The Arctic Sea-ice Minimum; A September Surprise
These observations are a continuation of the often-updated observations I’ve made all summer about the views seen from the “North Pole Camera,” and what such views may be showing us. The most recent thread of such observations was at https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/the-big-chill-sea-ice-version/
(Click on all pictures, maps and graphs in this post to enlarge them.)
What is the surprise? Well let us look at the situation a year ago, viewed from a different “North Pole Camera.”
And let us compare it with this year at the same time, if not the same place:
And let us remember we were told the arctic would soon be “ice free.”
I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t look exactly “ice free” to me. In fact, if I was anything other than politically correct, I could swear it looks colder.
The next picture, six hours later, doesn’t look much warmer, with ice freezing on our lens:
Surprised? Not me, for I’ve been watching the views offered by such wonderful cameras for years. However when I first began watching, yes, I was surprised, for the newspapers made the arctic sound much warmer than it actually has been, and never mentioned when it became colder, as the observations of this post may, perhaps, display.
The latest “army” data from this camera state the temperature is down to -6.46 C, (20.4 Fahrenheit,) and, as that is well below the freezing point of the salt water under the ice, let alone the fresh water the ice is made of, I don’t expect to see any melt-water pools, such as last year’s view shows, any time too soon.
NOTES ON SOURCES
A great collection of sources, without any political “spin,” has been compiled by Anthony Watts at his “Sea Ice Page” at http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/
As you look at various sources you start to notice they are not in complete agreement. It is important to notice the disagreements, and to try to figure out what causes them. Causes tend to be things as simple as the use of different thermometers at the same site, or a chart which automatically updated using data which is old or (worse) missing. In some cases the data is “modeled” rather than actual, or includes “adjustments” which you may or may not agree with.
Due to the variance in data I faced a choice at some point, and decided to use DMI data, (because I figured the Danes have vested interests in being accurate due to having fishermen in arctic seas and business with Greenland.) (Not that Danes don’t take sides in the “politics” of weather, but their data seems down-to-earth.) Much current information can be found in the “The Arctic Today” box, in the upper left of this page: http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/index.uk.php
I like to glance at temperatures at nine buoys, (including the buoy at our camera,) at http://imb.crrel.usace.army.mil/newdata.htm . I call this data “the army data,” and this data tends to be more current than the other camera data, issued once a day at http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/index.html , which I simply call “the data.” For reasons I’m unsure of the two data can vary slightly.
For a quick glance at the weather map of the north pole I visit http://www.weather-forecast.com/maps/Arctic , but you have to be careful because they, in their hurry to crank out not only the current map but the ten-day model-forecast, often mislabel highs as lows and lows as highs.
There are many other sources of data, including the actual satellite pictures from outer space, which I sift through when I have time, and I will try to give links as I go.
SEPTEMBER 1 —MORNING PICTURE—FROSTY LENS AND COLD VIEW
The frost ought sublimate off the lens as the sun works around, though temperatures seem likely to remain below freezing. The “army” data shows our camera at -6.46 C. The “companion buoy” Buoy 2013B: , located roughly 100 miles north of our buoy, has dropped sharply from a hair above freezing yesterday to -4.94 C.
DMI MORNING MAPS
I am going to be busy today helping my youngest move into his college dorm down in Boston, but will briefly note the temperature map shows the sub-freezing isotherm creeping south east of Greenland towards the north coast of Svalbard.
SEPTEMBER 1 —EVENING UPDATE— SNEAK ATTACK THAW
Lord, am I ever glad to get back to the quiet of the North Pole Camera. You’d think there wouldn’t be much traffic in Boston on a Sunday, but it was at a standstill on Storrow Drive along the Charles River. There was some sort of parade involving the BU home opener, and mobs of college students driving U-hauls and pushing large hampers on wheels on sidewalks, as Boston has a plethora of colleges all opening at once. Took a wrong turn at the exit and found myself passing through a mob of fans streaming towards a Red Sox game at Fenway Park. Then had to do a lot of unloading my son’s belongings into one of those hampers-on-wheels thingies, and rattle along sidewalks in steaming summer heat, all the while secretly yearning for the cool of the Pole. So here I am. I click on to the picture, and what do I see? What the heck has been going on around here? I left things neat and tidy and more than six below, and come home to find drops of water on the lens? Can’t people manage things around here without my constant attention? Even our camera has been loafing, as soon as my back is turned. For some strange reason there was no 12z picture taken today. There is just the 6z picture with frost on the lens, and the 18z picture with drops of water and fog. Obviously I’m going to have to study a bit to figure out what the heck has been going on. EVENING DMI MAPS (click to enlarge) The pressure map shows an unusual symmetry that breaks certain rules. There is suppose to be either a low dominating the pole, or a high with lows dancing around it, but tonight we see two lows and two highs doing some sort of bumpkin square dance. Someone needs to have to talk with those weather systems. They may be quaint but they are out of style, and likely politically incorrect. The high I dubbed “Igor” and low I dubbed “Ronald” continue their battle on the far side of the Pole, with the winds between them thrusting a relative mildness north, which has cut the sub-minus-five isotherm into two blobs. (The upper one is the “chicken,” and the one laid atop Greenland is the “egg.”) Meanwhile the extention of Igor that blurbed off Greenland, was seperated from Igor by a definate col, and now deserves its own name, a high pressure area named “Greenie.” Greenie built such magnitude it pretty much squashed the Icelandic low Thidwick under it flatter than a pancake, but keep an eye on Thidwick, for he is getting squished east as an impulse, and something is brewing in the Baltic. Behind Thidwick his son, “Junior,” is strengthening west of Iceland, and rather than following in his father’s footprints Junior may creep up the east coast of Greenland as Ronald did, and we may again see Atlantic air try to invade the Arctic, as a flow between Junior and Greenie. Each time these flows become cross-polar, you can expect the DMI graph-of-temperatures-above-80-degrees to go positive, as the really cold air is driven to the side and south of 80 degrees. The fact that graph is “above normal” does not necessisarily slow the refreeze, because the colder air may be driven to the edges of the ice where it can actually hasten refreeze. While the Pole can export cold air, it can never really import it until the tundra becomes snow-covered and dark. At this point all the cold air is home-grown, in areas that are clear, calm, and undisturbed by southern invasions. To a certain extent we have seen Igor be such a cold-generator, away from his conflict with Ronald, as is shown by the large area of sub-five-degree air away from Ronald. The low pressure north of Greenland is “Baffy,” (after Baffin Island,) and tends to be a semi-permanent feature west of Greenland, partly because the water there is relatively warm compared to Greenland’s icecap, which forms a semi-permanent area of cold and usually-descending air, due to being permanently over 10,000 feet tall. When Baffy bulges north against a high like Igor, cold air gets exported down to Canada and Alaska, and that is the area I’d expect to see the greatest refreeze, in the near future, as some truly cold air gets nudged down that way. The sneak attack of thaw at our camera was likely imported from Siberia between Igor and Ronald, and was something I suspected might happen, and even predicted, but when temperatures plunged yesterday I figured I was wrong. As usual, as soon as I stop expecting something, it happens. Now I need to study the data from the camera.
SUNDAY’S CAMERA DATA —LO AND BEHOLD! HEADED NORTH AGAIN!— On August 13 at 1500Z our camera made it down to 83.780°N. I was thinking we might be on our way back down there, but our camera only made it to 83.824°N at 1800z, when the wind shifted, and since then the camera has been rocketing north, to 83.889°N at 1500z today. I should point out our camera is down in a bit of a hollow, and winds seldom get over ten miles an hour, I’ve seen them touch 15 mph a few times. Now they are over 22 mph. Unless those winds have changed dramatically, our buoy likely has already crossed 84 degrees for the seventh time since they first brought it across 84 degrees last April. This actually is big news. If an ordinary heat wave in Kansas deserves a bottom-of-the-fold headline in the New York Times, this deserves a banner, blaring headline. Why? Because the ice our camera is on should be 200 miles south, entering Fram Strait, by now. The fact it is held back is a sign something quite different is going on. It is being checked, hoarded, perhaps even crushed and piled up. Rather than the ice at the Pole becoming less, it is becoming more. This has certain political implications, but if you can’t catch my drift, I’ll let the ice do my drifting for me. The ice has continued its movement east, from 1.134°W at 1500z yesterday to 0.484°W at 1500z today. But here’s some puzzling data: If you saw a wind shift from one direction to another, and a camera and buoy stopped moving south and started moving north, while continuing to move east, what would you expect the wind shift to be? (I’ll sit here and patiently drum my fingers as you figure it out.) According to our data, the camera only moved slowly south when the winds were FROM THE SOUTH at 5 to 9 mph. As soon as winds became FROM THE EAST at 20 to 25 miles an hour did the camera and buoy stop moving south, but not stop moving east. In fact it moved more swiftly to the east, despite the stiff headwind. (I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, but it sounds like either wires are crossed at the physical site, or else someone put in a plus sign where they should have put in a minus sign, in a computer program. If someone could drop a word-to-the-wise to those-in-the-know, it might be a good thing.) (We don’t want the wrong sort to know about this malfunction. We want our camera fixed, not de-funded.) In terms of temperature, the dramatic wind shift didn’t have an immediate effect. Though the wind began shifting at 1500z the temperatures kept dropping to -6.2°C at 2100z yesterday, and then only slowly rose to -4.4°C at 0600z today, whereupon they rose more swiftly to -0.2°C at 1200z, where (perhaps because available heat gets used up and turns to latent heat when you start to actually melt ice,) they stalled, remaining at -0.2°C at 1500z. These ups and downs of temperature show how incomplete the mixing of air is, even up in the arctic where you seldom see warm fronts and cold fronts inked onto maps. It is like a cup of coffee just after you add the cream; the back makes a contrast with the white, before they assume a shade of tan. (There is a reason the word “stir” is similar to “storm.”) As a final thought before I retire, the fact our buoy is heading north rather than south tends to torpedo my thought that “extent graphs” might show an uptick, as condensed ice was dispersed into the open waters north of Svalbard. If anything, such graphs may show a down-tick, as a packed ice-pack is packed further. The “Navy” map of ice drift suggests ice should be condensed more than dispersed: (Click to enlarge, and click again to enlarge further.)
SEPTEMBER 1 —MORNING UPDATE— THAW CONTINUES
“Army” data shows our bouy at plus 0.40. It hasn’t crossed 44 degrees but has again crossed the meridian, at 83.91 N, 0.13 E. Our “companion buoy,” Buoy 2013B: is a bit colder at -0.48 C, and the next buoy towards the Pole, Buoy 2012J: is at -1.23 C. All these temperatures are above normal for this late in the summer, and the DMI graph shows the “warmth” with an uptick above normal:
The picture shows thaw as well. It’s difficult to see much, but there may even be some melt-water pooling in the distance if much rain is falling. It would be that grey area, likely a thin layer of water atop the frozen surface of a melt-water pool from earlier in the summer.
Air is being injected to the Pole from two directions: From the flow between Igor and Ronald, (IE from Siberia) and the flow between Greenie and Baffy, (IE from Greenland) The flow from Siberia has been dominate but is weakening, and a new and interesting flow from the Atlantic is developing. Computer models keep arriving at the solution of a storm over the Pole, but keep changing the manner in which it comes about. Originally “Thidwick” was suppose to travel to Siberia and take a sharp left turn, however now models say what is left of poor Thidwick is squashed to the Baltic and then southeast out of our view, as Thidwick Junior travels up the east coast of Greenland, curves over north of Svalbard while weakening, and then restrengthens and moves right over the Pole next weekend. The fuel for restrengthening will be supplied by the fact Greenie will hook over Scandinavia and latch up with expanding high pressure bulging up from the Azores, perhaps giving Swedes a final chance to tan, but also creating a corridor of Atlantic fuel for the storm, a long fetch of southwest winds up the west side of the high pressure ridge. Of course, the next run of the model may have a totally different solution, but this last one is interesting. Such a storm could shift a lot of the jammed-up ice back into the open waters north of Svalbard, and also transport a lot of heat away from the surface to lose latent heat in the upper atmosphere and create cold. That’s what the last storm seemed to do, over the long run. It seemed to create the cold that gave us such cold temperatures, (down to -8,) in mid August. Back here in reality, the flow between Ronald and Igor has spit the area bounded by the minus-five-degree isotherm into the “chicken” and the “egg.” The chicken is flapping about and getting a bit spindly, as its air bleeds south into Canada, however the egg over northern Greenland is larger, and may hatch something, as it is closest to our camera.
GOOD SATELLITE VIEW
Although the location of our camera is hidden by clouds, there is a good view of the northeast corner of Greenland in this morning’s map. You can see the ice blown away from the shore if you zoom in, and tides slushing ice in and out of fjords, and a great ice-jam to the north. I think some plates broke and then were “healed,” the barely visible seams representing pressure ridges that must be of considerable size to be seen from space. Don’t click on this site if you have chores to do, because you’ll lose an hour easy. http://www.arctic.io/observations/
NOON PICTURE —DROPS ON LENS FREEZING?—
The “army” data states the temperature has edged barely below freezing, at -0.18 C. I hope the lens doesn’t freeze over and spoil our view. (Not that the view is too good right now.)
A VISIT TO AN ALARMIST SITE
Sometimes I’m a glutton for punishment, and visit sites that have a very low opinion of anyone who thinks the arctic may not soon become ice-free. There I see myself derided and mocked, even though I seldom venture a word. Not that the people who comment know me or about this site, but they have no mercy towards any who beg to differ. Most such sites won’t even allow you to post a skeptical idea. I’ve tried, and seen the ideas are snipped. It is not worth the effort of putting an idea into words if it is going to be disregarded in that manner, so they miss my excellent wit and fabulous humor. Their loss. Besides visiting to see insults of various and interesting forms, some sites actually have good data. Of course, the data is interpreted very differently than I interpret it, however the data itself is sound and often very interesting. I thought I’d go back in time and see what was said last March about the ice all melting away this summer, and wound up at an Alarmist site run by Joe Romm called Climate Progress, back on March 23. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/03/23/1766011/ice-breaking-news-2013-arctic-freezing-season-not-what-its-cracked-up-to-be-literally/ The post contains some excellent pictures and film of midwinter leads forming in the Beaufort Sea, which they were seeing as a sure sign there would be less ice this summer. My own view is that any water exposed to polar night cools the Arctic Ocean, and if cooler water is exposed when the ice melts, it makes for a cooler summer. However the cooler summer hadn’t happened yet, so I was reading through the comments when I came across the following: tallbloke says:
A recent paleo modelling paper concluded the temperature of the upper arctic ocean was about 2C warmer than present near the last glacial maximum. Presumably this would be because the ice cap prevented the heat being lost to space. So less summer ice will mean more heat loss to space from the Arctic ocean. This seems like a natural negative feedback to me. The increased ocean heat content of the last 80 years has to find a way out of the system. It does that by melting Arctic ice and gaining direct access to radiate into the troposphere. Once the ocean has cooled down, the Arctic ice will increase again. The world ocean started cooling around 2007, and given the momentum of the circulation systems, I would expect the Arctic ocean to lag by a decade or so. I predict signs of Arctic ice recovery starting around 2015, and becoming stronger around 2017-2019. Plenty of time for hollering and hooting meanwhile. Many of the other people were disgusted at Joe Romm for allowing Tallbloke a chance to speak, but Joe Romm went up in my opinion. Tallbloke is a known skeptic who has his own fascinating site at http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/ where he displays a scientific mind which intimidates me slightly, as I am all too keenly aware of my weaknesses in Math. Encouraged by the idea Tallbloke agreed with my ideas to some degree, I grew absurdly over-confident and ventured a sort of prediction over at the Real Science site. Already I regret opening my big mouth, (and I’m glad I used words like “might” and “could,”) but for what it’s worth, here it is: Looks like there is a chance of a storm moving right over the pole at the end of this week. (At least the models are seeing it, but we all know about models.) I think such a gale might actually increase ice extent, as the ice is packed tightly towards Alaska and a storm might spread it out like butter, and a “extent graph” doesn’t care if the ice that was 100% is spread out to 30%. That would create a slightly false impression, but might create a “bottom” to the extent graph two weeks early. Also even a cold storm like that has a lot of uplift, and turns latent heat into available heat as vapor condenses into water and water freezes to snow, and that heat gets radiated out into space at the edge of the Stratosphere (low in the arctic,) and a colder snow falls. I think a storm in early August was a reason the “North Pole Camera” had temperatures down to minus 8 in mid-August.
DID I DO THAT? Apparently “Tallbloke” was surprised Joe Romm printed his comment. It resulted in a post over at “Tallbloke’s Talkshop.” http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/joe-romm-arctic-recovery-or-death-spiral-care-to-make-a-wager-on-that/
SEPTEMBER 2 —AFTERNOON INSECT-EYE VIEW—
In case you are wondering, this is how a fly sees, through its compound eye. It is not the way we want to be seeing, especially as it looks like a lovely sunset-sky is out beyond the ice on the lens. However we can deduce it has dipped below freezing, at least.
The temperature went from -0.2°C at 1500z yesterday to -0.2°C at 1500z today. No change, right? Ok, I’ll confess: It did spend all the time between above freezing, peaking at 0.7°C at 0000z, but we don’t care about little things like that do we? (I do. Look what that darn thaw did to the lens of our camera!) After rushing north to 83.889°N at 1500z yesterday the bouy has slowed, progressing north by fits and starts to 83.958°N at 1500z today. It might not quite make 84 degrees north, which will be a blown opportunity for a really good headline. Meanwhile it has sailed steadily east, again crossing the meridian, moving from 0.484°W to 0.966°E. To our north our “companion buoy” is also moving east, but has just started south. (Crunch time.) Temperatures there barely nudged above freezing to 0.1°C at 0000z, before dropping back down to -4.4°C at 1500z.
It’s been a long, hot, muggy day, where the whole world smells of mildew. I’ve had to go out in it, to the delight of swarms of mosquitoes, and repair a rail fence the children at our Childcare demolished, and also to feed goats and so on and so forth. However I’ve also had plenty of time to OD on the internet, gazing at the screen so much my eyes are getting square. So forgive me if I seem dour; the holiday is over and it’s back-to-work in only nine hours. The pressure map looks basically the same to me. There’s probably something going on that will catch me by surprise in the morning, but my intellect is too dead to see it. However my exhausted brain does perk up a bit, looking at the temperature map, as the “chicken” has exploded. Now I am sure that, if my imagination was less tired, I’d see the expansion of the sub-minus-five-degree isotherms towards the top of the map from one area to two as something more pleasant; I’d tell you the chicken has merely turned, to converse to a squirrel. (See it?) However my mind is tired, and I hang around with small children who thirst for gore too much, and therefore I see an exploded chicken. It really is revolting. I don’t know why they allow such things on the internet. Not only has the upper cold expanded, but the “egg” that sat on top of Greenland has hatched into a full grown hen, which now is sitting on a new egg made by the sub-minus-ten-degree isotherm. We’ll start to see minus-ten more often from now on, so I guess you could say that’s an egg that soon will hatch. In any case, for the time being the cold is over towards Canada, and the above-freezing stuff is over towards Siberia. However that too will soon change. Snow will soon fall on parts of Siberia, and the moment that land is snow-covered it turns into a cold-generator. Take a look at this map of snowfall-over-the-next-week I stole from Joseph D’Aleo’s blog over at WeatherBELL. It shows snow falling on Siberia. (Greenland is up and Alaska is down.) (Click to enlarge.) You have to admit that is a cool map. I have to pay the price of a cup of coffee per day to get it, and probably shouldn’t give it to you for free. However I figure WeatherBELL won’t sue me if I provide them with a free ADVERTIZEMENT. Actually you can get a lot of these cool maps for free if you check out Ryan Maue’s twitter-feed. He is suppose to charge the price of a cup of coffee for these maps, but he gets so enthusiastic when interesting weather is on the horizon he can’t resist showing off his maps for free. To get an idea of how cool his maps are, compare the above DMI arctic temperature map with Ryan’s: (Click to enlarge.) (Click it again to enlarge more.) Cool, aye? However you need to understand Ryan actually doesn’t have 20,000 thermometers dotted all over the arctic. In fact there are relatively few, and he and DMI “model” the areas between. (IE: Fudge factor.) However I can’t say how much I appreciate the creation of these maps. I dislike numbers, and computer code makes me break out in hives. (In fact one reason I decided to be poor is because I hate accounting.) However, a map? A map is an utterly different matter. And the simple fact Ryan Maue can deal with numbers and computer code and produce hundreds of maps like the above map makes WeatherBELL well worth the price of a cup of coffee, as long as it is not your first cup of coffee. Thirty years ago I was a bum sleeping in my car, and knew what it was like to chose, first thing in the morning, between buying a paper for the weather map, or buying a coffee. The coffee always comes first. (Anyway, you can usually find a newspaper laying about.) So I won’t blame anyone if they don’t subscribe to WeatherBELL. However, once you have enough money for two cups of coffee, subscribe. Not only do you get a whole selection of Ryan’s great maps, but you get Joseph D’Aleo and Joe Bastardi, who are very good meteorologists, of the old school, (and, by “of the old school,” I mean they can forecast the weather even if all the computer models are all off-line. ) END OF COMMERCIAL SEPTEMBER 2 —FINAL EVENING PICTURE—ABSTRACT MESS This is a picture of: A.) The view through ice into thick fog from the “North Pole Camera,” or B.) A painting from a plush art studio priced 1.4 million dollars, or C.) a rough approximation of the state of my mind after a three day weekend. I’m facing a busy week, so forgive me if my updates become fewer and farther between. SEPTEMBER 3 —MORNING UPDATE— LENS STILL FROZEN Looks like it is still foggy. “Army” data says temperature is at -0.90 C, but 90 miles north at our “companion buoy” it is colder, at -5.90 C. It also looks a bit brighter, hopefully because the fog is clearing and the sun may melt off our lens, and not merely because the sun is higher in the sky. We are far enough away from the Pole to cause the sun to dip lower at midnight and rise higher at noon, though it still doesn’t set. The first sunset in many months comes tomorrow at 77 degrees north, and each day it creeps a bit further north. SEPTEMBER 3 —DMI MORNING MAPS— The flow between “Igor” and “Ronald” persists, which surprises me a little. Computer models no longer show “Thidwick Junior” reaching the Pole next weekend, but rather following a track like Ronald’s. The decrease in minus-five-temperatures is partly do to daylight swinging around and warming the Bering Straits side of the Pole, and also because a lot of cold is draining down into Canada. The Northwest Passage is freezing up. MIDDAY PICTURE —COME ON, SUNSHINE. MELT THE LENS CLEAN! Latest “army” temperature for our camera: -1.32 C AFTERNOON PICTURE —IF YOU CAN’T EVEN MELT THE ICE OFF A CAMERA… …HOW CAN YOU MELT AN ICECAP? SEPTEMBER 3 —DAILY CAMERA DATA—THE FLIRT Our camera has sailed east steadily, from 0.966°E at 1500z yesterday, to 1.839°E at 1500z today. However it seems determined to drive me nuts and frustrate my desire for a perfectly good headline by flirting with 84 degrees, but never quite crossing. It moved from 83.958°N at 1500z yesterday to 83.975°N at 0300z today, and then stopped, and even moved south a ten-thousandth of a degree over the next six hours. (What is a ten-thousandth of a degree? Probably more than a par three, but is it a par five?) Then, just when you’d be thinking it was going to start south again, it headed north between 0900z and 1500z to 83.982°N. That particular northward trend makes no sense to me, not only because winds have dropped to a calm, and I assumed the current of water under the ice is to the south, but also our companion buoy to the north, while sailing east with our buoy, has come south from 85.550°N at 1200z yesterday to 85.500°N at 1500z today. Very roughly, it has come 3 miles south as our camera has headed slightly north. It would seem crunch-time would push our ice south, however it insists on tantalizing me by edging ever closer to 84 degrees. (Well, I know how to handle a flirt. I am not going to pay it the slightest bit of attention.) Temperatures have slowly fallen to a degree below zero, but are basically boring, and slightly above average for the time of year. It has warmed a couple degrees at our companion buoy 90 miles north, but remains two degrees colder than we are at -3.3°C. SEPTEMBER 3 —EVENING DMI MAPS— THE NEW CHALLANGER The low I called “Ronald” looks to be fading away, hitting the mat after fifteen rounds with the high I called “Igor.” Igor looks stronger than any computer model predicted, though he is not standing on the Pole as they predicted. He is leering at Ronald, who lies flat on his back smiling at circling clouds of tweeting birdies. Igor’s the new champ, however, even if the fight is over the two have done quite a job of pumping relatively mild air up to the Pole, and temperatures are generally milder up there than you’d expect. The “exploded chicken” didn’t get itself together and resurrect to a single body, despite night swinging around to that side of the pole, and the “hatched hen” atop Greenland looks humbled. However a lot of colder than normal air is freezing up the Northwest passage, and also, somewhat surprisingly, cold anomalies are appearing in Siberia. The big news now is Thidwick Junior, who I’ve decided to rename “Thickwickson.” While his father has had the good sense to bail on the arctic, and is aiming off to take a nice, warm, Black-Sea-holiday, his son is creeping up the coast of Greenland, and is talking about how he can beat Igor with one hand tied behind his back. (Igor doesn’t look too happy about the prospect.) Greenie, (the high between Thidwickson and what is left of Ronald,) wants nothing to so with the melee, and is backing up, over Sacandinavia and then running to link up with his protective buddy, the Azores High. On a slightly more serious note, the warm AMO’s creation of so much open sea north of Europe does seem to attract the storm track up that way. Just as you have more ice on the Canadian side and more open water on the Siberian side, you see high pressure over the ice and low pressure over the open water. Not always, of course, but someone ought study pressure anomalies maps comparing warm AMO’s with cold AMO’s, and compare them with ice-cover. (Not me, of course, but “someone.”) SEPTEMBER 4 —-MORNING PICTURE—- SUNRISE ROSES This 0z picture is from midnight on the meridian, with the midnight sun as low as it goes, and you can see from the pink tint that out beyond the ice on the lens the landscape is tinted by roses. Someone ought install a defroster. The “Army” data has our camera colder, at -3.54 C THE POLE’S COOL POOL Glancing at the “army” data towards the Pole from our camera this morning, I noticed it gets colder as you move north, at -5.75 C at Buoy 2013B: and -10.09 C at Buoy 2012J: Now, -10.09 C is pretty darn cold, (13.8 fahrenheit,) so I got curious, and went to check out Ryan Maue’s WeatherBELL map. It didn’t show the area by Buoy 2012J: as being quite so cold, but over towards Canada around a hundred miles is a pocket of cold down to 5 Fahrenheit. (Being old fashioned I print the map out in Fahrenheit; that would be -15 Celsius.) Then I printed out Ryan’s wind-speed-and-direction map to see where that cold air might be headed. Canada, and even down to Hudson’s Bay. We’ll have to watch how early the Bay freezes up. That actually means a lot, down here in New Hampshire. Until it freezes it acts as a sort of buffer against direct shots of arctic air from the north, (and the Great Lakes protect us from the west.) Once it freezes over…..look out. (Click these maps to enlarge, and then click again to enlarge further.) GOOD SATELLITE VIEW OF ICE AROUND OUR CAMERA Zoom in to maximum and observe seas northeast of Greenland. The larger chips have been crunched about so much the edges are rounded. The sea is a soup of ice. Remember the surfaces are not as flat as they appear; pressure ridges are largely invisible from this high up. Anyone know how to zoom in closer? http://www.arctic.io/observations/ SEPTEMBER 4 —DMI MORNING MAPS—THIDWICKSON MARCHES NORTH Thidwickson’s warm sector is completely occluded, and the occuded front is only up to Svalbard. Not very far north of there winds are light and from the east, however a good south flow is forming between Thidwickson and a high pressure ridge extending up from Azores over Europe, and a weak low west of Scotland (Thidwick The Third?) may ride that flow up the west coast of Scandinavia over the next few days to join the fray. Igor is waiting across the ring, over towards the Bering Strait, wearing what looks to me like a tired expression. Cold is building north of Greenland, but likely will be pushed away from our camera by Thidwickson. CAMERA STILL BLIND However the grayness of the light leaking through, and the fact the reported “army” temperature has risen to -1.11 C, suggests clouds and perhaps even fog has rolled in. A brief thaw would be nice, to clean the lens. CAMERA DRIFTS NORTH OF 84 DEGREES AGAIN —DAILY DATA— At 1500z our buoy had drifted up to 83.982°N, and today at 1500z it has continued on to 84.003°N. This slight movement, only two hundredth of a degree and roughly six tenths of a mile, is especially interesting because there was no wind. It suggests that the current under the ice is not moving towards Fram Strait, but northwest towards Canada. (The ice has stopped moving east, and has drifted back west, from 1.867°E at 1800z yesterday to 1.638°E at 1500z today.) The temperature seems less significant, compared to the drift’s message. (For the record, the temperature bottomed out at -3.3°C at 0300z this morning, before rising back to -0.6°C at 1500z. ) The message is that the extent of ice may not be as important as the motion, when it comes to rebuilding the Pole’s icecap. It seems to be a two-part process. On one side of the Pole the ice is packed up thicker, which leaves the other side with more open water. The open water loses heat more effectively, cooling the entire water column down to the pycnocline, until the insulating “baby ice” forms. When that ice melts away the following spring, the exposed sea is still cooler right down to the pycnocline, and storms can’t stir up warmer water from down below, because such water has been cooled. Ice melt is therefore less, and the increase in ice is packed away in the Beaufort Gyre. Eventually, when it becomes impossible to pack any more ice into the packed gyre, the formerly ice-free side of the pole becomes choked with floating ice, and ice extent graphs returns to higher levels. The only way to stop this process is for the AMO to spike warm again, and for a surge of warm Atlantic water again to invade the Arctic. (The AMO was much warmer last year than this year, though it still in the warm phase of its 60-year-cycle.) IS “DEATH SPIRAL” OF ARCTIC ICE ACTUALLY A “REBIRTH CYCLE?” At “Real Science” there is a post pointing out where the ice is less, and where it is actually more, and somewhat wryly suggesting the situation represents a “nightmare” for Alarmists, because it indicates the ice is setting up for an increase, which will make them look silly for all their verbal antics about doom and disaster befalling mankind if the Pole becomes ice-free. Personally I think that would be a benign situation, much like the situation the Vikings enjoyed when they colonized Greenland, but Alarmist are prepared to have a complete tizzy if it occurs, and it may be a bit depressing to be all set to throw a tizzy, and have the tizzy canceled. The post, http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/arctic-alarmists-nightmare-just-beginning/ has this nice map comparing ice extent in 2009 to our current situation. I agree with some of the ideas about how the differences are indicative of regrowing ice, but added a few of my own. The ideas expressed at Real Science ideas go: “…The ice is failing to flush south and exit through Fram Strait. All the ice is instead being pushed towards Alaska and Canada, which tends to replenish the Beaufort Gyre. The ice-extent maps show ice-cover is actually bulging towards the Canadian coast at one place in a manner that is “above normal.” The place where ice is “below normal” is Fram Strait, (which represents missing ice that isn’t being flushed out, and therefore isn’t being lost to the arctic,) and also warm-AMO-melted-ice north of Scandinavia and Siberia. Rather than “absorbing more sunlight,” as some suggest, this ice-free-water is losing heat very efficiently. When water is free of chips of ice to act as seeds for ice to grow on, the chilled water sinks and is replaced by rising warm water from below, and the water stays ice free until the entire column of water from the surface to the pycnocline is near freezing. The pycnocline is 300-400 feet down, so we are talking about the creation of a very thick layer of cold water, rather than a thin layer of ice with warmer currents beneath. Therefore the open water towards the north coast of Eurasia may actually be an important part of regrowing ice, during what seems to be a sixty-or-so year cycle. The thick layer of colder water, created by ice-free-seas exposed to bitter winds, will reverse the effect of the warm AMO, and allow ice to regrow more swiftly during the winter and melt more slowly during the summer. (That thick layer of cold water may explain colder arctic temperatures last summer.) The ice-free parts of the Arctic Ocean will turn out to have the exact opposite effect than the effect that Alarmists expected. If an increase in sea-ice is truly an Alarmist nightmare, then the nightmare will truly only get worse.” CAMERA LENS STILL COVERED WITH ICE Just guessing, I guess it was foggy. No recent “army” temperature update. SEPTEMBER 4 —EVENING DMI MAPS— It seems that, with Ronald out cold, and the southerly flow between Ronald and Igor no longer a feature on the map, the cold has had a chance to recover, especially on the Canadian side of the Arctic. I imagine long shadows stretch out from Greenland and the high Peaks of Queen Elizabeth Islands, and the chill in those shadows allows the minus -ten isotherm to ooze out onto the ice. The minus-five isotherm is larger than I expected, divided in two by what I imagine is a faint memory of Ronald and Igor’s southerly flow toward the pole. Thidwickson is still marching up the east coast of Greenland, but has yet to effect our camera. The latest “army” data has our camera at -1.79 C, but it hasn’t moved much at all: Still sitting on 84.00 N, 1.40 E. The battle between Igor and Ronald shows as a brief peak into above normal temperatures in the DMI temperature graph, but things have now sunk back to normal. (Click to enlarge.) SEPTEMBER 5 —-STILL NO PICTURE, BUT NEW PATTERN— Crisp, cool, dry air poured over us yesterday. It was interesting to consider it was air over the arctic last week. In September such air has me glancing south and thinking I ought focus on hurricanes. I also ought focus on my worldly responcibilities, so it is probably a good thing there’s nothing to see in our camera’s view. An interesting new onrush of air up into the arctic seems to be sneaking up through Baffin Bay along the west coast of Greenland. Something new and interesting to contemplate, amidst doing my chores. SEPTEMBER 5 —DMI MAPS— Will comment later. BIT OF A THAW — LENS MELTING OFF— FOGGY MESS Our camera is still north of 84 degrees, at 84.03 N, 1.30 E, according to the “Army” data, with temperatures a hair above freezing at 0.02 C. Companion buoy to north has risen to -0.19 C, and the next buoy north, which was down around minus 7, is up to -2.61 C. This influx of mildness is not so much due to Thidwickson coming up as it is Baffy, (The semi-perminant low in Baffin’s Bay, on the west side of Greenland,) sticking his nose up where it doesn’t belong in the Arctic Sea. (I’m going to have to have a talk with him.) A strong storm moved from north Hudson Bay towards Baffin Bay, allowing an arctic outbreak to surge polar air way down here to New Hampshire, but, on its south-wind eastern side, mild winds went charging up Baffin Bay, so of course Baffy got fueled and nudged north. I suppose the Queen Elizabeth Islands supplied uplift, by getting in the way. All I can say is, “Ferrel Cells be damned!” They look so neat and tidy in schematic illustrations, but in reality it is a cotton-picking mess! (I wish I had more time to study this stuff; it is fascinating, when it isn’t driving you nuts.) Gotta go. SEPTEMBER 4 —EVENING PICTURE— SOUTHEAST FLOW Just a tantalizing glimpse, I suspect, before the lens freezes over again. However with Baffy to the northwest, and Thidwickson so weak, this flow could continue a while. DAILY DATA — ATLANTIC AIR NUDGES NORTH Our camera continued its very slow drift to the northwest, moving from 84.003°N to 84.052°N in the past 24 hours, speeding up slightly at the end, and edging west from 1.638°E to 1.305°E at 1200z, before backing east ever so slightly to 1.306°E at 1500z. There was no wind at all reported until 0900z, which suggests the buoy was drifting with the current for another 18 hours. ( I wondered if the anemometer might have frozen up like the lens did, but it recorded wind a day after the lens froze up, so I doubt that theory of mine has merit.) (My theory of our wind vane having “crossed wires” seems to have merit, as the ice again moved against the wind, according to the data. You would think, if the camera drifted north faster, the wind must be from the south, and you think, if westward movement was nudged back to the east, the wind must have a westward component. You’d conclude it was a south-southwest wind. The data? North-northeast. ) Temperatures have risen and are pretty “balmy” for this late in the summer. They were actually drifting downwards yesterday, plunging me into a despair that our lens would ever melt off, but after bottoming out at -1.2°C at midnight it rose to 0.3°C at 0600z, while it was still calm, and to 0.6°C at o900z as the wind first picked up, and remained at 0.5°C at the final data at 1500z. While it is perplexing to me the above-freezing air made it north to our buoy with such apparent ease, I am more fascinated by the fact our bouy drifted the wrong way during a day and a half of calm. This suggests something which, if at all true, deserves blaring headlines: The transpolar drift is in reverse. Here is the typical flow of polar currents: I sometimes talk of the “army” data for Buoy 2012J: , which is the next buoy north of our “companion buoy, ( Buoy 2013B: ) If you look at the drift track of 2012J, you’ll see it crossed nearly over the pole, riding the Transpolar Drift, before it too, like our camera, decided Fram Strait was not the destination of cool bergs. (Click to enlarge.) In all my years of camera-watching, I can’t recall such a hold-up of ice on its way to Fram Strait. Perhaps it is just one of those extremes that happens in day-to-day weather, like a hot spell in summer or a cold snap in winter. However “Climate Scientists” always discuss the Transpolar Flow as if it was an inflexible reality, written on stone, and therefore it is news to me that it can flow backwards. By the way, I noticed a three new buoys have been planted, (or at least abruptly appeared in the “army” data.) Buoy 2013F: and Buoy 2013G: are in the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska, but Buoy 2013H: is starting out at the very edge of the ice over towards East Siberia, close to where 2012J started. It will be very interesting to see if it follows 2012J’s wake, crossing the pole. If it takes some new route, then perhaps the Transpolar Flow is only a semi-permanent feature of the pole. That happens a lot with me, as I study the weather and climate. No sooner do a learn about a thing, (such as the Azores High,) when it completely vanishes from the map for a while. DMI EVENING MAPS —NOTHING I EXPECTED IS HAPPENING— It is wonderful how weather keeps you humble. Nothing on these maps is what I expected, even 48 hours ago. The Azores High is in some ways extending all the way to Alaska. It incorporates the high pressure I called Greenie over Scandinavia, and extends to the high pressure I called Igor towards the Bering Strait. This elongated ridge of mostly fair weather is exactly where I’d expect the storm track to be. O well…..back to the drawing board. Neither Thidwick nor Thidwickson is anywhere to be seen on this particular DMI view of data. (In the UK Met map, Thickwick has made a respectable come-back, just north of the Black Sea, while Thidwickson exists in the northwest corner as a nest of occlusions, but only because that map doesn’t let you see the real boss, north of Greenland, who has reduced Thidwickson to a mere appendage. Computer models gave me no hint of this situation, three days ago. Just about the only thing they got right, oddly, is that little low north of Scotland and west of Scandinavia. That low is “Thirdy;” (Short for Thidwick the Third,) and is attached to a cold front Thidwick can’t even remember being associated with, but once was. The storm really messing everything up at our camera is “Hudson,” a low that blew up in Hudson Bay and now is approaching the southern tip of Greenland from the west. Hudson may look like he is out of the picture, (or at the edge,) but he has a lot to answer for, (and will likely face an Inquisition of Climate Scientists, shortly.) He blew such a blast of summer-time air up Baffin Bay it encouraged Baffy, the low that usually hangs out there and minds his own business, to misbehave. Hudson was a bad influence, (I’ve known a lot of those sorts in my time, and, though I rue the trouble they landed me in, after I had paid my dues to society and been bailed out, I’ll admit they were good fun getting into trouble with.) The trouble with this map is Baffy, up above Greenland. I am baffled by Baffy, and will tell you what effect Baffy will have after it is all over, and I have a chance to analyze the data. (If that forecast seems slow and late to you, please understand that besides surging warmth north up Baffin’s Bay, “Hudson’s” other side surged cold right down here, where I sit at this keyboard. We might get frost in low places in New Hampshire, tonight. (We don’t usually see a frost until around the solstice on September 22.) I’m being forced to hustle around attending to stuff like firewood and tender plants, rather than sitting back and enjoying my way of staying cool in hot weather, which is to watch the ice melt at the North Pole.) I likely should start planning the end to my habit of posting about things I notice while watching ice melt, but I’ve become addicted, and until the ice-extent graphs actually start rising I’ll post when I can. (The dark will descend on our camera fairly soon, in any case, and that will end all observations for certain.) Despite the surge of warmth coming north, first up Baffin Bay, and now up the other side of Greenland, away from this action, over toward the Bering Strait, the minus-five-isotherm has made its first appearance on the Asian side, where Igor still stands tall. The strength of the high pressure sitting atop Greenland itself is noteworthy, as well. MORNING PICTURES —-WATER TO ICE, WITH POSSIBLE SNOW—- Drat. Things are frozen up again. with possible snow on the lens. However with “army” data showing the temperature only a half degree below freezing, we can hope a brief bit of sunshine might melt everything clean. First picture is from 0000z and the second from 0600z. MORNING DMI MAPS The two main features are the low “Baffy” north of Greenland, and the banana-shaped high “Igor” across the Pole towards Bering Strait. The very long ridge of high pressure extending from the Azores all the way to Alaska is getting cut in two by Baffy extending across the pole to a reinvigorated low, inland from Severnaya Zemlya. (I guess I should call this “Ronaldson,” as I think the impulse that was “Ronald” is further east, on his way to adding something to the next Aleutian Low.) A cloud shot shows that a weak impulse of Thidwickson may be part of what is cutting the very long ridge, and seperating the cold flows of Igor from the warm flow bathing Europe. In fact I have a feeling that warm flow may be deflected east into a general west-to-east flow across Eurasia, cutting the Pole off from invasion for a while. Baffy continues to baffle me. You can see he has sucked a narrow slot of above-freezing temperature in, between Greenland and the Pole, but at the same time his south-side west winds must be blowing cold air off Greenland’s ice cap into the Atlantic. So the south winds curving up towards our camera won’t be that warm, I suspect. South winds ought shove our camera yet farther north of 40 degrees. LUNCH TIME PICTURE —NOTHING TO SEE HERE—PLEASE MOVE ALONG— The “army data” shows temperatures at our camera have crashed to -5.18 C. Companion Buoy 90 miles north is warmer, at -1.36 C, and Buoy 2012J even further northeast is up to -0.35 C. Things are all mixed up, up there. CURIOSITY KILLS CAT — HAD TO CONSULT RYAN MAUE WeatherBELL MAPS— I’m actually suppose to be fixing a broken door, but I got too curious about how our camera could be so much colder than the buoys to the north. Ryan Maue’s excellent maps seem to indicate the storm “Baffy” north of Greenland is blowing a cold east wind from Greenland onto our camera, while sucking a plume of Atlantic fuel up from Svalbard, keeping more northern buoys milder. (Click to enlarge, and click again for even larger.) My wife just said, “You’d better fix that door.” After a pause she added, “Please.” So maybe this curious cat won’t get killed after all. NO REGULAR DATA TONIGHT I don’t know why. Maybe a computer glitch; maybe some hard worker needed a day off; maybe the ice cracked in half. The “army” data is coming in at -5.27 C for the temperature and 84.05 N, 1.51 E for the position, with no specific time given. Maybe I ought to take a break on Friday night as well. EVENING DMI MAPS I’m just popping these in the post for the record. It’s interesting how the low pressure is walling off Atlantic moisture, rather than sucking it into the Arctic. NO PICTURE — NO DATA — WHAT TO DO? Well, I shouldn’t say we have no data. We have the “Army” data, which is dated today but has no time stamp. The latest temperature at our camera is -5.27 C. and the position is 84.05 N, 1.51 E. The “companion buoy” to the north (Pos: 85.64 N, 3.81 E) has taken a real dive to -7.91 C, while the next buoy northeast of there (Pos: 87.57 N, 13.00 E) is still “mild,” at -0.92 C. The picture is discouraging. An old pirate ship could be drifting by, frozen to an iceberg, and we’d see nothing. Or the carcass of a woolly mammoth. We should send up a helicopter immediately. I think what I’ll do, after posting the picture of an iced-over lens, is dig up the DMI maps and play “follow the isobars.” SEPTEMBER 7 —DMI MORNING MAPS— FOLLOW THE ISOBARS It is pretty interesting how the Atlantic has been walled off from the Arctic by our marching string of lows. “Hudson” is southeast of Greenland, and still quite strong. Baffy is over our camera, a rejuvenated Thidwickson is over the Siberian coast, nudging against Ronald Junior to its west. The high pressure “Igor” over towards the Bering Strait side of the Arctic Sea must be feeling ganged-up-against. One very rough way of guessing where the air is flowing is simply to follow the isobars. If you follow the isobar that passes over Iceland, and the two north of it, you see they curve over northern Scandinavia, cut down through Siberia, and then basically head for China. They don’t enter the Arctic. You have to keep a memory of past maps in the back of your mind. For example, just because today’s map shows no air from the Atlantic entering the Arctic, doesn’t mean the air just crossing the Pole didn’t leak north from the Atlantic a couple days ago. However if you trace the isobars of the current cross-polar-flow back to its sources, you see it curves around Igor, and a large part of the “source region” is now the arctic coast of Russia, (not the warmest place for air to originate.) The question then becomes, why isn’t the air over the arctic colder? The answer is that it exported a blast of cold down the west side of “Hudson.” In fact if you look at a map of North America’s weather, you can see the blast continueing and pushing a second cold front south of Hudson Bay, even as the cold front from the first blast gets all the way to Florida, and polar high pressure cools the eastern USA. (click to enlarge) (Incidentally, this is my ordinary view of weather. It is very mind-expanding to see things from the top of the world, with our polar maps.) The export of all the cold air has left it milder up at the pole, though the passage of all the cold air has sped the freeze-up the Northwest Passage, and even of some of the northernmost harbors of Hudson Bay. With all that air leaving the Pole, some air must replace it. And here is where you have to start thinking in three dimensions, for sometimes the air doesn’t come from places on the surface. Sometimes it descend from above. I certainly can’t claim to understand such ups and downs of air. However that string of low pressure areas represent rising air, and the high pressure area Igor represents descending air. Then you need to think of upper altitude winds, perhaps peeking at Ryan Maue’s 500 mb WeatherBELL map: Again we see air rushing around the arctic without entering, (the cross-polar-flow north of Baffy’s upper air reflection, if you follow isobars backwards, can be seen to largely home-grown, either originating in the heights of Greenland’s icecap, or along the coastline of Russia.) What goes up must come down. With that string of lows pumping air up, and that air losing a lot of heat to edge of the stratosphere, I imagine the air that comes settling back down over the Pole, (during the time-period the Pole is cut off from outside invasions,) will make a nice pool of home-grown cold. Am I correct? Time will tell, but right now I’ve got a long list of Saturday chores to attend to. SEPTEMBER 7 —EVENING DATA— TWO DAYS WORTH In terms of longitude our camera has moved west, then east and now west again, and the sum total accomplishment is four thousandth of a degree westward. (1.306°E at 1500z on Thursday to 1.302°E at 1500z today.) Of course, like a bad driver parking a car, you can be sure there are plenty of dented fenders among the bergs in the great parking lot of the northern sea-ice. Farthest west was 1.252°E at 2100z Thursday and farthest east was 1.578°E at 1500z yesterday. In terms of latitude the same nothing-much sum total of movement has occurred. We’ve moved from 84.052°N at 1500z Thursday to 84.056°N today. Again we are talking about four thousandth of a degree. If a degree is roughly sixty miles, then a thousandth is a 6 hundredth of a mile. We are approximately 316.8 feet further north than where we started, in terms of latitude. Of course we only achieved this by denting fenders and bumpers all around us, on the ice-highway towards Fram Strait. At first the camera made an impressive lurch away from Fram Strait, up to 84.100°N at 0600z yesterday, but then the wind swung right around to the north, (I guess, as the wind vane is screwed up,) and the camera was pushed south to 84.064°N. At that point the wind slackened from around 13 mph to around 4 mph, and wandered down to the south-southeast (I guess) which pushed our camera back north to 84.071°N, and since then the wind swung around to northeast and stiffened back to a breeze of 13 mph, pushing us south. However I must say we have been lollygagging around 84 degrees latitude long enough. It is high time we made progress south! We are way behind schedule! As a self-appointed authority on drifting cameras, I must sadly inform you this camera is a shirk. We should be drifting ten miles a day towards Fram Strait, but this camera has the audacity to disobey the finest computer models! Shame! Shame! Shame! Temperatures have been interesting. They were quite mild, giving me hopes the lens of our camera might dry clean and give us clear views. (FAIL.) In the south winds that pushed our camera north, temperatures peaked at 0.6°C at 1800z Thursday, and then. perhaps merely due to the chill of the evening as the midnight sunk low before the chill of its sunrise (without touching the horizon,) temperatures slumped to 0.0°C at 0300z Friday. Then as winds started backing around and our buoy shifted south, temperatures fell steadily to -5.5°C at 1500z Friday. They perked up briefly to -3.8°C at 1800z, but then again slumped downwards, bottoming out at -6.5°C (20 degrees Fahrenheit,) and since then they have gradually risen with the rising sun and the wind veering to northeast, to 3.7°C at our last report at 1500z. I’m still hoping one of the remaining pockets of above freezing temperatures might get pushed to our camera and melt the lens clean, but I am sad to report the latest unofficial report from the “Army” data suggests temperatures have fallen back down to -5.24 C. But this is what you get, when you lollygag up north. I’ll bet our camera is real sorry it didn’t listen to me. LATEST CAMERA 0000Z VIEW —SAME OLD SAME OLD, BUT WORSE— Judging from the hue of grey, freezing fog is adding more ice to our lens. I am ashamed to confess I sometimes bother the Lord with inconsequential matters, even though I am well aware the children in Syria are more important than ice on a lens. However it is said the Lord can deal with minute details even while dealing with earthshaking importance. Therefore, if a small pocket of above freezing temperatures should pass over our camera at the exact time a brilliant beam of sunshine aims directly into the lens, and the scab of frost falls off the lens with clunk, as a single chunk, well, then you will know the prayer of an extremely selfish individual was answered, in an extremely remote part of the globe. My answered prayer will not matter a hill of beans to the children in Syria, (who the men of both sides seem to care little for.) Nor, I suppose, will it matter much to the politics of Global Warming. However the view from the camera matters to the microcosm which is me. Last year at this time I was griping to the Almighty because our camera was down towards Fram Strait, and you hardly ever got a good view because the Atlantic fog was so thick, and the lens was often misted over. Poor God. Here he motivates humanity to produce amazing views from remote places, and I sit here and gripe the views are not good enough. However the fact of the matter is I want to see more clearly, and I might as well as be honest about what I want. I want to see more clearly concerning arctic ice, and I want to see more clearly concerning Syria. What I get is pictured below: EVENING DMI MAPS These maps deserve more thought than I can devote to them, as I’ve done well in terms of getting chores done today, but have few brain cells left to do justice, when it comes to properly studying these maps. Considering the storms across the north Atlantic, they are depressing depressions, for they make a fool of me. Not one is where I expected it to be, and a couple are entities I didn’t even expect to exist, the chief of which is “Baffy,” now crossing over our camera. You would think I could at least expect a storm overhead, wouldn’t you? Look backwards in this post, and you’ll see Baffy blind-sided me. As I recall, I was talking about Thidwick taking a left turn after skirting the arctic coat of Scandinavia, and approaching the Pole. FAIL. Thidwick is sitting north of the Black Sea. I think I spoke of Thidwickson approaching the pole via a different route. FAIL. Thickwickson and Ronald Junior are absorbed together as a blob south of Siberia’s coast. “Thirdy” (Thidwick the Third,) is that small storm north of Scandinavia. Not likely to stand on the Pole. Now it just so happens that Baffy, (and the little low east, who I now dub Baffison,) are close to standing on the Pole. If I was a complete shark, I could try to shuffle cards, and come up with some dishonest statement, such as, “I said a low would stand on the pole. I was right! Bow down and worship me!” However when I am wrong I prefer to confess it. The entire Thidwick, Thidwickson, and Thirdy family disobeyed my logic, and Baffy should not even exist, let alone approach the pole, according to my magnificent logic. However, after all this ego demolishing failure, I do retain a single reason to be a fat head. According to computor models, the high pressure “Igor” should have vanished from the map several days ago. Igor not only still exists, but is associated with an expansion of sub-five-degree isotherms I dub, “The angry alligator.” “Igor’s” persistence affirms an idea I had. However, with 95% of my ideas in error, it is hard to see the 5% as a reason for puffing up with righteousness. SEPTEMBER 8 —MORNING NON-PICTURE— The “army” data has our camera’s temperature at -5.24 C, as it has drifted south to a position of 84.00 N, 1.61 E. Today it may cross 84 degrees latitude for the eighth time since April. DMI MORNING MAPS Temperatures aren’t as cold as I expected. “Baffy” is moving away from to the east of our camera, and winds shifting to the north may push ice down towards Svalbard. “Extent” graphs may show an up-tick. It will also be interesting to see if the below-zero isotherm can get down to the north coast of Svalbard for the first time this thaw-season. SEPTEMBER 8 —DAILY DATA— ACROSS 84 DEGREES YET AGAIN As “Baffy” moved away to the east, the winds grew to a stiff breeze of 18 mph, (which likely means there were gusts over 20 mph,) and our camera made good time to the south, moving from 84.056°N at 1500z yesterday to 83.962°N at 1500z today. At the same time the longitudinal motion to the west ceased, and it has moved back east, from 1.302°E at 1500z yesterday to 1.723°E at 1500z today. For our camera to move south and east one would assume a northwest wind was blowing, however the wind vane states the wind was just the opposite. Because of this I have hunch the intern putting the gizmo up put the arrow on backwards, so the pointy thing jabs in the direction the wind is going, rather in the direction the wind is from. However before anyone gets all haughty about this piffling error, I’d like to point out it is no easy thing to put such gizmos up. To get an idea, take a gander at this picture: Now I figure this picture was likely taken as the sun set, due to the melt-water pools, but if it was taken in April, when our camera was set up, then the melt-water pools are frozen rock solid (and are not covered in snow because of a drought.) The air temperature is around twenty below. The guy doing all the work, lugging the sled, is the intern, and the guy pretending to be helpful because he sees the picture being taken is the professor. But who are the two other fellows? The guy in the lead has a gun, and he is there to shoot polar bears if they try to eat the intern. The second guy is in a wet suit and has a lifeguard stick, and he is there to save the intern when he plunges into salt water that is below the freezing point of blood. All in all, I’d say the intern is under a lot of stress, the worst of which is likely the professor breathing down his neck. So if he put the pointy thing on backwards, with fingers so numb he couldn’t feel what he handled, I forgive him. Anyway, it never made sense to me that wind vanes pointed to where wind was coming from. Does it really matter where we are from, or does it matter where we are going? I think where we are going matters more, however I suppose we are always interested in what made us the way we are, and source regions do matter, which makes story-telling interesting, even though the past is dead and we can’t change it. Which brings me to the subject of the temperature of the air surrounding our camera, which is influenced by its source region. To some degree our camera’s temperature exhibited signs of diurnal variation, dropping as the midnight sun sunk close to the horizon, from -3.7°C at 1500z yesterday (mid-afternoon) to -4.7°C at 0000z (midnight.) Then, as the sun rose, temperatures rose to -2.8°C at 0900z (mid-morning.) Then “Baffy” must have circulated a pocket of colder air in, for even though the sun kept creeping higher in the sky, temperatures dropped to -5.4°C at 1500z today. I hasten to add even the warmest temperatures by our camera are below the freezing point of salt water. Even though our camera is at long last starting down towards Fram Strait, it may be a case of too-little-too-late, for between all the bergs the water to starting to get that oily look it gets before it freezes, and every splash against every berg solidifies, and the flow south is in a sense coagulating, and becoming increasingly rigid and immobile. EVENING PICTURE (THANKS FOR DROPPING BY TO SEE NOTHING) Considering the reason for this post is basically to contemplate the view seen through the eye of the “North Pole Camera,” and considering the view has basically been blinded, I am surprised people still visit, but they do, so I will continue my commentary until darkness falls. Our main hope for a better view at this point is sublimation. Air that descends from heights over 10,000 feet on Greenland’s icecap is wrung free from water to begin with, and becomes drier as it descends and warms, gaining a degree every three hundred feet, and therefore warming from around ten below to a balmy thirty degrees (Fahrenheit.) This air may be below freezing, but it is so bone dry it is a sort of cold “Chinook,” and under the massaging of such air water can go from solid to gas hardly bothering with petty details, such as turning to water. (IE: Sublimate.) Of course, sublimation uses up heat, (just as melting and evaporation do,) but I don’t care if it gets colder, as long as the ice vanishes from our camera’s lens. SEPTEMBER 8 —EVENING DMI MAPS— CUT OFF FROM CIVILIZATION According to some scriptures, we are suppose to take a break once in a while, and this map is a break from stuff going on south of the artificial boundary created by the circle of 60 degrees latitude. For example, judging from this map all that is happening in Europe is that people up in Lapland are enjoying some sunshine. There is no sign of an Atlantic storm-track south of sixty degrees, now bringing low pressure to England. There is also no sign of problems in Syria. That is off in some other world, which some call civilized, (though I have my doubts.) Here at the “North Pole camera” we are cut off from that world, and enjoy a break from that world’s concerns. Now, some meteorologists may now scowl, and (quite understandably) call me narrow minded. They may state I need to broaden my view. They may argue I must incorporate all the weather maps of the entire world into this blog. But heck, it is Sunday. This is suppose to be “A Day Of Rest.” I’ll incorporate the maps of the entire planet “Manyanna, manyanna.” For it does sound like a Monday sort of thing to do. However today is Sunday, and I’m going to give being-perfect a rest, and instead kick back and enjoy a narrow view of someone else being perfect, (namely, the Creator of the North Pole.) In our narrow microcosm of a view bounded by 60 degrees latitude, the most striking feature is the high pressure I dubbed “Igor.” Igor should be long gone, and indeed most computer models had him vanish like a balloon losing air as much as a week ago. Instead Igor stands in the ring as the heavyweight champion. No opponent has been able to knock him out. His original opponent, “Ronald,” is some vauge entity in the Bering Strait, absorbing into an Aleutian Low ducking out of the arena in a most cowardly manner. Ronald Junior and Thidwickson are flattened in east-central Siberia. Baffy and Baffison and Thirdy are all combined (in some manner I chose to neglect to analyze) north of Scandinavia. Even Hudson, who survived a transit over the heights of Greenland’s southern tip in fine fashion, has circled back and is hiding in those heights. No one dares challange the champ, Igor. Interestingly there was a solution arrived at, among the hundreds which computer models arrive at, which did suggest Igor would become powerful. The problem is that, with computers able to create so many solutions so fast, it is hard to give them much credit when one solution out of a hundred is right. Even a bumpkin layman like me can be right that often, if not oftener. However I do remember noticing that particular solution, and thinking it had merit, which tends to suggest a bumpkin has some sort of discretion a computer lacks. That’s my profound thought for the day. Moving on to banality, Igor’s influence may not last long, but will be interesting to watch. With no invasions, the arctic is bound to build cold air. Then an invasion will come, but from where? It will bump the arctic air one way or another, and there will be an arctic outbreak, but in what direction? (If the current pattern holds, invasions will come my way. Europe will get a nicer winter than last winter, but here where I am, in Eastern North America, we will get creamed.) (But patterns do change.) Lastly, in terms of the DMI temperature map, I should point out that, though the “angry alligator” formed by the minus-five-degree isotherm in the Beaufort Sea may look like he has lost his upper jaw, that is only due to foreshortening. He has turned that jaw towards you, and is smiling, and his eye is twinkling the minus-ten-degree isotherm. It is interesting to see how below freezing temperatures can’t penetrate south to Svalbard, even as they advance elsewhere. If you compare the temperatures of the above map with the first map at the start of this post, you see the Big Chill building. However, with so much open water towards Eurasia, it cannot advance far in that direction. I imagine that, as was the case last year, that open water is spending a lot of heat, and consequently getting colder. I imagine that, because that open water is colder, it depressed the DMI above-80-degree-latitude temperature graph during the summer, but because that water remains open, it will have the same effect it had last year, and will “uplift” temperatures north of 80 degrees. I imagine the DMI graph will show temperatures “above normal” for a while, (though not to the extent of last year, because the water is somewhat colder.) This does not actually represent our planet warming, but rather our warm-AMO-warmed Arctic waters losing heat to to the atmosphere. Darn. By saying that I made a prediction. Foolish thing to do, but I’ve gone and put my foot in it, and won’t get fired if I’m wrong. If I’m right then the more the DMI graph is above normal this autumn, the less heat the Arctic Ocean will have left to keep things warm next summer. Compare last year’s graph with this year’s so far, noticing how the temperatures didn’t fall last year, during the end of the summer and start of autumn, when they usually do. I think they didn’t fall because the open water was giving up its heat. Will it happen again? STAY TUNED!!! DMI 2012 DMI 2013 SEPTEMBER 9 —INSOMNIA REPORT— CHEATING ON OUR CAMERA I awoke at three AM and was so wide awake that laying in bed seemed ridiculous, so I came down to the computer to see what the view was. The same frosted lens looked back at me. “Army” data reported a temperature of -6.59 C, and that it has continued to drift south to 83.93 N, 1.58 E. But I want more than numbers. I want to see something other than this frosty look: I therefore displayed a disgraceful and disloyal example of moral failure, and went creeping off to another camera. Yes, I confess, I cheated on our camera, for across the Pole the shiny new Buoy 2013H: was winking seductively at me, with even more impressive numbers. (Temperature of -7.07 C) So I peeked. Now I feel as guilty as heck. SEPTEMBER 9 —MORNING DMI MAPS— I need to get back to bed and catch forty winks before a busy Monday starts, but over in Europe it is long past dawn, and the DMI maps are posted. The wind is still north over our camera, as “Baffy” fades into Siberia, but the wall of low pressure sealing off the arctic looks like it is breaking down. Scandinavia looks to be in a nice southerly flow, but that flow doesn’t penetrate north, so far. “Hudson” is sulking between Iceland and Greenland, much weaker than expected, and therefore without much of a southerly flow on his east side. The high pressure Igor remains king of the hill, for the time being. On the far side of the Pole all the patches of sub-five-degree isotherms represent noontime temperatures, the “heat of the day,” and I expect them to expand back into “the angry alligator” when we get a peek at the 1200z map this afternoon, for by then it will be midnight across the Pole. EVENING PICTURE —CHEATING AGAIN— The first picture shows a tiny flake of clear lens at the center, and might make me hope, but the second picture, taken only seven minutes later, shows that area already snowed over. As with a mysterious woman, there is no way of knowing what exactly is happening on the other side of the eye. I assume the lens was moist enough to have drifting snow stick to it . The third picture, from six hours later, shows I am still getting that icy look. I suppose I have been spoiled by my real wife, for when I dote on her I get a warm look in return. I’m not used to doting on a camera like I’ve doted on this one, and getting nothing but an icy glare as a reward. Not that I’m thinking of divorce. I’m just indulging in a bit of harmless voyeurism, peeking where I should perhaps not peek. (That’s how it starts.) But just check out the view from Buoy 2012L: over in the Beaufort Sea! Hubba! Hubba! Woo Woo! That averted, downcast look, so seemingly modest, just gets me! (Sure wish our camera looked that way…) Actually it is downcast because it is one of those cameras on a floating buoy that gets rammed this way and that in the sea ice. Sometimes the ice crunches in a way that makes the camera look down, and for a while this particular view has been of open water between cakes of ice. But now the cold is starting to make things look more slushy, even with temperatures warming up to -2.43 C in bright sunshine. (I hope admiring another camera gets our camera jealous, and the heat of jealousy melts the ice off the lens.) SEPTEMBER 9 —EVENING DATA— SOUTHWARD PROGRESS CONTINUES Using my highly unscientific assumption that the wind-vane by our camera has the arrow put on backwards, data shows that the winds behind “Baffy” have continued from the north, but have swung from northeast to northwest and then back to northeast in a manner that shows an impulse passed, and also made our camera’s steady progress south back east briefly before veering west again. In terms of latitude, we are southward bound, from 83.962°N at 1500z yesterday to 83.882°N at 1500z today. However our longitudinal motion shows a wobble, west from 1.723°E at 1500z yesterday to 1.610°E at 0000z, and then back east to 1.623°E at 0600z, and then further west to 1.571°E at 1500z. The fact this wobble can shows up even in a light (but steady) breeze of six to nine mph reaffirms my hunch that what shifts the ice is surface winds, and not the currents beneath. The wobble also accents a rise in temperature, from below normal to above normal, as temperatures of the first air mass dropped to a low of -6.9°C at 2100z yesterday, and despite the rising midnight sun and the approach of clouds and shifting winds and lens obscuring snow, had only risen to -5.0°C at 0300 today, but three hours later they were up to -2.3°C, and since then have risen to -1.6°C at 1500z today. I hasten to add that, while this temperature is not enough to melt the ice from the lens of our camera, it is too high to freeze the salt water our camera is bobbing upon. My assumption is that the air we are amidst is a leftover pocket of Atlantic air injected towards the pole four days ago. It comes from the north. It is not an onrush of new air from the south. SEPTEMBER 9 —DMI EVENING MAPS— WHERE IS THE ICELANDIC LOW? All the various lows we have been watching, (their names don’t really matter any more,) have coalesced into two sitting on the Arctic coast of Eurasia, as our slightly punch-drunk champion high pressure “Igor” sits over towards Canada. This, albeit briefly, is how it should be, according to theory. Canada has the Arctic Sea ice and Eurasia has the Arctic Sea open water, so Canada should have the cold air sinking as Eurasia has the warmer air rising. Between Igor’s and Eurasian low pressure, the isobars suggest that air is taking the longest possible cross-polar route, towards our camera. We might even soon see our coldest temperatures of the late summer arrive, (despite the current patch of slightly-milder Atlantic-remnant-air.) It is still summer, and the map shows Laplanders in northern Scandinavia may be enjoying the benevolence of late-summer warmth, however the isobars indicate all that heat curves around and head southeast towards China. The Pole is left alone to mind its own business. The business of the Pole is to make air polar, and the temperature map shows the “angry alligator” of sub-minus-five isotherms, with his snout turned towards you, positively leering with wicked intent. (What once was his snout is now a sepreate pocket of sub-minus-five isotherms, being wheeled around Igor and toward our camera, and if I stimulated my imagination I suppose I could see a face there too.) (Call that cold patch,”ASK,” (which is short for “Alligator Side Kick.”)) However, though this current map fits well with various theories, if there is one thing I have learned it is that theory is more often wrong than right. (For example, judging from sea-surface temperatures, this should be one heck of a season for big east coast hurricanes, yet we haven’t seen a single hurricane form so far, anywhere in the Atlantic.) One theory I am fond of involves “the Icelandic low.” It is a semi-permanent feature that often influences the weather at our camera. Yet it simply is not there, in the above maps, however computer models know it should be there, and actually had a big Icelandic low on the September 9 map, as recently two days ago. It involved the low pressure area I dubbed “Hudson,” and suggested Hudson would now be the biggest low on our map. The reality? Hudson is a blip on the isobars, vaguely seen as it drifts up the east coast of Greenland. In other words, computer models are based on theory, but reality is different. The models are so certain the Icelandic low has got to be there that they are currently blowing up a storm over Newfoundland and insisting it has to be over Iceland in a day or two, and some models make it a very big gale. For example, look at the UK Met map for tomorrow, and you’ll see this modest Newfound storm already blowing up as it approaches the southern tip of Greenland, on its way to assuming the politically correct position over Iceland. The storm needs a name, so I dub it “Newfee,” (for Newfoundland,) but I am wondering if it might ignore political correctness, and instead follow “Hudson’s” path, and send a surge up the west side of Greenland, and create a new “Baffy.” Probably not. This is likely just an example of how farmers can worry. You see, the air I have so blithely talked about, when it was over the Beaufort Sea north of Canada, has had a strange habit, over the past ten days, of winding up over my garden. True, it has warmed thirty or so degrees as it traveled south from midnight sun through tundra and spruce landscapes where summer is waning, but days are still much longer than night. And true, my garden hasn’t seen frost yet. But the batch of air now north of Canada is colder than the prior batches. And if this batch comes south, I might kiss my tomatoes good bye. And my peppers, and eggplants, and cucumbers, and even my pumpkins, long before Halloween. You see, a farmer’s worry creates a worst-case-scenario all its own, usually based on what has happened recently, which is something called “a pattern.” The recent pattern has been for air north of Canada to make a beeline for my garden in New Hampshire. My worry looks ridiculous, when you consider the fact everyone in my town is talking about the last cold snap giving way to a surge of heat. Tomorrow I may sweat with temperatures up to eighty, and Wednesday we may touch ninety. However my worry looks further than that. What should I put my faith in? The pattern? Or the models? (In actual fact I trust neither, and put my faith in something higher.) I can only conclude this: If my entries become few and far between, as the weekend arrives, I hope you will forgive me. However there are times a blog and the North Pole camera come second to green tomatoes. SEPTEMBER 10 —-MORNING PICTURE—- —STILL NO VIEW— The “Army” data from our camera reports the temperature is at -4.34 C and we are located at 83.83 N, 1.32 E. I am hoping I am not imagining a clear spot at the center of the lens, but it will take blue sky and sunshine to be sure. Heading over to the downcast camera in the Beaufort Sea, where temperatures are still a relatively mild -2.36 C, the water looks a little less shushy. Roughly 130 miles northeast it is far colder, -14.18 C, and Buoy 2013F: also has a camera. However it has been talking with our camera, for it is giving me the frosty look as well. However at least, if you can squint a little, you can vaguely see the horizon and a perhaps imagine the blur of a yellow buoy. And lastly we cross the Pole to the new buoy on the Asian side, and see the midnight sun turning to midnight twilight, and a view that is rather dull. We need bright sun to cast sharp shadows and increase the contrast. Temperature in this view is -5.33 C. MORNING DMI MAPS Cold is building as the high pressure “Igor” still stands atop Canada, creating a cross-polar flow from Bering Strait to Svalbard, and then curving down into Eurasia in the flow between Scandinavian high pressure and Siberian low pressure. That drain sucks in the Atlantic air coming up the east side of a weak “Hudson” limping across the Atlantic. It seems the Arctic will remain walled off from the Atlantic until we see what effect “Newfee,” just entering the fray at the southern tip of Greenland, has. Newfee may be strong enough to change the pattern, or may simply dance to the pattern. The only warmth invading the pole seems to show as a slight dent in the isotherms at the entrance region of the the cross polar flow, where air from the Bering Strait is coming north. In general the cold is building. This is the first map where the below freezing isotherm touches the north coast of Svalbard, and it is also appearing in the northern waters of Hudson Bay. I’m surprised there is no uptick in the extent graphs. SEPTEMBER 10 —DAILY DATA— SAILING SOUTH Our bouy continued to the south and west as the northeast wind slowly died to a calm in the final report. It moved from 83.882°N south to 83.835°N, and west from 1.571°E to 1.309°E, in the 24 hours between 1500z yesterday and 1500z today. Temperatures seemed to follow a diurnal fall and rise, sinking from -1.6°C at 1500z yesterday to -6.8°C at 0600z today, and then rising back to -3.5°C at 1500z. We got above the freezing point for salt water yesterday, but not today. SEPTEMBER 10 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS— We continue to see the high pressure “Igor” seeming to direct traffic, as a series of low circle around him. On the Arctic coast is what I suppose remains of Thidwickson, as Baffy gathers some strength on the Siberian coast. Hudson has strengthened a little in the North Atlantic, and last but definately not least, Newfee is crashing into the south tip of Greenland. Newfee is starting to create a new exit for Arctic air down the length of Baffin Bay, to go along with the exit between high pressure lingering over Scandinavia and the Siberian memory of Baffy. The cross-polar flow persists, but the source region seems less from Bering Strait and more from the north coast of Canada. The area bounded by the minus five isotherm seems larger than its been so far this late-summer. My sense is more air is going out than coming in, which I suppose means air uplifted by the storms must be decending on the Pole. To think a little more about the idea of source regions and entrances and exits, I think I’ll look at winds and temperatures, using Ryan Maue’s WeatherBELL maps. The first map of temperatures shows that it is getting colder in northeast Asia. No longer does the tundra bake under a sun that never sets, and though the days are still longer than the nights, the swarms of mosquitoes have gone to sleep, as temperatures are below freezing by dawn, (which is dawning at the time this 1800z map was drawn, six hours after the DMI map.) Therefore it not a source region of warm air, as it was only a month ago. (This map also shows it has gotten cold even during the day, in the landscape north of Hudson Bay.) (Click twice to fully enlarge.) The next Maue Map is of air pressure and winds, and shows the strongest winds are east along the coast of Siberia, without penetrating the core of the Pole. Also it shows Newfee is generating quite a ruckus around Greenland. To my mind the situation looks, for the moment, strangely self contained, without all that much air coming in or going out. However it does seem to such a large amount of Atlantic air in and up along the entire spine of Greenland. That must wring the moist oceanic air of every drop of moisture, and then drop it back down from over ten-thousand feet to sea level bone dry. But is it warmer, due to all the latent heat released as vapor becomes cloud and cloud becomes snow? Or is so much heat lost to outer space, during its trip along the ridge of Greenland with the Stratosphere low, and excellent conditions for radiational-cooling created by the drying of the air and the white ice cap, that it descends colder? Double click the map, and decide for yourself. PICTURES FROM OTHER CAMERAS, BECAUSE OURS REMAINS BLIND First the view from our poor camera. Army data states temperatures have dropped to -6.02 C. Not much to see. Next the view from the “downcast” Buoy 2012L: , ( which is also called “O-Buoy 7.”) Temperatures there have risen above the freezing point of salt water, to -1.36 C, and the water looks less slushy. Next 120 miles northeast, to Buoy 2013F: , (also called “O-Buoy 10,”) where a core of cruel cold had temperatures down around -13 C, but temperatures have risen today to a “balmy” -6.90 C. (Its lens was frosted earlier, now we have a view.) And if you like that shot, check out this one, not all that much later. A man could waste some serious time, especially as the newer cameras update more often than the old ones. I have to be careful, but really like to use my eyes and experience to judge things. I may not be good with Math, but even at age sixty I still can catch a football flung by a four-year-old at our farm-Childcare, and that takes eyes and experience. You don’t have time to tabulate data or even to use an old-fashioned slide-rule. Also I marvel a lot about how quickly four-year-olds use eyes, and eye-to-hand-coordination, and develop experience, gaining powers we take so for granted we sometimes fail to give credit where credit is due. We fail to recognize that each time we so much as glance out upon Creation we are doing all sorts of calculating, faster than any computer, and arriving at all sorts of judgments. There is ancient wisdom in the old saw, “Seeing is believing.” When we use our eyes and experience we become educated voters. And there is also wisdom in the fact the vote of a farmer has as much weight as the vote of a brilliant scientist with an IQ of 162, or a billionaire. For our last view we cross the pole to Buoy 2013H:, (also called “O-buoy 9,”) situated over towards Asia at, 80.54 N, 155.38 E, and reporting a relatively mild -1.99 C. (That may not be below the freezing point of saltier parts of the ocean, but so much ice, which is mostly fresh water, melts during the summer that the freezing point of the salt water is increased to around 1.7 C. It is still too salty to drink, and early arctic explorers would melt the ice and drink that, but sometimes you may read of “a lens of fresh water” atop the arctic ocean. What they mean to say is, “a lens of relatively fresh water.”) They likely place these cameras on ice that looks sturdy and like it will last, so perhaps you get a bit of a false impression that all the ice in this area is sturdy and looks like it will last. However, if you look at ice-concentration maps, you can get a different false impression, for you may see this longitude and latitude is an area of 60% coverage. Of course this gives you the idea we should be seeing a view of 60% icebergs and 40% open water, (like the view from Buoy 2012L: ,) In debates with Alarmists they have held up ice-coverage maps as a sort of holy gospel, and insisted this area is 40% open water, because “the map says so.” I tell them to look at what the camera sees, and use their own eyes. I’m enjoying looking at these pictures, because even though we just missed our first frost a couple nights ago, a blast of summer has come rushing even as far north as these hills of New Hampshire, and after thunder and heavy showers this morning it has abruptly gotten warm and muggy. They say we might hit ninety tomorrow. When it gets this hot, looking at a view of ice floating in the water is wonderfully refreshing. However, even though I began mostly liking the refreshment of the view, my knowlege has increased until I’m thinking in utterly different terms. I’m thinking this blast of hot air is heading up north, and that it will be like gasoline onto a fire, and explode some huge storm far north of here, in some place that, back when I was innocent, I neither knew nor cared about. Those carefree days are gone, for now my brow is furrowed by deep and pressing concerns. For example, what should I name the storm? (Maybe my concerns are not so deep and pressing after all. And maybe the “North Pole Camera” is a still a place I can flee to to when I don’t want to think of stuff like Syria.) SEPTEMBER 11 — STILL NO PICTURE, BUT CHANGES BREWING— “Army” data shows our camera is at a cold -6.11 C. Southward motion has halted at 83.83 N. Wind changing? Pressures have fallen at camera from above 1000 mb to 989.86 mb. I need to check the DMI maps, because I sure can’t learn much looking at this: SEPTEMBER 11 —MORNING DMI MAPS— BAFFIN BAY BATTERING Too bad I have to work today, as something interesting is going on. The ridge of the high pressure “Igor” has swung east of our camera, so winds are likely light from the southeast. “Hudson” has moved up to the southeast of Svalbard, but hasn’t quite pushed the freezing-point isotherm from their north coast. But Newfee is the big news. He is sort of splitting into two, with part moving up Baffin Bay and in a sense creating a new “Baffy,” while part tries to kick around the south tip of Greenland and form a new Icelandic Low. For what its worth, models show the Icelandic low forming north of Iceland tomorrow, and then moving north up the east coast of Greenland into the weekend. I wonder if our camera will get pushed back north? Gotta Go. SEPTEMBER 11 —DAILY DATA— CAMERA DRIFTING NORTH AGAIN With a ridge of high pressure extending out from the high pressure area “Igor” passing over, winds have been very light. We are in the calm between two storms, the departing “Hudson” and the advancing “Newfee.” Only two of the past nine reports listed any wind at all, (data is taken every three hours.) The 0000z and 0600z reports had a light air of only 1 meter per second, (roughly 2 mph,) and all the rest reported calm. Not that there might not have been puffs of wind now and again, as the temperature did slowly fall, from -3.5°C at 1500z yesterday, and failing to rise as the sun did, continuing down to -5.8°C at 1200z, and only then rising a bit to -4.5°C at 1500z. However it was the motion of our camera that seemed most interesting to me. I actually expected the ice to continue south even after the wind died, imagining that the vast weight off all the ice would have momentum, and continue to coast on like a boat after you cut the engine. Instead it seemed to pause, and then started north, from 83.835°N at 1500z yesterday to 83.855°N at 1500z today. Meanwhile the longitudinal drift to the west has continued, from 1.309°E yesterday to 0.938°E today. This is the second time we’ve seen the camera drift northwest when the wind dies. It suggests that when there is no wind to push the ice about, the current beneath is to the northwest, at this time and in this season. Meanwhile here in the hills of New Hampshire it is over ninety. Nice to think about ice. SEPTEMBER 12 — AFTERNOON DMI MAPS— THE GREENLAND DOUGHNUT Something rather neat is occurring, as the low I called “Newfee” smashes into Greenland, splitting into a west-coast Baffy, (who I will call “Baffles,” to distinguish it from the earlier Baffy,) and an east coast shred of the original Newfee, (who I will call “Newfee,”) What is neat is that, as Newfee splatted into Greenland like a big bug into a small windshield, it has in effect surrounded Greenland with low pressure. (It isn’t so obvious in this map as it is in Ryan Maue’s 1800z WeatherBELL map, from six hours later.) If you trace the 1000mb isobar, it draws an oval right around Greenland, in a wiggly sort of way. Inside that isobar the winds are all going counter-clockwise, and in some places roaring. However as you move to the middle of Greenland the pressures stop falling and start rising, until you come upon the 1000mb isobar again. Those winds go clockwise. In essence you have a strange doughnut, with clockwise winds rotating within a counterclockwise periphery. If that isn’t cool enough, you have the high pressure I dubbed “Igor” rotating clockwise to the north. Igors clockwise motion fits nicely with the Greenland counterclockwise periphery, like meshing gears, but also like a figure-eight. There is something very self-contained about these systems. It must be that they are independent of the Hadley Cells of the tropics, and the Ferrel Cells of the subtropics. They have something to do with the lonesome Polar Cells nobody cares much for or studies much, because who lives in northern Greenland and is going to pay a fellow to write the weather reports? In any case, the Ferrel Cell storms seem to be moving due east across the Atlantic to Scotland and south of Scandinavia. Perhaps some of Newfee’s energy is being squished away into that more southerly route. However it is the energy going north that fascinates me. Although I originally only visited the North Pole Camera to watch ice melt, I seem to be getting drawn deeper and deeper into a most interesting quicksand. The “Polar Cell” involves all sorts of puzzling doughnuts and figure eights, blocking highs and cross-polar-flows, which only matter to people down south when Polar Cells match up with Ferrel Cells which on rare occations match up with Hadley Cells. It’s then you have snow in Cuba, and people briefly think maybe they should pay more attention to the north. However it doesn’t snow in Cuba often enough, and how soon they forget. I’d do the work myself, but I have other worldly responsibilities. I’m in enough trouble with my wife, even studying the little bit I have time for. She thinks I should study her more than the North Pole, (and she does have a point, as she is far warmer.) However if by some fluke I won a quarter billion on a lottery, I’d spend a couple million on paying young scientists to study the stuff I have no time for. I am fairly certain Greenland is a huge player in the polar scene. As I watch I see all sorts of intriguing stuff happen, however in isn’t odd; it is perfectly natural; it only seems odd because it is imperfectly understood. The minus-five-isotherm is embracing a lot of the pole now, and there is even a dot of minus ten right beside the Pole, at eleven o’clock. If Newfee manages to bring a flood of above-freezing air as far north as our camera, it will likely be the last above-freezing spell we see until the other side of next winter. OUR BLINDED CAMERA SEEING STARS I thought this was a cute picture from our camera, of the ice on its lens. Brilliant and blinding sunshine must be shining straight into the lens, finding pin holes in the ice to shine through. This gives me hope. Even pinholes can heat the lens, and any heat in the arctic speeds the process of sublimation. The pinholes may get larger, and allow so much heat to pool inside the lens that the glass can get warm enough for sublimation to give way to evaporation. Have hope. We may get a few more good views from our faithful camera, before the darkness descends. SEPTEMBER 12 —MORNING PICTURE— GLIMPSE OF HORIZON For the first time since September 4 we can actually see some of the view, as the ice is gone from the lens in the upper left. It looks like the lead is open. “Army” data states temperature is -6.28 C, and the position is 83.84 N, 1.00 E. This is “midnight” for the camera, and you can see the sun has actually set, and the sky is bright twilight. The sun set for the first time in many months on Monday, and already the nights have lengthened to five and a quarter hours long. That have to lengthen quickly to be twelve hours long at the equinox, which is the only time days and nights are the same length over the entire planet. Using my handy calculator, today at our camera sunrise is at 2:50 AM, and sunset is at 9:15 PM, and by tomorrow sunrise will be at 2:50 AM, and sunset at 8:53. A long, cold night is coming. SEPTEMBER 12 —MORNING DMI MAPS— Not much change overnight, except the pressure is less low on the Baffin Bay side of Greenland, and deeper on the Atlantic side. “Newfee” is modeled to become an Icelandic gale and head up towards our camera. “Hudson”, moving east away from Svalbard, seems to have pushed the freezing temperatures away from Svalbard’s north coast. It is interesting how we are now seeing the minus-five isotherm pushed off the pole when Atlantic air bulges north, rather than the freezing isotherm. Temperatures have generally dripped five degrees in ten days. NOONTIME PICTURE —LENS PARTLY CLEAR— ALSO GLIMPSE OF BEAR Did the word “bear” get your attention? Actually to see that, you have to go to the Beufort Sea camera, Buoy 2012L: , and click onto the film option to watch ice melt for the past year. I was doing that, out of desperation because I’m addicted, and can’t get my fix of watching ice melt from our camera any more. The film is a good way to to relax, if you have eight minutes to blow, but if you are in a hurry slide forward to the 5:15 point in the film, and you abruptly see the view blotted out by white fur. (Maybe it was a bear that tilted camera in the first place, and gave that camera its downcast look.) The specific frame is O-Buoy 7 2013-08-04 04:41:14 (I couldn’t figure out how to copy a single frame from the video, or I would have stolen it.) Another interesting thing you see in that film is that the ice right by the camera didn’t break up until around a week ago, during a time it was actually refreezing. It suggests what smashes up the ice isn’t so much warm temperatures as it is mechanical forces of crushing and dispersing. Here’s a link to the film: http://obuoy.datatransport.org/monitor#buoy7/movie UPDATE: The blogger “Max™” sent me a copy of the above-mentioned frame from a polar camera, showing the white fur. Thanks, Max. EVENING PICTURE —WE ARE BACK IN BUSINESS!—(CLICK TO ENLARGE) The main change that leap out at me are the snow at the base of the snow stake, and hiding the grey hue of the frozen melt-water pools in the distance. The pressure ridges seem in the same places, though they seem slightly lower. Remember they have roots; nine tenths of their bulk is under water. I’ve been wondering if those roots wash away, and with less to hold the tops up, the tops sag slightly. The lead in the distance seems open, as it seems to be when the ice is moving north, but the ice at the far side is visible. Now the question is, will the lens stay clean, or immediately get misted by the next storm? SEPTEMBER 12 —DAILY DATA— STILL HEADING NORTH The camera has continued north, from 83.855°N at 1500z yesterday to 83.928°N at 1500z today. It’s also continued west nearly back to the meridian, from 0.938°E to 0.071°E. It remains farther north than it was on August 13. Temperatures rose from -4.5°C at 1500z yesterday to -2.4°C at 0600z, then fell to -3.7°C at 0900z (which raises my eyebrows,) stayed low at -3.5°C at 1200z, but perked up to -1.9°C at 1500z. I’d say some Atlantic air is coming north. SEPTEMBER 12 —EVENING DMI MAPS— Icelandic low “Newfee” now apparent. Hope to find time to study more later. SEPTEMBER 13 —MORNING PICTURE— DULL AND GREY You don’t get sharp contrast in grey weather without shadows, but I’m not complaining. Any picture is better than no picture at all. “Army” data shows the camera is at 83.94 N, 0.52 W, which suggests a slow drift to the northwest has continued. I’m not sure the camera can cross 84 degrees latitude yet again, and I’m expecting the winds to shift to the northeast with the approach of the storm “Newfee” from the south. Temperatures are hovering just below the freezing point of arctic salt water at -1.91 C. Neither a temperature of thawing nor refreeze, however the bergs can melt from beneath, especially as I have a hunch the current beneath the ice is a wrong-way anomaly, drifting up from the south. A BUOY BITES THE DUST? The “Army” data no longer shows “Bouy 2012B,” which was located just off the the coast, on an ice shelf just south of the northeast tip of Greenland. The buoy never moved, which suggested to me it was attached to an ice shelf frozen to the coast. My hunch is that, because the ice our camera is on never came south to fill Fram Strait, the shelf was exposed to more erosion from the North Atlantic, and crumbled away. The temperatures were around -1.7 yesterday, and Cryosphere Today was mapping a hole in the ice in that general area. VERY COLD ACROSS THE NORTH POLE FROM OUR CAMERA The “army” data shows temperatures have crashed to -9.88 C at the new Buoy 2013H: located at the asian side of the Beuafort Sea, across the pole from our camera. The above Cryosphere Today map shows that area as 60% ice, but I imagine it is refreezing fairly rapidly at these temperatures. The picture from that buoy is lovely this morning: Sunset is occurring at 80 degrees latitude, on the far side of the pole. If you go to the site there is an option under the picture which allows you to to see a film of all the pictures, (and these newer cameras take pictures fairly often.) The film is only 40 seconds long, as the camera is so new. Mostly it is grey and gloomy, but there is a wonderful scene of the sun just dipping below the horizon 33 seconds into the film. http://obuoy.datatransport.org/monitor#buoy9/movie SEPTEMBER 13 —MORNING DMI MAPS— SEPTEMBER 13 —DAILY DATA— BACK TO 84 DEGREES NORTH, YET AGAIN Winds from the southeast have picked up to over 20 mph today at our camera, and it has been driven north and west. It has moved from 83.928°N at 1500z yesterday to exactly 84.000°N at 1500z today, (so I can’t yet say it has “crossed” 84 degrees.) However it has crossed the meridian yet again, moving from 0.071°E to 1.666°W in the same time period. (Hmm. “666” is the devil’s number, and it is Friday the thirteenth. Wonder what the likelihood of our camera being stabbed by a deranged narwhal is?) I expected milder air to come up with the oncoming storm “Newfee,” but have been surprised. There was a quick drop from -1.9°C to -1.1°C between 1500z and 1800z yesterday, but then they slowly fell back to -1.9°C at 0300z today. I suppose you could explain that away as being due to diurnal variation, as temperatures rose to -1.6°C at 0600z, but I can’t explain why they’d then again fall to -2.4°C at 1500z. It is a sheer guess on my part to suggest maybe the high pressure Igor has swung cold air all the way around the pole. EVENING PICTURES Two pictures from noon — five minutes apart. Two pictures from evening — seven minutes apart. EVENING DMI MAPS
Finally it is Friday! I really haven’t had time this week to
goof off study the ice melt to my heart’s content in manner befitting a true goof ball Climate Scientist. My imagination is all used up by other matters, I can hardly remember what I have named various lows and highs, and I see isotherms as mere isotherms, rather than as “alligators” and “elephants.” But that is just how it goes, when you work a real job. I’m proud to say that I haven’t neglected my worldly responsibilities too badly, and made it through another week. Now it is time to play, but I can see I have some catching-up to do. “Time and tide wait for no man,” and neither do weather maps. A true meteorologist must have to be on his toes at all times, for things can change amazingly if you so much as get eight hours of sleep. (Those fellows must drive their wives nuts during vacations.) The surprise of the past week has been the refusal of the high pressure I dubbed “Igor” to quit the Pole. Perhaps part of him did drain down into Canada, but he grew an apendage back over the Pole, and the appendage grew into a new and different high pressure, and some could argue it deserves a new name. However I’m sticking with “Igor,” because that movement towards Canada was just the move of a highly trained professional boxer, a feint. It sure did fool all the computer models! However if you look back through all the DMI maps you will see general area of high pressure has never fully abdicated the Pole, despite facing some mighty tough foes who landed some mighty big blows. Now the surprising foe of Igor isn’t the low that reformed after smashing to bits against southern Greenland, that I call “Newfee.” Instead it is that innocuous low just to the Asian side of the Pole. Where the heck did that come from? It is denting both isobars and isotherms, and Igor’s arm facing Newfee is turned into a noodle. It’s a surprise attack from the side, and I’ll dub it “Azo,” for it is a dim reflection of air from the Azores that delighted parts of Scandivavia last week. Most of that air got shunted southeast through Siberia and on to China, but a hint, a faint memory, got swirled back and caught up in the flow-from-the-east ahead of Newfee, and now exists as an entity in its own right. However it largely exists as uplift. Air even remotely associated with the Azores is like a hot air balloon as the chill builds over the Pole. It is somewhat astonishing to watch the Big Chill build. Not so long ago the zero-degree isotherm had a hard time holding even half the Arctic Sea, and the minus-five-degree isotherm was absent. Now the “angry alligator” of minus-five-degree isotherms is not over by Canada, bit has a big snout right over the Pole, with a menacing (and slightly cross-eyed) glare made of minus-ten-degree isotherms to the Bering Strait side of the Pole. (Further toward the Bering Strait, at Buoy 2013H: , the “Army” data reports it’s now -13.29 C, but perhaps temperatures have dropped there since the DMI map was prepared.) When temperatures get that cold, the refreeze has started. Ice and water could care less what “extent graphs” say. They respond to “current conditions.” Right now in places the freeze is winning, while in others advances which the freeze briefly made turn to brief retreats. However over all the cooling is triumphing, for even where the freeze retreats the water is cooling. (The sun is getting so low that open water reflects more incoming radiation than ice does, so even when the water wins, it loses. If it drives the ice away, it cools more quickly.) You can see this at “Army” buoy Buoy 2012L: This the buoy with the “downcast look,” with its camera aimed down at seawater that swirls with chunks of ice and masses of slush that look like they are freezing and then thawing, freezing and then thawing, at times clotted and at times ice-free. As I watched the film available at that site I could see that when the ice was forming it made a skim of ice that was later bashed and crushed and became the slush in later scenes. There is more and more of this slush amidst older and whiter chips of ice, making it harder and harder for wind to push it all aside and expose open water. Just recently the temperatures have been below the freezing point of salt water, but rising in the afternoon sunshine from around -6 to around -4. The picture filled with ice and slush next to the solid ice the camera is on, but the wind shifted and the ice nudged away, giving us a view of older ice, new ice, and water.
However an hour later it looked like this:
This is happening all over, so that areas which from space looked like white chips on blue water during the summer now look like this:
If new ice is forming between old ice, you may ask yourself why the “extent graph” shows no increase, and instead looks like this:
The reason that graph doesn’t tick up is because it measures 15% or more ice coverage. It doesn’t give a hoot if the water between ice freezes, and 15% coverage becomes, by stages and degrees, 100% coverage. It makes no distinction between 15% coverage and 100% coverage, for what it measures is in essence the outer edge of the ice pack, where the bergs are scattered but not absent. During a year like this one, where our camera heads north rather than south, the outer edge of the ice is not going to spread out and therefore increase the “extent” of 15% coverage. Rather the ice is going to be pushed against the other ice, and decrease the “extent” of 15% coverage. In terms of area and volume, things may be the same, but extent will show a decrease. If the winds start to howl and really push that ice together with other ice, the extent may even continue to decrease even as cold temperature start to freeze the mass of jostling sea ice into a single, coagulated mass of 100% ice. I think that is what we are seeing this year. The irony is that having less “extent” means you have open sea water which loses heat more effectively than water covered by ice, as I have explained earlier, An even greater irony is that some do not actually watch ice melt as I do, but rather depend on “extent” graphs to tell them if there is more ice or less ice. (Some seem very pleased if there is less ice, and some seem very pleased if there is more.) I hate to tell them this, but this year is making extent graphs look a little bit…(dare I say it?)…stupid. Let me state things in plain and simple terms: I may not be a Climate Scientist, but I have watched ice melt. I’ve done so for years. And this year it isn’t. Not like it used to do. In fact it is piling up.
SEPTEMBER 14 —MORNING PICTURES— WHERE ARE YOU, SUNSHINE?
There was no midnight picture from our camera. Too dark to see, with the clouds? The morning pictures are grey, and show the snow blown away from the base of the buoy and snow stake by the recent strong winds. I wonder if a patch of clearing has been swept in, for the most recent “army” temperatures, (more recent than these pictures,) show a drop to -6.60 C, and clearing often makes it colder, especially now that the sun is low. The position is given as 84.00 N, 2.57 W, which suggests our camera is headed due west, though I hope the daily data shows it reached 84.001, so we can say it crossed 84 degrees latitude yet again. The lead in the distance seems wide open; I can’t see the ice on the far side in this murky weather. (The two pictures below are taken ten minutes apart.)
SEPTEMBER 14 —MORNING DMI MAPS—
The low pressure “Newfee” is weaker and has stalled, on the east coast of Greenland, while the high pressure “Igor” is stronger. The weak feature “Azo” still is drawing a tongue of slightly warmer air towards the pole, faintly seen in the temperature map as lighter green just-below-freezing hues, and a dent in the minus-five isotherm. New features are a new low entering Hudson Bay, (“Hudtwo,”) and a weak low that crawled out of the Bering Strait along the north coast of Alaska. (“Coaster.”) Coaster’s south winds seem to be warming the western coast of the Canadian Arctic, while the coast further east are chilled by Hudtwo’s north winds. Where these two winds clash I imagine pressures will fall, drawing Coaster east. The temperature map seems to show the very cold readings from new Buoy 2013H: on the far side of the pole. “Army” data shows it is -13.29 C, and the small circle of minus-ten isotherms on that DMI map seems to be from that buoy, located at 80.68 N, 154.73 E. That dot forms the eye of “the angry alligator,” which to me now looks more like “the indignant duck.” Under its chin you can see an interesting slot of below-freezing-but above-minus-five temperatures Igor has sucked over the top of Greenland and along the coast of Queen Elizabeth Islands. The midnight sun dips below the horizon now even as far north as eighty degrees, and perhaps should now be called the “midnight twilight.” Here a picture of midnight twilight, from Bouy 2013H on the far side of the pole. I hope our camera gets a few pictures like this, before the darkness descends. (click to enlarge)
FUN WITH MAPS. WHY SHOULD INITIAL RUN DATA VARY?
I was just trying to get a grasp of the conditions at the above bouy in the above picture, and chose to look at the 0Z initial runs of the GFS and the Canadian models. Why did I look at two? Because the GFS didn’t seem cold enough at the above picture, and I was curious as to whether the Canadians had a better comprehension of cold.
The maps drove me a little crazy at first, as one has Greenland at the top and the other has Greenland at the bottom, however the Canadian map did make it look colder in the area of the above picture, and I seemed to notice other differences in the two maps as well. That puzzles me.
After all, this is the initial data, the numbers they put in to the computer model before they hit the “on” switch, (to get an answer which is increasingly wrong, and often complete nonsense, after as few as five days.) Shouldn’t this data be the same from model to model? Or do they have different thermometers and hoard data, refusing to share it? Or is it something else? Anyway, here are the two maps, by Dr. Ryan Maue from the WeatherBELL “professional” site (7 day free-trial available.) (Click to enlarge.)
SEPTEMBER 14 —DAILY DATA— ACROSS 84 DEGREES TWICE
At 1500z yesterday our camera had touched 84.000°N. but not officially crossed it. At 0000z today it officially reached 84.012°N, which means it had crossed 84 degrees for the ninth time, and then the strong winds shifted from east-southeast to east-northeast, and the bouy drifted back south and crossed 84 degrees for the tenth time, reaching 83.963°N at 1500z.
The stiff breeze blew between 15 and 23 miles per hour, (likely with higher gusts,) and the westward movement was pronounced, from 1.666°W at 1500z yesterday to 3.914°W at 1500z today. Just think of it! Yesterday we were in a whole different hemisphere! The meridian is now far behind.
So far no milder air has come up from the Atlantic Gale “Newfee” to the south, and instead temperatures dropped from -2.4°C at 1500z to -6.7°C at 2100z yesterday, and stayed cold all night, rising slightly to -6.1°C at 0600z and then rising more with the dim daylight to -4.0°C at 1500z. If it fails to fall as the sun goes down we can assume some Atlantic air is seeping up, but with the wind backing to the northeast we might get colder air from “Igor,” or perhaps some of that stripe of slightly milder air from “Azo.” Time will tell.
We might not know the future, but we do know the present, and the wind has never died down all day. They seemed far more benign in the summer, seldom getting over 10 mph, but today they never got below 15 mph even when they slackened a bit, and by 1500z they were back to a stead blow of 22 mph. Think of that wind blowing across the open leads between the jostling bergs. That’s a wind strong enough to raise whitecaps, so the water is definitely being cooled wherever it is exposed. (Don’t ask me to figure out the exchanges of latent heat and available heat, for even at six below evaporation occurs, which uses up heat, even as some freezing occurs, which releases heat. I’ll stick with: “The water gets colder.”)
However the real surprise to me is that we are still up around 84 degrees latitude. I’ve honestly been expecting us to start a slide south, and we still may, but I think the length of our stall deserves a headline all its own, in red:
ON AUGUST 13 AT 1500Z—83.780°N — ON SEPT. 13 AT 1500Z — 84.000°N
It looks pretty gloomy for lunchtime. Our camera needs a flash attachment. We also need sound effects. There should be the sound of wind blowing, and perhaps the ice groaning every now and again.
The wind at 1200z is steady at 20 mph, and the temperature is 23 Fahrenheit. (For you Europeans, that’s a wind of 10 m/second, and a temperature of -5 Celsius.) Either side of the Atlantic, it makes for a wind chill few would want to stand about in. All the snow is blown away, and we see the polished ice of the bottom of “Lake North Pole.” Only a month and a half ago that lake lay shining in the sun, nearly deep enough to float our buoy. Sing with me, “Where has all the water gone? Long time passes. Where has all the water gone? Long time ago.” Actually, you can see it off in that lead in the distance. I think I faintly see ice on the far side, but could be imagining it.
SEPTEMBER 14 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—
I don’t have time to write. Excuse? A sick rabbit at our Farm-Childcare. (Add “rabbit-doctor” to the string of peculiar jobs I’ve done in my life.) Main feature on map is that Newfee is weaker and a secondary low, “Newfeeson,” is forecast to blow up over Iceland and move more towards Scotland than the Pole. Gloomy Sunday shaping up, across the pond.
1800z and 0000z pictures —The Fog Of War— (Between Atlantic and Arctic)
Temperatures are up to -2.31 C
SEPTEMBER 15 —DMI MORNING MAPS— NEW STORM BREWING
While the storm “Newfeeson” over Iceland confronts Scottish golfers with hooks turning into slices, and English schoolchildren with a dark and gloomy Monday-reminder that summer’s ending, its main concern to us Devotees Of the Camera (DOC’s?) is its surge of Atlantic moisture, and also the fact it robs Newfee of energy. Newfee is weakening, but has backed the high pressure Igor off, and put a sizable dent in the coldest air over the Pole. What is left of Newfee is expected to wobble away north of Svalbard, and may get a bit of a second wind north of Franz Josef Land, becoming the closest we’ve seen to a polar storm in a while, by Tuesday, and then fading down into Siberia by Wednesday. (After that I have no trust in the models, though I do like to watch the peculiar solutions they come up with: Last week one had a storm developing north of Greenland and traveling the arctic coast backwards, all the way to Alaska, late this week. No sign of that solution any more, of course.)
By Tuesday building high pressure over Greenland could be blowing our camera north again, so if we are going to make any headway south to Fram Strait we’d better do it now. While the zero-degree isotherm has been pushed well north of Svalbard, and the minus-five isotherm has been dented away from the pole, the minus-ten isotherm is becoming more common. There is a large pool lurking, nestled up against the coast of the Queen Elizabeth Islands, and the spot around out across-the-pole camera is larger.
The view at the across-the-pole camera is better, as they are under Igor’s high pressure as our camera endures Newfee’s fog. The sun is setting on that side as it rises on our camera’s side. Here is their view of sunset:
SEPTEMBER 15 —MORNING PICTURES— SNOWING AND BLOWING
Look at the drifts at the base of the buoy and the snow-stake, and the way the wind leaves “shadows” of snowless ice downwind. Specks of snow are on the lens, not in the air. Hopefully the lens won’t get covered. The pictures are ten minutes apart, and the snow on the lens seems a little less on the second picture. Keep your fingers crossed. “Army” data has temperature up to -1.42 C, and the position at 83.86 N, 4.67 W.
SEPTEMBER 15 —DAILY DATA— A “WARM” SPELL
Seeming it pays to sail south. Temperatures warmed from -4.0°C at 1500z to -0.9°C at 0600z. However the strong winds have faded away to light airs, and perhaps that is letting the cold carch up. (I’m joking.) In any case, temperatures dipped back down despite the daylight, to -1.8°C by 1500z. This is still above normal for this far north, this late in the summer.
The buoy has headed steadily south 83.963°N at 1500z yesterday to 83.862°N at 1500z today, though the speed of this drift has slowed as the wind has dropped. The drift west has continued, from 3.914°W at 1500z yesterday to 4.681°W at 0600z, and then there was an inexplicable jog back east to 4.665°W at 1200z, followed by a slight motion back west to 4.673°W at 1500z. No wind shift explains this jog back east, though it did occur as the wind dropped. Perhaps the wind hadn’t yet dropped someplace relatively near by, and a different mass of ice rammed our mass of ice with greater momentum. Or cut in line, squeezing in front of ours. (Can ice cut in line?) Who knows? Someday we will have a computer program that uses satellite glimpses to give every berg a number, and charts them individually. Then we will be mystified in a far more precise and detailed manner.
SEPTEMBER 15 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS— BIG STORMS, BUT NOT HERE
The big boy on the block is Newfeeson, a 962 mb gale who has the good sense not to take on Igor, and instead is heading east to take on Great Briton. Looks like a miserable Monday for those folk. Southern Norway could be worse. Iceland has already had steady winds over 55 knots (63mph) on its southeast coast, so nearly anything tomorrow will be an improvement.
However that is all far away from our camera, where the wind has died and Newfee has weakened to a 1008 mb hint of low pressure just northwest of Svalbard. Just northeast of Svalbard pressures are a bit lower, 1006 mb, and, if you want to push your luck, you could call that a secondary low. I’ll just call it a blurb and part of Newfee, and say he is “reforming” or “translating” east, for I’m not in the mood to name new storms.
It almost is as if Newfee coming north was like a wave coming up a beach, and now the undertow has dragged a lot of that energy back down the beach into Newfeeson. (If I was going to name the 1008 mb and 1006 mb lows I suppose I’d name them “Flotsam” and “Jetsam.”) As weak as they are, they represent mild air, and there could be decent uplift, especially with such cold air to the north to slide underneath. They may form a small storm.
The build-up of cold under Igor is impressive. The two areas of minus 10 isotherms are much larger than this morning’s maps. It shows you sunshine has little effect, when the sun is so low, and clear skies can allow radiational cooling in broad daylight. Because actual night, or at least twilight, has now progressed north of 80 degrees latitude, for at least a few hours a day, the times of extreme radiational cooling are increasing, on white sea-ice under clear skies.
The little storm “Coaster” has rippled along the arctic coast of Alaska to the Canadian coast. Ahead of it south winds bring a bit of mercy, but behind it the north winds draw Igor’s cold south, hastening the freeze-up of open parts of the Beaufort Sea.
“Hudtwo” has crossed Hudson Bay, and is at the very edge of our map. He is of interest to me because his west side is pumping an outbreak of arctic air down my way. I wish the arctic would pay attention to freezing the Arctic Sea more, and pay less attention to trying to freeze my garden.
Notice how different the world looks when you use the map I use. “Hudtwo” is the big low at the very top right of the map. (click to enlarge) (Also note the rare event of Mexico getting hit by a tropical storm from the Pacific side and a Hurricane from the Atlantic side, at the same time.) (Mexico will be in the news this week.)
EVENING PICTURE —FOG LIFTING—
There was no lunchtime picture today. I guess they were out to lunch. If you compare this picture with the picture from noontime yesterday, I think you will notice that the black line made by the lead in the distance is ever so slightly thinner. (I get the two pictures on adjoining tabs, and then click rapidly back and forth between the two.) I even think I can see the ice of the other side, though that may just be old eyes and a young imagination. In any case, I have the sense the lead is narrowing. (Sounds like a sporting event.) (Click to enlarge.)
I figured I’d use a catchy headline to get your attention. (It’s sort of like standing on a table at a restaurant.) In actual fact, with warm air invading from the warm side of the pole, the melt may continue on that side, as the DMI graph of temperatures-north-of-80-degrees-latitude shows an uptick.
However it is an uptick from around minus five to minus four, below the melting point of salt water. Furthermore a lot of very cold air has been nudged south of 80 degrees, towards Canada and Alaska, hastening the freeze-up of the Beaufort Sea, which may explain the uptick in the extent graph. (Even if this is not the bottom, we are very close now.) (Click to enlarge.)
SEPTEMBER 16 —MORNING PICTURES— FREEZING FOG
0600z Picture “Army” data has our camera’s temperature at -2.41 C. Location is 83.81 N, 4.66 W. Frost increasing on lens indicates there is some moisture in the air, though the fog is light. SEPTEMBER 16 —DMI MORNING MAPS— CROSS POLAR FLOW
We have the Siberia-to-Canada cross polar flow we saw earlier in the summer, and it is interesting to see how much colder the air is. A month ago it would include above-freezing air, while now it largely involves sub-freezing and minus-five and even minus ten isotherms. Back then Siberia was still a summer-baked landscape with swarms of mosquitoes, but now it is freezing up, and satellite views shows parts are snow-dusted. It is becoming a completely different “source region.” Baffee is redeveloping northwest of Svalbard, but is cut off from much Atlantic air due to Baffeeson hogging it all. It is swirling cold and very cold air. The high pressure Igor looks like he is fed up and going home to East Siberia, where he started weeks ago, however is still strong and cold. Hudtwo has entered Baffin Bay, but looks like he will get sucked into the circulation of Baffeeson and rip straight across the Atlantic to England, and not come north to bother us. Coaster is an interesting little feature on the Canadian arctic coast, but is running out of warm air to fuel it. It is sucking very cold air in behind and very cold air lies ahead. It likely will fade away into an impulse. It will be interesting to see how the arctic handles Baffee’s injection of moisture. Even under Igor (where you see the minus ten isotherms swirling) at Buoy 2013H: across the pole, with temperatures a toasty -13.35 C, where there was beautiful sunshine for days, there now is fog.
I have a very busy week ahead. Lots of maintenance to do at the farm-Childcare before winter sets in. I’ll try to post maps, but commentary may dwindle.
QUICK LUNCHTIME PEEK AT CAMERA VIEW
1200Z POSITION: 83.758°N 4.500°W , which means we have finally drifted farther south than we were on August 13. Wind has picked up, roughly north at 10mph. Temperature has dropped to -3.2°C. The buoy has started drifting back east. Hmm.
SEPTEMBER 16 —EVENING DMI MAPS—
Have a meeting to go to. Good discussion over at http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/09/16/sea-ice-news-volume-4-number-5-no-ice-free-arctic-this-year-it-appears-that-arctic-sea-ice-has-turned-the-corner/#more-93889 Hope to comment further after meeting.
SEPTEMBER 17 —MORNING PICTURES— BRRRR
As is too often the case, the meeting last night went on and on and on. Hopefully I’ll have time to catch up during a mid-morning coffee break. Current “Army” data has temperatures down to -7.34 C. The camera has drifted down to a position of 83.70 N, 4.33 W. Here are the last three pictures from our camera, as the temperatures drop and frost grows on the lens.
SEPTEMBER 17 —DMI MORNING MAPS—
SEPTEMBER 17 —DAILY DATA— TEMPERATURES CRASH AND BOUNCE
Temperatures fell slowly from -1.2°C at 1800z on Sunday to -3.5°C at 1800z yesterday, and then plunged to -10.8°C at 0300z today, whereupon the wind died to a calm, and temperatures have risen with the sun to -6.7°C at 1500z today.
The buoy progressed steadily south until the wind died, from 83.839°N at 1500z Sunday to 83.710°N at 0000z. Interestingly it continued south after the wind died, but more and more slowly, as if carried by momentum but slowing to a halt at 83.702°N at 0900z. Since then it has drifted back north, to 83.708°N at 1500z.
Longitudinal motion continued east, from 4.673°W at 1500z Sunday to 4.274°W at 1200z today, but the finally report has the camera moving west again, back to 4.302°W. This makes the third time I have observed that, when the wind has become calm, the buoy has drifted northwest. Can it be the Transpolar Drift is moving the wrong way this year? Or is the Transpolar Drift a wind-driven phenomenon, and the currents under the ice are independent?
EVENING PICTURE —FROSTY VIEW OF LEAD CLOSING—
I don’t know what happened to the 1200z picture. Out to lunch again? The 1800z picture shows, if you squint through the frost, that the lead in the distance clearly shows a far bank. From the low point the camera views from, that means the lead is fairly narrow. I have seemed to notice the lead is narrow more when the camera is southboaund than northbound. The latest “Army” data shows temperatures again dropping, to -8.87 C. The buoy is again drifting south, to 83.69 N, 4.28 W.
SEPTEMBER 17 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS— A CROSS-POLAR SWITCHAROO
Some fascinating changes may be occurring right before our eyes tonight, revolving around the gutsy attempt of Newfee to challange Igor for domination of the Pole. (Igor is the high pressure towards the Bering Strait side, and Newfee is the low pressure just to the right of the Pole.) Between the two is the “old” cross-polar flow, from Canada to Siberia, and coming around behind Newfee is the northerly flow which has blown our camera more than ten miles south, the past few days. Ordinarily behind a low there would be a high pressure, adding to the northerly flow behind Newfee. However in the above map no such addition occurs, and instead a blub of low pressure is appearing on the northeast corner of Greenland, creating a southeast flow that opposes Newfee’s flow. Rather than behind Newfee, the high pressure is a big arm of Igor reaching around in front of Newfee. It has him in a headlock, and is in the process of flinging him aside down into Siberia. Igor is the champ, and he doesn’t bother with small potatoes like Newfee, when there is a true threat like Newfeeson, just west of Norway, to be faced. It is the flow from Newfeeson that extends from southeast to northwest, from Scandinavia to the northeast tip of Greenland. In fact, even as I now type, the 1016 mb isobar forms a small circle around Newfee, while another 1016 mb isobar comes around the vast Newfeeson to the northwest past Greenland’s northeast tip into northern Canada and then back around Igor to the Bering Strait. As Newfee is squeezed out of the ring the “old” cross-polar flow will vanish, replaced by a “new” flow following this 1016 mb isobar. Rather than from Siberia to Canada the flow will cross the pole from Scandinavia to the Bering Straits. Igor will advance west along the Siberian coast, and there are already signs that Newfeeson is gutless, (or perhaps merely occluded.) In any case he will become weaker, and of two minds. Partly he will want to retreat southeast under the powerful forearm of Ivan now over Lapland and western Siberia, and partly he will want to run back to Iceland for reinforcements. If you can trust computer models, (which you shouldn’t,) the reinforcements will arrive over Iceland in time, and a new Icelandic low will form as Igor parks himself on the Siberian coast. The flow between these two entities will be from southeast to northwest, right over our camera, and cross the Pole to Bering Strait.. If the models are correct, and this flow develops, the result will be that our camera, which has tried so long and so hard to get south of 84 degrees on its way to Fram Strait, will get blown right back to 84 degrees north latitude all over again. This would be marvelous, strange, and deserve headlines, (and therefore probably won’t happen.) This would also create a wonderful example of how a cross-polar flow can switch by ninty dgrees in 72 hours. The DMI temperature map shows that, even when a storm like Newfee punches the minus-five isotherm away from the Pole, it cannot keep the minus ten isotherm from expanding across the Pole, both over the unfrozen parts of the Beaufort Sea, and also over the edge of the ice towards unfrozen waters towards Bering Strait. (Also a small pocket of minus-ten isotherms appeared right by our camera. If the “new” cross-polar flow develops, this small pocket will be driven away, and temperatures at our camera might even approach or touch freezing for the last time this summer, but temperatures over towards the Siberian coast will plunge.) (“If”)
CONFESSION OF SHORTCOMINGS
Two things I was expecting, and was fool enough to publicly state I was expecting, have failed to come to pass. Therefore it behooves me to be humble and state I was wrong. I expected the extent-graphs, which measure how arctic sea-ice shrank this summer, to level off early, and to surprise people by starting to rise early as well. It didn’t happen. Because I expected the above, I expected the extent to bottom out at 6 million km squared. Even using the NORSEX graph, you can see I was wrong: (Click to enlarge.)
I am better than many at admitting mistakes, but I can’t claim to prefer being wrong. To top it off, I was wrong about a couple of other things today, and it makes a bit of an amusing sidetrack to confess them as well.
First, we had a frost this morning, which I didn’t think would happen. Added to a late frost last May, this is one of the shortest frost-free growing seasons I can remember. (Usually we get our first frost around September 25.) True, it didn’t kill my peppers in May and didn’t kill them last night, but my squash plants are history. However it did make me gripe, privately in my truck, as I drove to get grain for my goats, that if the damn air had stayed up in the arctic doing what it should do, which is to freeze sea ice, I might have been right about the sea ice and might have been right about my squashes.
Second, I have an old, tiny pickup truck with bad brakes, but figured I need not fix the brakes until after I got the grain. There was a leak in a rear brake line, but I figured if I dumped in some extra brake fluid I could pump the brakes and things would be OK. However the pressure of pumping the brakes blew a front brake line, and then I had hundreds of pounds of grain in the rear, and a tall range of hills to climb and then descend from, and no brakes at all.
For the third time in a single day I was being confronted with how wrong I can be. Wimpy guys pull over in such situations, and call their Moms. However my sweet mother died fifteen years ago, so I had to drive nearly twenty miles with no way to really stop.
For an old coot like me, it was an absolute blast! Talk about pulse-pounding excitement! Best was when a big road-bully in a lumber truck full of tree-trunks pulled out in front of me as I came screaming down a steep hill with my emergency flashers blinking, in third gear. My tires screeched as I down-shifted to second, and screeched again as I downshifted to first, and I could see a hint of concern in the bully’s face, in his side mirror, as I swung out to pass him and saw the on-coming dump truck. As I swung back and considered the breakdown lane, I could hear the road-bully was shifting up through sixteen gears with remarkable haste. Not that my tiny truck represented a threat, but it would be a bother for him if I went under his chassis and I got smushed. After I got a good view of his licence plate, around the level of my rear view mirror, he pulled away.
By the time I pulled into a country garage, I was flushed, sweating, and grinning ear to ear, and also I had arrived at a scientific conclusion: “People who are right all the time are missing all the fun.” The fellow who ran the garage was delighted to see an old pre-computer truck, and had both brake lines replaced with amazing swiftness. Then I drove off, three hours behind schedule, (which I hope explains why I haven’t responded to all comments on this blog.)
To return to the subject of being wrong about the-levels-which-arctic-sea-ice-would-decrease-to, this summer; being wrong in that way has also been a blast. Perhaps I haven’t sweated or felt my pulse pound, but it has been a fun difficult to describe. I suppose the greatest fun involves the fact I get to do what a know-it-all can’t. I get to learn, which a know-it-all can’t do because he thinks he already knows. What I’ve learned involves an interesting view of ice-extent shown by the following map: (click to enlarge.)
In this map they don’t bother attempting to measure the extent of the extent. They don’t try to measure the difference between solid 100% ice and mostly-water 15% ice. They just measure the outer edge of the sea-ice. Extent is extent, and that is that.
Due to my observations from my microcosm of a camera, I know the ice has not moved down towards Fram Strait, and instead has been wrong-way ice. moving toward the Beaufort Gyre. Therefore it makes perfect sense to me that one of the few places the ice extends outside the “norm” is at the Canadian edge of that Beaufort Gyre.
Although it is far from our camera, it makes a certain sense to me that the second place the ice extends beyond the orange line of the “norm” is over in far-east Siberia, because the PDO is cool. (It makes less sense that is the only place over on that side “above normal,” however I quietly tell myself other areas have seen a huge increase from last year, though still “below normal,” and furthermore last summer the PDO spiked to a nearly-neutral side of its cooler phase, before recently dropping.)
It may seem to make no sense for the only other place ice extends to to the edge of the “norm” is west of Svalbard, smack dab in Fram Strait. In fact last week the ice actually extended over the orange line. How can that be, considering the ice our camera sits on hasn’t headed down there to add to the Fram Strait edge?
Well, that ice just happens to be the only ice behaving the way I expected. What did I expect? I expected that water to be colder, and form sea ice quicker. Why? In a nut shell, water with any sort of ice on top grows new ice at the surface, as soon as temperatures drop below the freezing point of salt water. The floating ice, even if it is small as a falling snowflakes, forms seed crystals for expanding ice-cover at the surface. However, without those seed crystals, open water does not freeze. The cold water sinks, and is replaced by warmer water that rises up. (This is different from fresh water lakes, for any fresh water below 36 degrees Fahrenheit rises just like ice rises, whereas if you add salt the same water sinks.) In other words, open stretches of arctic water would need to chill to near the freezing point of salt water clear down to the bottom, were it not for the existence of the pycnocline, 300-450 feet down, which means the water only needs to chill around a ninth of a mile down before the top freezes.
In other words, without any ice cover, water gets colder much more deeply. There was so much area without ice, as last winter set in, I figured much more water was chilled much more deeply. It made perfect sense to me temperatures were colder up towards the pole last summer, for even if a storm stirred up water from the deeps, the waters were colder. However this influence only occurred when you were talking about temperatures a degree above freezing, in July. As soon as temperatures dipped lower than that, the water wasn’t “colder,” but was relatively “warmer.” And that sent my theory down in flames.
Now, although arctic air temperatures were below normal last summer, we are still seeing a vast area of water north of the Eurasian coast remain ice-free. Even if this water is slightly colder than last year, it is behaving as last year’s did, and the water down to 300-450 feet is getting colder and colder, like it did last year. Because of this vast area of deeply chilled water, I imagine the warm AMO can no longer send currents north under ice, to melt the ice from beneath, for the ice is gone. Instead such currents are forced up over the cold water, and then are chilled by both cold water below and cold air above. By melting the ice that once protected it, the AMO has become, I imagine, an instrument of its own demise. And I think that is what we are witnessing: The demise of a warm AMO.
We are witnessing something never seen before, in the ways we now see. It did occur some sixty years ago, but back then we had neither satellites nor “North Pole Cameras.”
In terms of how we see now, we are virgins about to lose our virginity. Before we lose our virginity we are naive, and have erroneous expectations. However we discover it can be fun to be wrong. Not that it solves our problems. It can make problems much more complex. However to have a know-it-all attitude is absurd, and can lead one into a state of mind where they, in effect, never lose their virginity, yet still think they know-it-all. I am definitely long past that. I confess shortcomings, but virginity is no longer one of them.
THIS THREAD IS MELTING DOWN AND MAY CRASH. (I MAY HAVE EXCEEDED SOME WORDPRESS LIMIT FOR HOW MANY BYTES CAN BE IN A POST.) I HAVE CLIPPED THE LAST FEW DAYS ENTRIES FROM THIS POST AND WILL PASTE THEM AND CONTINUE THIS AS A NEW POST AT: