ARCTIC SEA-ICE –The Unexpected Surge–UPDATED

I am going to have to eat a lot of humble pie with this post, as things have not gone as expected. My forecast has come face to face with Truth, which is any meteorologist’s bane, whether they be professional or a rank amateur like myself. However, before I launch into a confession of how I have bungled, I would like to state that being wrong is a way to learn. Truth has the power to correct us. Though it may wound our egos and feel like a rebuke, we are the better for correction. It is better to stand corrected than to cling to pride that goes before the fall.

Also, because Alarmists delight in disparaging Skeptics like myself even when we are correct, and delight even more when they can point out an actual error we have made, I would like to begin this confessional by confessing an error the Alarmists made.

A year ago Alarmists, who insist arctic sea-ice is in a “Death Spiral”, despite all the evidence I offer to the contrary, hit upon a new way of demonstrating their forecast was true. At this site a  kindly troll I nicknamed “Sty” took the time to go into how mistaken I was, in great detail, which I actually thank him for. He went to great lengths to explain all the things Alarmists said were important in the past were not as important as a new thing, which proved sea-ice was in decline. Whereas in the past, because “albedo” and the amount of sunshine reflected from polar waters was deemed crucial, “sea-ice extent” and “sea-ice area” were all-important, now “sea-ice volume” was all-important. Why? Because the (unreliable and highly modeled) graphs showed “volume” at very low, and indeed at “unprecedented” (in the recent past) levels.

But now? What a difference a year makes! Check out the DMI graph of sea-ice volume below. The lowest, light blue line is last year, and you can see it indeed was very low in mid-February. But look at the black line, which is this year, and you can see the “volume” has experienced what is called a “recovery”.

Volume 20180215 FullSizeRender

Now, as a year ago certain Alarmists were not predicting a “recovery” but rather a “Death Spiral”, what we see is tantamount to a blown forecast. It is time for Alarmists to eat humble pie. However what my experience has been, in the past,  is that they display a certain lack in this regard. They prefer to change the subject.

Therefore I suppose it is up to me to show them what they are missing. Humble pie is actually rather delicious, for you learn when you admit your mistakes. You have the uncanny joy of having light-bulbs go off in your head, and say “Eureka!” Few things are quite as enjoyable.

My own blown-forecast involved the assumption that the super-El-Nino of 2015 would have one effect on the Pole, and therefore the modest La-Nina of 2017-2018 should have a sort of equal and opposite effect. Where the 2015 El-Nino resulted in a very loopy (meridional) jet-stream, and so much mild air transported to the Pole that it created an anomalous area of low pressure I dubbed “Ralph”, I figured a La Nina would create a flat (zonal) jet stream, with much cold air trapped up at the Pole.  I wildly guessed at the lag-time involved, and stated the La Nina’s effect should wait until now to manifest. But guess what? I was wrong.

Instead of a zonal flow developing, we have again seen surges of mild air heading up to the Pole, (with arctic outbreaks occurring at lower latitudes). Rather than the DMI mean-temperatures-above-eighty-degrees-north-latitude graph sinking down to the green line (normal) as I expected, we are seeing surges as spectacular as last year’s. (2017 to right; 2018 to left.)

To me this represents a huge amount of our planet’s warmth being sucked north to be squandered to outer space, during the darkest of polar nights. To me the question then becomes, “Why?” There is no super-El-Nino producing extra heat to be squandered. What is going on?

I don’t know. However I don’t pretend it isn’t happening. I don’t change the subject. Instead I focus in.

One idea that popped into my head was that the “polar background” (I just made that up) is made colder by the Quiet Sun.  After all, dust devils are more likely when a cool air-mass lies over a surface heated by the sun. Perhaps the appearance of “Ralph” at the Pole is a larger version of the same.

“Ralph” has indeed reappeared, just when I expected to be writing his obituary and expected high pressure at the Pole. Not only Atlantic, but Pacific streams of relatively “mild” (but subfreezing) air have speared to the Pole. The planet is losing heat like crazy.

However this has not led to thinner ice in the Central Arctic. It is obviously thicker than last year.  (2017 to left; 2018 to right.)

However the inflow of milder air has pushed the thin sea-ice at the edges north, reducing the sea-ice’s area and extent. Therefore, rather than “volume”, I suppose we can now expect “extent” and “area” to be the focus of certain Alarmists.

DMI5 0215 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

(If I have time I’ll add the recent DMI maps I found time to save, to this post. But, until my money from Big Oil for being a Skeptic arrives, (never), I am busy with other responsibilities, and must confess I did a very poor job of saving DMI maps during a very fascinating period.)


UPDATE:  Here are the maps I managed to save during a busy time in my life:

When I last looked on January 27 the relatively mild air imported north by the first surge was cooling in the arctic darkness, and I was thinking a cross polar flow might be developing from Siberia to Canada.

Instead some Pacific air leached north through Bering Strait and a weak “Hula Ralph” appeared north of Eastern Siberia, and weakened the high pressure on the Pacific side moving towards Canada.  Cold was building over the Central Arctic, and I was expecting high pressure to build over the Pole and verify my forecast for a zonal flow. (Ha ha).

Here is where it started to get interesting, as a gale moved up to southern Greenland and started to do the peculiar things I call “morphistication”. In transiting the 10,000 foot tall ice-cap the low pressure dumps a lot of snow, and also sometimes seems to create some sort of Chinook at the top of Baffin Bay, which fuels an independent low. (Of course, I wasn’t paying much attention, and was focused on high pressure building at the Pole.) (Ha ha)

Here is where I missed some important maps, as low pressure dominated Greenland and a huge Atlantic surge rushed up from Iceland past Svalbard and over the Pole.

I expected the milder air to generate a “Ralph” at the Pole, and lo and behold it did.

Like last winter, a secondary “Ralph” drifted north over Svalbard rather than taking the more usual North Atlantic route east to Norway. A cross-polar Siberia-to Canada flow was developing between the low pressure on the Atlantic side and the high pressure on the Pacific side.

And, again like last winter, a tertiary “Ralph” took a wrong-way route up through Fram Strait, but by this point the amazing surge was starting to weaken and fade.

A more usual North Atlantic gale then whirled by Iceland, and the flow was back into Greenland north of it, east-to-west rather than south-to-north. I was thinking maybe, just maybe, high pressure would build at the Pole and verify my forecast of a zonal flow developing. (Ha ha). Instead a flow from the Pacific began leaking north through Bering Strait.

Even as high pressure ridged at the Pole it failed to pool cold air up there, as a very interesting twin flow developed, with one feed from the Pacific and another from the Atlantic.

This twin-feed is interesting, and deserves some sort of name. It might be interesting to diagram what is occurring at various levels of the atmosphere. Even though there is no “Ralph” at the Pole, the high pressure has two “feeder-bands.”

Currently the Icelandic and Aleutian gales are weakening, and I’m not even going to guess what will happen next. (There is some talk of “blocking high pressure” becoming established over Greenland.)

Like last winter, the surges did increase the snows over Greenland, right when it looked like a drier winter might make the snows less-than-normal, which likely would have become an Alarmist talking-point, with those more prone to sensationalism wailing that Greenland is melting, melting, melting away. As it is the snows are a hair above normal, and the thaws won’t even start in most inland places until May.

Greenland MB 20180217 accumulatedsmb

Greenland MB 20180217 todaysmb

Stay Tuned.


LOCAL VIEW –Depressing Dirty Desk Distress–

Mess FullSizeRender

I am never happier than when I am merely musing. However this has certain side effects. Some say I am not facing reality. There are various ways people have of telling me this. Some say my head is in the sand. Some say my head is up a physically impossible place. However I prefer hearing that my head is in the clouds, because many clouds are bright and beautiful, and what makes me happiest is contemplating bright and beautiful stuff.  And what is most beautiful? Truth. And don’t tell me Truth isn’t reality.

My wife is sensitive to my moods, and when I become lost in thought she intercepts me at the door, as I head out. She checks to see that my shirt is right side out and buttoned correctly, that my fly is zipped up, and that my hair is not too crazy and that my nose is clean. She also at times makes sure I know where I am going. (There is nothing quite so embarrassing as arriving at the local market without any idea why I drove there.)

I’ll leave it up to you as to whether these are signs of senility or genius. The fact of the matter is that, unless I get the money Alarmists say Skeptics receive from Big Oil, (which I have never received), I can’t get away with being happy all the time. Sooner or later I have to face the music, and the music is the violins of self pity. Rather than wandering about happily making a mess, I have to clean up the mess.

Every poet always wishes
That his muses did the dishes.

I am never more miserable than when I have to clean up my desk. It is such a bummer, though I do confess I am far happier when it is done. Organization is a good thing. But for me becoming organized is sheer hell, and I am downright devious when it comes to putting the job off.

I read somewhere that when we are depressed our brain shrinks in size. This must mean that when we are inspired our brain expands. Likely it alternates, and I think you can judge whether my brain is shrinking or expanding by the size of the piles of disorder on my desk. Inspiration creates a mountain of disorder, while depression shrinks the disorder until you can see the top of the desk again.

I likely will need to be depressed for a time, and I may not be able to post for a week or two, due to a few piffling details like the tax collector and bill collector and the fact I can’t find my car keys. Some people just don’t appreciate high thought, and prefer money paid when money is due.

But I’ll tell you one thing. When I finally get my fat check from Big Oil, one of the first things I am going to do is to hire a secretary.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Arctic Africa–

One thing I have learned from Alarmists is the effectiveness of distraction. When you have completely blown a forecast, it is helpful to point at something happening far, far away.

Therefore you will not notice that I am six days away from the date I assigned for the jet stream to stop being loopy. You will forget I stated the polar flow would become zonal on February 13, due to the lagged effect of the La Nina. You will forget….  You will forget… You are getting sleepy… Very sleepy…

What the heck? It’s not working on you! Oh, I forgot. That only works on Alarmists.

In any case, a second mild surge as good as last winter’s second surge has made it to the Pole.

DMI5 0207 meanT_2018

I haven’t time to go into all the details. In a nutshell it is a surge “madoki” (Japanese for “the-same-but-different”), because (so far) it took a less direct route than last year. Rather than, like last year, roaring straight north from the Atlantic, the surge dented east over Norway and only turned north over the Kara Sea. Consequently the temperatures, on a whole, have been colder than last year’s. But that is basically straining at gnats and quibbling over piffling details. The fact of the matter is that precisely where I thought high pressure should build and form the core of a nice zonal flow (which may be wish-casting, for it would give me, down in New Hampshire, a milder winter), what to my wondering eyes should appear, but “Ralph”! (An anomalous area of low pressure at the Pole.)



To have “Ralph” reappear, when I have been putting the finishing touches to his obituary, is a sign I’m having a bad week. (It was bad enough that the hero quarterback got strip-sacked at the crucial moment, and the home team lost the Superbowl.) (Furthermore, New Hampshire is not getting the sort of mild weather I wanted.)

The problem with mild air heading up to the Pole is that it displaces the cold, which comes south one way or another and gives arctic conditions to people not prepared for such nonsense. Because this post is suppose to be about sea-ice, I’ll mention the fish-farmers on the coast of China.

But I also need to mention the Sahara, because there is something that just tickles my sense of humor about bringing Africa into a sea-ice post.

But mentioning Africa is a bit odd, as I have noticed that the phrase “one every fifty years” doesn’t sound quite right, when you use it twice in three years. I noted that oddity, when writing about the January snows along the Algeria-Morocco border three weeks ago. But now we are talking about snows along that border twice the same winter.

There are some high north-African mountains, the “Atlas”, that get snow every winter, and send precious melt-waters down to the Sahara from the north, but ordinarily these snows stay up by the clouds. It makes news when these snows spread down to lower altitudes. (The translation of the first video is, “After more than fifty years…The snows in Zagora”).

The translation for the second, longer video is, “Today: After more than 50 years…The snow in Zagora and the south-east of the Kingdom.”

At this point I need to bring up the magic word “Albedo”, which Alarmists feel is very important in discussions of sea-ice. Basically it involves sunshine that could warm our planet being bounced away by the whiteness of snow. Alarmists have suggested that less sea-ice at the Pole could allow “run away warming”. But what about snow on the northern fringes of the Sahara? The sun shines brightly there in February, while it will not shine at the Pole until the Equinox. Is there any chance all the heat lost in the Sahara could cause some sort of “run away cooling”?


(In any case, such a focus on the Sahara is an excellent deflection away from my forecast for a zonal arctic-flow by February 13.)

One of the most annoying aspects of a loopy (or “meridional”) flow occurs when you happen to find yourself at the place where the warm air looping north battles with the cold air looping south. In some ways it is better to endure the cold, for cold tends to be dry. When you sit on the border you can get excessive amounts of snow. For example, the core of the cold sank down in Eurasia at the end of January, and Moscow, well to the west of the worst cold, has been afflicted by Atlantic air streaming east past Norway even as arctic air streams west further south. They have had amazing amounts of snow. During the first week of February they broke their snowfall records for the entire month of February.

This clashing between colder and milder air has been annoying on my side of the planet as well, for even with the core of the cold elsewhere we can get unfair amounts of glop. I’d prefer pure, Siberian cold, for powder snow is easy to shift, and when the cold gets really cruel the old timers say, “It’s too cold to snow.”

In New Hampshire, this winter has been pleasing to Alarmists, I suppose, for the arctic retreated after the first week in January, and since then temperatures have been around seven degrees above normal. This doesn’t really thaw us, for our average temperature is 20°F (-7°C), and “mild” only lifts us to 27°F (-3°C). However an average of 27°F does allow for daily highs to creep above freezing, and does allow snow to turn to sleet, freezing rain, and brief episodes of all-out rain, which creates slush as heavy as mud.  You must shift this heavy glop from walkways and drives, or it swiftly freezes harder than iron. (I’ll take shoveling powder snow any day.)

Nor does all the glop make lake-ice thinner. Wet, heavy snow on ice pushes the ice down, and water oozes up through cracks and turns the snow to slush. It takes little (just a cold, starry night), to turn that slush to solid ice, as, being ice-water, it is right at the freezing point. Then, besides the original two feet of ice that the bitter cold of early January created, you have an additional two feet of ice created by “milder” temperatures, and frozen slush.

The ice is now so thick on lakes that crazy young men are having races with vehicles and motor cycles that have scary wheels with steel teeth. The churning, spinning wheels chip away a foot of the ice on the corners of the tracks, but nobody seems very nervous about chewing through to water.

I know that lake-ice is not the same as sea-ice, but I thought it interesting that “milder” weather brought snow that turned to slush that turned to ice, and therefore “milder” made the ice a foot or two thicker than it might be if it stayed cold and dry.

Of course, some people never get out of their offices, and don’t understand such counter-intuitive things. There is much to learn from simply hiking about lakes, especially reservoirs that rise with rains and thaws and sink when the dry cold returns. I have young Climate-scientists studying local lake-ice, and am eagerly awaiting my government grants and money from Big Oil.

Lake ice 1 FullSizeRender

Lake ice 2 FullSizeRender

Lake ice 3 FullSizeRender

Of course, insurance companies, in their warm offices, do not approve of such research. They fear “risk”. They want everyone to stay indoors. However they must allow a few out, called “adjusters”. A parent of a child I cared for was such an “adjuster”, and told me a tale that I think typifies the difference between the “indoors” and the “outdoors” mentality.

Today was a typical “glop” day, starting with a quick dump of six inches of snow, which makes things look like a Norman Rockwell painting.

Lake ice 4 FullSizeRender

However then the rot set in. The snow sped up, falling faster, and abruptly turned to rain, though temperatures were still well below freezing. Because Moms driving home from work do not have scary wheels with steel teeth, insurance adjusters get called out a lot when the driving stinks.

Now this should give you an inkling of the office mindset, in this corner of the insurance world: If you had to send a fellow out into abysmal driving conditions, what would you reduce your profit by paying for? Snow tires? Or a tattle-tale gadget that keeps track of your adjuster’s GPS and road-speed. If you answered “snow tires”, you are sane, and don’t work in this particular front office.

On a day like today an adjuster received an irate phone-call from his boss. “What in blue blazes are you up to?” the boss inquired.

“What are you going on about?” replied the adjuster.

“You’ve been going 110 mph! Are you crazy!”

The adjuster stayed calm. “Did you check the GPS?”


“Check it.”

After a pause the boss muttered, “Oh.  Um…you’re in your driveway?”

“Yes, and do you think I can get the company van going 110 mph (177 kph) in my driveway?”

“Hmm.  Probably not. So…..were your tires spinning?”

“Of course they were spinning! And will you puh-leeze requisition snow tires for the company vans?”

“Oh, no! The stock-holders demand a profit! And we expect our adjusters to know how to drive in the snow.”

Case closed.

LOCAL VIEW –Dust Versus Crust–

Robert Frost wrote a poem I often recite in the winter woods, as it is short and easy to remember:

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I rued.

This poem seems to typify the way a northern mind grasps at straws of beauty, in order to survive the general state of depression that deepens as the long northern winter goes on and on and on (and on.)

After Christmas, what holiday is there? New Years? What is that? Is turning a page on the calendar really worth rejoicing about? And the birthdays of defunct people, who had far more dignity than modern politicians, tends to depress me more than they inspire me, for I am reminded how dark our days are. And finally, you have to admit “Ground Hog’s Day” seems downright desperate, in terms of holidays.

Eventually we have to become self reliant, and display the sort of guts Robert Frost displayed, finding the beauty he shared in his poem. It was a dark day, a day he “rued”, yet he found something bright, not only for himself, but for me, (for he shared it with me [and countless others] though he never knew me).

It is nice to be able to share, but apparently some at Google do not think certain individuals, such as myself, should be sharing. If they feel a certain view is politically incorrect, (such as my view that arctic sea-ice is not going to be melted away by 2013 as promised, because it hasn’t), then they will seek to prevent people from sharing their views by artificially reducing the possibility their posts will be seen on Google’s search engine.  Power corrupts, and Google has apparently sunk to the level of a third world dictatorship, by virtually “disappearing” political opponents.

To be honest, I prefer being virtually “disappeared” to the reality version, for in many ways being unknown and unseen is everyday, for artists. Even Robert Frost went years without being well known, and many artists are simply not born for fame. Great singers have remained the cherished property of a small church choir their entire lives, radiating their beauty to a select few, making a poor congregation wealthy even as the world never knows what it is missing. This actually happens more often than not; the greatest comics perform before a crowd of eight at a backwater bar, as the wealthy go impoverished.

Despite obvious shortcomings, wealth and power tricks and fools people, and therefore those at Google deem it wise to stifle Freedom of Speech, and consequently live in a sort of self-created deafness. At best perhaps some think that, like members of Boston’s old, Puritan “Watch and Ward” society, they protect the innocent from some sort of “porn”, (by studying a great deal of it themselves). But the poor are neither as innocent nor naive as some suspect, and the soap that cleans a slum is not made by calling slums illegal, nor by making talk about back alleys be whispers.

In any case, where bringing up a topic such as “arctic sea-ice” once was a way to generate “hits” at a website, now it generates dead silence.

I find this a bit winter-like, and depressing. To share, and generate a will to censor rather than reciprocal sharing, is like being warm and catchinga cold blast from the north. It seems the upper crust is attempting to forbid sharing, in a sense denying the dust that delights, and leaving only a day “rued”.

The snow is glued to the swaying forest
And the northern blasts can’t shake any loose.
There seems no subtlety to this contest.
There is something solid in the crunch of boots
Across a frozen scene, something as starched
As the hairstyles of evening newscasters.
Where is the dust of snow falling from arched
Hemlocks, jostled by crows, that old masters
Wrote poems about? Is it too delicate
And too precious for times given to louts?
No, for the crunch of boots pontificate
Of a glue that was wet, before “Ins” became “Outs”.
Warm wet winds during the night, as I sleep,
Makes all trees birches, with oaths they must keep.

Dust and Crust 1 FullSizeRender

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against sitting in a warm penthouse sipping brandy. I’d do it myself, if invited. Nor do I have anything against an above-it-all attitude. (Brandy has that effect.) It is just that feeling above it all can result in one looking down their nose and becoming haughty, and sneering that others are mere children, mere dogs.

Be that way, if you must. The children and dog will not mind, as long as you leave them alone to play. The dog will play keep-away with a stick, delighting in the attention of ten kids running after it.

Dust and Crust 2 FullSizeRender

Do you know what I think? I think those who scorn children and dogs are strangely threatened by the fact children and dogs have no real interest in money or fame, and would rather play in the snow than perch in a penthouse. Therefore they want to butt in and make children and dogs see they are important. They demand respect. They will outlaw sharing, unless you obey their rules.

But life goes on outside Silicon Valley. Alas for the Googlites, who make a winter without warmth, even in sunny California.


The title of this post is blatant “click-bait”. (Not that such trickery does any good anymore, now that Google, in its flatulent wisdom, relegates Skeptics, free-thinkers, and modern versions of Copernicus and Galileo, way, way down into the cellars of what their search-engines offer to the public.)

To be honest, the “baffled” person the title refers to is me.  I am the fool. However I have found I become strangely popular when I don my checkered outfit, my silly hat with bells, and ask my ignorant questions. For one thing, people like the opportunity an ignoramus offers them, and I learn all sorts of cool stuff as they demonstrate they are smarter than me. Secondly, kings of old liked to employ a foolish jester as part of his court, because the rest of the court was so busy being correct that they never asked the questions the king needed asked, because they were afraid of looking stupid, but the jester had no such fear.

In the past I have had the privilege of having some of my questions published on the “Watts Up With That” website, and was flattered by the amount of answers kindly people offered. However I noticed a interesting thing, which makes me think there may have been a deeper reason the wise kings of yore employed a Goofy.

You, see, the answers people gave, taking time out of their busy day to offer charity to a poor, lame-brained ignoramus, were not identical answers. At times they were not even close.  All of a sudden fascinating debates got going, in the WUWT “comments” section. At times I sat back amazed. All I did was ask a question! Yet the debates soared into erudite topics that made it quite obvious a fool like me was forgotten. They brought up physics and math from the intellectual stratosphere, when I’m intellectually from the lowest troposphere.  They had forgotten all about educating an ignoramus, (because at times I hadn’t even a clue what they were talking about), however it was obvious they were keenly interested in educating each other.

Even when I can’t follow the science, I do appreciate the repartee and pithy sarcasm that appears when minds meet, and I imagine that the kings of yore also appreciated the uproars a jester’s goofy questions could get going in the king’s court. After all, ordinarily everyone seeks to be agreeable before a king, yet a king has to weigh and measure two sides of an issue, and come to a judgement, and how is he to do it when the two sides refuse to disagree?

In any case, a question has been troubling me for some time. Therefore, though I’m pretty busy with other stuff, and my joints are not as limber as they once were, I’m creaking over to put on my checkered tights and my ridiculous cap with bells, and I come prancing forward to ask what may seem a really stupid question, prefacing it with my best Disney impersonation, “Gwash fellows! I got me a puzzle, and I am awonderin’ if you kin answer.”

The question springs from the release of the good Doctor Roy Spencer’s report about January’s lower troposphere temperatures:

UAH January Temp Lower Trop uah_lt_1979_thru_january_2018_v6

To me the January drop in temperatures was ho-hum news, to be expected because the temperatures on the graph are so closely linked to the temperatures in the huge Pacific. In a lagged manner, they go up during an El Nino, and down during a La Nina. Even I can see that.

However, (with the help of Bob Tisdale’s observations), one thing even Goofy can see is that world temperatures are not the true controller of El Ninos and La Ninas. Instead it seems to be a different form of increased or decreased energy, called “wind”.

Meteorologists even have invented a tool beyond the thermometer, to measure this energy, called an “anemometer”. But will anyone talk about this form of energy? Or is all the talk temperature, temperature, temperature, all the live-long day, right down to hundredths of a degree?

But what really influences El Nino’s and La Ninas? Not temperature, but a wind called the Trade Wind. Strangely, this giant power’s area, in terms of Manhattans, and its energy, in terms of Hiroshimas, is seldom mentioned by the very people who think my dislike of curly light bulbs may drown coastal cities. To me it seems some strain at a gnat and swallow a camel. (And don’t you dare talk to me of “Newtons”. What Climate Scientist cares a fig about Newtons? All must be expressed in terms of Manhattans and Hiroshimas.)

My understanding of the Trade Winds (hat tip to Bob Tisdale) is that they to some degree undulate in a predicable pattern, partly controlled by sea temperatures that influence cloud cover, and partly controlled by cloud cover that influences sea temperatures. As a fool, I may be too simplistic, but my understanding is that (if the supply of energy was constant) the undulation would be as follows:

The Trade winds would push all the warm surface water over to Australia, and cold water would up-well by Peru and spread west. This would make it rainy towards Australia but sunny towards Peru. Clouds and rain would cool the warm water towards Australia and sun would warm the water towards Peru. This change would slow the Trade Winds, which would allow the waters pressed towards Australia to slosh back towards Peru at the very time lesser amounts of cold water was up-welled by the coast of Peru. Then there would be more sunshine by Australia and more rain by Peru.  Sun to the west and rain to the east  would mean Australia’s waters would become warmer as Peru’s waters were chilled, which would cause the Trade Winds to increase, and then things would revert to their original state. Rinse and repeat.

However this would only be regular and predictable if the supply of energy was constant. And that supply is not a curly light bulb. It is our sun, which is a variable star. And, as our sun varies, it throws a wrench (also called a “variable”) into all our efforts to figure things out.

Now here is where I don the caps and bells. I just wonder why we use thermometers to measure the decrease in energy from the sun, when we could use anemometers?

I ask this because I perk up my ears when the experts are surprised (also called “incorrect”). I am alerted by the words “stronger than expected” and “weaker than expected”. I therefore noticed when in a very clear (to me) manner, something was subtracted from the Trade Winds. Subtracted? Yes,  for the last El Nino was much stronger “than expected”, and the following La Nina was so weak it barely counted as an La Nina, which was “unexpected.”

As a bumpkin and jester, I jumped to the obvious conclusion, which was that an energetic Sun will generate a more vigorous Trade Wind, while a “Quiet Sun” will slow the Trade Wind. This explained what was subtracted from the Trade Winds and what made the last El Nino stronger and the last La Nina weaker.


Apparently I was skipping some sixteen steps, which experts have observed occur between the time sunshine hits the earth and the time winds change. I apologize. I don’t know about all that complicated stuff. All I know is what’s blatantly obvious.

So, what is obvious? Obviously the last El Nino was stronger than expected. Obviously the last La Nina (not the current one)  was weaker than expected. What do these two have in common? Weaker Trade Winds. Case closed.

No. The case isn’t closed. Why? Because, if it does make sense in some way that a weaker Sun will create weaker Trade Winds, then a Quiet Sun will have an effect other than you’d think. Less energy would create more energy. Why? Because weaker Trade Winds would enhance El Ninos, which warm the entire planet.

This idea may be upsetting to those who think our “Quiet Sun” will lower temperatures, but I would like to suggest that, at first at least, the “Quiet Sun” might warm the planet by slowing the Trade Winds.

This brings me to my jester’s question. It involves what is measured by thermometers and what is measured by anemometers.  My question is, “Are they not both measures of energy?” I add,  “Have we no way to combine the two, and come up with an amount that is the Real Energy?”

The energy of wind is neglected, in ordinary calculations of temperature. I can give a bumpkin’s example. Today I hiked a couple miles with children, and for a short time we left the shelter of trees, to cross a frozen lake. During that brief time we were exposed to hissing, drifting snow and wind gusts of 30 mph. And not a single child thought all the energy of that wind made them warmer.

In fact meteorologists have a thing called “The wind-chill index” which makes it sound like wind is colder than a calm. The thermometer is honored, and the energy in wind is ignored.

My question is, is not energy energy? If my car was moving at thirty, and screeched to a halt, the tires might not smoke but they, and the brake drums, would be warmer. In like manner, if winds of thirty screeched to a halt, would not the energy they hold become more apparent?

I wonder. What if, rather than Global Warming, politicians doled out huge amounts of money for research on Global Winding? Do you you think there would be the same disregard for the energy in wind?

Just a jester asking.

Local View –Western Zephyrs–

Perhaps it is due to my recent bout with the ‘flu, but my recovery has involved being in touch with a mystical side of myself I’m not certain my Christian brethren would entirely approve of. I am “communing with nature” more, which suggests there is something I am communing with. This sounds dangerously close to worshiping a false god, when God is the only One worthy of worship. Christians are clear about that. However I think many Christians unknowingly worship money and fame, without being aware they are worshiping a false god, whereas “communing with nature” doesn’t necessarily involve worship. You are just having a chat with an invisible entity. Perhaps having a chat with the invisible is dangerous, if you believe the only invisible thing you should be involved with is God.  However fame is invisible, and money is merely paper, unless you value its invisible component. Unless and until a person completely renounces the value of money, they have no business scolding me for valuing the west wind.

I wasn’t even aware I was valuing the west wind until Joe Bastardi, making a trivial aside during one of his podcasts, mentioned there was something special about the west winds that deserved a name. He said the wind wasn’t a true Chinook, but like a colder Chinook. He called it a something-or-another Chinook, (likely he should have called it a “Chinook Modoki,” to be truly meteorological), but I was aware I was instantly dissatisfied. But why?

It deserved better. There is something amazingly kindly about west winds in January, especially after a period of bitter north winds. Even though west winds remain below freezing (this far north), it isn’t a cold that makes you wince and cringe, and life relaxes a bit. This in turn makes me want to sing some version of “Zippity do dah.” The poet in me just wants to praise the west wind. (Not worship the west wind. Just thank it, as one would thank a friend.)

However as soon as you call an inanimate thing such as the west wind a “friend”, you look a bit loopy. So be it. When no one is looking, I’ll smile and wave at a small dust-devil of leaves swirling across the pasture.

I suppose I have always secretly agreed with the ancient Greeks, who stated that these whirls are actually lesser angels, called “zephyrs”. The whirls have a mind of their own, and can be mischievous. I saw this first when only aged fifteen.

I was just finishing up a leaf-raking job for a rich man with a palatial house that had two wings extending to the northeast and northwest. His lawn stepped down through a series of terraces to a road, and across the road was a pasture, and at the far side of the pasture I saw a dust-devil of leaves start whirling. I immediately muttered, “Don’t you dare”, but the whirl of leaves came steadily across the pasture, growing larger and larger and containing more and more leaves. It crossed the road and came up between the two wings of the house, and then proceeded to promptly die, dumping a rain of around three inches of leaves over the area I had just finished raking. It looked worse than before I had begun. And wouldn’t you know it? My wealthy employer chose just then to come out to see how I was getting along with the job. He shot me the funniest expression.

These zephyrs are not always unhelpful. Fifty years later, just last week, I was struggling to get a twilight campfire going out in a pasture at my Childcare, but freezing rain had coated all my wood with ice and the fire was barely smoldering. I was huffing and puffing, being a human bellows in an attempt to get the fire hot enough to dry the wood in the deepening dusk. Just then a most inconsequential-seeming whirl of leaves came across the pasture. Perhaps because of the fire’s slight updraft, it swerved to the fire and just stopped there for around 45 seconds. It seemed to get bigger due to the fire’s heat, and all the coals glowed cherry red as it whirled its wind around the fire. By the time it moved off the fire was blazing. I tipped my hat and thanked that particular zephyr, as it wandered away into the darkening woods.

There. I have done it: Confessed I am a mad poet. But don’t worry. I keep it to myself, and know how to behave in public.

Nor do I pray to the west wind. I seriously believe there is only One God worthy of worship. However he does employ a lot of angels, which, although in some respects mere robotic automatons of God’s Will, are enchanting because God’s Will is enchanting, loving because God’s Will is loving, and are humorous and mischievous because such joy is not outside of God’s nature. Just because a poet is in some respects a friend of angels doesn’t mean he worships them.  Give me a break, you fellow Christians, who I have noticed praying to a few outside of the One God, (such as the Virgin Mary, and Saint Cuthbert).  Cannot I just rhapsodize a bit, without being accused of some foul heresy?

Anyway, in the end of all ends all the glory rolls back to the Creator. When I adore my wife I am not worshiping a false god, for I recognize Who made her. In like manner one can be in the world, but not of the world. Money is not evil, when used correctly, but love of money is.  When one has the joy of a good friend one should recognize a good friend is a manifestation of God’s glory.

This heavenly mood I’m in seems a typical response I go through, after feeling like hell with the ‘flu. However even when in such moods one should be in the heavens without being of the heavens, because even that enchantment is not the end of ends God has in store for us.

But I wrote this sonnet after standing in the west wind, in a Zippity-do-dah mood.

Wearing feathers plucked from a flaring sunset
God’s angels of the west wind balm the pines,
And though I don’t hope for spring, I have met
Lost memories in this cold’s kinder designs.

What is that music just beyond hearing?
What’s that scent mixed with the sweet balsam fir’s?
Who am I looking for, without fearing,
Who I haven’t yet met? The cruel winter’s
Bitterness knows a pause, and all awaits
Something announced by the golden kindness
Of the west wind. The harsh face of Fate’s
Softened by surprise. A world gone mindless
Is reminded. I see every man stunned
By the swinging doors of banks left abandoned.

In conclusion I should add that being in a heavenly mood does not mean I am allowed to neglect worldly details, and one detail of our long winters is that long thaws in January, with lovely west winds, are often followed by a ferocious February. Therefore my poetic streak has a pragmatic side. The next sonnet will likely involve woodpiles.

Woodpile FullSizeRender

Woodpile 2 FullSizeRender

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Vortex Hubbub–

My favorite long-range forecasters, Josrph D’Aleo, Joe Bastardi and Tom Downs over at Weatherbell, forecast a sort of sandwich winter back in October. That is: Two slices of bitter cold with a thaw in the middle. They have gotten the first two parts, and now I’m adopting a wait-and-see attitude about the third, but I must admit it increasingly looks like they have hit the nail on the head. If the long term forecasts prove true, that team deserves confetti and a parade, or at least some kudos (whatever those are), because predicting a winter the October before it occurs is danged hard.

I don’t usually pay much attention to upper atmosphere stuff, as it is over my head, but I do note the high clouds on days I can see up that far, and know a few old-timer rules concerning the various types of cloud, how fast they are moving, and the direction they are moving in relation to the winds down here on earth. So far I have seen nothing all that alarming, but did order an extra load of firewood, due to this couplet:

The longer and stronger the January thaw
The more that February’s snowstorms will awe.

I figure this is largely common sense. Weather is seldom “normal” or “average”, but rather tends to swing back and forth between warm spells and cold spells, so it is quite pragmatic to expect a colder February after a warmer January. Also, because spring starts in February way down south on the Gulf of Mexico coast, storms can access some warm, juicy air in February, which can feed storms like gasoline into a fire, and brings us people to the north some amazing February and March falls of snow.

But what has this to do with arctic sea-ice?

Largely it is due to the fact the Arctic Ocean is the source of our coldest air. The way winds howl up there influence us, as well as the movement of sea-ice. Also, though it has less influence on sea-ice than winds do, if the arctic is robbed of its coldest air sea-ice will form more slowly and less thickly. (For this reason biased Alarmists tend to focus on times the arctic is above normal, utterly ignoring the not-inconsequential fact we bumpkins down south in New Hampshire are freezing our socks off.)

In any case, one phenomenon that influences both sea-ice and New Hampshire is a strong cross-polar-flow from Siberia across into Canada, and then down to New Hampshire. These winds create polynyas of open water along the Siberian coast, as ice is shifted across the Pole via the Transpolar Drift to smash as impressive pressure ridges against Canada.  At first this lessens the area of sea-ice, but then the polynyas freeze over, and the sea-ice recovers back to what it was, in terms of “area”. But in terms of “volume”, no sea-ice has melted, and the total amount has increased. (You have to pay attention to such details when in discussions with biased Alarmists, due to their tendency to pick and chose only the data that supports their bias.)

So far the winds down at the level of the sea-ice have been mostly gentle, but I do notice when the winds aloft are more vigorous. This is not to say I understand what is going on up that high, but just as old-timers around here notice the antics of high clouds, I’m sure savvy old Eskimos are noticing the high clouds streaming south, and coming to conclusions. Therefore I perked up when Ryan Maue  tweeted about a “vortex”, way, way up at the tropopause, getting whipped across from Siberia all the way down to another “vortex” located over Hudson Bay. I have yet to see any sign of this cross-polar-bullwhip translating down to the surface, but it does make me pause and scratch my jaw a bit.

Also the meteorologist Judah Cohen produced a comparison of the “Vortex” as models forecast it to be on February 3 with how the situation looked during a very cold period back in 2014. (2014 to left, with North America at six o’clock. 2018 forecast to right, with North America displaced to eight o’clock.)


Judging from all this above-my-head stuff, history could repeat itself, and we could see a return to bitter winter. However so far our down-to-earth maps don’t show it.

20180130 satsfc

Though we are currently getting some north winds from the low developing out to sea, they are nothing like the blasts we got after Christmas. Our current “cold spell” will get down to 17°F (-8° C), but you would be surprised at how kindly such temperatures feel, after your body has acclimatized to windchill of -30°F (-34°C). Not that I don’t hunch my shoulders a bit against the chill, but I have noticed fellows younger and more hotblooded than I sauntering about with their jackets unzipped. And this is a cold spell? If you look west in the map you can see plenty of Pacific air leaking into the flow, diluting and moderating the winter. West winds are so different from north winds, in New England, that I can see why Indians felt different angels in the spiritual hierarchy, (wherein God [or the Great Spirit] is the only One worthy of worship),  were in charge of the west wind. After bitter blasts from the north, west winds, even when not a true Chinook, are downright kindly.

Therefore there is no real short-term reason for alarm. True, the meteorologists who focus on the upper atmosphere have a better record for correct forcasts, but sometimes even they are wrong. In fact I hope they are wrong. I don’t like bitter cold. However when they agree with old-timer’s maxims, I am especially inclined to take heed. And I remember,

The longer and stronger the January thaw
The more that February’s snowstorms will awe.

And for this reason I have made a complete mess of the side lawn of the Childcare.

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The wise old Indians used to say, “if you want to know how bad the winter will be, look at the white man’s woodpile.”

In terms of arctic sea-ice, having the “vortex” move down to Hudson Bay should lead to above-normal temperatures over the Pole as a whole, but we will have wait and see how the cross-polar-flow translates down to the surface. Having very cold air blast from Siberia to Canada will please Alarmists with polynyas along the Siberian coast, but that coastal ice is far thicker than last year, and shifting it across the arctic could lead to far thicker ice in the Central Arctic.

Stay tuned.