LOCAL VIEW –Drenching’s Lesson–

There is an old “weather-saw” that states, rather cynically,

When the sky is crystal blue
Rain or snow in a day or two.

(Actually the original version of this saw did not use the word “crystal”, but rather used an old and local word which would require explaining and defining, and that I begin this post with a sidetrack, and, as I was taught back in school to never begin with a sidetrack, and instead to launch directly to the point, I’ll skip telling you what the old and more effective word was.)

(Oh, all right, if you insist, the word was “fectless”. Now, may I get on to my point?)

(What do you mean, there is no such word?  Just because it didn’t make your dictionary doesn’t mean it didn’t make the Yankee weather-saws, that old Yankee farmers used back when I was young.)

(OK, OK, if you insist, I’ll explain the word to you, as I understand it. But I warned you, it will be a sidetrack.)

(Take the second syllable of the word “effect” and you have a new word, which I think was coined by the Scots, which is synonymous with power. If you were a shaper and mover then you were a fellow with “fect.”  [Of course, some dictionaries say there is no noun “shaper”, [for “a person or machine that shapes”], so how can they have the noun “fect”?]  But, to return to the subject, a fellow with “fect” was a person who had an effect, a real doer, and conversely a real do-nothing was a “fectless” person.

Therefore the word “fectless” was different from the word “feckless”, for “feckless” involves a moral judgement. The word “feckless” implies irresponsibility and a lack of character, and avoiding feckless behavior was preached by fellows who didn’t work, but instead pontificated from the pulpit with no calluses on their hands. The fellows who did work and who had hardened palms could care less about moralistic blabber. All they cared about was your production. If you worked and produced you had “fect”, [and if you were creative and inventive as you did so, and could swiftly learn without a teacher, you were “thefty”], [but if you whined a lot you “girned”,] and if you produced nothing you were “fectless.”

Therefore a sky that produced nothing was “fectless.”  It may not be a particularly poetic word for a blue sky, but it isn’t judgmental either. It is a rather matter-of-fact observation, and, like most elements of the “Puritan Work Ethic”, was surprisingly non-judgmental, (unlike most who comment about Puritans and the Puritan Work Ethic, who tend to look at bygone Puritans and to judge like crazy.) (In truth the Calvinist Puritans, if they judged, judged judgement was God’s business.) Anyway and in conclusion, a blue sky was nothing to wax poetic about or to rhapsodize about, but rather was a sky that produced nothing, and therefore the word “fectless” was a superb word to chose, for a practical weather-saw, utilized by practical Yankee farmers.

Sheesh! Do you see how dangerous it is to get me off onto a sidetrack? (And I didn’t even start about how the word “saw” in “weather-saw” is related to the Viking word “saga”.)

Let me start over. Monday the sky was not “crystal blue”, but “fectless blue”, so, allow me to correct myself and be historically accurate, and to put down the proper poem:

When the sky is fectless blue
Rain or snow in a day or two.

The sky was spotless and superb, in its vivid blueness, which immediately put me on guard, due to the old weather-saw. (There are other weather-saws having to do with how slowly the clear weather develops, which foretells how slowly clear weather will depart.) I knew the clarity had come on quickly, and more modern meteorological ideas told me the high pressure was not the sort that was going to stay. At this latitude, and at this time of year, things can move swiftly.

It is a bit odd to look up at a beautiful sky and scowl about it, so I didn’t. I just looked up at a total absence of signs of storm and thought “rain or snow in a day or two.” There is no judgement in that. No scowling. It is merely an acceptance of the cards as they are dealt. (To be honest, there is a fatalistic side to the Puritan Work Ethic more Buddhist than Buddhists, and more Zen than Zen.)

Actually I liked looking at the bright sky, for I had a couple of dark deuces dealt to me to start my week, which I would have avoided if possible. They involved the people many like least to deal with: Doctors and lawyers.

Yesterday, when the skies were blue, I had to go see the young fellow who removed my cancerous kidney last Christmas, and, today, as the weather went downhill to downpours, I had to obey a summons to go to court to testify about a young fellow I pity, but who broke the law. Largely it was a huge waste of my time, spent sitting about with people I’d ordinarily avoid.

If I am going to have anything to do with doctors I’d most like to sit about in a maternity ward, where life is new, and hope is like champagne. It is far less inspiring to sit about with a bunch who all have, (or have had), cancer, where hope is like dishwater.

In like manner, if I am going to have anything to do with lawyers I’d most like to sit about in the company of reformers who seek to reduce legislation [even if it means fewer laws for lawyers to play with], and who seek to create laws that are down to earth and which, (rather than justifying lame excuses), seek deal with practical matters, like the Puritan Work Ethic does. It is far less inspiring to sit about for what feels like forever, watching the legal system as it currently exists.

I really like the young doctor who saved my life, but visiting him was to see him pushed to the limit. The current system drives doctors to see too many patients each hour, and I couldn’t help but feel like a widget passing before the young man on an assembly line. I did slow everything down, by telling him a humorous tale (far shorter than the start of this post). I think it totaled 90 seconds. But he laughed, and I think I improved his Monday.

However the experience, for me, was not so hurried as it was for the doctor. I think “waiting rooms” should be renamed. They should be called “waiting and waiting and waiting rooms”. And the crowd I was waiting midst was not the most optimistic bunch I’ve ever met. It was a chance for me to tell them humorous tales as well, and to improve their Mondays as well, but I flunked that chance at spirituality. All I could pray was, “God, get me the heck out of here.” Rather than caring for the cancerous, like Mother Theresa, all I could think was that I’d rather be out under the fectless sky, for I have better uses for the little time we all have, here on our planet. And there is something about cancer that makes the time seem too brief.

It is not an example of the Puritan Work Ethic to spend an entire morning (when you include the time driving to and from the city) arriving at a diagnosis I could have arrived at on my own: “It is wise to have a yearly chest X-rays.”  I could have done that on my own. The young doctor could have been free to spend more time on his next patient, but some threat of malpractice forced him to see me even though it wasted time, and that threat is a good segway to the following day’s disdain of lawyers and judges, who also waste time.

Tuesday morning the weather was rapidly worsening, but the waste of my precious time was a gloom even worse. I had to obey a summons and show up at a court room to testify, but the prosecution and the defense huddled “off the record”, and the case was “continued” until January 17, due to “new evidence.”  (In other words, the young fellow had broken a few more laws since the last court-date, which muddled up the math involved in the plea-bargaining.)

The fellow I pity-but-must-testify-against was dressed in his cleanest clothing, but never even entered the courtroom for his “day in court”.  Various “cease and desist injunctions” and “restraining orders” did their best to prevent witnesses from meeting the accused, and we were compartmentalized into separate areas, and even left the courthouse at separate times. There was some brief eye-contact, but all I could think was that we spent an entire morning never talking, and never accomplished a blasted thing. The Puritan Work Ethic was rolling in its grave.

The judge and prosecution and defense likely felt they were busy and industrious, huddling and discussing correct procedures, but they reminded me of Union Workers following the principle, “do not kill the job”. Since they get paid for dealing with laws it pays to make more and more of them, until it seems they have so many rules and regulations to juggle that nothing will ever get done.

Of course, (because my stepfather did teach at Harvard Law School), I do have a little pity for lawyers and judges. During the the four hours I sat in the courtroom accomplishing nothing I got to see a slew of other cases: All sorts of other silly domestic altercations, which had escalated absurdly, sometimes due to obstinate and nonspiritual hardheartedness, but mostly due to booze and drugs.

A large case-load was handled by a very haggard and weary-looking judge. He wore a drab, black robe and had impeccably styled hair parted in the middle to curling waves by each graying temple, nearly as fashionable as the white wigs the English judges wear. Among other things, he had to deal with a surprisingly large number of irresponsible people who were so irresponsible they failed to show up. A lot of the work had been done beforehand by the prosecution and defense, and the judge was then merely a harried clerk noting down the pre-agreed-upon sentences. Many long sentences were greatly shortened, provided the culprit avoided getting back into the same trouble during the following weeks, or months, or in one case two years. The judge avoided any sort of editorial comment, besides raising an eyebrow slightly from time to time. To one side a fat man stood quietly, a revolver bulging beneath his coat, and his only job seemed to be saying, “All rise” when the judge entered. A stenographer busily typed at a computer terminal, and answered a few questions the judge asked her about defendant’s “priors”. The entire time there was not a single raised voice, and there were long silences as the judge studied papers, and during these silences the lawyers would whisper with each other, and defendants would look concerned to see their lawyer quietly chuckling with the prosecution.

The only interesting case was a fellow who was led in by a State Trooper. The accused wore steel handcuffs chained to a steel chain around his waist, so he had to stoop to scratch his nose or sign a paper, because he couldn’t raise his hands. This man had been on some sort of wonderfully wild bender, and his case was difficult because he had broken laws in three separate counties in New Hampshire, and he had cases pending in Massachusetts and Vermont as well.  The entire courtroom awoke from its drowsy indifference when the legal difficulties were discussed, but then sank back in disappointment when it became apparent that none of the juicy details were going to be discussed. (I thought the poor fellow looked like he couldn’t remember what a great time he’d had, breaking all those laws.) The case was so complicated, involving so many jurisdictions, that the fellow had already spent over two months in jail as bureaucrats tried to figure out the legalities of exactly where he should be tried first.

For the most part the judge wanted to painstakingly note which of the many sentences, which the man had to serve in the future, that the seventy-one days he’d already served would be applied to, and which sentences would be “concurrent” and which would be “consecutive”, and which jail he’d await his next hearing in, and what county or state that hearing would be held in. Legally every “T” was crossed and every “I” was dotted, with dreary and methodical slowness. I muttered to the person next to me I would have preferred some sort of brawl, for that would have settled things much faster.

Or would I? I’m an old man, and no Clint Eastwood, and think I would come out on the losing end, if the judge told me, and the young-man-I-was-to-testify-against, to go out in the parking lot and settle things man to man. But in some ways I think I might have preferred a black eye and bloody nose, to the idiotic extension of misery that the pedantic laws everlastingly perpetuate. The laws seemed intended to keep lawyers busy, and little else.

Back fifty years ago, when I was young, it was a little less politically-correct to brawl, and I got my nose bloodied and my eye blackened on a few occasions.  The teachers and authorities were horrified, but afterwards me and Bob and Chuck and Dave and Brian were on a first-name basis. If not best-buddies, we were far more respectful towards each other after our brawls than we ever dreamed we could be beforehand. Apparently, with boys at least,  contact is better than separation, and intimacy has value, even it involves fists.

If young teens can be so much smarter than lawyers, when it comes to resolving things, just imagine, if such a thing were possible, how much more swiftly a mastermind like Lord Jesus might resolve things. Theoretically He could solve disputes without everyone wasting so much time. Likely He could heal without so much time being wasted in doctors offices, and so much blasted paperwork.

As a writer, I likely shouldn’t belittle paperwork. But I do know of its hazards. I fell in love with paperwork to a degree where weeds grew in my garden, because I was too busy scribbling to weed. Consequentially I know all about the ways paperwork can reduce the crop one would expect, if one obeyed the Puritan Work Ethic.  It is only an obvious extension of this first-hand knowledge to state that others, such as doctors and lawyers, who allow paperwork to overrule the common sense of the Puritan Work Ethic, should expect reduced crops as well.

I could go on, but won’t. I think I’ve traced the borders of an idea which larger minds can grasp, and I’ll leave it up to larger minds to fill in the larger gaps.

As for me, I was just a tired old bumpkin who had to deal with his Monday and Tuesday largely wasted. The days are at their shortest now, and if you are stuck indoors during the heart of the day the dark is already growing as you escape, even when the sky is fectless blue. When the rain is drumming down it is dark even at noon, and it is evening before three in the afternoon.

What a difference a day made! Monday the sky was fectless blue, but Tuesday dawned with a rain so cold that ice was on the windshields. Up in Maine the cold brewed snow.

20161129-rad_ne_640x480

But fortunately the storm was well west, and that snow could only be driven away by south winds.

20161129-satsfc

Even though we didn’t get snow, the above map shows the warm front stayed south of us, and we received the coldest rain you can get, without it being snow. Miserable stuff. But the real gloom was a sort of hangover I felt, from being plunged into the worlds of doctors and lawyers. It put a bad taste in the flavor of my own job as a “child care professional”, for I am the police, judge, jury, prosecution, defense, doctor and nurse all rolled into one, as soon as I step in the door. It doesn’t help matters when one has developed a strong sense that such people are all somehow misinformed, when you must promptly join the club. I was in a bad mood as I drove from the courtroom to work through the driving rain.

As the windshield wipers swiped the smearing purple view I wondered if I’m just getting old. The doctors and lawyers are younger than me, and in some cases seem hardly able to shave. I tend to think they are less wise than me, for where I was schooled by old Yankees who dealt with practical jobs, they studied bureaucracy and all its idiocy and paperwork. Where I learned an archaic language, they learned legalese. Where I learned the Puritan Work Ethic they learned how to waste exorbitant amounts of time and taxpayer’s money accomplishing zilch. But does this make me wise, or merely an anachronism?

Because I deal so much with youth, I have to admit there is something fresh and new manifesting. The One who created me young and bursting with new ideas and bundles of energy long ago does not weary, and fresh waves of youth are created by the Creator even as I get old and do get weary.

Some of my ideas are not due to wisdom, but due to weariness. I saw this made clear a week ago when I had to face a task I’d have done in a day, a decade ago, but found I was putting off, at age sixty-three.

A member of my staff had fretted about a big, old, dead paper-birch by a trail. Dead trees do fall in strong winds, but the fact it is highly unlikely they will fall just when a small child is passing did not make the good woman fret less, so, because I valued her heart even if not her worry, I cut the tree down and cut the trunk into a bunch of round logs, the largest as big around as a small car’s tire. Then I let those logs sit there. Operating a chain saw makes me a bit achy, but humping a bunch of big logs into the back of my truck makes me very achy. My choice was dictated by my age.

The children at my Childcare wanted those logs moved 200 yards away, for two old-fashioned reasons.  First, we have a old-fashioned campfire 200 yards away. Second, despite the fact they can barely lift the old-fashioned maul, they delight in the old-fashioned art of splitting logs. (More modern people either use an gasoline-powered, pneumatic woodsplitter, or have a pellet or propane stove, rather than a campfire.)

I was in no mood to please the whining children. If humping big logs into my truck makes my body hurt, supervising boys (and a few girls) wielding a maul to split wood makes my brain hurt. These children are aged three to nine. I have to watch them like a hawk. They do learn and become amazingly proficient in an ancient art, just as children did in the past, but I lose around five pounds of sweat for each child I teach. Therefore I hit upon a way I thought might get the kids to forget about the birch logs 200 yards away. I told them that if they wanted to split logs, I would teach them, but my truck was unavailable, so they would have to roll all the logs to the campfire.

They promptly embarrassed me. Where I looked at those big logs and cringed at the thought of moving them, they all ran off to gleefully roll them. Nor did they merely roll one or two logs. They rolled an entire tree’s worth of logs. It took them less than an hour, and this particularly put me to shame, for I’d managed to make the same job take three months (by putting it off) and hadn’t even started it. What really rubbed the shame in was they were not achy at all, after moving such a load of wood. To be honest, the cluster of kids looked rather invigorated by the exercise. Then they all clamored for chances to split the logs.

The shame. The shame. Old Yankees like me take pride in our ability to work, but I’d been outdone by boys aged five, six and seven. What could I do? I had to watch like a hawk as they attempted to spit the logs. Only a few could actually split a log, (I can still beat them in that respect), but they loved the chance to smash a log, (likely because they usually get in trouble for smashing stuff), and all went home with healthy appetites, likely had no trouble falling asleep, and likely became more muscular.

The benefit to me? Well, of course I do get paid for this stuff. I got the logs moved without paying for it. And parents do praise me because their kids are more mellow when exhausted, and less inclined to smash things at home. However I think the best benefit was that they taught me the young see differently than the old. That should be obvious, but sometimes I need things made blatant.

As I drove from the courthouse to the Childcare, squinting through the windshield at a purple world smeared by swiping wipers,  I took my revelation and applied it to doctors and lawyers. Is it possible that they too have the superabundance of energy youth owns, and all their bureaucratic paperwork is actually a useful thing I am simply too old and worn out to appreciate?

Nah.

First of all, dealing with the extra work created by a dead birch is a different thing from dealing with a bureaucracy’s extra work. The first is physical whilst bureaucracy is mental, and the first creates a useful product (firewood) while the second mostly wastes time. The only similarity is both involve dead wood, which was one reason I was delightfully surprised when the president-elect suggested that a new rule be instituted wherein, from now on,  an old regulation would have to be abolished before a new one could be instituted.

Second, though I am older physically, and jobs that once were invigorating now are painful, I am still mentally sharp, and in fact better at grasping concepts than I was when I was young and easily befuddled.

However I didn’t have time to think deeply about all this stuff, for I was arriving at the Childcare, and had to not only deal with kids cooped up indoors in a driving rain, but also with an overworked staff who had to cover for me as I ditched them to skip off to deal with doctors and lawyers and paperwork galore.  I might not feel I’d had a break, but the staff needed a break from being the police, judge, jury, prosecution, defense, doctor and nurse all rolled into one. And, as soon as I stepped in from the purple day to the bright yellow light of the Childcare, deep thought had to cease. Working with small children involves having around fifteen seconds to think about a problem, before the child chirps up with the next one, (and if you have twelve children you have twelve voices chirruping questions).

After around a half hour of directing young attentions away from havoc towards more constructive play, and arbitrating disputes, I heard the low moaning of an engine approaching out on the street, and looking out the window into the purple day saw a yellow school-bus approaching and slowing to a stop, and start disgorging a small crowd of”older” children, (aged six to ten.) Glancing at the sign-up sheet I understood some of the smaller children, who should have been picked up already, were staying late because parents were delayed by the driving rain and slow traffic down towards Manchester or Boston. We would have more children than usual. I stifled an oath and instead said, “Goodness!” (which is a word that hasn’t yet been prohibited by bureaucrats).

My focus was immediately the boys exiting the bus, because they are completely full of pent up high spirits, and as they get out of school they are a bit like goats released into a spring pasture. They want to bound and skip and frolic.  It is best to immediately assert some command and power, because if you lose control it is hard to get it back, and they would disturb and infect the smaller children with their wild exuberance.

As the boys exited the bus, I ordered them inside, because the weather was so rotten it seemed a kindness. However after six hours having to obey rules at school they were bouncing off the walls, inside. What does “bouncing off the walls” mean? Well, it means I could either get all legalistic, and forbid throwing things no sane person would think of throwing, and forbid running atop furniture no sane person would think of running atop of, or I could skip the whole bother of pretending I was a lawyer and judge of the indoors, and just order them outside. (Actually I obeyed the bureaucrat’s protocol, and asked them if they would “like to” go outside, but I used a certain growl that hints there is no option.) (I also asked the girls, to prove I’m not a sexist, but rather than bouncing off the walls they were huddled together plotting and scribbling, and simply looked at me, and then out at the driving rain, with incredulous expressions that wordlessly stated, “Are you nuts?”

The boys didn’t hesitate, and I had to collar them even to get them to put on raincoats. After all day pent up in classrooms, boys don’t want to stay in. Nor do I, after time spent pent up in doctor’s and lawyer’s offices. So we went out, and lasted around twenty minutes.

pent-img_4110

You may think I am exaggerating, but as a so-called “child care professional” I tell you it makes a huge difference if you allow boys a bit of time getting drenched by miserable weather before they decide, on their own volition, that inside is better.

There is something about the “outside” that teaches better than I can. The boys exploded out the door and ran about and got drenched. They had a blast, and then slowed, and seemed to conclude, “this isn’t fun any more.” When they came in they payed quietly with legos, until the girls attacked them.

Now, despite the fact I have noticed there is a difference between the sexes, I attempt to be politically correct. I have mentioned I did offer the girls the chance to go outside with the boys. They had no interest, for, freed from school, they were choosing to bounce off different walls. It caused no trouble at first, because they huddled and plotted and jotted on paper. In fact it seemed harmless, until I got my personal slip of paper. It read:

Top Secret! Private!!!! Mr. Shaw your invited!

Day: Tuesday, Dec 6

Time: 4:07

Where: The farm

Why: Charlotte, Maya, and Brooke invited you!

Please come!

I am old and wise enough to understand that this is not an invitation. It is an order. And it presented me with certain problems. I had a preschooler to deal with just then, and politely said I might be a little late to the party.

When the boys-off-the-bus received their invitations, they made no effort to be polite. Rather than appreciating the invitations they received, they seemed to take offence. Immediately they began turning legos into weaponry. If the girls were going to interrupt their play with invitations, they would counterattack by interrupting the girls’ party with Lego light-sabers, jet airplanes, bazookas and spears. They were very small versions of such weaponry, but they made an amazing amount of noise.

The girls immediately began making a counter din, saying how horrible boys are and bursting into tears and telling me to order the boys to be “polite” and to comply with their orders, and to pretend to sip tea at a party with their pinkies raised. The boys announced they would rather die.

Now I am certain you, as an outsider, know exactly how you would deal with such a rainy-day conflict. You know exactly what to say to girls who invite boys to places they do not want to go. You know what to say to boys who respond to invitations with light sabers. But me? I was just glad that parents half my age started arriving just then, and I didn’t have to deal with it.

To be quite honest, there are times that my wife and I are involved in the exact same disagreement. She is inclined to go to a party, when I am more inclined to play with my Legos, (or construct a sonnet,) (basically the same thing.)

How do my wife and I deal with this problem? Well, to be frank, that is our business, and how you deal with this problem is your business. (It does seem to be a rather eternal problem, mentioned in classic literature and even the Bible.) (The Bible suggests that one way of handling it is to turn water into wine, but I must not be a very good Christian, for I haven’t got that part down right…..yet.)

But one thing that does seem unwise is to legislate. Do not make a one-size-fits-all rule, because not only does one size fail to fit all, but bureaucratic legislation spoils the fun of figuring things out for yourself.

Not that you can’t make certain rules that outlaw certain options, such as, “Thou shalt not poke another with any weaponry”,  or even “Legos shall stay in room 1, and teacups in room 2”, but forbidding certain options is not the same thing as prohibiting Freedom itself.

And to conclude this ramble, that is what the children taught me on a gloomy, rainy day.

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –The Long Arm of the Ralph–Updated Friday Morning

Ralph is back at it at the Pole, fed by feeder bands of milder air brought up by the loopy jet stream. The most typical feeder band comes up from the Atlantic, but now I am starting to see signs of more unusual sources, taking more difficult routes. Also I am starting to notice it is not only the milder air that is drawn in, but colder streams are pushed around too, along with their accompanying blobs of high pressure.

It is very interesting to take the high view, and see the planet from the top down. I’m sure some see what occurs at the Pole as mere side effects of greater events further south, but I prefer to see Ralph as the boss and supreme controller of all weather, (even if I am seeing the tail wag the dog).

When I last posted we had seen the feeder band come up through the Canadian Archipelago, holding very moderated Atlantic air that came via the still unfrozen waters of Hudson Bay. Though chilled and I imagine somewhat dried, this air still managed to fuel the latest incarnation of Ralph, which weakened the high pressure over the Pole into a mere ridge. The flow was still largely north to south in the North Atlantic, preventing reinforcements of Ralph from that direction, but reinforcements did come north through the Archipelago.

By the next day the reinforcements arrived, rebuilding Ralph towards the Pole, and pushing the high pressure ridge further towards Scandinavia.

By afternoon the flow in Fram Strait was reversing, to south to north, and Atlantic reinforcements could sneak up the east coast of Greenland as a wrong-way-flow. Ralph was starting to draw mild air up from the Atlantic at the same time he was pulling very cold air off Siberia out over the Arctic Sea, and developing a cross-polar-flow from Siberia to Canada.

The next morning saw the cross-polar-flow pulling a large mass of cold air (high pressure) across Bearing Strait. The open waters there warmed a thin layer at the surface, but most of the cold crossed unscathed and the cold began building in Alaska.  The flow was still south-to-north in Fram Strait but north-to-south over Scandinavia. The cold pouring across from Asia is starting to cut off the supply of mild air through the Archipelago, but a new Atlantic stream was developing. A weak low was developing north of Iceland, but headed east and not north.

By the next day the weak low in the North Atlantic was starting to mess with Ralph’s supply of Atlantic air, but enough of that air had penetrated to create Ralph’s “signature” in the temperature map, (mildness hooking up towards the Pole from the Kara Sea). This milder stream is running side by side with bitter cold being drawn off Siberia by the cross-polar flow, and the clash between the two temperatures feeds Ralph. So much cold is pressing down over Alaska that it is pumping up high pressure.

Today the high pressure over Alaska has become so powerful it no longer is an effect of the pattern, and instead is starting to effect the pattern in a new and interesting way. The Pacific storms cannot move east into Alaska due to that high pressure, and instead are deflected north and then west, first up through East Siberia, and then backwards along the Eurasian Arctic coast. This may be the next feed for Ralph.

What is odd about this situation is that, if the Pacific storms send weak impulses west along the Eurasian coast, and Atlantic storms send weak impulses east along the same coast, somewhere in the middle you are going to have a complete mess. I’ll leave it to European meteorologists to figure it out. They seem good at figuring out maps that to me look like a hopeless tangle of fronts, troughs and occlusions.

Actually today’s UK Met map is remarkably simple. The above map shows the flow has switched back around to north-to-south in Fram Strait, and this is bringing a nice, neat cold front south in the North Atlantic.

uk-met-20161205-a-42671632

However if you follow that cold front west you notice it becomes a warm front over Iceland. A weak low will form in that area and ripple across to Norway, to join the low stagnating over Sweden. Meanwhile the official Icelandic Low will spin its wheels far to the south of Greenland, but all the fronts associated with it will get kicked across the Atlantic and look like a bad hair day over Europe by Thursday.

uk-met-20161205-b-42681117

Now this is a more typical European map, and is why European meteorologists are sometimes found writhing about on the floors of their offices in abject frustration.

I’ll simply over-simplify, as I find it makes life a whole lot easier.

For the time being the Icelandic low is going to wobble where it is, making it very hard for mildness from the Azores to stream north. Meanwhile a unnamed fixed-low will wobble to and fro between Scandinavia and the Kara Sea. On the far side of the Planet the fixed Aleutian Low won’t even be allowed east to the Aleutians, but rather looks like it will wobble back west to the Pacific Coast of Siberia, sending blobs of mildness north across East Siberia on one side, and pouring cold out over the Pacific on its southern side.

It will be interesting if mildness streams north over East Siberia, as that is often the coldest part of Asia. The anomaly maps will show cherry red, for in East Siberia temperatures of -10°C are still thirty degrees above normal. (The usual suspects will seize upon such cherry red maps, so be forewarned.)

What I will be watching for is these blobs of Pacific mildness to roll the wrong way, west along the Eurasian Arctic coast, and then perhaps to even swing north to the Pole as future incarnations of Ralph.

The headlines will be about that tremendous cold in Alaska heading south to afflict Canada and the USA, and I suspect I myself will soon be too busy removing snow to focus much on sea-ice. It looks like the true winter will arrive here in the Northeast of the USA next weekend.

Even if I don’t post I’ll be watching to see if our planet continues to squander its warmth via Ralph, which I see as a big drain at the top of the planet.

The last influx of heat, squandered via the Canadian Archipelago, only resulted in a slight spike in the DMI temperature graph, but that is because the temperature is so much above normal to begin with.  If the graph spiked up to current levels from the green line of normalcy it would give a quite different impression than the current graph’s plunge gives. The simple fact is our planet has brought a lot of mildness north, where it can do nothing but be lost to outer space.

dmi5-1204-meant_2016

If I have time I’ll update with maps of ice extent later.

MONDAY NIGHT UPDATE

I felt I should include today’s DMI maps, for they show the theory came true, and a blob of Pacific influence is moving the wrong way (west) along the Siberian coast to a rendezvous with a mess of low pressure milling around between Scandinavia and the Kara sea and Ralph, up at the Pole.

Despite the “signature” of Atlantic influence at the Pole, the Atlantic flow is very balked, not only by the position of the Icelandic Low well southeast of Greenland, but also by the small low scooting east towards Norway, right in the entrance region of flows from the Atlantic into the Arctic. However the “signature” does show some mildness did sneak past the barricades, and create an uptick in the DMI graph of temperatures north of 80 ° N latitude.

dmi4-1206-meant_2016

Of course one reason it can get milder at the Pole is because the cold has been exported elsewhere, and the above maps make it obvious the cold is pressing down, (because cold air is dense and sinks), and is creating an intimidating high pressure over Alaska and northern Canada. I use the word “intimidating” because the bitter cold might head south and bring misery to my neck of the woods. However I have a shred of hope it will all spill east, south of Greenland, and chill Atlantic Waters, rather than my humble life.

I should be more manly about the coming onslaught of winter. However I confess often I’d rather skip winter’s challenge to the status-quo. I find it rather upsetting when a tropical paradise like Hawaii has weather reports of three feet of snow, up at the tops of its volcanoes. I thought volcanoes were suppose to be hot!

aaa-1-636162727794164849-ap-winter-weather-hawaii-1

However some status-quos deserve to be challenged. For example, Turks are beautiful and Kurds are beautiful, but rather than sitting about admiring each other’s beauty, they feel compelled to obey a status quo where they slaughter each other. I am rather glad to see such military operations balked by unexpected snows, displaced far south of normal by Ralph, up at the Pole.

aaa-2-265762image1

Fifty years ago I used to trot off to school, where a nice fellow like myself ran up against an ugly status-quo wherein I got sneered at a lot, because I was not a star athlete nor a star scholar. I didn’t care a bit what the stars thought, nor what the teachers and coaches, who seemed to fawn ingratiatingly at star juveniles, thought. But I did care what the cheerleaders thought. When these big-bosomed women, a foot taller than I was at that time, sneered at my smallness, and preferred dopey athletes and dopey intellectuals to the marvelous wit of yours truly, I was deeply depressed, and wanted snow to shut things down. Back then, when snow cancelled school, it was a gift from God. I was freed from my daily humiliation, made unexpected coins by shoveling snow, and rather than a fool at school I was the neighborhood hero (because in my neighborhood most children were younger than I) by building the best igloo.

It is amazing what a difference a half-century makes. Now I run a Childcare, so now I am the guy who runs the school. Now I don’t want school cancelled, because it involves my income. Now I have to clear the snow away so the children can come to school. Once I loved snow, but now I hate it.  About the only thing that is the same is that, even after all these years, I am still the guy who builds the igloo. (But even that has changed, because now building igloos makes me sore from head to toe, where a half century ago it was about as hard as building a sand castle, and invigorated me.)

In any case, I wish the cold would stay up at the Pole, where cold belongs. I wish Ralph would just quit his whirling, and have the decency to fade quietly away.  No such luck, so far, this Autumn. But hopefully, when Winter comes, Winter will be different.

I am hinting at something, as I make the above comment. I am hinting that the politicized concept of Global Warming matters about as much to working people as a flea to an elephant, (when the flea is on the elephant’s toenail and can’t bite his hide). Real people have real stuff to deal with, and Global Warming is last on their list.

I have now spent over a decade debating Global Warming fanatics. Increasingly it seems a complete waste of my time. Increasingly it becomes obvious they don’t really care what is actually happening, up at the Pole, and down at lower latitudes, and in terms of snow-cover, and in terms of sea-ice. Such things are wonderful, but they don’t care about what is wonderful, and prefer not to deal with the world of wonder. They have their minds made up. Science is settled. They have the universe figured out. Einstein was stupid, compared to their certainty.

What complete dopes. The scam has been obvious since Climategate. This cartoon is from 2009.

oz-cartoon-30252-1

In any case, here are the maps of sea-ice concentration and sea-ice thickness. Despite Ralph’s appetite for inflows of mild air, the sea-ice goes right on expanding. Bering Strait grew ice swiftly when the cold was streaming from Siberia to Alaska, but I expect the ice-growth to slow there, now that Ralph seems hungry for Pacific air. Hudson Bay was protected by a former inflow, but I expect it to rapidly skim over because of the enormous high pressure of bitter cold building over Canada. (Until Hudson Bay does freeze over expect to see crimson on temperature anomaly maps over its waters, which will be warming a thin layer of air at the surface.)

Kara Sea is swiftly freezing up, and Franz Josef Land, which was completely surrounded by water when Ralph’s mild feed was heading north there, is now completely surrounded by ice.

concentration-20161206-attachment-1

 

thickness-20161206-attachment-1

WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE

This morning’s map shows the “official” Ralph fading away north of Greenland, but his “signature continuing to be very apparent, hooking up over the Pole. (Keep in mind that the “milder air” just over the Pole is between -15°C and -20°C.) However what is most interesting to me is what I suppose I should call a “Pacific Signature”, poking north (down) through Bering Strait. Some models show this surge of mild air fueling a second wrong-way storm, moving west along the north coast of Siberia, in the coming days.  It will be interesting to watch this polar invasion, though I think the media will largely be focused on that bitter cold over Canada sending arctic outbreaks south into the USA for the next 15 days.

THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE

Things are getting so interesting that I might see if I can find the time for a new post, in which case this is just notes for that post.

The most noticeable feature on the map is the enotmous high pressure that has built over Canada, and has bulged a ridge all the way south to Texas. (That is why ranchers in the northern plains of Texas brag, during a “blue norther”, “There’s nothing between here and the North Pole ‘cept a couple of stands of barbed wire.”) However it makes the Pole warmer to export that arctic blast, in this case because a mild “feeder band” is being drawn north through Bering Strait, along with weak bulges of low pressure, which interest me because they seem to be becoming the next “Ralph” at the Pole.  In the map below one has weakened, but dents the isobars by the Pole, and a second is bulging north on the coast of the East Siberian Sea.

This morning’s shows little change. Very cold air is venturing north in the Laptev Sea, clashing with the Pacific air coming in through Bering straight, which should fuel a path for the second Pacific low. The real culprit at this point is the Aluetian Low, at about 1:00 on the edge of the map. It has been suppressed west by the huge high over Alaska, and is actually slightly inland in Asia.

The mild air being pushed north through Bering Strait is below freezing, but far above the usual frigid temperatures seen in East Siberia. It shows up very nicely in the temperature anomaly maps produced by Dr. Ryan Maue over at the Weatherbell Site. The anomaly is so great it is not merely “cherry red”, or even “white hot,” but downright peachy.hula-1-gfs_t2m_anom_arctic_1

Now watch where that “heat” heads in the next two maps, (24 hour forecast and 48 hour forecast.)

hula-2-gfs_t2m_anom_arctic_5hula-3-gfs_t2m_anom_arctic_9

You can see a “Ralph signature” swirl starting to show, so lets switch over and look at Dr. Maue’s surface-pressure-and-wind maps for, 24, 48, 74 and 96 hours. Does Ralph reappear at the Pole?

hula-4-gfs_mslp_uv10m_arctic_5

hula-5-gfs_mslp_uv10m_arctic_9hula-6-gfs_mslp_uv10m_arctic_13

hula-7-gfs_mslp_uv10m_arctic_17

Well bust my sprockets!  Thar he blows!  But actually I’d expect a low to form with so much heat transported to the cold Pole. What could the air do but rise? (And consequently lose all that heat to outer space).

For those of you who are more interested in the boring subject of weather further south, notice what happens behind Ralph. The isobars stop coming north through Bering Strait and instead indicate a cross-polar-flow crossing from Siberia to Canada. (To me this indicates the current blast of cold afflicting North America will not be a one-shot-deal, but will involve a second blast.)

I’m more interested in what becomes of Ralph once the Pacific winds stop rushing north through Bering Strait. He will be cut off, and likely have to stop dancing about in that ridiculous hula skirt he wears, when Pacific air is involved. Will he simply fade away? Or will he pull off another reincarnation?

Stay tuned.

FRIDAY MORNING UPDATE

The high pressure over northern Canada is disgorging its cold south. This will rob the Arctic of its reservoir of cold, and that high pressure indeed looks weaker, from our top-down view. The Aleutian feeder-band, sucked around the top of that  band, has made it all the way to the shores of the Canadian Archipelago, and as it clashes with cold air lodged there it seems a surprise version of “Ralph” is forming. This took me by surprise, as I’ve been watching that low rolling west along the Siberian Coast.

Besides this important stuff, up where nobody lives, there is the small matter of the arctic air pouring down from the Canadian Archipelago to Texas and effecting hundreds of millions of folk. This only concerns us sea-ice fanatics because the Arctic is being robbed blind of its cold air.

20161209-satsfc

I suppose this blast is of interest, as it rushes over Hudson Bay which is not yet frozen, though it it starting to freeze at the top. Last year it was nearly more than half frozen at this date. (2015 to left, 2016 to right.)

It is interesting to note that, while Hudson Bay is refreezing more slowly than last year, the cold air pouring into the Pacific from Siberia has the Sea of Okhotsk freezing more swiftly.

As Hudson Bay chills it swiftly warms the arctic air passing over it, with further heat robbed via the process of evaporation. This warms areas downwind of the Bay, and also the Great Lakes, as can be seen in this Dr. Maue map of temperatures.

hula-8-cmc_t2m_noram_2

While this warming effect may concern a few millions in the Northeast of the USA, a true sea-ice fanatic is primarily concerned with Hudson Bay’s rate of refreeze. I am particularly concerned because I stuck my foolish neck out and bet a nickle it would be frozen by Christmas.

cis-20161209-cmmbctca

By next Wednesday the robbery of arctic cold will have bone-chilling air pouring into the USA. (This is a anomaly-map of temperatures next Wednesday a bit higher up in the atmosphere, at the 850 mb level.)

hula-9-czizauauaaasknx

Of interest in this map is not the records being set in boring old USA, but the counter flow roaring up towards the north of Hudson Bay. (I suppose I should be interested because that warm flow seems to pass over my house and keep me from the chill, at least until Thusrday). Also of interest is the warmer-than-normal air persisting up towards Bering Strait.

This seems a continuation of the topsy-turvy pattern where the Pole may be milder than normal, but lower latitudes get their socks frozen off.

When the arctic surges south on the American side, Europe often gets a break, and indeed the Dr. Maue temperature-anomaly map of Europe shows them milder than normal, except to the southeast:

hula-10-gfs_t2m_anom_eur_1

However despite the mildness in Europe and East Siberia, plenty of arctic air lurks in the center of Asia, especially in Western Russia. If I was European I’d keep an eye on the cold over Russia, and keep my guard up.  Winter hasn’t officially even started yet, and I have a hunch this could be a winter when both sides of the Northern Hemisphere get hammered. Here is a Dr. Maue map showing how far below normal the temperatures are over Western Russia:

hula-11-gfs_t2m_anom_asia_1

Of course, Europe doesn’t matter much to a true sea-ice fanatic. Keep your eyes peeled for feeder-bands heading north to Ralph, for Ralph is the real “polar vortex”, (no matter what you may hear about the big arctic trough hitting the USA next week).

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Archie-Ralph–

There have been some interesting developments up at the Pole, where the low pressure I dubbed “Ralph” has reappeared in a new guise. When I last posted Ralph had slumped down into the Canadian archipelago, as high pressure dominated the Pole.

I was even thinking of renaming Ralph “Archie”, ( short for “archipelago”), because he seemed different; completely cut off from the Atlantic moisture that had fed him for so long. However Ralph would not be denied. If he couldn’t be fed up the east side of Greenland, then he’d develop a sneaky flow up the west side, through Nares Strait and the islands of the Archipelago.

At first the “warm sector” of the new Archie-Ralph was hidden down in the islands of the archipelago, and further south towards Hudson Bay. Anyway, nearly all eyes were more focused on the other side of Archie-Ralph, which was starting to transport bitter cold Siberian air across Bering Strait, and develop a mean-looking pool of cold over Alaska, that glowered south towards at Canada and the USA (and eventually made such threatening faces that it even made the Drudge Report, without the cold actually doing anything.) Only truly dedicated sea-ice fanatics payed attention to the warm side of Archie-Ralph.

By November 29 the first sign of Ralph’s “signature” began to appear north of the Archipelago out on the Arctic Sea, in the temperature maps, as Archie-Ralph gnawed away at the high pressure over the Pole.

By November 30 an obvious point of milder temperatures appears in the temperature map north of the Archipelago

Today the high pressure seems to be giving up. Perhaps it is time to reassess the forecasts of a building negative Arctic Oscillation.

archie-8-hgt-ao-cdas

While the AO remains negative, it did not achieve the depths some thought it would plunge to, and I think Ralph is largely to blame. One way or another he keeps transporting mild air to the Pole, where it rises and creates low pressure at the surface. I’m not certain how much of the mild air aloft is directly attributable to Ralph and Archie-Ralph, for I’m a down-to-earth fellow, and like to stay clear of 500 mb maps, and 10 mb maps are way over my head.

To be quite honest, even the AO mystifies me, for as best as I can tell it is the average pressure north of 65° north latitude minus your postal code times the amount the home team lost by on Sunday, (though I may have gotten a few of the details wrong.) To me it blends all the interesting details away by averaging. For example, a negative AO suggests high pressure rules the Pole, but the map shows Archie-Ralph sitting there.

archie-7-gfs_mslp_uv10m_arctic_6

Furthermore, Archie-Ralph has a most definate Ralph-signature now, in the temperature maps.

archie-1-gfs_t2m_arctic_1

Once Ralph starts slurping, the whirlpool seems to start to draw in air from other sources. Looking at the above map I wonder if a little Atlantic air might be getting sucked in north of Greenland, so I jump ahead 24 hours, to see what the model sees in its crystal ball.

archie-2-gfs_t2m_arctic_5

At this point it looks a little like the Atlantic might be trying to join in with Hudson Bay, as a feed for Archie-Ralph,  but the headlines will all be about the south side of Archie-Ralph, towards Bering Strait. Although it looks “warm” there that is because the water is open (though rapidly freezing) or the ice is thin (though rapidly thickening) and therefore is able to warm a thin level of air right at the surface, despite it being bitter cold as it streams off Siberia. As soon as it reaches Alaska the thin layer gets mixed and the true nature of the air mass again shows its face. I wonder if all this cold air will cut Archie-Ralph off from mild sources, to I jump ahead 24 more hours:

archie-3-gfs_t2m_arctic_9

Mild air has definitely pushed over the Pole, even as the Pacific side shudders. Check 24 hours further:

archie-4-gfs_t2m_arctic_13

Now we are definitely seeing Ralph’s signature. 24 hours further?

archie-5-gfs_t2m_arctic_17

And there we have it, another finger of Atlantic moisture and “mildness” (well below freezing, of course,)  again swirling on top of our planet. At this point we are out at the edge of model reliability, but the map looks like this:

archie-6-gfs_mslp_uv10m_arctic_17

Likely the news will be the cold air pouring south through Canada, or that big gale over Norway, but if you are a sea-ice fanatic like me you’ll notice Ralph again sits on the Pole. Likely there will be another spike in the DMI temperature graph, which currently has paused its plunge:

dmi4-1130-meant_2016

It will be interesting to watch the next spike, as I think it is indicative of how much heat our planet is squandering, even before the first day of winter. Among my fellow sea-ice watchers there will likely be some dismay, as the ice will be slower to thicken to the north, and slower to skim over in some places to the south, but it should be remembered that winter hasn’t even started, and also that mildness to the north usually means cold is displaced south. Usually we don’t get the rare pictures of the sun-baked deserts of Saudi Arabia being dusted by snow until late December or January, but here are some pictures from last week, (when it was still November:)

archie-9-185d00fd-e6d2-49e7-86b7-2aa91d3d1278_16x9_788x442archie-10-583cfb0dc4618821198b4651

(I have to run to work and then a meeting, but hope to further update this post this evening.)

UPDATE 

A quick glance at the NRL maps shows that the ice continues to grow at the Pole, despite all the fuss about warmer temperatures up there. “Warmer” is a relative term,  and, as the above maps show, “warmer” can involve temperatures that are below zero Fahrenheit, (-17° C), which can grow sea-ice in a hurry, and even faster than colder temperatures, if wind is involved.

With the cold air making Drudge Report headlines, blasting its way from Siberia to Alaska, we can expect to see Bering Strait freeze over swiftly. Further south, other cold, Siberian air spilling out over the Pacific has started growing ice in the Sea of Okhotsk. The falling temperatures over the Arctic continues to grow ice in the eastern Kara Sea. But what interests me most is not growing ice, but the lack of ice, in Hudson Bay. This shows the path of the feed of milder air north, in that area, which refueled “Ralph”.

concentration-20161201-attachment-1

 

Although the sea-ice ended the summer thicker than normal up at the Pole, “Ralph’s” appetite for streams of milder air has slowed the thickening of ice to a point where the sea-ice up there is much thinner than normal.

thickness-20161201-attachment-1

However thinner ice, and even ice-free waters, are not warmed by sunshine, for the sun doesn’t even rise above the 70° N latitude circle in the above map. (The second circle out from the Pole.) The DMI temperature graph (see above) only includes temperatures within the 80° N latitude circle, (the smallest circle), and by referring to above maps you’ll see the coldest temperatures along both the Alaskan and Siberian coasts are completely missed by that DMI graph.

Considering all areas north of 70° N experience noontime starlight, and will continue to do so until February, the issue of “albedo” doesn’t apply. In fact Saudi Arabia will reflect more sunshine, (with the albedo of snow covered sands), in the six hours it takes for the snow to melt, than the Pole will reflect in the next 60 days.

What thinner ice (and ice free waters, until they skim over), will allow is for the waters of the Arctic Sea to lose more heat than they would, if they were sheltered by a thicker igloo of sea-ice.  Consequently, because the water has lost more heat, the water should become colder. Then, because ice largely melts from beneath, it may not matter that the ice is thinner above, if the melting is slower below, next summer. But that is a long way ahead, and we still don’t even know how much thicker the ice will get once winter actually begins. We may be witnessing the water being chilled in the fall, before the ice gets thicker in the winter.

Stay tuned.

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –The Surge Snipped–

The Pole continues to make for interesting theater, though the drama has died down from what it was a week ago, when temperatures were soaring to 35 degrees above normal and the ice at the north edge of Barents Sea was retreating. Fueling this weather was a strong south wind from the Atlantic that at times pushed right past the Pole towards the Pacific, thus confusing everybody, because a south wind became a north wind without changing direction.  This flow achieved its peak around November 14:

By November 16 the flow was pushing an Atlantic low and its secondary up through Fram Strait, whereupon, due to the strict laws of this website, they are automatically dubbed “Ralph”. The southerly flow, while remaining southerly, had swung east, and was now coming less off the Atlantic and more off shore from Europe, but it nearly was able to push above-freezing temperatures to the Pole.

So strong was this flow that the sea-ice, which usually is expanding south as a thin sheet of ice, was pushed north by strong wind until it was briefly well north of Franz Josef Land, and unable to refreeze because temperatures were above freezing in that area. This produced a brief and unusual dip in the ice “extent”graph, which usually is rocketing upwards at this time of year. However the ice swiftly grew back down to Franz Josef Lands’s north coast as conditions began to change, and the graph resumed its upward climb.

dmi4-1123-osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

The surge from the south had raised eyebrows by raising temperatures to unprecedented levels (in a history that goes back 58 years).

dmi4-1116-meant_2016

However my eyebrows were raised by the steep decline that followed.

dmi4-1126-meant_2016

This interested me because, whereas other places can get colder air from lands further north, there is no place north of the North Pole. Therefore it must get cold air imported from colder tundra to the south, but I didn’t see any strong flow from such tundras. This meant the cold must instead be home grown. Or, to put it more scientifically, the heat was lost locally, radiated upwards into the unending winter night.

Still, it seemed odd to me that the warm southerly flow should just turn off like a spigot. My curiosity sought reasons, for the cessation was obvious as early as November 17, because the first and second lows, following a storm track straight north to the Pole, (incarnations of “Ralph”), weakened with surprising speed. It was as if they were cut off from their warm inflow of mild, moist air, while the third storm in the sequence came to a dead halt and refused to head north, and just sat off the coast of Norway and twiddled its thumbs, remaining fairly strong.

I wondered if the stalled low off Norway might be consuming all the available energy, but this didn’t satisfy me, for the isobars in the above map still indicate a strong flow from the south. Why wasn’t the warmth heading out over arctic waters? The temperature anomaly map still showed the above-normal temperatures moving north in central Europe, but then being bent east at the top. What was stopping the import of heat north to the Pole?

surge-7-gfs_t2m_anom_eur_21

I’d likely still be mystified, but dawn broke on Marblehead when I visited Joseph D’Aleo’s blog over at the Weatherbell Site, and during the course of one of his elegant descriptions of complex situations he turned on the light-bulb in my noggin.

Just as a meandering stream straightens its course from time to time, cutting across the neck of a loop and leaving an oxbow lake behind

snip-1-a8dcd06cd8cd3559b399ecc64af3a2032812ccf0

So too can a loopy jet stream decide to straighten up its act, and the “surge” was part of a loopy jet:

snip-2-screen_shot_2016_11_23_at_5_15_03_am

When a jet straightens up it act, the cut off part of the stream is not called an “oxbow”, but rather a “cut off”, (which shows that meteorologists are occasionally more sensible than geologists).  By November 23 the upper air maps showed the “cut off low” was sitting down over Spain. Over Spain a large part of the surge was no longer heading north, but caught up and going around and around and around, like a taxpayer caught up in a bureaucracy.

snip-3-ecmwf_uvz500_eur_5

You will notice that at the top of the above map the jet is basically zooming west to east. The surge from the south has vanished, making a mess of all my forecasts that calculated the surge would move east this far one day, and this far further east the next. The surge simply disappeared, or at the very least fell over and surged west to east. It was confusing. (Actually the same thing happens when I straighten up my own act. It confuses people who depend on me to be loopy.)  In any case, this morning’s surface map had a reflection of the cut-off-low stalled over Spain, but what about the North Atlantic low? It will plow west-to-east across Scandinavia in the jet, nothing like the lows that headed straight north, last week.uk-met-20161126-42268142

The tipped over surge can be seen giving some relief to central Asia in the temperature maps.

snip-4-gfs_t2m_asia_2

In the anomaly map the west-to-east surge looks like an arrow, making a layer cake out of the map (to mix my metaphors). The old cold is to the south, still capable of generating a few headlines, but likely to be slowly moderated out of existence. The new cold is along the top, and likely needs to be watched, for it seems likely to be a lasting feature. The “surge” itself seems likely to linger but weaken, but will remain interesting to watch.  At the very least it will give some Asians a break, after they have been through an autumn colder than some winters.

snip-5-gfs_t2m_anom_asia_2

But this is all off the point, which was (in case you can’t remember), that the mild air is not surging up to the Pole any more, and that the vast pool of mild air that was transported up there is slowly cooling, day by day.

I should note that Joseph D’Aleo mentioned that when a jet really gets roaring west to east it can act downright human. (After humans have straightened out their act, what tends to happen next? Answer: Their resolve buckles.) In like manner, we should be on our toes, watching for where the jet will next buckle, and get all loopy, (like a human falling off the wagon after keeping a New Year’s resolution as long as they can bear it).   However, for the time being, up at the Pole, “Ralph” has little hope of reinforcements from the Atlantic.

Not that “Ralph” has vanished completely. Largely he has retreated to the Canadian Archipelago, as high pressure dominates the Arctic. At the end of my last post there actually was a small ghost of Ralph by the Pole, and hint of Ralph’s “signature” in the temperature map, hooking mildness towards the Pole, despite the power of the expanding high pressure. (See the tiny low by the Pole?)

The next day Ralph’s ghost was just a dent in the high pressure’s isobars. Freezing temperatures had snuck down to the northeast coast of Svalabard.

 

The next dawn Ralph, like all good ghosts, was vanishing, because that is what ghosts do at dawn. (If you you squint you can still see a microscopic low under the Pole.) The only real import of air towards the Pole was from central Siberia.

The following dawn saw an odd dimple in the high pressure’s isobars, on the Canadian side. It looked like (if you use your imagination) a face, that the ghost of Ralph had punched. Freezing temperatures were engulfing Svalbard. By evening the ghost of Ralph reappeared, (as good ghosts do at dark), just north of the Canadian Archipelago.

Today saw the freezing isotherm slump well south of Svalbard, and Ralph retreat and regroup north of Canada. Models are suggesting Ralph will soon start attacking the Pole from the Canadian side, though with colder air than before. The North Atlantic flow is totally from the north, and Scandinavia looks likely to get a dose of north winds.

The north winds are allowing the sea-ice to build south again where the “surge” had forced it to retreat, in the north part of Barents Sea, and sea-ice is again touching the north coast of Franz Josef Land. There was also a slight reduction on the Pacific side, due to strong south winds and a brief mild inflow a week ago, but that has been more than made up for by regrowth, which has now engulfed Wrangle Island.

concentration-20161125-attachment-1

A major difference from last year is that Hudson Bay was half skimmed-over last year, and the refreeze hasn’t even started this year. I think this will soon change. The Bay’s waters are shallow, and it tends to freeze over with remarkable speed, which contributes to the speed of the growth of the “extent” graph.  I’ll bet a nickle the Bay is entirely frozen by Christmas.

Even though the flow from central Siberia has been weak, it appears to have nudged the thicker ice just off shore, in the Laptev Sea. Watch for the formation of polynyas along the shore there, for that is indicative of the export of ice into the Central Arctic Basin.

Baffin Bay is swiftly icing over, but remains behind last year’s rate of growth..

The Kara Sea’s sea-ice shrank back before the “surge”, but that sea has since swiftly grown sea-ice on its eastern side.

The reversing winds have seen multi-year ice start down through Fram Strait, along the east coast of Greenland, but the ice down towards the coast opposite Iceland in Denmark Strait is largely home grown.

thickness-20161125-attachment-1

I’m not sure how it is possible, but some models see a colder version of Ralph moving up from Canada to regain complete control of the Pole in a week to ten days. Stay tuned.

LOCAL VIEW –Thanksgiving Sorrows and Song–

I grew up in many ways spoiled rotten, but had the silver spoon ripped from my mouth and learned about a harder side of life, which did me good, because it increased my ability to be thankful. Perhaps it is a bit sad that we mortals seem to need to see the dark side in order to appreciate the bright side, but that is how it is. Even from our very beginnings we had to fall on our butts a number of times before we learned to walk, and likely squalled in our frustration and pain many times before we felt the glee of standing and steering our flesh where we wanted it to go.

In John 16, midst words of consolation and comfort, Jesus spelled it out plainly, ” In this world you will have trouble.”  You can’t get plainer than that.

One thing that astounds me, when I look backwards towards people who were middle aged when I was young, is the hell those people went through before I was born, and the amazing hope they retained despite their misery. It is in glaring contrast to many modern youth, who have had everything handed to them on a silver platter, and yet seem without hope.

The farmers in 1928 were unprepared for the economic ruin of the coming stock market crash and Great Depression, and then were swiftly hit by the amazing Climate Change (much worse than anything we are now experiencing) that led to the ruin of the Dust Bowl.

Back in 1984, during my wandering days, I befriended an old Kansas farmer whose family had held on to their farm despite the drought, and the tales he could tell of “dirt storms” and 115°F heat were amazing. The sheer dogged tenacity his father had to display, even while dying of TB, to hold onto his farm, even as neighbors lost theirs, was inspiring.

It was not a happy thing to see neighbors became homeless,  and to not be able to help. 15% of the population of Oklahoma went from being  middle-class home-owners to being “Okies” fleeing to California, where many were reduced to the status of migrant farm-workers living in shacks without running water. Hearing these tales (and rereading “Grapes Of Wrath”) was enough to wake me to the fact my own troubles, (which involved sleeping in my car and being penniless), were small potatoes, for I was still young and free, and not a father with kids.

The Dust Bowl was a huge disaster to what was deemed “The American Way”, and gave everyone a good reason to be bitter, but somehow they held on to hope. Even the farmers who lost everything could hum a song of departure.

During those dark days one out of four workers lacked a job, on any given day. Having a good job, for example as a steel-worker,  might mean you not only supported your own family, but your brother’s and brother-in-law’s. (I worked with such an old steel-worker for a while, as I drifted.) Those who were not so lucky, and had no one to turn to, often drifted, but they held onto hope.

Compare that trauma, faced by the people who lived eighty years ago, with the present trauma faced by young students at college, who recently woke up to find they were on the losing side of an election.

 “Camosy elaborated on the problem in an interview, ‘People who are college educated, especially on hot button issues like life or choice or sex or marriage, are unable to even imagine how someone might have a different opinion,’  he told The Daily Beast. ‘ They’ve never been exposed to a different opinion except as a caricature.'”

So what?  Big deal, right? In every election, someone loses. But for students, apparently it was a big deal.

“At campuses across the country, students begged professors to cancel classes and postpone exams, citing fear, exhaustion, and emotional trauma. Such accommodations were frequently granted: Academics at Columbia University, Yale University, the University of Connecticut, and other institutions told students to take some time to come to terms with what had happened, as if the election of Donald Trump was akin to a natural disaster or terrorist attack.” 

To me it seemed that the young were actually being taught by a better teacher than their professors.  The teacher? It was a thing called Reality. And what was Reality teaching? It was teaching that “shutting down” discussion does not “end” discussion. Just because professors say it is politically incorrect to even dare broach a subject on campus does not mean people off-campus don’t dare talk. And get fed up. And rise up as a majority and elect an individual who is politically incorrect. That is Reality.

Let me put it in a politically incorrect manner, and simply say the professors were the ones who were incorrect. Their judgement wasn’t merely stilted, but wrong. They got an “F”. All they said was “correct”, politically or otherwise, should be regarded with deep suspicion.  All papers they corrected need to be regraded, for what they said was correct was wrong, and what they said was incorrect rose up and overruled them.

It is little wonder the schools are mollycoddling the students. The schools are scared. They are seeking to soothe the enraged response of those they misguided, before it happens. They are well aware the salary they have earned may be measured in white-hot rage. After all, the students have had to accept a debt as large as a mortgage for a house, even to attend their classes, and now the young are going to slowly awake to the fact the teachers didn’t know diddlysquat, and all the money youth spent was spent on impostors. Little wonder teachers are stressing that students need to stay calm, and join therapy groups, and pat puppies. If the students don’t stay calm, and rise in rage, the teachers might well see what Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” brought to the colleges of China, where nearly every professor experienced a dramatic shortening of tenure.

Of course, being leftists, they are well aware college professors in China wound up as serfs, knee deep in mud, planting rice until they collapsed of exhaustion.  They know that, under Pol Pot, anyone in Cambodia with a writer’s callus on their middle finger was promptly executed. However they always assumed that it was other educated people, and not they themselves, that the left considered “the problem”, and deemed worth “purging”. Therefore they accepted the idea you could ostracize other thinkers as being “politically incorrect”, and never think past that present tense, and never see that a day might dawn when students might rise in wrath, and take aim at not “others”, but at you.

I can think of few things less like the spirit of the holiday of Thanksgiving than students being so non-thankful that they kill their teachers.  However, in a way, that is what the left teaches. They scorn time-tested values as being “old fashioned”. Is that not mocking elders and the lessons of the past? Did they not understand they themselves are not young, and are “of the past”, and a day may come when they themselves might face the very scorn they now call “politically correct”?

Fortunately the majority of Americans are not “politically correct”. The last election proved this. Therefore what happened in China and Cambodia likely will not happen here. We will respect our elders, in our own way, even if we refuse to fund the professors who say that respecting elders is old-fashioned.  (It is interesting to note that “respecting oldsters” is suddenly acceptable, when such professors turn to the subjects of their own tenure and pensions.)

The only thing that could over-rule America’s good fortune would be an attempt to over-rule the will of the people and the results of the election. Professors would need to simply  state, “The public does not know what is good for it”, and institute a dictatorship. This is unlikely to happen, as the students they have trained would likely be too inept to make a good army. I think (and pray) that America is more likely to accept the election results, and to muddle through.

Furthermore, some interesting music will be made by people coming to terms with the current crisis. I am especially interested in the songs the young will make, as they wrestle with the mess their professors stirred up. I bet that, despite the seemingly hopeless quicksand professors have placed our young in, you will hear hope in their songs, just as the voice of hope sung from the seemingly hopeless Dust Bowl and Great Depression.

I am always amazed by such music, whether it occurred 80 years ago or it occurs today. It is like the “Whos of Whoville” singing even though the Grinch stole Christmas. It is a thing utterly inspiring, and beyond the ken of both money-grubbing Capitalists and murderous Communists.  It is the power of the peon, and it is the reason the Founding Fathers of this nation gave the peon the same single vote it gave to billionaires and professors.

Politics tends to be a noisome landscape as devoid of new, refreshing music as a bank,  and therefore there is something beyond money and political correctness in the wellsprings of music. It will be there even if the left overrules democracy and such music becomes the swansong of a dying nation.  It will migrate to some other land if it has to, for it is a hope greater than we are. And I thought I heard this music, like a distant choir in a gale, within the political incorrectness of the last election’s results.

I am so thankful, this Thanksgiving, for that music.

Despite all difficulties, the people still sing.

 

 

(Note:  Above quotes [in red] were from an article in The Daily Beast:  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/11/16/elite-campuses-offer-students-coloring-books-puppies-to-get-over-trump.html  )

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Spurned Ralph Grows Cold-hearted–

We are in a bit of a lull at the Pole, which is rough on us ice-watchers, spoiled as we are by an autumn of headlines. However even  the pounding surf knows a lull between when the wave comes rushing up the beach, and when it starts sucking back.  Even the passage of a hurricane knows the calm of the eye. Even the rushes of ocean tides know the serene slack of ebb tide. Even Climate Scientists know the sudden silence of changing presidents. And therefore, to complete this cycle, I reiterate: We are in a bit of a lull at the Pole.

Not that temperatures are even close to normal, but they are steeply falling in that “normal”direction.

dmi4-1122-meant_2016

Temperatures could well continue to crash all the way down to the green line, but the media has trouble writing headlines for the current event. The media are in an awkward position, for they were publicly exposed as having their pants down for Hillary the past election, and even Democrats are furious about the media’s ludicrous bias, for it resulted in grotesque inaccuracies. Most people do not purchase papers or click on newscasts to see what isn’t true. Therefore the media is in no position to attract more ridicule, but their Global Warming bias is (and long has been) one of the greatest magnets for the scorn they so richly deserve, and the above graph, even if honestly reported, offers nearly infinite opportunities for sarcasm.

An honest headline describing the above situation would be “Plunging Temperatures At Pole Are Still Well Above Normal”. However the media has so sensationalized and politicized the boring subject of temperatures that a mere graph is seen in the manner of a horse-race, and therefore the above headline sounds a little like “Dead Horse Still Leads Race”.

Likely our changed political climate will see the media split between the shrill, (still screaming about Global Warming), and the wise, (who will lay low and put Global Warming news in the back pages, or perhaps not even show up at Climate Scientist’s alarming press-conferences at all).

This in turn will traumatize the Global-Warming Climate Scientists, who have been basically mollycoddled by the press since 1986, (thirty bleeping years!), as they blared sensationalistic tripe, even while the more humdrum Climate Scientists, (who deal with dull data, and facts, and a seemingly boring thing called Truth), have found themselves in the mystifying position of being lambasted for merely clearing their throats, and beginning a sentence with, “Ahem, I beg your pardon, but the facts actually show that…”  Some even approached the status of being martyrs, (which must have amazed a fun-loving, beer-enjoying, and utterly honest fellow like Bill Gray).

Now a single election has turned the tables. Not that Truth has changed. Truth is Truth, and doesn’t care who wins elections. However the “disbursement of funds” has changed, and there are some who care more for money than Truth.  Such people now find themselves sitting far out on a limb they clambered out onto, to get funds from a past leader, which the newly elected leader seems likely to saw from the tree. You can expect such fellows to scream like the dickens. I don’t blame them. If I were out on a limb, and someone else was sawing the branch I squatted upon, I’d scream too. I’d scream even louder as the limb cracked and I headed down towards a bruising. In the end there will be an eventual “Ouch!” And Truth will remain utterly unmoved. Truth doesn’t care how funds are disbursed.

I will be moved by downfalls, but only slightly in the direction of pity.  You see, when it comes to “cruising for a bruising”, I’ve been way further out on limbs than Climate Scientists, and done far more screaming and falling, and have healed from bruises in places Climate Scientists don’t even dream about.  Why? Because I am the sort of fool who fights city hall, while a majority of Climate Scientists were the coddled pets of city hall. They received amazing amounts of money while I only received abuse. They flew off to first class hotels in Bali to chat over high-priced cocktails before lavish lunches, as I worked honest jobs for an honest beer. And I was mocked, and called a “denier”. Therefore I hope I will be excused for only pitying them slightly, as the dead limb they climbed out on is sawed off.  (My secret snickering and sniggering is, of course, utterly nonspiritual, and I attempt to quell it.) (Though I confess sometimes the harder I try not to laugh, the greater the urge grows.)

The greatest irony is that the above graph is exactly the sort which a Global Warming Alarmist might have dreamed of, but never could formerly hope for. If it had happened a few years ago its propaganda value would have been enormous. (Truth might be otherwise, but propaganda is propaganda.) Now it seems likely Alarmists won the lottery aboard the sinking Titanic.

Personally I think the above graph indicates our reckless planet is squandering heat we need, (it being winter, and I being in favor of low heating bills,) and is furthermore squandering our needed warmth to neither political party, but to an inhumane outer space.

What does outer space have that I haven’t got? Why does Earth spend heat there, and not here? Now I know how a sailor’s wife feels, when her husband goes on a bender in a foreign port. Unfortunately, I lack the power of a sailor’s wife, and our planet will not listen when I scold it (for I do not think I control the weather and the sea level, unlike a certain president I will soon be glad to call “former”.)

The stream of heat to the Pole has often produced a sort of swirl on its way to outer space and to warming the inhabitants of Alpha Centauri. It is as if the loss of heat produces a whirl like the drain of a bathtub. My sense of humor dubbed this persistent area of swirling low pressure “Ralph” nearly half a year ago, but, in my humble opinion, Ralph has been neglected by the media. Only when Ralph, not once, but twice, achieved the status of 960 mb gales last August did the press bother to note him, and even then, despite his efforts and his status of achieving top-ten status, (in the ranking of summer polar gales in recent history), the unappreciative press swiftly gave Ralph a cold shoulder. Why? Because Ralph didn’t reduce enough sea-ice. What a piffling objection to give to a abstract entity who, were he mortal, might have the status of a superstar athlete!  It is a good thing Ralph is an inanimate entity, for, were he animate, he would be royally pissed off, and his heart might grow cold.

Obviously I am displaying a certain bias here, but I figure that, after putting up with thirty years of ludicrous bias on the part of Global Warming Scientists, and enduring their sense of entitlement, I am entitled to an entitlement all my own. And this is especially true because I am not, nor have I ever pretended to be, a true scientist. Rather I am a reporter, a fellow who pries and asks questions and then states observations. In other words I am a witness, at a trial, speaking truth as I saw it, and able to be perfectly frank and able to confess my bias.

I have to admit that I have grown sort of fond of Ralph. I keep writing him off, yet he keeps reappearing. You can’t help but admire that sort of persistence, even though I suppose it is ridiculous to admire an inanimate object. However I do admire clouds and sunsets, and get scolded for it, because I should be attending to animate things and duties, (such as feeding my nagging goats.)

However now it looks like Ralph has run out of luck. He needs a feed of warm air, either as steady streams or as blobs, and the maps show the Arctic Oscillation turning negative, which means a low pressure like Ralph has a hard time existing at the Pole. Ralph’s last reincarnation has been weakening and fading at the Pole, and he has slumped towards the Canadian Archipelago as a mere “weakness”, as high pressure builds at the Pole.

As recently as November 18 Ralph still owned the Pole, but the cold winds in his lee had reversed the flow from south-to-north to north-to-south in Fram Strait, and those cold winds had swept down to Iceland and then hooked east to Britain, and secondary prodigy of Ralph along that cold front were cutting off their father’s flow of Atlantic moisture, eventually becoming three storms: Off Norway; and in the North Sea; and off the northwest coast of Spain (only the most northern appears in the below maps.)

Cut off from funding, the un-thanked and unheralded martyr Ralph shrunk towards the Canadian Archipelago by November 21.

Although I confess my bias and fondness for Ralph, I am also a realist, and awaited his demise as the high pressure built over the Pole.

You will note, in the above map, that even as the high pressure builds there is this peculiar circle of weak low pressure right next to the Pole. That’s what I admire about Ralph. Even when defeated, he makes his reality known. (Sort of like Climate Skeptics, the past thirty years.)

Even though it looks like the high pressure will increase, I can’t help but be on guard for a reappearance of Ralph. The negative Arctic Oscillation may just be an ebb tide, and the next wave of warmth may soon hurtle north, creating the next incarnation of Ralph.

Therefore I seek Dr. Ryan Maue’s maps at the Weatherbell site (week free trial available) to get all futuristic, and to see, as the models see,into the future.

In the short term, it sure does look like the high pressure at the Pole will strengthen. Below shows “now” to the left, and “72 hours from now” to the right.

The thing about the negative AO is that high pressure at the Pole prevents the inflow of warm air, as lows rotate around the periphery.  Therefore the mild air up there, un-reinforced, can only do what air does at night; IE: Get cooler and cooler, awaiting dawn. But dawn is months away, at the Pole. You can see the freezing isotherm retreating slowly back to Svalbard in the above temperature maps, but without any Ralph-feeding south winds, I start to look for some serious cold to develop. (Temperatures have to sink down to close to -30°C before the relatively mild waters of the Arctic Sea, at -1°C, can penetrate the ice above and slow (and even prevent) further falling of temperatures.)

As I looked into the crystal ball, the European model showed that indeed temperatures crash at the Pole, and in a week have crashed to -30°C:

spurned-3-ecm_t850_arctic_10

I expected that cold air would be heavy, and pressing down, and create high pressure. So I confidently clicked over to the Maue map for the same time, showing pressures. Yowza! Did I ever get a shock! Rather than high pressure, Ralph was back! But his heart was cold!

spurned-4-ecm_mslp_arctic_9

I have not the slightest idea how extremely cold air can be a low pressure system. Therefore, rather than science, I’ll resort to handy old blame.

This is all your fault! I’ve been talking about Ralph for months, but you fellow wouldn’t budge from your preconceived ideas. Now you’ve gone and hurt poor old Ralph’s feelings. He is feeling spurned, hurt, neglected, and his heart has hardened and gone cold.  Even the GFS model is showing that, for the first time in a long, long time, below-normal cold temperatures are appearing to the Canadian side of the Pole, a week from now.

spurned-5-gfs_t2m_anom_arctic_33

Now let me display my Ralph bias: When I see that cold north of Canada, and compare it to the warmth north of the Kara Sea, I get to wondering what Ralph might make of the difference in temperature. Could a clash occur? I imagine Ralph might reincarnate in a manner the models do not yet see.

However that is my bias and my sheer humbug, based on the humbug created by virtual reality, created by models. It is the virtual reality of my unscientific imagination built upon the virtual reality of computers. Real reality is quite different, and we never know what it will be, until we get there.

If you are the sort of person described as “New Age”, and pretend to understand Buddha, you act all Zen and call that Real reality,  “The Now”. But I’m just a bumpkin, so I’ll just call it, “Ralph.”

 

 

 

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Double Whammy–Updated Monday–

“Whammy” is a word invented by the amazingly inventive American cartoonist Al Capp, for what most would call a “spell” or “hex” which one person puts on another, to do another harm. (Apparently Capp got the idea from news about a boxing trainer, who was well known in boxing circles in New York City last century, who attempted to help his boxers by using his “evil eye” on opponents). In Al Capp cartoons the original character who utilized the power of a “whammy”  was “Evil-Eye Fleagle”, (who had oil-drenched hair and spoke with a thick Brooklyn accent).

whammy-1-5172462-08

The only defense against the bad-guy Fleagle that the atrociously naive good-guy hero, (Lil’ Abner), had was: His all-powerful mother, the amazingly self-reliant Mama Yokum.

whammy-2-download

Usually practical, when necessary Mama Yokum could reach into her vast repertoire of knowledge and pull out some occult skills of her own, and it turned out she didn’t only understand the power of a “whammy”, but could muster a “triple whammy”, that purportedly could melt a battleship. Therefore, when her amazingly innocent son, (and her completely ineffectual and hapless husband), managed to become entangled with the likes of Evil-Eye Fleagle,  (which the two bumpkins did with dependable regularity), [for how else are we to sell comics?], Mama Yokum saved the day.

Amazing things have been occurring at the Pole, and while we have yet to see anything quite as amazing Mama Yokum’s triple whammy, I think we are witnessing, in the world of arctic sea-ice,  a double whammy, though I am not quite sure whether it a bad thing brewed up by Fleagle, or a good thing Mama has cooked up.

I suppose it depends on what temperature you prefer. Some like it hot, and some like it cold. I prefer a milder climate, for my study of history convinces me that the Global Warming that occurred in the Medieval Warm Period benefited humanity in most places, especially Europe and the Mideast.  On the other hand, the Little Ice Age brought famine and plauges.

Here is the old graph, created by Hurbert Lamb back around 1980, which shows it was as warm or warmer, back then, as it is now.

lambs-graph-ipcc_1990_panel3

Lamb’s graph has been largely “disappeared” in favor of a graph showing a “hockey stick” increase over the recent past, created by Michael Mann, despite the fact major flaws have been pointed out in Mann’s work, and his graph is discredited. (I suppose I should reproduce Mann’s graph, but I figure that, if he feels he can “erase the Medieval Warm Period”, (and Lamb’s hard work), I can get a sort of petty revenge by erasing his dumb graph right back at him). In any case, the Medieval Warm Period is gradually reappearing in graphs, and I suspect that, if I live long enough, I’ll see things “come full cycle.”  (It has been an odd thirty years to live through, and has sadly lessened my respect for scientists, though not for True Science.)

The warm-period before the Medieval Warm Period was called the Roman Climate Optimum, and apparently it was not merely milder in the north, but wetter in the Mideast, necessitating the building of Roman bridges over rivers that are now largely dry.

roman-bridges-roman-bridges1605p

In my younger day I liked to peruse the Bible and think I was scientific every time I found something that I didn’t deem “factual”.  One thing that struck me was descriptions of lands I knew were parched as being lush and green. Now I’m older and slightly wiser and not so quick to scoff. In the Mideast, at least, warmer apparently was wetter.  In fact, if one goes back to the very start of the Holocene, apparently the entire Sahara was wet, and held lakes and green pastures. The drought that ended those days may well have led to mass migrations to the Nile, and may have resulted in the surplus manpower that built the first pyramids. Echoes of that drought, or another, may come to us in the Biblical tale of the “seven fat years and the seven lean years”, and of the original exodus of Joseph’s brothers to Egypt.

One interesting thing noted by scientists poking around in the sediments on the bottoms of ancient dry lakes in the Sahara is that the end of the green times in the Sahara apparently was not gradual, but rather was swift. This is good news, if you are a flat-broke scientist and need some future-fright to help you “scare up funds” for further research. However I tend to see the ancient drought as a result of cooling, and to dream of how nice it might be if we hit a climate “tipping-point” heading the other way, due to warming.  Think what a change it would be if the Sahara suddenly became a vast pasture! The desert might bloom!

I will confess this does put me at odds with those folk who use Global Warming as an excuse to gnaw their nails down to their nubs, and to bewail that getting a Real Job is futile, and to conclude they might as well sit about industriously bemoaning the evils of industry. My opinions shock them, for I think warming would be a nice thing. Besides pastures in the Sahara we might raise 100,000 sheep and goats in Greenland again, as the Vikings did, and grow crops up in their deserted farms, where there is now only permafrost.

Therefore you might think I’d be pleased by the current warmth at the Pole, which is like nothing we have seen in recent times:

dmi4-1120-meant_2016

I do entertain a slim hope this may indicate a true Climate Optimum is upon us, but I am not lowering my guard, because I have a worry this may be the first part of a double whammy.

The warmth at the Pole may be part one of the whammy, because there are few places that lose our planet’s heat more efficiently than the North Pole at winter.  There is no sunshine to add any heat, and the constant night devours any available heat upwards, to the void of outer space. All the lost heat must be either stolen from the Arctic Sea, or from the land’s surface, or imported by south winds.  Not much is lost from the land once the surface is frozen, but the seas have been slow to freeze so they are losing more heat than usual, and also far more air has surged up from the south this year, (fueling a persistent low I dubbed “Ralph”).  In essence, record mildness at the Pole is indicative of record amounts of heat being lost. My worry is: Losing record amounts of heat is not suggestive of warming, but quite the opposite.

The second part of the  double whammy is occurring further south, where there is sunshine, and that sunshine could supply some sort of warming, despite the fact the winter days are short. The primary preventor of warming, in those lower latitudes, is snow cover, for nothing bounces sunshine away from the earth quite as well as a fresh cover of snow, and this year, despite the fact it may be milder at the Pole, it has been colder to the south, and the snow-cover appeared earlier and spread further south, especially in Eurasia.

(Blast. Only October 6 shows below. It was suppose to be an animation. I’ll follow it with a map from November 20. If you want to see the animation you’ll have to punch-in the dates you want, and the “Northern Hemisphere” tab, at this site: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/snow-and-ice/snow-cover/nh/20161120   )

snowcover-oct-nov-ims2016280

snowcover-1120-ims2016325

It is hard to envision, if you are enjoying the late start to winter in many parts of North America, how brutal it has been in Eurasia. I suggest that the curious visit this site:  https://iceagenow.info/ and check out their reports from Russia, China, Mongolia, and now even Iran. (This is a good site to visit to hear the news the mainstream media shuns, as such news-of-snow-and-cold doesn’t support the theme of “Global Warming”.) I will merely mention that the cold makes more cold, for snow makes long nights colder, due to radiational cooling, and makes short days colder as well, due to the albedo of fresh fallen snow, and that this expanding cold expands the rain-snow line south, until, this year, places that usually only see snow in the dead of winter are seeing record amounts when winter hasn’t even started. Down in Kazakhstan there even have been reports of collapsing roofs.

kazakastan-roofs-image27826726_3dc7ffcdc41d65bf3daa8a9b57a14246

The cruel weather on the far side of the planet might not seem to concern me much, but over at the Weatherbell Site Joe Bastardi mentioned an old “bathtub slosh” idea used by pre-computer-model meteorologists, wherein the weather on one side of the planet “teleconnects” to the other, a few weeks later. IE: Siberian cold could visit North America.

I don’t want such worry, for, as I explained, I’m all for Global Warming. When I was younger I liked snow, but now, when the forecast is rain, and snow starts mixing in (as happened here in Southern New Hampshire this morning) I frown like an old fuddy-duddy and am not the slightest bit thrilled, and my single thought is, “Stop!”

stop-snow-img_4101

If the snowcover expands on this side of the planet the second part of the double whammy will be complete. We will be losing heat at the Pole, as mildness is exported up there. And we will be losing heat at lower latitudes, due to snow cover.

Forgive me if I sound a bit grumpy, but that doesn’t seem one bit like Global Warming to me. And winter hasn’t even officially started yet!

MONDAY  —SNOW IGNORED STOP SIGN

snow-stop-2-img_4103

This dusting likely won’t last, despite the low sun, for the ground beneath hasn’t frozen yet, and the snow will be heated from beneath and even if it doesn’t melt it will rapidly sublimate. But even a daybreak of snow cover makes an immediate difference in temperatures, which are down to 26°F (-3°C), roughly five degrees colder than they’d be if the ground was bare.

If you go to the (free) public Weatherbell site and scroll down to Joe Bastardi’s (free) daily update here:   http://www.weatherbell.com/ you will get (this Monday morning) a wonderfully succinct description of how “above normal” air at the arctic circle breeds increased snow-cover down over the USA. (Warning: He and Joseph D’Aleo are addictive, and unless you control yourself you may find yourself spending the price of a cheap cup of coffee every day for their non-public updates.) (Warning: They have a week-free-trial to get you addicted.)

At this point I’ll quickly go over the recent polar maps, which seem to show the amazing surge of warmth from the Atlantic to the Pole is, at least temporarily, coming to a halt.

When we last looked (November 18) Ralph was fading up over the Pole, and behind Ralph a major surge of cold was at long last going the “right way” down through Fram Strait as high pressure at long last built over Greenland. This cold air continued south over Iceland and then took a sharp left to drive a cold front across the Atlantic. Just as people in Scotland were looking nervously east at the advancing Siberian air, a sneak attack came from the west, and they got Icelandic cold and snow.  Meanwhile the mild southerly surge was shifting west to give central Europe a break from the cold.

The following maps show Ralph slowly fades at the Pole, but never vanishes completely, nor does Ralph’s “signature”, which is a hook of milder air towards the Pole from the Atlantic side. However the air is cooling faster than mild air can be imported. (Also the air may be robbed of some of its moisture by passing over European mountains, and therefore less latent heat is released by condensation and freezing over the Pole.) The freezing isotherm stops advancing and in some places retreats. Also a Pacific influx of mild air creates a mirror-signature on that side for a while, which then fades. On a whole things grow more quiet at the Pole, which ought allow cooling to predominate now.

The cold front Ralph swung across the Atlantic begat a whole slew of Secondaries, (I lost count after “Ralph the Fifth”) which have stopped heading up to the Pole, and instead have become a stalled mess of North Atlantic lows which involve such a hopeless tangle of fronts I’m glad I live on this side of the Pond, where fronts are less messy and forecasting is simpler.  Looking at the map below I find it unsurprising that so many English forecasters look like they are having bad-hair-days.

uk-met-20161121-42047297

One can see the southerly flow is still surging up over central Europe, but it is hard to figure out how wide it is, with Siberian air encroaching from the east and Icelandic air mingled in from the west. At this point I seek out Dr. Ryan Maue’s maps over at the Weatherbell site.  The temperature anomaly map for Europe shows it remains a decently wide surge.

whammy-3-gfs_t2m_anom_eur_1

It is important to remember, when looking at anomaly maps, that cherry red to the north doesn’t mean you ask Scandinavian and Siberian babes to don bikinis. It is still below freezing up there, if you check out a Maue Map that shows the actual temperatures.

whammy-5-gfs_t2m_eur_1

Also, when you look east into Asia, you see the unreal cold may be shunted a bit south, but still shudders in the wings.

whammy-6-gfs_t2m_anom_asia_1

Indeed the above map seems a good picture of the Double Whammy: Warmth being lost to the north, as snow-cover to the south deflects further warmth.  The mild surge may be a well-earned respite for the over-taxed peoples of Eurasia, but I fear the cold is merely reloading, before its next shots.