 hours. First “Stepperson” will be a modest 990 mb low between the Pole and Svalbard, and then part of “Gus” will be a second 983 mb low over the Pole. Lots of wind, lots of shifting ice, lots of action.

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Here are a sequence of maps from the Jem model showing the solution that may happen (or may not). Basically, when “Gus” crashes into Norway, it splits, with half hanging back as an occluded North Atlantic low, but the other half, “Guszip,” kicked ahead along the arctic coast.  This forms a string of lows, with “Stepperthree” forming in the Laptev Sea, however they then all combine into  a single low over the Pole.

Jem 2 July 29 cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_6Jem 2 July 29 cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_10Jem 2 July 29 cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_14Jem 2 July 29 cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_18 (Click maps twice to fully enlarge)

Once this low achieves top-of-the-world status it just sits there all next week, according to models. If it happens I’ll watch how ice is shifted, during the set up, and then watch to see how much home-grown cold is created by the storm. Last summer the weakening of a storm over the arctic seemingly created temperatures down to minus seven, even though it was still officially “melt season.”

NEW CAMERAS  —Cold comfort—

At least we are getting a little sunshine, though temperatures at both cameras remain just below freezing.

The northern camera looks a lot like April. The main difference is the yellow “cork” fell over, and the pressure ridges have lost their impressive shark-teeth points, and are rounded and shorter.

webcam

 The southern camera shows just enough wan sunshine to give us a hint of a snow-bow.  I reckon it is around 3:00 AM local time, with the midnight sun near its lowest point, and temperatures low as well. The melt-water pool to the lower right looked like it was thinking of thawing earlier, but decided against it.

webcam

THE GOVERNMENT AGREES WITH ME

The latest re-re-re-re-readjusted CFS V2 forecast for ice extent is out, and has completely backed off its forecast for above-average ice extent, at the September minimum. (Formerly it forecast a minimum 0.7 million km2 above average.) In fact it agrees with me, that the minimum will be 6.1 million km2. The government agrees with me? This must be a first.

Extent CFS V2  July 29 sieMon (click twice to fully enlarge)

JULY 30  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0730 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0730 temp_latest.big (1)

“Art” is fading into Canada, “Stepperson” making its move towards the Pole, and “Gus” approaching Norway.

NEW CAMERAS  —Some sunshine but no thawing yet—

 The wind has picked up at our northern camera to over 15 mph. I thought the cold was due to an inversion, and wind would stir the air and warm the temperatures as “Stepperson” approaches. However so far the temperature remains just below freezing. The GPS shows the ice is starting to move, but so far the camera shows no signs of stressed ice.

webcam

Hey. That is the same picture as last night’s!  Hmmm.  I wonder what is up with our northern camera.

The southern camera is updated, and shows the snow has slumped over a melt-water rivulet, which forms a sort of crack in the snow at the top of the larger pool to the lower right of the picture. Winds have died down from over 25 mph two days ago to calm. The temperature is right at freezing. The conjunct army buoy Buoy 2013F: is up and running, and last reported a temperature of -1.27° C.

webcam

TEMPERATURES AT 85.91 N, 1.95 E

This is a graph of temperatures from Buoy 2014E: which is located roughly 80 miles north-northeast of our crunched camera. It shows the recent cold nicely.

  2014E_July 30 temp

NEW CAMERA  —Midnight sun—

The northern camera is still refusing to update.  The southern camera shows calm conditions and a drop of temperatures to around -4.0°.  This is a picture a few hours after midnight, with the sun about as low as it gets.  The camera is now just south of 77° latitude, and every midnight sees the sun closer to the horizon as the days get shorter further south.

webcamtemperature-1week

ARCTIC SEA ICE MELT —Flat-lining Death Spiral—

This is the continuation of a long series of posts, the last of which can be found at:  http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/arctic-sea-ice-melt-crunch-time/

I usually begin these posts explaining why I started studying the melt and refreeze of arctic ice,  and you should look back to earlier posts if you want to see my views evolve. I now have reached a point where, like a flea on an elephant, I feel equipped to call the government’s bluff.

To be blunt, I feel the government wanted to put forward a policy it felt would be unpopular, and rather that doing the honest thing, which would be to be forward and blunt and state what it wanted to do, it took a dishonest and cowardly route. Rather than treating the public like adult men and woman, and debating man to man and woman to woman, it treated the public like suggestible children that are easily manipulated.

What it did was to create a threat, called “Global Warming,” and to rally the people to face the threat. The people trusted, and did not think their leaders would pay scientists to falsify public records and data to “prove” Global Warming was real. However I increasing feel this is exactly what happened.

When you lie, your lies have a way of haunting you and tracking you down. Over and over we have seen a thing called “Truth” expose “Climate Science” as a sort of sham.  One such example involves the ice in the arctic sea. It’s normal decrease, due to the warm cycles of the AMO and PDO, was called in dramatic terms, “A death spiral.” Doom and gloom was suppose to occur when the Arctic Ocean became ice free.

Because I have studied the Greenland Vikings a lot, I wasn’t the slightest bit worried about an ice-free Pole, because I knew the Pole was largely ice-free back when those Vikings farmed fields which now are permafrost that would blunt a plow. However so determined were the politicized scientists to alarm everyone, they attempted to erase the warmth of that Halcyon time, (called the Medieval Warm Period), and to say it was warmer now.

It was at that point I began to call their bluff, despite the fact they assured me 97% of all scientists agreed with them.  I’ll skip the details of the battle, and simply state we are now looking at an Arctic Sea that is not ice-free.  It is not I who calls their bluff. It is Truth, in the form of Mother Nature.

Originally their attempts to inspire hysteria stated that the decrease in ice would have the effect of accelerating the melt of ice, and the Pole would be ice-free by now. They asserted 97% agreed with them. In which case 97% were stupid dunderheads.  The Pole is not only not ice-free. The ice is actually increasing.

There is one government model which I doubt, because it states the increase will be up to above-normal levels. Here are the most recent predictions of the CFS V2:

Extent CFS model July 15v sieMon (Double click to fully enlarge)

The top graph shows the extent, by the start of August, being 0.2 million km2 above normal.  The bottom graph shows that at the end of the summer melt the ice will be at nearly 7 million km2, which would be extraordinary. (I’m out on a limb, predicting 6.1 million km2, and more scientific models, such as the UK Met, predict 4-5 million km2, which is still far from being an “ice-free pole,”  but at least is “below normal”.)

This CFS V2 model has backed off from even higher and more extraordinary predictions, as the El Nino did not develop to the levels it predicted, however even its reduced, current  prediction is a shock to all who rallied around the banner of Global Warming, feeling their sacrifices were worthy and saving the planet. What has happened to the “Death Spiral”?

The Death Spiral may well be dead. It is another casualty to Truth. However it will be proven to be dead if it flat-lines, and to flat-line the ordinary sharp decline of sea-ice during this time of summer thawing at the Pole must abruptly go sideways, even more than it did last year.  So far it hasn’t:

DMI2 0715 icecover_current_new (click to enlarge)

In this post we will be watching this graph carefully.

I will try to also post maps and pictures from the Pole twice a day.

JULY 15 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI2 0715B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0715B temp_latest.big (1)

These Danish Meteorological Institute maps are put out at midnight and noon. I call them “morning” and “afternoon” maps because that is when I look at them. Because we are looking down on Earth, noon is at the bottom and midnight at the top in noon maps, such as the above map, and the opposite is true in maps from twelve hours later. Though diurnal variation of temperatures has little effect in the 24-hour-a-day sunshine at the center, it does have an effect at the edges of the circle shown by these maps. For example, in the above map it is midnight towards Bering Strait, and the little pockets of sub-freezing temperature you see up there will vanish in the next map, and then reappear in the following map.

Although it annoys some people, I tend to name storms for the fun of it, and also it helps me keep track of them. From this angle of the earth it is possible to track the same system as it evolves, all the way around the planet. During the evolution systems go through during such journeys, I tend to have systems keep the same name even when a stricter meteorologist would say the original died and a secondary took over. (To them I say, this is my blog, and I’m boss here.) (Furthermore, I’m more reasonable than your boss, with his Global Warming fixation.)  I very loosely follow a convention where secondary and tertiary storms on a front gain the suffix “son” and “three,” as they travel up the cold front, but when storms occlude and kick a storm ahead along the warm front I call it a “zipper” and use the suffix “zip.”

In the above map four storms are rotating around the high pressure at the Pole, which is a textbook situation, (and unusual for this year, for we have often had lows over the Pole and then you can then throw your textbook out the window.)  The low over Iceland is “Thur” and is stalled and fading, and the one in the Kara Sea is “Art” and also weakening. They are two faint memories of Hurricane Arthur. (Get it? Art and Thur?) The one over east Siberia is “Sib,” and the one approaching the Canadian Archipelago is “Tev.”  Some models are showing Tev moving east as Art fades west, and a low of their merge forming over the Greenland icecap,  which is unusual as high pressure likes to sit there. Rather than north winds on the east side of a high pressure, there will be south winds on the east side of a low, and rather than sea-ice flushing out of the arctic through Fram Strait, it may be jammed back north. I use the word “may” because models are not always right, and also winds don’t always obey the isobars.

The sub-freezing temperatures over the Kara Sea have been persistent this summer, even in the afternoon.

CRUSHED CAMERA REPORT

The original point of these posts was to enjoy the views of the North Pole Camera as it drifted south, however we have had bad luck this year, as camera one was knocked over by a polar bear and camera two crushed by a pressure ridge. However the weather station is still working, and I give reports on what we are missing.

As the building polar high pressure shifts over towards Scandinavia we are experiencing changing conditions, before I expect we will be blown back north.  Winds dropped to nearly calm, as the pressure crested at 1017.7 mb and then dipped to 1016.1 mb at noon. Winds fell to a long period of nearly calm conditions, and then rose to 10 mph at noon.  The temperatures fell from noon yesterday’s high of +0.8 to a low of -0.2°C at midnight, recovered to +0.3 at 6:00 AM but dipped back to -0.2°C at 9:00 AM, before returning to zero at noon. These temperatures are below normal, though I expect they will rise as winds become south.

Our steady progress south and west was halted. Our southward progress halted at 84.799°N at midnight, and we were bumped north to 84.804°N at 6:00 Am, and then sagged back to 84.799°N at noon. Our westward progress halted at 12.109°E at 3:00 AM, we were jostled back to 12.195°E at 9:00 AM, and then nudged west to 12.181°E at noon. With all these shifts occurring you can understand the floes do a lot of crashing and smashing, and see why our camera may have been crushed by a pressure ridge. There is nothing neat and tidy about the Arctic Ocean this year, and one adventurer described the situation as “crazy ice.”

NEW CAMERAS

Originally these pictures merely supplimented the Noth Pole Camera, but now they are my fix of cool pictures in hot summer weather. They are from the “O-buoy Project.”  The first is Camera Nine, which has drifted from over towards Bering Strait, and is now passing quite near the Pole on the Canadian side, at 88 north latitude. Originally the camera looked over completely flat ice, but the stresses of the winter built the small pressure ridges. I expect melt-water pools to be appearing soon.

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The second picture is from Camera Ten, which is much further south, a little south of 77 degrees latitude, north of Alaska. As best I can tell, the ice is nine feet thick, but as you can see the summer thaw is in progress.

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JULY 19   —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0716 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0716 temp_latest.big (1)

Weak storms circle much like they were doing yesterday, however the high pressure north of Scandinavia is stronger, creating south winds in Fram Strait that will push ice north and may reduce “extent” by compressing the ice like an accordion. When that ice spreads out again it will be the same amount of ice, (or a little less due to melting), but the “extent” will increase in that area. What really melts ice is to have it flushed south down the east coast of Greenland into the warmer Atlantic. I think that melts more ice than the secondary cause, which is milder Atlantic water being pushed north under the ice. That can’t happen as much when surface winds blow north and east at the top of Scandinavia, pushing the northernmost tendrils of the Gulf Stream back south.  Melting at the surface due to sunlight and warm temperatures comes in a distant third, when it comes to the icecap melting, but we might as well check the air temperatures up north of 80 degrees latitude, and note how they have been below normal all summer.

DMI2 0716 meanT_2014 (click to enlarge)

 LOCAL VIEW JULY 16  —Record cold to our west—

I haven’t been able to keep up with my posts about my little town, which some miss.  However it is summer in New Hampshire, and the North Pole usually doesn’t effect us that much. However it managed to discharge enough cold to drop temperatures to the verge of frost in the northern midwest, (37 degrees Fahrenheit [+2.8 Celsius] in Tomahawk, Wisconsin this morning.) What that means here to the east is a southern surge of moist air before a cold front, lovely soft thunder high  in the sky during the night, and beneficial rains. The air-mass will likely be warmed by the time it covers us tomorrow, but be crisp and dry.  My little patch of corn is loving it, and despite the retarded spring is waist high.

When the Pole exports its cold it usually gets milder up  there. And it actually was as cold in Tomahawk, Wisconsin as it was around 90 miles north of our crunched camera, at  Buoy 2014E:

Here is our local map, with the front passing through and warm summer rain falling outside:

LV 140916 satsfc (3) (click to enlarge)

NEW CAMERAS   —CRACKING ICE—

The northern camera shows the crack just behind the yellow “plug” is opening slightly, due to the shifting winds as the high pressure builds over towards Scandinavia. Considering how smashed up the ice is up there, after all the winter gales, I would not be surprised to see a lead open up, and open water appear, which would be wonderful to watch. My best guess is that the ice is about five feet thick here, which means only six inches would be above water, and we could see some sloshing before this camera bit the dust. It is a rough year for cameras in the north.

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The southern camera has thicker ice, and it may take a while for the melt-water to find channels down through the ice. The ice tends to be close to the freezing point of salt water not very far down, and when fresh water trickles down the cracks it freezes, plugging up the cracks. I’m hoping this will allow another “Lake North Pole” to form. Then what tends to happen is the ice shifts, and a six inch wide crack forms, and all the water gurgles down at once.  This is what we saw happen to “Lake North Pole” last summer: “LAKE NORTH POLE” VANISHES

webcam JULY 16  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0716B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0716B temp_latest.big (1)

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

Our mangled eyesore upon the pristine arctic ivory did start north and east, but ran into other ice and/or a weak front around 3:00 AM, when it reached 84.833°N, before hesitating southward slightly to end the 24-hour-period at 84.828°N, 12.752°E. The barometer dipped slightly then, to 1015.6 mb at 6:00 AM, before rebounding to 1016.2 mb at noon. The temperature also dipped, from the high of +0.8°C at 9:00 PM to the low of -0.2°C at 9:00 AM, before getting back to zero at noon. The winds, in the 10-15 mph range, seem to have swung briefly from southwest to west-northwest, but were swinging back to the west-southwest at noon, and I expect the northward drift to resume. Alas that the camera is gone, for some interesting weather passed through.

JULY 17 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0717 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0717 temp_latest.big (1)

“Thur” is fading away over Greenland as “Art” drifts from the Kara to the Laptev Sea, eastward on the Siberian coast. Neither is liable to be very noteworthy over the next week, and in fact the models have stopped showing a low over Greenland, and instead show a more traditional high pressure cell there, though they do not show its wind extending east into Fram Strait. Instead the high pressure north of Scandinavia, which I now name “Scant,” [for "Scandinavia Top"] looks to be the lasting feature on the Atlantic side, as “Sib” mills around and is a feature this week on the Pacific side.  “Tev” is sliding south into Canada and may brew up a decent storm tucked in north of Hudson Bay,  sort of hidden but able to import warm air north through Baffin bay west of Greenland, and also able to export polar air south to the USA, and cool my summer here.

The sub-freezing temperatures in the Kara Sea have persisted all summer, but I was curious about that little noodle of cold aiming from Greenland towards our crushed camera, so I went to the Weatherbell site and looked at other views of the arctic from among Dr. Ryan Maue’s excellent maps (free week trial available.) This only makes my confusion worse, for the initial run of the Canadian model always shows the Arctic Sea colder than the DMI map, and this time it shows some significant cold just across the Pole: (Ignore the glitch that makes a smudge of zeros and nines on the left side, and remember temperatures are in Fahrenheit.)

DMI2 0717 cmc_t2m_arctic_1 (double click to enlarge fully)

My confusion is furthered by the fact the GFS model’s initial run doesn’t show this pool of cool. (Their map is upside down)

DMI2 0717 gfs_t2m_arctic_1 (double click to fully enlarge)

The best I can do is to try to go see for myself.

NEW CAMERAS VIEWS

The northern camera’s bleak view still gives me the impression the ice is trying to crack up, but the surface looks more like frozen slush than thawing slush. When I check the site’s temperature graph it shows a temperature a hair below freezing, but when I check Buoy 2014E: this morning, (between this site and our crushed camera,) I see it is a surprisingly low  -2.01° C. (perhaps it is in the noodle of cold shown on the DMI map.)

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The southern view is interesting because the lens is just starting to get covered, but not by drops of water. That is snow, and since I saved the view the lens has become totally obscured. Heck of a way to run a thaw, if you ask me, even down at 77 degrees latitude. When I checked the temperature graph it appears to be a hair below freezing, and the closest other buoy I can find, Buoy 2013F: (at 77.06° N, 156.79° W) is coming in at -0.01°C. I get the feeling there is cold air lurking about up there which I was unaware of.

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Sometimes a fall of snow up there can have an interesting effect on the “extent” graphs, especially if they are derived from satellite data, and the satellite is confusing melt-water pools with open water.  Abruptly the pools are covered with white snow, so the satellite abruptly sees open water as ice-covered, and there is a strange up-tick in the graph. I was actually expecting a down-tick, as winds compressed the ice back north towards the Pole, but now I’m going to be on the lookout for the opposite. There is no sign of it yet, however the snow is just starting to fall:

DMI2 0717 icecover_current_new (click to enlarge)

The only other news to report is that an interesting area of ice-free water is appearing in Fram Strait, against the northeast corner of Greenland, due to the fact sea-ice is not being flushed out of the arctic, and rather is being crunched back in. I don’t recall seeing that last year.

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

Our useless heap of scrap floated steadily east, while curving south to 84.823°N and then back north, finishing further north than we began the 24-hour period, at 84.837°N, 13.022°E.  The breeze was steady at around 5-10 mph, picking up slightly at the end of the period to around 12 mph. The barometer took a sharp dive between noon and 3:00 PM, from 1016.2 mb  to 1012.7mb, and then remained fairly steady, finishing at 1012.2mb. The temperature rose from zero to +1.0°C during the period.

JULY 17  —DMI Afternoon Maps—

DMI2 0717B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0717B temp_latest.big (1)

A revived “Tev” is in the Northwest Passage. “Sib” sits north of Alaska. What may be a bit of  “Thur” sits atop Greenland, across the Pole from weak “Art.” Alas! What a fate to befall a once mighty hurricane!  The high “Scant” sits over northern Finland, and may bring the east winds back to the Baltic, although the source region doesn’t look as warm this time.

Sub-freezing persists in the Kara Sea, and on the midnight side of the map (top), although the sun barely dips below the horizon even south of the arctic circle, in high summer. However the days are getting shorter, and the time for thawing is running out.

NEW CAMERAS

Our northern camera continues to show a bleak view, woth ominous cracks, but no obvious melting.

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Our southern camera shows all the slush covered with fresh snow. I hope all the Albedo-feinds are noting this, and adjusting their equations. Nothing reflects sunlight better than freshly fallen snow. It may be back to slush tomorrow, but this does slow the thaw’s progress.

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JULY 18 —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0718 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0718 temp_latest.big (1)

“Tev” is a decent storm in the Northwest Passage. I wonder if it is cracking up the ice. Soon we may get reports from adventurers attempting the Passage, though usually they wait until late July to start.

“Sib” is stalled and hanging in there north of Alaska. “Art”, (or perhaps his zipper,) is pushing into east Siberia, with a trailing trough of low pressure than now cuts across the Pole to the faint memory of “Thur,”  which although very weak is yet another low attempting sit atop the world. They have divided “Trans” into a weak high towards Bering Strait and the stronger one northeast of Finland.  South east of that high is a vigorous inland low (perhaps a reincarnation of “Spinthree”), but which I’ll dub “Artson,” which is doing interesting things in some models. They see it cruising along the Arctic coast, swinging across Bering Strait and then attacking the Pole from Alaska next week. However the models change their minds a lot, like one of the sexes. (I am too smart to say which.)

One of the mildest temperature maps we’ve seen so far, though I should report Buoy 2012G: north of the Canadian Archipelago reported -2.22° this morning, and Buoy 2014B: north of Bering Strait at 75.21 N, 170.66 W, reported -0.47°.

NEW CAMERAS

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We have the same dreary view, with some sort of warm front pushing moisture in aloft from the south, I imagine. It is likely the warm-up that reached our crushed camera yesterday has not made it this far north, for Buoy 2014E: was reporting -0.09°.

One slight change is we can see more of the top of the yellow “cork” than last week. I wonder if the wind swings it slightly, or if it has some sort of mooring line dangling through the ice to the water beneath.

Further south our southern camera was showing a lot of fog earlier, but now is showing fresh snow, getting soggy over the melt-water pools:

webcam

This camera was deployed with Buoy 2014E: which was showing a temperature of -0.08° this morning. Here is a map of how they have drifted over the past ten months: (Double click to fully enlarge.)

Drift map July 18 2013F_track

CRUNCHED CAMERA DATA   

The most interesting data is that temperatures remained fairly flat through most of the 24 hour period, only sinking three tenths of a degree to +0.7°C at 6:00 AM, and then sank more swiftly to -0.1°C. The wind had shifted to just north of west, and as the eastward drift persisted we stopped moving north at 6:00 Am at 84.892°N and by noon had settled back to 84.887°N, 13.717°E. The pressure remained very steady at 1012.3 mb.

JULY 18 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0718B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0718Btemp_latest.big (1)

Not much change, except a bit colder than yesterday on the Pacific side.

NEW CAMERAS  —Friday night and not much change—

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AN EXCELLENT CONCEPT   –Compare area to extent to determine compactness–

I wander a bit on the web in my search for fresh data, and lurk at sites that tend to take the Alarmist view that the Pole is melting away and in a Death Spiral. Some repel me and I have no desire to visit ever again, (Skeptical Science is such a site, especially because at times it hasn’t just snipped comments, but has altered them to make the person commenting look like a dope.)  However (so far) I haven’t been particularly repelled by this site, “Arctic Sea Ice Blog,” although I disagree with the bias. (I have a thick skin about bias, as I recognize my own.) http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2014/07/asi-2014-update-5-low-times.html#more

They have come up with the following chart that compares extent with area, and gives an idea of how compact the ice is. (I have mentioned how the same amount of ice can be compacted, or spread out like a small pat of butter on a large piece of toast, and how this influences “extent”.) Judging from the graph they came up with, the ice is quite compacted this year.  I think it a great concept, and give credit where credit is due.

CAPIE20140710

JULY 19 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0719 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0719 temp_latest.big (1)

“Tev” continues to keep conditions uncomfortable for anyone attempting the Northwest Passage, as together with “Sib” towards Alaska, they make low pressure on the Canada-Alaska side mesh with high-pressure on the Scandinavia-Siberia side, creating a general Atlantic to Pacific flow which I imagine will keep sea-ice from being flushed out into the Atlantic. I am going to watch to see if ice gets blown into the ice-free areas of the Laptev Sea. You can see the ice-water boundary marked by that little necklace of sub-freezing temperatures. The Kara Sea continues to have sub-freezing temperatures, but the diurnal variation is quite obvious towards Bering Strait on this temperature map, where it is noon towards the top. In the last map, when it was midnight towards the top, there were patches of sub-freezing temperatures, but now they are not to be seen.

The “Art” and “Artson” area of low pressure is difficult to see, but models continue to imagine it will redevelop, swing around across the Bering Strait to Alaska and then up to the Pole by next Wednesday, and continue to be a top-of-the-world storm into next weekend.

NEW CAMERAS  —Gray days return—

Our northern camera has been showing a lot of fog, though now it looks like the sun is trying to burn through.  Fog may mean milder Atlantic air is trying to push north on south winds from Fram Strait, though Buoy 2014E: in that direction is reading a cold -0.25°. The hope of real thaw is on the north coast of Greenland, where Buoy 2014D: is coming in at a toasty +3.02°.  It looks like we have one little melt-water pool forming in the lower, right foreground, but it better hurry up because we are running out of time.

webcam

Our southern camera seems to suggest slush is eroding the fresh snow, and that it is foggy there as well.  I haven’t noticed any up-ticks in “extent” graphs caused by the fresh snow, but the blogger Max™ shared a couple maps I’ll post. The first shows this area as only 60% ice, while the second shows it as having ice six to nine feet thick. It does make me scratch my head and wonder if the satellite is seeing slush as open water. What I really want to do is get some clear weather, so we can study the visible satellite image.

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Extent July 19 cryo_compare_small

Thickness July 19 arcticictnowcast

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

Winds shifted from the northwest to the southwest and temperatures rose a little, from -0.1°C at noon yesterday, to +0.7°C at 9:00 AM today. We progressed steadily east, but our southward drift ceased at  84.881°N at (:00 PM last night and we moved back north to 84.893°N, 14.020°E at 9:00 AM.  The barometer dipped to 1011.8 mb  at 3:00 AM and then rose back to 1012.4 mb at 9:00 AM.  It is like a very faint front pushed north.

I’m not sure why the final entry was 9:00 AM, and not noon. Likely someone had better things to do on the weekend than tend to a defunct camera. I hope the sensors didn’t get crunched along with the camera. I find it interesting we are heading east north of Svalbard rather than south to Fram Strait.

JULY 19  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0719B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0719B temp_latest.big (1)

NEW CAMERAS   —Sunshine soon?—

Our northern camera is showing some blue sky, but the low scud is keeping the sun fairly dim.  The sun is fairly low up there even in the height of summer. Buoy 2014E: is showing a temperature of +0.13° C, which is just barely a thaw. It really takes some sunshine to get things going.

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Our southern camera has just a hint of blue in the gray overcast, as if the clouds may be thinning. The DMI map above shows the low “Sib” has some cold air in it, so if any clouds wrap around we might see more snow. The thermometer associated with this camera site, on Buoy 2013F: , is actually the only above-freezing reading from the Beaufort Sea, just barely, at + 0.01° C. To the west Buoy 2014C: is coming in at -0.75° C and to the west Buoy 2014B: is coming in at  -0.15° C.

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ANOTHER BUOY BITES THE DUST?

I’ve been relying on Buoy 2014D: to tell me the conditions just off Greenland’s north coast, where a warm up has been occurring, however there is no report this morning, and when I check the temperature graph it looks like a berserk spider took over the data:Berserk 2014D_temp (click to enlarge)

The ice is quite a jumble of pressure ridges up there, and my fear is that the buoy met an untimely end. It is a rough year for ice apparatus

My hope is that the buoy is OK, and the scambled data only means that somebody, somewhere, drank too much beer this weekend.

The weather station at Nort, at the northeast tip of Greenland, reports a balmy 41 degrees this morning. (5 degrees Celsius)

JULY 20  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0720 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0720 temp_latest.big (1)

Not much change. “Tev” continues to whirl over the Northwest Passage. Canadian Ice Service maps don’t show much break-up of ice plugging the center of the route. The only adventurers I’ve found look like they are touring the top of Baffin Bay, and haven’t attempted the passage.

“Sib” continues to sit north of Alaska. Warm air north of Greenland is rising, keeping a faint memory of “Thur” alive.  Weak low pressure sprawls across the Atlantic south of Iceland.

The real news is “Scant,” which is what I dubbed the Scandinavian High.  It reaches all the way east to central Siberia, but its core looks like it will back west into the Atlantic, which will continue the wrong-way flow from south-to-north in Fram Strait, and will continue to push ice to the east north of Svalbard.  I’m watching to see if it pushes ice into the Laptev Sea’s open waters, which could cause an uptick on “extent” graphs.

“Scant” also has brought east winds back into the Baltic. The intrusion of Atlantic air I mentioned last week looks like it was short-lived. Nice dry air from Siberia’s summer (utterly different from winter east winds) can filter west. My main question now is whether the winds will turn northeast and come off the cooler Arctic Ocean, as “Scant” shifts west. It looks like “Scant” will persist right through the oncoming week.

I’m puzzled by the patches of sub-freezing temperatures by the northeast corner of Greenland, where I expected it to be warmer. The Kara Sea shows no sub-freezing temperatures, which is unusual for this summer.

In east Siberia “Art” is reforming, and is liable to swing around and reinforce “Sib” by midweek, moving out towards the Pole. By having them meshing with “Scant”, a flow from Svalbard to the Laptev Sea looks likely.

NEW CAMERAS  —The gray goes on—

Our northern camera shows a bit of ice formed around the edge of the small melt-water pool in the lower right corner. Last year’s North Pole Camera already showed a large melt-water pool by July 20. I recorded the growth of the pool in this post: http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/north-pole-ice-melt-watching-the-summer-thaw/

That buoy had drifted down to 85 degrees latitude by then, which means the camera was roughly 200 miles further south. Maybe that explains the lack of pools this year. I’m still expecting to see some grow. This gray weather may be due to south winds and overriding moisture.

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Our southern camera down at 77 degrees latitude is snowing the fresh snow is reverting to melt-water pools. Buoy 2013F: indicates the temperature is + 0.24° C

webcam

Mostly this ice thins from the bottom up, as the spike in the PDO from “cold” to “warm” allows more north Pacific water to invade through Bering Strait and get under the ice. However the ice is fairly thick.  The Navy graph suggests the ice may have thinned as much as six feet in places, yet still is six feet thick. I doubt it. It takes a lot of heat to melt ice, as the heat becomes latent heat in the phase-change. Also the graph from Buoy 2013F: deployed with this camera indicates the ice at this site began thinner than the Navy map led me to believe, (5 feet rather than 10 feet,) but has only melted to down to 4 feet thick.: (Red line is snow atop the ice; blue line is the bottom of the ice.)

Thickness July 20 2013F_thick (click to enlarge)

QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET

UK Met July 19 16399316 (click to enlarge)

I haven’t checked these maps in a while. The high “Scant” has blocked thing again, making Scandinavia an independent island, and causing a traffic jam in the Atlantic. I’m not sure where that new low south of Greenland came from, so I’ll just call it “Newl”, (for “new low”). It will stall around Iceland as “Thur” did.

The main difference is that there is no Spinthree south of the Baltic Sea adding to the easterly flow.  Spinthree devided, part moving northwest off the coast of Norway, and part fading away east to become part of…..oh heck. I just realized I went dyslexic with the names of my storms. That storm in eastern Siberia is Art, not Thur.  Now I have to go back through this post and correct everything.

********

There.  That’s done. Where was I?  Hmm. I suppose I was just saying the position of “Scant,”  and the east winds over the Baltic, are going to be interesting to watch. If “Scant” moves west Scandinavia could get a more northerly flow off the Arctic Sea.

UPTICK IN SEA-ICE EXTENT

The blogger Max™ pointed out the newest DMI map shows the uptick I was wondering might occur, due to the snowfall over towards Bering Strait.

DMI2 0720 icecover_current_new

This is not to say I’m sure I was right. Perhaps the ice is spreading out into the Laptev Sea, or some other place. However it is interesting to watch, as it may hint at the graph “flat-lining”.

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

Our battered camera is being repaired by polar bears drinking coca cola, but they are not done yet, so you will have to take my word for it. Meanwhile it drifted slowly west and as far north as  84.906°N, before backing off slightly  and winding up at noon at 84.900°N, 14.537°E. Back on June 23rd it was at 85.022°N, 14.599°E. So a months of steady drifting has swirled us around in circles, and we are less than ten miles from where we started.

Not much happened, though we had a 27 hour day, due to the unexplained end of yesterday’s report at 9:00 PM. The temperature and barometer were flat, with the temperature only moving a tenth of a degree all day, from +0.7°C to +0.6°C. and the barometer starting at 1012.4 mb and ending at 1012.3 mb with diurnal quirks in between.

The winds slackened off to around 5 mph. I think this is the calm before the storm, for things look they will get interesting by mid-week.

JULY 20   —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0720B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0720B temp_latest.big (1)

“Tev” remains stalled over the Northwest Passage, though expanding over Baffin island. “Sib” is weaker and quite cold, north of Alaska, and is going to fling “Art” right around in some Fujiwhara dance, as what looks to be a decent storm over the Pole by the end of the week. The meshing of that storm and the high pressure system “Scant” over Scandinavia ought create strong flows in the general direction of the Laptev Sea. Likely the ice extent will lessen at the Atlantic edge but expand at the Laptev edge. How this will all play out in terms of the “Extent” graphs will be interesting to watch.

I am surprised by the amount of sub-freezing air that has appeared on the Pacific side, and also north of the Canadian Archipelago and northeast of Greenland, where I expected it to be warmer. I suppose warm air rises, but I’ve noticed such cooling before, in the wreckage of dying storms. (That area holds not only  weakening “Sib”, which was cold to begin woth, but also the faint memory of “Thur”.)  To try to study in greater detail I turned to the Gem model, which Dr. Ryan Maue makes available at the Weatherbell site.  The same maps as above look like this:

DMI2 0720B cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_1DMI2 0720B cmc_t2m_arctic_1

(As with the DMI maps, you can click these maps to enlarge them, but these maps can be clicked a second time to enlarge them further.)

I’m not sure that seeing in greater detail increases my understanding, but it does increase my wonder. The remains of “Thur” can be seen to be three seperate swirls, each with sub swirls. (Would you expect less from a former hurricane?)

The Canadian temperature map is always colder than others, but it shows the cold isn’t drawn from some place else. The cold is created (or the heat is lost) in a home-grown manner, by the arctic itself. I’m always reading about 24-hour-sunshine and albedo and melt-water pools, as if the arctic summer is nothing but warming, warming, warming. However here we see some cooling is going on. Why doesn’t anyone write about that? Oh…I just did.

NEW CAMERAS  —Struggling to thaw—

Our northern camera shows the struggle to thaw continues. The temperature graph shows we dropped below freezing for much of the day, and have only just struggled back to zero. This is no way to  run a thaw. However the temperature further south towards our crunched camera is up to +0.64° C at Buoy 2014E:, so perhaps some mildness is working north.

That black crack to the right and behind the yellow “cork” looks less obvious, as if there might have been some sleet blurring the sharpness of the details. Either that, or the ice shifted a little.  I imagine it could start shifting more and even break up by mid week.  Stay Tuned!!!

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Our southern camera, which seemed to be seeing the thaw nicely underway, is now experiencing a refreeze. Conjunct Buoy 2013F: is reporting a temperature of  -0.44° C, and the melt-water pools are taking on that milky look they get when they skim over with ice.

Again, this is one heck of a way of running a thaw. I want my money back. How am I get fat and lazy, sitting around watching ice melt, if the darn stuff keeps refreezing? I’m losing weight!

(Actually a lot of melting has occurred, this far south. Back when the winter snow first melted off the camera lens, at the end of April, the deep snow was up to where the yellow turns to black towards the top of the buoy in the distance.  If it is a buoy. It might be a robot, you know. Several groups deployed things at this site, and maybe they all assumed the robot was another group’s object.  Actually it might be a probe from the planet Kal-zeediff, sent to earth to try to figure out what we Earthlings are doing, out on the arctic ice.  They are all scratching their heads at their mission control, as we make no sense to them. Many have concluded arctic sea ice is a religion to Earthlings. (hmm….) )

 webcam

CFS V2 GRAPH MODERATES ITS TONE

Extent CFS July 20 sieMon (Double click to fully enlarge)

The CFS V2 Model is backing off its shocking prediction of there being above-normal sea-ice at the minimum in September. (It has also stopped predicting a “super El Nino,” and is now predicting a more modest El Nino Modoki, which is bad news for my neck of the woods, as it may give us a winter like 1976-1977.)  Rather than a minimum of over 7 million km2, it is predicting 6.4, and rather than 0.70 million km2 above normal it is only predicting 0.15. Still, for ice to be above normal would cause the “Death-spiral” crowd to sulk for at least six months, though hope would bloom eternal for them by next spring.

Why would anyone root for a “Death Spiral”? When I look back to my youth, I think normalcy was quite unattractive. Normalcy meant I’d have to get a real job, but if the world was coming to an end, working for a pension was like brushing your teeth on the steps to the gallows. It made no sense. That is why my friends now have pensions and I will be working until I drop. However, what the heck. I took my retirement when I was young and could enjoy it.

JULY 21  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0721 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0721 temp_latest.big (1)

“”Tev” is moving into Baffin Bay, likely giving gloomy weather for the sailors thinking of attempting the Northwest passage. Quite a gale is heading north where air is squeezed against the west coast of Greenland. This may push mild, uplifting air into the Canadian Archipelago and promote low pressure up that way, and even some Chinook warming where the air sinks down to the Arctic Sea.  Buoy 2012G: is coming in at a mild + 0.96°C there.

“Sib” is swinging a revived “Art” across Bering Strait, incorperating some Pacific juice and likely pushing sea-ice away from the coast of Alaska, where Barrow was showing sea ice at the shore a couple days ago.  http://seaice.alaska.edu/gi/observatories/barrow_webcam

JULY 19  Barrow July 19 screenhunter_1129-jul-19-08-29

JULY 21  Barrow July 21 00_33_44_220_ABCam_20140721_0019 

To get back to the subject, at this point the isobars between the low “Sib” and the high “Scant” are loose and winds are not strong. I expect that to change by Wednesday.

Notice how in the above maps, where noon is towards the top and Alaska is in its afternoon, the sub-freezing temperatures have vanished. They are still reported at a couple buoys, though.  Buoy 2014C: north of Bering Strait at  74.49° N, 149.75° W is coming in at  -0.11° C, and Buoy 2013F: conjunct with our southern camera is coming in at  -0.25° C.

Speaking of those cameras…

NEW CAMERAS   —Gloom persists—

Somewhere some scientists must record how much sunshine and how much cloudiness the Arctic gets. I’d like to see if this summer has been cloudier. I think it has been cloudier, at the scattered places I observe. (Most of the year clear skies make it colder at the Pole, however I’m not sure that is true during high summer. Likely there is debate about the effects, and the effects of high clouds versus low clouds. In any case, I miss the views of turquoise and silver.)

Our northern camera still looks cold. Notice the melt-water pool in the lower right corner has a skim of ice around the edge. Its graph shows temperatures a hair below freezing, and Buoy 2014E: at 86.24° N, 1.06° W (roughly 125 miles towards Fram Strait) is coming in at  -0.08° C.

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Meanwhile the thaw remains on hold at our southern  camera, with the melt-water skimming over with ice:

webcam

SAILOR TRAPPED IN SEA ICE IS RESCUED

Some of the best information about sea-ice comes from adventurers in the north. It doesn’t matter if they are Skeptics or Alarmists, their cameras tend to hint at actual conditions. This fellow got trapped in sea-ice north of Barrow, trying to sneak through the ice that os pressed against the coast there, and find a way to open water to the east. After ten days the coast guard broke through 40 miles of ice to get the guy.  Full story: http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?Nid=124426&refre=y&ntid=0&rid=4

Arctic Sailor July 21 Alt_Altan Girl trapped1Arctic Sailor July 21 Alt_Altan Girl under tow1

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

We continued to drift slowly south, but our eastward drift ceased at 14.665°E at 9:00 PM last night, and we have slipped back west, finishing the day at 84.842°N, 14.542°E. Temperatures hit their high of +0.7°C at 3:00 PM, and have trended downwards in the northeast wind, winding up at +0.2°C. The barometer has continued flat, finishing at 1012.1 mb at noon, and the light breeze has been in the 5-10 mph range.  A rather quiet and boring day.

NO DMI MAPS, SO I’LL SUBSTITUTE MAUE MAPS

DMI2 0721B cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_1DMI2 0721B cmc_t2m_arctic_1

These maps are created by Dr. Ryan Maue out of data from the Canadian “JEM” model. You can see them and thousands more at the Weatherbell site. (Free week’s trial available.) Remember the Canadian tends to read colder than the Danish maps.

I have to run to a meeting soon, but hopefully can comment later.

NEW CAMERAS

The northern camera looks gray and dull. Maybe the ice at the edge of the melt-water pool in the lower right has melted back just an inch.  It’s hard to get excited about that.

webcam

It looks like the melt-water pools have frozen over, with just a dust of snow on the ice, at our southern camera. The conjunct Buoy 2013F: is reporting -0.66° C. Further west, north of the Bering Strait,   Buoy 2014B: is coming in at -0.41°C, while to the east   Buoy 2014C comes in at -1.46°C. The Beaufort Sea is cold.

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JULY 22  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0722 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0722 temp_latest.big (1)

“Tev” is weakening in northwest Hudson Bay, but not before bringing some mild air up into Baffin Bay, As weakening “Sib” swings “Art” around and over the Pole, it may tap into that milder air, and also mild air inland in Alaska,  The Beaufort Sea has warmed today, and the Canadian Archipelago is milder than it has been. Interestingly, one of the colder places up there is northeast of Greenland, in south winds. I haven’t a clue what the “source region” for that cold air is  I suppose it must be Greenland’s icecap, but when air descends 10,000 feet usually a Chinook effect kicks in and it is mild.  I have more learning to do.

There is only a few day window when “Art” will blow ice into the Laptev Sea, according to the changing models. Now it looks like “Art” will swing the winds around, and be blowing the ice the other way by Friday. So the the “extent” graph may have up-ticks and dips. At the moment it has such a big up-tick that some are saying the satellite must  be faulty:

DMI2 0722 icecover_current_new (click to enlarge)

NEW CAMERAS  —Clearing skies?—

It doesn’t look like the thaw has quite resumed yet, at our northern camera, though it seems it should, as “Art” brings south winds as it approaches.  However it is still -0.45° C at Buoy 2014E: .  Also the little pool in the lower right of the picture still has ice around its edge.

webcam

At our southern camera temperatures have risen above freezing. Our conjunct  Buoy 2013F: is reading + 0.12° C, and other nearby buoys are above freezing as well. Partly this is due to  the fact we are far enough south, at 77 degrees latitude, for the sun to be higher at noon and a slight diurnal variation to kick in, however I think the passage of “Art” may have also stirred up  the air; broken the inversion and brought milder air down from above.  Mild air may have been transported in as well. We’ll see if temperatures stay up as the sun dips toward the horizon at midnight.

Though “Art” has passed right over this area I see no fresh snow, so it must be a fairly dry storm. It still looks cold, but I now expect thawing to resume. The sky looks blue in the upper right, and sunshine would speed up the melt.

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CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

Changing conditions made for an interesting day. the winds shifted from generally northeast and light to southwest and stronger, (from less than 5 mph to  more than 14 mph), and as a consequence our westward movement stopped at 14.507°E at 3:00 PM yesterday and our southward movement stopped at midnight at 84.826°N, and we picked up speed north and east, finishing the day at 84.841°N, 14.854°E.

Temperatures dipped to a low of -1.1°C at 3:00 AM but then rebounded to +1.3°C. The barometer crested at 1014.6 mb at 6:00 Am but then fell to 1013.1 mb by noon.

We may be in for a bit of a blow.

JULY 22 —DMI Afternoon maps—

DMI2 0722B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0722B temp_latest.big (1)

With “Newl” stalled south of Iceland and “Tev” stalled south of Baffin Island, the big players at center stage are the storm “Art” approaching the Pole from Canada and the high pressure “Scant” probing toward the Pole from Norway. The flow between them woll shift, and be worth watching.

The warm air over Scandinavia seems like it will just sit and stagnate, but the blonds on Baltic beaches will not call stagnation a bad thing.  I’m not sure why “Scant” isn’t pumping warm air up over the Pole, and should likely look at the UK Met.

A QUICK GLANCE AT THE UK MET

Not much help here, for the min thing I see is stagnation.  Compare today’s map with Friday’s forecast map, and little has budged.

UK Met July 22 16478277UK Met July 22 Fri forecast 16485096

“Newl” just fades away southwest of Iceland. “Tev” and family whirl away, stalled off Newfoundland’s north coast. A newcomer to the lower left, “Newc”, gets half way across the  Atlantic, and then it too stalls. Th fronts back up off Great Britain, west into the Atlantic as “Scant” sits happily atop Scandinavia. Some mild air must be leaking north, but north of Scandinavia it looks like west winds keep Atlantic air from rushing north.

NEW CAMERAS 

Our northern camera is still gray, and it doesn’t look like much thawing has occurred, though wisps of passing fog suggest some milder air is about.

The small melt-water pool in the lower right may now be open, but the ice around the edge is whiter, as if it has been peppered by sleet a some point.

There are pockets of cold air around. Buoy 2014E: is reporting in at  -0.57°C.

webcam

Our southern buoy is still refusing to thaw even enough to get us back to where we were ten days ago. The conjunct Buoy 2013F: is reporting -0.65° C.  I think it may have been warmer earlier, and opened the ice to the right of the largest melt-water pool, but it also looks like we’ve had another dusting of snow.

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The hint of blue sky in this picture was gone the next time the camera updated (around every ten minutes.) I can never remember a summer when the camera so often showed a gray world up there.

INSOMNIA REPORT   —Snow at southern camera—

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JULY 23  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0723 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0723 temp_latest.big (1)

“Scant” remains strong high pressure over Scandinavia, as “Art” is a 987 mb low north of Canada. A decent southwest flow over the North Atlantic is trying to bring warmth north, and has reached Svalbard, but it seems it will not get far north of there before being turned southeast towards western Siberia. The current flow into the Laptev Sea will rotate clockwise into the Kara Sea an then Barents Sea.

Noon is at the top of the above maps and midnight at the bottom. Despite the night, note how mild it is in the Gulf of Bothnia, an despite the day, note that there are still sub-freezing temperatures off the North Slope of Alaska.

Models suggest the status-quo, with Scant and Art, will fade away by the weekend. Interestingly, a new storm looks likely to aim for h Pole. The question is whether it will head north from Siberia, or the North Atlantic, or both.

Models also show temperatures over the Beaufort Gyre remaining below normal.

FLAT-LINING CONTINUES

DMI2 0723 icecover_current_new

NEW CAMERAS  

The nearby buoys haven’t updated this morning, but neither view shows evidence of thawing. The temperature graphs show temperatures right at freezing.

Remember we are at the height of the thaw. Last year the North Pole Camera showed that splendid melt-water pool called “Lake North Pole.”

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CRUNCHED BUOY REPORT

In the past 24 hours our blind squirrel searched for the nut mostly to the east, getting as far north as 84.874°N at 6:00 AM, before veering a little south and ending the day at 84.867°N, 16.175°E. We are about halfway between the Pole and Svalbard, at a longitude roughly a third of the way across the top of Svalbard. Only in 2006 has a North Pole Camera wandered so far east.

We ended yesterday with temperatures at +1.3°C, holding the promise of thawing, but the 3:00 PM report came in with temperatures back to zero. Temperatures were just above zero until after midnight, when they fell below zero and were at  -0.3°C at 6:00 Am, winding up at -0.1°C at noon.

The breeze was quite fresh during the the start if the period, up around 18 mph, but gradually slackened off to 9 mph at noon.  The barometer steadily fell to 1001.5 mb.

JULY 23  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0723B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0723B temp_latest.big (1)

“Art” approaching the Pole and king-of-the-world status, as “Scant” remain comfortably parked over Scandinavia.  Sub-freezing pocket over towards Bering Stait and back into the Kar Sea, but oddly none shows in the vincinity of our North Pole Camera, though it was reporting -0.1°C at the time this map is suppose to show.  (You can see the tendril of cold air from St. Nort in Greenland to the vicinity of our crunched camera.)

Not a terribly cold map, but definitely not a warm one either.

NEW CAMERAS

The northern camera shows a situation that is basically unchanged.

webcam

The southern view shows the melt-water pools are definitely refrozen, which is note worthy at the height of the melt-season.  However I can’t comment further, as a big thunderstorm is approaching this obscure corner of a big planet.

webcam

JULY 24  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0724 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0724 temp_latest.big (1)

“Art” is weakening up over the Pole, bit will continue to mill around up there into the weekend. (It will have various part and pieces, but I haven’t he time to name them all.) Meanwhile “Scant” continues to give Scandinavia mild weather, but it too will weaken, and there are hints that a weak low over the Baltic will tun into a home-grown storm at the start if next week, moving north into the Arctic to reinforce the remains of “Art.”

The warmth in Scandinavia can’t make it up to the Pole, as it is bent east. The Pole has a rough zonal flow, (albeit backwards from a textbook polar high pressure,) and is keeping its cold air.  A pocket of sub-freezing exits even in the afternoon, towards our southern camera north of Alaska. The northern parts of the Kara Se are sub-freezing again as well.

Thee is still plenty of time for a thaw, but the temperatures usually are just passing their peak by now. We are just touching normal, in our DMI graph of temperatures north of 80 degrees latitude, for the first time all summer. (We did this last year as well, twice, before the early and abrupt plunge in August.)

DMI2 0724 meanT_2014 (click to enlarge)

It is interesting to compare this graph with the graph from 1979, when a far colder winter led to a much milder melt-season, that extended into the fall.

DMI2 0724 meanT_1979  (click to enlarge)

NEW CAMERAS  —Blue skies at last!—

For some reason the army mass-balance site isn’t updating its buoy data, but judging from the graphs attached to our cameras at the O-buoy sites, both of our sites are experiencing sub-freezing temperatures. This is no way to run a thaw, but the sunshine might get the thaw back on track, during the short time we have left before the refreeze.

webcamwebcam

FLAT-LINING CONTINUES

DMI2 0724 icecover_current_new (click to enlarge)

IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER WHEN LOOKING AT DMI TEMPERATURE GRAPH

The DMI temperatures-north-of-80-degrees-latitude graph, which finally, finally, finally made it briefly to normal, only measures temperatures north of 80 degrees.  If you look at Dr. Ryan Maue’s representation of the Canadian “JEM” model initial run, (available at Weatherbell; one week free trial,) you notice the heart of the current cold over the Arctic Ocean is located south  of 80 degrees. (80 degrees is the circle of latitude that just clips northern Greenland.)

DMI2 0724B cmc_t2m_arctic_1 (Double click to enlarge fully.)

JULY 24  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0724B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0724B temp_latest.big (1)

NEW CAMERAS VIEW  —This is more like it!—

The northern Camera has an ice-bow in the sky. Some slight thawing appears to be starting in the nonstop sunshine.

webcam The southern view is also sunny, but with little sign of thawing yet.

webcam

temperature-1week

 

For some reason the Army mass-balance temperature data for various buoys has been off-line since July 22, so I am resorting to the temperature graphs attached to the O-buoys to get a feel for the cold pool over the Beaufort Sea. The above shows our southern camera keeps seeing temperatures dip below freezing.

I wonder, in a worry wart sort of way, if having a system off-line screws up the initial runs of various computer models.  After all, they have limited observations on the surface to begin with, and to some degree have to fill in the blank areas between. If they don’t get the data, or, far worse, keep receiving data from July  22 long after the fact, then they foll-in-the-blanks incorrectly.

I was wondering this because the Canadian “JEM” model keeps showing sub-freezing temperatures persist over the Beaufort Sea, especially towards the edge of the ice where you’d think it would be warmer. I am a Doubting Thomas, at times. This graph reassures me that, for he time being at least, no computer glitch is involved.

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

Our heap of junk experienced a lull, as winds dropped to nearly calm conditions. Our westward motion ceased at 16.271°E at midnight, and at the end of the 21-hour period we has floated back to 84.860°N, 16.172°E. (For some reason the final repoert was from 9:00 AM and not noon.)

Temperatures rose from just below freezing to +1.4°C at 9:00 AM. The pressure fell to 1000.2 mb at 6:00 AM and then rose to 1001.2 mb at 9:00 AM. Down here, halfway between the Pole and Svalbard, temperatures are back to normal an the thaw has resumed.

JULY 25  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0725 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0725 temp_latest.big (1)

“Art” is weakening and filling in over the Pole, as “Scant” weakens over Scandinavia and the North Atlantic.  Sub-freezing temperatures have reappeared in the eastern Kara Sea, even as a low moves up that way from the hot Steppes to the south. (I’ll call that low “Stepper”).

I’m watching the Baltic Sea to see if a low develops there, and watching the Pole to see if the in-filling of “Art” creates cold, as some storms do when the weaken and fade up in the arctic.

(I just checked the models, and the Baltic storm seems to have vanished from the “solutions,” at least until next week.)

NEW CAMERAS  

The northern camera continues to show the views of turquoise and silver I come to Pole to see, when the desire to escape reality hits me.

webcam

Despite the bright sun it doesn’t look like much thawing has occurred yet.

To the south, clouds have returned to our southern camera, which suggests warmer air is moving in aloft, though the surface remains just below freezing.

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CRUNCHED BUOY REPORT

Our pathos continued south in a serpentine fashion, first moving east to 16.038°E at 6:00 PM, then west to 16.097°E at midnight, and then east to finish the 24 hour period at 84.806°N, 16.033°E at 9:00 AM.

Winds were light until after midnight, when the breeze began to pick up, especially at the last report at 9:00 AM when the breeze had stiffened to over 15 mph.

The temperature yo-yoed through some surprising antics, bouncing up to +2.0°C at 3:00 PM, sinking to  -0.1°C at 3:00 AM, bouncing back up to +0.5°C at 6:00 AM, and then sinking back to zero again at 9:00 AM.

Pressures bottomed out at 1000.6 mb at 3:00 AM, and then rose as “Art” weakened to the north, up to 1007.5 mb.

JULY 25  —DMI Afternoon Maps—

DMI2 0725B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0725B temp_latest.big (1)

“Art” continues to weaken over the Pole, as “Scant” remains parked over Scandinavia. “Stepper” is moving up towards the boundary between the Kara and Laptev Seas. As it embarks towards top-of-the-world status its warm south winds will be over the ice-free Laptev Sea, as its colder north winds will blow down into the more icy Kara Sea. Sometimes storms like to use preexisting boundaries.

The subfreezing air is obvious up towards midnight and the Bering Strait. Despite the fact much of it is south of 80 degrees, the air over the Pole, while above freezing and officially a “thaw,” is below normal:

DMI2 0725B meanT_2014 (click to enlarge)

JULY 26 —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0726 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0726 temp_latest.big (1)

Though the temperature map shows subfreezing have vanished at the top of the map, (where it is noon), the Canadian JEM map shows it colder up there, and still below freezing at places. (Our Camera in the Beaufort Sea shows no thaw.)

The innocuous, unnamed low over Svalbard may be hinting at a new storm track over the top of “Scant,” which now looks like it will retreat southeast, allowing Atlantic storms to start clipping the top of Scandinavia by midweek.

NEW CAMERAS  —Thaw on hold—

This is the sort of beautiful view I like to escape to, when life gets hard. (And it is a bit hard now, as I’m facing two separate funerals.) However there is no sign of thawing, despite the bright sun, and the temperature graph at the northern camera shows temperatures below freezing and sinking.

webcam

temperature-1week

 

The southern camera shows a grayer view with light fog, which suggests milder air may be trying to press north, but the frozen melt-water pool shows the thaw hasn’t set in yet, and the temperature graph attached to the camera shows temperatures remain just a hair below freezing. (Temperatures from the Army Buoys remain off-line.)

webcam

temperature-1week

(You can click these pictures and graphs to get clearer images)

RE-RE-RE-RE-READJUSTED CFS V2 FORECASTS

The model has now completely backed off its formerly dramatic forecast of above-average ice extent this September, but is still saying it will be normal, which is a far cry from a “Death Spiral.” It is now forecasting a minimum of 6.3 million km2, as opposed to my out-on-a-limb forecast of 6.1 million, which is far above more expert forecasts of 4 to 5 million, which is far above “an ice-free-Pole”.

Extent cfsv2 July 26 sieMon (click twice to fully enlarge)

A QUICK LOOK AT CANADIAN “JEM” MODEL’S VIEW OF ARCTIC COLD

These maps are produced by Dr. Ryan Maue at the Weatherbell site. Besides the “JEM” model you can see many other models. Besides the maps I show (initial and 12 hours from now,) there are maps of foretasted temperatures out to 240 hours from now. So that is 26 maps right there. Then there are maps for other things the “JEM” model considers, such as pressure, humidity, and stuff I don’t claim to understand, such as “500 hPa Wind Speed & Geopotential Height”.  There are 22 things to look at. So now you have over 400 maps to look at.  And that’s just the “JEM” model. there are around 40 models, or versions of models, to look at, so we are now up over 2000 maps. So be forewarned. You have to practice self control, or you will get lost at that site, and may never be seen again. (You can sign up for a week-ling trial offer.)

The first map is the initial 1200z run, which has noon at the top of the map. Above freezing is pale blue and below freezing is pink. Temperatures are in Fahrenheit. You click these maps once to enlarge them, and click them a second time to enlarge them further.

What I notice about the first map is how much below freezing air has moved north of 80  degrees (which is the circle that just clips northern Greenland.)  The DMI graph may show a further down-tick.

JEM July 26 cmc_t2m_arctic_1

The next map shows the temperatures 12 hours later, when noon has moved (clockwise) to the bottom of the map, and midnight is at the top. You can see how much colder the ice has become towards Bering Strait. This is no way to run a thaw.

JEM July 26 cmc_t2m_arctic_3

(I don’t know why they can’t fix the glitch that has all the 9’s and 0’s on the left side of the map. I’ve learned to ignore it.)

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

The ice our junkpile rides upon continued its disconcerting shifts and changes of direction. It moved west to 15.912°E at 3:00 PM yesterday, and then started east, and it headed south to 84.741°N at midnight, then shifted north to 84.754°N at 6:00 AM, and then was nudged south, ending the 24-hour-period at 84.750°N, 16.606°E.

Temperatures followed similar antics, falling to -0.2°C at 3:00 PM yesterday, rising to +0.7°C at midnight, and then falling to -0.3°C at 9:00 AM.

The breezes were steady and brisk at first, around 15 mph yesterday before slacking off to 8 mph around midnight and then picking up to 13 mph at the end of our reports.  As the wind slackened the pressure peaked at 1009.5 mb, and then began to fall to 1008.4mb as the winds resumed. However the winds never really slacked off, as they do when a high pressure crests overhead.

JULY 26 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0726B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0726B temp_latest.big (1)

Polar low and Scandinavian high, Art and Scant, do not want to leave the stage.

The increase in sub-freezing temperatures, though partly due to night falling on the Bering Strait side of the Pole, also seems to be a home-grown chill, as there is no other place the cold can come from.

NEW CAMERAS  —clouds return—

I am watching the crack behind the yellow cork with interest. Does it seem wider to you? I went and checked out the satellite view of this spot, and the ice this far north looks much more unbroken than the ice down by our crushed camera, which appears amazingly fragmented and pulverized, though all the bergs are tightly packed together. Up here I could see no cracks from the satellite, tough our camera sees them.

Temperatures remain below freezing.

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Not much change at the southern camera. Less foggy; higher ceiling; pressure rising.

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JULY 27  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0727 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0727 temp_latest.big (1)

“Art” remains stubborn over the Pole, refusing to weaken as much as forecast, however the influence of “Stepper” over the western Kara Sea is converting the circumpolar circulation into a trough poking north from Asia. Some milder air is being drawn north in the Laptev Sea, and any ice that was pulled down into the Laptev Sea last week is now being blown out, which likely will reduce the “extent” graphs.

The real news is that “Scant” is fading southeast towards Poland, allowing weak low pressure to form along the north coast of Scandinavia. A new storm barely visible off the south tip of Greenland should be passing Iceland by Tuesday and start effecting Norway Wednesday. Rather than stalling in the middle of the Atlantic, as most storms have done all summer, this storm looks like it will continue across the northern tip of Norway, and continue on northeast, perhaps reaching the Pole itself next  weekend. I am going to dub this low pressure “Gus.” (For “August.”) It will briefly bring southwest, Atlantic winds to Scandinavia. Then likely winds will again turn to the east, as high pressure builds in the wake of “Gus”, however whether the old pattern will reestablish itself, or whether “Gus” is the harbinger of a new pattern, remains to be seen.

A QUICK LOOK AT THE UK MET

It is amazing how stalled the situation has been, since we last looked on July 20.  The front over Great Britain is the same front, though it did back west of Ireland for a while. The low “Newl” took all week to get to the lower left-center margin of the map. The high pressure “Scant” has stood stubborn over Scandinavia.  The occluded front over the Baltic is basically a home-grown folding of the atmosphere (which some models thought might become an interesting storm, but it didn’t).  The new fellow on the map is “Gus,” off southern Greenland, roughly where “Newl” was a week ago.

INITIAL MAP:       UK Met July 27 16627671 

When we look ahead to the forecast for Wednesday, we see “Gus” didn’t get stuck like “Newl” did, and is off the coast of Norway.  (Summer will not last forever.)

1300 WED MAP:UK Met July 27 Wed Forecast 16633805 

NEW CAMERAS  —Fresh snowfall at Pole—

Please remember, folks, what we were told. We were told that a significant decrease of ice would increase the amount of darker open-water, which would absorb more heat and melt more ice, creating a “Death Spiral” which could very well lead to an ice-free Pole by 2013. And what are we seeing instead? We are seeing snowfall at the height of the summer thaw-season.  Nothing, I repeat, nothing, reflects solar radiation better than freshly fallen snow.

webcam

Looking at our southern camera, it looks to me like, after the warmest part of the day down at 77 degrees latitude, the ice on top of the melt-water pool in the lower right may be melting a little. However there isn’t suppose to be any ice on top of those puddles. They are suppose to be expanding and achieving “Lake North Pole” status.

webcam

There is still enough time left in the thaw season to get some decent melt-water pools going, however we are running out of time and are past the point when temperatures at the Pole begin a gradual descent towards freezing. If you bet your last dollar on the Pole being ice-free by the summer of 2013, I’d say things look very grim for you. In fact it looks to me like I should tempt fate by starting a new post titled “The Death Spiral’s Debunking”.

MORE LIGHT ON THE SUBJECT (2 hours later)

webcam

It looks more like May than July, up there.  Compare it to last summer:  “LAKE NORTH POLE” VANISHES  Oh well, maybe we’ll get some melt-water tomorrow.

I will continue this post with a bit of a rave at, ARCTIC SEA ICE MELT —The Death Spiral’s Debunking—

 

 

BARKING MAD

_Mad King George 67006438_hawthornemadness_rex

(Nigel Hawthorne playing King George the Third.  Photo credit: Rex Features)

BARKING MAD

(A rave, prompted by facing insane heating costs)

It is a painful thing to confront someone whom one is accustomed to respecting, and to tell that person they are barking mad. Usually one avoids it, or dismisses the other’s strange behavior as “a difference of opinion,” and speaks platitudes about “the importance of diversity,” however when a person is going, “Arf! Arf!” right in your face, there is no way around it. This includes governments, when they become barking mad.

Thomas Jefferson knew this, when he quilled the Declaration of Independence, listing King George’s barking mad behaviors, however there has been a recent, revisionist effort to show that King George the Third wasn’t all that bad, and his blue urine wasn’t due to porphuria, and his spells of foaming at the mouth were but minor episodes, especially when he was young and was busily losing the American colonies. (I think this may in part be due to the fact that porphuria is hereditary, and certain people don’t want the rabble giving Prince Charles appraising looks.)

The argument states that, if you could get an audience at his glittering palace, King George was quite lucid, and even charming, and that the points he raised, about the government’s right to tax, are valid to this day. There is even some reproach towards America and Jefferson for failing to understand King George’s points.

However taxation was not the issue. Taxation without representation was the issue. When one looks back with twenty-twenty hindsight, the solution to the problem seems simple: Simply give the thirteen colony’s thirteen elected representatives in Parliament. It seems like such an obvious thing, to give Englishmen abroad the same rights as Englishmen at home, and seems so conducive to unity and the expansion of an unified kingdom, that to switch the subject to the-right-of-the-government-to-tax seems a sleight of hand bound to stub thumbs, to lead to schism, and to create discord out of harmony. It was, in fact, a barking mad thing for King George to do.

As soon as one treats ones own family as the enemy; one fosters a house divided, which must fall. Perhaps the greatest example of this madness occurred in 1914 when three of Queen Victoria’s grandchildren occupied thrones that governed roughly half the planet, as King of England, Kaiser of Germany, and the wife of the Czar of Russia. Unless these relatives considered their own family to be the enemy, there could have been no World War One, which was a calamity and slaughter so mind-boggling, and so shattering to people’s structures of belief, that it’s declaration was in many senses the beginning of a war that hasn’t ended.

The way to avoid all this madness is simply to understand there is one sort of behavior that leads to marriage, and another that leads to divorce. Assuming one can concede unity is better than division, and harmony is better than discord, (and there are some scoffers who refuse to concede this,) then heeding others (or their elected representatives) is wisdom, and any alternative deafness is ignorance. It is hugely important for those in positions of privilege and power to never lose touch with the so-called “common man.”

Unfortunately this is exactly what appears to have happened in Washington, where the leadership has seemingly forgotten, if they ever knew, how hard it is for less privileged people to scrape by. They have lost touch with humble lives that can be quite happy, provided a certain criteria involving basic necessities are met, and instead are making decisions that cause the poor to experience hardships which the leaders themselves are seemingly oblivious to. Enamored by their own eloquence, charmed by their own intellectual gyrations, they fail to see some of their concepts are barking mad.

“Cash for Clunkers” was an example of such madness. It was basically an ill-thought-out and erroneous solution to a fictitious problem based on a fraud, however it sounded elegant and efficient to the privileged at glittering parties inside the Beltway. In one fell swoop they imagined Cash for Clunkers would increase the gas mileage of American vehicles, reduce Carbon Emissions and therefore halt Global Warming, increase car sales and therefore stimulate the economy, replace low tech vehicles with high tech vehicles and therefore benefit more advanced technologies and technicians, and do all this for a paltry three billion dollars the nation didn’t have, but that could be printed. In short order Cash for Clunkers then destroyed 690,114 perfectly viable vehicles, which were traded in for 690,114 new vehicles.

It was barking mad to destroy all those perfectly good cars, and to get nothing in return for it but three billion dollars of debt. What person in their right mind does such a thing?

It didn’t even reduce Carbon Emissions, because building and shipping a new car requires three to eight tons of carbon, while driving the same old clunker required zero. It would take over five years to make up the difference with a new car, and eight years with a new truck, if the increased gas mileage was as good as promised, (which it wasn’t, due to computer glitches, faulty sensors turning on the check-engine-lights, and people driving with the check-engine-lights on, and also the natural aging of new cars.) Furthermore, the foreseen reduction of carbon would have had only an infinitesimal effect on world temperatures, even if Global Warming were proven true.

However none of a economist’s or climatologist’s pseudoscience meant much to the poor. The poor do not buy new cars; they drive the clunkers that better-off people trade in. What Cash For Clunkers meant for them was that 690,114 poor people were without a car. As the price for second-hand cars soared, many were plunked into the catch-22 position of young men who can’t get a car because they don’t have a job, and can’t get a job because they don’t have a car. But what does Washington know of such unhappy lives? They say, “Let them buy a new car” in the manner of Marie Antoinette saying, “Let them eat cake.”

In their ignorance Washington glibly stated that Cash for Clunkers would be a boon for scrap yards, blissfully unaware that much of the profit at such yards comes from taking apart engines for parts, and that, with engines destroyed, profits would sharply decline. But what does Washington know or care about greasy hands and bruised knuckles?

At least 300,000 and as many as 500,000 of the 690,114 new cars would have been sold anyway, because people need new cars even without incentives, so the government was paying-for and destroying between 300,000 and 500,000 used vehicles for absolutely no reason.

During the brief surge in car sales Cash-for-Clunkers brought about, sales of American cars actually decreased as Asian sales increased, for people were concerned about soaring gas prices at that time, and desired the better gas mileage of Asian cars. This means much of the slight increase in the national-average-gas-mileage (noted with great satisfaction by government Cash-for-Clunker statisticians) would have occurred without the program. It also means Cash for Clunkers didn’t increase the sales of of American cars, and in fact hurt the American car industry more than it helped it. The government would have done better to focus on reducing fuel prices, but actually aimed to increase those fuel prices, to lower the nation’s “Carbon Footprint.”

Some stated that if the poor couldn’t afford cars, their immobility would increase the use of public transportation. Again, it is not the wealthy that have to stand waiting in blazing sun or in winter blasts, or are uprooted because they do not live where such transit is available.

The unintended consequences go on and on. The mechanics skilled in repairing clunkers were hurt; the newer cars were far more expensive to maintain, due to computer glitches, and, when faced with the fact that plugging into a dealer’s computer to diagnose a problem could cost a hundred dollars, people simply chose to drive with the check-engine-lights on. (So you can throw the manufacturer’s estimated-gas-mileage out the window.) People do what they must to get by, and there even was an increase in uninspected and unregistered cars.

It is not that the poor want to be scofflaws or to enact some sort of political rebellion. They simply want to survive, but survival is something the barking mad in Washington has forgotten all about.

This brings me to the current madness of increasing the cost of heating a home, on purpose, to fight some theoretical warming of the planet in the future. This is another display of being barking mad, for the coming winter is no environmentalist’s theory; it is a grim reality that can kill.

What do the privileged elite in Washington know about cold homes in January, or of needing to chose between freezing and food? At their glittering, January parties the only ice they know is in their drinks, as they pontificate the politically correct arfing they call profundity. They know how to frown at the words, “strip mine,” while waving away the subject of unemployed miners, who they never face eye-to-eye. They know the correct disapproval to show for the rural poor’s smoking wood-stoves, and the right way to clasp hands and smile as wind turbines kill eagles. They rumple brows over a tenth of a degree rise in world temperatures they can’t feel, enacting legislation that chills the homes of the poor they never meet ten to twenty degrees.

The fact such legislated “energy poverty” is barking mad was already proven, by an increase in the death rate of the elderly in England by 30,000 in the winter of 2012-2013. The elderly of England could not afford both food and fuel, and didn’t get enough of either. Because the old can’t withstand cold, especially when hungry, and because a common cold can swiftly turn to pneumonia, turning down the heat meant death for 30,000.

What sort of savage society of primitive cannibals allows its elderly to be treated in such a vile manner? It was to avoid such barbaric treatment that FDR created Social Security in the first place. His grave must rumble with a rolling sound, now. To have intentionally brought such misery down upon the general population is the behavior of the certifiably insane. The English leaders were barking mad, and now Washington wants to copy them.

The oncoming hardship, bad enough in an ordinary winter, may be worsened by an especially brutal winter. In theory an El Nino might warm the planet, as a whole, by a tenth of a degree, but in fact an El Nino Modoki, (which is expected,) may warm other areas but brings exceptional cold to one particular part of the planet: The eastern and central United States. Some runs of some models foresee a winter as bad as 1976-1977, which was so vicious it prompted people back then to talk of “a coming ice age.” It is to be hoped these model runs are wrong (as they often are) but what if they are not? Assume the attitude of an Alarmist, and imagine that the models are right. We are then facing a crisis.

Our government seems exceptionally incapable of dealing with such a crisis, for it lives in a landscape of delusion. It does not care for the elderly; it cares about being re-elected. The oncoming winter could loom like the black shroud of the Grim Reaper, and still a politician’s primary concern would be suppressing voter turnout in unfavorable districts. The best that can be hoped for is a national awakening, and a voter backlash in November, and a completely changed congress next January, but by then it will be too late.

It is conceivable, even likely, that in the face of a winter like 1976-1977, fuel prices would skyrocket, and there would be shortages, brown-outs, and even shutdowns. For many there would be no money left over, after paying for heat. There would be no so-called “disposable income.” For the poor, it would not be a matter of staying warm; it would be a matter of staying alive. Immediate action would be required, but by the time the bumbling bureaucrats came wandering back from their Christmas recess, not even a potentially vibrant new Congress would be able to kick their inertia into action before March, at which point the damage would be already done.

In the face of such a future it is high time for the American people to enact a rebellion, but not like any rebellion the powerful expect. It should be a rebellion outside the expectations of economic experts, and completely beyond the comprehension of Washington insiders and the wealthy elite. It would be beyond their comprehension because it would do what they fail to do. It would care for the elderly, and care for neighbors.

Considering all too many Americans don’t even talk to their neighbors, such a rebellion might seem impossible, however Hitler did not think it was possible Londoners could withstand his Blitz, yet they slept in subways, and those of Hitler’s advisers who guaranteed London’s despair, due to people sleeping in subways, were flabbergasted by an increase in high spirits, as the English people rebelled against the barking mad oppressor raining bombs from their skies.

The rebellion I envision doesn’t involve raining bombs or sleeping in subways. It merely involves sleeping at a neighbor’s, or having several elderly neighbors sleep at your house. It involves the simplest economics, which is that if you turn off the heat and electricity and drain the water pipes, and move in with your neighbor, the two of you will together only need to pay half as much for heat, if you share the costs. In cases where three households can fit into a single house, you would only pay a third the cost. Nor would such an arrangement be permanent. To be most effective, it should last only sixty days, from just after Christmas to before the first of March. These sixty days involve the cruel heart of winter, when heating bills are most likely to ruin a budget. If you could put up with your neighbor only that long, think of the money you’d save!

Of course, getting along with neighbors is no easy task. If the younger adults question the old-timers, they might learn about neighbors called “hippies” who lived with neighbors in places called “communes,” and learn about lots of things you should avoid doing. However likely they wouldn’t learn what to do to make the situation work, for most communes were abysmal failures. Getting along with neighbors is no easy thing, even for only sixty days.

However the Londoners, sleeping in subways during the Blitz, were sustained and derived relish from the simple fact they were defying Hitler. Perhaps the same relish might make neighbors more able to tolerate neighbors in modern times, for surely such behavior on the part of the American people would shock the socks off the barking mad in Washington. It is beyond the limits of their feeble minds, for they prove they are incapable of comprehending neighbors caring for neighbors, when they fail to care for constituents.

Just imagine what the effect would be, if my idea caught on. When the oil delivery man came down a street with ten houses, he would not deliver oil to all ten, but to only five, or even only four.   Because he delivered less, rather than the oil price going up, it would go down, due to the laws of supply and demand.

Even better is to imagine the consternation in Washington. They depend, in part, on a tax collected with each gallon of oil and propane delivered. If only half as much oil and propane is delivered, they collect only half as much tax.   It is tantamount to them opening their pay envelope on payday, and seeing their paycheck is only half as large as they expected.

They will deem this a serious problem. Fortunately, they are such dunderheads they will never see it coming, and by the time they wake up the sixty days will be past, and everyone will be back in their own houses, innocently whistling.

I imagine that at this point the elite will be absolutely furious. How dare the American people behave as if they are independent and free! How dare they be so ungrateful as to pay fewer taxes!   Laws must be passed to prevent this rebellious behavior! If the new congress does not pass the laws, the EPA will do it! Laws against the cohabitation of neighbors must be written in stone! Climate scientists must be hired to prove cohabitation causes Global Warming! (This may seem like an irrational response, but you need to remember these people are barking mad to begin with.)

They may even say it is better for people to freeze alone than to cohabit in a warm, shared, happy household. At their glittering parties they will nod in agreement about how cohabitation stresses leech fields and septic systems, and must be banned. Others will state cohabitation spreads infectious diseases, and must be banned. Whatever they say will seem sublimely logical, to them. However whatever they say will increasingly look like bunkum, to an American people who neither died of infectious diseases nor destroyed their leech fields, during their sixty-day, Gandhi-like, nonviolent rebellion.

However, just to be on the safe side, those with legal inclinations should perhaps prepare some legal briefs beforehand, arguing that religious freedom is involved. It doesn’t matter if they are atheists, they can point out Christianity makes a big deal about loving neighbors, and that “loving your neighbor as yourself” is right up there with worshiping the Creator, among Christians.

Not that we Americans care all that much about our neighbors. What we care for is our own independence and individuality. However, through the wisdom of our forefathers, we also know that we had better care for the independence and individuality of our neighbors, and stand united, or we will fall divided, for if our neighbors lose their independence and individuality, so will we.

So important is this concept that those with legal inclinations should likely figure out a way to file a lawsuit even before the EPA bans cohabitation. The best defense is a good offence, after all. The rest of us, who are not so legally inclined, should likely have some talks with the neighbors we never wanted to bother, and have never before gotten to know, during these Halcyon days of summer.

Scoffers will say my proposal will never work. (Likely their neighbor has halitosis and seldom changes his or her socks.) However when dealing with the barking mad you need to bark back. (Though you might like to allow your neighbor to live as he chooses, you need to tell him that for sixty days he should brush his teeth and change his socks.) However I think my idea just might work, due to something I noticed in my study of the London Blitz.

While the history of the English People, from the death of Queen Victoria to the eventual death of Queen Elisabeth II, largely looks like a free fall from huge responsibility to irresponsibility, from power to powerlessness, from grandeur to meaningless obscurity, they did have one moment when they, and no one else, stood utterly alone and took on an evil we cannot imagine. It truly was their “finest hour.”

Next time you are filled with self-pity about high heating bills, or about being stuck in a traffic jam, or about having a neighbor with halitosis, pause and imagine London during the Blitz. Every day bombs rained from the skies. Every day people you knew died. However rather than self-pity a defiance grew. Their motto was, “We can take it,” but what possessed those people to make up such a motto? The best description I ever heard, of what possessed London, simply called it “A White Heat.”

It was a moment in history when it was not America who stood up for Freedom, the English did. That class-ridden, moribund, down-falling society stood for Liberty when America didn’t. And why? Because of “A White Heat.”

As a poet, I love that description, “A White Heat,” but as a scientist I am appalled, for no thermometer can measure it. Even as a pseudo scientist and psychologist I am made nervous, for psychology seldom talks of a goodly power that can take on Hitler and shame him to suicide.

Christians would likely assert “A White Heat” is a gift from God given to those who take on evil, but because I don’t want to alienate goodly atheists, I’ll just state that if you stand by Truth, Truth stands by you. It is the strangest thing, for I am a pragmatist who prefers a large woodpile to standing by a cold stove expecting “White Heat”, but I’ve seen this over and over in my life: If you tell a lie, it haunts you and tracks you down, but if you tell the truth, though you may get sneered at and jeered at and even fired, in the long run you get “A White Heat.”  Scoffers can doubt, and point out 30,000 elderly in England felt no “White Heat” this side of Glory, but it is also true people do not take kindly to politicians telling them to freeze, and it it does not take much for a smoldering public to blaze into Light.

I confess I am counting on this unscientific “White Heat” to help out, when I make my proposal that neighbors love neighbors to the degree where they can abide together for sixty days. I know what can go wrong, for I am an old man who remembers the debacles of hippie communes. I furthermore know anyone who had to live with me for sixty days would be sorely tested. However the redeeming thing is that the sixty days would annoy the heck out of the elite in Washington. The sublime satisfaction of annoying such extremely annoying people would make even putting up with me worth it. In fact, it might turn the living situation into a sort of party, quite enjoyable due to the presence of “White Heat.”

In conclusion, that is my proposal. We need to condescend to love our neighbors for sixty days. If others have other ways we might respond to leaders who are barking mad, I am eager to hear their proposals. However I hope we can agree on this: The leadership is barking mad, and it is time to bark back.

ARCTIC SEA ICE MELT —Crunch Time—

This is the continuation of a long series of posts, the last of which can be found at:  http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/arctic-sea-ice-melt-the-thaw-begins/

I began this series over a year ago, mostly to share a way of relaxing on hot summer days, but also to demonstrate to young reporters how to investigate the arctic, and be less like parrots. I’d been enjoying the North Pole Camera for years, and knew some things reported by the media displayed gross ignorance. Somewhat naively I assumed the media could be educated, and was misreporting due to mistakes, and not as a matter of policy.

Last July a melt-water pool developed right in front of the camera.  I correctly said it would soon drain away down through a weakness in the ice, but the media made quite a fuss about the shallow pool being a visual image of Global Warming. No sooner did they draw the public’s eyes north when the water drained away and, a couple days later, the scene was blanketed in snow.

http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/lake-north-pole-vanishes/

During this episode my site went from getting perhaps ten hits a day to getting over five hundred. I decided to contiue this series of observations, as a sort of messy notebook full of ideas, some which have been falsified, and also doodles and even doggerel, as that is how my notebooks have always been.  My more polished articles appear as separate posts, and a few have appeared over on the Watt’s Up With That website.

Gradually, over the past year, I’ve become alarmed. Rather than alarmed about Global Warming, I’ve become alarmed at the government’s bad habit of putting “spin” on facts to promote policy.  At some point the facts stop being facts, and become distortions. This occurs not only concerning the topic of Global Warming, but with other facts such as Unemployment Figures.

For me to take on the government is a bit like a flea taking on an elephant. I doubt I can slam it down, or topple it. However a flea can annoy an elephant, especially  if there are a lot of them, and perhaps can even cause an elephant to go take a bath.

I’m calling this post “Crunch  Time” because over the next 30 days we will see if the ice melts as is usual, or if something astounding occurs. What is astounding is forecast by these two government graphs, (which apparently did not get the memo.)

Extent Jul 1 14 sieMon (Double click to fully enlarge)

The top graph shows the ice-extent going from ,6 million km2 below normal to .6 million km2 above normal during the month of July. This increase is not due to ice growing, but rather due to far less ice melting than usual, as is shown by the lower graph.

In order for this to happen the other extent graphs will have to stop their ordinary and natural yearly plunge, and practically flat-line sideways.  Currently there is little sign of this occurring:

Extent July 1 14 icecover_current_new (click to enlarge)

I don’t think the graph will flat-line to the degree the upper graphs predict. It predicts a minimum of 6.8 million km2, while models such as the UK Met predict between 4 and 5 million (which is still a far cry from the “ice free” Pole predicted ten years ago.) I myself predict 6.1 million, which puts me out on a limb.

I base my prediction on observations more like dead reckoning than careful science. The water in the Arctic Sea, and entering the Arctic Sea from the Atlantic, seems colder, and mixed rather than stratified.  Also the ice north of Greenland, Canada, and even Alaska is thicker. The pictures sent back by arctic adventurers last April (see earlier posts) were of pressure ridges that dwarfed a man. When these big jumbles fall apart during the summer thaw they have the ability to spread like a pat of butter over toast, and even though the volume of ice shrinks, as it always does in the summer, the extent and even area can blip upwards. Lastly, the air temperatures have been below normal:

DMI2 0701 meanT_2014 (Click to enlarge)

I don’t think the air temperature matters all that much, as most melting comes from the water below, however these cooler air temperatures may be hinting that the water is in fact colder, as the air temperatures over ocean are greatly influenced by the water.

Lastly I should mention that there are two ways of measuring how much ice there is, and I think we are still in the mode that sees melt-water and slush as open water. This mode is useful in colder weather, and we may be in that mode due to the interest in the ice cover in the colder environment of Antarctica. Usually they switch over to a second mode, which doesn’t see melt-water as open ocean. I don’t fully understand why we haven’t made the switch, or even if this news is accurate, but I felt I should mention it.

In any case, we are now at the point where we will see if the extent fails to drop as much in past years, and, if it doesn’t, it will be crunch time for the politicians. They have based policy on dire predictions, such as the prediction of an ice-free Pole, and when these forecasts prove false, logic would dictate that they change their policy.  Can they?  Or are they so in love with the unnecessary taxes they hope to get from Global Warming that they can’t change. If they don’t change, they will face being changed, next election. It is not a comfortable pair of slippers to be wearing.

I try to post twice a day, including the DMI maps of pressure and temperature at the Pole. (You’ll have to forgive me for naming storms, and sometimes even high pressure areas, and occationally even features on the isotherm map.)  I also include daily pictures from the North Pole Camera. I update at the bottom of this post, which makes these posts get longer and longer.  Here are the last updates of the prior post:

JUNE 30  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS

DMI2 0630B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0630B temp_latest.big (1)

JULY 1  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0701 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0701 temp_latest.big (1)

“Spin” continues to brew up southwest of Iceland, as “Ach” remaons weak over Svalbard. The other main feature continues to be the high pressure over the Arctic Sea, and its quasi-zonal flow.

A “heat wave” is occurring north of Alaska, with temperatures up over plus five. The ice is pretty thick there, but must be slushy. The sub-freezing pool continues to be in the Kara Sea.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —The gray thaw resumes—

NP2 June 30D 12NP2 July 1 17

The top picture is from 9:30 PM last night, and the bottom is from 3:30 AM this morning.  The snow is again starting to look grayer, which is indicative of slush. The lead continues to remain wide, and the satellite pictures show many cakes of ice jostling together in a packed sea.  I’m not sure it is right to call the lead a “lead” any more, as it is less like a crack in solid ice and more like water between floating islands, but I’ll keep on calling it a “lead” for the sake of consistency.

You can click these pictures for greater clarity. Then I like to use my magnifier to hunt for seals and polar bears, and other small details in the distance.

9:30 AM —Gray, gray, gray. Will it never get blue?—

NP2 July 1B 18 It up near 90 (32 Celsius) here in New Hampshire, which is the weather I used to go to the North Pole Camera to get relief from. However in my memory the Pole was turquoise and silver, not this gray all the time. It must be the blasted cosmic rays making cloud particles, due to the Quiet Sun. (Or maybe cloud particles from soot from China burning coal.) (Who should I blame today?) In any case, it is noteworthy that there have been more clouds this year, on the Atlantic side of the Pole, at least.

That large berg in the lead isn’t moving. I can’t see much motion in the overcast either. It must be fairly calm at the moment. (This is one of four pictures taken 2-3 minutes apart. You can go see them fir yourself at http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/NPEO2014/webcams1and2.html )

3:30 pm —NOTHING HAS BUDGED—

NP2 July 1C 18

Nothing has changed. Not even the berg in the lead has moved.  This is odd, for winds have picked up a little, from 9 to 14 mph, mostly from the east, as our camera has chugged steadily west, and inched a little bit back to the north, ending the day at  85.204°N, 13.370°E. Temperatures began and ended at +0.5°C, edging up to the day’s high of +0.8°C at 3:00 AM and edging back down to the low of +0.4°C at 9:00 AM. Pressure has raised only a hair to 1015.4 mb. I suppose the scene looks still because we are in a steady, slow flow from the east. It is when winds are shifting that the ice starts jostling.

JULY 1   —DMI Afternoon Maps—

DMI2 0701B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0701B temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA IN DANGER FROM NEARBY PRESSURE RIDGE

NP2 July 1D 14 (1)

The jumble of a pressure ridge’s crushed ice is clear at the right margin, despite the dim light. Also the horizon is tilted, which means the camera is tilted a little.

The ice in the lead has pushed to the left a little. I’m not sure what the black things on the ice are. Seals?

JULY 2 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0702 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0702 temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —NO PICTURES—

There have been no pictures since 9:30 last night. Alas, things do not look good at the moment for the camera. Perhaps it really was “crunch time.”

We continue to get reports on its position and on weather conditions. The ice continues west, and to nudge north, and at noon was at  85.230°N, 12.598°E. This motion crunches ice back towards the Pole rather than flushing it south, out through Fram Strait. We are further north than we were a week ago.

Temperatures have risen slightly, hitting the days high of +0.8°C at several times, and at +0.7°C at noon. The pressure has risen just a hair to  1016.8 mb and winds have slackened slightly to 5-10 mph.

JULY 2 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

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JULY 3  —DMI Morning Maps—

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“Spin” is parked over Iceland, playing the part of an Icelandic low to excess. The Azores-to-Pole ridge of high pressure is now shattered and exists no more. Weak low pressure extends east from “Sprin” to unnamed and weak low over the Gulf of Bothnia in the northern Baltic Sea, and on from there to a weak low over the Kara Sea. These two lows have some dim relation to “Ach”, formerly over Svalbard, as an occlusion and a “zipper,” but also gained strength from the south.  High pressure remains over the Pole.

STILL NO PICTURES FROM THE NORTH POLE CAMERA

This is depressing me. How am I to base this post on views from a camera likely buried in a pressure ridge?  Perhaps I am being freed of this self-imposed obligation, by the powers-that-be. After all, it is Independence Day, tomorrow, here in the United States.

I’ll think of something.

JULY 3  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

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I’m surprised at the overnight chill that appeared on the Canadian side.

“Spin” is occluded and spinning its wheels over Iceland, with an eastward extention of low pressure to “Ach”, weakening over Scandinavia, and on to “Achzip”, strengthening on the central Siberian coast over the Kara Sea.  Despite “Spin’s” size, there is no surge of warm air north into the arctic around its eastern side, and instead a long fetch of Atlantic wind aims across southern Scandinavia, as east wind prevail along the northern Scandinavian coasts. Our crunched camera looks to be in calm seas.

I’m curious to see the UK met view:

A QUICK GLANCE AT THE UK MET

UK Met Jul 3 15875394 (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

This map shows the long fetch into the Baltic.  Though “Spin” assists the Gulf Stream halfway up the coast of Norway, isobars suggest winds counter any southern influx of water north of there. Curiosity has me look to see what this models next Monday as looking like:

UK Met Jul 3 Forecast Mon 15886930

This shows “Spin” still stalled, and rather than a surge of warm air up over the Pole a Scandinavian high is building south. Our crunched camera may again be in light southerly winds that are not overly warm. On the other side of the Scandinavian high “Achzip” may be the next low to attempt to attack the Pole, though it is not seen as getting more than half way there.

By the way, the low southwest of Greenland in this map is Hurricane Arthur. I likely should be paying attention to that, as it is to my south. However it is so hot and muggy here I prefer the Pole.

CRUNCHED CAMERA  —LIGHT WINDS AND BRIEF FREEZE—

Light winds of 4-7 mph swung slightly northeast, and our northward progress ended at 3:00 PM yesterday at 85.230°N, as we continued east to wind up at 85.209°N, 12.139°E at noon today. The wind shift brought temperatures down from a high of +0.8°C at 6:00 PM yesterday to a low of -0.4°C at 6:00 am, but then temperatures bounced back to +0.8°C at 9:00 AM and remained there at noon.

NOTE TO ALARMISTS—CAMERA WAS CRUNCHED BY ICE COLLIDING; NOT MELTING.

I figured I should make that point clear. The ice was pulverized at the Pole back when temperatures were at minus twenty, and had to do with a stormy pattern, and a Polar flow that was meridian rather than zonal. I figured I should say that because I’ve been watching all winter and spring,  and also because I imagine a hoopla could arise when word gets out the camera is kaput. Just remember the last picture showed a jumble of ice appearing from the right.

CRAVING A CAMERA  —Obuoy #10, north of Alaska at 77 north, 155 west—

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The ice is getting slushy over there, and it looks pretty gray. Where’s my views of turquoise and silver?  When it is hot and muggy here in New Hampshire, with dew points above 70, I prefer the shining arctic, not this gray stuff.

By the way, this buoy is nearly 500 miles further south from the Pole than our crushed camera, so you expect slush in July. However the real melting comes from below, and this far south I’ve seen the ice break up in September even as the top starts to refreeze and be covered with drifting snow. The ice here was 1.40 m thick when the camera was deployed last September 28, and is currently 1.62 m thick.  It’s drift map is interesting, for it has looped around and defies the “Beaufort Gyre”, a “wrong way” buoy.

2013F July 4 _track (Double click to fully enlarge.)

JULY 4  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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JULY 4 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

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“Spin” continues to weaken as it wobbles by Iceland, but is swinging a bunch of fronts with wind and rain over England, as it looks like warmer air is being shoved up into Scandinavia, with a warm front struggling half way north across the Baltic before fading away on Sunday.  Meanwhile Achzip lurks in the Kara Sea, probing towards the Pole.

The surprise (for me) is the cold appearing on the temperature maps. While it is not by our crunched camera, it is significant enough to dip the DMI Graph back towards zero.DMI2 0704B meanT_2014 (click to enlarge)

THE CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

Light winds of six to nine mph have continued to push our crushed camera south and east, to  85.140°N, 11.925°E. Temperatures dipped to a low of +0.1°C at 9:00 PM last night, and were still at +0.2°C at 6:00 AM this morning, but then soared to +1.0°C at noon. (OK, perhaps “soared” is a bit of purple prose, but it is hard to make the stagnation of summer temperatures very exciting.) In any case that is the warmest we’ve seen this summer. Pressures have slowly fallen to 1015.3 mb

A NEW NORTH POLE CAMERA? 

This is the picture from O-buoy #9, just across the Pole. It has come drifting up from the south to roughly 88 north latitude and 157 west longitude, which is closer to the Pole than our crushed camera is.

I know it is terribly fickle to ditch the North Pole camera, especially considering the arduous conditions, the bitter blizzard winds and danger of bears, faced by the brave men who set those cameras up, but hey, they fell down. Anyway, this camera has turquoise and silver, and who can resist that?

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In case you don’t know this camera, it was set up late last September down around 80 north and 105 east, which is about 2/5th of the way across from the New Siberian Islands to northwest Alaska. The landscape was very flat and boring. They shut the camera down in the winter darkness, and when they turned it back on in the spring all the interesting pressure ridges had appeared. Then, at the end of April, that nasty crack appeared, practically under the yellow buoy.  That does not bode well for the future, though some of these buoys take pictures even when they are dumped into the sea, as they are on buoys that bob about.

O-buoy 7 was great fun to watch last summer, eventually getting dumped into the sea and sailing into truly ice-free waters before wind blew it back north and the expanding sea ice gobbled it up again. (It is still up there, but sadly they haven’t been able to get the camera going this spring.)  Watch this entire movie if you have 12 minutes to blow, or just the period after ten minutes if you are pressed for time:  http://obuoy.datatransport.org/monitor#buoy7/movie

JULY 5  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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“Spin” remains stalled over Iceland. It now has two centers, as it sucked in a secondary low which has wheeled around to its north. These two centers are going to orbit each other like the two stones of a bola, as the entire system gradually fades away by next Tuesday. Then it looks like the Azores high will try to probe north and attempt to rejoin the arctic high, and recreate the mid-Atlantic high pressure ridge, but the remnants of Hurricane Arthur will be attacking from the west, so we’ll have to wait and see who wins. In the meantime a general south and southeast flow is coming up over Scandinavia, then swinging east and then south along the coast of Greenland, and never mounting a proper warm invasion of the Arctic. “Spin” can’t make any headway into this flow, and its fronts will have a hard time crossing England and getting to Denmark and southwest Norway.  Eventually a sort of zipper will kick under the flow, and a secondary will wander up from the Mediterranean and strengthen south of the Baltic on the Poland-Germany border, around Tuesday.  This will only add to the southeast flow over Scandinavia, and add to the repression of the northern remnants of “Spin.” This southeast flow will press against a cooler easterly flow along the arctic coast of Scandinavia, and likely will create a weak front with weak lows along the very top of the Atlantic, acting as a lid on warm invasions. To the north of this lid our crunched camera will remain blithely unaware of the hubbub to the south, and sit in relative stillness.

Over in the Kara Sea “Achzip” will try to attack the Pole, but be bent back by a ridge of high pressure that builds from Finland to Alaska.  However, if you trust the longest range forecasts (and you shouldn’t) there is a chance remnants of Hurricane Arthur may make it to the Pole a week from Monday. (Even if it is unlikely, it would be cool to see that happen.)

NEW CAMERA—OLD GRAY VIEW

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I don’t know about you, but I’m curious as to what the Albedo-crowd has to say about this gray, gray summer.

JULY 5  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

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It looks mild in Scandinavia. I wonder if that warmth could fuel a storm… or is it too dry. I need to hire a reporter.

THE CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

Our wreckage continued southwest, to 85.099°N,11.884°E at midnight, before wandering southeast to 85.075°N, 11.916°E at noon. Winds were briefly up over 10 mph yesterday but had slacked off to less than 5 mph at noon. The high temperature was +0.7°C at 3:00 PM yesterday, and then the thermometer fell erratically to -0.1°C at 9:00 Am today, before bouncing back to +0.6°C at noon.  The barometer remained boring, dipping slightly before rising to 1016.7 mb. What we need around here is a hurricane, to liven things up.

NEW CAMERA —IN THE PINK—

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I wasn’t going to bother bore you with another view of gray, when I noticed a hint of a tint, pink, I think. This demonstrates how low the sun is up there. Even at noon sunset enchantment  colors the clouds. The twenty-four hour days are a sunrise never over, and a sunset never done.

JULY 6  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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One of the mildest maps we’ve seen, with most of the sub-freezing air relegated to the northern Kara and northwest Barents Seas. “Achzip” is swinging a bit of mild air up into the Laptev Sea, but there also seems to be some colder air in that flow from East Siberia. Our crunched camera seems to be just out of the reach of “Achzip’s” winds, in a more tranquil area.

“Spin” is continuing to weaken, as weak secondary and tertiary lows make no progress against the high over Scandinavia, and are shunted beneath. I guess I’ll call the tertiary “Spinthree,” and it will be parked south of the Baltic at the start of next week, keeping Scandinavia in a mild flow from the east. So far little of this mild air has made its way north to the arctic, and rather is recycled south by the flow around “Spin.”

THE FINALLY AGONY OF THE CRUNCHED CAMERA ON FILM

I thank the blogger Max™ for putting together the static pictures in a way that shows the final crunch that crunched our polar view, and sent us like orphans out over the ice, looking for a new window to that world.

http://cdn.makeagif.com/media/7-05-2014/Kin74G.gif

THE CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT —Below freezing—dubious data?—

Our mangled piece of junk continued slowly south and west, to 85.063°N, 11.823°E, in winds that dropped to a calm for a while and produced some odd data. At  6:00 PM last night, when winds were dead calm, the thermometer abruptly read +4.1°C, when the above DMI map shows no temperatures that high in the area at midnight. (If there were, they would be a more yellow hue.) Hmm. By midnight the reading dropped to -0.5°C, and by 6:00 AM it was down to -1.7°C, and then rose some to -1.1°C by noon.

Hmm. It occurs to me that, if our camera is crunched, the buoy we used to look at might be tipped over on its side. The sun, at a particular angle, might hit the thermometer through a entry not usually exposed to direct sunlight. We’ll have to see what happens at 6:00 PM  tomorrow.  (I’m not sure I trust the low temperatures either, as they are suspiciously close to the temperature of the salt water, and half the buoy may be submerged, even as the wind-vane and anemometer still are in the air.

I merely became more confused when I consulted the initial 0000z runs of various computer models, as they all showed colder temperatures than the DMI map above. Most striking was the Canadian JEM model.

NP2 July 6 cmc_t2m_arctic_1 (click to enlarge)

All the pink is below-freezing in the above map. (Temperatures are fahrenheit) Don’t the models use the same data for their initial runs? Oh…wait…that is the 1200z run. Never mind.

The barometer at our ruin has slowly risen to 1018.7 mb.

NEW CAMERA  —Oh brother! Now this site is stressed!—

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You will notice the large yellow trash can has started to list to the starboard, as the crack under it grinds.  What next???  Stay tuned!!!

JULY 6 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

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“Spin” continues to weaken over Iceland, even as it incorporates a second secondary, as a weak low north of Iceland. The third secondary is barely nudging a front against the southwest coast of Norway, but likely to be blunted southeast into what will become “Spinthree.”

“Achzip” is also weaker, and is being backed away from the Pole by a growing ridge of high pressure. The high pressure north of Canada is joining hands with the high pressure over Finland and east Siberia. I’ll dub this feature “Trans”, for “transpolar high pressure ridge.”

(In case you are wondering, my names do make sense. A storm named “Spinach” crashed into Greenland and split, so I named the two blobs “Spin” and “Ach”  Get it?)

(If a storm has an obvious secondary, it will get the suffix “son,” but if the son is born along an occlusion zipping east along the warm front it gets the suffix “zip.”)

However, though my names make sense, I am having trouble making sense of the differences in the temperatures between the Canadian 12z “Jem” map, and the DMI map, above. It may only be a degree of difference, but that degree is the difference between H2O being ice or water. If anyone can explain it, I’d be all ears.

It does look like it might be +4° just north of Svalbard, and close to -2° just south of the Pole, but how our crushed camera could experience both these extremes. with winds so light,  is a mystery to me.

(As an investigatory reporter my duty is to ask more questions than I can answer. I wish the mainstream media would learn to do this.)

A HINT OF THINGS TO COME?

I am not expecting the ice-extent-graphs to stop dropping until the non-arctic ice is all melted. Ice in some places is always melted, every summer, such as off the east coast of Russia. In other places it melts nearly every summer, such as in Hudson Bay. Only when this outlying ice is gone do I expect the ice-extent-graph to stop plunging, and, because the ice in Hudson Bay is still melting away, I did not expect the uptick in the DMI graph:

Extent July 6B icecover_current_new (click to enlarge)

JULY 7  —DMI Morning Maps—

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NEW CAMERA   —Nice picture—

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It’s a gray Monday down here, but not up there.

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CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT  —More mystery—

In light airs less than 5 mph and occasional calm our crumpled hunk of industrial waste continued southwest to  85.041°N, 11.691°E. The barometer continued rising to 1025.2 mb. Temperatures were reported below freezing all through the 24 hour period, except for another mysterious spike.  After arriving at the low of  -2.2°C at 3:00 AM it spiked to +3.1°C at 6:00 AM and was back down to -0.5°C at 9:00 AM, finishing the 24-hour-period at  -0.6°C at noon.

What could cause such a spike? Like yesterday’s, it occurred when the wind was dead calm, however the sun was 180 degrees around in the sky, hitting from the exact opposite side. Hmm. Is their some slot in the structure of what holds the thermometer, running from side to side so that the sun only shines in the slot when it is at opposite sides of the sky?  Or are such pools of milder air common, when winds slacken at the Pole?

I prefer to let my imagination run wild, and to picture that a ruptured tank on the side of the tilted buoy has vomited some fetid black substance onto the pristine ice, and when the wind dies it creates an urban heat island. After all, when your lying eyes can’t see, who knows?

(I figure if I can get some good internet rumors going, they might helicopter a guy up from a nearby icebreaker to fix those cameras.)

JULY 7 —DMI Afternoon Maps—

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Right off the bat I notice that, though our crunched camera reported a 12z temperature of  -0.6°C, this 12z map shows no such cold in that area. Oh well, what’s a degree between friends?

The high “Trans” is the big feature, as both “Spon” and “Achzip” weaken. The low pressure southwest of Greenland is remnants of hurricane Arthur. Scandinavia is getting some warm east winds, and looks like it will continue to get warmth for some time. So far that heat hasn’t made it north to the arctic.

UK MET MAPS  —East winds over Scandinavia—

It is interesting that the east winds that give the Baltic its worst cold in the winter give the warmest weather in the summer. It shows you how hugely the conditions on the Russian plains change, and the importance of understanding the conditions in the “source regions” air-masses originate in.

The Tuesday initial map shows that after a week or work, “Spin” was only able to push its front into southwest Scandinavia, and it is now being rejected and pushed back west as a warm front. To the north of “Spin” orbits “Spinson,” and down the front over Germany is “Spinthree,” which is getting a good flow going across the Baltic,  working in conjunction with a Scandinavian high, which is an extention of “Trans” across the Pole. The remnants of Hurricane Arthur are southwest of Greenland.

UK Met July 8 16015425

If we look at the forecast for 24 hours from now we see both “Spin” and “Spinson” have largely filled in, or perhaps been absorbed west and east, as a ridge rebuilds briefly up between the Azores and the Pole. My guess is this ridge will be transient, as it is getting attacked from both sides. To the east the flow from the east above “Spinthree” through the Baltic has become more pronounced, and it is headed west towards a show-down with the flow from the west beneath “Arthur,” (which is breaking into two chunks, “Art” and “Thur”).

UK Met July 8 24 hr forecast 16018558

“Spinthree” looks like it will not move, part of a blocking pattern, while “Thur” looks like it part of a progressive pattern.  The two patterns will have a difficult time being politically correct, and coexisting. Perhaps they will be polite, and the east winds will pass to the north as the west winds pass to the south, however the North Atlantic is not always so polite. The meeting of east and west will be interesting to watch.

JULY 8 —DMI Morning Maps—

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“Trans” is the main feature. The one thing apparent in this view, unapparent in the UK Met View, is the long fetch developing along the Siberian coast, introducing the possibility of cooler air in northern Scandinavia.  (Also “Spinson” looks decently strong on this map, and it is hard to believe it will be gone tomorrow.)

It is noon towards the top and midnight towards the bottom, which partly explains the lack of sub-freezing temperatures towards the top. Once again, however, you get a cooler picture from the initial run of the Canadian “Jem” model from the same time:

DMI2 0708 cmc_t2m_arctic_1 (Double click to fully enlarge)

Perhaps I should use my lying eyes.

NEW CAMERA  —Sunny but cold—

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Temperatures here at O-buoy 9 are just below freezing, though the snow looks a little softer under the bright sun. Now let’s travel roughly 650 miles south down towards Alaska, to O-buoy 10 at latitude 77:

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That sure is a slushy scene, and more typical of Arctic summer. Temperatures here are just above freezing. (American and Russian scientists [and spies] used to spend summers on “ice islands” in the arctic, back in the time of the cold war, and they stated the slush could be difficult to walk through, for at times it was over knee deep.)

ADJUSTED NOAA CVSv2 FORECAST

Extent forecast July 8 sieMon (Double click to fully enlarge)

This forecast is still amazing, though they tweaked it to better resemble reality. Now, rather than predicting the anomally will change from -.6 to +.6 million km2 by August 1, they predict it will swing from -.9 to +.5 million km2. Pretty gutsy forecast, considering they only have 23 more days to see it actualize.

ARCTIC DETAILS  —Open water in Laptev Sea—

During last winter and early spring the cross-polar-flow blew a lot from Siberia towards the Canadian Archipelago, and while this jammed ice up against the Canadian coast and made it thick on that side, it was blowing ice away from the Siberian coast, often creating open water along the Laptev Siberian coast even in the coldest part of winter. As a consequence that sea has been swift to melt this spring and summer, and has .2 million km2 less ice than expected.

Laptev graph July 8 recent365.anom.region.8 (click to enlarge)

The red line in the above graph shows how far below normal the ice coverage is. If you look back to last summer you can see that even if the entire sea is ice-free in late September, that will only be .2 million km2 below normal. So the Laptev situation will likely only be a blip in the minimum totals. Also, the ice to the north is thickly packed, and a north wind in September could spread that ice south and cause upturns in the Laptev extent, which puzzles people who assume this means ice is growing in above-freezing temperatures, when in fact it only means ice is shifting.

Another interesting feature is that ice in the Greenland Sea is .1 million kn below normal.  Rather than meaning the arctic extent is less, this actually suggests less ice is being flushed out through Fram Strait and down Greenland’s east coast, indicating more ice is being left up north to increase the extent.

The extent in the central Arctic Basin is between .26 million km2 above normal.

You can check out the graphs for all the various seas at http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.1.html

Go to the map at the bottom of the page to switch from sea to sea. Also be aware Cryosphere Today has Alarmist tendencies, and tends to favor warmer data, and may be using the satellite version that sees slush as open water.

NEW BUOY  —LOVELY DAY, BUT CLOUDS CREEPING UP—

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CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT  —A turn around—

The wind-vane apparently is still working, for it reported a 180 degree swing, and the ice did start moving the opposite way. Our westward movement stopped at 11.621°E at 3:00 AM, and our southward movement stopped at  85.021°N at 9:00 AM, and we ended the day at  85.023°N, 11.682°E. Once again we didn’t quite cross 85 degrees latitude.

The light airs continued at less than five mph until the noon reading, when a light breeze of 9 mph was reported.  The temperature barely broke freezing, and only briefly, yesterday at 3:00 PM, when temperatures touched + 0.1°C. By 6:00 PM they were down to – 0.4°C, and continued down to -0.8°C at 3:00 AM, rose to -0.3°C at 9:00 AM, but then surprisingly dropped to -1.4°C as the wind picked up at noon. This is no way to run a thaw.

The barometer crested at 1027.6 mb at 3:00 AM, and has since fallen slightly to 1026.2 mb at noon.

JULY 8  —DMI Afternoon Maps—

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JULY 9  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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That low atop Greenland is a bit of a surprise.  I’m going to call it “Art,” because it is in a small part due to the “morphistication” of Arthur, transiting Greenland south to north, and by using the art of imagination, I can do what I want,  as this is my blog. In actual fact it likely also has a lot to do with the mild air pouring across Scandinavia, and not being able to penetrate northwards into the Arctic. While some of this mild air was ocean-cooled and sunk, building high pressure at the surface, it also formed a weak boundary between the Atlantic and Arctic, (which is more obvious on last night’s map). I think this boundary was enough of a frontal clash to fuel “Art”, making him stronger than I recall any model foreseeing. For the moment the southerly flow east of “Art” and west of the building high pressure in the Atlantic will push ice the “wrong way”, north in Fram Strait. Also this will at long last allow at least some mild air up over the Pole.

It looks like “Art” will divide “Trans,” and one part of the high pressure will drift down into Canada while the other part hangs tough in Scandinavia. While some cool polar air may push a front into northwest Finland, most of Scandinavia will remain in the mild flow between “Trans” and the stalled low “Spinthree” south of the Baltic.  This mild flow, from the Steppes to the east, which will continue pouring west to meet the progressive flow across the Atlantic from the west coming east, (including the other half of Arthur, milling about south of Greenland). (I’ll call that half “Thur”.)

As “Art” divides “Trans”, “Art” will drift out over the Pole, which will allow me to say that Hurricane Arthur wound up over the Pole. Although this is “wish-casting” of the worst sort, it comforts me. There are few places on the planet I have the slightest bit of control, but this  post is one of them.

NEW CAMERA  —Cross polar view—

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Judging from the position of the sun and the time stamp, the North Pole is roughly beneath the sun, or perhaps a little to the left. We are looking past the Pole,a little to the right of our distant crunched camera,  towards the far off Atlantic, and eventually jolly, old England. “Spin” is located to the right margin, and the clouds are swinging around and coming north on “spin’s” warm side.  The snow looks a little softer, but there is no sign of slush yet. To see our first genuine melt-water pool we need to look over our left shoulder, backwards, down to O-buoy 10, down at 77 degrees south:

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There are roughly ten feet of ice beneath this pool, however if the satellite is still measuring using its “winter-mode,” it will see the pool as open water.

JULY 9 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

For some reason they haven’t updated these maps, so I guess I’ll go and have a

QUICK CHECK OF THE UK MET

UK Met July 9 16062067

A very interesting map, with the east about to clash with the west, and England in the middle. A strong easterly flow is crossing the Baltic north of “Spinthree” in Germany, as a westerly flow scoots under the occluded wreckage of Hurrican Arthur, in the process of forming “Thur” south of Greenland. The long fetch we saw in this morning’s DMI map, aloing the Eurasian side of the high pressure “Trans”, has managed to push a cold front into Finland, but the rest of Scandinavia appears warm, and I’, curious to see whether any of that warmth has been pushed up to our crunched camera by the circulation of “Art”, north of Greenland.

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

Temperatures did rise, from -1.2°C at 3:00 PM yesterday to +1.2°C at 3:00 AM this morning, as winds rose to more than 20 mph.  Then, as winds slacked off to 9 mph the temperature fell to +0.4°C at noon. The pressure fell steadily to 1010.1 mb. Our northwest movement persisted until 9:00 AM, when we reached 85.121°N, when a .002° southward bump was registered, and we ended the 24 hour period at  85.119°N, 12.375°E.

That .002° southward bump seems curious, as the other maps I’ve looked at make it seem the flow should still be southwest, though the wind-vane shows a wind-shift to the north. I guess I should check the new camera.

NEW CAMERA  —Gray overcast moves in—

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It looks like “Art” has brought some moisture up to the Pole. I’m curious to see if the warmth all stays aloft, and the surface gets colder. Temperatures at this buoy appear to be right at freezing. (They have a graph rather than a number.)

Now let’s check out O-buoy 10 and see how the melt is getting on down there.

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Well, it is not big enough to call “Lake North Pole” yet, and also, at latitude 77, it is a bit far south, but as it expands it may get some media coverage. As the ice is roughly 10 feet thick, this melt-water pond could get fairly large before it finds a crack and drains down. What is neat is when a single hole drains a large area, for then it forms an interesting veined, spiderweb pattern, with all the branching streams leading inward to a single drain.

Some sort of rivulet seems to be starting to flow, in this picture.

There tends to be more melt-water ponds this far south. The thing to remember is that back when the PDO was constantly warm (it is currently in a brief warm “spike”,) the ice here was thinner and fractured into many flat pans, each of which had many ponds on it.  Here is a picture from that time:

Ice-melt ponds SIZRS July melt ponds

If the Alarmist contention that the icecap is melting away was founded in fact one would expect the floating pans to now be fewer, with more water between them, and for them to be thinner. In fact the Navy map shows this same area to now be covered in fairly solid ice (with some leads) that is much thicker:

Thickness July 9 arcticictnowcast

JULY 10   —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0710 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0710 temp_latest.big (1)

“Art” is moving out towards the Pole as a new low, “Tev”, pushes out from the other side into the Laptev Sea.  They have split “Trans” into two separate high pressure systems, with the one over Scandinavia the stronger.  The Pole looks the warmest it’s looked all summer, yet still isn’t quite up to normal.

NEW CAMERA  —Gray day—

webcam

It is hard to find much of interest in a gray picture, but that yellow object, (which I have decided is not a trash can but a cork), is moving. First it swiveled around so we could see its top, but now seems to be starting to rotate back.

Judging from the Navy drift-map, we are moving towards the Canadian side, as the ice across the Pole down at our crunched camera is moving the other way. This likely would open a lead between the two sites. Also note that in Fram Strait the sea-ice is flowing into the Arctic rather than out. The ice shifting about has created a situation where there is ice off the northwest coast of Svalbard in the height of summer, where there were ice-free waters, in the dead of winter. (Notice that Hudson and Baffin Bay are nearly ice-free; from here on in it will be harder to reduce “extent.”)

Drift July 10 arcticicespddrfnowcast (Double click to fully enlarge)

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT   —HEADING NORTH AGAIN—

Our shocking piece of pollution blotching the pristine snows continued steadily east, but its southward motion ceased at 85.106°N at 9:00 PM last night. The wind had died to less than 5 mph, and temperatures reached the low for the 24-hour-period of -0.7°C. Then, as the winds swung from wnw to wsw and rose to 9 mph, temperatures rose to the day’s high of +0.9°C at noon, when our camera’s position was 85.117°N, 12.628°E.  The barometer slowly fell throughout the period to 1006.3 mb.

It is interesting how calmer conditions seem to lead to colder temperatures, as if the air in contact with the ice and seawater is chilled, and the air not very far up is warmer, and higher winds stir the air more.

JULY 10  —DMI Afternoon maps—

DMI2 0710B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0710B temp_latest.big (1)

“Art” is nudging towards the Pole as “Tev” wallows out into the Laptev Sea, completing the break of “Trans” into two high pressure systems, with the Scandinavian one subdividing further due to what likely is a front between polar air and highly modified air from the Asian Steppes. Further south “Thur” is getting his act together southeast of Iceland.

The temperature map shows the summer thaw underway over much of the Arctic Sea, though temperatures remain a hair below normal. The sub-freezing air towards Canada is because it is after midnight in that quadrant, and the sun is either very low or just below the horizon. Interestingly, that is where O-buoy 10 is located, and right by where O-buoy 9 is located is a single spot of sub-freezing air near the Pole. There is also sun-freezing air in the Kara Sea but it, like much of the cold north of Canada, is south of 80 degrees and does not show up in the DMI graph.

DMI2 0710B meanT_2014 (click to enlarge)

QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET

What is fascinating about this map is that, south of “Spinthree” over Germany, Atlantic air has streamed east over the Alps and nearly to the Black sea, while north of Spinthree air from the Steppes has pushed west nearly to England. It is a sandwich. Despite the fact the high pressure ridge “Trans” has been broken, the long fetch it had along the Siberian coast is pushing a cold front down into Finland.

UK met July 10 FSXX00T_00 (1) (click to enlarge)

The next map is 12 hours later and twelve hours after the above DMI maps, and shows the polar front pressing further south through Finland, on its way to eastern Sweden and eventually Denmark, where it will have briefly pinched off the flow of warm air from the Steppes. However models show that Spinthree will intensify towards the Black Sea and send another surge of air from the Steppes into the Baltic next week, pushing the cold front west as a warm front.

Across the Atlantic “Thur” is brewing up and will stall as a sub-1000 mb low over Iceland, with west winds shoving a series of fronts and occlusions to meet that warm air from the Steppes, and models show that warm air pushed back east and north, as Atlantic air gets into the Baltic around midweek.

Perhaps we can then get into a more zonal pattern, where storms behave as they are suppose to behave, and trot around the Arctic Circle from west to east in a polite and politically-correct fashion. However perhaps models are showing that solution because they are programmed to be correct. They are not used to weather misbehaving, and have scored badly, in terms of correct solutions, so far this spring and summer.

UK Met July 10B 16094192 (click to enlarge)

NEW CAMERAS  —POCKETS OF COLD—

Besides showing that the yellow cork has really flopped over, O-buoy 9 seems to show a slight dust of snow has fallen. This will reflect the sun and slow the thaw.

webcam

Down at O-buoy ten, the lowness of the sun at midnight seems to have allowed a skim of ice to form on the edges of the melt-water pools, hindering their growth briefly even as the sun rises higher, however I expect the melting to swiftly resume.

webcam

JULY 11  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0711 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0711 temp_latest.big (1)

Although “Art” is weak, it marks yet another low sitting atop the Pole, king of the world. I like to think it contains a vauge impulse of Hurricane Arthur, though most of Arthur’s moisture is wound up in occlusions in “Thur,” by Iceland.

The winds must have turned north by the northeast coast of Greenland, to have sub-freezing temperatures there.

NEW CAMERA —DRIZZLE?—

webcam

The snow looks grayer and more like slush to the left, and I think there may have been rain or drizzle, which is not all that uncommon in July at the Pole.

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

No report today. Maybe the buoy got crunched as well.

JULY 11  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0711B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0711B temp_latest.big (1)

It is interesting how quickly the ridge across the Pole turned into a trough across the Pole.

NEW CAMERAS  —GRAY SKIES—

webcamwebcam

Busy with some other writing tonight. Will comment tomorrow.

JULY 12 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0712 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0712 temp_latest.big (1) 

NEW CAMERAS  —snow north, thaw south—

webcamwebcam

JULY 12  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI2 0712B mslp_latest.bigDmI2  0712B temp_latest.big (1)

JULY 13   —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0713 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0713 temp_latest.big (1)

“Art” is stalled at the northern edge of the Kara Sea, which continues to be cold and show sub-freezing temperatures. I thought “Tev” might be attracted to “Art” and they might do a Fujiwhara dance around the Pole, but I was wrong, as Tev has drifted across to Alaska and now will drift along the coast to Canada, as high pressure builds between it and Art. That high pressure will build more strongly between Art and “Thur”, which is stalled over Iceland. This high will build  as Art and Thur fade away, curving east winds along the Scandinavian north coast and then north up through Fram Strait, pushing the sea-ice back up the “wrong way” again.

QUICK GLANCE AT THE UK MET

UK Met July 13 16172227

The map continues to show the interesting sandwich, with Atlantic air to the south heading towards the Black Sea, and warm air from the Steppes moving east through the Baltic, with Spinthree directing traffic between the two. However Spinthree is getting weak, and it looks like it will wobble back to southern Sweden and redevelop a bit, with east winds retreating north and west winds actually managing to drive an Atlantic cold front into the Baltic by midweek.  That little low back towards Newfoundland, “Thurthree,” will ripple east under “Thur” to Norway by Wednesday. Meanwhile Thur and its secondary “Thurson” will back towards Greenland. Some models show Thur actually moving inland over Greenland and contributing to the south winds in Fram Strait.

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT  —Two days data—

Winds have been swinging around to the north behind “Art,” and our northward progress came to a halt at 85.121°N at 3:00 PM on the 10th.  Our eastward progress came to a halt at 13.439°E at 9:00 Pm on the 11th, and by noon yesterday we had drifted back to 85.031°N, 13.096°E. We should get south of 85 degrees latitude for the first time before the winds shift south again, as current northeast winds are light but steady, from 5 to 10 mph.

The barometer bottomed out at 1002.6 mb at 6:00 PM on the 11th, and had risen back to 1006.3 mb by noon yesterday. “Art” was by no means a big, ice-busting storm, but it did cut back on the sunshine.

The thaw seems to finally be getting serious about setting in, as we only had a single sub-freezing reading, -0.2°C at 6 PM back on the 10th, and since then it has been constantly above freezing, peaking at +0.9°C at noon on the 11th, and at +0.5°C at noon yesterday.  This is no heatwave, but the sun never sets, and slowly the world we can’t see gets slushy.

I want to see. Time to check the other cameras.

NEW CAMERAS   —Summer thaw setting in—

webcam

The ice looks just a bit more slushy to the left. Also there is a sign of an old crack on our side of the yellow cork, to go along with the crack just beyond it. We’re not likely to get a good melt-water pool with those cracks, as the water likely will drain down through weaknesses in the cracks. However maybe we’ll see this ice crack up, later in the season.

webcam

Fog!  Now this could get some real thawing going. Fog condenses on the side of cold snow, just as humid air condenses on the side of a glass of ice-water in the summer. As the fog condenses it gives off its latent heat, which further hurries the melting, and is why fog is called a “snow-eater” in New England.

CRUNCHED CAMERA DATA

Our heap of junk finally crossed 85 degrees latitude, continueing south and west to  84.931°N, 12.818°E. Winds picked up a bit to the 10-15 mph range.  Temperatures continued mild, with a low of +0.4°C at midnight and a high of +0.8°C at 9:00 AM, settling back to +0.7°C at noon. The barometer steadily climbed to 1011.2 mb.

JULY 13  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI2 0713B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0713B temp_latest.big (1)

JULY 14 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0714 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0714 temp_latest.big (1)

NEW CAMERAS  —Contrasting weather—-

webcam

webcam

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

Our demolished example of taxpayer funding continued south and west to 84.827°N, 12.389°E, as winds slackened to 9 mph, and the pressure continued rising to 1016.2 mb. The temperature remained nearly constant in the 24-hour daylight, twice hitting the 24 hour period’s high at +0.8°C at 3:00 PM yesterday and noon today, and the low at +0.5°C at 3:00 AM.

NEW CAMERAS

webcam

webcam

Though there is no sign of thawing yet in the picture from up at 88 degrees latitude, the background shifted at some point when I wasn’t paying attention. (I’ve been busy with a post that got printed today on WUWT.)  There may be a second fault-line in that pressure ridge behind the buoy, and it is possible a lead may open up there.

The picture from down at 77 degrees latitude shows the thaw if full progress. You can see why it is omportant to have the satellite be able to tell the difference between open water and melt-water pools. My best guess is that the ice is ten feet thick under the pools.

JULY 14  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0714B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0714B temp_latest.big (1)

“Art” is fading in the Kara Sea as “Thur” fades over Iceland. The ridge across the top of the Atlantic will stop the export of sea-ice for a while.

Very warm over Scandinavia, as sub-freezing temperatures reappear by the Pole.

JULY 15  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0715 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0715 temp_latest.big (1)

Lows are circling high pressure over Pole. “Tev” moving from north of Alaska to Canada, “”Art” that is weak over Kara Sea and moving east,  and a new low “Sib” over Eastern Siberia, likely to cross to Alaska.  However the most interesting feature is the high over Svalbard, likely to drift north of Scandinavia and create quite a “wrong way” flow south to north through Fram Strait all week.

Busy day at farm. I have two pigs coming. It is hot and muggy. I’d like to cool myself watching the ice melt, but won’t have time until later.

NEW CAMERAS

webcamwebcam

I couldn’t resist taking a quick peek at lunchtime, as it is so hot and muggy here in New Hampshire. By the way, the ice on the other side of the pressure ridge has shifted. It shifted to the left at 11:23 of the movie made by camera shots, and back to the right quite dramatically at 11:53 of the movie. So this ice is not as stable as it looks.  Here’s the movie, if you want to see for yourself: http://obuoy.datatransport.org/monitor#buoy9/movie

*******

I figure this post is getting too long, so I’m going to start a new one. But I’ll post the first maps and pictures of the new post here, considering you have come all this way. However you may notice the tone of my writing changes a little, as I explain myself to first time viewers.

JULY 15 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI2 0715B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0715B temp_latest.big (1)

These Danish Meteorological Intitute maps are put out at midnight and noon. I call them “morning” and “afternoon” maps because that is when I look at them. Because we are looking down on Earth, noon tends to be at the bottom and midnight at the top in noon maps, such as the above map, and the opposite is true in maps from twelve hours later. Though diurnal variation of temperatures has little effect in the 24-hour-a-day sunshine at the center, it does have an effect at the edges of the circle shown by these maps. For example, in the above map it is midnight towards Bering Strait, and the little pockets of sub-freezing temperature you see up there will vanish in the next map, and then reappear in the following map.

Although it annoys some people, I tend to name storms for the fun of it, and also it helps me keep track of them. From this angle of the earth it is possible to track the same system as it evolves, all the way around the planet. During the evolution systems go through during such journeys, I tend to have systems keep the same name even when a stricter meteorologist would say the original died and a secondary took over. (To them I say, this is my blog, and I’m boss here.) (Furthermore, I’m more reasonable than your boss, with his Global Warming fixation.)  I very loosely follow a convention where secondary and tertiary storms on a front gain the suffix “son” and “three,” as they travel up the cold front, but when storms occlude and kick a storm ahead along the warm front I call it a “zipper” and use the suffix “zip.”

In the above map four storms are rotating around the high pressure at the Pole, which is a textbook situation, and unusual for this year, for we have often had lows over the Pole and you can then throw your textbook out the window.  The low over Iceland is “Thur” and is stalled and fading, and the one in the Kara Sea is “Art” and also weakening. They are two faint memories of Hurricane Arthur. (Get it? Art and Thur?) The one over east Siberia is “Sib,” and the one approaching the Canadian Archipelago is “Tev.”  Some models are showing Tev moving east as Art fades west, and a low of their merge forming over the Greenland icecap,  which is unusual as high pressure likes to sit there. Rather than north winds on the east side of a high pressure, there ill be south winds on the east side of a low, and rather than sea-ice flushing out of the arctic through Fram Strait, it may be jammed back north. I use the word “may” because models are not always right, and also winds don’t always obey the isobars.

The sub-freezing temperatures over the Kara Sea have been persistent this summer, even in the afternoon.

CRUSHED CAMERA REPORT

The original point of these posts was to enjoy the views of the North Pole Camera as it drifted south, however we have had bad luck this year, as camera one was knocked over by a polar bear and camera two crushed by a pressure ridge. However the weather station is still working, and I give reports on what we are missing.

As the building polar high pressure shifts over towards Scandinavia we are experiencing changing conditions, before I expect we will be blown back north.  Winds dropped to nearly calm, as the pressure crested at 1017.7 mb and then dipped to 1016.1 mb at noon. Winds fell to a long period of nearly calm conditions, and then rose to 10 mph at noon.  The temperatures fell from noon yesterday’s high of +0.8 to a low of -0.2°C at midnight, recovered to +0.3 at 6:00 AM but dipped back to -0.2°C at 9:00 AM, before returning to zero at noon. These temperatures are below normal, though I expect they will rise as winds become south.

Our steady progress south and west was halted. Our southward progress halted at 84.799°N at midnight, and we were bumped north to 84.804°N at 6:00 Am, and then sagged back to 84.799°N at noon. Our westward progress halted at 12.109°E at 3:00 AM, we were jostled back to 12.195°E at 9:00 AM, and then nudged west to 12.181°E at noon. With all these shifts occurring you can understand the floes do a lot of crashing and smashing, and see why our camera may have been crushed by a pressure ridge. There is nothing neat and tidy about the Arctic Ocean this year, and one adventurer described the situation as “crazy ice.”

NEW CAMERAS

Originally these pictures merely supplimented the Noth Pole Camera, but now they are my fix of cool pictures in hot summer weather. They are from the “O-buoy Project.”  The first is Camera Nine, which has drifted from over towards Bering Strait, and is now passing quite near the Pole on the Canadian side, at 88 north latitude. Originally the camera looked over completely flat ice, but the stresses of the winter built the small pressure ridges. I expect melt-water pools to be appearing soon.

webcam

The second picture is from Camera Ten, which is much further south, a little south of 77 degrees latitude, north of Alaska. As best I can tell, the ice is nine feet thick, but as you can see the summer thaw is in progress.

webcam

This series of posts will be continued at: https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/arctic-sea-ice-melt-flat-lining-death-spiral/

 

ARTHUR TO HIT NEW ENGLAND?

UPDATES WILL BE ADDED TO BOTTOM OF POST Arthur June 30 vis0(1) JUNE 30  Arthur-To-Be is already showing a better  structure than I thought it would this early. (Ordinarily now would be when I was just perking up and noticing it, but over on his Blog at the WaetherBELL premium site Joe Bastardi pointed out this storm was possible on  Friday, and changed that to likely by Saturday.) It is drifting south, but likely to pause and then start drifting north tomorrow, and really be intensifying by Wednesday, but not really to start up the coast until Thursday, and the surf will be up on the east coast beaches on July 4th as this thing starts racing north, clipping Cape Hatteras bwfore turning out to sea…..or will it? That is always the question on the east coast. To be honest, I’ve been expecting New England to be clobbered since 1990, when the AMO turned warm.  In the 1930-1960 active-time New England had the 1938 monster, a huge Cape Cod hurricane in 1944, and then a mass of storms in the 1950’s, including Carol, Edna and Hazel in 1954.  Then it was quiet from 1960-1990, but I figured the 1990-2020 period would again see great activity. FAIL.  I keep rushing out thinking I’m Paul Revere and wind up looking like Chicken Little. I am even more of an Alarmist than a Global Warming fanatic, although this has nothing to do with Global Warming.  (Irene and Sandy were really not all that bad, compared to what the “Big One” could do.)  Therefore I just link to an article I wrote a couple of years ago, so I don’t have to go through the trouble of amassing the data all over again: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/21/hurricane-warning-mckibben-alert/ Here’s the current map. (Click for full-size view) Map June  30 USA Arthur-to-be is that meek low off Florida. What is likely to happen is that high up the coast will get out of the way and the front up in the Great plains will come east and sweep the hurricane out to sea. Sweet and simple, and likely to happen. But there is always that 5% chance of the typical solution not occurring, in weather. So I’m watching for the worst case scenario. That will occur if the low dragging the cold front down zooms away into Canada, and a secondary low gets left behind on the front, and rather than southwest winds pushing the hurricane out to sea, there are southeast winds ahead of that secondary low sucking the hurricane inland.  Also, if the hurricane gets strong quickly it lifts a lot of air, and what goes up must come down, and the high pressure at the edges can be “pumped” by descending air.  If the high to the north gets “pumped” it will also tend to resist a movement of the hurricane out to sea. A lot of the steering goes on up at the level shown by 500 mb maps, but I have my head up in the clouds too much as it is.  I highly recommend going and sitting at the feet of Joe Bastardi at his weatherBell Premium site. (This would be a good week to take advantage of their 7-day-free-trial.) Today he posted a 500 mb map of the strong westerly flow over New England in 1954, just 36 hours before Carol came roaring up the coast and smashed us. It looks impossible for a hurricane to penetrate that flow, but a low pressure trough to the west swung east and dug down.  Things can change very swiftly when they want to, and it is best to stay on your toes. Here’s the map from 1954: Carol 36 hours before comphour_9D2ytKyssN I’ll post updates at the bottom of this post as things develop. UPDATE  A good post by Joe Bastardi here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/06/30/bastardi-potential-nightmare-a-tropical-cyclone-coming-at-the-outer-banks-on-the-july-4-weekend/ UPDATE JULY 1 Some of the models are now seeing this with winds over 100 mph as it passes out to sea west of Hatteras. Currently it has winds below 35 mph and hasn’t even been named, off Florida. Arthur 1 satsfc (3)  (click to enlarge) Feeder bands starting to appear on radar, to the north of the low. A lot of thunderstorm activity over inland Florida could compete and weaken the storm a little later this afternoon. Arthur 1 rad_se_640x480 (Click to enlarge) 11:00 AM  —ARTHUR OFFICIALLY NAMED— NHC Places Arthur at 27.6N, 79.3W, drifting NW at 2 mph, pressure at 29.74, winds at 40 mph. They’re thinking it will be a hurricane in 72 hours; I’d say sooner. I’ll bet a nickle on 48 hrs. JULY 2 2:00 AM  —Up to 60 mph winds— 28.0 N, 79.1 W  Moving north at 4 mph. Pressure 29.56

July 2 2:00 PM  ---continuing to drift north---
LOCATION...29.4N 79.1W
ABOUT 110 MI...175 KM ENE OF CAPE CANAVERAL FLORIDA
ABOUT 235 MI...380 KM S OF CHARLESTON SOUTH CAROLINA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...60 MPH...95 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 360 DEGREES AT 7 MPH...11 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...997 MB...29.44 INCHES

  Arthur July 2 vis0-lalo 

JULY 3 ---5:00 am UPDATE---
LOCATION...31.3N 79.1W
ABOUT 340 MI...545 KM SW OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA
ABOUT 190 MI...305 KM SSW OF CAPE FEAR NORTH CAROLINA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...75 MPH...120 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 10 DEGREES AT 9 MPH...15 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...985 MB...29.09 INCHES


7:00 AM NO WATCHES IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, BUT THEY DID INCLUDE THE FOUR WORDS  "TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS POSSIBLE" IN THE FRIDAY NIGHT    FORECAST,   AS AN ASIDE.


8:00 AM  ARTHUR STRENGTHENING—NOW A HURRICANE LOCATION…31.8N 78.7W ABOUT 300 MI…480 KM SW OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA ABOUT 150 MI…240 KM SSW OF CAPE FEAR NORTH CAROLINA MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…80 MPH…130 KM/H PRESENT MOVEMENT…NNE OR 15 DEGREES AT 9 MPH…15 KM/H MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…983 MB…29.03 INCHES I notice strong convection is wrapping around the south side, coming from the west side of the storm where you usually watch for a “dry slot” to be drawn in.  The fact we are seeing strong convection rather than a dry slot indicates to me this storm means business. Arthur July 3 vis0_lalo New England shouldn’t lower its guard yet, though all models show this storm out to sea.  Notice the cold front has become stationary to the west, and some low pressure is on the front west of the storm. Arthur July 3 90fwbg (click to enlarge) 11:00  AM  Arthur up to 90 mph winds

LOCATION...32.4N 78.5W
ABOUT 260 MI...415 KM SW OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA
ABOUT 110 MI...175 KM SSW OF CAPE FEAR NORTH CAROLINA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...90 MPH...150 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NNE OR 15 DEGREES AT 10 MPH...17 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...981 MB...28.97 INCHES

2:00 PM 

LOCATION...32.9N 78.3W
ABOUT  70 MI...115 KM SSW OF CAPE FEAR NORTH CAROLINA
ABOUT 225 MI...365 KM SW OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...90 MPH...150 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NNE OR 15 DEGREES AT 13 MPH...20 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...980 MB...28.94 INCHES

Joe Bastardi sees no trough split, and the storm going out to sea once north of Hattaras. Hmm. I’m nit so sure, but have to go run a childcare in ninty degree heat. That is a hurricane in and of itself. I’ll just keep the hose running and spray the wild animals down. JULY 4 —3:00 AM—HATTERAS GETTING CLOBBERED—

LOCATION...35.6N 75.9W
ABOUT 25 MI...40 KM SSW OF MANTEO NORTH CAROLINA
ABOUT 35 MI...55 KM NW OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...100 MPH...155 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NE OR 40 DEGREES AT 22 MPH...35 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...973 MB...28.73 INCHES

 4:30 AM RADAR  Arthur July 4 rad_ec_640x480 (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Forecast shows hurricane missing New England, but gales on Cape and strong wind into Cape Cod Bay from northeast.

2:00 PM EDT Fri Jul 4
Location: 38.5°N 72.4°W
Moving: NE at 25 mph
Min pressure: 977 mb
Max sustained: 90 mph



8:00 PM EDT Fri Jul 4
Location: 40.3°N 69.6°W
Moving: NE at 28 mph
Min pressure: 976 mb
Max sustained: 80 mph

I’m glad I don’t have to make forecasts. While the radar at 8:00 PM shows the center and rain-bands still moving northeast as expected, north of the rain-bands the rain is heading to the northwest, right towards me. Outside it is rainy, with the low clouds moving opposite the way the radar is saying the rain showers are moving, with scud coming from the northeast. The map shows the front has stalled and a local low is right over us. It wouldn’t surprise me if the hurricane cut back, closer to Cape Cod, though that is not a forecast. The whole complex is rushing north so swiftly that even if it cut back drastically it likely would hit the Bay of Fundy and eastern Maine, and not here. But I never lower my guard until these things are past.

Arthur July 4 satsfc (3)Arthur July 4B rad_ne_640x480 (1) (Click images to enlarge)

If I was a boy, I’d be bummed out: Cold and rainy and no night for fireworks.

5:00 AM

LOCATION...43.1N 66.9W
ABOUT 65 MI...105 KM SW OF YARMOUTH NOVA SCOTIA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...70 MPH...110 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NE OR 35 DEGREES AT 22 MPH...35 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...981 MB...28.97 INCHES

A beautiful, brisk morning, here in New Hampshire, with purple clouds sliding away to the east. A the world is rain-washed, and ready to grow. Last night the neighborhood was full of bangs and flashes, despite the rain, and even as I drifted off to sleep at ten the ruckus was still going on, so I think the children were happy.

I can at long last answer the question that began this post. No. Arthur will not hit New England. Even Nantucket only got gusts to sixty, with the steady winds down around 45 mph.  The rest of us only got the indirect consequence of needed rain, as the hurricane bumped against the cold front.

Before I put this story to bed, I should note that low pressure associated with Arthur could wobble and split, undulate and morph, and be a storm over the North Pole a week from Monday.

In terms of the next hurricane, nothing is in sight to the south. Sound the “all clear,” maybe until August, and get back to weeding the garden.

 

 

A GRAIN OF SALT

Grain of salt article-2277028-1780B70B000005DC-332_964x781

(A lighthearted view of valleys of shadows)

PART ONE: RESPECT

One sign of healthy skepticism is that you take things with a grain of salt, but there is a problem inherent in having this attitude, namely “disrespect.” We are supposed to respect our elders and teachers, and I can’t say my skepticism has always led to such respect.

For example, as a teenager in the late 1960’s I embraced the Jack Weinberg quote, “Don’t trust anyone over thirty,” in a way that seriously thwarted learning from my elders. To be blunt, the reason I distrusted elders was because I wanted to break the law, and they’d put me in jail if they knew what I was up to. (I wish I could say I was breaking rules for some noble cause, such as pacifism, but that would be dishonest.)

Basically I wanted to do things elders would disapprove of, and didn’t want to hear elders rebuke me for doing things that they claimed were bad for me. Therefore, instead of learning from elders, I learned the hard way that many of the things they said were bad for me were, in fact, bad.

Apparently, if I was going to be skeptical, I should have been more skeptical of the statement, “Don’t trust anyone over thirty,” however it didn’t seem possible I’d ever be so old. That particular skepticism didn’t sink in until my thirtieth birthday approached, and I looked in the mirror and thought to myself, “Oh Lord, I’m about to be one of those people you can’t trust.”

Now that I’m over sixty I thoroughly approve of respecting elders. In fact I have revised the Weinberg quote, and it now goes, “Don’t trust anyone under sixty.” After a significant pause I add, “And I wouldn’t trust those over sixty either.” After a second significant pause I conclude, “For that matter, I wouldn’t trust myself.”

The simple fact of the matter is that humans aren’t perfect. (Some say there are such things as Perfect Masters, but I can’t claim I’ve ever met one on the street.) Sooner or later everyone I’ve met, including myself, makes a mistake, and, by making that mistake they, in some way, shape or form, break the trust.   Even a minor mistake, such as being one minute late for an appointment, breaks the trust. Even if you have a thousand excuses, you failed to keep your word. Therefore it is quite true to state that no one can be trusted.

Life would be a complete drag if I took human imperfection to heart, and walked about scowling at everyone. Another attribute of humans is that, just as you can’t trust them to do right, you can’t trust them to do wrong, either. At times the most unlikely people pull off amazing deeds of kindness, strength and heroism. Humans are a lot like the weather in this respect: You can’t forecast them with 100% certainty.

Though you can’t trust humans to be perfect, you can develop a form of government that takes imperfection into account, and, through a system of checks and balances, makes it possible to make, recognize, recover-from and forgive mistakes. In like manner you can create scientific disciplines that allow one to make, recognize, recover-from and forgive mistakes. In fact all areas of life, right down to a game of darts, can be governed in a way that allows one to make, recognize, recover-from and forgive mistakes. All people need to do is accept a system of rules.

This was precisely what I refused to do, as an ignorant, young jerk. People much smarter than I had worked long and hard to create various systems that effectively deal with the fact humans are prone to making mistakes, but their systems involved rules, and I didn’t like rules. I would find a better way, an “alternative lifestyle.” Rules didn’t seem to be the same as freedom, and I wanted to be free, unaware (to a ridiculous degree) that one thing I’d never be free from was making mistakes. Then, when my mistakes became apparent, I, in the spirit of a true do-it-yourselfer, set out to reinvent the wheel. Because I was very lucky, my mistakes didn’t kill me, and I eventually arrived at a solution that looked very much like a wheel.

Now I sit back and wonder, “What in God’s name was I thinking?” I wasted decades reinventing a wheel that teachers were trying to give me for free. What made me such a stupid rebel? What a mistake!

I suppose I could play the blame-game, and say someone else made a mistake that led to mine. America is a nation founded upon rebellion, and Americans are such rebels that even the motto on their money states you can’t trust humans. It was therefore my homeland that put rebellion in my blood.

Or I could blame women, (especially schoolmarms), because it was only when women got the vote that drinking beer became unconstitutional. Prohibition didn’t merely engender a disrespect for the law, but even for the Constitution our forefathers died for, yet, as a young boy, I could hear old-timers laugh about how they brewed beer in the basement, blithely unaware they were encouraging disrespect for the Constitution.

Or they laughed about how they drove 1000 miles in ten hours, though the speed limit signs said sixty-five.

On the fourth of July everyone set off fireworks in my Massachusetts neighborhood, though fireworks were illegal. Does that not celebrate independence from the Law? Is it not in the very nature of Americans to disobey elders, whether they be King George or one’s schoolmarm? It isn’t my fault! I am not to blame for the fact I wasted decades reinventing the wheel!

The blame-game may be fun, but it cannot pull you out of quicksand. At some point it simply doesn’t matter how you wound up to your neck. Getting out of the mess becomes the focus. However, providing you survive, it is a healthy intellectual exercise to look back and ponder the mistakes that got you into quicksand. Even if it doesn’t get you out of the ooze, it might help you to avoid jumping back in. It is in this spirit that I would like to cause trouble, by pointing the blame-game finger at the schoolmarms.

I think I can say, with a high degree of probability, that it is a mistake for schoolmarms to put boys (such as I once was) in rows of desks, and expect the boys to sit still. Boys squirm. Boys kick. Boys dream out the window, dip pigtails in inkwells, shoot spitballs, and fail to memorize six words of Shakespeare even while writing twenty lines of rhyming doggerel mocking schoolmarms, (with hilarious cartoon illustrations.) You are just begging for disaster if you fail to recognize boys will be boys. You will turn a boy who might have been law-abiding into a law-breaker.   Boys, by their very nature, need to run wild, and if you squelch this impulse you will have hell to pay.

(I’ve talked with schoolmarms who know this, for they have seen that boys sit most still and learn most right after recess, and right after summer vacation, and squirm worst and learn next to nothing just before recess, and when spring is in the air. However, being schoolmarms and not boys, they don’t even whimper when their government and/or teachers-union urge recesses and summer vacations be banned “so boys may learn more.”)

I actually think it isn’t a schoolmarm’s duty to discipline boys. That job is the father’s. If I wrote the laws, then, rather than a bad boy being expelled to the principle’s office, the boy would be sent by taxi to the father’s workplace. If the Dad was in jail, send the kid there. That would get men’s attention darn fast.

That never happened when I was little. I suppose I should point the blame-game finger at Dads, for when I was young they put widgets ahead of family, and ran away to the rush-hour each day-break, leaving their poor, defenseless sons in the quicksand of classrooms, and at the mercy of schoolmarms.

Due to a weird twist of fate, I grew up dead center in a wormhole in the space-time continuum, wherein I escaped the wrath of schoolmarms when it was expressed by caning, and escaped the wrath of schoolmarms as it is now expressed by drugging. When I made chaos out of their quiet classrooms, all I faced was the wrath of schoolmarms expressed by words.

Much of my skill with the use of the English language was absorbed from schoolmarm’s tongue-lashings. In order to keep order in classrooms of twenty to thirty Baby Boom rebels, they had to exploit adroit sarcasm and cynical sneering, and employ twists of dubious logic and clubbing condemnation. Their wit could be superb and set the entire class laughing, but when you are a little boy and the whole class is laughing at you, you do not think of witty rebuttals as much as you think of getting some sort of completely unholy and uncivilized revenge.   An abscess of resentment brewed in me. Schoolmarms may have kept me quelled, when I was small and helpless, but when my hormones hit and I swiftly loomed taller than they, all my study of their use of English came back to haunt them.

They had created a monster. True, Frankenstein is not usually portrayed as jovial, nor as being able to out-argue the doctor who bolted in his brains, but reality is often even stranger than a monster movie. I became an outlaw, but one of the most harmless outlaws imaginable. Initially my sinister activities involved dreaming out windows, wandering into the classroom after the bell, or shrugging when asked where my homework was. It was when I stopped shrugging, and started answering the sarcastic questions, that I think I set some sort of modern record for the most after-school detentions ever received for being cheerful.

Detentions were a half-hour spent sitting in a classroom after school, and were a bad idea when boys are bursting with energy. I could only serve four detentions a day, because the last bus left at four-thirty, and for a time it looked like I might not graduate due to not-having-served the amazing numbers of detentions I was amassing. It was at this point an uneasy truce descended. Likely the teachers dreaded the prospect of another year with me, though perhaps the teachers were also embarrassed by the prospect of failing a student who was going to win the award for creative writing, and not failing him because of his grades, but rather because he cheerfully answered their sarcastic questions. In any case they stopped being sarcastic, which meant I had won.

It was at this point, at my moment of victory, that I fell flat on my face. The culprit was drugs, but I’ll talk of that later. For now I want to remain on the topic of respecting elders.

Schoolmarms did teach me a sort of respect for elders, but it was not the sort of respect that leads to one rushing to elders, desiring their attention like a rock-star’s fan desires the star’s autograph. Instead my primary goal in school became to avoid the attention of schoolmarms.   They were the Gestapo, and I was the French Resistance. My respect was the sort of loathing respect one has for a bully. After the hormones hit and I won my victory I became like the Norwegian Resistance, and schoolmarms became like the trembling Quislings after the Gestapo had fled Norway.

Now I look back across a half century and wonder: What was it that made them the bad-guy Nazis, and me the good-guy? Why didn’t they seem like millionaires, loaded with knowledge, as I myself was a mere beggar, with the empty pockets of ignorance? Schoolmarms were offering me a free hand-out. What was I fleeing?

I think the answer lies in the single, dreaded word, “Drill.”

PART TWO: DRILL

Drill is a sort of necessary evil, in learning.

What most delight in, when learning, is having a light bulb go off in their head, and experiencing the sense of being on a mountain top and seeing for miles. When you “get it” the enlightenment abruptly makes you naturally high, (without damaging your memory as marijuana does.) (Natural enlightenment doesn’t cost money, either.)

However life has few mountaintops, and I’ve spent a disproportionate amount of my time down in dark valleys where you can’t see the forest for the trees, plodding gamely forward to cross the valley and get to the next mountaintop, fighting my way through shade so dark and dismal that mountaintops started to seem like they were only a dream. It is this travail that encompasses 95% of life and learning, and which we use the word “drill” to describe. If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, drill is the thousands of such boring, banal, trivial steps necessary to cross a valley to reach the next mountaintop.

I didn’t understand this very well when young. Drill in many ways seemed the antithesis to “getting it”. Drill was doing the same dumb thing over and over and over again, and getting the same boring and predictable result. No light bulb went off in my head. What could be the value?

The first value lies in making something habitual, and I will see that value the next time I drive a long way with a lot on my mind, and arrive at my destination with next to zero memory of the drive. I will have paid hardly any attention to what made me brake or what made me speed up,   and I’d be hard pressed to describe the colors of the vehicles I passed or the landscape I drove through, yet I could describe in great detail some music or talk on the car’s radio, or the words of the person in the passenger seat, or the musings of my own mind. How is it I don’t hit a tree, considering I’m so inattentive to driving? The answer is that I underwent drill, as a young driver. Back then I paid attention to every car and every curve, over and over and over again, until driving became second nature to me.

Another example is seen in people who are organized. They irritate the heck out of me, but awe me. At some point, years ago, they subjected themselves to the drill of putting stuff away where it belongs, and now it is second nature to them. They don’t even need to think about it. When they see the complete state of chaos I live in, a look of pity fills their face if they are kind, and contempt if they are not.

I have only myself to blame for a lot of the confusion in my life, because I was an escape artist, when it came to drill. I drove schoolmarms to distraction. However I didn’t escape drill, for it turns out life itself is a drill. You may think you can escape certain things, but later on you find yourself in a situation that has an eerie similarity to the situation you ran away from. Life has certain realities we’d all like to avoid, but which are laws as fundamental as the law of gravity. They tend to involve basic realities like food, clothing and shelter, and if you try to avoid them you discover you can’t.

As an example, I’ll confess (and brag) I didn’t much like the idea of paying rent, when young. Why should I have to pay for being alive? I avoided paying any official rent, in terms of dollars, to an amazing degree. It would astound you how little I paid, before age thirty-seven, when I married and couldn’t avoid the problem any longer. However what I learned was that I paid even when I didn’t pay. If you sleep in your car, you pay with suffering. If you live with your mother, you pay in terms of putting up with her. If you sleep on a loading dock, you’ve got to be up by five AM. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

In one way or another we spend a lot of our lives trying to avoid the unavoidable, over and over and over again doing the same thing, making the same mistakes, and coming to the same inevitable conclusion. Is this not a drill?

This brings me to a quote you should be skeptical of:   “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” People bandy about that quote as if it were some sort of gospel, but who said it? Moses? Jesus? Mohammed? Mark Twain? Benjamin Franklin? Albert Einstein? Nope. Jane Fulton said it. Who the heck is Jane Fulton? She is a fictional character in a novel written by Rita Mae Brown. (Sure sounds like schoolmarms to me.)

In actual fact life drills us, and we tend to do the same thing over and over, but it only seems like we are doing the same thing. In actual fact we are learning by infinitesimal increments.

If you study the music of a great like Beethoven you can hear the sameness and see the increments. His earliest music is youthful, and if you didn’t know better you might think, “This is some young fellow trying to copy Beethoven.” Then, as the years pass, each opus is just the same Beethoven, over and over. However, by the ninth symphony, all those little increments have added up, and you are hearing a true Masterpiece.

It would be nice if these infinitesimal increments were each accompanied by infinitesimal light bulbs illuminating our minds, but quite often they involve failure, and rather than a light bulb one experiences a dud, a little wave of darkness. Rather than scribbling brilliant ideas, you have to clean your messy desk. “Oh well, back to the old drawing board,” and, “You’ve got to pay the dues if you want to sing the blues,” are phrases that express the tedium drill puts us through. It can be a real drag, and the last thing people need is the discouragement of Jane Fulton. If it were really true that, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” then there would be no reason to ever practice the piano.

Drill does bear fruits, and now that I’m over sixty I am seeing a few of those fruits. All the infinitesimal increments do add up, though I doubted they even existed when I was young. In fact, now that I myself am (against my will) the elder, I am in the position to tell modern youth what the elders of my youth couldn’t hammer through my thick skull: Boring drill has value.

If I am going to do this, I need to coin a word for the “infinitesimal increments.” because writing that phrase over and over will soon get old. (There may already be such a word, but my vocabulary lacks it.)   Until I can think of a better word, I’ll just call them “infinitums.” I define “infinitums” as the molecules of learning which, when strung together, create a “connection,” which in my symbolism is the journey down into a dark valley and up to the next mountaintop view.

I also, to be remotely scientific, need to spend some time studying how these infinitums initially collect in a child’s mind. It is not enough to merely remember being a child myself; I need achieve a better balance by seeing things from the side of a parent or teacher. Of course, it is hard to get these experiences when you are a dedicated artist sleeping in his car.   In fact, while sleeping in your car is proof you are dedicated artist; it is a bad way to pick up chicks, which is step one towards becoming a father and seeing childhood from the other side. Even if you do meet a woman made so crazy by love that she wants you, sleeping in your car will be one of the first habits she insists is bad, and seeks to train you away from. Women often fail to understand the dedication of a manly man, when he’s an artist.

This used to hurt my feelings. While I had a sense of humor about my plight, it seemed sad women didn’t seem to think I’d be a good father, especially as I was so good with kids. I was a sort of favorite-uncle wherever I went, and kids rushed to me like I was a rock star. (Some suggested that this hinted I shared a child’s level of maturity.) Inevitably people would always note my way with children, and helpfully suggest the same thing, “Have you ever considered writing children’s books?” This was a swift way to sour my sense of humor, and turn my face purple and make veins stick out, for it utterly belittled how serious I was. For crying out loud, I was sleeping in my car! Do you think that is child’s play?

A far better question would have been, “Have you ever considered spending twenty years as a father raising five kids, preferably spending at least ten years home-schooling, and making sure you work so close to home you are always available, and follow that time by then running a Childcare business at a small farm for seven years, caring for twenty to thirty small children?” This would have been the perfect way to study how children accumulate infinitums, and how teenagers utilize them.

Strangely, no one asked me that, as I was sleeping in my car in Gallup, New Mexico, 28 years ago. I sure didn’t ask myself that, and had arrived at the conclusion that marriage simply wasn’t in the cards for me, and I should stop chasing young babes, because I was starting to look like a dirty, old man. However I had odd dreams, as one does when sleeping in a car, as an inner voice started nudging me in a direction I never thought I’d go.

PART THREE: CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS

America owns an enormous need for responsible fathers, however there is no glory in a man watching over kids. Men comprise 3% of all “Childcare Professionals,” the pay stinks, the public worries such a man must be a pervert to take such a job, and the women often want to kick such a man upstairs as swiftly as possible. Male “Childcare Professionals” consequently resort to painfully labored bumper stickers to salvage their battered egos, such as the one that reads, “Men that change diapers change the world.” However children, especially boys, do need a man about. They learn through a sort of osmosis at times, and in the past absorbed amazing things just trotting along behind a father at a farm.

I am going to be superficial and lighthearted and merely skim over this topic, however it is a serious subject, and the men who have labored to awaken America to the dangers involved deserve credit. I’d recommend that people who have time should read “Last Child in the Woods,” by Richard Louv; “Simplicity Parenting” by Kim John Payne; and “Let Them Play” by Jeff Johnson. That being said, I’ll now return to my focus on “infinitums,” and how it relates to drill.

Because I run a Childcare on my farm, I often get to watch small children perform repetitive actions, amassing infinitums without being aware they are drilling themselves. Over and over they will teeter along the same log, learning how to balance in the same way a pianist learns by practicing the same tune over and over.

It swiftly becomes apparent a degree of multitasking is occurring. Children don’t only work on one infinitum at a time: Even as they teeter down a log they may be looking towards another child, coveting some truck or doll, and calculating how to get it. Infinitums involving social skills occur simultaneously with those involving coordination, and it is for this reason I often prefer disorganized sports to organized sports. After all, even among adults baseball seems to require arguments with umpires, and if you hand children a soft plastic ball and bat, and simply stand back and let them play rather than bossing them about, they get right to work on the arguing. Eventually they get around to the game, however more than half of sandlot baseball is, and has always been, the arguing.

It also becomes apparent children are amassing infinitums more swiftly than adults ever do, and often do so unaware the unpleasantness of drill is involved; they feel practice is “play.” Occasionally you’ll see someone throwing stones at a stump or shooting a basketball at a hoop in a manner that looks very much like practice, however some repetitive activity seems different: It is a sort of solace, like an adult playing solitaire or knitting. The unpleasantness only enters the picture when you have to move the child a direction they don’t want to go.   Going against a child’s desires is like rubbing a cat’s fur the wrong way.

Trickery is helpful. A child who has no desire to eat brown rice will develop an interest if they are told it is an odd foodstuff only grown-ups like. Tell the child it is gross, grown-up food, and they can’t have any, and the child’s interest will perk. Tell the child it is roasted wasp maggots, and they may even plead for a spoonful. If this seems bizarre, simply compare it to the behavior of young adults who won’t go out in a blizzard in December, but will leave the warmth of a lovely June day, heading off in a jet to Nepal to risk frostbite climbing Mount Everest. Common sense often has little to do with whether people desire a thing or not.

An ancient trick is to give the child no option. While children need the freedom to amass infinitums, they also need the security of set boundaries. Too many parents ask questions such as, “Would you like to put away your toys and get in the car?” The child simply and honestly answers, “No.” Soon getting into a car degenerates into a battle of wills, with the child forced to consider adult topics, as the parent asks, “Do you want me to lose my job because you won’t get in the car and my boss is furious because I’m late and we can’t pay the mortgage and lose the house and have to move?” The battle of wills is completely avoided if, rather than the parent, it is some detached power like the Law of Gravity in control, and the Child is simply told, “We must go.” When the inevitable “Why?” is voiced, children accept, “Because it is the law,” or “That is how we do things.” It actually makes them feel more secure to have the structure and regime we call “home.” Too many choices and too many questions and too much freedom breeds anxiety, and the behaviors attendant to fear.

That all ends when the hormones hit. At that point the individual takes whatever infinitums they have amassed at home and heads off to climb some Mount Everest, usually plunging into a valley on the way.

(One bizarre twist occurs when a child is growing amidst the horrors of war and genocide. In such situations a natural, survival-oriented urge to perpetuate the species kicks in, and the hormones hit earlier.   What is truly bizarre is that this early puberty is now seen in wealthy American homes, where one would think the children are protected. While some blame the early puberty on additives in food, others suggest modern childhoods are simply devastated by chronic uncertainty and fear.)

The world was far safer when I was young, as can be shown by the simple fact that when the urge to leave the safety of home and scale some Mount Everest hit me in the late 1960’s, I was able to hitchhike. I hitchhiked from the suburbs of Boston up the coast of Maine and then across to Quebec and down towards Toronto when I was only fifteen, sleeping in a sleeping bag under shrubs at the side of the road when I grew tired. The worst I ever faced was a slightly indecent proposition, which I politely refused. Mostly I met friendly and talkative people, and often got rides from families in station wagons. I doubt a fifteen-year-old would experience anything as nice as I experienced, these days.

However, though it is now a different and more dangerous world, the same dynamics still apply. You are setting out with an amassed collection of infinitums, which are basically preconceptions in need of many small adjustments. My advise to a young person heading off to some Mount Everest they see in the distance would be, “Don’t lose faith.” As they plunge down into the first valley the Mount Everest will vanish from view, and all they will see is clawing branches and shadow, and they will be afflicted by doubts, many of which have validity. However this is normal and natural, and part of a mysterious process that gets you to the other side of the valley, and the next view of the Mount Everest.

It is impossible to offer much more advice, for every individual is led by their own guiding light, which is something they alone see. Even among the small children at my Childcare I see a sumptuous variety of talents, yet I never would have the audacity of some government officials, who think they can predetermine talents and put people into the appropriate slots. Such an official might be correct, if they discovered a child was genetically predisposed to deafness, but be completely wrong to steer the child away from a career in music, if the child was Beethoven.

Talents are very real things, and it is quite obvious one child has perfect pitch while another is tone deaf, however how these talents play out in the world is a mystery, and often defies logic. I watched one little boy, who was completely and amazingly incapable of carrying even the simplest tune, display extreme joy over music. He would belt out songs in a most discordant way at the top of his lungs with his face beaming delight, even though all the other little children were extremely discouraging, even to the point of walking away with their hands over their ears. I can’t tell you what talents are at play in that case, or how they will work out over the years, and I furthermore feel anyone who thinks they can tell you a person’s future from aptitude tests is about as reliable as a palm reader.

In the end people tend to be governed not by an external government, but by a voice from within. What’s more, the internal voice doesn’t always mollycoddle and flatter, as I am advised to do as a “childcare provider.” I am advised to always accentuate the positive, and when a child swings at a baseball and misses the ball by a foot I am suppose to exclaim, “Oh!   Good swing!” However often the child will look at me wryly and shake their head, as they know they missed the ball by a foot. An internal voice has spoken like a skeptic, and told them the truth.

One time I ate lunch in the shade on a hot summer day by a playground, watching a teenager shoot hoops. He was obviously a basketball fanatic, for all other kids were either repetitively playing video games in air conditioned homes, or repetitively jumping off the diving board at the Town Pool, but this one youth was repetitively shooting hoops. He was much better than I ever was or will be, and at one point he had made ten baskets in a row, but each time he scowled and shook his head, for each shot caught the rim of the basket slightly. Then the eleventh shot swooshed through without touching the rim, “all net,” and he gave himself a little nod, and then moved to practice shooting from a different angle. He was completely oblivious he had an audience of one, and as I watched him I felt like I was watching someone conversing with their inner voice.

It is often hard to listen to inner prompting, for life is full of external demands, and the government is one voice, peer-pressure a second, ones spouse a third, and external things like weather conditions are a fourth. However in the end no one knows the make-up of our personal infinitums like our inner voice does, nor is as able to be the skeptic, pointing out our flaws. Other voices may be more seductive and flattering, telling us what we want to hear, but deep down we know we are not perfect, and have a voice who will tell us so, and drill us to be better. My advice to the young would be not to become discouraged, and to have faith, for some day you will be sixty, and see that you were not led astray. Other voices trail off. Governments fall, and peer-pressures fickly alter with fads, and weather changes, as do the seasons, and even a beloved spouse can depart, (though hopefully not,) and in the end that inner voice is the lone thing with you for the duration. It has a vested interest in your success, and will work to adjust your infinitums in a manner that leads you from the shadows.

However I would add a word of warning which all too few of my own generation seemed to heed: There is one thing that can play havoc with the natural processes that would ordinarily lead you across the valley and up to the next peak, and that one thing is drugs. Avoid them, unless you are interested in falling flat on your face.

PART FOUR; DRUGS

In kinder times the transition from a childhood home to a new life away from home wasn’t so drastic. Rather than a deep and dark valley it could even be a walk away into sunny glades in the same neighborhood, such as a young fox experiences when it trots away from its mother’s den. However this modern world is no utopia, and youth does face a huge and dark uncertainty upon leaving the nest. Despite all its wonderful benefits, progress is a sword that cuts two ways, and the winds of change, over the past century, have had a devastating effect on the certainty once inherent in traditions.   It is not merely quaint and rustic tribes that are rendered laughable, and which are in some senses mutilated, by progress; it is everyone.

In my grandfather’s youth a man could make a good living simply growing grass, for all vehicles ran on grass, and a hay farmer was the OPEC of that horse-drawn era. However in my grandfather’s lifetime horses became a rare sight on city streets. Where growing grass was once a way to make a good living, and had been a way to make a good living back into the mists of distant memory, it suddenly became a laughable thing to do.

The pace of progress has sped up and become in some ways frenetic, with the commercialization of computers. Forty years ago repairing electric typewriters was a good living. Now it is laughable. Twenty years ago repairing an Apple 2c computer was a high paying job. Now it is laughable. One becomes obsolete nearly as fast as one can learn.

When the world changes in a whirl, and one needs to run on a treadmill just to stay abreast, it is hard to respect elders. Their knowledge, technically at least, has become laughable. They’ve become anachronisms, and unless they know how to have fun being one, they are miserable anachronisms.

When the wisdom of elders looks laughable, a dark valley appears before the young. It does not matter if they are a young Sioux facing the twentieth century, or a young suburbanite facing the twenty-first. It is the unknown that terrifies. In the face of such dark depression, there is a temptation and tendency to turn to drugs. It doesn’t matter if you are an Indian turning to Peyote in the Native American Church, a hundred twenty years ago, or a Bostonian witnessing Timothy Leary turning to LSD in the 1960’s.

I have first hand experience of both Boston in the 1960’s and the Native American Church, and am under no danger of being awed by drugs, or the individuals who gained fame and wealth by extolling their so-called virtues. I know when a humbug is a humbug, for I was there when the Hum bugged.

Regarding Timothy Leary, when he got booted from Harvard both my father and stepfather taught there, and my eldest brother was a freshman there. I saw a side of that situation, at age ten, that you won’t read about in Wikipedia.

Regarding the Native American Church, my best friend in the 1980’s was a Navajo who had grown up in that church, and knew what it was like to have breakfast prepared by a mother coming down from Peyote, and could describe a side of that church you don’t read about in Wikipedia.

When he and I talked together about the dangers of drugs we did so with a level of understanding that, sadly, I haven’t achieved elsewhere. I count my inability to communicate my understanding of drug’s dangers as being among my greatest failures.

I once heard a tragic tale of a group of ditch diggers who unearthed some roots that smelled of parsnip. A burly man who liked parsnip was going to eat a root, but a slender man told him it was hemlock; (not the evergreen tree but the deadly poison.) The burly man laughed and didn’t believe it, but when he tried to eat the root the slender man jumped on him and tried to physically restrain him. The burly man easily flung him off, laughingly ate the poison, and within a half hour was dead, with the slender man watching and wondering what he could have done differently.

I feel like I know how that slender man felt, only rather than a half hour it has taken a half century. I would guess roughly half the intellectual potential of the Baby Boomer generation has been wasted, and I mean wasted.

I want to avoid going into all the details. What I know about Timothy Leary is slimy tabloid stuff, and worth big bucks. It will be in some forthcoming book, and you’ll have to pay. However the essence of what I learned is quite simple, and free.

The human mind is a marvelous thing, but anyone who pretends to understand how it works, in terms of test-tubes, molecules, and electrical wiring, is fooling himself and anyone who listens. The mind contains something outside of the physical, something beyond science, and beyond art, called “Life”.

Just to prove my point I have decided that, when I die, my deathbed will be on the pan of an extremely sensitive scientific scale. We will be able to see how much I weigh just before I flat-line, and just after, and in this manner will determine how much my life weighs. I hypothesize that the answer will be, “zero.” The only conclusion to such an experiment will be that Life, which is a very important thing to have, has no weight in the scientific literature.

For this reason I must use symbols such as “crossing a dark valley,” rather than remaining strictly scientific. Some may even accuse me of pseudoscience, and be quite correct. I have crossed the line that separates art from science, but before anyone accuses me of glorifying the status of an artist, I hasten to add artists are no experts on what life weighs, either.

The best artists have a huge appreciation of how beautiful life is, but a nasty habit of dying young. That alone proves they don’t understand life, for who willingly leaves what they love?

Even though science can’t measure life, I need to borrow some ideas from science in order to explain why drugs are such a hazard. (Any decent pseudoscience does this.) The concept I need to borrow is the idea of energy existing in an unapparent state, as latent energy or potential energy or whatever. This energy is stored in the things I earlier called “infinitums.”

Ordinarily this energy is gradually accumulated as one crosses the “dark valley,” and is released when one reach the “mountain view” of the far side, and experiences a “natural high.” What I imagine a drug like LSD does is release this energy prematurely, before one has done the necessary work required to “cross the valley.” Because one hasn’t done the necessary intellectual work, they can only flash backwards to a prior view. Symbolically, they walked a little way down into the dark valley, got scared, and ran back to an old mountain view. It may be a gorgeous, spectacular view, but they have made no forward progress.

Over the past half-century I have watched drugs destroy many fine minds, and what destroys them is not that they change, but rather that they don’t change. At age thirty they sound like they did at twenty. At age forty they sound like they did age twenty. By age fifty at the latest they start to crack. Just imagine how frustrated Beethoven would have felt if his ninth symphony sounded no different from his first. It would be maddening.

Of course a true pseudo-scientist doesn’t use common words like “maddening.” Late in his life Freud coined the word “schitzophrenogenic.” Rather than, “It is the maddening that drives people mad” he suggested “the schitzophrenogenic cause schizophrenia..” Pretty obvious, if you ask me, (and I tried to tell schoolmarms as much, back in school,) but in the case of drugs it is not a person or situation driving you mad. It is the drug.

The saddest part is that the one time such mind-altering drugs might actually help is when a person is suffering from natural schizophrenia. In such a case a person has headed down into the dark valley, and hit such a thicket of unsolvable problems their mind can’t take it. In such circumstances they truly need to back off, and return to an earlier starting point. LSD might help, in such extreme circumstances, however when LSD harms the person’s mind to begin with, repeating the drug cannot help. The damage is done, and is irrevocable.

In order to further stress the harm I need to bolster my pseudoscience by stealing another concept from real science, the concept energy is “concerved.” The energy fueling the sense of being “high” doesn’t simply vanish, as the high fades. It is absorbed back into the construct of infinitums. In the case of a natural high this is healthy, (though one never entirely enjoys coming down from inspiration,) while in the case of hallucinogens it is unhealthy.

In the case of natural euphoria, one has done the work to gather the data, and it comes together as an answer. Observations lead to a conclusion. Thesis and antithesis result in synthesis. There are many different ways of describing the process, but in the end it doesn’t matter if you call it a hypothesis or a gestalt, what you have is a completed puzzle rather than a mess of puzzle pieces, and it requires much less energy to hold the completed puzzle in your mind. Abruptly you have a surplus of energy, and are able to see a broad range of implications all at once. Elation fills the air.

Of course, one may then want to dissipate some of the energy by uncorking some bubbly and whooping it up, but one deserves it; one has worked long and hard and now has a reason to celebrate. One has created a tool, and life will be simpler because of that tool. It is not a thing that one will forget when the euphoria fades,   (as euphoria will, when the energy is reabsorbed into fresh infinitums as one gets back to work.) What one has accomplished is permanent.

In the case of unnatural euphonia one has done no work, yet as much (and perhaps much more) energy is released. One sees implications up the wazzoo, but there is no completed puzzle behind it all. Instead one merely sees old conclusions more intensely, and, when the energy is reabsorbed, it tends to be reabsorbed backwards towards those old conclusions, and to be lost from the infinitums that led away from those conclusions, “across the valley”, to modified conclusions.

This begs the question, “Why would anyone want to see the old conclusion?” The answer lies in the intensity of vision made possible by extra energy. For example, take a childhood conclusion, such as, “The sky is blue.” On LSD that becomes, “Wow man! The sky is blue!” Afterwards one can’t remember what was so impressive about the sky being blue. One “forgets,” and one yearns to return.

After all, childhood conclusions are often lovely (if you skip all the fears and tears and all the ungovernable fits of frustration and rage over weakness and inability.) Children view the world with a sense of wonder we are foolish to forget, yet do forget. Perhaps children simply have more mental energy available because they have such a colossal amount to learn, or perhaps we have a colossal amount of energy invested in what we have learned, and have very little left over, which leaves us jaded. In any case, people want to take LSD again, so they can again remember how blue the sky is. It is then that they note they cannot get as “high,” nor can they even remain high at all. Where alcohol allows a tippler to maintain a steady state, drugs do not.

This suggests a whole range of avenues for further thought, concerning how mental energy moves and is stored, however, considering we are discussing pseudoscience here, and there is no scientific way of verifying any of these ideas, I think I’ll just leap to my conclusions.

Perhaps the most insidious difference between natural and unnatural inspiration manifests in terms of the shackles we call habits. Because natural inspiration results in an actual tool, a conclusion you can use, life is naturally altered, and quite naturally habitual behavior also alters. In the case of unnatural inspiration habits can be suspended, but only the weakly held ones, (such as doing the dishes), are lost. The more obnoxious ones return, and sometimes return with a vengeance. (Initially LSD was seen as a cure for criminal behavior, and Peyote as a cure for alcoholism, but the hopes faded as the long-term results came in.) (One of the founders of the Native American Church later became disillusioned, and concluded, “Peyote is a trickster.”)

In the spirit of full disclosure I need to confess I did experiment with drugs as a teenager, and am quite sure I would have destroyed myself had it not been for sheer good fortune. I was quite convinced I was seeing more, and was an American pioneer venturing into a new frontier. (My inner voice was telling me otherwise, but I refused to listen.) Then I blundered across stretches of time and through several living situations where drugs were simply not available. This gave me a chance (that I was not seeking) to compare how my mind behaved on and off drugs, and also to compare my mind with the minds of close friends who were in living situations where drugs were always readily available. In any case, I became vehemently opposed to drugs while still a teenager.

In all the decades of arguing since then I haven’t talked a soul off drugs. In my opinion it is like trying to tell a glowing young man his new girlfriend is bad. However I do know all the arguments, and many are absurd. The same people who argue your experience isn’t valid because you haven’t tried a drug will tell you your experience is drug-deranged after you try it. About the only argument worth a hill of beans is., “It’s a free country, isn’t it?” And the best answer is, “Then why enslave yourself?”

In conclusion I will venture a couple of thoughts regarding those who persist in taking drugs. First, despite the fact they make it extremely difficult for their selves to “cross a dark valley,” they have a longing to progress, and they continue to think about the future. However, because they have so little practical experience of genuine progress, the future they talk about holds less and less contact with that which does exist, such as airplanes, and involves more and more stuff that does not exist, such as starships. If you tell them they are not pragmatic they respond you are not progressive. They see themselves as visionaries, but lack the common sense and experience necessary to evaluate the validity of the future they envision. (And if you think I am drifting toward the topic of Global Warming, and its vision of the future, you are catching my drift.)

Second, some have arrived at a point where they believe the concept of “crossing the valley” is impossible. They lose faith. They do not believe you can develop a form of government that takes imperfection into account, and which, through a system of checks and balances, makes it possible to make, recognize, recover-from and forgive mistakes. They furthermore do not believe you can create scientific disciplines that allow one to make, recognize, recover-from and forgive mistakes. In essence, because they, for whatever reason, could not cross the valley, they feel crossing the valley is a humbug, and act accordingly.

True, some arrive at this faithless conclusion without drugs, but drugs can only greatly increase their number. They then own a dangerous concept, for rather than attempting to solve problems they attempt to remove problems. If the problem is hungry people, their solution is not to grow more food, but rather to reduce the population. If the problem is the burden of a twenty-year-mortgage, they cannot conceive of shouldering the burden and making 240 monthly payments, but rather they claim we have to do something about the banks. If the problem is debt, the last thing they think of is actually repaying the debt. And if you think I’m drifting towards the topic of our government, you catch my drift.

However I think I’ll skip drifting there. It is depressing to talk about weak people who see humanity and life through weakness-colored glasses. I’d rather talk about someone who was strong.

Late in his middle age Mark Twain suffered from a disastrous investment, and swiftly went from being an independently wealthy success to being a deeply indebted pauper. Rather than making excuses he hitched up his belt and went on a grueling, world-girdling speaking tour, though he far preferred writing at home, and once described stepping out into the lights of a stage as “walking out into darkness.” He persisted as months turned to years, and despite the deaths of those he loved, he in the end repaid every cent he owed. Why? I suppose he believed in a thing called “honor,” and that, just because a person had made a mistake, it didn’t mean he couldn’t cross a dark valley to see a better view.

Drugs were the greatest mistake of the Baby Boom generation, but after mistakes are made they can be recognized, recovered from, and forgiven. Perhaps the hardest part is the recognition.

PART FIVE: OPTIMISM

Sometimes, when bragging about the dark valleys that I’ve crossed and the Mount Everest I’ve aimed for, people give me an odd look and wonder how I can be cheerful, considering my adventures sound fairly grueling, and don’t always involve the highest aspects of human nature. I suppose there are various short answers, but I prefer a long one. Also, because to tell the same story over and over the same way is a bit boring, I never tell the tale the same way twice. This aggravates historians, and I apologize to them in advance as I invent this new version of how I became optimistic.

You wouldn’t think I would grow up talkative, for I was born amidst a bunch of bookworms. Everyone at home read a lot. The only talk was during wonderful dinners with wonderful guests, but in those days “children were to be seen and not heard,” and often I was fed and put to bed early, and only know how wonderful the talks were because I snuck out of bed and eavesdropped from as close to the dining room as I dared to get, (which on one occasion was right under the table.) The rest of the time a lot of reading was going on. Even when there was a family “project,” it tended to be done with people intently focusing on it in the same manner as people focus on a book.

In a household with six kids, projects could involve noise, and my parents learned to concentrate on their reading with an intensity it was difficult to penetrate. We used to joke that we could shout, “The back yard is on fire,” and we’d get nothing but a grunt, or a, “yes, dear.” In fact the only thing that could budge my parents was total silence. That got them up, because they knew we kids were up to something. However silence took a good five to ten minutes to get their attention, and at a very early age I learned the best way to get their immediate attention was to hand them a note that read: “The back yard is on fire.”

I’m not sure I could write more than that, (fires happened on several occasions,) but at some point I got dragged off to test my intelligence. My mother was convinced my ability to write, “the back yard is on fire”, was proof I was a genius; however the schoolmarm seemed to think it was proof I was a pyromaniac. In any case it had to be decided if I should attend a one-year smart-kid-kindergarten or a two-year slow-kid-kindergarten called “transition,” and testing was involved.

The first test involved drawing something with crayon, and I produced an elongated green pickle the schoolmarm scowled at disapprovingly. Then I asked, “Mom? How do you spell alligator?” As she gave me the letters and I wrote them down, she glanced at the schoolmarm triumphantly, and the woman looked worried, and moved me on to an actual written test.

What interested me was you had to fill in ovals with a special black pencil, and rather than a human grading it, a machine was going to do it. It was state-of-the-art IBM technology for the late 1950’s, but I soon tired of it. I’m not sure of what occurred, but dimly recollect I read a few questions, but I think after that I began filling in the ovals for inappropriate reasons. It may have had something to do with a war between red ants and black ants in my imagination. At some point the schoolmarm gently informed me I could only fill in one oval out of each row of four, and I then had to do some erasing. Then I handed the test in, it went through the machine, and it was discovered I was in the top 97%-to-99%, and I was put ahead into the first grade. This moved me from being the same size as my peers to being the class midget, and also to my first meeting with Burlwart Knuckledrag, who had stayed back a year, was two years older than I, and loomed up towards the ceiling.

That’s not his real name, by the way. I’m just adroitly avoiding a lawsuit. Not that Burlwart would sue me, for he taught me many good and useful things, such as how to run for my life. I also learned how to smile disarmingly, and how to talk very, very fast, with insane cheerfulness.

Roughly nine years later I suddenly began to grow very quickly and abruptly stood six feet tall, while Burlwart only grew to five-foot-five, but by then it was too late. My character had been formed, and I talked very, very fast, with insane cheerfulness. (This history may also explain why I am not fond of intelligence tests.)

Not long after that I began hitchhiking, and to me it seemed I should pay for the ride by making cheerful conversation. I learned how to tell different versions of the same story, depending on whether the person giving the ride was a truck driver or a preacher, and also learned to make stories up, however even that got boring, and it was then I discovered the really interesting thing to do was to get the other person to talk, and tell me a story. I learned how to ask cheerful questions.

It was difficult to get some people to talk. Some people only picked me up because they were dead tired, and needed someone to keep them from falling asleep at the wheel. They tended to be dour, and in no mood to tell stories, but, because I did a lot of hitchhiking and because there was nothing else to do while riding, I gradually learned various ways of asking the right questions. At this point I learned I could not only get a grumpy person to talk, but could make them more cheerful.

That was a bit of an ego trip at first, but became a problem. Back in my hometown my friends discovered I was good at cheering up grumpy people, and, because drugs were starting to enter the picture, I was the person they brought teenagers having a bad trip on LSD to. (They wouldn’t take a friend to a hospital, as that would involve the police and jail, or perhaps shock treatments in the psychiatric wing.) The job was mine, and I think I was pretty good at it, for cheering up a person on a bad trip mostly involved distracting them with things like music on the stereo, or fireworks, or tricks my dog could do. However it was draining.

Eventually my friends disillusioned me, mostly because the emotional exchange was a one-way street. It seemed they only came by when they were sad about losing a girl or a job. I cheered them up, and soon they’d have a new girl or job, and then I wasn’t so attractive, likely because they then had money to spend and I didn‘t. It was only when they were as broke as I was that my free psychiatry became attractive. I didn’t like the side of human nature I was seeing, and eventually summed it all up with a brief stanza, which I like to this day:

When you have trouble I am there.
When I have troubles, what?
When I am in my direst need
I find your doors are shut.

Splendid tidbits of self-pity like this might have expressed my heartache, but they tended to make my friends indignant. They had assumed I was listening to them moan and groan because I was a friend, and not because I wanted something back. They would accuse me of being manipulative, and so on and so forth. (Baby Boomers talked a lot about “interpersonal relationships,” even while proving they weren’t very good at them.)

I never made a red cent with my free psychiatry, (or with my poetry, for that matter,) however I suppose it was one way I avoided paying rent. People liked having me sleep in their garage, and having someone to moan and groan to, even if they didn’t want to hear any of my moaning and groaning. However I started to feel lonely, even in a crowd. People must have listened to me, in order to be cheered up, but there was a entire part of me that felt unheard, and was in some ways suppressed. My way of escaping that suppression was to get away and become a hermit. True, I was an extremely talkative hermit, but I was a hermit all the same.

This led me to living in a rent-free shack upon a dock on my stepfather’s property in Maine, which may sound idyllic but which, like most rent-free situations, could be extremely uncomfortable. For example the toilet was a hole in a chair over a hole in the floor, and the way of flushing it was high tide. This toilet wasn’t all that different from the heads in rich men’s yachts out in the harbor, and the local folk referred to the brown objects floating about in the harbor’s water as “harbor trout.”

Summers in the shack were not all that bad, (summers never are,) but winters were another matter, especially as the 1970’s passed and they became brutal. During the first few winters the harbor barely skimmed over with ice, but during later winters the ice extended far out into Casco Bay, and I could walk out to the islands. Water for the shack was a single cold water tap, and though I could keep the water going into November by running the tap constantly, the threat of frozen pipes meant the water had to be shut off in December, which made staying clean interestingly complex. One winter I simply gave up on the bother of doing dishes, and knew it was spring when they started to smell.

I went elsewhere to do laundry, which I had to do often, as I didn’t have much clothing. I was trying to emulate Henry Thoreau by having few possessions, and this meant I had one pair of pants I wore, and a second pair in the wash. This may sound very economical, but it had some shortcomings in wet weather. It caused me physical suffering, especially in terms of my socks and my feet. This occurred because the floor of the shack was amazingly cold.

The walls and ceiling of the shack were insulated, and it was heated by a pot-bellied stove, which kept the loft where I slept toasty warm, until the fire went out at two AM. The floor was freezing, despite a cheap carpet. I alternated between warming my feet by the fire and writing at my desk with my feet against the cold floor, and the warm, felt-lined boots I wore alternated between making my feet sweat and making them cold and clammy. After a while my feet turned a shade of maroon and began sweating profusely, and I discovered I had developed something called “trench foot.” The cure was to make sure your socks were always dry, and involved buying lots of socks, which I could barely afford. I had to change my socks quite often, and the carpet could be littered with sweat-drenched pairs. It was when I discovered the sweaty socks were all frozen to the carpet that I began to rethink the wisdom of my “alternative lifestyle.”

The shack had an interesting history, for it had begun life up atop a nearby embankment, as part of a summer retreat for Christian ministers, but had been blown down onto the ice on the harbor by a colossal gust of wind during a winter storm in the early 1900’s. Never a people to waste anything, the locals informed me they had slid it ashore, jacked it up, and built a dock under it.

I learned this by getting the locals to talk, which was an amazingly difficult thing to do. They had no need for free psychiatry and absolutely no interest in “interpersonal relationships.” Gossip was another matter, but you had to be part of the gang, and when I walked in to such a group, (usually at the local post office,) a dead silence would fall. By then I owned a car and had lost the advantages of hitchhiking, and I might never have gotten anyone to talk to me at all had I not had to do this odd thing called “get a job.” It then turned out that a workplace was the equivalent of spending long hours sitting beside a driver in a car, and I began to hear some stories. Once I knew a few stories I could retell them, and you can get even taciturn people talking if you cheerfully retell a story they know, and get a part of the story wrong. Sometimes I did this intentionally, but sometimes it only occurred due to my habit of embellishing.

At some point I wondered aloud if the shack had “spiritual vibes,” due to the fact ministers had once vacationed in it, and that made locals laugh and tell me about old Eddie, the laziest man alive, who had lived in the shack during World War Two. Back then, with German submarines lurking off shore and trying to shut down Portland, Casco Bay was abruptly a busy place, with concrete gun emplacements going up on every island, and the small, local ship-building yard suddenly important, because it lay in an inlet submarines couldn’t reach. Ships had to be built at top speed to replace the ones the Germans were sinking, and the harbor was dredged deeply and the mudflat beside it grew much taller, so even the maps changed. Everyone was working and doing their patriotic duty, except Eddie. Eddie would walk from the shack up to the street and down to the shipyard each morning, and punch in at the time clock. Ten minutes later he’d emerge from a cellar door and walk back to the shack along the water. At quitting time he’d walk back to the shipyard along the water, enter the cellar door, punch out, and walk home along the street. As far as I could gather, this was Eddie’s entire contribution to the war effort, and after I heard that tale I said nothing further about the shack having “vibes.” They might be “Eddie Vibes,” and I suspected I might have been told that tale because some felt I’d been infected by those vibes and had inherited Eddie’s title of being the laziest man alive.

After the war the government checks vanished, unemployment skyrocketed, and the locals suffered. A lady once pointed at a three-story, Victorian house by the water and told me it had sold for nine hundred dollars in 1950. However the shack went right on existing, through booms and busts and many a storm, until 1978.

People remember the great snows of February 1978, and the way the Boston waterfront was battered, but the local anchorage in Maine was protected from the northeast gales. It was a warmer, earlier gale from the southeast in January that lined up its winds perfectly with the mouth of the harbor, and taught me what the sea can do.

The shack could be a noisy place in a gale, and shook a little as the waves sloshed beneath it, but that January morning I awoke to a definite slam. When I looked down from the loft I noticed the carpet looked wet, along the cracks between the wide floorboards. Soon afterwards I noticed that, as a wave drove beneath the shack it compressed the air, and the carpet rose up on the floor as air whistled upwards through cracks, and then the carpet slapped down as the wave sucked out. I considered moving out, but knew the shack had withstood every storm for seventy years, including some hurricanes. I checked my tide chart, and saw the tide was high, and soon would fall. Another wave thumped against the side of the shack, and I looked out the window towards the entrance of the harbor.

It was a crazy scene through panes of glass smeared by pelting rain, of gray, foam-streaked waters, with waves more like the open sea than a harbor‘s chop, but strangest of all was the sense I had that I was looking uphill. That, then and there, decided me, and I started packing in a hurry.

It was as I was heading towards the door with my fourth cardboard box of bad poetry that the carpet arose with a whistling whoosh, a wave slammed the side of the shack, there was a loud crack, and suddenly there was a step-up in the doorway. I stepped up and out with my box, and turned to see my shack go gurgling down into the seething sea with all I owned. Gone were my Jimi Hendrix albums. Gone was my extra pair of pants. Gone was my granola.

The tide did eventually go out, and I did get my pants back, but the Jimi Hendrix albums were toast. It turns out storm driven mudflat mud is persuasive stuff, and once that grit gets in the grooves of a phonograph record, no amount of tender washing can make them play again. My life was facing some changes.

That was a wild winter, with February’s storms and my stepfather’s death ahead, but one nice thing was the tact of the locals. They didn’t ask me if I needed help or make me feel I was getting charity. Instead when any person needed a house sitter, I abruptly was on top of the list. And housesitting was much more comfortable than that old shack ever was.

You might think that was the end of the shack, but it wasn’t. It was jacked back up and the dock rebuilt more sturdily. You also might think I had learned my lesson, but I hadn’t. I figured the lesson was to build the shack two feet higher, and once that was accomplished I moved back in, and eventually faced a final winter of frozen feet.

At this point I had reached the hoary old age of twenty-six, and life was starting to look different to me. The world hadn’t changed that much, (it never really does, though progress changes the world’s outfits,) but to me the old people seemed smarter, and the young radicals, even my own self, didn’t look so smart. It was difficult for me to lay my finger on exactly what the change was, but it seemed to have something to do with the relationship skepticism had with optimism.

Formerly skepticism had seemed the enemy of optimism. Optimism was the can-do attitude, while skepticism said, “it will never work.” Now I was starting to see skepticism could be a friend of optimism. How this realization dawned on Marblehead is a bit of a mystery to me, but having my shack sink was helpful. It informed me that Truth was not merely an inner voice pointing out my mistakes; truth was also an outer reality pointing out my mistakes.

It didn’t keep me from being skeptical of authority.   After all, authority had stated the shack hadn’t been sunk before, and therefore was unlikely to sink, but “unlikely” wasn’t the same thing as “never could.” In fact it seemed the only time a skeptic should use the word “never” was when they said, “Never say never,” and therefore a true skeptic couldn’t tell me, “It will never work.” Consequently having mistakes pointed out went from something I feared to something I desired. The problem was getting the taciturn, old, Maine Yankees to actually talk.

Back then the old Maniacs relished their independence and individuality to a degree that made even Hippies seem a bit ordinary. It involved less loud clothing, and was expressed more in their attitudes and the way they lived their lives. It also involved the way they treated me. If I wanted to live in a freezing shack that occasionally sunk, that was my business, and “it was no skin off their nose.” That may have explained why they had nothing to say. They might roll their eyes and mutter they’d never chose what I chose, but they didn’t criticize much. You had to work hard to get them to say exactly why they wouldn’t choose what you were choosing.

As I came to slowly start trusting people over thirty I tended to like the old outdoor-people more than the old indoor-people. Even their wrinkles were different. The indoor-people had thin, papery wrinkles, while the outdoor-people had thick wrinkles of leather. Also they had been to sea, and knew all about being wrong, because the coast of Maine is full of the currents and weathers and twists and turns that define the word “unpredictable.” In fact another reason those gruff old Yankees might not have ventured an opinion was because they didn’t like being wrong, and they knew that prediction often puts you in those boots.

To my dismay they proved invulnerable to my various cheerful techniques of getting people to talk. Often even a straightforward question would be answered with a mere shrug. In some cases they knew the value of their knowledge, and were shrewd, and waiting for an offer to be made and paid. In other cases they were busy, and it was hard to get them to stand still and talk. Lastly, I’m sure in some cases I annoyed them, and, because I was not a hitchhiker stuck beside them in a car; they could get away from me. In any case, when one actually said something I was all ears.

The sea-ice of the prior two years had been rough on sea-going men. The price of fish, lobsters and clams tended to rise in the winter, and they could make better money then, but the ice trapped them ashore. Not that they complained, for “security” was not a word they were very familiar with. When a storm blew up out of nothing, the weather bureau might have blushed at a botched forecast, but the sea-going men had to drive home through it, yet they treated it as a daily occurrence, like a commuter might treat a bad rush hour.

This was long before GPS, and most didn’t even have the clumsy electronics of LORAN aboard their boats, as electronics didn’t do well when drenched. They navigated by compass and primitive depth-sounder and an amazing memory of not only the shoreline, but the underwater landscape. Their ability in fog amazed me.

One time I was with a group of people who had missed a ferry out to an island, and a lobsterman took us out through the fog (for a decent fee, of course,) and the fog was so thick you could barely see a hundred feet. He seemed rather bored by the trip, glancing at the compass from time to time, and only once seemed the slightest bit concerned. He glanced at his watch, looked off to the left, (or port, if you insist on correctness), and abruptly wheeled and anxiously asked, “Have any of you got metal in your suitcases?” Even as he spoke a white shoulder of stone appeared to the left (or port) caped with deep brown seaweed and speckled with grey and silver gulls, and even as we gave our slightly guilty answers he steered starboard, and forty-five seconds later the island’s wharf hove into view.

The man’s concern was due to the fact metal near a compass can mess up its reading. However if you ever wonder why, in older poetry, the word “compass” has such an exaggerated importance, at times even symbolizing God, this story ought tell you the answer. At sea your compass was your best friend. (I suppose in the future people will wonder why the acronym “GPS” has importance in our modern poet’s poetic symbolism.)

Compared to these amazing, sea-going men I looked very poor, as I was no longer living on my stepfather’s land. The land had become my Mom’s, and no man can feel like a swashbuckling buccaneer when living with Mom. Not that she moved into the shack; she lived three houses away, but something about the situation swiftly became just plain humiliating.

Not that I could just leave when she was grieving. I had to be sure she was back on her feet. However no one gave me credit, and most lectured me about being scared of real jobs and getting out on my own, and how I was a wimp to be living so close to my mother.

I had other reasons for self-pity as well. You may have noticed this tale has no “romantic element.” That is because my romantic life was a complete shambles. (It was actually a hilarious shambles, but I have noticed lawsuits usually have no sense of humor, so I’ll skip including the details.) Add to this heartbreak the fact my poetry only earned rejections slips, and the few people who actually read my poems were more appalled than appreciative, and also enter the fact all my summer jobs ended and no winter jobs appeared, and I was broke, and on top of all that, include the fact my nature owned the stupidity of a spurned young man attempting to slake an unquenchable thirst for beer, when he couldn’t afford very much, and perhaps you get an inkling of how difficult it was to be cheerful, my final winter in the shack. The violins of my self-pity were howling in full chorus.

Looking back thirty-five years, my behavior back then now looks rather silly, but back then I didn’t know what I now know. (You never do.) I didn’t feel I was crossing a dark valley. I felt I was walking into death itself, and when I finally did leave Maine my maudlin nature compared my predicament to that of Oates, during Scott’s ill fated Antarctic expedition of 1910, when he sacrificed himself hoping others might live, leaving the tent in a blizzard with the words, “I am just going outside and may be some time”.

Obviously the comparison was ridiculous, unless Oates walked to a warmer clime and lived past age sixty. If I had it all to do over again I’d spend a lot less time drinking beer and trying to get enough Dutch courage to face my fears of the future, and a lot more time appreciating the beauty of that land, those people, and even of my younger self.

I do give myself credit for having the courage to get over my fear and step out into the world, but also subtract some points because, for a person who was so big on optimism, my faith was so small. Fortunately just enough survived to whisper to me that making a mistake was not necessarily my end, but could be my friend.

The fact of the matter is that even during times of darkness the mind goes right on gathering infinitums that later turn out to have value. The observer goes right on observing; the skeptic goes right on noticing discrepancies to the expectations of theory. In a very real sense one is amassing a treasure while penniless. If youth only knew this they’d spend far less time singing blues, and far more time appreciating being young.

Perhaps I did know this, intuitively, for I never quite lost my sense of humor. If anyone said, “Youth is wasted on the young” I’d immediately respond “And wisdom’s wasted on the old.” I might be down but I wasn’t dead.

Also I never lost my sense of wonder, which seems vital if you intend to gather infinitums. Though as ingrown as the worst toenail, I never was such a hermit that I didn’t want to go out and see things, and, if not to communicate with humans, to commune with nature. In fact I now can see, looking back, treasures I gathered though I thought the time was full of emptiness.

One drizzly day I wandered down to the town landing and slouched there listening to the fishermen I’d grown to respect, and saw one make a mistake. I was no saint, and owned that snide human attribute that enjoys seeing wiser and better people slip on the ice. In this case it was proverbial ice, for the leather-faced old man made the mistake of forecasting the weather more than three days in advance.

It had seemed that at last we might catch a break, and return to having the harbor mostly free of ice during a winter. The water was cold, and a skim of ice kept forming, but then storms would pass to our west and we’d be on the warm side, and the waters would be churned and the ice be melted. Melting all the ice kept the waters cold, and a new skim of ice would form, but even a small lobster boat had no trouble plowing through such a skim. The waterfront crowd rumpled their brows a bit as the skim thickened the first week in January, but then an enormous storm stalled to our south, with its warm sector swiveled right around like a triangle to the north, and we got rain and strong winds and the ice was again melted. Furthermore as the stalled storm occluded it sucked in so much mild, maritime air that we were forecast to get days of drizzle and mildness before arctic air could return, and it was at that point the old salt made his foolish forecast: “If the hahbor hasn’t frozen ovah by the fifteenth of January, tain’t likely to freeze at all.”

Unless a man is Moses, he should be wary of making pronouncements in voice like Moses‘, for the weather seems to hear, and it immediately sets out to show the man who is boss. Although most occluded storms weaken and fade away, this one sucked in some sort of reinforcements and stayed strong, slowly drifting away to the north to Labrador, where it tapped into some air up over Greenland’s icecap and directed it straight down to Maine. Nor did it do so for just a day or two. For a fortnight the north wind shuddered the landscape, and the TV weatherman first remarked over how many days had passed with the temperatures staying below ten degrees, and then how many days had passed with the temperatures staying below five degrees. (-15 Celsius)

When the blast first hit I again went down to the town landing to slouch and hear the news, and the same fisherman was there. The harbor was rapidly skimming with ice right before everyone’s eyes, in broad daylight and under a bright sun, and though no one asked the old salt for an explanation for ice forming after January 15, perhaps he felt one was due, for he stated, “I’ve nevah seen a stoam remain as potint as this one’s doin‘.”

I’m not sure why this clicked in my mind the way it did, but there was something about the way the man could be incorrect without saying he’d been wrong that seized my imagination. For, in fact, he’d never spoken a falsehood. He’d merely spoken the truth he’d seen, and then spoke a truth he’d never seen before. This made me feel a lot better about how my own version of the truth had landed me in a mess.

My life was indeed a mess, for the blast of cold caught me off guard, and my shack was like an icebox, as I’d neglected to gather enough firewood. Faced with this dilemma I said the heck with it, and walked three houses away to sleep on a couch in my mother’s basement. (Cold that vicious swiftly drives pride into the background.) I only returned to the shack during the day, with an armload of her firewood, so I could pen poetic self-pity without worrying her. Then a tax refund appeared like a miracle in the mail, and this allowed me to buy a case of beer, and also to rent a chainsaw. A dead tree had fallen onto a mudflat down the shoreline, and I cut it up and had enough firewood to warm my shack, which allowed me to consume the case of beer outside of my mother‘s scrutiny. (She didn’t worry when I vanished, for she could see smoke from the shack’s stovepipe from her study window.)

I then became very cheerful, but after the two enjoyable days and nights of writing poetry and singing the blues had passed, dawn broke on a Marblehead more full of self-pity than ever. Seeking some sort of solace I guzzled a coffee and then stepped out of the shack to look at the sunrise, but rather than inspirational it was just yellow: Spun brass in a bitter north wind. So I walked down some wooden steps, and down the sloping, stony shore to the mudflat. Even my bleary eyes could see the new ice was still thin, only an inch of clear glass over the mud of battleship blue-gray. The coffee must have been kicking in, because I abruptly realized I was being offered an unique opportunity to study mudflat worms.

First I needed to test the ice. I noticed a driftwood branch up the stony shore, and, after kicking it a time or two to free it from the new ice, which tides had draped over it, and had affixed it to the stones with; I had myself a testing tool. Using the stick I carefully tapped the ice. It seemed surprisingly sturdy. I decided this was due to the fact the ice was supported by the mud beneath. Reassured, I crouched down and, carefully spreading my weight, began crawling out over the mudflat, looking through the ice for sea creatures in the mud.

Some familiar with Maine mudflats might know that, if I had broken through the ice, the mud likely would have only been ankle to calf deep. Clammers shluck through such mud on a daily basis. However I was very familiar with those mudflats, and knew several “honey pots” lay ahead of me. They are places where springs bubble up under the mud, are made of liquid clay of pottery-quality, often are covered by a leathery skin of harder clay that can’t quite hold up a man, and, when clammers break through such skins, they sometimes plunge over their heads and die. The ones ahead were only waist deep, I knew from experience, but they were nothing I wanted to re-experience on a morning when wind-chills were below zero. This explains my caution.

I was disappointed by the total lack of life I saw in the mud, and nearly quit and headed back to my shack. However curiosity drew me on. I was inventing various reasons for the lack of life when I noticed a peculiar hole in the ice, a foot wide, dead ahead. What was peculiar about the hole was that, though the ice I crawled upon showed mud an inch below, the hole showed water an inch down. What was it? A spring without a honey pot?

Very cautiously I crept close and looked down. What I saw was a rock on the mudflat, five feet down through shadowy water. Stunned, I realized I was not crawling on ice on a mudflat. I was crawling on ice over five feet of water.

What had happened was that, when the ice was an inch thick, it settled on the mudflat at low tide and the bottom was painted by mud. Then it arose with the next tide, grew to be two inches thick, again settled on the mudflat, and again the bottom was painted by mud. This happened over and over, and, judging from the muddy stripes on the sides of the hole in the ice, it had taken sixteen tides to grow the ice a foot thick.

(In case you are wondering how such a hole could exist, it was due to the fact that, when they dredged the harbor in World War two, they dredged up not only mud but stones and even small boulders. A small boulder with a pointed top made the hole in the ice. Each time the tide dropped the ice on the mudflat, that boulder poked a hole in it.)

I sat back on my haunches and just laughed over the mistake I had made. I had used all my skill and determined the ice was an inch thick, when in fact it was a foot thick. I stood up and began jumping up and down with all my might, still laughing, and it was like I was jumping on granite. How incredibly stupid all my care and caution then seemed.

This seemed a good image to use in a poem, and I put my elbow in one palm and my chin in the other to think about it, and as I looked down I could see an imprint of my knees, from when I sat back on my haunches to laugh. Tracings of white powder formed them. I’d noticed that white powder drifting over the ice in the wind, and had assumed it was snow, but something about how it drifted was different, and I squatted back down to have a closer look. Then I dipped a finger and tasted it. It was salt. I suddenly realized how very cold it was. Rather than salt melting ice, salt was extruded from ice. The realization made me shiver, and I headed back to my shack to get the stove going. As I walked I noticed the old men over at the town landing were watching me, and became aware they’d seen me jumping up and down laughing, and I blushed a little.

Looking back after all these years I can see even then my mind was picking up infinitums, which seemed useless at the time, but are handy to have now.

For example, during a recent discussion about core samples from the bottom of a bay, people were going over all the possible things that could deposit the yearly layers of mud, and no one mentioned mudflat mud on the bottom of ice, so I did. During another discussion about freshly fallen snow blowing around on top of the ice at the North Pole no one mentioned salt being blown around with it, so I did.

However back then such infinitums seemed worthless, like a repertoire of trivia. What really made me happy was having a new idea for a story or poem. The idea now buzzing in my brain seemed like a good one, for most tales involving thin ice involve people falling through. This one seemed different, and more hopeful, and perhaps even symbolic of life itself, for what had seemed could not possibly hold me up didn’t let me down.

Brimming with good cheer and optimism I trotted up the wooden steps and into the shack for my second cup of coffee, vowing that someday I’d find the words and write the tale.

ARCTIC SEA ICE MELT —The Thaw Begins—

This is the continuation of a long series of posts, the last of which can be found at:  http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/arctic-sea-ice-melt-the-death-spirals-death/

I have thought long and hard about why I am continuing this series of posts. In fact, if you go back through the posts you can see a number of different motives explained, as a prelude to each post.  The truth is my motives have been evolving.

Recently my president has given a number of speeches wherein he expressed contempt and derision towards people like me. I do not deserve such treatment, for all I have been doing is trying to see the truth.  Furthermore I have seen that the truth is not what the media has reported, concerning the arctic sea-ice.  It is not what the president apparently believes.

Back in 2007, when I first began entertaining grave doubts that the science of “Global Warming” was well founded, I felt it was a healthy scientific debate, lively and in many ways enjoyable.  I felt we would get to the truth through the process of examining the issues carefully and thoroughly. Now it seems I was naive,

It increasing seems this debate has never been about science. It has been about policy.  I say this because, now that the scientific evidence is disproving many of the hypothesized results of Global Warming, the politicians don’t alter their course. If they were basing their judgement on science, they would alter their course.

I feel that, if a person bases their choices on policy, they should be honest about it. They should be man enough to step forward and clearly state the real reasons they are making the choices they are making.  It is cowardly to be afraid to speak the unvarnished truth, and dishonest to pretend that decisions are based on “science” when they are not.

The president has absolutely no reason to say the cruel things he has said about people like me, and I have every reason to be offended.  I am a seeker of truth, not a denier of truth.

The silver lining is that the president is perhaps being a little more honest, when he expresses contempt for me. I can only return the favor, and state that the president is coming across as a dishonest coward who is now taking on the attributes of a bully.

I intended to conclude this series after a year, which would be now, in June. However the reasons behind this series have evolved a long way from watching ice melt, admiring the beauty of God’s creation, and pointing out a few mistakes reporters were making. Now I am determined to confront the president of the United States with the truth, even if I am a flea taking on an elephant.

One thing we have been told is that the sea-ice of the Arctic is in a “death spiral,” and that once the ice is gone the arctic ocean will absorb more sunshine due to a changed “albedo,” and that this will lead to the calamity of runaway Global  Warming.  I doubt this, as there was much less ice up there when the Vikings farmed in Greenland, and it led to no runaway warming back then, however before we even discuss that subject we need to see the ice melt.

It is failing to do so. The media is doing its best to sell papers with alarming pictures, but the facts are different.  The media can make news with pictures of open water at the Pole, then conveniently forget to show a picture from a few days later that shows the water gone, as happened last summer:

http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/lake-north-pole-vanishes/

This year a splendid lead has opened in front of our North Pole Camera, and we are offered a chance to study the dynamics of such leads opening and then crushing shut.  However we are liable to see shrieking headlines and pictures of the open water of two days ago (top picture) and then fail to see today’s picture of the lead again closing (bottom picture.)

NP2 June 16 15

NP2 June 18 18

(You can left-click these pictures for a larger and clearer view, or right-click them and chose the open-to-a-new-tab option if you don’t want to leave this site.)

To have a lead open so close to the camera does put the camera in danger, and we may be dumped into the sea at some point. I can only imagine the hoopla the media would make of such an event.  However the fact is the arctic ocean is always fractured, and there are pictures of submarines surfacing in leads at the Pole in the 1950’s and 1980’s.

USS_Skate_-_0857806Sub at pole NP1987

(Click images to enlarge)

And in the 1970’s a lead even opened right under a scientific base:

Aidjex 2 MainCamp

This year the Pole is particularly pulverized due to storms (see prior posts) but this doesn’t mean the open water will suck up more sunshine and melt more ice.  In fact even a government computer model is showing the ice will float around and refuse to melt, and by August we will see, rather than  the “ice-free Pole” the media has been hyping, ice levels that are higher than normal.  (By  the way, as a way of waffling, the term “ice-free Pole” has been recently redefined, and now 1 million km2 if ice counts as “ice-free.”)  Not that I trust computer models, but this one shows nearly 7 million km2 at the minimum in September.

Extent Graph June 18 sieMon (Double-click for larger and clearer graphs)

Lastly, the DMI graph for temperatures north of 80 degrees latitude shows that the thaw is ten days late, and only now is the summer thaw starting. (It happens every year in the 24-hour-a-day sunshine, and usually ends in late August or at the start of September, when the sun gets low.)

DMI2 0618 meanT_2014 Click to enlarge

All in all it seems the only death in the “death spiral” is that it is dead wrong. The only way to reduce the extent this summer is for a cross-polar-flow to flush a huge amount into the North Atlantic, which would be bad news for Europe because a chilled North Atlantic would make for a colder Europe, however if such a flush does occur you can depend on the media to point at the reduced extent and claim it is proof it is warmer. (This is basically what happened in 2007.)

The president will then state that “the science is settled.” It isn’t and never has been. I’ll simply share my observations, and Truth will do the talking for me.  As long as the president keeps yammering the Truth will keep hammering.

I am fairly busy with my real job, as well as other aspects of my life, but will try to post DMI maps and North Pole Camera pictures twice a day.  Below are the final entries from my last post. (You will have to forgive me for naming storms.) However before I begin this post’s entries I should note my links, so you can go look for yourself if you get weary of my ranting.

The DMI Site:   http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/index.uk.php

North Pole Camera: http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/index.html

WUWT Sea Ice Page:  http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/

Also I recommend a week’s free trial of the WeatherBELL premium site. After you become addicted it will cost the price of a cup of coffee each day: http://www.weatherbell.com/premium/

OK. On with the updates, which will keep being added on at the bottom of this post:

JUNE 18  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0618 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0618 temp_latest.big (1)

“Carrot,” over the Kara Sea, is drawing from some very warm air (up in the 80′s) in central Siberia, and the models keep flip-flopping over whether it will be drawn towards that warm air and track east along the coast, or whether it will copy prior storms and head for the Pole.

Very cool air is being drawn south over Scandinavia by “Elsie,” which looks like it will stall and sit over Finland all week. The air swirling in Elsie is fairly dry so they may get some spells of sunshine, but any warmth will have to be home grown.

A tiny low is rippling up over the top of the blocking Atlantic high, and is just east of Iceland.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —The lead closes again—

NP2 June 17D 14 (1)NP2 June 18 18

Judging from isobars, the wind has likely shifted to the north, and the ice has shifted in a way that is closing up the lead.  Although the lead looks grayer I think it is due to lighting, and not due to it freezing over, as temperatures are not below the freezing point of salt water. (There is a chance wind-blown freshwater snow, with a melting point of 32, has landed in seawater that is down around 30,  and in such cases the snow doesn’t melt right away.)

JUNE 18   —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0618B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0618B temp_latest.big (1)

“Carrot” is looking flattened by the high northwest of Greenland, as it tries to move towards the Pole. “Elsie” is dawdling about, east of Finland.  The large blocking high continues to sit south of Iceland. Temperatures at the Pole are nearly up to normal.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Will we ever see the sun?—

NP2 June 18C 18

 

The far side of the lead is moving slowly right to left, in this picture from 4:00 PM.  When the lead closed it looks like it built up slight pressure ridges that appear to be more like slush than ice.  This shush is a possibility, as temperatures have been above the freezing point of salt water but below the melting point of fresh water, for the past 24 hours.  There has been almost no variation. Temperatures were at -1.1°C at noon yesterday and were at -1.1°C at noon today. The high was -0.8°C at midnight, and the low was -1.2°C at 9:00 AM.

This sort of flat-lining is fairly common, during the summer.  Ice-water remains at a constant temperature until all the ice is melted. Therefore the air close to that ice-water will remain at a fairly constant temperature. (This is why people go to the beach in summer heat; the air close to that water is cooler.)

The westward drift of our ice has continued, but our northward movement stopped at 85.280°N at midnight, and we have started south again, end up at 85.267°N, 14.922°E at noon.  Winds slacked off considerably to less than 5 mph, but a bit of a northly breeze stiffened to 13 mph right at noon.  The barometric pressure has continued rising to 1022.1 mb.

It sure has seemed more cloudy than normal this spring, not only here but also over at O-buoy 9 and O-buoy 10. You have to search through the film records to find the sunny days, which were actually what attracted me to the North Pole Camera in the first place. I find gloom far less attractive. I suppose we should blame the “Quiet Sun,” according to the theories of Svenmark, and should scratch our grizzled jaws, glance up at the gray overcast, and mutter, “Blast those cosmic rays.”

JUNE 19  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0619 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0619 temp_latest.big (1)

 

Though weak and flattened, “Carrot” looks like it will be yet another storm that will move out and over the Pole. A sort of Fujiwhara effect is developing between it and “Elsie,” and Elsie may be pulled east along the Siberian coast. A cross-polar-flow seems to be developing from Central Siberia to Norway. (This would be very cold in the winter, but draws warm air from inland Siberia out over the Arctic Sea in the summer.)

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Lead reopens in snow squalls—

The first two pictures are taken five minutes apart around 10:00 PM last night. In the second picture the far side of the lead, in the central distance, has vanished in a snow squall.

NP2 June 18D 11

NP2 June 18E 12

The next picture is from 4:00 AM this morning, and shows the far side of the lead can barely be seen. Although all the open water is impressive, it is important to remember it is more due to shifting winds than warm temperatures.  Last year at this time days of bright sunshine was already starting to turn snow to slush and create melt-water pools. This year we appear to have a dusting of freshly fallen snow, which has the highest possible “albedo”, when it comes to reflecting incoming sunlight.

NP2 June 19 18

JUNE 20  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0620 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0620 temp_latest.big (1)

“Carrot” has drifted up  over our camera, as “Elsie strengthens east of Finland. The noontime side of the Pole (top of these maps) is nearly entirely above freezing, as the midnight side over our camera remains below freezing.

I’m sorry for sparse updates, but I am engrossed in other writing.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —DULL AND GRAY—

NP2 June 20 18

Because the weather is absolutely gorgeous here in New Hampshire, these gray pictures are losing their appeal.

Once again we didn’t quite break freezing. Temperatures got up to -0.2°C at 6:00 AM yesterday, before settling back to -0.4°C at noon.  Our camera continued to drift south and west, ending the period at 85.168°N, 14.031°E. The barometer slipped down to 1013.0 mb in a steady breeze of around 10 mph

JUNE 20 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0620B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0620B temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Above freezing—
>NP2 June 20B 17

Temperatures finally made it above freezing, reaching +0.1°C ay 3:00 PM yesterday, before promptly dipping back down to -0.8°C at (:00 PM. Then it rose slowly, getting above freezing at 9:00 AM and touching +0.2°C at noon.

The barometer was steady,at 1012.1 mb at noon, and winds remained firmly a bit above 10mph.

Our southward drift continued, but our westward drift stopped at 13.968°E at 9:00 Pm, and we moved back east, finishing at noon at 85.080°N, 14.270°E .

There is a black object at our edge of the lead, about a quarter of the way across from the right margin. I have no idea what it is.

JUNE 21  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0621 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0621 temp_latest.big (1)

 

“Carrot” is weakening over the Camera, as “Elsie” seems to have occluded, and to be kicking a secondary “zipper” east along the Siberian coast. (I’ll call it “Elsieson”.) A sort of wall of high pressure is extending northwards towards our camera, and may extend over the Pole as “carrot” fades away, bur a weakness in the high pressure is allowing bits of squished low pressure across the Atlantic past Iceland towards the Baltic. South of there the high remains parked just west of Ireland. This is keeping anything big from crossing the Atlantic, and it looks like the next low to head for the Pole will come north from the Black Sea. (If it amounts to anything I’ll call it “Blackie.”)

It looks like the thaw is having trouble getting to the Pole.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  — Wan sunshine—

NP2 June 20D 13NP2 June 21 16

 

Top picture is from 10:00 PM yesterday, and bottom from 4:00 AM today.  I’m scanning for signs of thaw, and don’t see much.  If you look at last year’s pictures you notice a softening of the snow, a lack of crispness. Also a very obvious sign is little drops of water on the lens,  as from now until late August it does rain and drizzle up there.

As the thaw proceeds darker areas appear in the snow, as it gets slushy. The darker areas absorb more sunlight than fresh snow, and the thawing speeds up, and last year we saw a nice example of a melt-water pool appear right in front of the camera. I’m not sure about getting a pool this year. The water might drain away off the edge of the lead.

I think the lead may have closed up slightly in the second picture, but not much. I assume the water appears gray in the second picture because it is reflecting the milky sky, and not because it has slush floating in it, which is sometimes the case.

JUNE 21  —DMI Afternoon maps—

DMI2 0621B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0621B temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —At last some blue skies—

NP2 June 21C 18

It looks like there is slush in the lead’s water.

JUNE 22 —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0622 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0622 temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA —The chill persists—

NP2 June 21D 16

 

The sludge in the lead is moving from the right to the left. Formerly this was from south to north, when the camera faced east, but I notice this picture is from last night at around 10:00 PM, and the sun is in the center. The sun used to be in the center of the pictures from around 4:00 AM. Obviously the ice our camera is on has swiveled right around, and in the picture we are facing northwest.

This is what messes up the site’s wind vane, I think. It is bad enough magnetic north varies a lot, as we drift from 90 north to 85 north, but also the entire berg is twirling around.

If you want to read something funny, look back in these posts to last August, when I am completely puzzled by the way the camera seemed to always drift straight up wind.  I came up with three incorrect theories for the phenomenon before light dawned on Marblehead, and I realized the wind-vane’s readings were 180 degrees off.

As the sky is turning gray again, it could be warming up.

NORTH POLE CAMERA —Not warmer. Big berg cruising by.—

NP2 June 22B 18

 

 

A fairly large berg is cruising into view, moving from right to left. Some large bergs are chips that have calved off glaciers, but this one looks like a piece of a larger pressure ridge.  The winds have shifted to the east, and it is colder.

During that sunny spell yesterday temperatures jumped from -2.0°C at noon to +0.5°C at 5:00 PM, which perhaps indicates that, for a month or two, the sun warms enough to keep the clear sky from leading to radiational cooling. By late August that reverses, and a clear sky goes hand in hand with a temperature drop.  I’m not sure when the clouds rolled in, but the temperature dipped back down to -2.4°C by 8:00 PM. They had risen back up to -1.1°C by 3:00 AM today, but slid back down to -1.8°C by noon. We can’t seem to get our thaw off the ground.

Winds dropped to a dead calm during the sunny spell, and then became light from the east, around 5 mph.  Our camera stopped drifting south at 85.041°N at ^:00 PM yesterday, and we have inched a little north since then. Most of our movement has been to the west, after our eastward drift stopped at 15.190°E at 3:00 PM yesterday. At noon we were at 85.048°N, 14.830°E. The pressure has slowly risen to 1023.1 mb.

JUNE 22 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0622B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0622B temp_latest.big (1)

 

I’ve half expected “Elsieson” to curve north and make a run for the Pole, as so many other lows have done that, but it is starting to look like it will fade inland, to the southeast.  However by tomorrow morning “Blackie” will start to be visible, as it moves up into the weak low pressure left behind by “Elsie”s” occluded remnants.

There is an intriguing ridge of high pressure running up from the Azores to the Arctic, and then over to Canada.  Lows can barely squeeze over a bit of a col south of Iceland, but there’s not much left of them when they get across the Atlantic. It looks like this feature will persist for a while. It will bring a little mild air up its west side, up the coast of Greenland, and I imagine this will prevent ice from exiting south through Fram Strait.  Over our camera it looks like things will be storm free and calm for a while. On the east side the winds will be north, especially with Blackie’s west-side north winds, and I imagine all of Scandinavia will experience a north wind. I imagine this will also prevent the surface waters of the Gulf Stream from making much headway into the Barents Sea.

If anyone in Scandinavia visits, I’d be very interested to know what the early summer is like. It looks pretty cold, for the start of this week, from this far away.

QUICK PEEK AT UK MET MAP

UK Met June 22 15554111

 

This map does a good job of showing the ridge extending north from the Azores to the Arctic, with the weakness in it south of Iceland. The storm back towards Labrador is stalled, and can only manage to send weak “zippers” east over the col. One has made it to the Baltic and joined with Elsie’s remnants to reinforce Blackie, which is half-off the map, at the top right. Blackie moved more northeast than I expected, but now is being swung to the northwest by the business in the Baltic.

I see that low is sitting off Spain again.  When I’m rich I’ll hire people there and in Italy to report, because it seems they’ve had some interesting weather as well, with this blocking pattern.

Actually I suppose I could do the work myself, by surfing the web, but I’ve been busy writing something fairly long and (hopefully) humorous I hope to post here this week. Once it is done I may have more time to watch the ice.

SNOW IN NORTHERN NORWAY

Norway Snow P1040378-700x525

 

http://www.icenews.is/2014/06/22/snow-in-june-only-in-norway/

JUNE 23 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0623 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0623 temp_latest.big (1)

As long as that ridge of high pressure stays in place in the middle of the Atlantic not much ice can be exported south through Fram Strait. Cold air is being exported down the east side of the ridge over Norway, leaving less sub-freezing air over the Pole. In fact this is the most summery map we have yet seen.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —LEAD AGAIN CLOSES—

NP2 June 23 12NP2 June 23B 15

 

The top picture is from 4:00 AM, and the bottom from 10:00 AM. These pictures can be clicked for larger and clearer views.

It looks like our iceberg drifted to the central distance, and then got jammed into our side of the lead. It isn’t moving, as the far side of the lead moves right to left. I think we are still looking north, and the winds are east.  That patch of darkness in the cloud above the horizon just left of the central distance is likely a patch of open water reflecting against the low cloud.

I’m still busy with other writing, but hope to be done today.

JUNE 23  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0623B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0623B temp_latest.big (1)

“Blackie” has appeared, just south of Barents Sea, and is contributing to the north winds over Scandinavia.  A surprising little tongue of cold extends south from the Pole over our Camera.

The winds are light at the camera. There are no recent pictures, for some reason. Perhaps the solar batteries are low, with all the gloomy weather. The less than 5 mph winds have apparently continued from the ENE, as the ice our camera is on has crept WSW to 85.022°N, 14.599°E.

I’m surprised by how low the temperatures have been. The high was -1.6°C at 3:00 PM yesterday, and the low was -3.2°C at 3:00 AM this morning, and at the end of our 24-hour-period at noon it was at -2.7°C. It has got to warm up soon, but this is one heck of a way to run a summer thaw, so far.

The barometer remains high and steady, at 1023.1 mb at noon.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —4:00 PM Picture: Much the same—

NP2 June 23C 18

 

It is rough trying to make news out of nothing happening, but I’ll do my best.

The water looks glassy and slush free, and it looks like our berg has busted free, taking a small chunk of our side of the lead with it. This may suggest the high pressure has crested, and winds are around to the west, though quite calm. A west wind might be warmer.

It would be interesting if our side of the lead kept being chipped away during the summer, with the water coming closer and closer until…STAY TUNED!!!

JUNE 24  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0624 mslp_latest.bigDMi2 0624 temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Never-ending Gray—

NP2 June 23D 13NP2 June 24 18

 

JUNE 24  —Afternoon DMI Maps—

DMI2 0624B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0624B temp_latest.big (1)

 

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Lead again widens—

NP2 June 24C 18

 

At long last a bit of thawing has hit, after it stayed surprisingly cold during the past 24 hour period, and was down to -3.6°C at midnight., in winds under 5 mph. The winds picked up a little to 9 mph, likely from the SSW, as temperatures rose to +0.5°C at noon. The pressures fell slowly to 1020.7 mb, hinting that the crest of the ridge of high pressure is to the east now.

We nearly got across 85 degrees latitude, stopping just short at 85.011°N at midnight, before starting back north while heading steadily east, and ending the 24-hour-period at  85.021°N, 14.832°E at noon.

JUNE 25   —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0625 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0625 temp_latest.big (1)

The main feature continues to be the ridge of high pressure in the middle of the north Atlantic. The interaction between it and “Blackie,” weak and stalled just east of Finland, gives Scandinaia some cold winds, which pushed a cold front down to England and gave them some summer thunder. Meanwhile the other side of the high is creating a “wrong way wind” in Fram Strait, and prevents the export of sea ice.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Signs of thaw as gloom continues—

NP2 June 24D 10NP2 June 25 17

 

The above pictures are from 10:00 last night (top) and 4:00 this morning (bottom),  and if you compare them you can see the snow has slumped a little by the snow stakes. This sort of fog can be a snow-eater, for as the water condenses on the snow, (like water on the side of a cold glass on a summer day,) it releases latent heat.

Initially the top of the sea-ice can be much colder than the air, as it remembers the chill of winter, however by late June the sea-ice and the air are usually only a degree or two apart.

Considering a high pressure ridge crested over us, you’d think we’d get sunshine, but I suppose the west side of the high is importing moist Atlantic air up the east coast of Greenland, creating this fog.

*******

9:32 am  …..AND A GLIMPSE OF SUN!

NP2 June 25B 15

9:39 am  …..AND IT’S GONE…

NP2 June 25B 18

JUNE 25 —DMI Afternoon Maps—

DMI2 0625b mslp_latest.bigDMI2  0625btemp_latest.big (1)

JUNE 26  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0626 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0626 temp_latest.big (1)

The Atlantic ridge persists, but is weaker. South of this map it is allowing weak low pressure across the Atlantic, which may brew up something in the Baltic Sea in three days. Another low, suppressed well south in central Europe, likely will become stronger north of the Black Sea, but will not head straight north as “Blackie” did, and instead will slide northeast towards central Siberia. The Pole looks likely to enjoy calm and be ruled by high pressure into next week.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —A data glitch—

For some reason the camera not only failed to report yesterday’s position and temperature and pressure and wind, but erased the data from the day before. I have no clue what the problem is.

The first picture is from 3:30 PM yesterday, and shows the sun straight ahead, which means our camera has swung 180 degrees and now is looking west-southwest.NP2 June 25C 16

The second picture is from (:30 PM last night, and shows the lead has closed up again, Both clouds and the ice across the lead are moving from right to left, which suggests the wind is back to the north.

Buoy 2014E: , roughly 90 miles north at 86.58 N, 9.20 E, is reporting temperatures at  -0.50 C this morning, so we could be back below freezing ourselves. The thaw continues to be minimal, as is shown by the DMI temperature graph.

DMI2 0626 meanT_2014 (click to enlarge)

JUNE 26 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0626B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0626B temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Data updated. Calm and thawing—

NP2 June 26B 14 (1)NP2 June 26C 18

These pictures are taken at 3:30 PM (top) and (:30 PM (bottom) and show very little movement of the ice, indicative of light winds, or calm.

The camera data was updated, and show temperatures have remained above freezing for over two days. Yesterday they achieved a high at 6:00 Am of +0.8°C, and then sank to +0.1°C at 6:00 PM, and then gradually rose to today’s high at noon, +1.1°C. This is the warmest we’ve seen this summer.

Pressures have fallen slightly and then leveled off, and were at 1016.3mb at noon. Winds have been light, between 5 and 10 mph, pushing our camera slowly north and east, to a final position of 85.074°N, 15.337°E.

JUNE 27   —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0627 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0627 temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Thaw shrinking snow—

NP2 June 27 17

The lead is only a little wider, with the far side moving left to right, which may be south winds moving that ice, or may be due to the fact our berg is spinning around in a counter-clockwise fashion. We need a view of the sun to see which way we are facing.

If you look at the snow-stakes you can notice the snow is shrinking. Just to the right of the big buoy’s base may be the first puddle of the year, though it also may merely be exposed ice.

The writing I’ve been occupied with recently was published on WUWT, which has me excited and busy elsewhere.

JUNE 27  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0627B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0627B temp_latest.big (1)

The arctic is nearly up to normal. The sub-freezing temperature up towards Bering Strait is only due to midnight being up that way. The sub-freezing pools of air north o Barents Sea are the last real cold left.  Now it is very interesting to see cold pools develop, and try to think how can come to be, with the sun up constantly.

Carrot” “Blackie” is drifting east in West Siberia, but the next news is likely that low at the top of Hudson Bay, expected to cross southern Greenland. (Call it therefore “Spinach.”) It is hard to trust the models these days, as they are having a hard time with patterns world-wide and are flip-flopping a lot, but they suggest Spinach could be the first genuine Atlantic gale we’ve seen in a long time, south of Iceland by midweek.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Still heading north—

NP2 June 27B 15NP2 June 27C 17

The above pictures are from 9:30 AM (top) and 3:30 PM, (bottom). The ice across the lead is sliding away to the left and we may be slipping free of it into some open water to the right. Thaw is continueing, and may be with us until August. Temperatures are fairly steady, just above freezing, with the low at +0.6°C at 3:00 AM and the high at +1.3°C at 9:00 AM, and temperatures back to +1.0°C at noon. Perhaps a little Atlantic warmth is leaking north, as winds continue to push us north and west, to 85.143°N, 15.630°E. We had nearly moved south of 85 degrees but soon will be ten miles north of there.  Rather than ice flushing south into the Atlantic it is being being packed back up towards the Pole, for the time being.  Winds are steady at 10-15 mph. Pressure again slowly rising, to 1019.8 mb.

JUNE 28  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0628 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0628 temp_latest.big (1)

Carrot” “Blackie” continues to roll east through Siberia as “Spinach” enters Baffin Bay.  The long ridge of high pressure, basically from the Azores to the Pole, is breaking apart in the Atlantic south of the above map and allowing weak low pressure to cross England and pool in the Baltic.

Noon temperatures are at the top of the map and midnight at the bottom. It is a summer map, with thawing prevalent.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Gray weather continues; more open water—

Np2 June 27D 12

The dimly seen sun shows the camera has swung back slightly and we are looking northwest, at the picture was taken at 9:30 last night.  Thawing continues, as more of the snow-stakes are seen. I think the lead hasn’t widened as much as the pan of ice forming the far side has simply shifted to the left. On the right horizon are the silhouettes of some large bergs.

NP2 June 28 16

This picture is from 3:30 AM, and shows the ice across the lead towards the center is moving back, left to right, so perhaps the lead is again closing.

JUNE 28  —DMI Afternoon Maps—Temperature Tiger—

DMI2 0628B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0628B temp_latest.big (1)

I’m not sure why the temperature map is stripes. Likely it is an interesting glitch. At any rate, it looks like a spot of sub-freezing temperatures found our camera, despite the fact it is noon. The sub freezing temperatures towards the top of the map are because it is midnight on that side of the earth, and even above the arctic circle, where the sun doesn’t set, if you are near the circle the sun dips down to the horizon and temperatures dip as well.

Carrot” “Blackie” appears to be weakening over central Siberia, as “Spinach” starts the weird process of what I call “morfistication,” as a storm transiting a mountain range or icecap. Sometimes the icecap seems to kill storms, but often they reform on the other side mysteriously, or sort of blurb around the bottom tip of Greenland, and this one may do both. In any case there could be a summer gale over Iceland by Wedensday, which would be quite a change from the Azores to North Pole ridge of high pressure.

Weak low pressure managed to penetrate the ridge, and now is over the Baltic.  It likely will hang about and be a bit of a bummer for boater, though nothing big.  O’ll include a UK Met map to show it.

UL MET MAP  —Bummer for Boaters—

UK Met June 28 15720866 (Click map to enlarge)

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Unexpected freeze—

NP2 June 28B 14 (1)NP2 June 28B 15

The top picture is from 9:30 AM, when temperatures had crashed to -1.5°C. The slushy-looking area at the right base of the big buoy has whitened somewhat, and likely refroze. By noon the temperature was down to the day’s low of -1.8°C. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow;’s report to get an idea of the temperature in the second picture, which is from 3:30 PM.

The temperature seemed to start dropping as soon as the winds shifted from southwest to southeast. We have continued north, but eastward motion ceased at 3:00 PM yesterday at 15.653°E, and we’ve started sliding back west. The noon position was 85.196°N, 15.490°E. We’ve been creeping the “wrong way,” back north, for four and a half days.

After narrowing for a while the lead is again widening. Some ghostly silhouettes of bigger bergs are again drifting along the upper right horizon, now moving from left to right.

JUNE 29  —DMI  Morning Maps—

DMI2 0629 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0629 temp_latest.big (1)

I’ve been so excited about getting Part One of “A Grain of Salt” published on WUWT that I forgot the names of my storms, and was calling “Blackie” “Carrot.”  In any case, whatever-the-heck-it’s called is over in central Siberia, with more low pressure trailing back to the west, all suppressed well south of the arctic. A northern reflection of the second low is in Barents Sea, while to its west a morpistcated piece of “Spinach” has crossed Breenland and is parked southwest of Svalbard.

It is interesting that the area of sub-freezing temperatures has increased around the Pole. How can it get colder in 24-hour sunshine? The salt water is below freezing, and cooling the air?

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Collision—

NP2 June 28D 13

This first picture is from 9:30 last night. We’ve collided with a large floe of ice. Judging from the sun, our camera is pointed northwest, but has turned around five degrees further north.  The floe across the lead is moving slightly left to right.

NP2 June 29 17

This picture is from 3:30 AM, and I’m not sure what is going on. I think the same floe is straight ahead, but a chunk towards the right margin has broken off. It seems fairly calm, as nothing appears to be moving.

*******

Below is the 9:30 AM picture, and shows things are back on the move. The ice is moving right to left now, and the bigger bergs are (I assume) out of view to the left, as thinner ice slides by.

In the past 24 hour period the temperatures were quite cold, hitting the low of  -2.4°C at 6:00 PM yesterday, and still at -2.4°C at midnight, when they were starting to rise. They were at  -1.3°C at 6:00 AM, and then sprang up to freezing at roughly the time the picture below was taken, and at noon were at +0.2°C. Meanwhile the wind was shifting from ESE to ENE, as our northward movement ceased at 6:00 AM, achieving  85.207°N before inching south. The movement west was steady, as winds stiffened a little to over 10 mph. and we ended the day at 85.204°N, 14.807°E.  The pressure has fallen very slightly, to 1018.2 mb.

NP2 June 29B 14 (1)

JUNE 29  —DMI Afternoon Maps—

DMI2 0629B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0629B temp_latest.big (1)

JUNE 30  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0630 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0630 temp_latest.big (1)

If you compare the two sets of maps above you can see how the freezing temperatures appear and disappear over towards Bering Strait, depending on whether it is midnight, (top set of maps) or noon (bottom set of maps.)  This demonstrates there is some diurnal variation, even where the sun never fully sets.  (You also have to keep in mind that when it is noon on the top it is midnight on the bottom, and vice versa.)

The bottom map shows two pockets of cold air moving along the Siberian coast, one behind Blackie in central Siberia and one over towards Bering Strait. A low down over the Baltic, (I’ll call it “Hid,” because I can’t see it,) is at last bringing some milder air north and giving Scandinavia a break from north winds. There is only a small pocket of cold left up at the Pole north of our Camera.

The high over the Pole is creating a textbook zonal pattern, and we may even have a textbook Polar Cell, like the Ferrel and Hadley Cells in more southern latitudes.  The weather hasn’t been obeying the textbooks much, this years, with storms over the Pole, but we are getting a break from that, and things are generally calm up there.

“Spinach” crashed into Greenland, and I’m going to rename the two morfisticated chunks “Spin” (towards the southern tip of Greenland), and “Ach” (weak and moving east over Svalbard).  Spin could grow to be the first Icelandic gale we’ve seen in a long time, if it gets reinforced by a second low now over Labrador off the above map, which could shoot under Greenland and join Spin.

NORTH POLE CAMERA —Mighty gloomy—

NP2 June 30 18

The lead is opened up wide, likely because the ice can spread out more as it drifts to the southwest.  (At times this can actually increase the “extent,” as the same amount of ice covers a larger area…which is a good reason to pay attention to “area” graphs, and not just “extent” graphs.)

I originally liked the North Pole Camera because I liked the pictures of white snow and blue sky, when it got up to ninety down here in New Hampshire. This year there’s hardly ever any blue and white. It is just gray, gray, gray. I can’t say it is all that appealing.

EVEN  LESS APPEALING 9:30 AM PICTURE

NP2 June 30B 15

 3:30 PM —AT LEAST THE LENS DRIED OFF—

NP2 June 30C 18

 

The lead remains wide.  Is our edge getting worn away?

Temperatures hovered at freezing or ja tenth or two above, then dripped briefly to  -0.4°C between midnight ans 3:00 AM, before rising again to +0.5°C at noon. Winds have slacked off to 5-10 mph, as oue camera crept south a little, but mostly moved west, to 85.185°N, 14.051°E at noon. Pressure has fallen slightly to 1014.2 mb.

JUNE 30  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS

DMI2 0630B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0630B temp_latest.big (1)

JULY 1  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0701 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0701 temp_latest.big (1)

“Spin” continues to brew up southwest of Iceland, as “Ach” remaons weak over Svalbard. The other main feature continues to be the high pressure over the Arctic Sea, and is quasi-zonal flow.

A “heat wave” is occurring north of Alaska, with temperatures up over plus five. The ice is pretty thick there, but must be slushy. The sub-freezing pool continues to be in the Kara Sea.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —The gray thaw resumes—

NP2 June 30D 12NP2 July 1 17

The top picture is from 9:30 PM last night, and the bottom is from 3:30 AM this morning.  The snow is again starting to look grayer, which is indicative of slush. The lead continues to remain wide, and the satellite pictures show many cakes of ice jostling together in a packed sea.  I’m not sure it is right to call the lead a lead any more, as it is less like a crack in solid ice and more like water between floating islands, but I’ll keep on calling it a lead for the sake of consistency.

As this post is becoming long and unwieldy, I’ll start a new one at:: https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/arctic-sea-ice-melt-crunch-time/