NORTH POLE CAMERA ONE PICTURES POLAR BEAR TRACKS! (August 5-15, 2013)

(click pictures to enlarge)

(This post will be the continuation of my observations with updates from: https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/lake-north-pole-vanishes/ )

AUGUST 5—BEFORE BEAR VISIT

NP Aug 5 5.jpg Before Foorprints  

AUGUST 6—AFTER BEAR VISITS

NP Aug 6 8.jpg Footprints  

LUCKY HE DIDN’T EAT THE CAMERA. (However is that a speck of dirt on the camera lens, that wasn’t there before?)

UPDATE!!!  CAMERA HAS FALLEN OVER!!!  Anyone care to go up and put it back up?  Watch out for bears.

NP Aug 6 9.jpg Camera tipped

If that dumb bear starts messing around with camera two, how am I to sit around watching ice melt?  Someone ought hustle up there with a helicopter and a rifle.

UPDATE AUG 7— SURVIVING CAMERA WITNESSING WARM-UP

The bear hasn’t found Camera Two yet, (it is roughly 900 feet away,) and it is picturing a “snow-eater” fog.  Temperatures have risen to 0.9 (C) above freezing.  Winds are from the East-southeast, which is a warm weather wind up there, as it is coming from the (relatively) warm North Atlantic rather than the frozen wastes of Greenland.  The buoy is, in its contray way, once again moving into a head wind, moving towards the east, though it has also crept the smallest amount back to the north as well. (From latitude 84.549 to 84.554.)  So ice continues to stay stuck up there, rather than getting flushed out of the Arctic Sea through  Fram Strait, as is more typical.

It is starting to seem like “now or never,” if we are going to see serious ice-melt.  We are running out of time.

Fog speeds melting because, just as water condenses on the side of a cool drink on a summer’s day, it condenses on the side of ice and snow, and as it changes from vapor to liquid it releases latent heat.  This fog is getting pumped up into the Arctic by the east side of a North Atlantic gale southwest of Svalbard and east of Greenland.   More noteworthy is a big storm over the Arctic Ocean itself.

Last year a storm of this sort smashed up a lot of sea ice and led to record-setting ice-melt.  This will be a test of sorts, to see if the ice is harder this year.  Temperatures are below freezing over that part of the sea, though south winds to the west of that gale are pumping warmer air into the heart of cold.

If this doesn’t get warming back on track, it will be like 2006.

Click picture and maps below to enlarge.

NP Aug 7 17.

DMI Aug 7 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Aug 7 temp_latest.big.

UPDATE ON POLAR STORM—Ryan Maue posted this wonderful graphic of the low level moisture feeding into the storm.  I assume these storms have different mechanics than the storms down here.  If it was down here I’d say it was occluded and weakening, but I don’t think that is the case.  Maybe we’ll learn from this. (click to enlarge)

Ryan Maue polar_dp_storm.

EVENING UPDATE—THINGS SHIFTING

Arrived home to find everything changed, which seems the norm this year.  In terms of north-south movement, the camera, which had been moving ever so slightly north to 84.554 degrees latitude, had jolted a full tenth of a degree south, (6 miles,) to 84.454 degrees.  Also, in terms of east-west movement, the movement to the east had screeched to a halt and turned to a movement to the west.  Winds, which had become nearly east, swung back around to the south and then south-southwest, which means that the air was not coming off the relatively milder Atlantic, but Greenland, and therefore the temperatures, which had risen to a balmy 1 above, crashed to 1 below. (C) (33.8 to 31.2 Fahrenheit.) Rather than the ice moving into the wind to the east, the contrary ice is now moving into the wind to the south west.  Does this ice ever move with the wind?

All this switching to and fro has got to take a toll on the ice, and explains why the pictures from outer space show the ice so fractured and tortured.  From the ground level of the camera itself, not much of this mangling is visible, though this year we’ve been lucky to see some pressure ridges and, I think, a lead that shone in the sun back at the end of June.  Now it looks like we may be seeing another lead in tonight’s picture, or at least that is my interpretation of the dark line on the horizon, from slightly left of the center distance to the left margin.

A lead does not mean the ice is melting. They can appear in the dead of winter when temperatures are forty below. (The one time C and F are the same.)  What they mean is that stress has split the ice, and the ice is moving in two directions.  The lead of open water gets wider and wider until winds shift, and then sometimes the two sides come slamming together again and the crash forms the jumble of ice we call a pressure ridge.  Then, if winds shift yet again, the crack can reopen, and you can witness a lead with part of a pressure ridge on one side and part on the other.

Squinting at tonight’s picture, I think we may be lucky enough to be witnessing exactly this. The pressure ridge that seemed to inhabit the left side of the distant horizon seems gone, replaced by that distant dark line.  However, if you squint even harder, I think you can see a white line above the dark line, which would be those missing pressure ridges far away, on the far side of the lead.

In the future I hope the north pole camera has a zoom lens.

I have a hunch that we might just get even luckier.  With a storm brewing on the far side of the pole, and winds picking up from the southwest, our camera might be blown back north, and we might see the lead close, the two sides crash, and a really big pressure ridge form.  However I stress the word “might.”  All forecasters know forecasting is a quick way to become humble.

In any case, watching ice melt has sure turned out interesting, this year, even though it has been a while since there’s been any melting to watch.  I was sort of hoping we might see Lake North Pole refill at least once, (as camera two is placed in a low place in the ice,) but that forecast was wrong, because I should have forecast polar bears.NP Aug 7B17 .

(As always, click picture to enlarge.)

UPDATE AUGUST 8—SNOW STORM BREWING?

The dmi charts seem to show the gale wrapping below freezing temperatures around its core.  It’s center is just across the North Pole from Camera Two, 400-500 miles away.  Temperatures at the camera look  to be below freezing from the DMI chart.  (No data yet.) It looks pretty dark and ominous up there.

NP Aug 8 18.

DMI Aug 8 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Aug 8 temp_latest.big.

EVENING UPDATE—COLD!

The camera continues south into the wind, down to 84.315 latitude despite the fact the wind is increasing. Wind has backed from southwest to southeast, but temperatures remain quite cold, currently at minus 2.6 degrees(C).  It has been below the freezing point of salt water all day.  The latest DMI graph shows the mean temperatures north of 80 degrees has dipped below freezing. That is earlier than usual. That also means the big storm, now located nearly on the pole, is for the most part circulating freezing air.  The only really warm area is just north of Canada, with temperatures near 70 on the coast.  Elsewhere prospects for ice-melt look slim, unless and until that storm moves off the the top of the earth.

NP Aug 8B npeo_cam2_20130808190029

DMI Aug 8 B pressure DMI Aug 8 B temp_latest.big

DMI AUG 8 meanT_2013 (1)

UPDATE AUGUST 9—

The buoy continues to move south and east. Temperatures up to just above freezing at 0.5 (C). Despite the local winds being from southerly quadrants it has moved down to 84.210 latitude. I am starting to think the buoy can’t possibly move into the wind as much as it seems to do,  and am checking for some error I must be making, but I can’t find it.  The wind has backed up to the east-southeast, yet the buoy has continued upwind and crossed the meridian and is at longitude 0.302 E. (Note; written Oct 21, 2016. My error was likely twofold. First, due to the fact the berg the buoy was on can pivot right around, “north” on a physical wind-vane can actually be to the south. Second, up towards the magnetic Pole “north” on a magnetic wind-vane can be in a direction other than true north, and can change as the buoy drifts relative to the magnetic pole.)

My guess is that the gale up by the pole has strong west winds to its Greenland-side. (You can’t say “south side,” because all sides of a storm are to its south when it sits on the pole.)  The reason the winds at the buoy aren’t west is, (I think,) because of a front, which may be causing what appears to be a decent snowfall at the buoy, though the lens is wet and makes the view unclear.  The storm is what is moving the ice, not the local winds. Once the front passes the buoy may head for Svalbard rather than Fram Strait.

Here is a great animation of the polar storm’s moisture inflow by Ryan Maue, that Anthony Watts posted on his “Watts Up With That” website.  http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/rgem_2013080712_dew2m_pole.gif

NP Aug 9 npeo_cam2_20130809125904

DMI Aug 9 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Aug 9 temp_latest.big

UPDATE AUGUST 10 — CAMERA LENS SNOWCOVERED.

While the camera looks like it may get a cold wave, the arctic coast of Canada is warm, and also the polar storm is developing some sort of appendage down to the Siberian coast, and perhaps pulling milder air up into the mix on the Bering Straits side of the pole.

Hopefully the lens will melt off soon.

DMI Aug 10 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Aug 10 temp_latest.big.

UPDATE AUGUST 11 — ABOUT TO CROSS LATITUDE 84 DEGREES

Temperatures have been as low as -4.1 (24.6 Fahrenheit.)  Definitely not good for melting ice.

The Navy map is showing the ice is pushed by polar storm towards Fram Strait, as the rest of the ice spins around the pole like a top. So far there has been no acceleration of ice melt due to storm.

 Navy ice speed Aug 11 arcticicespddrfnowcastNP Aug 11 18

DMI Aug 11 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Aug 11 temp_latest.big

UPDATE AUGUST 12—VERY COLD AT CAMERA

Since temperatures dipped below freezing at 1200Z  on August 7 they have only risen above freezing at Camera Two for a brief period on August 9, (1200z, 1500z and 1800z reports,) and even then only achieved a high of 0.5 Celsius (32.9 Fahrenheit.) All the rest of the time it has been below freezing for the primarily fresh water on top of the ice, and over half the time it has been below freezing for the salt water the ice floats upon.

Something is going on up there that deserves some serious thought, but I’m just back from a camping trip, and prefer to think about a long and hot shower.

Hopefully I’ll have time for deep thought tomorrow.  In the mean time, do the deep thinking for me.  I’ll supply some pictures and maps for your lying eyes.

Please notice the DMI maps show the storm is weakening, but has crossed the pole and nears our camera.  Notice our poor camera looks cold, with no obvious slush or melting to see.  Lastly, a view from outer space shows the areas in the quadrant between 120 and 180 degrees longitude, hit hardest by the polar storms warmest winds, have areas of open water, but still have plenty of ice, and are not seas swept nearly clear of ice, as were last year’s seas by last year’s gale.

NP Aug 12 17.

DMI Aug 12 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Aug 12 temp_latest.bigSarelite arctic Aug 12 index

MORNING UPDATE AUGUST 13—COLD CONTINUES

I have to catch up on work, but will quickly post a picture of our cold camera, and today’s DMI pressure and temperature map, concluding with the DMI graph showing the mean temperature north of 80 degrees remains below freezing, and is actually sinking.

(click picture, maps or graph to enlarge)

NP Aug 13 npeo_cam2_20130813064917

DMI Aug 13 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Aug 13 temp_latest.bigDMI Aug 13 meanT_2013 (1)

AFTERNOON UPDATE—SALTWATER STILL REFREEZING

The most recent Camera Two data shows that in the past 24 hours the warmest temperature was -3.4 and the coldest was -4.7, Celsius;  (25.9 and 23.5 Fahrenheit.)  This has occurred even though winds backed through the “warm weather” compass points of southeast and east. At these temperatures slush turns to rock, (as anyone who has shoveled snow in New England knows.)  The ice is definitely becoming harder, and less likely to crumble. Even while open water may not freeze at these temperatures, every place water comes in contact with ice that already exists, up at the surface, is forming a new glaze of new ice.

The camera continues to be pushed south, and is now at 83.780 north latitude.  This movement has been largely into a headwind. When the wind is pushing ice one way as currents and ice to the north push it the opposite way, ice is more liable to pile up than be dispersed. As a whole, this particular part of the Arctic Ocean is seeing ice get thicker and harder at a time of year it normally gets more slushy and thinner.

The camera continues to see a dark line in the distance, from the center to the left of the background.  I think this may be a “lead,” or a crack formed by the twisting and torturing of the ice, rather than by warming.  The ice was longitudinally moving east, but stopped at . 1.453°E, moved back west to 1.156°E, and then again stopped and resumed eastward motion to 1.597°E.  This sort of acceleration and deceleration of a large plate of ice stresses it and can crack it even in the dead of winter when temperatures are at forty below.  At those temperatures the water “smokes” like hot tea, even though the salt water can be as cold as 29 degrees (1.7 Celsius.) The open water can cause a briefly warmer micro-climate of a fog called “sea-smoke,” before  the lead swiftly freezes over.  Ice can be thick enough for a man to stand on, at forty below, in a matter of hours. However right now, with temperatures 37 degrees warmer in the Celsius scale and 65 degrees warmer in the Fahrenheit scale, leads do not freeze over, and the reason they don’t makes for an interesting sidetrack.

We tend to think warm things rise and cold things sink, but fresh water breaks that rule below 36 degrees Fahrenheit.  While we think only a hot-air-balloon rises, and a cold-air- balloon must sink, in the case of water cold-water below 36 degrees rises to the top of a freshwater pond. As water right at freezing is most bouyant of all cold water, it is right at the top and turns to ice naturally and easily.

However, as soon as you add salt to the water, water loses this ability.  It acts like a cold-air-balloon, and sinks.  Therefore it is in a sense theoretically impossible for ice to form in the ocean, because before water can get cold enough to freeze it sinks.  The reason ice does form is because some water is in contact with very cold air long enough to rapidly cool and flash-freeze before it has time to sink. As soon as it becomes ice, even if it is a mere speck, it behaves like all other ice and floats atop the water, often serving as a sort of seed-crystal for further water to turn to ice.

To complicate matters further, as soon as water becomes ice it rejects the salt dissolved in it,  and becomes fresh water.  And if that isn’t confusing enough, by going through the phase change from liquid to solid it releases latent heat.

In conclusion, the scientists dealing with the refreezing of the arctic are not dealing with a simple change.  You have water that wants to sink, unless it becomes ice and wants to rise.  You have water that is salty unless it becomes ice, and exudes salt, which makes the surrounding water saltier and harder to freeze, unless that salt melts ice which is fresh water and makes surrounding water less salty.  And last but not least, you have heat being gobbled up as ice melts but being released as water freezes. (I learned more about the “water column” and “pycnocline,” and the “hydration energy” involved in removing salt from ice. See “More About Refreezing” at end of August 15 evening update.)

It is enough to make your head spin, at which point it is good to just look at the view from Camera Number Two, and simply chill out.

(Click image to enlarge. To see most recent temperatures at Camera 2, see http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/PAWS819920_atmos_recent.html )

NP Aug 13B npeo_cam2_20130813185047

CURRENT POLAR VIEW OF ARCTIC ICE-COVER

(Hat tip to Chris Beal @NJSnow Fan)  It sure doesn’t look like we are going to see an “ice-free North Pole” this summer.

Polar View BRlfKI4CMAAhkcP.

AUGUST 14 MORNING UPDATE—SUN’S OUT AT CAMERA TWO

I’m waiting on the temperature data, but it looks from the DMI temperature-at-two-meters map that the core of the cold is still north of Greenland, so I don’t expect much of a bounce from the sunshine.  The pressure map shows that the arctic gale has disintegrated, but what is left of its low pressure is actually over camera 2.  Not much of a storm any more, is it?

Today’s picture is wonderfully clear. That does look like a “lead” in the left background, with the far side looking like the jumbled ice of a pressure ridge.  If the two sides of that lead clap together again that  pressure ridge will get bigger.

Also notice the drifted snow is deeper by the snow stake in the foreground.  The first black check is now nearly hidden from view. Rather than melting we are seeing snow and ice increase, on this side of the North Pole.

NP Aug 14 17

DMI Aug 14 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Aug 14 temp_latest.big

GOOD ANIMATION OF ARCTIC SEA ICE MELT

Click on to this DMI map and then click the animation loop. It will give you a good “feel” for what has been happening the past 30 days.  It starts out fairly typically for this time of year, with ice retreating from the coasts of Siberia and Alaska, and concentration decreasing overall, (turning from white to shades of grey). However more recently the concentration increases, especially on the Greenland side of the pole, which is unusual before mid September.

Click the “faster” tab for the animation until it is moving at top speed, and you get a “sense” of the ice moving around and around the pole, rather than flushing out through Fram Strait.

 http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icedrift_anim/index.uk.php

EVENING UPDATE—BIG CHILL CONTINUES

I’ve had a rough day, because some fiend apparently spread fertilizer over all our lawns, when I took a couple days off to camp with family.  Mowing is low on my list of desirable activities, while watching ice melt is way up there.  However sometimes a man has got to do what a man has got to do, (because his wife says so,) and so I mowed rather than watch the ice melt. (Or perhaps watch it not-melt.)

I did steal a few moments to insert this morning’s update into this post, and ventured some comments on other sites where those-who-love-to-watch-ice-melt abide.  However then I had to mow, mow, mow, and then childcare, childcare, childcare, and finally run off to shop for stuff necessary in childcare, such as whiffleballs and fishinghooks, water-softener salt and dogfood for the farm dog, and some other sundries, but now, at long last, (after filling the water softener,) I can sit back at my computer to watch ice melt. And what do I discover, right off the bat?  Nearly 400 people have visited this site today.

Usually my site is a nice, obscure site about childcare, poetry, New England and local weather, visited by perhaps twenty people a day, but this is the third time an influx of hundreds of visitors have dropped by.  The first time was when “Lake North Pole” drained, and the second time was when a polar bear visited the “North Pole Camera.” However this time there is no reason.

I can only suppose that I am not the only one one interested in watching ice melt, and also I am not the only one aware something odd is occurring up in the Great White North, this summer.  (I am not so alone as I sometimes feel.)

In any case, odd stuff continues to happen at the North Pole Camera.

First, the sun came out, but rather than temperatures rising they dropped to minus 5.9 celsius, (21.4 faherenheit.)  When clouds returned, temperatures rose to minus 2.5.  This suggests to me that, even when the sun is out, it is so low it cannot prevent some sort of “radiational cooling” from happening, that far north.

Second, the wind shifted to the north, and rather than that wind boosting the progress of the buoy down towards Fram Strait, the buoy came to a halt and moved north, from latitude 83.780°N to latitude 83.814°N. I suppose the ice may be responding to the south winds of the past, however it bothers me that the ice seems to be moving upwind so much.  I feel I have to be making some blatant mistake, but can’t see what it is.

In any case, the ice is, albeit briefly, moving north.  This creates a sort of ice jam in the flushing of ice out of the arctic through Fram Strait.  Rather than ice melting away in warmer, southern waters it is staying stuck up at the pole.  This makes it all the less likely we shall see an “Ice-free North Pole” anytime soon.

I need to add I have never seen the temperatures so cold at the North Pole Camera so early.  Usually mid-August sees the yearly thaw progressing, and the question is how long the thaw will last before freezing resumes.  Usually I am keeping an eye cocked for any temperatures below freezing, and usually they are brief when they first occur.  Now the question is utterly different, as we are wondering when the thawing will resume, when temperatures will rise above freezing, and whether the thaw will resume at all.

UPDATE AUGUST 15 —SUN’S BACK OUT

Another spell of sunshine, allowing us excellent views. Last year it seemed foggy all the time, as the camera moved south into air from the North Atlantic. This year the air seems more arctic.  Squinting at the left background, it looks like that lead of open water might have clapped shut again.

The DMI pressure map suggests some cross-polar flow is developing, on the other side of the pole, moving from Siberia to Canada, which might not bode well for people attempting the Northwest Passage this summer.  It might warm things in the Northeast Passage, and hasten ice-melt where it has been delayed on the Siberian coast.  However this camera- side of the pole off North Greenland remains cold.

Hat tip to “Master Of Space and Thyme” for linking me to this neat video of ice conditions seen from “O Buoy #8” in the Beaufort Sea north of Canada. It is time-lapse, actually beginning in the hanger and/or lab where they set the buoy up,  covers the trip to the arctic,  and covers two summers (with the buoy shut down in the winter dark.) By the end it is far further south than “our” buoy, at around 73.5 latitude, and shows conditions in a sea that is 70-80% ice covered.  The buoy is made to float in water, but at times gets crunched by ice and looks nearly straight down. In the end it shows the boat come to pick it up. It takes roughly eight minutes to watch the entire video, however is well worth the time (if you are into watching ice melt.)

http://obuoy.datatransport.org/monitor#buoy8/movie

NP Aug 15 npeo_cam2_20130815064243

DMI Aug 15 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Aug 15 temp_latest.big

EVENING UPDATE—BIG CHILL IS COLDER

Today temperatures bottomed out at -8.6 Celsius. (That is 16.5 Fahrenheit.)

Temperatures have since risen to -5.4 Celsius. (22.3 Fahrenheit.)

Winds are not coming from the bitter cold icecap of Greenland. Winds are from the north, crossing miles and miles of ice which cannot be slushy to have temperatures so low. Slush will have frozen and melt-water pools will be freezing, releasing latent heat in the process, but that latent heat isn’t warming things up much at all.

Roughly 100 miles north-northeast is another bouy, “Paws Bouy 975420.” It must be across a weak area of high pressure, for winds there are from the south-southeast. The temperature there is nearly the same: -5.3 Celsius, and falling. Temperatures at that buoy have been below the freezing point of salt water since August 10, and below the freezing point of fresh water for well over a week. It stopped moving south early on the 13th of August, and since then has edged around 1.2 miles back north.

Our “Camera 2” buoy came to a stop today as well.  At 0300z yesterday it made it down to 83.794°N latitude, and at 1500z today it stands at 83.808°N. That’s roughly a third of a mile further north, in terms of latitude, as the buoy drifts slightly east, in terms of longitude.

The open waters of Fram Strait lie over 200 miles away.  What are the odds this buoy will make it down there before the winter freeze up?

Things are back to normal, here in this quiet corner of ice-melt-watching.  After 456 views yesterday there were a more reasonable 47 at this site today. I’m still not sure how I attracted such a crowd.

There were over 300 comments at the “Watts Up With That” post about this subject.  Quite an uproar got going, with Master of Space and Thyme getting sucked off-topic into a maelstrom of politics.  My old friend “Latitude” made an appearance.  It was hard to see through all the smoke to the science, but I did learn more about the refreezing process, which I hope to share later. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/14/the-early-chill-in-the-arctic-continues/

By the way, besides showing the drifting snow has shifted about a bit, this evening’s camera 2 picture seems to show the lead in the far left distance has reopened. Or perhaps it was just covered by a skim of snow-dusted ice this morning.

NP August 15B 18

MORE ABOUT REFREEZING SALT WATER

Here is an interesting comment I read among the over 300 comments at the Watts Up With That post I mentioned above.

Retired Engineer John says:

The following is from Dr Wadham’s essay on the freezing of water:
“Cooling the water down
Consider a fresh water body being cooled from above, for instance a lake at the end of summer experiencing subzero air temperatures. As the water cools the density increases so the surface water sinks, to be replaced by warmer water from below, which is in its turn cooled. This creates a pattern of convection through which the whole water body gradually cools. When the temperature reaches 4°C, the lake reaches its maximum density. Further cooling results in the colder water becoming less dense and staying at the surface. This thin cold layer can then be rapidly cooled down to the freezing point, and ice can form on the surface even though the temperature of the underlying water may still be close to 4°C. Thus a lake can experience ice formation while considerable heat still remains in the deeper parts.
This does not apply to sea water. The addition of salt to the water lowers the temperature of maximum density, and once the salinity exceeds 24.7 parts per thousand (most Arctic surface water is 30-35), the temperature of maximum density disappears. Cooling of the ocean surface by a cold atmosphere will therefore always make the surface water more dense and will continue to cause convection right down to the freezing point – which itself is depressed by the addition of salt to about -1.8°C for typical sea water. It may seem, then, that the whole water column in an ocean has to be cooled to the freezing point before freezing can begin at the surface, but in fact the Arctic Ocean is composed of layers of water with different properties, and at the base of the surface layer there is a big jump in density (known as a pycnocline), so convection only involves the surface layer down to that level (about 100-150 metres). Even so, it takes some time to cool a heated summer water mass down to the freezing point, and so new sea ice forms on a sea surface later in the autumn than does lake ice in similar climatic conditions.”

The reason that I posted this paragraph is there is a point that Dr Wadham did not make that I feel is significant. Going back to high school chemistry there is an experiment where you have a thermometer in a beaker of water and add salt. The temperature of the solution goes down as seen on the thermometer. When salt, sodium chloride, is dissolved the process is know as hydration and energy is required to make the new bonds. The hydration energy for one mole of sodium chloride is 4 kilojoules. This is not a lot of energy, but it is significant. For salt water to freeze, this energy must be removed to break the bonds between the water molecules and the sodium and chlorine ions. The temperature must be lowered sufficiently to remove all this energy. The ions and their water molecules play a game of musical chairs, moving from one ion to another until all the energy is removed. When all the energy is removed the water can freeze. In salt water the process of removal of the hydration energy starts at 4C and is completed at the freezing temperature. This transition zone is the reason that much of the ocean is at 3-4C. As water temperatures are lowered, additional energy removal is required to pass through the transition zone.

Interesting stuff, but I suspect there  are other factors involved as well. I’m fairly certain the pyrcnocline does some strange stuff, especially as thermohaline circulation begins in the arctic.  Also a chip of ice at the surface, or even a snowflake, can allow ice to form directly from seawater, without the seawater sinking.

As this post is getting unwieldy, I’ll once again start a new post, which I think I’ll call, “The Big Chill, Sea ice Version.” https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/the-big-chill-sea-ice-version/

However, just for the record, I thought I’d include the comments I made over at that Watts Up With That post, even though I sometimes adopt a wise-guy attitude ill-befitting the proprietor of a blog as high-minded and dignified as this one.

Archives—COMMENTS AT ANTHONY WATT’S BLOG—AUGUST 14-15

Paul Homewood says:

August 14, 2013 at 3:10 am

The temperature scale only goes down to -1.5 and below.

Presumably it could already be below -2C?

  1. Caleb says:

August 14, 2013 at 3:30 am

RE: Paul Homewood says:
August 14, 2013 at 3:10 am

The core of the cold is just north of Greenland, and the thermometer attached to the North Pole Camera has recorded temperatures as low as minus 4.7 Celsius.

It’s been a great summer for sitting around watching ice melt, the only problem being it stopped melting right after they made all that hoopla about “Lake North Pole.” Perhaps Al Gore visited by helicopter and jinxed the melt. (They did see some large tracks made by a heavy creature up there.)https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/north-pole-camera-one-pictures-polar-bear-tracks/

You can see a map of arctic air temperatures by going to Anthony’s Sea Ice Page, clicking on the DMI graph (also pictured at the top of this post,) and then going from that graph to the “Arctic Front Page,” (by clicking the link under the box with all the dates in it on the left hand side.)

  1. Caleb says:

August 14, 2013 at 3:37 am

I should add that, once on the DMI “Arctic Front Page,” you click the link “Arctic weather north of 60N” in the box to the upper right. That gives you their map of pressure and another map of 2m temps. I prefer DMI as Denmark has more at stake in arctic seas. I find it odd how other maps and graphs can differ.

  1. Caleb says:

August 14, 2013 at 4:28 am

One thing that seems odd and different can be seen in the DMI 14-day-loop of ice concentration. Take a look:http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icedrift_anim/index.uk.php

While ice shrank away from the coasts of Alaska and Siberia, as is typical this time of year, the concentration of ice stopped decreasing towards the middle and towards Greenland (stopped turning from white to grey, in their color-code,) and instead concentration increased, (turned from grey back to white, in their color-code.) My guess is that this is partly due to the gale they had up their piling up the ice, but also due to sub-freezing temperatures and freshly fallen snow.

  1. Caleb says:

August 14, 2013 at 4:34 am

If you turn the animation of the above link up to top speed, you really get a sense the ice is circling around and around the pole, rather than being flushed out through Fram Strait.

John Silver says:

August 14, 2013 at 6:36 am

Actually, the surface water in the Arctic Ocean freezes at -1.7 C due to the somewhat lower salinity there.
(salinity varies in the oceans)

REPLY: Good to know, thanks. here they say -1.9C

http://eesc.columbia.edu/courses/ees/climate/lectures/o_strat.html

Anthony

  1. Caleb says:

August 14, 2013 at 7:06 am

RE: John Silver says:
August 14, 2013 at 6:36 am

Arctic Ocean water is weird. When a lot of freezing is going on, the new ice is exuding salt, and the brine briefly increases the salinity of the surface water, (as it sinks through it,) and that lowers the freezing point of the surface water. However, the ice becomes mostly fresh, (with a few embedded pockets of brine,) and when that fresh-water-ice later melts it lowers the salinity of the surface water, which raises the freezing point of the surface water. Right now it is easier to freeze the surface water, (by a tenth of a degree or two tenths,) than it will be once freezing gets underway in earnest.

Watching ice melt is not as easy as it looks.

Caleb says:

August 14, 2013 at 7:11 am

RE: wws says:
August 14, 2013 at 6:39 am
“What happened to the building polar sea cyclone that was being discussed here as recently as a week ago???”

All over and done with. Didn’t break up the ice as much as last year’s, likely because it was colder, and also swirled winds around the pole rather than across the pole.

For a while the gale stood nearly atop the pole, and thus became a storm with no north side. Alarmist media blew a big chance for a sensational headline: “Global Warming Creates Storm With 360 Degrees Of South Side!!!”

  1. Caleb says:

August 14, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Meanwhile, back at the “North Pole Camera….”

It got down to -5.9 Celsius yesterday. (21.4 Fahrenheit.)

  1. Caleb says:

August 14, 2013 at 6:09 pm

I meant to say: It got down to -5.9 today. While the sun was shining. When clouds moved in it “warmed up” to -2.5.

Temperatures have been at or below the freezing point of salt water, at that drifting location, since some point between the 1500z and 1800z reports on August 10.

One heck of a way to run an ice-melt; that’s all I can say.

  1. Caleb says:

August 14, 2013 at 6:44 pm

RE: Master of Space and Thyme,

You first commented at 7:19, when I had to get to work. Now I’m back, and am amazed at the time and effort you put in all day. Does your boss know what you are up to? I’d love to spend all day watching ice melt, and thinking about what I watch, however my boss (IE wife) won’t allow it. I am an oppressed worker.

I’ve only had time to skim through the hundred or so comments, and check a couple links, however I did spend roughly eight glorious minutes watching ice melt in that video you linked to back at 11:18.

It is odd how you and I can look at the exact same picture and see such different things. You stated, ” If anyone is interested in seeing how bad the ice is at the H buoy is, check out the movie from the webcam. The cam was removed last week after the ice collapsed. The significant melt starts at about 6 minutes in to the video.”

First, you hurt the feelings of that ice by calling it “bad.” Be careful. In some circles that would be deemed politically incorrect.

Second, that slushy scene looked very typical to me, for the time and place.

Third, the camera apparently was designed to survive being tilted into a lead, and able to right itself, providing it was floating on water. The times it spends looking down are due to being crunched in ice, and unable to right itself. During the final video-minutes it is positioned in water between ice, not on ice itself, and therefore I think it may be incorrect to state, “The cam was removed last week after the ice collapsed.” My assumption would be that the camera was retrieved because it is a darn valuable hunk of equipment, and could be damaged in all the jostling that goes on in a storm, when a sea is 70% sea ice, and a big storm was in the forecast. In any case, even as the camera shows the ship coming to pick it up, the ice cover is 70%.

In my view 70% ice cover is not “bad” ice cover. However, as I said, we see things differently.

I do appreciate the many links you provide, and I’m green with envy that you apparently get away with watching ice melt more than I do.

  1. Caleb says:

August 14, 2013 at 6:44 pm

RE: Master of Space and Thyme,

You first commented at 7:19, when I had to get to work. Now I’m back, and am amazed at the time and effort you put in all day. Does your boss know what you are up to? I’d love to spend all day watching ice melt, and thinking about what I watch, however my boss (IE wife) won’t allow it. I am an oppressed worker.

I’ve only had time to skim through the hundred or so comments, and check a couple links, however I did spend roughly eight glorious minutes watching ice melt in that video you linked to back at 11:18.

It is odd how you and I can look at the exact same picture and see such different things. You stated, ” If anyone is interested in seeing how bad the ice is at the H buoy is, check out the movie from the webcam. The cam was removed last week after the ice collapsed. The significant melt starts at about 6 minutes in to the video.”

First, you hurt the feelings of that ice by calling it “bad.” Be careful. In some circles that would be deemed politically incorrect.

Second, that slushy scene looked very typical to me, for the time and place.

Third, the camera apparently was designed to survive being tilted into a lead, and able to right itself, providing it was floating on water. The times it spends looking down are due to being crunched in ice, and unable to right itself. During the final video-minutes it is positioned in water between ice, not on ice itself, and therefore I think it may be incorrect to state, “The cam was removed last week after the ice collapsed.” My assumption would be that the camera was retrieved because it is a darn valuable hunk of equipment, and could be damaged in all the jostling that goes on in a storm, when a sea is 70% sea ice, and a big storm was in the forecast. In any case, even as the camera shows the ship coming to pick it up, the ice cover is 70%.

In my view 70% ice cover is not “bad” ice cover. However, as I said, we see things differently.

I do appreciate the many links you provide, and I’m green with envy that you apparently get away with watching ice melt more than I do.

Master of Space and Thyme says:

August 14, 2013 at 7:34 pm

@Caleb
I was surprised to read that the retrieval was scheduled and not related to recent melt and weather events. Your’e right about the buoy floating freely, there are pictures at the link showing it’s retrieval. Here is an online diary from the ship.
http://www.whoi.edu/page/preview.do?pid=123416

The main page at that site gives some background information about the Beaufort Gyre Exploration Project. The Beaufort Gyre traditionally was something akin to an ice nursery. Ice used to spend several years growing in the gyre before returning to the CAB or being flushed through the Fram Strait.
http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=66316

  1. Caleb says:

August 15, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Umm…is it safe to come out now?

Meanwhile, back at the “North Pole Camera….”

Today temperatures bottomed out at -8.6 Celsius. (That is 16.5 Fahrenheit.)

Temperatures have since risen to -5.4 Celsius. (22.3 Fahrenheit.)

Winds are not coming from the bitter cold icecap of Greenland. Winds are from the north, crossing miles and miles of ice which cannot be slushy to have temperatures so low. Slush will have frozen and melt-water pools will be freezing, releasing latent heat in the process, but that latent heat isn’t warming things up much at all.

Roughly 100 miles north-northeast is another buoy, “Paws Buoy 975420.” It must be across a weak area of high pressure, for winds there are from the south-southeast. The temperature there is nearly the same: -5.3 Celsius, and falling. Temperatures at that buoy have been below the freezing point of salt water since August 10, and below the freezing point of fresh water for well over a week.

At the very least it should be obvious that a wrench is in the works of typical ice-melt, in that quadrant of the Arctic Sea.

Further thoughts at bottom-of-post update athttps://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/north-pole-camera-one-pictures-polar-bear-tracks/

Caleb says:

RE: Retired Engineer John says:

August 14, 2013 at 9:33 am

I’d like to thank you for your comment, early on in this discussion. It really got me thinking about the dynamics of the refreeze. While I think Dr. Wadham’s idea of the entire water column needing to chill right down to the pycnocline has merit, (and have seen some neat video of ice freezing below the ice and slowly floating upwards that seems to affirm that concept,) I think other factors can come into play as well, not the least of which is that the pycnocline needs to be punctured by sinking brine in order for thermohaline circulation to occur.

Dr. Wadham’s ideas are wonderfully elegant, and likely explain a lot of what occurs during a refreeze, however as engineer I’m sure you know “a lot” isn’t always good enough, as reality tends to to throw a wrench in the works of well thought out ideas. (Murphy’s Law)

There is stuff going on during this current refreeze that seems to break certain rules, and that baffles me. Therefore I am casting around for ideas such as your idea about the power of hydration energy. Another idea involves the fact salt water does not necessarily need to sink before it reaches it’s freezing point when cooled, if it is in contact with ice already floating and already below the freezing point. (Think of the complex problem created when a falling freshwater snowflake at just below the freezing point lands on saltwater just above the freezing point; will the snowflake melt or will the saltwater it lands on freeze? Besides the hydration energy you have to factor in the latent energy of the phase change from ice to water or from water to ice.

Straining my mind about this stuff is great fun, but I doubt I am close to any sort of answer. (I thought I had it all figured out at one point, but then I rolled over and woke up.) In any case I really appreciate your attitude and what you add to the discussion.

RE: RACookPE1978 says:
August 15, 2013 at 3:50 pm

While I listen with interest to your political ideas, what I find most cool are your ideas concerning direct and indirect sunshine, and the whole matter of albedo. You’ve done some hard work there, and I thank you for sharing.

It would be nice if we got paid for all this hard work we are doing, but it is likely “our reward is in heaven,” and therefore we might as well just enjoy the fun of seeing truth as it is displayed to us by nature here on earth. Witnessing such truths is a joy which those who distort truth for political ends know nothing about. Sort of sad, when you think of it. They are impoverished, yet think that makes them better off.

Advertisements

14 thoughts on “NORTH POLE CAMERA ONE PICTURES POLAR BEAR TRACKS! (August 5-15, 2013)

    • Lol on that one! Hey Nik I saw your physorg thread yesterday where you ran many recent quotes about the stall in temperatures, and talked about skepticalscience dot com. Good work. I took some of your quotes and added that to my collection. Thanks.

  1. Unfortunately the cyclone at the pole is most likely going to kick the ice the webcam is sitting on through Fram Strait and it will slowly melt out in the Greenland Sea. It is at the wrong place at the wrong time.

    • You are probably right, though currently the camera seems to be headed towards Svalbard rather than Fram Strait.

      Also it is taking its sweet time getting south of 84 degrees.

      All other cameras were sucked south through Fram Strait. It would be very unusual if this one went north of Svalbard.

  2. As soon as it becomes ice, even if it is a mere speck, it behaves like all other ice and floats atop the water, often serving as a sort of seed-crystal for further water to turn to ice.
    Ah, yes, have you heard of “super cooled” water?
    I’ve seen it myself. I’ve taken like 16oz plastic bottles of water out of the freezer, that had been in there for maybe a day, and it’s unfrozen, it’s water! Then as I pull the bottle out I see it freeze up in a wave, freezing completely in a couple of seconds. I’ve heard that super cooled water needs to be free of impurities. It seems like motion also caused it to freeze up, in my case. You feel like the bottle somehow got a bit of Ice 9 in it.

    • I’ve never tried that. Sounds like fun.

      I have seen water be super-cooled in the case of freezing rain. The less harmful freezing rain is above freezing and only freezes after it splashes on trees. Usually it quickly raises temperatures at ground-level above freezing, not only because it is warm, but also because the process of freezing releases latent heat.

      The bad sort of freezing rain is super-cooled water, and I’ve read it can be liquid even to temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. It freezes the moment it hits, like the water in your bottle. The release of latent heat is too small to raise temperatures enough to melt.

      We had a terrible ice storm around five years ago. Well over an inch of ice on every twig, and every blade of hay in the pasture. The noise of cracking branches and falling trees was unreal. Both my wife’s car and my truck got crunched badly, and we had no power for ten days. Luckily I’m an old fossil and know how to heat and cook with wood. However you had to heat water to bathe. Everyone in town was having a bad-hair-day all at once. I also had to haul water to flush the toilet, but the only thing I really minded was being cut off from the internet. People had to drive several towns away to find a gas station with working pumps, so they could keep recharging their cell phones in their cars.

      A copy of the 1938 hurricane could do that to far more people, over a far wider area.

      • What happens is I put several bottles of water in the freezer to use in a cooler. And most of the time they’re all frozen, but sometimes a solitary bottle is … unfrozen, super cooled. Don’t know why. And I can’t really replicate it on demand.

        Man, that super cooled ice storm sounds horrible. And it must have caused the roads to be pure ice, for a while anyway. Imagine if you were walking about outside when the storm hit. You would have turned into an icicle.

      • Actually the worst part was after midnight. Pitch dark, no electricity, and the sound of big limbs cracking and crashing to earth, with a weird glittery sound of much ice; like tons of broken glass.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s