This is the continuation of a long series of posts, the last of which can be found at: ARCTIC SEA ICE MELT —The Death Spiral’s Debunking—

When I began this series of posts I was vaguely aware that I had already investigated the arctic more than most so-called investigative reporters who wrote about the subject. My investigation was accidental, and a side-effect of my escapism.  As a boy I didn’t like math class, and dreamed out the window at clouds. While this meant I never learned the math necessary to become a meteorologist, it makes me something of an authority on clouds. In like manner, I have become something of an authority on sea-ice.

I never meant to involve myself in politics. I didn’t pursue politics, politics crashed my quiet party in a quiet place that, not so long ago, cool people and babes were not the slightest bit interested in. Weather and arctic sea-ice were safe and innocuous topics that avoided all trouble. Those days are gone.

I’ve had a hard time figuring out what hit me. If you look back through these posts you’ll see quite a variety of introductions, as I attempt to explain my reasons for writing. In actual fact the real reason is that I was minding my own business, enjoying a quiet bit of escapism, when Alarmist lunacy walked up and hit me across the side of  my head.

That will wake up the most peaceful and dreamy guy, and much of my investigating over the past year has been in response, and has been at times defensive, and at times offensive, and the conclusion of this episode is that I’ve whipped the tar out of Alarmist lunacy. (In a purely intellectual manner, of course.)

Now I’d like to conclude these posts by tying up a few loose ends, before I go back to dreaming. A guy of my advanced age should be quiet, and retiring.

I’ll try to post maps and information twice a day, until the sea-ice reaches its minimum.

DMI2 0818 meanT_2014  (click to enlarge)
The green line on this map shows we have passed the point where temperatures north of 80 degrees latitude average out above freezing. This is not to say that pockets of thaw can’t come north.  I’ve seen above-freezing temperatures take a run at the Pole from the Atlantic side even in the dead of winter, associated with huge North Atlantic storms. However that sort of warmth tends to swiftly lift above the ice and, while the uplift may generate a low pressure’s winds that rip and tear at the ice, it simply doesn’t have the thawing effect of summer sunshine. We are pretty much done the time of watching melt-water pools expand. In fact the 90 days when the sun it as its highest and beats down most strongly (if you can use such words to describe the low arctic sun) ended back on August 6.  The above graph shows the temperatures starting to respond to the sinking of the sun.  There can be a warm spell after the green line shows the average ordinarily sinks below normal.  For example, look what happened in 1979:
DMI2 0724 meanT_1979
You can see that in 1979 the thaw continued for a week longer than normal, despite the fact it was a very cold year, and the prior winter had some of the lowest temperatures ever seen at the Pole.
This trivia demonstrates how little air temperature and surface thawing (and the hubbub about “albedo”) actually has to do with the growth and shrinkage of arctic sea-ice. We will also see this demonstrated for the next thirty days, as the sea-ice continues to shrink despite temperatures that will drop well below the freezing point of the salt water the ice floats upon. (The ice itself has far less salt in it, as it extrudes the salt that was originally in it through several processes), (and of course any snow and rain that falls on the ice, and fog that condenses on the ice, is fresh water.)
What really determines the amount of sea-ice is how much ice is flushed south through Fram Strait, (not much, this year,) and how much warm water comes north through the Bering Strait, (associated with a “warm” PDO), and comes north as tendrils of the Gulf Stream (associated with the “warm” AMO.)
We have seen the ice respond very nicely to short term spikes of the PDO and AMO during the past year, which affirms the idea the sea-ice has not been responding to CO2 and is not in any sort of “Death Spiral,” but rather was responding, is responding, and will respond to natural cycles which take roughly  60-70 years to complete.
The graph below shows the ice-extent plunging at the very time I expected it would level off.  My  idea was that the tightly packed ice would spread out, like a pat of butter on a wide piece of bread, but what has happened is that the ice has been compressed, both north of Alaska and north of the Laptev Sea.
It is important to make a forecast even if you are not an expert, because it is through seeing where your forecast went wrong that you learn about things you otherwise would fail to notice.
DMI2 0818 icecover_current_new
If you don’t dare make your own forecast, and instead rely on models, you can be amazingly wrong, but you will have no idea why you are wrong.  For example, last June the CFSv2 model was predicting a September ice minimum up around 7 million km2 with an anomaly of +0.6 million km2, and now it predicts 5.9 million km2 with an anomaly of -0.3.
Extent Graph June 18 sieMonExtent CFsv2 August 18 sieMon
Models flip-flop all the time, especially once you are looking more than ten days ahead, and when they are wrong they never blush, and instead simply change. It is the people who consider models to be authorities that wind up blushing, (or they should blush, but sometimes simply go from parroting the old to parroting the new.)
My own guess was for a minimum of 6.1 million km2, which is obviously too high. However rather than blushing I’m focused on trying to see what is keeping the ice from spreading out.
DMI2 0818 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0818 temp_latest.big (1)
Our northern camera is seeing temperatures dropping down to around minus 2.5 and winds slacking to around 5 mph.
Our southern camera is failing to transmit updated pictures, but saw some thaw yesterday after a prolonged freeze, and winds grow brisker, up to the 15-20 mph range, as temperatures again dropped below freezing.
Our heap of tax-dollars continued to drift west and south, in winds that slacked off to the 5-10 mph range, winding us up at 83.051°N, 16.303°E at the end of our 24-hour-period, at 9:00 AM
For the third day temperatures failed to get above freezing, though we did just touch zero at noon yesterday. Our low was -1.5°C at 3:00 AM this morning, and it had risen back to -0.8°C by 9:00 AM. The chill is a little unusual, when you consider out wrecked “North Pole Camera” has now drifted roughly 425 miles south of the Pole towards the warm Atlantic, and it is still summer.
The pressure continues steady, though it has fallen ever so slightly over the past five days, arriving at 1009.9mb at the day’s end.
AUGUST 18  —DMI Afternoon Maps—
DMI2 0818B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0818B temp_latest.big (1)
A sort of fujiwhara effect is tugging “Steppenwolf” back east, as “Berzip” will be swung under and then whipped up north through the Laptev Sea.  (The open water of the Laptev Sea will be a magnet and generator of storms this fall,,,perhaps I should call it “an electromagnet”.)
“Art” is crashing into Norway, creating a pattern very different from the lovely summer Scandivaian High. The wind cannot get over Norway’s mountains, but the low is perfectly positioned to swing the wind down Norways west coast, swing them east ove Debnmark and into the Baltic, and then whip them up from the southwest into the south-facing coasts of Sweden, and even Finland.
The cold is building towards Canada, and we may soon see the minus-five isotherm appear for the first time since June.
UK Met Aug 18 17375035
I just wanted to save this map of “Art” over Norway. “Art” is of decent size, for a summer storm, and completely unlike the pattern we saw all July.  I would call this a transitional pattern, and not a foretaste of winter’s pattern.
Our northern camera views a cold world gone gray, with temperatures below freezing and the light airs stiffening ever so slightly to a ling breeze of 5-10 mph.  My expectation is that we won’t see any more serious thawing this summer.  I’m even beginning to wonder if we’ll see the ice crack up at all.
Our southern camera isn’t working. Likely it wants higher pay. Temperatures are warmer than the past few days, and winds in the 10-15 mph range.
Conjunct Buoy 2013F: reported that at 0000z the “warmth” of the day had temperatures up to -0.49° C. To the west, north of Bering Strait,  Buoy 2014B (which may be in danger due to thinning and fracturing ice) reported -0.22 °C, while to the southeast Buoy 2014C: is reporting -0.04° C. Weak low pressure is attempting to form between this camera and the Alaskan coast.
DMI2 0819 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0819 temp_latest.big (1)
“Steppenwolf”and “Berzip” are doing their Fujiwhara dance, and also drawing in some low pressure from Bering Strait. They will resolve to a storm in the Kara Sea, nudging towards the Pole and bumping the high pressure “Beauf” to the south into Canada, however for the time being the Pacific to Atlantic cross polar flow continues.
“Art” looks like he is giving Scandinavia a miserable Monday.
The storm in northern Hudson Bay came up through Winnepeg, so I’ll dub it “Peg.”
Notice how warm the arctic shorelines are. We are in the final days when the tundra is warm and the mosquitoes drive all living creatures wild. Soon tundra temperatures will plunge, mosquitoes will die, and the arctic shorelines will switch from warming the Arctic Sea to chilling it.
Our northern camera shows cold conditions, with temperatures down around minus five Celsius. The cold isn’t due to calm, as the winds are around 10 mph.  Notice how our frozen melt-water pools are now covered by a dust of snow.
They haven’t fixed the southern camera yet. I wish they would, as some changes are occurring as “Beauf” moves away and weak low pressure from the Bering Strait passes over.  Temperatures are milder and winds are dropping off. We may be missing our chance to see the last thaw of the season.
Our lone chocolate jimmy atop a vast expanse of vanilla continued south and west with a light breeze of 5-10 mph, crossing both 83 degrees latitude and 16 degrees longitude, to wind up at 82.991°N,15.955°E. (Last year we were either side of the meridian, and dawdled either side of 84 degrees north, until October.)
Another day passed with temperatures failing to break freezing. That makes four days. We reached our high temperature for the 24-hour period at noon yesterday, -0.4°C, and then readings fell, with a twelve hour period of temperatures below the freezing point of salt water, reaching our low of -3.2°C at 3:00 AM. Temperatures had recovered to -1.5°C by 9:00 AM.
Pressures remained fairly steady, ending at 1009.0 mb.
AUGUST 19  —DMI Afternoon Maps—
DMI2 0819B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0819B temp_latest.big (1)
AUGUST 20 —DMI Morning Maps—
DMI2 0820 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0820 temp_latest.big (1)
I like to put two sets of maps (or more) together like this because it allows part of my brain to animate the action, and to predict more in the manner of a boy predicting where to run to catch a ball, than in the manner of a math whiz figuring out where the ball will land with numbers on paper.
Noon is at the bottom of the first set of above maps, and at the bottom of the second. This explains a lot, but not all,  of the warming on the Pacific side. 
The one feature that leaps out at me is the breakdown of high pressure “Beauf” on the Canadian side, and the build-up of low pressure on the Eurasian side.  On the Eurasian side not only are “Steppenwolf” and Berzip” continuing their Fujiwhara dance, but that dance is sucking in unnamed low pressure from the Bering Strait, and also up from the Steppes of Russia.  This new multi-ingredient storm needs a name, but I think I’ll stick with the name “Steppenwolf.”  By using that name it makes my forecast (or hunch) of a week ago correct. I said Steppenwolf would be a certain place, and look, there is Steppenwolf, exactly where I said. This may be cheating, but I figure I should get  some benefits from running this blog, and one benefit is that I get to name storms in a way that makes me look smarter than I actually am.
In any case, this undulating blob of different pieces of low pressure will be interesting to watch, as several models have it moving to the Pole, and on to Canada, which may very well spread out the sea-ice and cause the “extent ” graph to flat-line next week.
“Art” continues to occlude over Scandinavia, giving Great Britain a northerly flow and likely freaking everyone out, as it feels like summer is over. (By the way, “Art” originally got his name as it was part of Hurricane Arthur. It demonstrates another reason I like to control the naming of storms. It is just plain fun to follow an impulse of low pressure from the Bahamas to Europe to the Kara Sea across the Pole into Canada and down around Greenland and across to Europe again. Purists may roll their eyes and point out “Art” actually includes .0001% of Hurricane Arthur, but they are no fun.)  “Art” will send a bulge through Finland and along the arctic coast to join “Steppenwolf”, eventually.
The third storm is “Peg” up at the top of Hudson Bay. It’s west side is sucking some cold from the core of “Beauf” and sending it down my way, which I don’t much like to see this early in the year.
“Beauf” is exporting  cold both into the North Atlantic and into central Canada. Likely temperatures will warm some, over the Pole, with the cold air exported. However, because all this cold is home-grown, it demonstrates the Arctic is a sourse of cold even in August, and also that the Pole, in some manner, loses heat even when the days are 24 hours long.
UK Met Aug 20 17424900
This is here to record the big change over Scandinavia, as “Art” occludes over Norway. Rather than just filling and fading, part will move into the arctic through Finland, and part will be reinforced as that little low over Iceland moves to the North Sea. There is no sign of the nice, warm Scandinavian high returning.  
NEW CAMERA  —Southern Camera Fixed—
Our northern camera continues to experience a bitter cold flow of air, even as winds slacken to the 2-5 mph range, and the high pressure “Beauf” weakens. Temperatures have been down around minus five for two days, and the power of this cold flow extends all the way down to our crushed camera 425 mikes south, which has gone four days without thaw, and to  Buoy 2014E: , which was reporting -2.92 C at 0000z.  The ice we view currently shows no sign of breaking up and spreading out, and the lead behind our yellow “cork” has in fact clamped tighter than a bear trap. Nothing will happen until we get some stronger winds.
If you look back through old posts you’ll notice our yellow “cork” was lying more on its side a couple weeks ago. While it was milder it melted its own, private pool of water to float in. Until these private pools that buoys make in the bright sun refreeze, it can mess up the ice-thickness readings. However this is something the scientists in charge are well aware of.
With all the cold air heading across the Pole to the North Atlantic, it is only natural for it to warm on the Pacific side, and we are seeing some of that. The ice is actually moving north, which makes me a little nervous as the edge of the ice is closer to our southern camera, and to our other buoys.  Our ice is still around 4 feet thick, but Buoy 2014C: to our east is reporting ice only 2 feet thick, and Buoy 2014B is floating in its own private pool, and its reports have been suspended until the water refreezes, however its ice was only 2 feet thick back on July 29.
Temperatures have been much warmer, even in the “night,” than they were when the high pressure “Beauf” was overhead. Conjunct  Buoy 2013F: had dipped to  -0.26 C at 0000z, but Buoy 2014C: was reporting +0.10 C and Buoy 2014B was reporting + 0.22 C. The fixed southern camera is showing a view that looks a little softer and more slushy than it looked just before the camera went off the air, though by no means is there signs of a major thaw.  
I expect temperatures will remain near freezing until the winds change.
Our cigarette burn on the vast white bed-sheet of sea-ice continued south, but its westerly motion became more serpentine, arriving at 15.798°E at midnight, backing to 15.846°E at 6:00 AM, and then veering to end us, at the end of our period (27 hours for some reason,) at 82.888°N, 15.794°E at noon.
The north winds were cold. Only at the start of our period were temperatures above the freezing point of salt water, at -1.5°C at 9:00 AM yesterday. By noon they had fallen to -1.9°C and at 6:00 PM were at -3.6°C. After that temperatures fell more gradually to the day’s low of -3.8°C at 3:00 AM, and only recovered to -3.1°C by noon today. Ice can still melt at the bottoms of larger bergs at these temperatures, but any splashes at the edges freeze.
The pressure fell to 1005.0 mb at midnight and then rose to 1006.1 mb at noon.
The water at the northeast corner of Svalbard is now open.
DMI2 0820 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0820B temp_latest.big (1)
The Pacific to Atlantic flow continues, pulling cold air from Alaska to Svalbard.
NEW CAMERAS  —A tale of two buoys—
With winds slacking and temperatures down around minus five, the bright sun can do little thawing to the north. The cold flow extends all the way down to our crunched camera, but Buoy Buoy 2014E: was coldest, at -6.73 C. 
Our southern camera sees a milder world, (despite some subfreezing cold as the midnight sun sunk low).  Our conjunct  Buoy 2013F was at -0.03 C, and not one other buoy over there towards Alaska showed less. Thaw is general towards the Pacific at this time.
 DMI2 0821 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0821 temp_latest.big (1)
“Steppenwolf” continues to evolve in the Laptev Sea, and will be the feature to watch the next week. It is complex and likely deserves to be divided into five storms with five names, but I am too busy to do it justice. 
“Art” continues to wallow over Scandinavia, but is handing off a piece of energy to the east to the Steppenwolf complex.
Very interesting is “Peg” crashing north over the Canadian Archipelago, bringing a slug of warm air with it.  After initial warming, I imagine the home-grown-cooling process might kick in, and Peg, and also the rush of Pacific air in from Bering Strait, will get swirled into the Steppenwolf mix and result in post-storm cooling. 
The warming is not showing up in the DMI temperature graph because it at this point is largely occurring south of 80 degrees latitude.  The graph reflects the stream of very cold (for the time of year) air the high pressure “Beauf” steered across the Pole and down towards Svalbard. What remains of Beauf is west of Iceland, its north winds adding to Art’s west side north winds, and inhibiting the surface flow of the Gulf Stream. The DMI graph, which has been crashing, will likely soon spike up.
DMI2 0821 meanT_2014 (click to enlarge) 
As the various parts and pieces of the Steppenwolf complex wheel about the Pole the general effect will be to reverse the recent compression of sea-ice, and to spread the ice out more.  This will be especially true if models are correct, and a low sits north of Bering Strait next Tuesday in the exact position where the high pressure “Beauf” sat a week ago.
In the long term some suggest this spread-out ice (from the East Siberian Sea into the Chukcha Sea, and from the Central Basin into the Laptev Sea), will melt “in a twinkling” due the ice moving to warmer waters. I myself don’t think the waters are deeply warmed, and doubt the melting will be that swift.
Two conflicting factors are in play, the first being a cooling factor, because the Bering Strait was late to freeze and the Laptev Sea was often open last winter, which exposed waters to winter cold and chilled the water (and also churned it), and the second warming factor being that the spoke in the PDO to a “warm” phase likely brought some Pacific water north, at the same time that,  in the Laptev Sea, the factors of water from the Lena River plus a summer’s worth of ice-free sunshine (when it wasn’t cloudy) has likely warmed the surface.
My guess is that warm surface waters aren’t enough; warmer waters from a greater depth are required to melt ice “in a twinkling,” and such waters don’t exist. Time will tell. The “in a twinkling” scenario would involve the “extent graph” only briefly showing an uptick, before plunging again, while the alternative would be more of a flat-lining of the graph.  In any case, it looks like the excitement has started:
DMI2 0821 icecover_current_new (click to enlarge)
Our dot of an askance pupil in the great, white eyeball of the frozen north continued to gaze south, wandering southeast to 15.931°E at 9:00 AM, in light breezes of 5-10 mph, before a final lurch west left us at 82.805°N, 15.900°E at noon.
Temperatures fell steadily from -3.1°C at noon yesterday to the period’s low of -6.8°C at 3:00 AM today, before rebounding to the period’s high of -2.8°C at noon. In essence we had the arctic unload over us and down into the North Atlantic. While this export of cold may make the Pole warmer, it doesn’t warm the North Atlantic a bit, nor does a cold Atlantic bode well for Europe’s winter.
The pressure bottomed out when the temperature was lowest, at 999.8 mb at 3:00 AM, and then rose to 1005.5 mb by noon.  Some arctic low-pressure obviously passed over. It makes me wonder. Sometimes you see these tight little swirls in the satellite shots, but the models don’t see them at all.
AUGUST 21   —DMI Afternoon Maps—
DMI2 0821B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0821B temp_latest.big (1)
“Steppenwolf” is complex,  with the original Steppenwolf out towards the Pole, a memory of “Berzip” coming up from a Fujiwhara swing underneath to the east, and a piece of “Art” just starting to dive down into the Fujiwhara dance to the west.  Joining this fracas is a chunk of “Peg”, coming across the Pole.  What a mishmash! 
There is still a fairly strong Pacific to Atlantic cross-polar-flow, but it looks like the Pacific end of it is starting to get cut off, and East Siberia is the new source region for the flow. It is still fairly mild in that cold region, with daytime highs in the Kolmya River valley up in the mid 70’s. (24 Celsius) (The Kolmya River is only free of ice from early June until October.)  I’d expect air drawn from that region to be mild, but to swiftly lose heat as it moves over water, due to evaporation of the sea’s surface, and then melting of any ice it reaches. (Such phase-changes see available heat become latent heat.)
Northern camera — It looks like the core of the cold has passed, and fog indicates milder air is arriving. It looks like temperatures have risen from below minus five to above minus one. However it is colder to the south towards Svalbard. Buoy 2014E: reported -3.64
Conjunct Buoy 2013F reports  -0.11 C at 0000z and -0.14 C at 1200z, which shows even the influx of Pacific air causing us fog hasn’t quite nudged our southern buoy above freezing.
 AUGUST 22  —DMI Morning Maps—
DMI2 0822 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0822 temp_latest.big (1)
The “Fujiwhara Mishmash;”  a new dance craze at the Pole.  “Steppenwolf” is tugged east to Franz Josef Land as the piece of “Art” swings underneath and “Berzip” elongates towards the East Siberian Sea.  The center of this wobbling complex is still forecast to head for Bering Strait, and the flow will swing from Pacific-to-Atlantic around to Canada-to-Siberia.  Already the winds at Svalbard as starting to swing to the west. 
“Art” continues to sit occluded over Scandinavia, now weak and above 1000 mb, but with additional energy coming into it 
 via a small low moving through the North Sea. (Off this map.)
 Temperatures are much milder than they’ve been, especially on the Canadian side.
In my thirst for additional information I came across this research vessel crunching its way towards the Pole.  It has a record of the arctic blast moving through the ice-pack north of Greenland, with temperatures dropping below -6.0 C.
I always wonder what it does to the icecap to have these icebreakers slicing through.
UK Met Aug 22 17488655
“Art” is up in the Gulf of Bothnia east of Finland, with a whole series of troughs feeding up into it. I guess I’ll call the weak low south of Norway in the North Sea “Artless”. Also notice the isobars at the very top of the map hint at winds shifting to the west.
Here’s some interesting trivia:  So many rivers pour into the Gulf of Bothnia that, in its northern reaches, fresh water fish can swim in it. That is why it freezes so swiftly; its water is fresher. The Baltic gets more and more salty as you head southwest towards Denmark.
NEW CAMERAS  —the return of gray days—
I expect it will be a while before we see much turquoise and silver.  Blame Svenmark’s danged cosmic rays and the Quiet Sun.
Our northern camera has seen warming and is flirting with freezing. To the south it was still cold at Buoy 2014E: , which was reporting -3.34 C at 0000z. At our northern camera winds are in the 4-8 mph range. 
Our southern camera also has been flirting with freezing in 5 mph winds. Currently it dips just below. Back at 0000z conjunct 
 Buoy 2013F: reported we were exactly at freezing. To the west Buoy 2014B: was reporting -0.98 C.
Interestingly Buoy 2014C: has now drifted west to a point where it is nearly 200 miles due south of our camera.  The ice has thinned to 65 cm and the temperature is at +0.37 C.
A new buoy Buoy 2014F: has been planted on ice 151 cm thick 77.63 N, 146.01 W, which is nearly due east of our camera, (which is at 77.41 N, 156.57 W)  It was thawing to our east, with temperatures at 0000z at +0.17 C. Even further east Buoy 2012G: at 77.94 N, 125.00 W, was reporting +0.47 C. (Sadly, our buoy just off the north coast of Greenland apparently bit the dust.)
It will be interesting to watch this influx of milder and moister air, to see of it persists, or uplifts and turns into home-grown cold.
It looks like our frozen melt-water pool has a puddle on top of it. So our melt-water has melt-water. The fog looks like it is getting thicker.
Our miserly black ant rejoicing across the vast sugar bowl of arctic white continued though the winds slacked off to a complete calm the final twelve hours. Eastward movement ceased at 16.033°E at 6:00 AM, and we drifted back west despite the calm to finish at  82.646°N, 15.928°E at noon. The movement of the ice despite calm was interesting.
Temperatures rose steadily throughout the 12-hour-period, starting at -2.8°C at noon yesterday and finishing at -1.0°C at noon today.
The pressure remained flat, and finished at 1006.2 mb. 
AUGUST 22 —DMI Afternoon Maps—
DMI2 0822B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0822B temp_latest.big (1)
“Steppenwolf” is still moving the wrong way, into Barents Sea, but it still looks like it will be yanked back to the Pacific side by the Fujiwhara effects of both Berzip and the Piece-of-Art. (I’ve danced with people who yank you like that, on Friday nights many moons before this one.)  Most of the moved ice is now entering the Barents Sea, as the Pacific-to-Atlantic flow has yet to switch to a Canada-to-Siberia flow. Will it ever?  Stay tuned!!!
At our northern camera temperatures crept back up to freezing under dark and foggy skies. Winds remained light, at 5 mph.  No sign of the lead  behind the yellow “cork” reopening.  I think it may be safe to take a night off.
Milder down at Buoy 2014E: as well, with temperatures up to  -0.89 C.  It looks like the arctic has shot its wad, and the first aectic blast of the season was exported to annoy the people of London. Fortunately they have good beer down there.
It was dark and foggy at our southern camera as well, with temperatures at conjunct Buoy 2013F: only a hair below freezing at -0.02 C. All other buoys over there are just above freezing, except for a bit of a surprise north of Beringinbg Strait, where Buoy 2014B: is a chilly-1.14 C, though that may hint open water is near. Don’t forget the water the ice rides on is salt, and can be down around -1.5 C.
Have a Great weekend, everyone!
AUGUST 23 —DMI Morning Maps—
DMI2 0823 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0823 temp_latest.big (1)
There is still no sign of “Steppenwolf” budging from Barents Sea, but models still insist it will be across Kara Sea by tomorrow and the Laptev Sea by Monday, and in Chukcha Sea by Tuesday.  
A finger of high pressure will build east from northern Greenland, as a second builds northwest from Poland and Ukraine, and when these fingers meet over Svalbard the high pressure will wall off the Atlantic from the Arctic for a while.  It is hard to say whether Steppenwolf is pumping up this ridge, or whether the ridge is bumping Steppenwolf to the Pacific side, but in the long run the high pressure could center over Scandinavia and give them a break from the wallowing occlusions they’ve been living under.  First a final blob of “Art” will have to be squeezed east of Finland into the Steppenwolf Fujiwhara fracas, and the rest of the Baltic low pressure will have to be squashed south.  If all goes according to plan then, in a week, Scandinavia will have utterly different weather.
This new wall of high pressure across the north Atlantic will have Canada-to-Siberia winds on its side facing the Pole, which will mesh with Steppenwolf’s winds, and either spread out the ice towards open waters, or have me banging my head against the wall by refusing to do so. (How’s that for a forecast?)
NEW CAMERA  —Recharging the cold—
The Pole is much warmer than it has been, with most of the subfreezing air towards the European quadrant.  Our northern camera continues to see fog and temperatures close to freezing,  with winds slacking off to nearly calm. Humidity has pegged out at 100%, so there is little heat-loss due to evaporation, and likely heat-gain due to condensation. To the south Buoy 2014E: is reporting  -0.47 C, and is actually the only buoy reporting subfreezing temperatures. We exported all our cold air to western Europe, and it will take a while to build up some more.
Our camera shows no sign of thaw yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see the two small melt-water pools reappear in the left middle-distance.  (By the way, they have updated the film they make by splicing all these pictures together.  The final 3 minutes is worth watching, to see how the ice in the background does shift left and right, even if it hasn’t done so for the past ten days.  This ice has the potential to spread out, even if it doesn’t do so in reality.)
Our southern camera is scanning a scene of thaw, now that the thaw is suppose to be over. Conjunct  Buoy 2013F: is reporting + 0.24 C, and all the other buoys on this side of the Pole are reporting a quarter or half degree above freezing, during the “warmth” of afternoon. This far south the sun dips very low at midnight, and we are at the verge of seeing the midnight sun give way to the midnight twilight. Winds are light at our foggy camera. 
(I need to find some Russian buoys on the Siberian side. Surely they exist, though perhaps they are not as public with their reporting. ) 
They’ve updated the movie at this camera as well. Watching it shows how it did try to thaw this summer, but the thaws kept suffering setbacks.
Our little blackbird amidst a huge flock of swans continued slowly south, wandering as far west as 15.718°E before turning back east to end the 24 hour period at 82.528°N,15.942°E. Winds were reported as calm throughout the period, which makes me suspect the anemometer is frozen up. (It happens, in freezing fog, when the wind is calm just long enough for rime to build up.) We need a spell of above freezing temperatures to be sure the calm is genuine.
It didn’t happen for yet another day, as temperatures were flat. The high was at the start of the period at noon yesterday,  -1.0°C, and the next reading was the low of -1.4°C which persisted until midnight, and then was followed by a nearly imperceptible rise to -1.2°C at noon today.
The barometer ended the period close to where it started, at  1006.4 mb.
AUGUST 23  —DMI Afternoon Maps—
DMI2 0823B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0823B temp_latest.big (1)
“Steppenwolf” is now hurrying across the northern Kara Dea, apparently following s front or trough that “Berzip” plowed into the Pacific side. Things are proceeding as “planned,” so far.
A disconcerting low has appeared off the east coast of Greenland; you’ve got to watch those sneaky suckers.
Also some surprising home-grown cold has appeared off the Canadian arctic coast.  
It looks like we are about to say “Good-bye” to the Pacific-to-Atlantic flow.
BARDARBUNGA AUG 23 barobunga_cam (1)
It sure looks like an eruption has started, but there is some dispute about whether this is merely dust from earthquakes or some other such thing. Perhaps the swarm of earthquakes under this part of Iceland is much ado about nothing, but it should be watched.  Rather than a single cone, this volcano has a history of splitting the skin of the Earth with a long crack, and producing a long line of fountaining lava which can be many miles long. This volcano also holds the record for the most lava produced by a single eruption, over the past 10,000 years.  (The eruption occurred over 6000 years ago, so I can’t supply photos.) 
Currently it is topped by a thick icecap, but that could melt in a hurry.
It will provide me with a convenient excuse for botched forecasts.
What really effects the amount of arctic sea-ice is the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, or AMO, and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, or PDO.   To simplify greatly, when they are “warm” there is less ice.  I put the word “warm” in quotes because it is not that the entire ocean is warmer as a whole, but rather that the warm water is located in a position where it effects the arctic more.  In both oceans the “warm” phase is seen as a backwards letter “C” of warmth in the northern half of the ocean, with the curve of the “C” nudging California in the Pacific, and northwest Africa in the Atlantic.  (In actual fact each “warm” phase has attributes all its own, but I am speaking in generalities.)
The PDO has shifted to its “cold” phase, and right on cue there was an increase of ice around Bering Strait, on the Pacific side of the Pole. However there can be short-term spikes to “warm” in the “cold” phase, which we are now seeing, and which also occurred in the 1950’s during the last “cold” phase.  This warmth is largely focused in the waters southwest of Alaska, (which is a phenomenon that Joseph D’Aleo has noted gave the eastern USA a very cold winters in 1917-1918.) Again right on cue there was less ice in Bering Strait,especially in the first half of last winter.
PDO July 2014 pdo_short 
Meanwhile the AMO has been in its “warm” phase, and has 5-10 more years before it switches to “cold,” however it too switched to a short-term spike, to “cold”, last winter.  Right on cue ice started to expand on the Atlantic side, but now that spike is ending and the AMO is moving back towards “warm.”
AMO July 2014 amo_short
5-10 years from now, if both the AMO and PDO are locked into “cold” phases, we might expect sea-ice to increase, however there may be a fly in the ointment.
The reason a chaotic system can produce orderly shapes such as the spiral of a hurricane (or a 60-70 year cycle) is partly a mystery that Chaos Theory seeks to better understand, and partly due to factors we do understand. For example, in the case of a hurricane we do understand things such as lapse rates and the Coriolis Force, and some meteorologists do a surprisingly good job of taking what we know and predicting what such temperamental storms will do.  However hurricanes still often surprise us, due to the more mysterious and wonderful side of chaos.  We are, after all, dealing with a nearly infinite number of variables.
In the case of the AMO and PDO we are only starting to understand the knowable side of the chaotic system. The very existence of these cycles wasn’t known by most meteorologists when I was a boy (though some had hunches such cycles existed.) Our best guesses about the knowable side in the year 2014 will likely look laughable in 2024, but at this point the 60-70 year cycle seems something like a heartbeat’s “flub-dub.”  The Pacific supplies the power-stroke and the Atlantic is a responsive follow-up stroke, primarily because the Pacific is so much bigger. 
It takes order from outside to create a heartbeat, and the order is supplied by nerves supplying orderly micro-shocks.  In the case of the 60-70 year cycle the outside influence is likely regular patterns such as the yearly seasons, and the somewhat regular sunspot cycle, however our knowledge of such outside-influences is still in its infancy.  
Now here is the fly in the ointment.  Just as the beautiful order (from afar) of a hurricane falls apart and turns back into chaos as the storm weakens and fills, the beautiful order of our own heartbeat can go into a state we don’t find the slightest bit fascinating, called fibrillation.  The timing of the micro-shocks gets out of whack, and the familiar “flub-dub” we take so for granted becomes a chaotic system.
Assuming the 60-70 year cycle is likely governed by the regularity of outside influences, one wonders what sort of irregularity could throw the cycle into a sort of fibrillation.  Dr. Tim Ball has suggested a huge volcanic eruption, such as Tambora in 1815, can cause extreme meridianal jet streams.  I myself am now wondering what effect the “Quiet Sun” might have.
Considering we don’t really understand the 60-70 year cycle to begin with, it might seem the last thing we need is for the cycle to start acting all weird on us.  However I prefer to look at it as a challenge.  After all, the Creator made us a universe with infinite variables and more types of chaos than there are grains of sand on a beach, yet creation seems to do a pretty good job of running itself even when we can’t fathom it.  We are stuck in the middle of swirlings of stars, and to attempt to fathom it all is simply a form of appreciation. Furthermore, it is in our attempts to fathom it all that we can awaken our sense of wonder, and even joy. 
AUGUST 24  —DMI Morning Maps—
DMI2 0824 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0824 temp_latest.big (1)
AUGUST 24   —DMI Afternoon Maps—
DMI2 0824B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0824B temp_latest.big (1)
AUGUST 25  —DMI Morning Maps—
DMI2 0825 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0825 temp_latest.big (1)
The above maps do a good job of showing the Pacific-to-Atlantic flow swinging around to become a Canada-to-Siberia flow.  This counterclockwise motion will continue until we arrive eventually at a Atlantic-to-Pacific flow, which demonstrates how fickle things are in the Arctic, especially as seasons change.  
The above maps also show the two fingers of high pressure joining over Svalbard and effectively blocking the inflow of Atlantic air, and the outflow of Arctic air. With a similar situation developing on the Pacific side, my hunch is that the isolated air over the Pole will lose heat and a reservoir of cold will grow. The primary inflow seems to be from Siberia, and even though such air is still mild it is dry and a lot of radiational and evaporative cooling occurs when it gets over arctic waters. 
The Svalbard high pressure will have a struggle pushing the wallowing low pressure from Scandinavia, especially as a reinforcing low looks like it will loop back from towards the Black Sea to southeast Finland and stall. It still looks like high pressure will work down over Scandinavia by next weekend, but rather than east winds from the still relatively-warm Steppes the winds look like they will be north from the arctic, especially over Norway, and the sunshine will be cool.
I’ve been busy and haven’t had time to pay as much attention as I’d like, so I have no idea where the low on the east coast of Greenland came from. I’ll call it “Owtada,” which is derived from “Out-of-the”,  because as far as I’m concerned it came out of the blue. It is kicking a zipper (off this map) across the Atlantic towards Britain, which I’ll call “Outadazip.”  As that extension goes south of the building high pressure Outada will squeeze north, and may advance on the Pole as “Steppenwolf” heads into Bering Strait or Alaska.  
However for the next few days “Steppenwolf’s” polar passage will be the focus. If it doesn’t spread the ice out into the Kara and Laptev Seas I’m going to have to rethink my ideas. Of course, that isn’t the slightest bit unusual.
Our northern camera hasn’t updated since the 21st. It took me a while to catch on to the fact I was posting the same picture over and over. Temperatures took quite a plunge, to around minus five, but have since returned to flirting with freezing. Winds have picked up to the 10-15 mph range. We remain at around 88 degrees north, but have swung around and crossed 90 degrees longitude, so we are now officially on the Atlantic side of the Pole. I sure hope they can fix the camera.
The cold air has migrated south with the last push of the Pacific-to-Atlantic flow, and  Buoy 2014E  reported -4.45°C at 0000z this morning. Even further south our crunched camera reports a steady -1.30°C, which is close enough to the temperature of the sea-water down there to make me wonder if that buoy is afloat. 
Meanwhile our southern camera has also flirted with freezing, but recently has been on the cold side, and it looks the melt-water puddle atop the frozen melt-water pool has refrozen. Conjunct Buoy 2013F: has gone from -0.21 C at 1200z yesterday to -0.22 C at 0000z this morning, despite the fact the sun rises from the hozon to its highest in this time period, and all other buoys in the area are showing a drop in temperatures despite the daylight. Either they forgot to update the temperatures, or colder air is arriving ahead of the advance of “Steppenwolf.”
I’m glad this camera is working, for the storm could break up the ice.  
 AUGUST 25  —DMI Afternoon Maps—
DMI2 0825B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0825B temp_latest.big (1)
NEW CAMERAS  —Northern Camera is fixed—
Our crunched camera may now be sitting at the bottom of the deep blue sea, as the weather-buoy it looked upon floats freely a mile above, bobbing midst bergs and lapping slush.  I base this on the fact we’ve had no wind reported for two days, which sometimes is a sign the anemometer is encrusted with frozen spray. Also the temperature has stayed very flat and is close to the subzero temperature of the seawater down there.
For the past 46 hours our movement (if not straight down), has been slowly but steadily south, in a serpentine manner, east to  15.970°E at 3:00 PM Saturday, west to 15.877°E at midnight, east to 16.009°E at 6:00 PM Sunday, west to 15.956°E at 9:00 PM, and then east to 16.196°E at noon today (Monday.)  This sort of slow motion is indicative if calm conditions, especially if we are freely floating. 
The barometer also suggests calm, very steady, starting at 1006.4 mb and only sinking to 1004.7 mb in 48 hours.
As I said the temperatures have been flat, never varying between -1.2°C and -1.4°C until the final reading, when we rose a whole tenth of a degree to -1.1°C.  If we can get above freezing for a while our anemometer may start working again.
 AUGUST 26  —DMI Morning Maps—
DMI2 0826 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0826 temp_latest.big (1)
“Steppenwolf” has moved north of the Laptev Sea, and its west-side north winds should start to dump sea-ice southwards. Also the notch of open water extending north of the Laptev Sea may get filled in. (It is an interesting feature, likely due to the fact the Laptev Sea had so little ice to begin with this year, and also likely to freeze over swiftly and early, as it reaches further north than usual, and temperatures begin to plunge at the Pole at this time.) I think the trough of low pressure being swung around towards the Pole may be a remnant of “Berzip.”  I’m watching to see if it generates cold air as it fills.
The Atlantic is still blocked by high pressure, but “Owtada” lurks off the east coast of Greenland. The low looped back from the Steppes to southeast Finland;  I’ll call it a reincarnation of “Artless.” An off-the-map  low has crossed the Atlantic, “Owtadason,” and it will swing under and tug “Artless” away to the east, allowing high pressure to move in from the west over Scandinavia.  As that high pressure centers on the east side of the North Atlantic it will allow “Owtada” to squeeze north along the east coast of Greenland and head for the Pole next weekend.
The low pressure over the Pole is fueled by rising ai, and that means milder-than-normal temperatures for the first time in a long time on the DMI graph. However storms seem to lose heat up there, and as they fill it gets colder, so I’m expecting to see a sharp downturn in the graph.
DMI2 0826 meanT_2014 (Click to enlarge)
 For very selfish reasons, involving the fact I made a forecast that is going down in flames, I am disappointed in the DMI “extent” graph. I was expecting more of an up-tick in the graph than this piddly little one.
DMI2 0826 icecover_current_new (Click to enlarge)
NEW CAMERAS  —A Time of Storms—
Our northern camera either is in the middle of very thick fog, or freezing fog has messed up our lens. If it is the latter we will have to wait for bright sun or thaw to see anything. (If they have a lens-heater, I doubt they will use the battery, as it is harder to recharge with the sun low, especially as it is cloudy.) There is a swirl of thaw towards Canada that might come our way. I assume the clouds are the remnants of “Berzip” being swirled around over the Pole by “Steppenwolf.”  Temperatures are steadily at a degree or two below freezing, with winds in the 8-12 mph range.
Down at Buoy 2014E: temperatures were down to -4.45 C at 1200z yesterday, but rose to -0.78 C at 0000z.
Our southern camera sees a bleak and gray scene with subfreezing winds of 15-20 mph as they await the arrival of “Steppenwolf.”  Conjunct Buoy 2013F: has seen temperatures fall from  -0.22 C at 1200z yesterday to  -2.47 C at 0000z today, despite the sun rising up to its daytime high, beyond the clouds.  I assume this cold has swirled in from the west, for Buoy 2014B: over in that direction saw a more normal rise during the same period, from -1.79 C to  -0.48 C. To our east Buoy 2014F: also saw a normal rise, from  -0.89 C to  -0.15 C, however to our south Buoy 2014C: was apparently hit by the same pocket of cold that hit our camera, as temperatures fell from  -0.68 C to  -2.18 C. That camera won’t withstand much punishment from “Steppenwolf”, as the ice down there is only 52 cm thick; at our camera it is a more hefty 136 cm.
I wonder if that pocket of cold was a creation of “Berzip,” and is being swung around in the lee if it.
AUGUST 26  —DMI Afternoon Maps—
DMI2 0826B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0826B temp_latest.big (1)
Things are pretty much proceding “according to plan”, with “Steppenwolf” moving towards Bering Strait,  high pressure blocking the Atlantic, the low “Artless” stalled over southeast Finland, and “Owtada” lurking east of Greenland.
What isn’t obvious, but is interesting, is that blob of cold we saw passing our southern camera. It is swinging around the Pole towards our northern camera. Both the GFS and JEM models now see it, and have it be briefly a large pool of cold right over the Pole, before squahing it our intop a long thin noodle of cold as “Owtada” comes north and an Atlantic-to-Pacific flow gets going.
Temperatures drop very swiftly as September starts, at the Pole.  Models see temperatures in the single digits (Fahrenheit) (below -13 Celsius) in 144 hours.
“Steppenwolf’s” winds should be pushing ice south into both the Kara and Laptev Seas for the next 26 hours.  If it doesn’t happen I’ll have to rethink my ideas about how ice moves.  (Please notice how I rethink my personal theory, rather than “adjusting” the data to make my theory correct.)
The frost is likely sublimating off the lens of the northern camera, as it hasn’t been sunny enough or warm enough to reduce it, yet it is reduced. It hints at clearing skies, which will breed cold, as the sun is too low to warm like it did in July. What is more, that blob of cold we noticed passing by buoys near our southern cameras is heading our way. 
Wind have slacked off to the 5-10 mph range, and temperatures are around minus two.  Further south they were at  -1.45 C at 0000z at  Buoy 2014E:, and at our crunched camera they were at -1.3°C.
The blob of cold has moved east of our camera, as conjunct Buoy 2013F: is at  -0.44 C, further east the new Buoy 2014F: is at  -0.96 C, and even further east the old veteran Buoy 2012G:, at 77.88 N, 124.29 W, is down to  -2.11 C.
I checked out the view from the satellite, and the sea still looks packed with ice by our weather buoy. Even if our crunched camera is sunk, the weather bouy can’t float very far from where the camera would have been, had the ice not been crunched.
In this 24-hour period our southward progress came to a halt at midnight, at 82.362°N, even as our eastward progress, which had halted at 16.255°E at 6:00 PM yesterday, again resumed, after a regress to 16.255°E. As we continued east or northward regression only made it to  82.374°N, before we started creeping south to wind up at 82.369°N, 16.569°E.
Our anemometer is still reporting no wind. Either it is frozen up, or perhaps out buoy is tipped on its side. Temperatures remain close to that of seawater, so perhaps the buoy is upside down. Temperatures remain between -1.1°C (noon yesterday) and -1.1°C (noon today.)
Pressures fell slightly, from 1004.7 mb at noon yesterday to 1001.
4mb at noon today. This surprised me, as I was expecting the blocking high pressure over Svalbard to show a rise. Instead we may be seeing the first signs of the advance of “Owtada.” If that low does come north we may spend time in a windy and relatively warm flow from the south, which will bring thaw and remove doubts about the state of out anemometer.  Also it will push us away from Svalbard, which is a pity, as I was looking forward to a visit. 
LOCAL VIEW  —School Is Starting—
It has been a while since I’ve added one of these “Local Views.” That is because I get quite enough of reality as it is, and turn to Sea-ice as an escape, and a journey into wonder and joy. I am still like I was as a boy in Algebra class, where the chalked reality was a strange poison, and the the antidote was the clouds out the window. School stunted me, and summer vacation was a wonderful time of healing. Teachers were always telling me I needed to face reality, and shouldn’t withdraw, but it sure didn’t look like reality had done them much good.  It seemed to me the farrther I could withdraw, the better, which likely explains how I wound up on the North Pole.
However reality does rear its ugly head, and I do work a real job to earn real money. (Please notice this site has no “tip jar” to wheedle your hard earned loose change from your pockets.) I am a “child care professional”, which means I am basically a baby-sitter for parents half my age. They too work real jobs for real money, and need decent people to watch their children as they do so. 
It would be so much easier if there wasn’t people in the other-world called “school” who seem to see parents as being in the way, and only useful as overnight babysitters, and producers of tax-dollars. They do things such as start school before Labor Day, and institute Half-day Kindergartens, which disregard reality a whole lot more than I do, even though I am a confirmed dreamer.
First, to start school before Labor Day means you intrude upon the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer with stuff like Algebra, and if it is difficult to teach Algebra on a gray day of pouring rain, it is much harder in a heatwave, such as this map shows the start of school will know:
LV 0826 Map satsfc (3)(Click to enlarge)
Looking at that map, any decent dreamer would notice the hurricane south of me. That is a danger and should be a focus, but it likely will go out to sea, and be starting to concern our sea-ice considerations as it charges Iceland next Sunday. However if you are a parent you need to consider getting your kids to school in a heatwave. 
To help parents out our local schools decided to institute half-day kindergarten. Talk about a foolish idea!  Working parents don’t work half-day jobs. Who the heck is to get off work, and drive to the school, and drive their the “child care professional” for the afternoon?  To help parents out, my wife and I said we could do the driving. So many parents jumped at our offer we had to sell our old vehicle, that could  carry three children, and buy a van that could carry six.  After that we had to turn other parents away.  We can only do so much, with our limited resources.
To make sure we had things covered, we bought a van that had tires you can drive a hundred miles, even when they are punctured. We also invested in a “roadside assistance” plan.  So things were looking good.
However our roads are in sorry shape, as our government invests billions into Global Warming but less into our roads.  A truck slamming over potholes shed a sharp shard of metal, my wife drove over it, and we discovered those newfangled tires can very swiftly get as flat as old-fashioned tires. We also discovered roadside assistance can’t always assist before noon the next day.
So that is my predicament. Tomorrow is the first day of school, and we have six small children to transport to Kindergarten, and no van until noon, when we should have already picked them up.
Hopefully you will understand if, in tomorrow’s 90 degree heat, I post less than usual.
AUGUST 27 —DMI Morning Maps—
DMI2 0827 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0827 temp_latest.big (1)
The minus-five isotherm has appeared for the first time close to the Pole.  Everything else is about the same, but there is more of a werakness northeast of Greenland to allow “Owtada” north.
Wow! Temperatures crashed at our northern Camera! Down nearly to minus ten. Winds are down to 5-10 mph. Humidity has dropped to 80%, which is low for the Arctic Ocean in the summer. If Owtada brings Atlantic moisture north, there could be quite a clash with this bitter cold air. Enjoy the sunshine, while it lasts.
 Notice our melt-water pools have been hidden by windblown snow. The ice is showing no signs of cracking up.
Our southern camera has seen winds drop off to 4-8 mph, with temperatures just a hair below freezing.
DMI2 0827B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0827B temp_latest.big (1)
Our northern camera has stopped transmitting postures, once again. However temperatures only made it up to minus five before dripping all the way to minus ten, and the humidity is only back up to 90%, so I imagine the view is still stark and sunny.  Winds are at 5 mph.
Our southern camera continues to flirt with freezing, but remain just below. Winds have slacked off to a light air of 4 mph. Conjunct  Buoy 2013F came in at  -0.27 C, and all other buoys came in below freezing but above minus one.
AUGUST 28 —DMI Morning Maps—
DMI2 0828 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0828 temp_latest.big (1)
“Steppenwolf” is starting to fade, as a weak “Owtada” makes its move toward the Pole from Greenland.  Between them and high pressure towards Eurasia an Atlantic-to-Pacific flow is completely reversing the Pacific-to-Atlantic flow we saw a few days ago. However as “Owrada” is largely from northern source-regions, it will not bring any real Atlantic juice north, and south of it strong west winds look likely to slam the door on Atlantic invasions, in the short term. For the time being what happens in the arctic stays in the arctic.
“Artless” is getting pushed east of Scandinavia as high pressure builds erst of Scandinavia. 
There is very cold air over the Pole itself, shown by the island of minus-five isotherms. It is actually beliw minus ten at our northern camera.
NEW CAMERAS  —Snow to south, cold to north—
Our northern camera is still failing to transmit pictures, but the weather station informs us winds remain light, at 4 mph, and humidities remain low (for the arctic) at 89%, and temperatures raise an eyebrow, remaining below minus ten. Further south towards Svalbard it is not so cold, as Buoy 2014E: reports  -1.64 C.
Our southern camera shows Steppenwolf brought enough of a dusting of snow to nearly hide out melt-water pools, which are largely frozen over.  Winds are nearly calm, and temperatures are dipping a little further below freezing.
Temperature -7.0 and rising; Relative Humidity 88%  Winds calm. 

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.


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.



(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.



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 Arctic Circle, the melting is more intense and melt-water pools more common. In fact here is a picture from somewhere around five to ten years ago, showing 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 does 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?”


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.


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.


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.


 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 highest point, (correction: 3:00 PMand temperatures low as well. The melt-water pool to the lower right looked like it was thinking of thawing earlier, but decided against it.



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.


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.



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.



Winds have picked up slowly over our roving junkyard, from nearly calm yesterday to 25 mph at the end of our 24-hour-period, driving our camera steadily south as Stepperson approached from Siberia, but shifting from northeast to northwest to northeast to northwest, so our path was serpentine, achieving  17.557°E at 3:00 PM yesterday, 17.663°E at 9:00 PM, 17.587°E at 3:00 AM, and wound us up at 84.527°N, 17.711°E at the end of the period. The still puts us further east than we’ve ever been before, and keeps us in line to be the first North Pole Camera to ever head south on the east side of Svalbard.

Temperatures did not linger long above freezing, only managing it between 6:00 AM and some point after noon yesterday. The periods’s high was +0.6°C at the very start, and it dipped to zero by 3:00 AM and continued down to  -1.0°C at midnight, then rose to -0.3°C at 6:00 AM, and then dipped to -0.5°C at 9:00 AM. With winds at 25 mph I couldn’t entertain the idea the air wasn’t mixed, and the milder air was overhead above an inversion. The wind is cold, and this is no way to run a thaw.

The barometer crested at 1015.4 mb at noon yesterday, and since then has fallen, at first slowly but now fairly rapidly, to 1004.0 mb.


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

“Art” is fading away into Canada as “Stepperson” is a small, vigorous low being deflected to the Svalbard side of the Pole. “Gus” is bumping into Norway as forecast. Weak “Stepperthird” forming in Laptev Sea.  Cold air remains wrapped around the Pole.

NEW CAMERAS   —Important view missing—

O-buoy 9 is continuing to fail to update its pictures.  It seems to be updating other weather information and GPS information, so I doubt Obama sent a drone over and blew it up for making him look like a fool. Hopefully it is some transmission glitch they can overcome. These cameras are designed to survive falling into open water and bobbing around like corks, as O-buoy 7 did last summer.

Winds are steady at 15 mph and the temperature is right at freezing. Buoy 2014E: at 85.68 N, 1.94 E (very roughly 300 miles towards Fram Strait), is coming in at -0.03° C.

Our southern camera has seen winds pick up to 10 mph and temperatures creep back up towards freezing, but there is no sign of thawing yet.


DMI EXTENT GRAPH   —Before the storm—

DMI2 0730 icecover_current_new


DMI2 0731 icecover_current_new

I did not expect that uptick. I assume “Stepperson’s” wind is spreading ice south into the northern reaches of Greenland and Barents Sea.

JULY 31 —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0731 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0731 temp_latest.big (1)

“Stepperson” curving towards Svalbard as “Stepperthird” builds in Laptev Sea and “Gus” smushes against Norway like a ripe tomato.


UK Met July 31 16759042

I just wanted to see what “Gus” is up to. Like all storms this summer he is stalled and occluding, but sending energy over the top of Norway as “Guszip,” and developing a secondary south of Iceland, “Gusson.”  A cold front is actually managing to press through the Baltic, but likely will turn around and start back as a warm front from Russia, once Gus weakens.

NEW CAMERAS  –Still no thaw—

Our northern camera still isn’t transmitting pictures. Buoy 2014E: is reporting temperatures a hair below freezing at -0.03° C, however our camera’s graph looks like it has dipped down around -0.10°, with 15 mph winds.


Our southern camera continues cold, with its conjunct Buoy 2013F: reporting earlier a temperature of -0.51° C, but the camera itself showing dropping temperatures below 0.10° C as winds are around 12 mph. Still no signs of thaw, though some warm air has pushed north of Bering Strait, and Buoy 2014B: north of Being Strait 74.28 N, 171.41 W reports thaw at +1.41° C.





I apparently hexed the wreckage of our camera, when I suggested it might pass east of Svalbard, for that was as far east as it got. It promptly turned around and headed west all day, and south except for a single .001 degree northward blip at 6:00 AM, in winds that peaked in the range of 27 mph, before slacking to half that speed, and our junk heap wound up at 84.351°N, 16.661°E..

Our time period today was 27 hours, as we went back to getting our last report at noon. Once again we only managed to get above freezing for a brief 3-4 hour period, with a high temperature Of +0.2°C at 9:00 PM last night, before sinking to a low of -1.0°C at 9:00 AM, and then rebounding slightly to -0.6°C at noon. Heck of a way to run a thaw.

Our pressure bottomed out at 9:00 PM last night at 995.3mb, and since then has slowly risen to 1000.5mb.

JULY 31   —DMI Afternoon maps—

DMI2 0731B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0731B temp_latest.big (1)

I don’t claim to understand the elongation of the lows into a sort of string of beads. Gus has devided into Gus and Guszip, as Stepperson and Stepperthree form another duo, and a new low in the East Siberian Sea, “Isib,” ends the string. Subfreezing temperatures are focused on opposing sides, north of Canada and in the Kara Sea, while areas of thaw concentrate in the other two opposing quarters,


Temperatures at our northern camera are right around freezing, and likely a little above, for some slight expansion of melt-water pools is apparent. The winds have stressed the ice enough to slightly widen the crack behind the yellow “Cork.”


Our southern camera has also seen temperatures rise to right around the freezing point, though likely here they are a hair below freezing, for no melting is obvious.


AUGUST 1  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0801 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0801 temp_latest.big (1)

A long string of lows crosses the Pole now, from Norway to the Bering Stait, with the center forecast to become a polar low by tomorrow, incorperating “Stepperson”, “Stepperthird,” and “Guszip”, as the ends fly off and are absorbed south.

There is something fascinating and contrary about these polar lows. Everywhere else on Earth warm air rises and moves towards the Pole, as part of what is technically either a Hadley, Ferrel or Polar Cell.  Once the air is risen, the Hadley cell recirculates it north and drops it as high pressure, such as the Azores High, while the Ferrel Cell recirculates it south (in theory) as the high pressures that follow storms, and the Polar Cell supposedly recirculates it north and drops it smack dab on the Pole as a polar high, which we have almost never seen this summer. Instead we have polar lows, with warm air rising right at the Pole, where it is impossible to flow north because you are as far north as you can get.

What goes up has to come down, but trying to get my mind around the dynamic has me a bit cross-eyed. The dynamic seems a sort of Polar anti-cell, but there’s a problem engineering an anti-cell. Having a high pressure on the Pole with a string of lows running around the cold-front periphery is more or less stable, but having a low on the Pole with a string of high pressures around the edge is unstable. Someone needs to inform Mother Nature it can’t be done, so She’ll stop messing with my brain.

One concept passing through my skull involves how a summer thundershower can cool a summer day twenty degrees, simply by bringing air up, condencing the moisture, and bringing it back down. (Why this doesn’t heat the air, like a Chinook coming down from a mountain range, is an interesting topic.) I’m watching to see if the current polar low cools the air like a summer shower.

Having so much low pressure strung out over the Pole seems like a sign some milder air has managed to get north, and we should see a little thawing. Let’s take a look.

NEW CAMERAS  —Hints of a thaw?—

We are running out of time in the melt-season, but the northern camera shows temperatures around freezing, with the snow looking softened and the melt-water pools to the left back in a thawed state, though the pool to the lower right hasn’t reappeared yet. Further south, Buoy 2014E: is reporting + 0.15° C, which is a thaw, albeit not much of a thaw.

The crack behind the “cork” has closed, at least to the left.


Our southern Buoy is also right at freezing, with conjunct  Buoy 2013F: reporting +0.13° C, which is warm enough to make the surface of our larger, frozen melt-water puddle look damp.  At some point there must have been some light snow blowing about, for the melt-water rivulet at the top of that larger puddle has filled in again. That is a place I watch, to see activity.



Apparently our mobile scrap heap decided it wanted to be like all the other buoys, and is heading west and south in a desperate attempt to be conventional, unaware it is too weird to ever fit in with the norm. It wound up at 84.255°N, 16.138°E.  Winds slacked off below 10 mph for the middle of the period, but rose back to above 15 mph at the end.

Temperatures rose above freezing sometime between six and nine PM yesterday, and continued to slowly rise. The 24 hour period’s low was -0.6°C at noon yesterday, and the high was +0.5°C at noon today.

Pressures rose to 1001.1 mb at 6:00 PM yesterday before sliding back to 998.3 mb at noon.


DMI2 0801B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0801B temp_latest.big (1)

I’m watching with interest, as the next polar storm develops. The winds don’t look too bad, at this point, but the antics of temperatures will be worth taking notes about.


The northern camera shows the cloudy thaw is creeping along. The lower right corner shows hints of our meld melt-water puddle reappearing.  However temperatures are less than a half degree above freezing


Our southern camera also has temperatures just a hair above freezing. Signs of thaw are very slight. Nearby buoys also are above freezing, but just barely.



DMI2 0802 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0802 temp_latest.big (1)

At this point models suggest that, despite ingesting “Stepperthird” and “Guszip,”, “Stepperson” will not get all that intense, (only down around 995 mb), and will wobble away towards Severnaya Zemlya  (the islands separating Kara Sea from Laptev Sea) around midweek.  My main focus will be whether it has a cooling effect or not. It may spread some sea-ice south into the Kara Sea.


DMI2 0802 icecover_current_new

NEW CAMERAS  —Slight freeze and a crack widens—

Our northern view shows signs of slight surface thawing, and or melt-water pool in the lower right corner has reappeared as the slightest spot. However don’t forget melting is occurring on the underside of the ice, and will continue until air temperatures drop at least to the freezing point of salt water (roughly -1.5° at this time of year) and likely until it gets below -5.  The surface of the ice can be at -5° while only a few inches down the ice “remembers” the summer, and is at -1°.

The crack behind the yellow “cork” has reopened slightly.  It appears to continue behind the pressure ridge to the central left margin of the picture.

Buoy 2014E: last reported a temperature right at zero, as the graph with this camera shows temperatures have dipped a hair below.



Our southern view also is witnessing signs of slight thawing, however it too has seen temperatures dip just below freezing. The conjunct  Buoy 2013F: is still reporting +0.41° C, but the Army mass balance buoys are only updated twice a day.  Likely having the winds drop to nearly calm and bits of blue sky appear above as the sun sinks towards its low-point at midnight is allowing some radiational cooling.





When the ice starts to crack up and spread out like this, it actually increases the “extent.”  The “extent” would only drop if the ice became so spread out that it created a situation where there was more than 85% water and less than 15% ice.  Therefore “extent” graphs can create the illusion that ice is increasing when in fact it is simply more spread-out.  So far this summer the ice has been less spread-out and more compacted than prior summers, but perhaps that is about to end.

Just as a rough guess I’d estimate 3-6 inches of ice is above water (not including the thicker pressure ridge). Assuming it is 4 inches, and remembering that 9/10th of an iceberg is under water, 36 inches of ice is submerged.

This is the sort of ice a gale can bash and smash and break into smaller pieces.  It doesn’t look at this point as if “Stepperson” is going to be such a summer gale. In the summer of 2012 such a gale led to a lot of bergs melting, but last summer a similar gale led to ice being stirred about but not melting. This suggested to me that the water wasn’t as warm. It would be good to get a gale this August so we could be scientific and do a proper comparison, but Mother Nature doesn’t always give a fig about scientific procedure. The Creator created science, and she is it.


Winds of 10-15 mph blew our dilapidated dump steadily south and west to 84.151°N, 15.798°E.

Temperatures remained just above freezing throughout the 21-hour-period, with the high +0.6°C at 3:00 PM yesterday, and the low +0.2°C at 9:00 AM today.

The barometer bottomed out at 997.7 mb at 6:00 PM yesterday and then rose to 1001.3 mb at 9:00 AM today.

AUGUST 2  —DMI Afternoon maps—

DMI2 0802B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0802B temp_latest.big (1)


The lead has closed up, for the time being, at our northern camera. Temperatures have dipped below freezing.


At our southern camera temperatures remain a hair above freezing, and the slow thaw continues.



DMI2 0803 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0803 temp_latest.big (1)

I confess to being a little disappointed by how weak “Stepperson” has turned out to be. I was hoping for a gale, so we could better compare this summer to last summer and the summer of 2012.  However there does seem to be the swirl of subfreezing temperatures I was looking for. By midweek, however, it looks like the low pressure will sag to the Siberian side, and will work with high pressure to the Canadian side to create a Pacific to Atlantic flow, basically from Alaska to the Kara Sea. (That low over northern Canada, which I will call “Art” for the sake of continuity, is expected to wobble south to northern Hudson Bay.)

I am already looking for the next polar storm. Models did have one interesting solution, involving a small Baltic low moving up the west coast of Norway to the Pole, but that has vanished.  Currently the future looks fairly wishy-washy up there.


DMI2 0803 meanT_2014

Before I get too excited about seeing a thaw, I need to remember we saw this last year, and it was immediately followed by the graph dipping below freezing.

NEW CAMERAS  —Thaw on hold—

As “Stepperson” drifts away we are seeing a dip in temperatures below freezing, despite the sun reappearing. The lead has closed, but we know it is lurking there. To the south Buoy 2014E: is reporting  -0.43° C.


Our southern camera seemed to show better prospects of a thaw, as conjunct  Buoy 2013F: reports + 0.02° C, however the graph attached to the camera shows a recent dip below freezing as well.  (Perhaps the sun is just low at midnight.) The melt-water rivulet has yet to reappear at the top of the closest, biggest pool.



NEW CAMERAS  —Thaw in hold of gripping chill—

I was a bit surprised to see the extent of the post-storm-chill at our northern camera today, despite the bright sunshine. Judging from the graph, we struggled from roughly -4.0° to -1.5°. Buoy 2014E: reported in at -1.93°C, and even down at our crunched camera temperatures got as low as -0.8°C. This no way to run a thaw, and I don’t expect to see any signs, and sure enough; the melt-water looks frozen over. (though the lead is cracking open again).

webcam temperature-1week

I assumed our southern camera was a safe distance from the polar low and would escape post-storm effects, but even it’s melt-water shows a skim of ice forming. Conjunct Buoy 2013F: reported in at  -1.43° C. To the west-southwest Buoy 2014B: was reporting a slight thaw north of Bering Strait, at +0.15° C, but to the east-southeast Buoy 2014C: had dipped below freezing to  -0.49° C.


The only decent thaw reported is on the north coast of Greenland, where Buoy 2014D: is reporting a toasty +3.00°C.


Our shattered dream continued south and west until the very end of the period, where it reached 15.552°E at 6:00 AM and then started back east, ending at 84.103°N, 15.584°E. Winds were in the 5-10 mph range.

Temperatures were the surprise, for though we began and ended the 9:00-to-9:00 24-hour-period at +0.2°C, most of the time between was at zero or below, with reports of -0.8°C at both 9:00 PM and midnight.

I jump to the conclusion that this jolt of cold is a post-storm effect, (and not merely diurnal), however when I try to figure out the mechanism for such cold I wind up baffled. (At the Pole storms can’t draw cold from “up north” because there is no place further north than the Pole.) I’ve brought the topic into other discussions at other sites, trying to educate myself further, and have learned interesting things. However all in all I remain baffled, and merely observe without being able to explain.

 AUGUST 3  —DMI Afternoon Maps—
DMI2 0803B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0803B temp_latest.big (1)
DMI2 0804 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0804 temp_latest.big (1)
This morning’s maps have noon at the top, and can be contrasted with the maps just above, which have noon at the bottom. You can see the subfreezing temperatures vanish north of Canada as the sun gets higher. It may only be a degree or two of difference, but that is the difference between water and ice. Also, if you look back to August 1’s morning map, you’ll notice much more sub-freezing air now swirls around the Pole after the passage of “Stepperson,” which still  sits north of Kara Sea in a weakened state.
The new players are high pressure areas which some call semi-permanent features, the Scandinavian High and the Beaufort High. I’ll dub these two manifestations “Scantoo” and “Beauf”. They are going to try to link up over the Pole, pushing “Art” down into Canada and “Stepperson” down into Siberia, though Stepperson may get reinforcements and fight back.
The fading memory of “Gus” has managed to bring fairly mild air up to Svalbard, but the west winds he pushed into Scandinavia have been met by the east winds and push-back of Scantoo.  “Gusson” is down towards the Brutish Isles, “Gusthree” is over to the south east of Iceland,  and the low after Guthree may well be Hurricane Bertha.  All this Atlantic energy may well challenge Scantoo for ownership of Scandinavia, but not until next week.
UK Met Aug 3 16894321
This map shows we are back to having lows blocked in the Atlantic, as Scantoo rules Scandinavia. Over Scotland Gusson is attempting to kick a front into the Baltic, and it may get as far as southern Sweden before retreating.
NEW CAMERAS  —The cold still holds—
The northern camera shows a frozen view with the lead cracked a little open, with nearly calm winds and temperatures down around -2.0° C. To the south towards Fram Strait Buoy 2014E: is checking in at  -1.87° C. No thaw to see here, folks; please move along.
Away towards our other south, our buoy towards Alaska is also cold and it appears to be snowing. Winds are around 10 mph, and conjunct Buoy 2013F: reported in at -0.80 C. No thaw to see here either, folks. Everyone go home.
Our under-insured multi-million dollar scrapheap went back to its conformist aim southwest towards Fram Strait, drifting along in 10-15 mph winds and winding up at 84.005°N, 15.342°E.
Once again the real news were the temperatures, which had struggled back to + 0.2°C at the very end of yesterday’s 24 hour period, at 9:00 AM. That was the high for today’s period as temperatures promptly dropped below freezing and remained there. They reached the low of -2.0°C only six hours later at 3:00 PM, struggled back to -0.6°C in the midnight sun, but the relapsed to -1.6°C at 9:00 AM today.  Roughly 75 miles further northwest Buoy 2014E: reported -1.27° C, and around 325 miles further north our northern camera was around -2.0° C.  So basically the entire Atlantic side of the Pole was cold and not thawing. The warmth around Svalbard hadn’t made it north.
The pressure dipped slowly to 1004.6 mb yesterday evening, then rose slowly all day until the final report, when it jumped up to 1012.5 mb.
Our northern camera endured a cold day, with temperatures stuck below freezing. I checked in from time to time, and the sky alternated between a drab grey and a beautiful mackerel sky.  The light winds began to pick up to 10 mph recently, and the ice may be shifting a bit. Besides the crack right behind our yellow cork, there may be another crack in the far distance, beyond the pressure ridge, and the crack in the pressure ridge itself may be becoming active.
The southern camera also saw some cold temperatures, especially towards midnight. There were some lovely views of the midnight sun as I peeked, each time I passed the computer. It is getting lower, down at 77 degrees latitude, as the days get shorter.  The conjunct Buoy 2013F: was reporting a chilly -2.98° C at that time, but as the sun has climbed towards noon north of Alaska the temperature graph attached to the carmera has shown temperatures fighting their way back to freezing. So we may still see some thawing. (Back in 1979 the thawing continued two weeks beyond the usual end.)
AUGUST 4  —DMI Afternoon Maps—
DMI2 0804B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0804B temp_latest.big (1)
DMI2 0805 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0805 temp_latest.big (1)
 The evening and morning maps above show the diurnal swing of temperatures around the Pole like the hands of a clock. Sub-freezing temperatures continue to be associated with the filling remains of “Stepperson,” while across the Pole the filling remains of “Art” don’t yet show such chill, and seemed to draw mild air north through Baffin Bay to the Pole. At the very bottom of the maps the occluded remains of “Gusson” and “Gusthree” remain stalled and blocked in the Atlantic. The only building low pressure is east of the Laptev Sea, and may reinforse “Stepperson.”
The more interesting features are the high pressure systems. Besides “Scantoo” over the Baltic and “Beauf” towards Alaska, “Gren” is building between Greenland and Svalbard.  The will form an area of ridging across the Pole.
“Scantoo” is interesting, for the same situation that makes Scandinavia lovely in the summer bring bone-chilling blasts in the winter.  Siberia has the greatest swings of temperature in the northern hemisphere, between -50 and +40 Celsius, (-60 and +100 Fahrenheit,) and the same east winds that allow Scandinavian beauties to wear next to nothing in the summer makes them hide in muffling layers in the winter. Therefore, if one wants to spoil beautiful weather with worry, one can worry this summer’s pattern is hinting at next winter’s pattern.  A winter of east winds would be very unlike last winter’s southwest flow.
When summer patterns hint at winter patterns there is usually a period of transition, which gives one the sense the pattern has changed when it hasn’t.  In the USA a cold summer often has a delightful, warm autumn before the cold returns with winter’s teeth. I’m not sure the same thing happens in northeast Europe, but I’m keeping an eye out for it.
One thing I’m watching for is hinted at by the weak low pressure separating “Scantoo” from “Gren.”  When lows can’t get through the blocking Scandinavian High they tend to be squeezed south through Spain, and also to come leaking over the top. It is the northern track that hints at a transitional storm track that appears along the Siberian coast in the fall. The air gets cold over the ice to the north, and the mainland to the south, and the area of open water along the Siberian coast becomes a strip of warmth and moisture storms like to run along.
In any case these are things I’m watching for.
I was expecting this as an after-effect of “Stepperson”, though I am still unsure how it comes about. Now, with high pressure replacing the low, there will likely be a bounce back. However we are rapidly approaching our final chance to see decent thawing, and nearing the period when all the melting comes from beneath the ice.
DMI2 0805 meanT_2014 (click to enlarge)
DMI2 0805 icecover_current_new (click to enlarge)
The current dip in the graph demonstrates how little the graph responds to air temperatures. Largely it responds to winds and the melt of ice from below. “Stepperson” failed to blow ice into the Laptev Sea, and ice also has been shifted away from the coast of Alaska. The uptick in the PDO does seem to be allowing warmer water in through Bering Strait, however the down-tick of the AMO allows ice on the the north coast of Svalbard, where there wasn’t ice during the depths of the past winter.
I’m expecting this graph to soon level off. We’ll see.
NEW CAMERAS   —cold relenting—
Temperatures have eased up towards freezing at our northern Camera. Winds have picked up to 18 mph and the ice is showing signs of movement at the pressure ridge. Towards Fram Strait, Buoy 2014E: reported a rise to -0.30° C.
Our southern camera is also showing signs of thaw. The conjunct Buoy 2013F: reported +0.32 C. However southwest towards Being Strait Buoy 2014B: showed a surprising cold -1.04 C, and to the east Buoy 2014C: came in at a chilly -2.44 C. So some cold air is still around.
Our former provider of vistas crossed 84 degrees latitude (which it had such a hard time staying across last year) and continued steadily south, but its westward progress stopped at 3:00 yesterday afternoon at 15.318°E, and we headed southeast to end at 83.929°N, 15.827°E at 9:00 AM today. It is a pity the camera doesn’t work, for if it did we might see the mountains of Svalbard at some point before the winter darkness falls.
Temperatures, which had spent most of two days below freezing, rose from a low of -1.6°C at the start of our 24-hour-period, edged above freezing at midnight, and reached the high of +0.5°C at 6:00 AM, before slumping back slightly to +0.2°C at 9:00 AM.
The winds picked up from around 9 mph to 15 mph, as the pressure crested at 1014.4 mb at 6:00 PM yesterday and then slid down to 1010.6 mb at 9:00 AM. As with a mid-latitude high pressure cell, as pressures started to fall temperatures started rise.
NEW CAMERAS  —Contrasting views—
Our northern camera has the sort of turquoise and silver view I originally turned to the North Pole camera to see, back before politics spoiled the formerly safe topic of weather.  There is a fog bow  to the left, which indicates we have slipped below freezing after a period of thaw. The landscape beyond the pressure ridge has shifted to the left, as winds stiffened to 18 mph for a while, but now they are dropping off towards nearly calm conditions, and with clear skies temperatures may dip as radiational cooling occurs, with the sun so low. The shadows are getting longer, because, alas, summer doesn’t last forever.
I think that, despite the thaw, some wet snow fell when I wasn’t watching. Also the yellow “cork” is standing up straighter, though don’t ask me why.  Judging from the shadows, my best guess is that we are looking northeast,  towards the North Pole, which is only 120 miles away, slightly right of the center horizon.
Also judging from the shadows, a small robot stands atop our camera with a hammer in one hand and a snow stake in the other. It is good to see our tax dollars working so hard.
Our southern camera has no turquoise and no silver. It is just the gray grayness we’ve seen far too much of this summer. Thawing is underway, and though the temperatures are just above freezing at two meters above the ice, they are likely warmer five meters up. A snow-eater fog is adding to the melt. Conjunct Buoy 2013F: was reporting +0.21 C, but the fog releases latent heat when it condenses on the ice, and you get more thawing than you’d imagine was possible from two-tenths of a degree.
Earlier, when I peeked in passing, I noticed the melt-water rivulet had reappeared between the large pool in the right foreground and the smaller pool in the central distance to the right of the yellow robot. Now that rivulet has vanished, but this time it is not due to cold. I think the water of our pool has found a new exit, and the level of the pool in the right foreground has lowered.
webcam AUGUST 5  —DMI Afternoon Maps—
DMI2 0805B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0805B temp_latest.big (1)
AUGUST 6  —DMI Morning Maps—
DMI2 0806 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0806 temp_latest.big (1)
No time to write.
Northern camera cold again. Buoy 2014E: at  -1.63 C
 Southern Buoy thaw ending?. Conjunct Buoy 2013F: at +0.21 C but may not have updated. Graph attached to camera shows dip below freezing. Wet lens. Can’t tell if it is snow or rain.
The ice our lost opportunity floats with continued resolutely south towards Svalbard, but the longitudinal motion again switched, achieving 16.050°E at 9:00 PM yesterday and then heading back west, winding up at 83.812°N, 15.878°E at the end of our 24-hour-period, at 9:00 AM today.
With winds from the north our latest attempt to thaw again was short lived. Our high temperature of +0.2°C was once again at the very start of our period, and once again we spent most of the entire period below freezing, bottoming out at -1.3°C at midnight, bouncing back to -0.4°C at 6:00 AM, and then sagging slightly to -0.6°C at 9:00 AM. Need I say it?  (“Heck of a way to run a thaw.”)
Winds were brisk much of the period, a little over 15 mph, but slowed to under 7 mph at the end.  The pressure steadily rose to 1017.6 mb.
AUGUST 6  —DMI Afternoon Maps—
DMI2 0806B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0806B temp_latest.big (1)
The low “Stepperson” has been repressed into the Kara Sea as briefly the high “Beauf” has conquered the Pole. Briefly we have a textbook polar cell.  However the low in the east of the Laptev Sea (“Stepperfour”) is likely to be slung right across the pole to Greenland, so “Beauf’s” victory is likely to be short lived.
Over Scandinavia “Scantoo” is not hanging as tough as high pressure did earlier in the summer, and low pressure looks likely to make inroads both along the northern, arctic coast of Scandinavia, and in the Baltic Sea.
While the isobars suggest a flow from Bering Strait to the Pole, little warmth seems to be coming north on it.
UK Met Aug 6 16978032
 The map looks a lot like the summer’s blocks, with the occluded remains of Gusson and Gusthree blocked by Scantoo, however the Atlantic front has pushed further east into the Baltic than it could manage in the summer. An interesting feature to watch is that little ripple of low pressure crossing under the block to the lower left of the map. Some models are showing this ripple heading east nearly to Spain, and then taking a sharp left up the English Channel into the North Sea, not as an autumn gale, but as a hint summer can’t last forever.
NEW CAMERAS  —Gray and cold—
The outlook for thaw is rather bleak at the northern camera. Fresh snow seems to have dusted the few signs of melt we had, and the attached temperature graph is down near -5.0°C .  To the south Buoy 2014E: reported  -4.31° C (I think at 1200z). Winds have slacked off and the ice in the closest pressure ridge looks less active.
Our southern view at least has some water rippling in the increasing 13 mph wind, though it looks suspiciously like it is freezing around the edges.  But perhaps the outlet will freeze and the pool can get deeper again. The conjunct Buoy 2013F: last reported  -0.17° C, and the graph attached to the camera looks a hair below freezing as well, (and a hair makes all the difference between melting and freezing.)
DMI2 0807 icecover_current_new
This latest uptick in the extent graph brings us close to normal. (The gray line.) What is the big deal about being normal?
AUGUST 7   —DMI Morning Maps—
DMI2 0807 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0807 temp_latest.big (1)
The high pressure “Beauf”, and the Pacific-to-Atlantic flow between Beauf and the retreating “Stepperson” and advancing “Stepperfour” on the Siberian coast, is the main feature of these maps. You can see some milder air being drawn towards the Pole from Bering Strait, and even a little pocket of +5° air moving north. The clash between that milder air and colder air will fuel “Stepperfour’s” growth and advance.  As Stepperfour pushes Beauf back towards Alaska, Beauf’s clockwise flow likely will drag the cold air from the Atlantic side of the Pole along the coasts of Greenland and Canada, and back to Alaska.
“Scantoo” looks weak over Scandinavia, and will not defend them from Atlantic influences. Warm air has made it into Barents Sea, but looks likely to retreat.  There is warm air in the east and west of Eurasia, but cold air in the middle, as this Dr. Ryan Maue map from Weatherbell shows:
DMI2 0807 cmc_t2m_arctic_1 (click twice to fully enlarge)
The concentration of cold around the Pole has led to another down-tick in the DMI temperature graph. The current invasion of milder air from the Pacific may represent our last chance for a decent thaw. It will be interesting to watch Stepperfour, and see if it uplifts that mild air and turns it into post-storm cooling.
DMI2 0807 meanT_2014 (click to enlarge)
 NEW CAMERAS   —Last chance for thaw?—
The northern view is most definitely bone-chilling. The temperature graph is even colder than last night, down near -6.0 .  It is interesting to note this cold is entirely home grown, and it grew despite the fact the sun never sets. Winds remain light, around 5 mph, and in the past half hour clear skies have faded. I think rather than high clouds a sort of ice-fog is forming.
Our southern view is spoiled by what I think is frost on the lens. (The old North Pole Camera had a fish-eye lens that was better at allowing you to figure out what was spoiling the view.) The camera seems to be in a small pocket of sub-freezing temperatures, and the milder air moving up from the Pacific hasn’t reached it yet. (The Army buoys still seem to have yesterday’s temperatures, but they show this buoy as the only buoy in the area below freezing.)
 NEW CAMERAS  —Now this is more like it—
I’m busy today, but when I saw these views as I passed my computer I figured I just had to share them.  The northern view shows the ice-fog moving off, and dazzling sunshine.  Temperatures are still cold.
The southern view also shows sunshine, as the lens melts clean of what apparently was snow, as a fresh snow-cover blankets the scene.  Under the clear sky, with the sun near its midnight low, temperatures have dropped to around one below zero. As the sun gets higher the snow could make some nice melt-water for some decent pools.  However, for people who stress “albedo,” the fresh snow is reflecting away a lot of heat.
Average ice thickness highest in five years
Neven PIOMAS Volume over Area 6a0133f03a1e37970b01a511f1118d970c
I lifted the above graph from Neven’s “Arctic Sea Ice Blog”, which seems a fairly good site, as long as you can overlook an Alarmist bias. I don’t mind bias, being biased myself, as long as one doesn’t “adjust” facts. And so far the site hasn’t struck me as one that ignores reality. It is at
The graph shows the ice is returning to the levels it was at before the “death spiral” got so much press. I think it is largely due to a blip in the AMO towards the “cold” phase. If we blip back towards the “warm” phase maybe we can get back to watching ice melt, for a few more years, before it shifts to the “cold” phase for a longer 20-30 year stay.
Interestingly the PSO shifted to its “cold” phase a few years ago, and ice started increasing in the Bering Straits, however it is going through a “warm” blip as the Atlantic blips cold, and there is more melt on the Pacific side. It likely will shift  back to cold soon, as the “warm pool” southeast of Alaska shows signs of wearing thin.
When both the AMO and PDO are in their “cold” phases we’ll see some major growth in sea-ice, or so I think. And what does all this have to do with CO2?  Absolutely nothing. And that is the joke being played on humanity.
 Our litterbug’s dream continued south and west to 83.808°N, 15.354°E on a light northerly breeze of around 10 mph, as temperatures plunged to levels that freeze salt water. Because the melting ice is close to being fresh water, the water at the surface freezes at a higher temperature than most ocean water (unless you include the northeastern parts of the Baltic Sea, that are practically fresh,) so sea ice can start to form when temperatures are as high as -1.5°C. During this 24-hour-period we began at -0.6°C at 9:00 AM yesterday, but had sunk to -1.6°C by 3:00 PM and -2.4°C at 6:00 PM, and remained below the freezing point of salt water to the end of our period at 9:00 AM, when temperatures were at the day’s low of -3.4°C. This is no way to run a thaw.
DMI2 0807B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0807B temp_latest.big (1)
The high pressure “Beauf” has been backed off the Pole as “Stepperfour” advances from the Laptev Sea. It looks like he (or she?) is bringing a glob of warm air along, to dent the surprising area of subfreezing air that has grown over the Pole. Such warm air is like the gasoline that fuels these polar lows, and when it runs out they weaken.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how these lows might create the post-storm cold spells that seem to follow a storms demise.  So far I have no answer.
It still looks nice and warm in Scandinavia, but the blocking high “Scantoo” has backed off, and left the area more open to Atlantic invasions than it has been all summer. Judging from afar, they have had a nice one, unless it was too hot for them.  Perhaps someone from that area can inform me what its been like.
NEW CAMERAS  —Last chance for thaw?—
Both our cameras have shown a recovery from the startling chill of earlier today. Our northern camera has likely had the cold shunted south towards Svalbard, Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago (its amazing how many directions are “south” up there) as “Stepperfour” brings warmer air.  The wind has picked up from nearly calm to around 10 mph, and it looks like the lead behind the yellow “cork” is opening up again.
Our southern camera shows the fresh snow already looking slushy and the largest melt-water pool refilled, with the melt-water rivulet at its top again apparent. The water level may drop abruptly, as it did a couple days ago, as it had some sort of unseen outlet, (perhaps off-camera), which may have filled with slush and frozen,  When that plug melts the draining may resume.
On the other hand, because the winds have slacked off and are a light air of 5 mph, if the skies stay this clear we could see radiational cooling when the sun sinks down near the horizon at midnight. Even though the sun doesn’t actually set, it can get cold enough to see some refreezing.
DMI2 0808 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0808 temp_latest.big (1)
Extent CFS V2 Aug 8 sieMon
This model is now predicting a September minimum of 6 million km2, down from an earlier prediction of over 7 million, and sees that minimum as being 0.3 km2 below “normal,” where before it was saying the minimum would be more than 0.6 above “normal.”  This is a clear demonstration of how badly models do predicting things more than ten days away, in the future. (I’ll take the brains of Joseph D’Aleo and Joe Bastardi at WeatherBELL over a computer any day.)  (The CFS V2 model was also predicting we’d have a super El Nino by now, last spring, as I recall.)
I’m sticking with my prediction of a minimum extent of 6.1 million km2, though that may be too high. I am counting on the packed up ice being spread out, which hasn’t been happening.
Our northern camera is seeing our best thawing in a while, with temperatures nudging above freezing, a steady wind of 10-15 mph, and the ice in the background becoming active again. It is likely colder at our crunched camera than up here near the Pole, and Buoy 2014E: at 84.79 N,1.70 E is coming in at + 0.05° C, which is colder than the vista our camera  is looking across.
Of especial interest to me is the movement of bergs along the the more distant pressure ridges, along the horizon.  If this solid sheet of ice breaks into separate floes it could increase “extent” (though not “area”) and make my prediction of 6.1 million km2 at the minimum look less dunderheaded. (And looking less dunderheaded has always been a goal of mine.)
webcam Our southern view has gotten cold again, as the sun sinks towards the horizon at midnight, without ever setting. When the sun gets very low a glassy patch of open water actually reflects more incoming radiation than the ice and snow, because the ice and snow has all sorts of bumps and nooks that catch light like the faces of mini-cliffs. However our conjunct Buoy 2013F: was reporting -2.22 C, Buoy 2014B: north of the Bering Straits was reporting  -1.69 C,  and Buoy 2014C: to our east-southeast was reporting  -1.24 C.
Even before the midnight sun sets you start to get a skim of ice on your water bucket, during the “night,” and I recall a commentator who was stationed up there describing how the sight of that skim of ice made you hurry to finish your summertime jobs.
Melt-water reflecting incoming radiation (and being beautiful about it)
Our seeing-eye-dog weather station, dragging our poor, blinded camera face-first across northern wastes, yelped joyfully southward as north winds brought milder air right over the top of the Earth. As a sort of warm front passed and winds freshened to 20 mph, our westward motion ceased at 15.275°E at 3:00 PM yesterday, and we finished at 83.682°N, 15.580°E.
Temperatures rose steadily from -3.4°C at 9:00 AM yesterday, getting above freezing after midnight and ending the 24-hour-period at +0.4°C,  at 9:00 AM today.
Pressures, which had crested at a high 1025.4 mb at 6:00 AM yesterday, sank steadily to 1015.8 mb at 6:00 AM today, before rebounding slightly to 1016.8 mb.
AUGUST 9  —DMI Morning Maps—
DMI2 0809 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0809 temp_latest.big (1)
(Sorry about missing last night’s maps, but sometimes you have to put family before ice.)
“Stepperfour” is weakening as it swings across the Pole towards a revived “Art” in northernmost Hudson Bay. (Yes, I understand it is a stretch to call that feature “Art,” but there is a faint connection, and it is fun to trace the connections all the way back to “Art’s” origins as Hurricane Arthur whacking Cape Hatteras weeks ago.) With Steppenfour moving across the Pole so swiftly I’m wondering if the post-storm cooling might move across as well; there is little doubt it did bring warming across the Pole.
Now my eyes turn to the evolution of “Steppenwolf” from the remains of Stepperson down in Siberia south of the Kara Sea. If you can animate some models there is a sort of Tarzan swinging over Scandinavia that is fun to watch, even if it is merely a figment of model-imagination.
The models see two lows moving up the English Channel into the North Sea,  the second of which holds memories of Hurricane Bertha. Although they both get sucked back into the North Atlantic occlusion, that is like Tarzan’s right arm holding the last tree, and Tarzan’s left arm is represented by low pressure getting up and over Norway, and then swooping down into Barents Sea.  Then that low occludes and gets stuck, but the process repeats, as yet another low  Tarzans ahead, and swoops down and then up into the Kara Sea.  It is that low swinging up into the Kara Sea that gives Steppenwolf the power to push up towards the Pole, next weekend. (Unless, as I suggested, this is all a figment of a model’s imagination.)
The high pressure “Beauf” dominates the Pacific side of the Pole, but on its other side a Pacific low is crashing into Alaska,  and should be watched. (Call that low “Ska.”)
NEW CAMERAS  —Thawing—
The temperature graph attached to our northern camera shows temperatures flirting with freezing, bouncing to either side, as Buoy 2014E: last reported +0.03° C and our crunched camera reported +0.40°C. Briefly, at least, we are seeing a thaw, although I expect to see refreezing in the wake of “Stepperfour”.  Winds remain brisk, between 13 and 18 mph, and while this is not a gale it can shift the ice around.  Unfortunately light fog is obscuring our view of the more distant pressure ridges. There is currently no movement of the near pressure ridge and lead. (What I like to do is save pictures from close intervals on separate tabs, and then click back and forth between the tabs, which allows any changes to appear as slight jumps in an otherwise frozen scene. You do have to be careful not to be fooled by moving shadows when the sun is out.)
Our southern camera shows very little change from yesterday. There is a slight change in the skim of ice around the edges of the big pool; either it melted a little or the water rose a half inch.
The view we witness has been going through diurnal swings of temperature under beautiful blue skies.  The days show warming, and the last report from conjunct Buoy 2013F: had temperatures up at +0.80 C. I think that is a 0000z update, which is early afternoon over our southern camera.  All nearby buoys are also above freezing, with Buoy 2014B: at +0.23 C and Buoy 2014C: at +0.35 C. Again, I think these are 0000z updates, and represent the “heat of the day”. Our picture shows a later time, with the chill of the midnight sun growing, and indeed the temperature graph shows a dip towards frost.
It looks like the midnight-sun-chill will not be as strong today, though the winds remain light, and perhaps we will see more thawing as the sun rises higher. We are on the south side of the high pressure “Beauf” in our southern view, and there is a chance warmth may work north from Alaska, though also a chance Beauf will circulate cold air around from the Pole. I don’t expect the sunshine to last, especially as the Pacific storm “Ska” nudges into Beauf from the south.
I din’t much like this, because a warm Hudson Bay protects my corner of the Planet from arctic blasts, early in the winter. If it stays cold it is likely to freeze over faster, and that makes it more possible for the cruelest arctic invasions, (straight down from the north and evading the warming of the Great Lakes), to hit us earlier in the winter. (In New Hampshire the old-timers called such blasts, “The Montreal Express.”)
By the way, I lifted this nice overlay of two Canadian Ice Service maps from an interesting site, focusing on polar bears and their habitat, you can see here:
Our dismantled technology, solar array still collecting, and dispensing occasional jolts, causing passing puffins to leap into the air with loud squawks of consternation,  drifted steadily south and east in winds that ranged between ten and twenty mph, winding up at 83.546°N, 16.299°E.
Temperatures stayed stable and just above freezing, sinking to a low of +0.2°C at 6:00 PM yesterday, and rising to a high of +0.6°C at 9:00 AM today.
Pressures sank to 1009.1 mb at 3:00 AM and then rose back to 1010.3 mb at 9:00 AM.
AUGUST 9  —DMI Afternoon Maps—
DMI2 0809B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0809B temp_latest.big (2)
Stepperfour much weaker. High pressure building over Svalbard. Tomorrow will tell, in terms of post-storm home-grown cold.
NEW CAMERAS —Changing weather—
Our northern camera shows mild temperatures as Stepperfour passes, with winds remaining around 15 mph and temperatures apparently mild, roughly +1.00° judging from the graph, while south of Stepperfour Buoy 2014E: reported  -0.32° C even as our crunched camera reported +0.60°C. Winds are likely swirling about.  There is less movement of the ice in our picture than I expected.
Our southern camera experienced a cold night, with conjunct Buoy 2013F: reporting  -1.59° C. The diurnal swing also appeared in Buoy 2014B: to the west, at -0.58° C,  and in Buoy 2014C: to the east, at  -1.72° C. All three were above freezing when I looked this morning.
Since these Army mass balance buoy reports it looks like winds at our southern camera have risen swiftly from near calm to 15 mph, the temperature of the stirred air has risen to near freezing, and our lying eyes can see the turquoise and silver is gone, and gray skies are back. The weather; it is a-changing.
DMI2 0810 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0810 temp_latest.big (1)
“Stepperfour” has faded across the Pole into “Art” at the top of Baffin Bay, and together they will head down the bay towards the south tip of Greenland. On the wake of Stepperfour is subfreezing air, and I suspect the next map will show a colder Pole. Back on the other side of the Pole the remains of “Stepperson” lurk south of the Kara Sea and are beginning the genesis of “Steppenwolf,” which will move towards the Pole because the high pressure systems on the Pacific and Atlantic sides are too gutless to stand atop the earth and obey the textbooks, and be a proper Polar Cell. (If Steppenwolf does develop, it will be positioned to blow a lot of ice into the Kara and Barents Sea, and eventually into Fram Strait, which could lead to an uptick in the “extent” graphs, however I must confess I don’t trust the models. They are not all that good when it comes to handling unusual stuff.)
The big event is in the north Atlantic, where the dullard “Gusthree” is being replaced by a North Sea low, (“Preberth”,) which then will be replaced by “Bertha,” who looks to become rather vigorous for August (975 mb) and furthermore able to occlude right off Norway, creating an underneath-storm-track able to shoot lows into the Baltic Sea, and transform Scandinavia’s weather.
The purpose of these maps is to show the remains of hurricane Bertha swinging up over England as a North Atlantic low, becoming a North Sea low and developing some gale force winds, and then occluding off Norway.  The top map shows the current situation, the middle map shows the situation in 24 hours, and the bottom map shows the situation in 48 hours. Notice the surge into the Baltic, and also the remains of “Preberth” Tarzaning over the top of Norway.
UK Met Aug 10 A 17094735
UK Met Aug 10 B 17096947
UK Met Aug 10 C 17098030 (Click these maps to enlarge them)
Our northern camera shows little happened during our period of thawing. The melt-water pools are no bigger, and the bit of a melt-water pool we saw earlier in the summer in the right foreground never reappeared. Temperatures dipped below freezing around 0000z but have recovered to around zero. Buoy 2014E: reported in at -1.31 C at 0000z.  I confess I didn’t expect the temperatures to recover, and still expect them to show a post-storm decline. Winds have slacked off to 5-10 mph. Though the near pressure ridge looks reletively unchanged, the jumble of ice towards the horizon looks different, now that the fog is gone.
Our southern camera has been through a very cold night I wasn’t expecting. The conjunct Buoy 2013F: came in at  -3.37 C, and to the east Buoy 2014C: also came in at a chilly -3.91 C, however to the west Buoy 2014B: north of Bering Strait was coming in at more modest -0.19 C.  I suppose that is where the milder air I was expecting is hiding.
The temperature graph attached to the camera doesn’t yet show any daytime rise and, though winds are down around 5 mph, I think the reason our melt-water pool looks so glassy is because it has frozen over.
By opening this picture and the above picture (from 20 minutes earlier) onto new tabs, and then switching back and forth between the two tabs, I am able to discern changes, and see if the more distant ice is moving. Currently it isn’t, though the most distant bergs are appearing out of a haze.
Our lost vision of beauty and wonder drifted on, primarily to the east with southward progress slowing, in winds diminishing from 15 to 10 mph, winding up at 83.523°N, 17.305°E.
Thaw continued, with temperatures fairly stable, dropping from +0.6°C at 9:00 AM yesterday, briefly touching zero at 9:00 PM, and then rising to +0.5°C at 9:00 AM today.
Pressures also remained fairly flat, dropping to 1010.0 mb at 9:00 PM yesterday before rising to 1010.8 mb at 9:00 AM today.
The satellite shows the ice remains pulverized but packed around our hulk. Svalbard lies to our south, with its north cape at roughly latitude 80 and its west coast at roughly longitude 11.
I didn’t get around to posting last night, as I was fishing on a lake with my grandson as the sun went down. We have a family reunion at a campground at this time every summer, and I sneak in these posts when I hustle home to feed goats, pigs, chickens and a rabbit. (One of these days I’ll be rich and a farm hand will do all that stuff.)
DMI2 0811 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0811 temp_latest.big (1)
“Steppenwolf” is not waiting for a piece of “Bertha” to come Tarzaning over the top of Norway, and instead is pushing towards the Pole without reinforcements. Judging from its isobars, it could spread ice out a bit in the north of Barents and Kara Seas.
As I expected there is some cold air in the wake of Stepperfour’s cross-polar jaunt. I think there would be more cold air if it stalled on the Pole and filled there. It now has been absorbed into “Art” and they in turn are being absorbed into another storm down in northern Hudson Bay.
The warmest air of the summer has moved into Bering Strait, but seems unlikely to invade northward.  Subfreezing air has been swung down to Alaska’s coast by the high pressure “Beauf,” even as milder air has been swung around north of there.
NEW CAMERAS  —Awaiting developments—
Although temperatures at our crunched camera last came in at  +0.50°C, and Buoy 2014E: came in at +0.39° C three hours later, this camera views a world 400 miles further north, only two degrees from the Pole on the Canadian side, and temperatures are graphed below freezing for the past 12 hours, and currently look to be at -2.00°.
It is getting late. Summer is slipping away, and I’m staring to think we won’t see a decent melt-water pool this year. The best chance for action will kikely be a big storm, which could crack up the ice. It has looked like it has been trying to crack up, but simply has no room to spread out.
Our southern camera has more hope of seeing thawing, especially as some fairly mild air lies not far away, down in Bering Strait. We did rebound from yesterday’s unexpected cold, and  conjunct Buoy 2013F: reported we made it to +0.23 C°, though since then the graph shows we recently dipped swiftly down to roughly -1.00°. Our larger melt-water pool looks like the skim of ice melted, and hasn’t yet refrozen. Winds are light and variable.
Our conjunct buoy was the lone thawing report. West towards Bering Strait Buoy 2014B: reported  -1.06 C ° at the same time, while to the east Buoy 2014C: reported -0.08 C°.
Models show the high pressure “Beauf” that is over this camera eventually shifts east along the Canadian arctic coast. I suppose the question then becomes, can it draw milder Pacific air north in its wake. We are running out of time for thawing at this camera as well.
In winds that continued to slacken, and that at times were calm, our hunk of mayhem and carnage continued slowly east, leaving a serpentine wake,  moving south, north, south, north and south again, and ending .003° further north than it began, at 83.529°N, 17.796°E.
Temperatures bounced about, beginning at +0.5°C at 9:00 AM yesterday, but immediately sinking to -0.7°C at noon, and reaching the days low at  -1.2°C at 6:00 PM. Then, making a mockery of diurnal variation, temperatures rose and snuck above freezing briefly at +0.2°C at midnight, before sinking to a second low of -0.9°C at 6:00 AM, before bouncing back to  -0.2°C as the 24-hour-period ended at 9:00 AM.
When considering this sort of yo-yo-ing temperature antics, it helps to remember the sea-water is below freezing, often lower than -1.0°. When winds get slight pools of air form, some water-cooled, and some sun-warmed, and they waft about contending for space. Often the cool air wins simply because it is colder and sinks.  The air may be milder only fifty feet up.
Pressures continued steady, bottoming out at 6:00 PM yesterday at 1009.3 mb, but ending the period only 0.3 mb higher than we began at 1011.1 mb.
AUGUST 11  —DMI Afternoon Maps—
 DMI2 0811B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0811B temp_latest.big (1)
I haven’t had time to look at the models.  I see “Steppenwolf” looks healthy, on the coast of the Kara Sea, and I suppose that is “Bertha” at the bottom of the map off Norway. I didn’t expect to see that micro-low off the northeast coast of Greenland. Hmm. As I recall, the high pressure “Beauf” was suppose to be sliding in that general direction. Mischief afoot?
Midnight is at the top of the map, so I expect the sub-freezing temperatures up that way. I actually was expecting more cold between Greenland and the Kara Sea, in the wake of “Stepperfour,” than I see. I also thought it might be a little colder over Scandinavia.
However, all in all, I approve of the current situation. Surely the Creator of this amazing planet will take solace in that, as most people don’t seem to thank Him for much of anything.
However I do not approve of the end of my brief vacation, camping.
NEW CAMERA  —Surprising Mildness—
I highly recommend the Army mass-balance site at , as it gives actual data from actual buoys.  My chief complaint is that it only reports at 0000z and 1200z, as best I can tell.  Therefore data may be hours out of date.  However it does give you a glimpse you would otherwise lack.
Currently our northern camera reports temperatures are dipping below freezing, but Buoy 2014E: reports it was +0.16° C at 1200z (I assume; they don’t have a time-stamp,) even as our crunched camera was reporting colder temperatures further south three hours earlier. You put all this current and outdated data in the hopper of the brain and blend it, and the current picture makes more sense. It looks slushy, as if it was recently thawing, but the thaw is over for the moment. Winds are nearly calm, as we sit in a col between two high pressures and two low pressures. It is gray, showing air masses are meeting and mixing.
Our southern camera sees thawing, with conjunct Buoy 2013F: reporting +0.87° C, which is normal for an ordinary melt-season, but unusual for this stunted summer.
In fact five out of the six mass-balance Army buoys, five show thaw, which is typical for melt-season, but the sixth is the  last one I’d expect to show subfreezing temperatures, Buoy 2014B: , which is just north of the open, warm-PDO waters and current mild spell of the Bering Strait. It reports  -0.78° C, which quirks my eyebrow.
AUGUST 11 —DMI Morning Maps—
DMI2 0812 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0812 temp_latest.big (1)
The genesis of “Steppenwolf” continues, with energy swinging over the top of Norway and also approaching from the southeast. In terms of ice “extent” the wind appear to be blowing out of the Laptev Sea’s open waters, so ice will not “spread out,” and extent will diminish over the next week, though there may be some “spreading out” in Barents Sea. It will take a solid week before “Steppenwolf” moves out towards the Pole; at first it will hug the coast.
It looks like Scandinavia will be seeing a transitional, autumnal pattern start to appear, with more rain than they saw in the summer.
Models are showing an interesting solution for what becomes of “Art” as it fades into Hudson Bay. A more vigorous storm will eat it up, move up Baffin Bay and over the top of Greenland, reform off Greenland’s east coast, and then cross over to Norway. (Transitional patterns have new and interesting storm tracks.)
NEW CAMERAS  —Cold north; warm south; what could be more normal?—
Our northern camera gazes across a bleak scene, with temperatures a degree below freezing and winds light.
Our southern camera looks across a slightly milder scene. Conjunct Buoy 2013F: last reported a mild +1.08° C, though temperatures are now dipping as the sun dips to midnight sunset.
 NEW CAMERA  —a couple nice mid-morning pictures
I saw these while passing my computer and wanted to share them. I like the northern camera’s picture because the lighting allows us a good view of the pressure ridge crossing from the middle left margin, behind our “cork” and away into the right distance. This ridge has been active through the summer, like a fault-line running through the earth. The fact it has not yet widened into a big lead demonstrates how the ice is not “spread out,” (which we witnessed at the North Pole Camera, before it became “the crunched camera.”)
Temperatures remain below freezing, though they recently rose as winds became calm.
The southern camera views a scene tinted with sunset hues, reminding me summer is ending, and soon even the noontime sun will be low enough to be rosy, and all day will be a prolonged sunset. Also it reminds me I originally came to look through these cameras to see beauty.
(Just since I saved this picture temperatures dropped below freezing and an ice-fog drifted in on winds less than 5 mph.) (So I’ll include two pictures)
webcam webcam
Our roving wreckage, a pirate with two eye patches, continued its aimless serpentine wander eastwards in near calm, until, towards midnight, it ran into the faintest edge of “Steppenwolf,” still in the process of getting its act together, far away over the coast of the Kara Sea. We swerved south, north and south before the eastward movement abruptly stopped at 9:00 PM, at 17.770°E. By midnight we were back to 17.729°E, but what is interesting is that the wind was reported as being calm. Usually ice responds to wind, and does so rather quickly, however in this case I think we ran into other ice that was being moved by winds further away.  In any case, we began back west, swerving first north and then south, as the calm turned into a 10 mph wind, and we ended the day at  83.505°N, 17.637°E.
Temperatures continued their yo-yo antics.  We began the 27-hour period at -0.2°C, rose to exactly freezing at noon yesterday, and then sank back down to -0.7°C at midnight, before rising as the winds swung around, reaching +0.7°C by the end of the period at noon today.
Pressures remained very steady, beginning at 1011.1 mb, sinking slightly to 1010.3 mb at midnight, and then rising back to 1011.6 mb at noon. Perhaps a ghost-front passed, or perhaps it was merely a diurnal variation.
DMI2 0812B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0812B temp_latest.big (1)
Noon is at the bottom of these maps, and midnight at the top. I expect the subzero readings up on the Pacific side, for they are looking north at the midnight sun near the horizon, looking at it over the top of the earth. I don’t expect the sub-zero readings down on the Atlantic side, for they are looking south at a noontime sun, the same sun but much higher in the sky.  This map is, overall, colder than I expected, and this morning’s map was warmer than I expected. Obviously I have to do some tweaking of my expectations, as the summer grows old.
My focus is on “Steppenwolf,” as it develops in the Kara Sea. I likely am missing things elsewhere. “Bertha” is stalled off Norway, and expected to loop back to the mouth of the Baltic, south of Norway.  It is bringing big changes to Scandinavia. Also the storm west of Greenland, (which I am going to call “Art” although very little of the original “:Art” remains in its makeup), is going to crash into Greenland, and attempt to cross over a 10,000 foot tall icecap, and will undergo all the changes during transit I call “morphistication.”
I suppose I focus on Steppenwolf most because it will shift the most sea-ice.
UK Met Aug 12 17179414
Although Bertha stalled and is occluding north of Scotland, it has driven a cold front all the way into southern Finland. During the height of summer cold fronts had a hard time penetrating the mountains of Norway, and if they did they immediately became warm fronts headed back west.  Now the high that was so hard to budge from the Baltic has retreated to the Black Sea.  It will try to push the cold front back, but will do little more than make the warm front be part of a frontal wave, rippling up the cold front to the east of Finland. Storms never had the audacity to take such a route back in July.
The storm “Art” west of Greenland will undergo morfistication crossing Greenland, and become a low off the east coast. Rather than stalling over Iceland, as storms did in June and July, it will zip across the Atlantic and park in the North Sea as Bertha has done. Likely it will drive more southwest winds into the Baltic.
Even when the high pressure is not parked over the Baltic, the mountains of Norway, (and to a lesser extent the mountains of northeast Finland,) force storms to either undergo morphistication, just as Greenland does, or storms are forced up over the top of Norway. I never really understood what a power and shelter the mountains of Scandinavia are, until this summer. (Not that I understand, but I now have an inkling.)
This surge moving through Scandinavia is on its way to join the genesis of “Steppenwolf” in the Kara Sea.
 NEW CAMERAS   —Nothing new—
I’m just posting some evening pictures for the record. Temperatures at both cameras are below freezing and winds are light.
AUGUST 13  —DMI Morning Maps—
DMI2 0813 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0813 temp_latest.big (1)
If you see the high pressure “Beauf” as the center of the polar cell, displaced towards the Bering Strait, you can see the areas of low pressure as rotating around that cell, though they are stalled, as each is handing off energy to the next. My focus is “Steppenwolf,” on the coast of the Kara Sea, which is sucking energy from the steppes to the south, and also accepting a glob of energy that is coming over the top of Norway from “Bertha”, (the glob will Tarzan down and be joined by another Bertha-glob coming up to the east of the Baltic and Finland.)  Meanwhile Bertha will be accpting a glob kicked across the Atlantic from “Art” west of Greenland. The fourth low, in Alaska, needs a name, so I guess I’ll dub it “Loot”, (for “Aleutian Low”).
Noon is at the top of these maps, and the subfreezing temperatures are diminished up towards the Pacific, though an island of cold surrounds our southern-camera.  Not far to its west is an island of plus-five-degrees isotherms. I imagine the clash between (relative) cold and warmth will weaken that part of Beauf, and the high pressure as an entity will shift towards Alaska and northern Canada, developing a Pacific to Atlantic flow between it and Steppenwolf.
The map below is one of thousands made available by Dr. Ryan Maue at the Weatherbell Professional Site, and costs me less than the price of a cup of coffee each day.  (A week free-trial is available, but watch out, for the maps are addicting.) The map below is from the initial run of the current Canadian “JEM” model, and I’m posting it to illustrate a mistake I have made, and likely will make again.
My mistake is to glance quickly at isobars and use them to guess the flow of the winds. In truth the winds do not follow isobars, as the air in high pressure wants to head for low pressure, and therefore the winds tend to slant across the isobars. In the map below the colors represent the winds speed, but the actual (modeled) flow is shown by the dim gray arrows. (Click  the map two times to fully enlarge it.) 
In the map below, while the isobars suggest the ice is blowing out of the Laptev  Sea, the dim gray lines show the ice is in fact being blown across the northern reaches of that sea, from the East Siberian Sea towards the Kara and Barents Seas.  I imagine this will increase the extent, by turning ice-free water into waters dotted with bergs, and qualifying as “ice-covered” the moment the wandering bergs amount to 15% of the area.
An interesting development is that the ice to the north is so packed that, to push any more that way, there will have to be the sort of gales that can pile ice up as a pressure ridge. It is like an accordion pushed in to its limit, where it can’t be squeezed any more. However the areas to the south allow for much spreading, like an accordion opening out. This may explain today’s uptick in the extent graph, which will be under the Maue map.
DMI2 0813 cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_1DMI2 0813 icecover_current_new 
NEW CAMERA  —Still no thawing—
Our noethern camera views a dreary scene where temperatures are struggling to get back up to freezing after spending more than 24 hours below. Winds are around 5 mph.  Far to the south towards Fram Strait Buoy 2014E: was reporting -1.26° C ten hours ago, as our crunched camera even further south reported +0.70°C.
Our southern camera looks out over a colder and more beautiful scene, as the sun has settled towards the horizon and the ice-fog has lifted. Back at 0000z Buoy 2014B: , west towards Bering Stait, reported +1.13 C, as Buoy 2014C: to our east reported +0.42 C. We were in an island of cold, struggling to get back up to freezing in a cold fog. (0000z is early afternoon at our southern camera.) I don’t think we quite made it, and since then temperatures have fallen under the clear skies.  
It is interesting how low the high clouds look. The stratosphere is much lower at the Pole.
 NEW CAMERAS   —Lunchtime peek—Thaw north—Freeze south—
Our black spot on a pirate’s white page, which some insist is a beauty-mark mole on the fair face of Snow White, drifted steadily south in light breezes of 5-15 mph, wandering west to 17.607°E at 3:00 PM yesterday, and then east to 17.650°E at 9:00 PM, and then west to 17.613°E  at 3:00 AM today, before finally wandering east and winding up at 83.429°N, 17.655°E, as our data only gave us a 21-hour-period that ended at 9:00 AM.
Temperatures peaked at +0.9°C at 3:00 PM yesterday, before the north wind and lowering sun drew the temperatures down to a low of +0.1°C at 3:00 AM. The rising sun hasn’t brought much of a rebound so far, and temperatures are at +0.2°C at 9:00 AM. 
Pressures remain flat, finishing at 1011.3 mb, which is where we were two days ago. We remain betwixt and between.
AUGUST 13  —DMI Afternoon maps—
DMI2 0813B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0813B temp_latest.big (1)
“Steppenwolf” is biding his time in the Kara Sea, as “Bertha” sends low pressure oozing over the top of Norway, and “Art” looks completely blocked by Greenland. The main event it the face off between the high pressure of “Beauf” and the low pressure of “Steppenwolf”.
As seen by our cameras, it is thawing at the Pole and colder 800 miles south, in the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska. I foresee a clash developing as “Beauf” brings cold air from Alaska around to contact milder air “Steppenwolf” is bringing north through the Kara Sea.
NEW CAMERAS  —A milder interlude—
Our northern camera has seen temperatures right at freezing for an extended period, though a pool of sunfreezing air lies towards Svalbard, where Buoy 2014E: reported a chilly  -2.32° C at 1200z, even though our crunched camera reported +0.20°C at 0900z not all that much further south. Winds at our camera remain light, around 2-5 mph. Temperatures may dip, if the skies stay clear.
Our southern camera saw the coldest temperatures this side of the solstice, as the midnight sun rolled along the horizon. The conjunct Buoy 2013F: reported -4.67 C, as towards waters north of Bering Strait Buoy 2014B: came in at  -2.53 C, and to our east Buoy 2014C: spoke of a cold -3.13 C. That was at 1200z, which is the wee hours at our camera. Since then temperatures have rebounded and are flirting with freezing. Interestingly, again as it warmed the scenery grew Gray and foggy. It looks like our larger melt-water pool has a skim of ice again. Winds remain light, 5 mph.
AUGUST 14 —DMI Morning maps—
DMI2 0814 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0814 temp_latest.big (1)
“Steppenwolf” continues to sit in the Kara Sea without moving towards the Pole, as a northern blob of “Bertha” squeezes over the top of Norway to join the fray. The situation is starting to stray from the picture models foretold, and we may be seeing “Steppenwolf” at its strongest. Models now see it moving to the northern Laptev Sea and weakening; it will be interesting to see if an area of cold appears where it fills.  (The energy that might have reinforced Steppenwolf now looks like a successor, “Wolfson,” which might park in the Laptev Sea in the manner Steppenwolf parked in the Kara Sea, next week.) (But that is looking pretty far ahead, and we’ve seen models can’t be trusted this summer.)
“Art” has vanished into the mystery of morfistication as it crosses Greenland. That weak area of low pressure appearing along Greenland’s east coast will slide south, pick up a ripple of energy  
 sneaking under Cape Farewell,  and then move towards Iceland tomorrow, strengthen as it passes Iceland Saturday, be a North Sea low on Sunday, and finally become a major, stalled feature over Scandinavia next week, as the summer high pressure is replaced by an extended period of low pressure.
I can’t figure out what’s up with the scattered pools of subfreezing temperatures swirling around the Pole. Noon is to the top, and there is more cold up that way than I expect, but less cold on the Atlantic side. When I have time I’ll check out some Dr. Ryan Maue maps over at Weatherbell. Though I value the simplicity of the DMI maps, sometimes more detailed, modeled maps show you all sorts of subtle features swirling about. Sometimes it’s too much to understand, being basically chaos, but then at least you know why you don’t understand.
Our northern camera has seen a period of subfreezing temperatures as low as minus 2, with winds picking up slightly to 5-10 mph. There may be no sign of thaw, but the ice is still thinning from beneath, and I’m still watching dfor signs of the ice breaking up and spreading apart. One thing to watch for is dark undersides on clouds along the horizon that don’t move even as the clouds move. I haven’t seen any, but when you see them they indicate patches of open water.
Our southern view shows a thick fog, with winds a steady 8 mph and stirring the fog, and, after a spell of barely thawing (back at 1200z conjunct Buoy 2013F: reported +0.20° C), temperatures are now dipping just below freezing. I don’t think the fog is thick vertically. It looks dark because the sun is low on the horizon.
It is the sheer beauty of pictures such as this one that drew me to the polar cameras in the first place. It is secondary trivia that the temperatures are plunging in the view, and low sun quite obviously isn’t doing any melting at the moment. The politics involved with such trivia is exactly the sort of nonsense I came to the camera to escape.
Our unremembered dream drifted wraith-like south on 5 mph winds from the chilling north, veering and backing and veering and backing and veering and winding up, all in all, a little further east at 83.367°N, 17.528°E.
Temperatures remained steady at +0.2°C from 9:00 AM until 6:00 PM yeaterday, then fell to -0.4°C at midnight, struggled back to -0.1°C at 6:00 AM, and then slumped back to -0.5°C at 9:00 AM.
The pressure remained very steady, finishing at 1011.1mb.
AUGUST 14  —DMI Afternoon Maps—
DMI2 0814B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0814B temp_latest.big (1)
“Steppenwolf” is weakening as it edges eastward in the Kara Sea. It is a bit disappointing. When you give a low a cool name like “Steppenwolf,” you expect more from it. Perhaps the blobs of low pressure tarzaning down from Norway and underneath it will kick some life into the lazy storm, but I’m starting to think the low may be an underachiever. I had hopes it would spread the ice a bit, and save my minimum extent forecast, but it is demonstrating no gratitude towards me for giving it such a cool name. I may rename it “Dunce”, or some such thing, tomorrow.
“Art” is reappearing to the east of Greenland after morphistication, but is still weak.
Midday is at the bottom of the maps, and midnight at the top, so the subfreezing air on the Pacific side is expected, and the cold air north of Greenland a little unexpected.
NEW CAMERA  —(yawn)….nothing new—
The northern camera is flirting with thaw again, after a dive to minus two earlier. The cold air has headed south towards Fram Strait, and Buoy 2014E: just gave us a 0000z report, (it being tomorrow already, there,) of -2.63 °C. 
Not much sign of action at our site. The melt-water pools have receded like sunken eyes.  The crack behind our yellow “cork” looks like it has widened slightly. But with winds only around 5 mph, there’s not much chance in the short term of seeing the excitement of the ice breaking up.
After another chilly period of midnight sun, not quite so cold as yesterday but down around minus-three, the sun has climbed and so have temperatures, and the fog has reformed. A faint fog-bow is vi sable, as conjunct Buoy 2013F: reports a 0000z reading of + 0.09 C. To our west Buoy 2014B: is coming in at a thawing +0.77 C, but to our south-southeast Buoy 2014C: shows the cold standing tough at -1.25 C. (That buoy was once well east of us, but is riding faster ice, and may pass south of us if things continue as they have.) Our ice remains solid. Remember that ice didn’t even exist at this location, when the PDO was warm, or, if there was ice, it was broken up and covered in melt-water pools. (See picture earlier in this post, towards the top.) The ice we look upon now is far more boring. The only ecitement I can see is that the melt of the snow has revealed a refrozen crack in front of the “robot.” At times even though these cracks are refrozen they can indicate weaknesses, and be where the ice cracks and leads form.
In the comments I share my observations, and also reply to a fellow who thinks he is being tricky when he is in fact being sadly transparent.
AUGUST 14  —DMI Morning Maps—
DMI2 0815 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0815 temp_latest.big (1)
In a rush and have no time to comment. Warm air entering through Bering Strait and up through Laotev Sea, but a surprising amount of subfreezing air exists in the upper “noontime” side of the map.
Our northern camera saw a thaw of around six hours a hair above freezing, but is back to a hair below. The winds remain light, around 2 mph currently. Nothing much will change in this gray view unless the wind picks up. It is interesting how the water in the melt-water pools seems lower.
Our southern camera shows the brief thaw is over and the mist is gone, as temperatures again sink below freezing as the sun dips down to a midnight spent rolling along the horizon.  (Some the haze on the horizon may be due to forest fires in Siberia.) 
I wanted to include a picture from our southern at the end of a “night” of midnight sunshine, when temperatures are just starting to rise after their daily dive. Buoy 2013F: was reporting -3.97 C at 1200z, which is the wee hours of morning in our southern  camera’s time-zone.  It looks like the melt-water pool has again skimmed over with ice, despite the bright sunshine.
Now we are likely to see temperatures rebound back up to freezing, and perhaps a half degree higher. It will be interesting to see if mist and fog again form.
Our guilt-ridden heap of junk, mortified about disappointing so many fans, skulked slowly but steadily south and west in light winds of 5 to 10 mph, ending the 24-hour-period at 83.312°N, 17.234°E. (I wonder at what point the progress of the ice is slowed or alterd due to the simple fact it starts bumping up against the north coast of Svalbard.)
Temperatures bottomed out at -0.8°C at noon yesterday, and then temperatures rose, getting above freezing in the late afternoon and then flattening out, achieving the high temperature of +0.5°C at 6:00 AM today, and then settling back to freezing at 9:00 AM.
Pressures remained flat for the fourth straight day, ending up at 1011.4 mb.
AUGUST 15   —DMI Afternoon Maps—
DMI2 0815B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0815B temp_latest.big (1)
“Steppenwolf” ias weaker and crossing into the Laptev Sea, as “Art” is stronger and moving towards Iceland. I’ll dub that blob of low pressure north of Norway, “Berzip,” as it spun off Bertha, who is now south of Norway. 
This year is exactly the opposite of last year, which had all the high pressure on the Eurasian side and low pressure on the Atlantic side. Consequently the cross polar flow is completely reversed, from Pacific to Atlantic rather than from Atlantic to Pacific.  ( You can check out the old history at my old post from last August, as long as you don’t laugh at the fact I was learning the ropes about the Arctic, and was even more of a boob than I now am.  The old post is found at )  I wonder if this hints that the people of western Europe will have a winter opposite last winter’s mildness.
Last year we’d just seen a gale cross the Pole. At this point I see no sign of a gale this year, nor of the post-gale temperatures down to minus-eight-degrees.
At his site at “Real Science” Steve Goddard explains the map below by stating, “Red shows ice extent loss since August 7, green shows gain. High pressure has been creating winds which are compacting the ice in the Chukchi, East Siberian and Laptev Seas, and will continue to do so for at least a few more days.”  I did not expect this compression, and in fact expected the opposite. Arrgh!  I hate being wrong, which seems odd, as I’m so good at it, and you’d think I’d be used to it by now.
DMI2 0815B screenhunter_1942-aug-14-22-26
It seems a good time to think about starting a new post. That way I don’t have to face admitting my mistake each time I update.
NEW CAMERA  —Cross polar transport of cold—
Our northern camera is starting to record subfreezing temperatures steadily, as winds transport the chill from the Pacific side to the Atlantic side. Winds are still light, 2-6 mph. 
Our southern camera saw cold build, as I reported earlier, but now experiences a rapid return towards thawing, as its air is transported toward the Atlantic. (Neighboring buoys also reported a cold “night.”) No mist has appeared. Winds have picked up slightly to 7 mph.
DMI2 0816 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0816 temp_latest.big (1)
NEW CAMERA  —Some pretty views—
Northern camera sees steady temperatures around minus one, and light 5 mph winds.
Southern camera sees temperatures starting to bounce back from midnight-sun lows near minus five, and a light breeze around 7-8 mph.
On cold winds of 10 mph our zombie apparatus drifted west-southwest to  83.241°N, 16.740°E. 
The temperature dipped below freezing at the very start of our 24-hour period, passing zero and giving us our high temperature at 9:00 AM yesterday, and continuing down to our low of -2.2°C at 3:00 AM, before recovering to -1.5°C at 9:00 AM.  We were below the freezing point of salt water from 6:00 PM until 6:00 AM.
The pressure fell to 1007.6 mb at 3:00 AM and then rose to 1009.4 mb at the end of our period.
DMI2 0816B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0816B temp_latest.big (1) 
A weak “Steppenwolf” is sliding east into the Laptev Sea, as a following weak “Berzip” moves east across Barents Sea. “Art” is growing stronger as it moves away from Iceland towards Norway, and models show “Art” as a pain for Scandinavia next week, unless they need rain.  The high pressure “Beauf” is bringing cold air towards the Atlantic side. 
Our northern camera shows light winds and sunshine allowing temperatures to touch freezing after 24 hours a degree or two below. No signs of change on the ice, and I don’t expect much until the wind picks up.
The cross-polar flow has brought cold air down to our crunched camera, and to Buoy 2014E , which reported  -1.46° C at 1200z ainking to -2.23° C at 0000z. It may have warmed at the Pole due to bubbles of milder air “Steppenwolf” swung north over the ice-free Laptev Sea.
Our southern camera shows mist forming again, when the sun is highest. Temperatures have failed to recover to freezing, as a light breeze has slightly increased to 8 mph.  Our conjunct buoy Buoy 2013F: reported -3.80 C at 1200z and -1.21 C at 0000z. To the west Buoy 2014B also failed to reach freezing, reporting -1.46 C. Only Buoy 2014C: to the southeast reported any thawing, at + 0.52 C at 0000z.
This seems to be home-grown cold, as there are no colder places for the air to come from.
AUGUST 17  —DMI Morning Maps—
DMI2 0817 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0817 temp_latest.big (1)
DMI2 0817 mslp_latest.bigDMI Aug 17 pressure mslp_latest.big
Last summer is the map to the right. The flow was from Norway towards Alaska. This year it is from Alaska to Norway.
NEW CAMERA  —Beautiful but cold—
Our northern camera sees a scene that has slipped back below freezing, despite bright sunshine and light winds of 5 mph. The humidity has dropped to 85%, which is actually quite low for the Pole during the summer. After all, we are on the surface of an ocean.
The sun is rising, but because we remain only two degrees from the Pole, it doesn’t get that much higher at noon than it is at midnight. We are at 88 degrees north, while our southern camera is at 77 degrees, and does see the sun rise and dip much more. 
Our southern camera sees the sun setting down towards midnight, and you can see from the orange light it is getting close to the horizon now, as days get shorter further south. Soon the midnight sun will give way to periods of midnight twilight.
Temperatures fail to get up to freezing even during the warmest part of the day, yesterday. Now they have started dipping down again.  Winds have slacked off slightly, to 6 mph. The chances of significant surface melting are growing slim, but there still may be melting from beneath for around another month. Temperatures have to get down to around minus ten for the cold to penetrate the insulating ice, and start growing new ice at the bottom of the bergs and floes. In open leads new ice starts forming where water touches ice at minus 1.7 degrees.
Our asterisk on a blank page continued south and west in winds that slackened slightly to 8 mph, ending the period at  83.147°N, 16.579°E.  
We spent the entire time below freezing but above the freezing point of salt water, starting with our low of  -1.5°C at 9:00 AM yesterday and slowly rising to  our first high of -0.8°C at 9:00 PM, and then sinking to a second low of -1.3°C at 6:00 AM, and then springing up to our high of -0.3°C at 9:00 AM.
Pressures stayed fairly steady, finishing the period with a slight rise to 1010.3 mb.
AUGUST 17 —DMI Afternoon Maps—
DMI2 0817B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0817B temp_latest.big (1)
“Steppenwolf” is nudging north towards the Pole, but likely will be drawn back as it weakens by “Berzip” swooping under it and then tarzaning up. We will have to watch for two things. First, will Steppenwolf create any cold air as it weakens and fills. Second, as “Berzip swing up and around towards the Pole, will it be pulled back by yet another low swooping under and  up,  or will it claim the king-of-the-world status, atop the Pole.  
“Beauf” has shifted more towards the Canadian Archipelago, as warmth and a storm brews in the Bering Strait, but likely won’t come north. The cross-polar-flow from Alaska to Norway continues, as “Art” has reached the North Sea.
UK Met Aug 17 17341412
“Art” is actually strong for a summer storm. It looks a little like an early autumn. It will move over Sweden and just sit there much of the week.
NEW CAMERAS  —A sunny spell—
Our northern view seeing light winds of 4 mph and temperatures that have just risen to touch freezing, after being jusr below all day.
Our southern view shows temperatures again stubborn about rising as the sun does, but the wind is rising, now up to 14 mph. A rising wind speaks of a change in the weather.
NOTE—This is the final picture submitted by the southern camera on Sunday.  I have no idea what the problem is. As we are looking north, there is no way of knowing if the ice is breaking up behind our back, to the south. Or it could be that because the wind has risen the dish-reception needs to be tweaked to transmit a picture. However last year O-buoy 7 continued to transmit even as it bobbed about in open water. So…your guess is as good as mine.
As this post has gotten overly long, the post will continue as a new post called “ARCTIC SEA ICE MELT  —The Thaw’s End— ”  which will begin with these two maps (and observations:)
DMI2 0818 meanT_2014  (click to enlarge)
The green line on this map shows we have passed the point where temperatures north of 80 degrees latitude average out above freezing. This is not to say that pockets of thaw can’t come north.  I’ve seen above-freezing temperatures take a run at the Pole from the Atlantic side even in the dead of winter, associated with huge North Atlantic storms. However that sort of warmth tends to swiftly lift above the ice and, while the uplift may generate a low pressure’s winds that rip and tear at the ice, it simply doesn’t have the thawing effect of summer sunshine. We are pretty much done the time of watching melt-water pools expand. In fact the 90 days when the sun it as its highest and beats down most strongly (if you can use such words to describe the low arctic sun) ended back on August 5.  The above graph shows the temperatures starting to respond to the sinking of the sun.  There can be a warm spell after the green line shows the average ordinarily sinks below normal.  For example, look what happened in 1979:
DMI2 0724 meanT_1979 
You can see that in 1979 the thaw continued for a week longer than normal, despite the fact it was a very cold year, and the prior winter had some of the lowest temperatures ever seen at the Pole.
This trivia demonstrates how little air temperature and surface thawing (and the hubbub about “albedo”) actually has to do with the growth and shrinkage of arctic sea-ice. We will also see this demonstrated for the next thirty days, as the sea-ice continues to shrink despite temperatures that will drop well below the freezing point of the salt water the ice floats upon. (The ice itself has far less salt in it, as it extrudes the salt that was originally in it through several processes, and of course any snow and rain that falls on the ice, and fog that condenses on the ice, is fresh water.)
What really determines the amount of sea-ice is how much ice is flushed south through Fram Strait, (not much, this year,) and how much warm water comes north through the Bering Strait, (associated with a “warm” PDO), and comes north as tendrils of the Gulf Stream (associated with the “warm” AMO.)  
We have seen the ice respond very nicely to short term spikes of the PDO and AMO during the past year, which affirms the idea the sea-ice has not been responding to CO2 and is not in any sort of “Death Spiral,” but rather was responding to natural cycles which take roughly  60-70 years to complete.  
The graph below shows the ice-extent plunging at the very time I expected it would level off.  My  idea was that the tightly packed ice would spread out, like a pat of butter on a wide piece of bread, but what has happened is that the ice has been compressed, both north of Alaska and north of the Laptev Sea.  
It is important to make a forecast even if you are not an expert, because it is through seeing where your forecast went wrong that you learn about things you otherwise would fail to notice. 
DMI2 0818 icecover_current_new
If you don’t dare make your own forecast, and instead rely on models, you can be amazingly wrong, but you will have no idea why you are wrong.  For example, last June the CFSv2 model was predicting a September ice minimum up around 7 million km2 with an anomaly of +0.6 million km2, and now it predicts 5.9 million km2 with an anomaly of -0.3.  
Extent Graph June 18 sieMonExtent CFsv2 August 18 sieMon
Models flip-flop all the time, especially once you are looking more than ten days ahead, and when they are wrong they never blush, and instead simply change. It is the people who consider models to be authorities that wind up blushing, (or they should blush, but sometimes simply go from parroting the old to parroting the new.)
My own guess was for a minimum of 6.1 million km2, which is obviously too high. However rather than blushing I’m focused on trying to see what is keeping the ice from spreading out.
DMI2 0818 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0818 temp_latest.big (1)
Our northern camera is seeing temperatures dropping down to around minus 2.5 and winds slacking to around 5 mph.  
Our southern camera is failing to transmit updated pictures, but saw some thaw yesterday after a prolonged freeze, and winds grow brisker, up to the 15-20 mph range, as temperatures again dropped below freezing.
This post will be continued at

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:

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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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)


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.)


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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°.



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:


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


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.


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—



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.)

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.



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.


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.


Extent July 19 cryo_compare_small

Thickness July 19 arcticictnowcast


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.


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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.


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.



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:

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.


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


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)


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.


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”.


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.


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!!!


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….) )



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.


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.

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.


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



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:

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


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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—


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.


DMI2 0723 icecover_current_new


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.”




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.


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.


The northern camera shows a situation that is basically unchanged.


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.


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.



DMI2 0724 icecover_current_new (click to enlarge)


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.)


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.




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.


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.)


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.


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.



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.




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.)



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


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)


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.)


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.


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.


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



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.


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.


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.


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”.



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—




_Mad King George 67006438_hawthornemadness_rex

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


(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.


This is the continuation of a long series of posts, the last of which can be found at:

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.

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:


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 )


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)


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?


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


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.


DMI2 0702B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0702B

JULY 3  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0703 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0703 temp_latest.big (1)

“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.


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.


DMI2 0703B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0703B temp_latest.big (1)

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:


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.


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.


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—


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.)


DMI2 0704 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0704 temp_latest.big (1)


DMI2 0704B mslp_latest.bigDMi2 0704B temp_latest.big (1)

“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)


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


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?


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:


DMI2 0705 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0705 temp_latest.big (1)

“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.)



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


DMI2 0705B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0705B temp_latest.big (1)

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.


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.



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.


DMI2 0706 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0706 temp_latest.big (1)

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.”


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.

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!—


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!!!


DMI2 0706B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0706B temp_latest.big (1)

“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.)


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—

DMI2 0707 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0707 temp_latest.big (1)

NEW CAMERA   —Nice picture—


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



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—

DMI2 0707B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0707B temp_latest.big (1)

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—

DMI2 0708 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0708 temp_latest.big (1)

“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—


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:


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.)


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

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.




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—

DMI2 0708b mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0708B temp_latest.big (1)


DMI2 0709 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0709 temp_latest.big (1)

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—


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:


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.


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


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.


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—



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.


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


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—


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)


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)


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)


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.


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.



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.



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.


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


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.



Busy with some other writing tonight. Will comment tomorrow.


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

NEW CAMERAS  —snow north, thaw south—



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


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.


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.


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—


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.


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.


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.


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


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

NEW CAMERAS  —Contrasting weather—-




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.




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.


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.



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:


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


This series of posts will be continued at:



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: 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: 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

  Arthur July 2 vis0-lalo 

JULY 3 ---5:00 am UPDATE---
LOCATION...31.3N 79.1W


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

2:00 PM 

LOCATION...32.9N 78.3W

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

 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

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.




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

(A lighthearted view of valleys of shadows)


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.