ARCTIC SEA ICE –Sad News About North Pole Camera–

Yesterday I received this polite email:

Caleb-

 
I’m sorry, but I’m afraid we are all out of luck for a North Pole webcam this year.  NPEO did not receive the proposed renewal for this year.  We hope to be able to pick the program back up for next year’s budget cycle, but we will have to see how that goes next fall.  NPEO has operated since 2000, and this is the second time this has happened.  Hopefully, we can recover from this as we did the first time, but in soft-money science, there are many demands and no guarantees.
 
I hope to be able to maintain the website at least at a minimal level.  We are very grateful for your interest and expression of support.
 
–Roger

Roger Andersen        roger@apl.washington.edu       (206) 543-1258
                       Cell  (206) 551-0460                     
Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Lab, University of Washington
1013 NE 40th, Seattle, WA  98105-6698  USA       FAX (206) 616-3142

I have to run to work, but hope to find time to comment later. In the mean time please help me by thinking of things I can put in a letter to my congressmen. (I will say, privately to you,  that if the government wanted to save money, they could start by firing Mark Serreze….but that is just my bad mood talking. I probably won’t put that in my letter.)

Local View –Shadberry Rains–

I should likely start this post with a weather map, showing how even when a low swings out to sea, and a cold front pushes past with a following high pressure, sometimes the clouds refuse to depart.  (Also note the low way up by Hudson Bay. If you think it doesn’t intend to plunge south and plauge New England, you lack the pessimism necessary to live here. If you don’t believe me, move here. It is right about now that lots of immigrants start screaming and ripping their hair out), (and they haven’t even met our black flies.)

20160503 satsfc

This year has been typical, teasing immigrants (called “Flatlanders” around here) with balmy weather in March, seducing them into thinking spring is about to come this far north at the same time it came further south in their past, in the far away places they came from. As a bit of irony, temperatures hit 73° (23° Celsius) on April first, as an April Fool’s joke. And to totally tantalize the suckers from the south, a few trees such as swamp maples behaved as if they were about to burst into leaf, risking some early blooms. For proof, I offer you a picture from Farmer’s New Year (March 25).

Swamp Maples IMG_2154

Yet here it is, nearly 40 days later, and the swamp maple still haven’t leafed out. As the Flatlanders scream, the trees go “bwah ha ha ha.”

The trees are a lot smarter than the people around here, which makes sense, as they’ve lived longer. Of course, psychiatrists will object to my saying that, stating trees don’t have brains, and can’t think. Perhaps that is what makes trees smarter.

Regarding psychiatrists, I will say this much: Some of the kids we have had pass through our Childcare have been troubled, and they have been to psychiatrists, and also they have been to groves of pines. Guess which did nothing for the child’s bad mood (which some call “mental health”), and guess which healed the child’s hurt heart when humans couldn’t?  (Oops, I gave the answer away, by using that word “humans”.)

People do have brains, but mostly it just gets us in trouble. For example, take the subject of “being in harmony in with nature.” This subject makes humans absolutely bonkers. In my time I have seen one actress hit by a bucket of red paint as she left a theater wearing a fur coat, and another actress sprayed with manure as she baked muffins in a pasture. (These ridiculous, yet real-life, cartoons come to you courtesy of Greenpeace.)

Whatever you may say about trees, they would never be caught dead doing anything like that.

We only have one life, but according to some the “One Life” goes on and on through countless incarnations, as our consciousness strives to be One with God’s.

I have enough trouble remembering where I put my car keys, and can’t remember what I was doing before I was born, but, according to some, a long, long time ago we ourselves were trees. If that is so, I can’t say we’ve learned all that much, in a million incarnations of evolution.

I got tremendous enjoyment from Tolkien’s trilogy when I came to the part where the “Ents” make an appearance, as “shepherds of the trees”. At our Childcare I have often regaled the children with tales and warnings about “walking trees”, even to the point where one young boy marched up to me one morning and informed me, “My dad says there is no such thing as walking trees.”

However Tolkien didn’t understand one thing about trees, and it is this secret: Their heads are in the soil, and their limbs reach up towards the sun. If a tree ever did wake up and walk, it would bring its limbs to the earth, rip its roots up, and you’d face a creature with a mane like a lion, but a mane filled with crumbling dirt.  It would see you without eyes…….unless, of course, it was a potato.

Which works me around to the subject:  I did get some potatoes planted today, with the help of small children at the Childcare. In theory it was a teaching experience. I’m never sure the youngest get what I am saying, which is that by sticking perfectly good food in the dirt we get ten to twenty times as much perfectly good food. It is the older kids, the hoary veterans aged four and five,  those who had the fun of digging up the potatoes last fall, and roasting them by a fire, who have a glimmer of understanding. The younger ones are far more fascinated by earthworms.

I also dared transplant into the garden four kale plants, and six broccoli plants, just to gamble and prove even old geezers like me can live at the edge. I’ve seen killing frosts even this late, but I glanced at the sky, and consulted Weatherbell (my favorite long-range forecast site), and I stroked my white beard and looked wise, but in the end I consulted the trees. (It is a sign of our times, perhaps, that mere vegetables are so much smarter than the mainstream-media.  I didn’t consult the mainstream-media at all.)

The carrots, beets, seedling kale, onions, garlic, fennel, turnips, seedling Brussels sprouts, and lettuce haven’t sprouted yet, nor will they ever sprout if I work too long and appear dull to the children, (for bored kids at a Childcare can trample a soft seedbed as hard as a parking lot in the twinkling of an eye), so I, as the wise master of small slaves, decided it was time to go for a walk, and consult the trees.

Shad 1 IMG_2827

Abruptly I was stopped by a lovely bloom I pass every year without ever bothering to ask myself what it is. I always assumed it was some sort of cherry, (or perhaps a relative of blueberries, as its small cherries had a blueberry-like look, at the ends of their berries), but I never bothered be sure because usually everything busts out in May in such a rush you have no time to sort things out. But this year spring seems to be in slow motion, if not in suspended animation, and I have had time for things I never had time for before. Apparently one is never too old to learn, because I learned this bloom was one I’d read a lot about. Can you name it?

Shad 2 IMG_2822Shad 3 IMG_2825

Some called this serviceberry. Why?  Because in the old days the ground was too frozen to bury people in the winter. (Old timers told me that back in the day they stuck all old people who refused to do their chores in the “Town Tomb” in the fall, and in the spring they’d open it and any who didn’t walk out would get buried. This is a subject for another post, but I may include a picture of the “Town Tomb” at the end of this post, if I ever find the time to take one.) When the ground was finally soft enough to bury people, they would have a service, with this bush blooming around the edges of the graveyard, so it was called serviceberry.

Because the bush blooms so early, it is also the first to have berries, so it is also called “juneberry.” As eggs are just hatching and voracious fledglings are demanding, these berries are for the birds, and I was brought up to avoid “bird berries”, and have never tried them.  I understand they are sour.

However the name I had heard much about, without ever identifying the actual plant it referred to,  was “shadbush”. Back a few hundreds of years ago shadbush told you the shad were running, and then all else was dropped. Few shad came as far upstream as these hills, but a wonder of ancient, local laws was that people had to drop all quarrels when the shad, herring and salmon were running. You could be a Hatfield, and could travel to the hunting grounds of the McCoy’s, but you weren’t allowed to fight your worst enemy, when you were fishing. (Strange but true, and perhaps an example for modern man.)

Shad, dried and turned to powder, was a local ingredient of a local wonder-food called “pemmican”. Pemmican was one third powdered meat, one third powdered nuts and berries, and one third pure fat. The hunters who carried this food could travel a week or two with breakfast, lunch and dinner in a small bag.  Apparently a spoonful now and again was all you needed, even while burning a lot of calories hunting. The ingredients varied from place to place, but it was common from coast to coast in America in the old days. Out west they likely substituted buffalo for shad, but eating three tablespoons a day didn’t seem to stunt anyone’s growth. When the first Europeans arrived in New England their men averaged around five feet five inches, as New Englanders averaged six feet.

The children regard me suspiciously when I tell them such tales. After all, I’m the same old geezer who tells them about walking trees. However they are interested in eating, and today they sampled wild mustard leaves, yellow dock leaves, and the inner part of the root of burdock. (These are the same kids who refuse to eat the really good food some mother’s prepare.) (One trick I use is to tell them, “You can spit this out if you want to. You probably won’t like it. Only grown-ups like it.” ) (To prove they are grown up, they try to like it even when they don’t.)

Locally the berry used in pemmican was usually blueberries, dried and powdered, probably because blueberries are easiest to dry, (but perhaps because blueberries have wondrous, modern stuff called “antioxidants” in them), (not that the word “antioxidants” was invented, back in the day.) But other berries were used as well, including a small berry that grows in the straw. Darned if I can remember its name, but the commercial variety is now as big as plum, while the native variety is as small as a pea. Whatever this berry-that-grows-in-the-straw is called, it usually blooms around now, but this spring has been so retarded I didn’t expect to see any. I checked, just the same, and there it was! The what-cha-call-it berry, blooming in the dead straw! (The children were not all that interested, likely because you can’t eat it yet.) (But they did tell me I was a dope, and the plants are called “strawberries.”)

Shad 4 IMG_2826

And this is how I entertain myself, as the dull, gray, wet day passes. It may not seem all that entertaining to Flatlanders, but then, I am not the one going absolutely bonkers, just because the leaves don’t come out in April.

It’s a damp day, bright May-gray clouds low,
With spring holding back like eyelash’s tears;
Blossoms blinking, wet and drooping, although
Most remain buds, and the forest appears
Like winter’s, except for a green haze
Indistinct midst wet twigs that string bright pearls
Like veils over depth-green hemlocks.
                                                                             This day’s
Drenched though rain’s stopped; boughs bow; and white curls
Of shredded fog stand still on the dark slopes
Of breathless hills.
                                       The clouds are so bright
That all wet things shine; even shadow gropes
With bright reflections.
                                                 The shrouded might
Of rebirth blends wild hope with foreboding,
Silence with the sound of blossoms exploding.

However I should confess that entertaining myself in this manner takes a lot out of me. I huff and puff planting potatoes in a way that is downright embarrassing. Where entertainment once knocked my socks off, now I just wind up too tired to take my socks off.

Wives don’t approve of husbands flopping in bed with dirty socks on, but neither she nor my children will take pity on a weary old man. Granddaughters, however, are different. When my wife complains about socks, and I whine I’m too tired, a two-year-old granddaughter springs into action:

Shad 5 IMG_2816

It all goes to shows you that, in terms of true intelligence, trees come in first, a two-year-old comes in second, and everyone else comes in a very, very distant third.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Quick Glance at Maps–

A weak swirl has roamed past the Pole. It formed on a “home grown” manner, seeming to suck in both a tendril of Pacific air all the way from Bering Strait and a greatly modified and occluded area of Atlantic-Mediterranean air that was swept north ahead of the cold trough moving across Europe. The first map shows it forming north of Greenland.

The second maps shows it passing the Pole.

The third map shows it  settling down into western Russia, and starting a sort of Fujiwhara dance with another low further east in Siberia. Sometimes this will fling the low to the east up to the Pole, but the high pressure towards Canada looks like it will win out and be king-of-the-mountain for a week.

Gales are loop-de-looping in the North Atlantic, and the people of Iceland must be getting sick of them. The gate is closed, across from northern Greenland to northern Norway, and there are no surges of Atlantic air to the Pole.

Just watching, without using any scientific data, it looks like the “updraft” or “chimney” over the Pole is not drawing as much, as 24-hour sunshine moderates the surface temperatures. The temperature map is much “milder” (though still below freezing) than it was even 30 days ago, it it makes a sort of unscientific “common sense” that with less of a clash in temperatures certain “powers” would weaken.

It will be interesting to watch to see if, as things change up there, temperatures shift as they have shifted the past four Mays, from being above-normal to below-normal. Right now temperatures are wavering.

DMI3 0503 meanT_2016

Compare the above graph with how temperatures dove below normal last year in May in the graph below.

DMI3 2015 meanT_2015

Remember this occurred even as a warming El Nino was building strongly. Now a cooling La Nina is coming on, which will change the equation greatly. How? I’m going to zip my lip and just wait and watch and see.

In other  news, O-buoy 13 has stopped reporting, which means we are down to a single camera reporting from the Arctic Sea. I’ve heard no news about whether there will be a North Pole Camera this year. (I asked via email, but haven’t received a reply yet.)

O-buoy 14 has seen a lot of drifting snow. Note how the crunched mass-balance mast to the lower right is nearly covered by a drift in today’s picture

APRIL 30 Obuoy 14 0430 webcamMAY 1 Obuoy 14 0501 webcamMAY 2  Obuoy 14 0502 webcamMAY 3 Obuoy 14 0503 webcam

Drifting snow is far more complex than most suspect, for at times it contains drifting salt. That will have to wait, and be the subject of some other post.

I will go so far as to mention that more drifting salt is added to the melt-equation when there are a lot of leads formed in the deep dark of winter, when temperatures get down near to -40°.  And this past winter the ice has been treated like an accordion. Even this surviving buoy is lucky to exist. For example, check out the location of the redheaded buoy in the above picture, and then in the picture below, from last October 20, (when the red was plastered with white snow.)

Obuoy 14 1020 webcam

There is a slight chance the sea-ice scientists are right now consulting each other and saying, “No, I didn’t put that redhead buoy there; I thought you put that redhead buoy there.” In truth, the redhead buoy may be a visiting alien. However I venture it is more likely that this ice, like ice all over the Pole, got really crunched this past winter.

OK. Time to shut the computer down and plant potatoes.

 

LOCAL VIEW –Cutting Back Blogging–

I’ve been having a blast just wandering about the web. I never know what I’ll find or where I’ll wind up. Yesterday was a good example. I started off to research sea-ice and wound up posting about a famous British actress getting sprayed by manure as she cooked muffins out in a pasture. It seemed like the subject of a dream, but was real.

However enough is enough. I’m turning into some sort of webaholic. May is a very busy time at my Farm-childcare, with all sorts of things to plant, and I need to simply turn the computer off.

Therefore I am going to shorten my posts. I’ll post things like the prior post about frost in Brazil, that I can write in between the time insomnia boots me from bed, and the sun comes up. After that the computer screen will be dark and silent.

This feels like fasting. It seems like it may turn out to be harder than I imagine. I may have withdrawal symptoms. Who would have ever imagined, twenty years ago, such an web-addiction was even possible?

But, although new beginnings can be sweet when they are springtime, they are grim when they are Mondays, and a man must be a man. Enough is enough.

Like some snowflake bragging of its bangled
Originality before the beaming sun,
Some strutting cock whose doodle is strangled
Because he saw no fox nor need to run,
I face the dawn. Lord let me please shut up.
I’m sick of my brain’s wit, wit, wit, wit, wit.
For once let me be silent, for the cup
Cannot be sipped when talking about it.
If I talk while swallowing I will choke
Or else I’m a ventriloquist’s dummy,
But my brain keeps making joke after joke
Before the King. A jester too chummy
For his own good may wind up beheaded
Which will make my silence be the sort I’ve dreaded.

BRIEF UPDATE ON BRAZIL’S FROSTS

I can’t get going on a Monday without coffee, so yesterday I clicked onto Weatherbell Site to look at Dr. Ryan Maue’s  temperature maps from the GFS model, and clicked on South America to see if the forecasts were right, and they had frost on Sunday morning. The pink in the very south of Brazil shows they did.

Brazil 1 gfs_t2m_samer_1

This is news because it is only the start of Autumn down there. It is more usual to get frost in the middle of their winter, which is July. This is like the orange groves of Florida getting frost in October, rather than January.

I got curious about the GFS forecast, so I clicked ahead through the next few days, and could see the early cold snap faded away. New Antarctic cold threatens at the bottom of the maps, but is curved to the east by the roaring Antarctic westerlies.

MONDAY MORNING  Brazil 2 gfs_t2m_samer_5TUESDAY MORNING  Brazil 3 gfs_t2m_samer_9WEDNESDAY MORNINGBrazil 4 gfs_t2m_samer_13

It has been suggested some of the farmers in Brazil have tried to grow coffee too far south. The same thing happened in the USA when some tried to grow oranges too far north in Florida, and even in Georgia. So one needs to check the map to see if this frost actually reached north to where coffee grows. Brazil 5 brazil-coffee-screen-shot-2013_07_17-at-8_35_50-am

It looks to me like the frosts were  just south of where the coffee is grown. But, if Global Warming was real, they should be able to grow coffee further south. Frost on the first of May, when the trees are just blooming, seems a good reason to avoid planting further south.

Something to think about, as I sip my second cup.

 

 

(Sort Of) LOCAL VIEW –Grumpy Farmers–

Perhaps it is not spiritual to get too attached to worldly things, but farmers can’t help but get attached to their dirt. The smaller the farm, the greater the farmer’s love is for their soil, and the older they get the deeper their love roots. A day will come when they will have to give it all up, and let go of their hold on their small holding, but I honestly feel the land remembers them. Not to get all mystical on you, but the love of ones homeland runs deep, and whispers in the wind.

It is quite a different thing to have a purely political view of land ownership, without any actual investment in sweat in an actual plot of sod. Some environmentalists are all theory without experience. It is like saying you are in love with someone you never really lived with. They swear they care for nature, but in fact they seem scared of nature. Many things farmers do seem too rough and gruff, and some feel compelled to tell farmers how to be more gentle with the land. This does not go over well with farmers. They then feel farmers are ignorant and stupid.

Here we have a picture of two famous ladies ignoring a stupid farmer’s legal posting on his gate, which forbids them from trespassing on his land. They are climbing over the middle of the gate, which is very bad for the gate’s hinges, and shows they don’t know anything about good manners in the country.

Farm 1 court_order_emma_and_sophie_thompson_scale_a_gate_next_to_a_sign

The famous ladies are attending an event where they are protesting “Frakking”, supporting Greenpeace,  and holding a sort of bake-muffins demonstration on the farmer’s land, with lots of TV cameras. The cameras recorded what happened next.

It is somewhat amusing that a voice in the background exclaims they should call the police, when they are the ones breaking the law. In any case, the muffins were less appealing as the farmer went about his business of fertilizing his fields. And the protesters did make the news.

This all seems very democratic to me, for manure has always gone hand in hand with politics.

Farm 2 tumblr_o5yp6kSaVB1u0i59uo1_1280

 

Major New Complaint Submitted To BBC Over Climate Bias

My cynical side feels this effort will simply be ignored, but the effort must be made. The media must be confronted by the fact it is not “fair and balanced” by examples of balanced people who get no hearing. Although this post is too long for most of us to find time to read, it is loaded with good stuff, and well worth skimming.

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

A major new and serious complaint has been sent to the Director General of the BBC, regarding the Corporation’s persistent bias in reporting of climate change issues. The complaint is a massive 163 pages long, and is a joint submission from ten complainants. In addition, there are several technical annexes, totalling 125 pages.

Below is the letter sent to the DG:

—————————————————————————————————————————-

22nd April 2016

The Director General
BBC
180 Great Portland Street
London

W1W 5QZ.
Amanda.churchill@bbc.co.uk
Dear Director General,
 

Complaint of BBC prejudice in covering of climate change and warning of potential judicial review

We enclose a complaint from all of us about persistent partiality in the BBC’s coverage of climate change. From the outset, on the climate question the BBC has tended to reflect only one view – that of the climate science establishment who are promoting a view that man is causing significant…

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