LOCAL VIEW —A day to skip planting—

LV May 28 satsfc (3) (click to enlarge)

It was 65 yesterday morning, but only 44 this morning, with a raw east wind and drizzle. It is a day where even sixty miles inland you feel like you are on the  cold water on the coast of Maine.  The “back door cold front” that clobbered us will, like the one last week, push all the way down to Washington DC, and only slowly back off.  It is a glorified sea breeze bolstered by the chill imparted to the off shore waters by a nasty winter.  (Here is a Dr. Ryan Maue  map I lifted from Joseph D’Aleo’s blog at the WeatherBELL “Premium Site,” which costs me the price of a cup of coffee each day, and is well worth it, as long as I still get my coffee. [They offer a one week free trial.] )

LV May 28 wrf_t2m_nmm_ne_2

(You can click the above map to get a larger, clearer view which can be further enlarged with another click.)

To our north, Hudson Bay is still frozen, and to  are west the Great Lakes are very cold. How would you like to be a life guard at this beach on the shores of Lake Superior?

LV May 28 lake_superior_memorial_day_ice

 

All these factors create a slow spring here in New Hampshire, and a situation where only a fool would have a vegetable garden.  I am such a fool, and this post will describe my woe and misery.  I’ll add updates to the bottom of this post, until it gets too long.

MAY 29   —FROST!!!—

LV May 29 satsfc (3) (click to enlarge)

It is practically June, but there it was, on the grass by the garden, white and glistening in the early , slanting sunbeams,: Frost.  Now I smile, remembering the more laid-back old-timers, who said it was never worth the trouble of planting before Memorial Day, which in the old days was always on May 31.  They’d been-there-and-done-that, and seen all the hurry and worry of early planting cut down by a late frost.  Their attitude seemed to be, “Why bother?”

I likely lost a few flats I haven’t planted yet, but I’m so far behind with my planting that there’s nothing tender to lose.  I’d be a lot more upset if I had my tomatoes planted.  (I would have risked planting some early, but my goats ate those flats before I had a chance.)

The sun rose so early and was so brilliant that the wet telephone poles were smoking with steam soon after the sun crested the hills. It’s a glorious day, but cool.

THE MISSING BARN-CAT

Today was like a different planet.  Yesterday it never got much above 45, (7 Celsius,) with drifting drizzle off the cold Gulf of Maine, and when the wind gusted the wind chills were in the high thirties (3 Celsius.) The whole world was grey, but today the sky was cloudless blue, with May’s green leaves vivid and lush, after the watering they got.

What grows best is the grass, which is fine for the goats but lousy for me, for I’ve got to cut it. However, before I suffered the deafening growl of my archaic rider-mower, I just stood in the windless quiet amazed by the sheer beauty.

Our old barn cat vanished during the winter, so I’m expecting an invasion of voles in my garden, and mice in the barn.  (We already have an amazingly brazen chipmunk stealing the goat’s grain.) So I expect I’ll miss the cat, dubbed “Gnarly.”  But not much. He had a nasty habit of arching up to people purring, pressing against their leg, and then, when they reached down to pat him, affectionately biting right down to the bone. I’d only pat him wearing work gloves, and even then he could draw blood. He was not popular among the customers at my Childcare, and “Don’t pat Gnarly” was a strictly enforced rule with the kids. Of course modern children are not well-disciplined, and tend to sneer at the rules of grown-ups. Gnarly, (and also our rooster,) taught the young whippersnappers to listen to me.

Most outdoor-cats around here vanish because they are eaten.  Coyotes and Fisher-cats like a meal of cat, and a Great Horned Owl will swoop down to dine at night. However I doubt that was Gnarly’s fate. He was smart, and also very tough. I once watched him deal with a fox out in the pasture.  It was winter and the fox was hungry, and bigger than Gnarly, and stalking him, but Gnarly was faster when he needed to be, and then would slow down and become casual, looking over his shoulder in a way I swear was taunting, for the fox would look offended and try a different approach, and again be evaded.  After each evasion Gnarly would saunter in a most careless, casual and unhurried manner, home to my barn.

If he could outfox a fox I doubt it was a wild animal that robbed him from my barn. I fear that, rather than a wild animal, it was a tame human, and the hint was due to a change in Gnarly’s dreadlocks.

Gnarly was a long-haired orange cat, and was bred to grace some rich woman’s Persian living-room, and never sneak through briers and burrs, but fate gave him to a daughter’s wild boyfriend, and when they went their separate ways somehow Gnarly got left behind, and rather than fluffy fur had dreadlocks. I’d snip the biggest clumps off, (wearing thick canvas gloves,) from time to time, however such grooming only made the cat look worse: Dreadlocks with bald patches. However looks don’t matter to a barn Tomcat, as long as he catches mice. Therefore it was very noticeable when Gnarly returned from one of his three-day courtship journeys looking remarkably groomed.

This new, smooth, tidy, sleek Gnarly visited the barn less and less often, and I could hardly blame him. Why live in a barn when you can live in a Persian living-room? (Even if it is the living-room of a cat-thief.) And last winter was a cold one.  It is little wonder he stopped coming back altogether, though I couldn’t help but feel a bit hurt and rejected, and also that Gnarly turned out to be more of a sissy than I ever dreamed he could be. You’d think a Tomcat would value independence more. I half-expected him to return, once the weather warmed.

He didn’t, nor have the mice, voles, and occasional rat he chowed down on, (so far.) But this morning, as I stood amidst the stunning beauty of blue sky, golden sunshine, and rain-washed May greenery, I suddenly noticed what had returned to our barn.

Barn swallows. What a beautiful bird they are! Few birds fly so adroitly, with such swift swoopings and swerves, with the blue sky shining off their black-blue backs.

barn_swallow_2Barn_Swallow_c22-37-030_l_1

However not even a barn swallow’s back catches the blue of the sky like the back of a bluebird. They were nearly extinct, after a terrible ice-storm in my boyhood, but have made a comeback and we’ve had a few of them around recently, but always far from the barn, and never sitting on near fence posts. Because they were so rare for so long, I can never see one alight near without becoming Norse and feeling it is a good omen.

Bluebird-116

Not only that, but a common American Robin hopped across the lawn, cocking its head, listening for worms. They’d never dare that, with Gnarly in the barn. Then an enormous Oh-My-Gosh-Bird (Pileated Woodpecker) swooped down to slam rippingly at the stump of the maple ruined by Hurricane Irene.

Pileated Woodpecker 53386976.PileatedWoodpecker23

Also a song sparrow, which had sung from the very top of the backyard balsam fir, now sung from a low bough. In fact there seemed to be birds all over the place. A tiny chipping sparrow flitted about the manure pile, and there were titmice and chickadees, goldfinches and warblers, and all seemed to be singing at the top of their lungs, rejoicing that the cruel east wind and drizzle had given away to sunshine and a dead calm.

Softened by the rapture induced by all this beauty, I murmured, “Screw you, Gnarly. Who the heck needs you? You can sit in your Persian living-room and rot, for all I care.”

Of course, I won’t be saying that once the rodents start to proliferate. The bird my barn needs most is a rodent-eating barn owl. Unfortunately such owls are few and far between, because they eat mice and rats that come staggering from barns and out into the open dieing, poisoned by rat poison.  Rat poison kills more owls than even Gnarly could.

Farmers face choices, and given the choice between rat poison and a Tomcat that bites, I’d chose neither, and go for more heart-faced barn owls.

barn_owl

 

MAY 30  —The Cold returns—

Not bad in the morning, with temperatures up near seventy, but then a cold front drifted south with a few brief smatterings of rain;  big drops but not all that heavy. Temperatures drifted back down through the sixties. During our entire brief warm-up the clouds never stopped floating down from the north.

Besides the ordinary Childcare duties I got some mowing done and planted nine tomato plants. I’ll never get that garden planted, it seems.

MAY 31  —More ocean air—

LV May 31 satsfc (3) (Click to enlarge)

That rogue storm out to sea is creating a northeast wind, so again we have a grey morning with temperatures in the fifties.  However when the sun peeks through the purple it is instantly warmer. It looks like the high up in Labrador is going to press south and give us more sunshine.  I think it’s a pretty sorry state of affairs when your warm weather comes from Labrador.

Can’t plant first thing, as my granddaughter has a gymnastics event. But I’ll get a lot done later.

JUNE 1  —Finally planting—

LV 601 satsfc (3)

Although the high cresting over us has arctic origins up in Labrador, it can’t defeat a June sun. Now that the onshore wind has died temperatures are leaping upwards. When the winds turn south tomorrow it may actually get hot.. Therefore I have no reason to avoid planting, right?  Wrong. It’ is Sunday, and I’m “Deacon On Duty” at Church.

(If the food I grow meant the difference between children living or starving, I’d skip church.)

However I did get a lot done yesterday, even without planting seeds.

I spent $800.00 on a new rototiller, which is in some ways ludicrous as the garden isn’t likely to produce $800.00 worth of food. However, because the Childcare I run is all about teaching children about farming, it is a tax-deductible expense.

I used to rent a monster for $70.00 a day, and had to work like crazy to get all the work done in a single day. The machine was a brute, a sort of merciless beast that just about ripped your arms from their sockets each time you hit a big stone, and the soil in New England is full of big stones.  It doesn’t matter how long you work to remove them; the frost heaves up a new crop every spring, which is why New England has such lovely stone walls. Stones may be our best crop.

My new tiller is smaller, digs deeper, and when it hits a big stone it politely shuts down. You remove the stone, and then the machine politely is easy to restart.  (I’m not used to equipment that is easy to start.)  However what is best is that I don’t have to hurry to be done in a day, to avoid a late fee.  In fact I can actually dawdle.

At age sixty-one, I find dawdling is more like a necessity than a vice. I need to pace myself. However I also need to avoid being like King Theoden, (in Tolkien’s masterpiece,) when he was under the spell of Wormtongue (who was under the spell of Saruman who was under the the spell of Sauren).  Wormtongue was always saying things like, “Oh don’t strain yourself, most venerable one.”  Bah!  I may need to pace myself, but that doesn’t mean I need to cower.

When I was young I could underbid other landscapers by skipping the expense of a rototiller. All I needed was a stout spading fork, (American-made, not one of those cheap forks with tines that bend at the first root). Spading by hand was tiring, but like long distance running: I’d “hit the wall,” but then get a second wind, and then a third and fourth and fifth wind. Furthermore I could do all sorts of things rototillers can’t, stooping to toss aside roots and stones and weeds, so that the garden’s soil was much cleaner when I was done tilling. I’d do an entire garden in a day, perhaps taking longer than a guy with a rototiller, but doing a better job and doing it a little more cheaply.

The next morning would find me stiff and sore, but I’d just think the stiffness and soreness was a sign I was “getting in shape.”

As you get older you get out of shape more swiftly even as it takes longer to get back in shape. However stiffness and soreness is often the same, as sign you are “getting in shape.”  Yet a Wormtongue in the back of the brain does not tell you, “You are getting in shape.”  Instead it says, “You are getting to old for this nonsense.”

In any case, I’m stiff and sore this morning, but glad I got some tilling done yesterday.  I also got some more seedlings in yesterday, including a number that were topped by hungry goats, and may not even survive. Lastly, before I tilled, I dug up a whole bunch of volunteer Sunflower seedlings and transplanted them around the periphery of the Childcare playground, which hopefully will delight my wife in August, when the grounds are surrounded by the flower’s happy faces.  Not bad, for a day I “didn’t plant.any seeds.”

After church today I’ll meet with the young fellow who is helping me become more up-to-date, in terms of my computer, which may lead to a new post in the “Poet’s Plan” series.

After that I’ll plant some corn.  However, as this particular post is about “not planting seeds,” I suppose this post is over.  The continuation of this series can be found at: https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/local-view-planting-corn/

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ARCTIC SEA ICE MELT —THE APPROACHING THAW—(May 27-June 9, 2014)

This is the continuation of a long series of posts, the last of which can be found at  https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/arctic-sea-ice-melt-the-pulverized-pole/

These posts are a sort of notebook where I jot down my observations as the sea-ice at the Pole goes through its yearly melt and refreeze. It is full of doodles and doggerel, and some ideas that are incorrect and then corrected, and is far from any sort of final draft.

In earlier posts I go on at great length what motivated this study.  In a nutshell, I came to distrust the media, and decided I could not rely on them to become an educated voter.  This perception has grown all the stronger, as I have learned.  I am increasing convinced many reporters do not bother to investigate at all, and merely report what they are told.

My initial plan was to write a single post, but then I decided I would follow the comings and goings of the ice for an entire year. The year will be up this June.  I’d stop these posts, but it now is starting to look like there may be a return to normal amounts of ice this summer.  I don’t want to miss this, if it happens, because I want to watch how the politicians spin the complete failure of their Global Warming prophecies. All the talk about the arctic sea-ice being in a “death spiral” will look like so much hogwash.

It increasingly looks like the public has been tricked.  A call to arms and a call for sacrifice was made, and the public responded, ready to face the foe that was “Global Warming,”  ready to give up liberties in a time of war.  Now it turns out there was no reason for those sacrifices, and now the hard eyes of the public will look to see who gained from the fraud.

Worst is the possibility we could be entering a time of hardship due to colder winters.  Rather than getting the public ready for a very real threat, our leaders instead prepared us for a fixation, a paranoid delusion, which made them rich.  In a sense they are like a man who advised and even ordered dikes be removed, just before a flood.  I would not like to be in their shoes, and I pray that God raises up a generation of saner leaders.

I myself am but a single voter among millions, and all I can do is seek and speak the Truth. This post-notebook is my way of doing so.

I tend to update this post at least twice a day, with the newest updates at the bottom of the post.  As the post gets longer and longer you may find it is quicker to hit the “comments balloon,” which appears to the right of the title on the “Home” page, and then scroll up from the bottom.

I am going to attempt to improve upon my website during the summer.  Because I am incredibly clumsy, when it comes to doing anything with computers, I fear there may be an interim when this website is a complete shambles. Forgive me, if such is the case.

MAY 27  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI May 27B mslp_latest.bigDMI May 27B  temp_latest.big (1)

FIRST THAW OF THE YEAR AT NORTH POLE CAMERA

NP2 May 27B 17

Temperatures had risen to +0.5°C at noon. The camera had been pushed north past 86 degrees latitude, while meandering east, west, and then east again, arriving at 86.012°N, 13.520°E at noon. 

The drift to the east is interesting. I don’t think we’ve ever had a North Pole Camera that didn’t eventually move south through Fram Strait, but this one seems determined to drift east, to the north of Svalbard.

MAY 28 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI May 28 mslp_latest.bigDMI May 28 temp_latest.big (1)

“Valplaces” is starting to weaken, as it sits blowing counter-clockwise winds over the clockwise Beaufort Gyre.   It should fade by Friday, and by Sunday models show a high building in the same place, with clockwise winds over the clockwise flow of ice.  Likely there will be a lot of crunching as the ice adjusts.

The weak low over the Pole is likely along a front made by the tongue of milder air coming north from Svalbard, brought up by the west-side winds of the high over Scandinavia.  The east-side winds are bringing polar air down over Finland to the Baltic, where an interesting low is forecast to grow and attack the high pressure over Scandinavia from the southeast. This will weaken the high, but also cause the east winds over Finland to persist.

The Pole continues its seasonal rapid rise in temperature, with areas within the minus-five isotherm rapidly shrinking.  Even with the thaw at the Pole, temperatures remain slightly below normal over all.

PEEK AT UK MET CURRENT AND 48-HOUR FORECAST

UK Met May 27 48 hour forecast 14893285

UK Met May 28 48 hour forecast 14897083

These maps show a solution where the interesting storm develops east of the Baltic, the ridge weakens but stubbornly persists on the Atlantic west of Norway, and a storm mills about south of Greenland.  The storms are starting to take on characteristics of summer storms, far weaker than the monsters we see in the winter, though I’m sure the people of Finland are not calling the situation “summer-like.”

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Dull and grey—

(Click images to enlarge.  If you open them to a new tab you can click back and forth to compare; most of the changes between these two pictures are due to diffent angles of sunlight, I think.)

NP2 May 27C 12NP2 May 28 18

The first picture gives us a better view of the crack which may open into a lead at some point this summer, in the middle distance.  The lack of sunshine continues, and demonstrates the slight thaw is more due to imported air than sunbeams.

LOCAL VIEW   —COLD AT THE FARM—

This is just a note to inform anyone who liked the “Local View” segments of these posts that “Local View” has graduated and has a post of its own, which can be found at:  https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/local-view-a-day-to-skip-planting/

I just figure that, while the arctic did have a connection with my life in New Hampshire when we were blasted by north winds last winter,  that connection is tenuous now.  However the local weather will be a part of the new posts, which is more about running a toy farm, and a childcare on that farm, than the North Pole.

One picture from that first post should be included here.  It involves a day on the beach on the shores of Lake Superior, with air temperatures at the inland parking lot over 80. Here is the view the lifeguard saw:

LV May 28 lake_superior_memorial_day_ice

With that to our  west, a frozen Hudson Bay to our north, and the Atlantic very cold once you get north of Cape Cod, I suppose you could say winter is over but not forgotten, by the waters.

MAY 28  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI May 28B mslp_latest.bigDMI May 28B temp_latest.big (1)

“Valplaces” continues to weaken, but has kicked the weak low over the Pole towards the Siberian side, shifting the wind at our camera.  The winds are stronger than you would imagine, looking at the isobars.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Still gray, but colder—

NP2 May 28B 18

Temperatures reached a high of +1.0°C at 1500z yesterday, as the camera was blown north and east to 86.016°N, 13.579°E at 1800z.  There was apparently a wind-shift at that time, as the buoy turned around and headed south and west to  85.975°N,13.524°E. Temperatures fell slowly back to zero at 0900z today, and then dropped more rapidly to -1.6°C at the last report at noon.  Winds, which has been below 5 mph, became a breeze of more than 15 mph as the temperatures fell.

MAY 29  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI May 29 mslp_latest.bigDMI May 29 temp_latest.big (1)

“Valplaces” is all but gone, and high pressure should build in its place within 24 hours and become a feature conducive to the normal circulation of the Beaufort Gyre.  The next weak low pressure to assault the Pole should come from central Siberia, and will attempt to keep the Beaufort high from linking up with the blocking high over Scandinavia. That blocking high will be attacked from the southeast by summer lows moving up to the east of the Baltic.  There are some signs the blocking high will erode only to rebuild, further west, and continue to block the north Atlantic.

NORTH POLE CAMERA   —Brief glimpse of sky—

NP2 May 28C 15

This is our first hint of blue sky in days. The improved visablility gives us a chance to look at the crack in the right, middle-distance.  It looks like the ice has been crushing and grinding together, forming a small pressure ridge. However the fracture represents a definite weakness in the ice, and I imagine it could open up to a lead of open water with little warning.

The view six hours later shows the clouds and fog clamped right down again.NP2 May 29 18

Roughly 90 miles north, Buoy 2014E reports temperatures have dropped to -4.70 C, so there is cold air nearby.

MAY 29  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI May 29B mslp_latest.bigDMI May 29B temp_latest.big (1)

 

 

“Valplaces” is all but gone, as the high pressure hangs tough over northern Scandinavia. The low east of the Baltic hasn’t yet been able to budge it.  We low pressure stirs over the central Siberian coast.

It is colder on the Canadian side, though that may only be a diurnal drop due to the short night swinging around to that side of the Pole.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Some snow—

If you open these two shots, taken 12 hours apart, (4:30 AM [left] and 4:30 PM [right]), and place them on separate tabs, and click between the tabs, the increase in snow (an inch or two) is obvious on the snow stakes, and beside the yellow and red gizmo in the right near background. Also the crack in the middle distance is less obvious.

Sometimes such cracks vanish under the drifting snow, but they are not gone, though they can mend to some degree, and melt-water pools can even form atop them without draining down through their weakness. Weeks can pass with no sign the crack is still there, but then when the ice is stressed the crack reappears in the exact same place.

NP2 May 29B 10NP2 May 29C 18

 

Temperatures have fallen and risen with a seemingly diurnal movement, bottoming out at -5.0°C at midnight and rising back and leveling off at -2.9°C at noon. (We are back below the freezing point of salt water.)  The camera has moved steadily south and west, as winds slacked off from around 15 mph to around 8 mph, and at noon the camera was situated at 85.889°N, 13.115°E.

Though temperatures are below freezing, enough powdered salt is blown around with the snow to create slush even at these temperatures, and Camera One seems to be slowly sinking into the brine. However it did deliver a single pretty sideways-picture just before midnight yesterday, as the midnight sky peeked briefly beneath the clouds, touching their undersides with subtle color.

NP1 May 29 npeo_cam1_20140528230942

It is such a pity this camera fell over.

AND NOW FOR A VIEW FROM SOUTHERN BEACHES

Lake Superior Screen_shot_2014_05_28_at_9_28_12_PM

(Photo courtesy: Melissa Ellis)

I stole this neat picture of a beach on the shores of Lake Superior from Joseph D’Aleo’s excellent blog at WeatherBELL’s “Premium Site.” (A 7-day free trial is available.) I figure he probably won’t sue me because I speak so highly of his site, and offer free advertising. However even if I did get sued I’d likely keep paying for his site. It is that good.

There has never been ice on Lake Superior this late, in the satellite era. However I did come across an old history that spoke of a June day in the mid 1800’s when there was enough ice left to trap some paddle-wheel-steamships close to shore,  and the customers hopped from berg to berg to visit a nice mansion on the shore.The lady in the mansion was such a hospitable hostess that she served over 200 cups of coffee. (Sorry; I didn’t save the link.)  Of course, that was back in the tail-end of the Little Ice Age. Could we have a new Ice-age looming?  (Darn, I sure hope it’s a brief age.)

MAY 30  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI May 30 mslp_latest.bigDMI May 30 temp_latest.big (1)

Most of the Arctic Sea remains below freezing, but we are only ten days from the usual start of a period when most of the Arctic Sea will be above freezing.

MAY 30  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI May 30B mslp_latest.bigDMI May 30B temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Ice on the move—

NP2 May 30 npeo_cam2_20140530042352NP2 May 30B npeo_cam2_20140530102320

If you open the above two pictures in new tabs, and then switch two and fro between the two tabs, you can see that the ice in the far side of the crack in the middle distance is shifting right to left.

We have action, ladies and gentlemen. Prepare to see open water, and prepare for media hoopla about “The North Pole Is Melting.”

I am so sure of this I feel I can write a response beforehand,  simply to show the event is no surprise, just as the melt-water pool last summer was no surprise, though the media made it into an alarming event.

“The formation of a lead of open water in summer ice is by no means an uncommon event. We just happen to be fortunate, and to have the North Pole Camera situated in a spot that gives us a front row seat on the lead’s formation. Hopefully our camera will not  be dumped into the sea, and we can study close-up what we have only had distant satellite views of, (plus some still pictures from submarines which surfaced in such leads of open water in the past.)

It is no surprise that the sea-ice breaks into plates of ice of various shapes and size, which bump  and grind in the Arctic Sea. This happens every year and is no reason for alarm. What does surprise us is whether they melt away, as they did in the summer of 2012, or are flushed away through Fram Strait, as happened in the summer of 2007, or stay put and fail to melt much, as they did in the summer of 2013. This summer they are failing to melt away.

 The behavior of the ice is largely controlled by the temperature of the water under the ice and winds above the ice, and these are factors we are still learning about. Having a front row seat allows us to increase our understanding. We should be thankful, rather than panicked by media sensationalism about events that are ordinary and natural.”

There. You read it here first.  Now let us wait and see whether I can just clip and paste this pre-written reply on other  sites, a month from now.  Hopefully people are not quite so predictable.  (I like to think that, hidden in even the most predictable people, is a Spirit that is even harder to predict than the weather.)

NORTH POLE CAMERA   —The fog lifts and…WOW!—

There is a small area of open water shining in the glare of the obscured sun, straight ahead, but what is really amazing is how the formerly-flat ice in the right middle-distance has been turned into a jumble of pressure-ridged ice.

The first picture is from 10:30 PM yesterday, and the second is from 4:30 AM this morning.

NP2 May 30 13NP2 May 31 16

(click above pictures for enlargements of better quality)

Yesterday temperatures at our camera swung through a slight diurnal variation, dipping to -4.6°C at 3:00 AM and then rising to -2.9°C at noon. (Though the sun doesn’t set, it does dip lower at midnight, as we have already drifted nearly 250 miles south of the Pole.) Our drift continued to the south and to the west, and we wound up at 85.836°N, 12.723°E. The pressure remained high at 1016.8 mb, falling slightly, and winds remained light, at 7 mph.

MAY 31  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI May 31 mslp_latest.bigDMI May 31 temp_latest.big (1)

The old blocking-high is slipping east of Scandinavia, as a new blocking-high develops in the Atlantic to their east, and the odd Baltic low divides the two.  Very weak low pressure expands towards the Pole from central Siberia, as the high builds stronger over the Beaufort Gyre, north of Alaska. The temperatures over the Pole continue slightly below normal, with a slight dip in the swift rise that ordinarily occurs in May.

DMI May 31 meanT_2014

MAY 31  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI May 31B mslp_latest.bigDMI May 31B temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA —Hey! Where did that mountain range come from?—

NP2 may 31B 13

Of course it isn’t really a mountain range. It’s a pressure ridge. I have no idea how tall it is. The only thing I’m sure of is that it’s a splendid view.

Winds have been quite light, less than 5 mph, and our camera has edged southwest to 85.807°N, 12.428°E.  Temperatures have yo-yoed erratically up and down a degree or two,  hitting a high of -1.1°C at 3:00 PM yesterday afternoon, then falling to -2.4°C at midnight, bouncing to -1.6°C at 3:00 AM, falling to -3.1°C at 6:00 AM, again bouncing to -1.6°C at 9:00 AM, and again falling to -3.1°C at noon.  I imagine the air can form small pools of more-warmed and less-warmed air, when winds are light, brought about by areas of open water, and also whether a berg is tilted towards or away-from the sun, and these areas of slightly different temperature eddy about each other, wafting by the thermometer and causing the yo-yo effect.

JUNE 1  —DMI MORNING MAP—

DMI2 June 1 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 June 1 temp_latest.big (1)

High pressure persists over the Beaufort Gyre, as a weak low shifts north towards the Pole from Severnaya Zemlya, (which is that group of islands seperating the Kara and Laptev Seas).  Though the low continues the pattern of storms heading to the Pole, it is far weaker than earlier gales, but I suppose I ought dub it “Severn”.

The entire Arctic Sea is below freezing, but very little below minus five.  I wonder if the unusual consistency of temperature is due to the fact all the powdered salt, which was blown around with the snow at colder temperatures, is now all melting the snow.  This might create a plateau in the rise of temperatures until the physical process is completed.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Gone gray again—

NP2 June 1 18

 

JUNE 1  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI2 June 1B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 June 1B temp_latest.big (1)

“Servern” is dragging  a needle of above-freezing air up towards the Pole, as night swings around and brings reading below minus-five to the Canadian side.

Things seem fairly stagnant. The biggest low, over Hudson Bay, will just sit there and weaken. Thge low southwest of Iceland will sit there and weaken. The low exiting Scandinavia will suck “Servern” south, and then weaken.  A vauge sort of ridge from west of Scandinavia towards Alaska will undulate, and weakly persist.

The computer models seem to show the block persisting. And interesting storm will skiit h of all the stagnation across the Atlantic,  and be large for a summer storm, sitting off Spain and well south of Ireland by Friday. Then it turns around and heads back towards the southern tip of Greenland in ten days.  Hmm. Maybe the models are confused by all the stagnation. But it will be an interesting feature to watch for.

Let me show you some of the confusion in the UK Met maps:

CONFUSING UK MET SOLUTION FOR NEXT FRIDAY

This map shows the low I was talking about after it has crossed the Atlantic but before it heads back towards Greenland, completely wound up and a tangle of occlusions, to the west of Spain. But what really is puzzling is the warm front coming down from the north, in the Atlantic, as a cold front comes up from the south in southern Scandinavia.

UK Met June 1 June 6 forecast 15015810 (click to enlarge)

This just shows you how topsy-turvy  blocking patterns are.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Open water dead ahead—

NP2 June 1C 15NP2 June 1B 18

These two pictures are from 10:30 this morning and 4:30 this afternoon, and are definitely worth clicking and enlarging, especially the second one.

The second picture shows clearly that what was merely a crack last week now is a pressure ridge, (though perhaps there is a lead of open water hidden behind it.) Remember that ice cannot build up on the top of the ice without pressing down, and the rule of thumb is that nine times the volume is below.  Therefore, though the “area” of the ice may be decreased, the “volume” remains roughly the same, overall, and in this small area is greatly increased.

Second, the picture shows a new lead appearing straight ahead. Temperatures are below the freezing point of salt water, so the lack of a skim of ice likely means it is quite new.  You can see distant ice on the far side.

Third, if you compare the horizon with the last sunny picture you can recognize forms, and see they have moved little, but definitely have undergone some mangling. This is especially obvious at the right margin, where an impressive mountain of ice has arisen.  I hope, if that horizon decides to shift, that it shifts to the left, so we can get a better view of that bulge.

Lastly, I’ve been wondering about the row of dents in the snow in the near distance, passing behind the very top of the buoy.  With the sun at the angle it is, I’m fairly sure a polar bear walked by and left tracks, in the past. Pity the camera didn’t catch him or her, but, if our camera had made a clicking noise he or she might have come over to check out the noise, and this camera would be knocked over as well.

If that happens I’ll take it as a sign I’m spending too much time watching ice melt, but for now these pictures are a wonderful diversion.

Temperatures did briefly spike up to -1.3°C at 5:00 yesterday afternoon, but just as swiftly were down to -3.2°C at 8:00 PM. They bottomed out at -6.0°C at 3:00 AM, and have recovered to -4.4°C at noon. Our camera has continued to the southwest, to 85.755°N, 12.088°E at noon. Winds have picked up a bit to 11 mph.

I’m curious where the cold is coming from. Not far to our north it is -5.53 C at Buoy 2014E:  but it is mild to our south, up to -1.94 C just north of Greenland, at Buoy 2014D: . Further west it is very cold north of Canada, -11.11 C at Buoy 2012G , and even colder north of the border with Alaska,  -15.26 C  at Buoy 2014C: .

In order to better visualize this I turn to the several thousand maps offered by Dr. Ryan Maue at the WeatherBell site. Below is the GFS prediction for noon tomorrow at our camera:

NP2 June 1B gfs_t2m_arctic_7 (Double click to fully enlarge)

This map does show the short arctic night’s cold north of Canada, and how “Servern” is pulling a streamer of that cold over our camera, but I am distracted by the bright orange in the upper left, showing a heat-wave over Siberia. (This map is upside down, with Greenland at the top.)

That heat, as far as I can tell, is not headed north towards the Pole, but rather, due to the blocking pattern, is going to back west through Scandinavia, (notice how cold northern Norway is,) and then become that warm front moving south in the Atlantic, that seemed so odd to me when I posted next Friday’s UK Met map, above.

How bizarre, that warming isn’t coming north with the Gulf Stream, but east from Siberia. Even stranger is that this pattern, bringing winds from the north in the Atlantic, may bring mild air (which will swiftly be chilled,) but it will also push cold surface waters south, and may deflect the Gulf Stream away from the arctic.

If anyone from Scandinavia visits this site, I’d be curious to know whether Siberia actually does blow warm winds your way. I’m not sure I trust the models.

JUNE 2  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 602 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 602 temp_latest.big (1)

“Servern” is weaker towards the Pole, as the low exiting Scandinavia is stronger as it enters the Kara Sea. Guess I’ll dub that one “Servernson”.

Milder temperatures towards the coast of Canada and Alaska are indicative of the long arctic day swinging around to that side of the Pole.  In this 0000z map noon is straight up and midnight straight down, and the light swings around clockwise. An parabola of shadow also swings around the Pole, drifting away from the Pole until it reaches the Arctic Circle on the first day of summer, whereupon it starts drifting back.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Less open water straight ahead—

NP2 June 2 16NP2 June 2B 18

 

The two pictures above were taken 8 minutes apart around 4:30 AM. The water that looked ipen last night, just above the right antennae-thingy (with the clear globe on top), appears dusted by blown snow, which suggests a skim of thin ice has formed. Or…a skim of thin ice has drifted over the open water, moving right to left.

If you open the above pictures on  new tabs, and then click back and forth between them, you can see a slight right-to-left motion of a small berg on the right edge of the shining open water that remains.

Also the highest “mountain” on the horizon, to the far right, has moved left from where it was last night, and is situated a little farther away from the right margin.

It still looks cold up there.

JUNE 2 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0602B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0602B temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Lead reopening—

NP2 June 2C 16NP2 June 2D 17

The right picture was taken five minutes after the left, around 4:15 PM. The ice in the right background is shifting to the right, and the “mountain” has moved off camera, to the far right.  The ice continues slightly south in 5-10 mph winds, but the movement west has shifted to a movement east (which may explain the opening lead,) and we wound up at 85.707°N, 12.167°E at noon. Temperatures have been fairly steady and cold, and at noon were at -5.4°C.

JUNE 3 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0603 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0603 temp_latest.big (1)

“Servern” continues weak over the Pole as “Servernson” lashes the Kara Sea.  Some open water is appearing in the Laptev Sea. Hudson Bay is getting broken up as a series of storms move north across it and stall to the North.  “Servernson” looks likely to also stall. Between the two the polar areas are relatively tranquil, with temperatures below normal. Temperatures are not rising as quickly as they usually do, which is like last year.

DMI2 0603 meanT_2014 (Click to enlarge)

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Lead may be closing—

NP2 June 2E 13NP2 June 3 17

The above pictures were taken around 10:30 last night (left) and 4:30 this morning (right).  The low scud continues to move left to right, however it seemingly was slanting away from the camera in the first picture and is slanting towards the camera in the second. The ice along the right horizon continues to move to the right in the first  picture, but movement has apparently stopped in the second.  Perhaps we’ve run up against another berg. The lead appears smaller in the second picture. Temperatures continue cold.

JUNE 3 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0603B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0603B temp_latest.big (1)

Very warm over Scandinavia, but warmth is spilling west and not coming north yet.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —SUNNY AND QUIET—

NP2 June 3B 15NP2 June 3C 18

The ice isn’t moving much in the background. Our camera has moved slightly south to 85.661°N, 12.156°E. Winds have increased from around 5 mph to around 10. Temperatures have gradually risen to -3.9°C at noon.

JUNE 4  —MORNING DMI MAPS—

DMI2 0604 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0604 temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Lead crunches shut?—

NP2 June 3D 12NP2 June 4 14 (1)

(Click to enlarge and compare)  These pictures are from roughly 10:30 last night and 4:30 this morning, and I can detect no movement in the ice on the horizon, yet it seems something has filled in the open water that shows straight ahead in the earlier picture (to the left.) Rather  than sun shining on water there appears to be shadows of jumbled ice.

JUNE 4 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0604B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0604B temp_latest.big (1)

A weak memory of “Servern” persists over the Pole surrounded by weak and largely stagnant features. The mild air over Scandinavia continues to drain west and not move north.

Temperatures are below normal over the Arctic Sea. Ordinarily roughly half the area would be above freezing at this point, yet we only witness a small area over towards Bering Strait and another smaller area in the Kara Sea above freezing, and also pools of minus-five isotherm north of Canada.

Before we get excited about the cool air temperatures, we should remember 2007 was also cold at this time over the Pole, but it didn’t stop the export of ice through Fram Strait.

My guess is that the water under the ice is colder than in 2007, and less stratified.  I’d like to gain access to the data being gleaned by new thermometers under the ice to see if my guess is close to reality, though I don’t suppose they have much data from 2007.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Ice shifting again—

NP2 June 4B 14 (1)NP2 June 4C 16

The ice on the horizon to the left has started shifting left again, which should open up the distant lead. Winds of 4-8 mph have apparently shifted around to the south, as our Cameras motion to the south has slowed and stopped, as we continue east, to 85.637°N, 12.403°E.  There was even a tiny 001° northward movement during the last report at noon.

Temperatures remain steady, and were at -3.8°C at noon. The barometer is slowly rising, up to 1019.7 mb at noon, but the cloudiness makes me wonder why people fret so much about the effects of sunshine up there.

JUNE 5  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0605 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0605 temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Open and shut—

NP2 June 4C 13NP2 June 5 18

(Click images to new tabs to best enlarge and compare.)

…AND CRUNCH

NP2 June 5B 14 (1)

 

Features on the horizon are larger and closer. Features on the the far side of the lead may not be larger because they are closer, but rather because the lead has crunched shut and the far side’s pressure ridge is building. The ice on the far side of the lead is moving slightly to the left.

Our camera has moved steadily east, but moved south and north and south and north and south again in winds that have generally been light and less than 5 mph. (It is interesting to speculate what sort of rumpling of ice we’d see if the lead slammed shut in stronger winds.) Our noon position was 85.630°N, 12.628°E. Temperatures fell to -4.8°C at 3:00 AM, rose to -3.1°C at 9:00 AM, and then fell right back to where they were at noon yesterday, at -3.8°C at noon today.

If you compare the above picture with the sunny picture from May 31 (under the title “Hey! Where did that mountain range come from?”) you can spot the same features on the far side of the pressure ridge and the far horizon, though displaced to the right and smaller. They actually may not have changed all that much. However what has truly changed is the amount of ice piled up on our side of the lead, (which is the near side of the pressure ridge when the lead is closed.)

In a way it is like watching a fault line, or rift valley, with the geological time-scale greatly sped up.

JUNE 5  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI 0605BDMI2 0605B temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Lead reopens—

The entire ice-mountain-ranges visible in the most recent picture above have exited to the right of our stage, in the picture below, and the lead that had clamped shut has reopened.

NP2 June 5D 15

This is a much milder-looking picture, especially as the clouds look more prone to rain than snow. However be wary of leaping to conclusions. Leads can close as swiftly as they open, and the “mountain-ranges” are not far away, though out of sight.

JUNE 6  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0606 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0606 temp_latest.big (1)

The pressure remains fairly disorganized over the Pole.  Some of the milder air over Scandinavia is being sucked up towards Svalbard, and some above-freezing air is in the northern Bering Strait and Laptev Sea, but most of the Pole remains below normal.

NORTH POLE CAMERA —Another wind shift—

NP2 June 6 15NP2 June 6B 17

(Enlarge these to new tabs and compare. They are taken 5 minutes apart, at roughly 4:15 this morning. The ice in the lead can be seen to drift tight-to-left, which suggests the lead may be again closing.) ( Also the distant, white dot in the lead in the second picture may be a polar bear on thin ice, as the white dot isn’t there in a picture taken three minutes later.)

JUNE 6  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0606B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0606B temp_latest.big (1)

 

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —The lead slams shut; the lead rips open—

NP2 June 6C 11NP2 June 6D 16

These pictures are from roughly 10:00 AM and 4:15 PM.  Click to enlarge, or better yet, check out this animation the Blogger  Max™ sent me, made up of the pictures from the same time period: http://cdn.makeagif.com/media/6-06-2014/szJdAf.gif

In the first picture the ice in the background is shifting to the left, and in the second picture it is shifting to the right.  The repetitive opening and closing of the lead may be associated with the fact our camera moved south, then north, then south, and then north again. All the while it drifted east, winding up at 85.625°N, 13.057°E.  Temperatures rose as high as -3.3°C at 9:00 PM yesterday, and sunk as low as -5.2°C at 6:00 AM today, before again rising to -4.1°C at noon. Winds increased slightly to around 14 mph.

JUNE 7 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0607 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0607 temp_latest.big (1)

The lull continues one more day, but there are some signs the pattern may be changing, or perhaps reloading. The blocking high will persist in the north Atlantic, but the features around its edges will move about.

I don’t claim to understand the warmth over Scandinavia. The rising air seems to have created a weak low at the surface over the Baltic, which somehow translated into a weak upper air low, to the east of the blocking high.  As that mess moves east the mild air coming into Scandinavia looks like it will be replaced by more of a southwest flow. This sort of flow is more likely to warm Barents Sea, but it seems a front will form there and resist penetration of the mildness north into the arctic, due to yet another low moving up over the Pole.

The weak memory of “Servren” will be revitalized by some mild air pulled north past Svalbard, and the stronger low west of Greenland will transit Greenland’s northern highlands, (I call this “morphistication”), and move towards the Pole. I’ll call this second low “Greeny.”  It will dance-with and absorb “Servren,” keeping low pressure over the Pole for what looks like it will be a solid week.  Some of the strongest winds associated with the low appear likely between the Pole and Fram Strait, and likely to hit our camera.  STAY TUNED!

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —The back-slosh before a charge?

NP2 June 6E 13NP2 June 7 17 

(Click to enlarge) These pictures are from 10:15 last night and 4:15 this morning. In the first picture the background ice is moving to the left, and the lead has closed to a degree. In the second picture the background ice appears motionless, and the lead appears very slightly wider. Judging from the clouds, it looks like milder air is moving in, at least aloft. Surface temperatures may remain colder. At Buoy 2014E: , roughly 100 miles north, the most recent reading is -5.60 C.

As “Greeny” reforms northeast of Greenland it will be to our south, but will pass over today and be to our north tomorrow and all next week. Today winds will be from our east, but for a long stretch afterwards they will be from the west. Assuming (from the fact the camera faces the sun at 4:15 AM) the camera faces east, the wind will be in our face today and then at our back for a week afterwards.  Today we will back off, but then we will charge ahead.

What will this mean in terms of the lead we have been watching?  I haven’t a clue, for the same wind will effect the ice on both sides of the lead.  I suppose it depends on which floe of ice has the taller pressure ridges, which would be like sails catching the wind.  If the ice dead ahead has the better sails, it could move off and the lead would widen, but if we have better sails we could go crashing into it and see some big pressure ridges form.

In either case, it ought to be an interesting week, unless the ice cracks up and our camera sinks.  Or…well…I suppose that would be interesting, but an end to this series of posts.

I wonder how far east we will be blown.  We could move east well north of Svalbard, which I’ve never seen a camera do before.  STAY TUNED!!!

A QUICK GLANCE AT THE UK MET

UK Met June 7 15149472 (click to enlarge)

I’m just comparing this initial map, which is reality, with the forecast map for today I posted a week ago, above.  They did get the stalled storm southwest of Ireland right, but they had a weird warm front pressing down from the north, over Iceland, as a weird cold front pressed up from the south, over Scandinavia.  That got messed up by the weird back-wash of warmth from the east over Scandinavia rising and forming a weak low over the Baltic, which extends up into the upper atmosphere.

Before I peek at upper atmosphere maps I should mention that having a low stalled this  far south happened a lot last winter, and, as you can’t really call it an “Icelandic Low” I dubbed such stalled storms “Britannic Lows”.  It seems significant (to me at least) that lows in this position blow against and across the normal flow of the Gulf Stream.

Considering people focus so much, in the Pacific, on whether trade winds are strong or weak, and how this effects the development of the El Nino, it seems probable (to me, at least),  that equal attention should be paid to whether winds assist the flow of the Gulf Stream, or hinder it.

SOME 500 MB MAUE MAPS

I urge any who are fascinated by weather to subscribe to the WeatherBELL premium site (free week’s trial offered) if only for the wonderful collection of maps that Dr. Ryan Maue has put together from data which, (if it isn’t made into a map or graph) is sheer gobbledygook to me.  There are more maps produced through some automatic computer wizardry than you could possibly look at, updated every six hours or so.  The maps must number in the thousands. I like to look at the 500 mb maps, as that level of the atmosphere does a lot of “steering” of things down below.

Below are the current, 3 day, 5 day and 6 day maps of the 500 mb level over Europe.  What really interests me is the trough (blue anomaly) abruptly bulging down over Scandinavia on the sixth day.  That would seem to be an abrupt shift from balmy to colder weather, and also suggest winds that might steer our camera south.

CURRENTMM Jun7A gfs_z500_sig_eur_1  

3 DAY        MM Jun7B gfs_z500_sig_eur_13  

5 DAY        MM Jun7C gfs_z500_sig_eur_21  

6 DAY        MM Jun7D gfs_z500_sig_eur_25

(CLICK THESE MAPS TWICE TO FULLY ENLARGE THEM)

JUNE 7  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0607B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0607B temp_latest.big (1)

“Servern” has drifted back up to the Pole, as “Greeny” morphs over the icecap and appears on Greenland’s northeast coast.

Temperatures remain well below normal around the Pole. Usually they are up to freezing by now.

DMI2 June 7B meanT_2014 (click to enlarge)

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Bump and grind—

NP2 June 7B 10NP2 June 7C 15

 

Background ice isn’t moving in first picture (to left, roughly 10:00 am), and is moving to left in second picture (to right, roughly 4:00 PM).  Judging from background features, the background ice is also moving away.

Our camera drifted steadily east all day, and north until 6:00 AM, and then was nudged .005° south by noon, winding up at 85.610°N, 13.602°E. Winds have slackened down to around 8 mph. The pressure has been steady all day at 1016 mb, winding up at 1016.4 mb at noon. Despite the midnight sun, temperatures fell to -6.0°C at midnight, and then rose to -3.7°C at 6:00 AM.  At noon they are back down to -5.3°C.

Usually we are seeing more above freezing temperatures by now, especially down towards the Atlantic side of the Pole. (Don’t forget we’ve drifted roughly 250 miles south of the Pole.)

JUNE 8 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0608 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0608 temp_latest.big (1)

 

More above-freezing temperatures on the Pacific side, where it is high noon on these 0000z maps. We’ll see how it looks twelve hours from now, when the brief polar night descends south of the Arctic circle, up at the tip of the map. It looks a little cooler at the bottom of the map, where it is midnight.

“Servren” is weaker over the Pole, as “Greeny” moves slowly northeast towards our camera.

NORTH POLE CAMERA   —dreary and gray—

NP2 June 7E 12NP2 June 8 18

 

(Click to enlarge) Ice across the lead is moving right to left. Temperatures are quite cold at  Buoy 2014E: to the north, at  -7.34 C.

JUNE 8  —DMI Afternoon Maps—

DMI2 0608B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0608B temp_latest.big (1)

 

“Servren” and “Greeny” are pulling off the Fujiwhara Effect waltz, (or perhaps it is the bola-stones-twirl), and each seems to be drawing north their separate source of slightly milder air to fuel their  separate existences. Some colder air lies over the Pole between them.

The first glimpse of really mild air can be seen on the shores of the Laptev Sea in central Siberia, hinting of the inland heat of Siberia in the summer.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Wind in our face, and….Aurrrgh!!!”

NP2 June 8B 14 (1)

Turn on the defrosters!  Turn on the defrosters!

NP2 June 8C 18

 

There. That’s better.  (Actually some of these cameras do have lens defrosters, but they only use them when they have power to spare. I’m not sure how much solar power you get when the weather is so cloudy up there, even though the sun never sets.)

It looks like the camera got an inch or so of snow.  Since yesterday we have drifted steadily north, but our eastward drift came to a halt at 6:00 PM yesterday, at 13.704°E, and since then the wind-in-our-face has pushed us back west, and at noon today we wound up at 85.643°N, 13.424°E. (We are back up at the latitude we were at on June 3.)

The snow is likely connected to some sort of weak warm front, as the temperatures have risen steadily to -0.9°C. The pressure has fallen to 1010.8 mb, and winds are quite light, around 5 mph.

For people who are focused on the albedo equations, a fresh fall of snow reflects sunlight better than anything else.

JUNE 9  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0609 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0609 temp_latest.big (1)

“Servren” and “Greeny” continue their Fujiwhara Waltz, with Greeny now past our Camera, and the winds likely shifting. There is some thawing on the Bering Strait side of the Arctic Sea, but around the Pole it still remains below normal.

NORTH POLE CAMERA   —Clearing skies—

NP2 June 8D 15NP2 June 9 18

(Click images to enlarge.)  These images are from 10:00 last night (left) and 4:00 this morning (right). In the first the ice across the lead isn’t moving, but a chunk of ice in the lead is moving to the left. In the second the entire far side is moving to the left. Or perhaps we are moving to the right. However, as the lead has apparently closed, there must be a lot of grinding going on. The snow drifts have shifted about quite a bit from how they were laid out in the picture from May 31, above.

JUNE 9  —DMI Afternoon Maps— Where’s the thaw?—

DMI2 0609B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0609B temp_latest.big (1)

“Servren” and “Greeny” are continuing their Fujiwhara waltz around the Pole, and it seems to be creating a zonal flow that locks the cold air up there and won’t let any warm invade from the south.  The closest thing to an invasion is due to a low along the coast of the Laptev Sea, “Lappy”, bulging a small area of warmth north there. (“Lappy” will be the next storm to charge up to the Pole.)

Another small pocket of above freezing temperature is north of Franz Josef Land, during the warmest part of their afternoon. The short arctic night has swung around to the Bering Strait side of the Arctic Sea, and dropped temperatures over there.  It is a impressively cold map, at a time where the average temperature of the arctic sea is usually above freezing.  However don’t expect headlines. Only thaws make headlines.

The graph shows temperatures actually dropping, when we should be above the blue line that marks the freezing point.

DMI2 0609B meanT_2014 (click to enlarge)

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Eastward Ho!—

(Click the pictures below for larger, clearer images.)

In the first picture we see a far colder scene. The winds that were in our face have swung around to our right, (the north), and continued on to our back. While they were in the north they cleared the loose ice out of the lead, but temperatures fell significantly, from -0.9°C at noon yesterday to -6.8°C at three AM today. At the time of this picture (10:00 AM) the temperatures were inching back up to a reading of -5.9°C. The open water in the lead looks like it is skimming over with ice despite the bright sunshine. Our northward movement has ceased, and we are moving south, as our westward movement has ceased, and we are just starting back east, to 85.577°N, 13.021°E. As the winds swung through the north they peaked at around 16 mph but have slackened to 9 mph from the west.

NP2 June 9B 13

 

The second picture shows the far side of the lead still distant, but closer, with some looming peaks.  If we catch up there could be quite a crunch. The mass of ice that was distant and straight ahead in the above shot now appears to be lodged on our side of the lead, to the right, and is motionless.

NP2 June 9C 17

 

We are likely to have a low to our north for the next weak, and one model is showing “Lappy” will be a significant gale, and the east winds at our camera could get quite strong by next weekend. Eastward ho!

********

As this post is becoming long and unwieldy, and as the thaw I’ve been awaiting isn’t happening, I’ll start a new post about the death of the “Death Spiral”, at:   https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/arctic-sea-ice-melt-the-death-spirals-death/

 

—*******MEMORIAL DAY*******— —FATHER’S DAY—

On Memorial Day I recall guys I knew who didn’t make it back from Vietnam, but also my parents, who were veterans of a different battlefield.  The social earthquake they lived through is a story for another evening. Let it suffice to say they walked sixteen years together and then over thirty-five apart, surviving an ordeal with the strange dignity given to those who endure.

In the end they were buried very far apart. My father’s grave is less than a mile away, but I cannot visit my mother’s grave.  She asked that her ashes be scattered at sea. I’m not sure why, for she didn’t tell me her reasons.  She was a very private person, and perhaps didn’t want her privacy intruded upon, even in death. If that is the case, it didn’t work, for when I go swimming at the beach I sometimes think of her ashes, and that I am swimming in her as I once did as an embryo in her womb.  You can’t get much more intrusive than that, but then, I always was a bit of a brat.

It made no sense to me that she would want to be buried at sea, for all her life she was in terror of the ocean. Maybe her choice was made because her first love likely died at sea, (he was a merchant marine sailor on a freighter sunk by a German submarine while convoying supplies to Russia.) Maybe she wanted her ashes mingled with him, in the end. However she sure hated it when my father and brothers and I sailed and fished on the ocean. She’d seen the sea be cruel, and was sure we all were good as dead, over and over and over again.

We never died, for as far as we were concerned it was a kindly sea, not a cruel sea, and it never let us down despite some close calls and hair-raising escapades. Rather than dying my father came alive on the sea, and if anyone should have been buried at sea it should have been him. It makes no sense that he’s buried up in these hills, so far from the shore.

In any case, there was little chance of visiting my mother’s grave today; the traffic to the shore was terrible, and I am way behind on my planting. In any case, she never seemed to want visitors, but my father seemed to think being remembered was a nice thing. Every Memorial Day he’d go down to Clinton,  Massachusetts to his family’s plot, and visit his parents and grandparents.  I figured he’d like it if I visited him today, so I picked some lilacs and went to his grave.

We used to argue about whether there was an afterlife or not. I stated the Mind was different from the brain, and he stated consciousness ceased when the electricity ceased flickering through the miracle called the brain. Therefore he would not want me to visit because he’d be watching. Instead he liked being remembered.

He actually wanted to be buried down in Clinton, so he could be remembered along with his mother and father and brother and sister-in-law, and the linkage of family history back through time would be easier. However my stepmother insisted she would be buried in the town she loved, with the man she loved next to her, and my father meekly and wistfully complied.  (My stepmother could be very selfish at times, but I brought her some lilacs all the same.)

After I laid the lilacs on their graves I stood in the hot sun feeling far away from them. No communing was going on. I figure folk are fairly busy in the afterlife, and not very aware of this world. This world fades like the reality of your bedroom does, when you are deep in a vivid dream. However my father wanted me to remember, so I did my best.

Oddly, what popped into my head were two pictures of my father in situations I hadn’t witnessed, taken sixty years apart.

The first was a picture my sister sent me, of my father in uniform in World War Two, with my uncle, also in uniform.  There were other, more formal pictures, but this one was a gag shot.  Because my father was the “baby,” six years younger than my uncle, (my grandfather served in France in World War One between their births,) my uncle was holding my Dad in his arms, (more like a husband holds a bride crossing a threshold than a mother holds a baby,) and both wore mischievous grins I’d never seen them wear, as more serious elders.

The second was a gag shot from the final visit my father made to the Clinton graveyard. By then my father could not move about without a walker, (which he called a “galloper”,) but he had labored away from my grandparent’s grave, up a slope to my grandmother’s family plot, and had his picture taken by the big stone with her family name on it.  I’m not sure my stepmother recognized the irony as she took the shot, but I’m certain my Dad did: A very old man in a walker by a gravestone with the single word, “Young,” on it.

I guess that demonstrates a tough sense of humor that lasted from youth at the gates of war, to the gates of death sixty years later. It made me smile, blinking in the bright sunshine, which I think is the sort of remembrance my father would have wanted.

However as I turned away to get back to my planting I wished I had done more for the old man, in his final years.  I did take him fishing at a nearby pond, but never took him to the beach, though we talked about the ocean all the time. I suppose it was because I could barely take my own kids to the beach, for a single day once or twice a summer.  Still, it seemed a shame that a guy who loved the sea so much didn’t get to the shore once, that I know of, in his final thirteen years.

I think that thought was wandering through my skull because I found this old, sappy Father’s Day poem I wrote for my Dad, when my my dead computer from those days was resurrected, last Saturday.

SAILING (For Dad.)

In a boat called, “Life,”
On a sea called, “Life,”
Through a storm called, “Life,”
We’ve gone sailing.

Often bailing;
Often flailing
To reach sheets in the wind,
Or to reach a beach on a reach before finned
Sharks bit our bark,
We’ve gone sailing.

We’ve gone sailing in the summer
When the waves are soft and low,
And gone sailing in some weathers
And in places few dare go.

In a manner of speaking
We have sailed onto the shore
And up and over mountains
Where eagles never soar.

We have sailed across salt deserts
Which have never seen an oar.

We’ve ignored the folk who say,
“Sail where sailors ought.”
Even when we simply sit
We’re sailing in our thought.

And I am glad I’ve learned these ways
Of thinking, at your side,
And looking back I see a wake
that makes me grin with pride.

When the night is full of plankton
And my wake is through the stars
And I tack about the Dipper
I’m glad you were my skipper.

I can’t really remember writing this poem, nor whether I decided it was too sappy to give to my father.  Often I’d write poems that seemed great, and later decide they stunk. It is as Henry Miller wrote, “Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read the words of a master and recognize them as our own…”

If we want life to be more poetic, we need to push poetry and to be poets.

However I did remember my my father on Memorial Day, which is something he would have liked.

 

 

 

POET’S PLAN —Towers Infernal—

Towers Infernal electronics_computer_tower1

This is the start of a new series of posts, describing my effort to self-publish over fifty years worth of writing.

On Saturday something wonderful happened. I had three computer towers gathering dust, as they had become obsolete, plus the obsolete Windows XL I currently use, and a young fellow came by, took the brains out, attached them to a gadget, and downloaded the entire memory of four towers into an external drive the size of my wallet.

In one case the computer was so old it didn’t start any more. I had downloaded some things from it that seemed vital to me onto old floppy discs, and shifted them to a newer computer back around 2002, but lost in its faceless hulk was all sorts of other obscure stuff I never got around to printing  or saving onto a floppy discs.  I figured those things were dust in the wind, but they weren’t.  Suddenly, on Saturday, I was able to look back in time to the late 1990’s, when my aging parents were still alive, and I still had five kids in my small house.

What a blast from the past!

Among other things I found the following poem, which describes the attitude I had at that time about the fact I’d written my entire life, and no one cared.  I think the attitude I had towards my own abject failure is sort of neat.  Also it is neat that the writing I thought was merely dust in the wind was rescued, (for the moment at least,) by a computer geek with a neat gadget, last Saturday.  It was as if my house burned down, and my life’s work was ashes, but I was a man about the loss and got over it, and then the ashes all came together and what was lost was given back to me.

SKYWRITING

What signatures do clouds leave
Passing through the sky?
The next day, has their passage
Left their name, writ up on high?
Do they crave for credit?
Hanker fame? Press demands?
Or is their sole graffiti
Lovely greening of the lands?

And if they can be beautiful
Without demanding fame
Why should I desire
That someone notes my name?
Do clouds cry out for editors
And fall, becoming fog?
Why do I pester publishers,
Whimpering like a dog?

Each day Divine erasers
Wipe the chalkboard of the skies
So that the Great Kaleidoscope
Can freshly catch our eyes
And lift them from the greening earth;
From dirt that grows our food
To what food keeps us living for:
Amazement’s gratitude.

Those same Divine erasers
Change our language, over time,
‘Til someday this poor poetry
Will barely seem to rhyme;
‘Til creepings of obscurity
Make English ancient Greek,
Yet still the clouds will roll above
And still their silence speak.

Even if this poem sold
And critics called it great,
And future teachers scribbled it,
Chalk shrieking over slate,
(Trying to make lusty boys
Stop slugging, and free sighs,)
I’d be the boy who looked away
Out windows, and saw Skies.

A Greater Artist daubs that blue
With sunrises of flame,
Creates a fleeting masterpiece,
And never signs His name.
It’s little clouds, like you and I,
(Bad sports, within this game,)
Who carve our names on trees and time
And call it fame.

Why do we do it? Can’t we see
We’re each a passing cloud?
Who says we can’t just green the earth?
Who says it’s not allowed?
Or are we little children
Who grow loud to catch an eye,
Demanding the attention
Of the One who made the sky?

O you who made the clouds and us!
Heed us! As we hurl
Our mighty little thunderbolts!
See our tornadoes twirl!
We’re mighty little thunderheads
For three score and for ten,
Demanding your attention
Every day, and then…and then?

And then I guess we get to go
To editing. Review
The mess we made of earth.
See greening that we didn’t do.
And even if it’s true we then
Feel roasted by our shame
The heat makes us evaporate
And we escape the flame.

I’m not impressed by teachers
Who scratch blackboards with their threats,
Preaching everlasting hell
Is what a rain cloud gets
If he passes over gardens
Without greening. He who whets
Such fearing wets the fires
Of the poems. What teacher’s pets!

For nothing’s everlasting,
Yet threat believes in fame;
It claims our small graffiti
Carves an everlasting name.
Creation is a nothing.
The Creator is the All.
Believing dust-to-dust is real
Is why we rise and fall.

Only when you understand
That all will be erased
Can you rise above the sky
And feel your being Graced.
All will be forgiven.
God isn’t mean; He’s Love.
It’s written in the signature
Of Cirrus, high above.

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE MELT —THE PULVERIZED POLE—

This is the continuation of a long series of posts, the last of which can be found at https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/arctic-sea-ice-melt-light-on-the-subject/

I began this series over a year ago, partly because I simply like studying the North Pole’s icecap, and partly because I had become convinced the media was doing a stunningly badjob of fact-checking, when it came to the subject of the icecap.  If anyone is interested in how I came to this conclusion they can read past posts. (It basically was due to a hobby I had of studying everything I could find about the Greenland Vikings, and the fact I knew the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than current times.)

I decided to study the icecap seriously for a year, and my year will be up in June.  If you look back you will see I have made mistakes, and admitted them.  It is all part of learning.

Once my year is done I’d really like to drop the subject of ice like a hot potato.  There are more interesting things in life than watching ice form and melt (though few things are more relaxing and serene, under ordinary circumstances.)

I’d rather write about the extraordinary circumstances we are living through, where politicians can make such a farce and fraud out of an ice-cap. It has to do with the collective psyche of my generation, and how it came to be basically deranged. If I describe what I’ve witnessed over the past fifty years I’ll likely offend nearly everyone I know, but it will be refreshing for people who thirst for truth. Also I intend to write about it in a way that will make people laugh, for that is more fun than weeping.

The only problem is that the North Pole is behaving oddly this year.  It has a grip on me. Therefore rather than suspending this series in June, as I had originally planned, I’ll likely continue it in a reduced form as the summer progresses, because I myself am very curious about what we will see.

What I have seen so far is somewhat predictable,  if you subscribe to the theory that the level of sea-ice is not controlled by CO2, but rather by the PDO and AMO. (The Pacific Decadeal Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadeal Oscillation.)  We only began having satellite views of the Pole when I was a young man in my twenties, and both cycles were in their “cold” phase.  As the cycles moved into their “warm” phases, the ice in the arctic shrank, as one would expect.  Then the Pacific switched back to “cold,” and we have seen the ice grow back on the Pacific side, again as one would expect.  The level of ice on the Atlantic side remained very low, as the Atlantic remained in the “warm” phase of its cycle.  However here is where the surprise happens.

If you go back and look at the old records, as I have done, it becomes clear the AMO and PDO do not work like clockwork.  They have variations, and rather than saying they alternate over a period of exactly sixty years you need to say they alternate over a period of around sixty years.  Also you notice odd quirks and blips in the record, where right in the middle of a “warm” period a cycle may spike “cold,” and right in the middle of a “cold” period a cycle may spike “warm.”

That is what is occurring right now. The PDO, which was settling into a “cold” cycle, has spiked “warm,” while the Atlantic, which has roughly five years of a “warm” cycle to finish, has spiked “cold.”  This makes total mincemeat of expectations, if you deal in generalities. It also makes mincemeat of a neat and tidy sequence of events, which one would expect to see if the weather was ever neat and tidy.  It isn’t. You learn to expect the unexpected.

The general view is that, because the Pacific is so much bigger, it tends to boss the Atlantic around. When the Pacific turns “cold” the Atlantic can only stay “warm” so long before it comes into compliance with the stronger pattern.  However, during the time they are at odds, they generate a sort of clash that ruins a neat and tidy jet-stream called “zonal,” which describes a neat and tidy circle around the Pole. Instead the jet-stream dives far to the south and then rebounds far to the north, in a manner Dr. Tim Ball calls “meridianal” and I call “loopy.”  This is what we’ve seen the past winter, when North America froze as Europe enjoyed mildness, and saw the previous two winters when the roles were reversed.

The effect of a “loopy” jet stream on the Pole is twofold.  Big blobs of milder air surge north to replace the colder air surging south, and the Pole is far more windy.  What Alarmist focus on is the temperatures above normal, and the big cracks that the wind forms in the sea-ice, thinking it indicates the icecap is weakened and melting away. The opposite may be true.

First, the planet only has so much warmth, and when you bring more of that warmth to the Pole in the dead of winter when the sky is perpetually dark, it is lost to outer space.  It doesn’t melt the ice, for it is still well below the freezing point of salt water.  Even if it is fifteen degrees above normal, (which is extreme), it is at minus twenty rather than at minus thirty-five, and it is still perfectly capable of flash-freezing salt water.

Second, the more the ice cracks the more the water is exposed, and this does two things:

A, it chills and churns the water, both cooling the Arctic Sea and preventing any stratification in terms of salinity, which would allow warmer, saltier water to slip in under the colder, less-salty surface water.  The slight heat of the cold water steams up in the frigid air, losing extra heat to outer space, and also adding to the snows on top of the ice.

B, it is amazing how swiftly the open water flash-freezes.  A lead can freeze over thick enough for a 1600 piund polar bear to walk on it in a matter of hours when the winds are at thirty-below. This indicates ice forms six inches thick when, if that water was protected from the wind by three feet of ice, at best only an inch would have formed on the underside of the ice.  Get it? Six times as much ice has formed, in that area where the water is open.

Thirdly, besides the ice cracking apart and forming “leads,” the ice comes smashing together again,  building a mini-mountain range called a “pressure ridge.”  Many are small, only an obstacle a couple feet tall,  however you need to remember nine tenths of an iceberg is under water.  If it sticks up two feet then it sticks down fourteen feet.  Nor are all pressure ridges small. Some stick up thirty feet, which suggests they stick down two-hundred-seventy.

As winter night ended and the North Pole began its time of the midnight sun, I was eager to see what the ice looked like. Not only did last winter have the loopy pattern you see when one ocean is “warm” and the other “cold,” but both oceans had flipped during the fall and winter, from “warm” to “cold” in the case of the Atlantic and from “cold” to “warm” in the case of the Pacific. (The reason I put “warm” and “cold” in quotes is because the oceans are not warmer or colder as a whole, but rather the warmer and colder parts of each ocean change their positions.)

Not only was the pattern loopy, with strong winds sweeping over the ice as “cross-polar-flows,” but actual whirling gales tracked up over the ice.  (There have been four over the past month or so, and may be a fifth next week.) I had a hunch the ice would be especially fractured and piled up.

This is exactly what the people crazy enough to ski up there for the fun of it are reporting. (You can check out my last post for the details.)

As I described above, up until now the effect of the crack-up of the ice has been to chill the water more and to build up the volume of the ice.  However now the sun starts to get higher in the sky.  When the sun hits snow-covered ice it is reflected, but when it hits darker areas of open water or black ice it is absorbed and can melt ice and warm water. Therefore the question becomes, will the warming and melting effect out-weigh the cooling and freezing effect?

There is little doubt the Pole is pulverized, but much mystery about what the effect will be, by September.  STAY TUNED!!!

MAY 13  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI May 13 mslp_latest.bigDMI May 13 temp_latest.big (1)

MAY 13 —NORTH POLE CAMERA PICTURES

NP1 May 13 9NP2 May 13 18

 

(You can left-click these pictures to enlarge them, or right-click and open-to-a-new-tab if you are into multi-tabbing) (which is much like multi-tasking.)

To my eyes it looks foggy and perhaps milder up there. No snow is on the buoy, so I doubt it is snowing. The temperature data doesn’t get posted until afternoon, but Buoy 2014E: which is nearby is reporting  -13.88 C, which isn’t really milder. 

For all the talk about “albedo” and the reflective qualities of white snow versus open water, its hard to get excited when the sun never shines.  (Maybe by saying that I can jinx it into shining.) I wonder if there is available research about sunny summers as opposed to cloudy summers, and the effects of cloudiness on the ice.

MAY 13 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI May 13B mslp_latest.bigDMI May 13B temp_latest.big (1)

For the time being the rapid springtime warming of the Arctic Ocean has stopped. The same thing happened last year.

DMI May 13B meanT_2014 (click to enlarge)

QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET MAPS

UK Met May 13 FSXX00T_00 (1)UK Met May 13B 14533430 (CLICK MAPS TO ENLARGE)

What is left of Tornson is strengthening as it departs the Baltic and heads up for the arctic coast, and perhaps the Pole. In its wake north winds Scandinavia, but a nice high pressure moving up over England may extend a kindly arm north and shift winds to the south in Scandinavia by Thursday.

In the meantime this pattern is not helping the Gulf Stream get any warmth up Norway’s coast. There are some signs another blocking pattern may develop.

LOCAL VIEW  —A SINGLE DAY OF SUMMER, LONG GONE—

Yesterday it made it up to 85, but today it was 50 at dawn and still fifty in the afternoon, with a cold drizzle from time to time. You can see the backdoor front, really a glorified sea breeze, has pushed all the way west to the middle of Pennsylvania.

A battle 213 satsfc (3) (click to enlarge)

On his WeatherBELL blog Joe Bastardi posted this excellent Dr. Ryan Maue map of the cold temperatures flooding west across New England.

A battle 213 Screen_shot_2014_05_13_at_6_06_12_PM (click to enlarge)

I don’t want to talk about it.  I’m pretty stiff and sore from pretending I’m a farmer at age sixty-one.  I likely should admit my dream of making the farm better is defeated, as I seem to spend as much time leaning on the end of my hoe’s handle as hoeing.  However I’m too stubborn.

What I need to do is make some money writing,  so I can hire a couple of hands and teach them what I know.  However it is a sorry state of affairs when you have to pay others to learn. No one paid me. Grumble-grumble-grumble….

Don’t mind me; it’s just the weather.

MAY 14  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI May 14 mslp_latest.bigDMI May 14 temp_latest.big (1)

Weak lows are rotating around the Pole. The one to watch is “Tornson”, over Finland.

MAY 14 —North Pole Camera Shots; Still grey and cloudy—

NP1 May 13B 9NP2 May 13B 18

(click to enlarge)

The Camera 2 picture (with the buoy) is six hours later than the first. The time stamps are at the very top of the picture, when you enlarge them.  The second picture is just before midnight, “Camera Time”, which I think is Greenwich Mean Time.

BERING STRAIT ICE BREAKING UP

This surprises me, especially on the Siberian coast (top right) where the ice was 15 feet thick only a few weeks ago.  The ice didn’t melt as much as it was blown away from the coast. However when the PDO goes into its “warm” phase the area does get warmer. (Alaska is to the lower left, and Siberia to the upper right.)

MAY 14 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI May 14B mslp_latest.bigDMI May 14B temp_latest.big (1)

 

For the moment the map is reletively placid, with weak lows cycling around the Pole. (I’m calling the low northeast of Finland “Tornson,” although it has gone through restructuring as it passed through the Baltic, because I’ve run out of names and deserve to be lazy after working hard at the farm the past few days.) Tornson seems likely to be the most notable storm in the near future, however the high pressure building behind Tornson is the real story.  As it continues to build the northwest flow over Scandinavia could swing right around to the southeast, and rather than winds from the Pole they might get (greatly modified) winds from the Sahara.  In any case, changes are coming.

The Pole itself remains around ten below zero, with the cold air swirling around and staying up there. With the air at -10.0 and the freezing point of salt water at -1.7, it is obvious the pulverized icecap is still chilling any water that is exposed or barely skimmed over by thin ice.  The melting is at the edges.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —-6:00 PM PICTURES—

NP1 May 14 9NP2 May 14 17

 

(Click to enlarge)  The sky is showing signs of clearing, but it still looks mighty cold. The lead to the right of Camera One”s view is showing ni signs of reopening, and the skim of ice on it looks thicker. The wind has slackened but the drift continues to the south, to 86.579°N, 10.600°E. The air temperature at noon was -11.4°C.

UK MET MAP  —CHANGES COMING—

UK Met May 14 14559391 (Click to enlarge)

The map shows Tornson exiting Scandinavia, with a cold north flow behind it, and a high pressure system building over England. Once again the high is stalling low pressure south of Greenland, (“Tornzclip,”  as it formed from bits and pieces of clippers that swung around “Torn”).  Once again a low is stalled in the Mediterranean.  Looks like a block is again forming, so we look to Dr. Ryan Maue’s supurb WeatherBELL maps, (free week trial available,) to see what is going on upstairs, at the 500 mb level.  The next five days are very interesting. (These maps can be double clicked to fully enlarge them)

THE CURRENT MAP            Block 1 gfs_z500_sig_eur_1  

TWO DAYS FROM NOW      Block 2 gfs_z500_sig_eur_9  

THREE DAYS FROM NOW Block 3 gfs_z500_sig_eur_13 

FOUR DAYS FROM NOW   Block 4 gfs_z500_sig_eur_17 

FIVE DAYS FROM NOW     Block 5 gfs_z500_sig_eur_21

The upper air trough that extends down to the Mediterranean gets cut off, as a high bridges over the top, and then a second trough digs down to the west of the high pressure and connects with the low pressure remaining on the Mediterranean, ending with a new cut off low southeast of England. A block may be involved, but it is by no means a static pattern.

To refer back to air from the Sahara heading for Scandinavia, if you follow the isobars in the final map they suggest a flow from the Sahara around the eastern side of the Mediterranean and then back to the northwest towards Sweden.  It is a long, long road, but it gets you there.

LOCAL VIEW —The high, hot sun—

A battle 214 satsfc (3)  (click to enlarge)

The map shows the backdoor cold front still stalled back in Pennsylvania.  In fact the glorified sea-breeze even got down to Washington DC.  There seemed little chance warm air could get to us today.

A battle 214 rtma_tmp2m_conus__8_(1)

However it was only ocean air, and just as the fog burns off on the coast on a hot summer day, the sun evaporated the gloomy overcast, and suddenly we had a bright sun and mild temperatures. The air wasn’t the muggy, thunder-breeding stuff that had been halted to our west.  It was delicious, perfect air.

I had the sense things were looking up.  My mood had been so foul that I was doing a good job of making bad things worse. One thing I did was fry the solenoid on the starter of my rider lawnmower, attempting a jump start from my car. (Highly risky, but I’d gotten away with it before. However I forgot my old truck now had a new battery, with a much stronger charge.) (ZAP!!!)

After ruining my mower I was about ready to kick walls and spit snakes, but somehow managed to plod about figuring out the problem, purchasing a new solenoid, and getting the old piece of junk running. (It is 25 years old.)  Once the Childcare grounds were mowed life didn’t look so bad.  (The grass is about the only thing that has grown, this cold spring.)

I suppose I should give myself a lecture about abstaining from foul moods, but sometimes nothing makes me lose my temper faster than being told I should keep it.

MAY 15  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI May 15 mslp_latest.bigDMI May 15 temp_latest.big (1)

MAY 15  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI May 15B mslp_latest.bigDMI May 15B temp_latest.big (1)

 

MAY 16  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI May 16 mslp_latest.bigDMI May 16 temp_latest.big (1)

 

“Tornson” continues to thrash across the Kara Sea, swinging its predecessor (I forget what I named it) up towards the Pole, along with some slightly milder air over the East Siberian Sea. Weak low pressure west of Greenland will collapse towasd the Pole, as even weaker low pressure southeast of Svalbard also moves towards the Pole west of Svalbard, strengthening.  All these lows will gather around the Pole as a weak (990 mb) storm that persists over the Pole until next weekend. As long as it sits there it does not bode well for sunshine, or major invasions of thawing air.  The DMI temperature graph is interesting, when you compare it to last year: (This year’s graph is to the left; last year’s to the right.)

DMI May 16 meanT_2014DMI May 16 meanT_2013 (1)

(Click graphs to enlarge)  Both years show the air above the arctic ice was above-normal as it was cracked and smashed by storms and cross-polar-winds, but right at this time of year it dips below normal.  If it follows last year, and continues below-normal until the sun sets in the fall, it suggests (to me) the water up there is colder. I suppose it also could suggest the sunlight is weaker (IE: The Quiet Sun).  However it hasn’t happened yet, and the temperatures could jump back above normal.  It is just something to watch.

The graphs also show that the temperatures north of 80 degrees latitude remain well below the freezing point of salt water. Any water exposed by storms continues to be chilled. It can be chilled down to -1.7 Celsius before it freezes, (even if it is a bit brackish due to the ice holding fresher water (but some salt) as salt is extracted by freezing). Then, if it is very cold water, it keeps the air very cold during the start of the summer melt season.  The 2m air temperatures never stray much from the temperature of the sea it crosses over.

The Navy ice-thickness map gives a picture of how crushed, riven and pulverized the ice is up there:

DMI May 16 arcticictnowcast

 

To really get a feel for the motion it is best to watch the animation at:  http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticict_nowcast_anim30d.gif

Unfortunately this animation will update, and if you are reading this a month from now you will see the animation of conditions a month from now.  You will miss the way the colors change, as the ice gets crushed together and then spreads apart. (Not the red (thick) ice down at the bottom of Hudson Bay, and a sort of “wave” of thick ice moving east along the north coast of Alaska.) The speed at which ice thickens and thins, as temperatures remain fairly constant and below freezing, shows that wind is a much greater factor than temperature and melting.

NORTH POLE CAMERA SHOWS PRESSURE RIDGE FORMATION

NP1 May 16 9

 

This is an amazing picture, when you compare it with earlier pictures. The “lead” of open water that was to the right, that I suggested had frozen over, has seen its sides come clapping together, and all the new ice that formed was crushed into the long, straight jumble of ice called a “pressure ridge.” I can never recall seeing this happen so clearly before, through the eyes of the North Pole Camera.

Having this active fault-line in the ice puts the camera in danger, as the ice may open and close over and over during the summer, but hopefully we will continue to get amazing pictures before the camera is toppled by a jumble of ice, or tipped into the drink.

When looking at the pressure ridges to the right, darker because they are more of a silhouette, remember that nine-tenths of an iceberg is under water.  They stick downwards nines times as far as they stick up.  If there is significant melting beneath, the part we can see will stick up less and less.

Nice interlude between storms, up there. The camera is now drifting more to the east than south, at 86.551°N, 11.132°E at noon yesterday, with temperatures back then -12.5°C.  Camera two also has a lovely, if less exciting, view:

NP2 May 16 17

You can click these pictures to get clearer and larger views. (What I like to do is to open the most recent picture to a new tab, and also open an older picture to a new tab. Then, by clicking back and forth between the two tabs, you can detect changes in the pictures which otherwise might escape your notice.)

ARCTIC ADVENTURERS SAFELY AIRLIFTED FROM THE ARCTIC SEA

I am glad the solo skier, and the trio called “Expedition Hope,” were safely plucked up from the ice by the daring pilot named “Troy.”  I was worried they would get hurt up there, with the ice so active this year, but I will miss their amazing photographs. From now on we are stuck with the static shots from the drifting cameras.

Here is the report from the excellent website http://www.explorersweb.com/polar/news.php?url=north-pole-season-closed-down-with-last-_140007961

North Pole season closed down with last flight
(By Correne Coetzer)    Kenn Borek Air’s Twin Otter reached Bengt Rotmo about 2pm on May 13 and Eric Philips, Bernice Notenboom and Martin Hartley 17h30 on the way back, reported Lars Ebbesen at the Norwegian home base to ExWeb. Bengt’s position on May 12 was at approximately 88-87ºN, 062ºW and the Philips team at 84.8ºN, 77.1ºW. 

The pilot, well-know Troy, had a short weather window yesterday to pick up the skiers as weather was going to deteriorate. Eric Philips described their pick-up, “A cloud bank engulfed us an hour before the plane banked over us. We thought we were condemned to the ice for another week as the forecast was for continued bad weather and watched from a pressure ridge as Troy the pilot made at least ten passes in the distance before finally landing. We packed quickly and skied 45 minutes to the plane.”

They stopped at Cape Discovery, their intended end point, to refuel and continued to Eureka Weather Station to spend the night there. 

Wrap-up Canada to 90ºN teams

The season started off with 5 teams attempting to ski from Canada (Cape Discovery, Ellesmere Island) to the Geographic North Pole and two from The North Pole to Canada. 

 Gathered in Resolute Bay with 4 other teams, Italian solo skier, Michele Pontrandolfo, went home before the start due to Search and Rescue insurance money issues. Irish duo, Clare O’Leary and Mike O’Shea and solo Japanese skier Yasu Ogita started at Cape Discovery on March 7. On March 16 at N83.7, W077 the Irish team were injured when getting over a big blog of pressure ice, which overturned, and asked for a medical evacuation. Yasu Ogita, who prepared food for 50 days, realised that he was going to ran out of food on Day 42 when he asked for a pick up at 86º 16’43.8”N, 63º 38’43.8”W. 

 Both unassisted unsupported, the Norwegian and American teams started at Cape Discovery on March 15. On Day 1, Lars Flesland and Kristoffer Glestad aborted their expedition due to frostbite on their feet. Ryan Waters and Eric Larsen are the only team whocompleted the full route successfully this year; by skiing, snowshoeing, swimming, paddling and crawling to the Pole. It took them 53 days to cover the 770 km (distance in a straight line; no drifting, sled relays or detours around pressure ridges and open water added).

I wonder if they will now talk about how “weak” the arctic ice was, and how much open water there was, and how this all points to Global Warming.  If they do so they will have to focus on the leads, and turn a blind eye to the amazing pressure ridges, which they noted had become a much greater obstacle than during prior adventures.  That was what struck me, as I looked at their excellent photographs. 

THE LOCAL VIEW  —Time off for a son’s graduation—

A battle 215 satsfc (3)

I don’t know why they plan graduations just when I am busiest with spring planting. Not that I am making much progress. I am really feeling my age, and the going is embarrassingly slow. However that makes me all the more determined to turn this website into a money-producing “cash cow,” brimming with wit and things that lure the unsuspecting into buying eBooks holding my old poetry. If that dream succeeds I can afford to hire hands to help me farm.  That seems really important to me, though I’ll admit a quick trip to a graduation ceremony would be nice.  After all, I’m proud of my middle son.

However, besides the farm and writing, there is a third thing I like to do, and that is to keep my wife happy.  And my wife would not be happy with a quick trip to a graduation ceremony.  She’s only happy when she makes something that could be short, sweet and simple into a humongous “event.”

Therefore I will likely have little time to post the next few days.  Nor will much get done in the garden.  However rest assured that somewhere a wife is happy, and somewhere a husband is going along with it.

MAY 16   —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI May 16B mslp_latest.bigDMI May 16B temp_latest.big

MAY 17  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI May 17     DMI May 17

This is a test. I’m down in Gloucester, Massachusetts, with the rain poring down and the wind howling, attempting to use a tablet I am unfamiliar with to make a post.

MAY 17 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI May 17B mslp_latest.bigDMI May 17B temp_latest.big

I gave up on the tablet, and am now using an older laptop.  At least I can post some pictures.

NORTH POLE CAMERA PICTURES  —Saturday Afternoon—

MAY 19  —Some quick notes while I can’t post pictures—

I still haven’t figured out how to use this new “Surface” gizmo, but it gets on line while other more geezer-friendly laptops are having trouble. I am restraining a strong desire to “touch” the screen with my fist, rather than my finger. It is hard for an old dog to learn new tricks.

I am just going to put down a couple headlines, and hopefully can add pictures later.

DMI MAPS SHOW STORM MOVING OUT OVER POLE

While the low pressure is weak, it is a continuation of the pattern that is bringing low pressure up over the pole, along with (I imagine) less sunshine and stronger winds.

NORTH POLE CAMERA SHOWS LEAD REOPEN

NP! May 18 npeo_cam1_20140518232733NP1 May 19 npeo_cam1_20140519052938 (Click pictures to enlarge)

The pressure ridge to the right of Camera One’s view is again open water.  The two sides of the lead which clapped together to form the pressure ridge have spread apart again. Having open water so near our temperature sensors should raise temperatures, but currently the wind must be “off shore,” (blowing towards that water rather than from that water),  for temperatures have dropped from a high of -5.2C down to -12.8C. That should be cold enough tallow a skim of ice to form on the water.  It should make for some interesting observations.

later view shows a skim of ice forming close to the near side of the lead, but that the far side of the lead is now barely visible:

NP1 May 19B npeo_cam1_20140519112641

The latest view  shows the inshore skim of ice seeming to expand, and a fog or light snow descending upon the stage.

NP1 May 19C 8

It will be interesting to see if this lead gets any press, as the summer progresses.  Last summer there was a great deal of hoopla about “Lake North Pole,”  which promptly drained away as soon as people turned to look at it.  In the same manner hoopla might be made about “open water at the Pole,” however, as we have already seen, these leads can close and crunch up a mountain-range of ice called a “pressure ridge” in a matter of hours, when the wind shifts.  It would be humorous if this happened this summer after the media made a fuss about open water, but we shall have to wait and see.

At noon today our camera had drifted south and east to  86.366°N, 11.902°E.  If it drifts much further east it might pass north of Svalbard, and miss the connection to Fram Strait. I’ve never seen this happen.  

Temperatures have slowly risen from a low of  -13.2°C at 1500z yesterday to -10.1°C at noon today.

MAY 19  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI May 19B mslp_latest.bigDMI May 19B temp_latest.big (1)

I’m finally back home at my old computer, singing “Back in the Saddle Again.”  It is going to be hard work, getting my self up-to-date.

The low will sit over the Pole, with strong winds blowing around the Pole rather than down into Fram Stait, , even as the low weakens towards the latter half of the weak.  Warmer air has moved up over Scandinavia, and may make some progress towards the Pole as a low travels over Scandinavia to the west Siberian coast of the Kara Sea by Friday.

My “dead reckoning” approach tells me a lot of the ice that was jammed towards Canada during the winter is now being dispersed back towards Eurasia, rather than being flushed south through Fram Strait.  At this point the Navy map is still showing some flushing going on:

DMI May 19B arcticicespddrfnowcast

MAY 20 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI May 20 mslp_latest.bigDMI May 20 temp_latest.big (1)

MAY 20  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI May 20B mslp_latest.bigDMI May 20B temp_latest.big (1)

“Tornson” continues to sit over the Pole. Milder air has worked its way north over Scandinavia, and especially Finland, however the area north of 80 degrees latirude remains slightly below normal, even while warming.

During the summer the bright reds now seen over Finland’s arctic coast should appear on other areas of the arctic coast, as temperatures inland rise into the 70’s and even 80’s, Fahrenheit.

CAMERA ONE PICTURES —The lead story—

NP1 May 20 1NP1 May 20B 9 (click these pictures to enlarge)

If you open these two pictures (roughly six AM and six PM) on another two tabs, and then click back and forth between the two pictures, you’ll better see the minor changes.

One thing you don’t see is the sun shining. If this gloom from keeps up it will make many of our discussions about the albedo of arctic ice look foolish.  Rather than discussing how much sulight the ice bounces away into space, we should have been discussing the effects of cloud cover.

One thing you can see is the far side of the lead has come closer, and the lead continues to freeze over. I went to the site at http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/NPEO2014/webcams1and2.html to get these pictures, and they have more. They take around four at roughly two minute intervals, four times a day. If you put the pictures taken at 1722 and 1729 on seperate tabs, and click between the two, you can detect the ice on the far side of the lead is moving from right to left.

Wow! I just went back to recheck something, and the latest pictures are in, from midnight, LCT (local camera time.) The midnight sun is shining.

NP1 May 20C 8 (Click for clearer, larger picture.) This picture shows us that the lead has frozen over, and some ice is situated on the far side, but further off an new lead seems to have opened and to be exposing darker water.

The temperature likely has dropped a degree or two, despite the sunshine, as the sun is still fairly low and the temperature often responds downwards to the lack of a blanket of cloud cover (until the sun is at its highest, from mid June to early August.) Back when the earlier pictures of gloom and fog were taken the temperature had slowly risen from -10.1°C at noon yesterday to -7.1°C at noon today. This is still below the freezing point of salt water, so the break-up of ice you are witnessing isn’t due to thawing.  It is likely due to winds, which got up to a strong, steady breeze of 22 mph yesterday.  Our camera was pushed more east than south, to 86.232°N, 12.692°E.

Here is the picture from Camera Two, which can’t be the lead story as it pictures no lead. NP2 May 20 18 (click to enlarge)

You can’t get a screaming headline of “North Pole Melting” from this camera, so my guess is the media will ignore it. I’d guess they’ll focus on Camera One, and we’ll see the headline around a month from now.

O-buoy #9, which sits on ice across the Pole but is drifting towards the Pole, may be at the Pole when they are looking for a screaming headline, and though the ice around it currently looks solid, they may have a hope.

webcam(1) (Click to enlarge.)

O-buoys have time-lapse movies you can watch: http://obuoy.datatransport.org/monitor#buoy9/movie

A lot of this buoy’s movie has a snow-covered lens, but if you watch around 3:15 in the movie you can see how smoothe the ice was last autumn. The pressure ridges in the distance of the current picture all appeared during the winter. However between 8:22 and 8:23 of the movie you can see an abrupt crack appear nearly beneath the orange thing in the near distance.  If that opened to as lead it could make headlines, especially if it happened as the ice drifted over the Pole in July, when it is just above freezing and leads don’t freeze over.

It is likely leads opened near O-buoy 9 in the dark of winter, when this camera was closed down, and then they clapped shut to make those pressure ridges we see in the distance, that were not there in the autumn. Leads are not a sign of melting, as the temperature when the current crack formed near O-bouy 9 was minus ten. Leads are a sign storms such as “Tornson” are pulverizing the Pole, and my hunch is that having many leads in the ice chills the Arctic Sea more than it warms it, with the possible exception of a brief seven week window between mid June and early August.

MAY 21 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI May 21 mslp_latest.bigDMI MaY 21 temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA ONE AND TWO — MORNING PICTURES—MAY 21 

NP1 May 21 9NP2 May 21 17

(click pictures to enlarge)  The sunshine didn’t last long, up there.

MAY 21  —DMI EVENING MAPS—

DMI May 21B mslp_latest.bigDMI May 21B temp_latest.big (1)

“Tornson” seems to starting to dissipate, as a new low cruises into the Kara Sea and absorbs it.

What is interesting (to me) to watch is how quickly the Pole warms, this time of year.  The minus-twenty isotherm has vanished as the minus-five becomes more common.  Though the Pole is warming, it remains a bit below normal.

DMI May 21B meanT_2014 (Click to enlarge)

NORTH POLE CAMERA ONE PICTURES

NP1 May 21B 5NP1 May 21B 8

The picture to the left is from around noon, and the picture to the right is from six PM.  Winds are dying down. The camera has drifted south, and stopped moving east and shifted west, winding up at 86.137°N, 12.678°E, at noon. Temperatures did drop briefly to -8.3°C as the sky cleared yesterday, but when the clouds came back the rise resumed and temperatures were at -6.6°C at noon.  It remains cold enough to freeze over the lead to the left.

THE SUN ONLY SHINES AT MIDNIGHT

You can click on these pictures to make them larger and clearer.

Camera One shows the sky has cleared, and the midnight sun is shining. Despite the sunshine the temperatures apparently have dropped a degree or two, which often happens when the sun is still low in May and late August.  More heat is lost by the lack of blanketing clouds than is gained by the low sun’s rays.

Also it can be seen that the lead to the right continues to freeze over. Despite the sunshine the “melt season” hasn’t truly begun. The snow can get sticky on the surfaces tilted towards the sun’s rays, as some salt is mixed in it, and also the ice can be melted from beneath by sea-water.  The temperature of the sea-water is crucial to such melting-from-beneath, and is something scientists seek to better understand. A small difference in temperature, mere tenths of a degree, can make the difference between ice thinning or ice remaining relatively unaffected. (Because the ice exudes its salt, it is fresher than sea-water, and melts at a higher temperature. The water can be colder than the ice, though that may sound counter-intuitive. The salt water can be at 29.9 as the ice is at 31.5.)

The visibility is excellent, and one can see the far side of the lead in the far distance. The water must be very cold to freeze over so quickly at temperatures which, for the arctic, are not all that cold.  There may be a strip of open water on the far side of the lead, though it is difficult to tell, yet most of the lead appears to have a skim of thin ice.  If the winds shift and the lead closes up, all that thin ice will be crunched up as a pressure ridge. Then, if the winds shift yet again and the lead reopens, the pressure ridge will remain as a sort of wall at the edge of the lead. A minor example of this can be seen along the near side of the current lead. The adventurers who ski the Arctic Sea described how they had to clamber over pressure ridges just to get to the leads they crossed.

NP1 May 21D 8

Camera two shows the “stasrugi” drifts of snow formed by the persistent winds.  These drifts are stiffer and more starchy than one expects snow to be. The adventurers liked skiing with it and disliked skiing across it.  When I compare this picture with a picture from May 10 I can see the scouring winds have shifted the positions of individual drifts of stasrugi, despite its stiff nature.

NP2 May 21D 17

One interesting thing about stasrugi is that it contains some powdered salt.  As the leads first freeze over the salt is extruded as “flowers.” Here is an excellent picture of some, taken by Martin R. Hartley of “Expedition Hope.” (April 22)

Hope salt flowers image6

These “flowers” can form because salt loses its ability to melt ice at around a temperature of 20 degrees. (-7 Celsius).  As long as temperatures remain lower, the salt can be blown around with the snow on top of the ice.  It creates an odd situation where the snow on top of the ice can be saltier than the ice beneath, and, if circumstances are perfect, you can even have small drifts of pure salt. However, as soon as temperatures rise above 20 degrees, the salt starts melting the snow and ice.  (This can happen at lower temperatures if a block of ice is angled towards the sun in such a way that it catches the rays and creates a micro-climate that is superficially warmer.)  One reason stasrugi is stiff and starchy involves embedded salt briefly making the snow sticky, before it refreezes. (Another is that windblown snow becomes “packed powder”.)

As temperatures rise above 20 (-7 Celsius) at the Pole, the windblown salt becomes pockets of brine, drilling down through the ice.  It would be interesting to test the salinity of the melt-water pools that form during the summer thaw. Some would be fresh water, but I imagine some would be surprisingly salty, especially at first.

MAY 22   —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI May 22 mslp_latest.bigDMI May 22 temp_latest.big (1)

“Tornson” continues to dwindle on the Pole, as “Karablow” brews up over the Kara Sea.

Once again high pressure is building over the top of the Atlantic, and the ice seems to be blown across the top of Fran Strait, rather than down into the strait.

The Navy map indicates the ice is cracking up some, towards Siberia, as the color-code indicates areas of 80% ice and 20% water.  The storms have had their effect, and the Pole is pulverized, (Click for larger, clearer version.)

Extent May 22 arcticicennowcast (1)

MAY 22  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI May 22B mslp_latest.bigDMI May 22B temp_latest.big (1)

“Tornson” is fading away over the Pole, as “Karablow” strengthens over the Kara Sea. To the east of Karablow a weak southerly flow is bringing the first above freezing temperatures we’ve seen all spring to the shoreline of the Laptev Sea. Even a month ago a south wind would bring cold off Siberian snows; the warming of that wind is indicative of the snow-cover melting away.  However this map shows that area at the end of a long arctic day. Themperatures likely will still dip below freezing during the short arctic night.

High pressure is forming a ridge up the middle of the Atlantic, bringing north winds to the coast of Norway even as the rest of Scandinavia is milder.  To the other side of this ridge weak south winds are wafting north into Fram Strait, and likely the southward flow of ice will grind to a halt and perhaps even back up to the north a little.

SOME NORTH POLE CAMERA PICTURES

I’ll start with pictures from lunchtime.  These two pictures are taken eight minutes apart.

NP1 May 22 1NP1 May 22B 4

If you enlarge these onto a new tab, and then click back and forth between the two tabs, you can see the ice on the right horizon (across the lead) is moving from right to left, which is a reversal in how it was moving a couple days ago.  I’m not sure, but I also think the far-side ice may be closer.

Temperatures did drop when the weather cleared last midnight, down to -9.0°C, but as the clouds rolled back in temperatures rose to -5.5°C at noon.  This may not only be due to cloud-cover, for, although the sun never sets, we have drifted over 200 miles south of the Pole, and the sun is somewhat higher at noon, which should lead to some diurnal variation. Thirdly, there is some milder air swirling around all the way from the Pacific along the Canadian coast. Whatever the reason, this is the warmest we’ve seen all spring, and the windblown salt can start melting ice.

By noon the camera had drifted souith, north, east and west,  in an irregular manner despite the facts the winds apparently remained northwest. We wound up at 86.050°N, 12.962°E, which is a little further south and east, but barely a mile.  

The next picture is from six hours later:

NP1 May 22C 5

The far side of the lead to the right may be reopening to right, but the inshore part of the lead is definitely whiter, perhaps due to some light snow.  I could detect no motion of the ice across the lead, but its top does seem lower, and that an even more distant lead may be glimpsed past it, and perhaps even another ice floe at the horizon.  I wish the lighting was better.

The coldest temperature I can find reported by a buoy is from Buoy 2013F: over towards Bering Strait, which is reporting  -8.40 C. 

MAY 23  —DMI MORNING MAPS

DMI May 23 mslp_latest.bigDMI May 23 temp_latest.big (1)

MAY 23 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

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DRAT!  CAMERA ONE IS TOPPLED.

NP1  May 23b 9

Probably a stupid bear got curious.

MAY 24  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI May 24 mslp_latest.bigDMI May 24 temp_latest.big (1)

High pressure is taking over the Pole. “Karablow” is stalled and getting squashed south in the Kara Sea,  as an interesting feature I’ll call “Nor” is north of Norway.  It is stalled, as is the low off the east coast of Greenland, and another low off the map over England.  Everything has ground to a halt as a high is going to build right, smack, dab at the top of the Atlantic, and block the eastward progress of storms.  Currently a front lies down the spine of Norway’s mountains, and it is milder over towards Finland, but it looks like the north winds on the east side of the blocking high will battle to take over Scandinavia, as south winds work up the east coast of Greenland, and perhaps even push ice the “wrong way” in Fram Strait, north instead of south. (We saw this last summer.)

SIDEWAYS CAMERA ONE SEES BIG PRESSURE RIDGE FORM

NP1 May 23D 1NP1 May 24 9

If you right-click the two images above, and open them to a new tab, and then click between the two images, you can see the jumble of ice arising in the upper center, (which used to be the horizon to the left, before our camera toppled).

I am so bummed out about this camera falling over I can’t find the right swears. Hasn’t anyone a spare hundred grand laying around, to pay someone to helicopter up there and prop it back up?

It had to be a bear.  There’s no reason for it to fall.  There’s no thawing and slush, as temperatures were stable, and dropped only slightly to  -6.4°C at noon yesterday.  The strongest winds were only around 16 mph, and had dropped to around 4 mph by noon.  

I suppose there might have been some sort of ice-earthquake, as the floe was getting jostled.  Although it did move slowly south to 85.966°N by noon, it stopped moving east and jerked back west, arriving at 13.137°E at 1800z Thursday, and then moving back to 12.994°E by noon yesterday. Judging from the jumble of ice in the distance, such changes in direction can’t be completely smooth, So maybe there was some sort of earthquake that caused the knock-down. (But I bet it was a bear.)

It is driving me nuts to have stuff going on, and to be getting a crick in my neck trying to view it.  I want to stand up, but I’m reduced to viewing the distance like a man with one cheek on the snow.

CRACK APPEARS IN ICE SHOWN BY CAMERA TWO

NP2 May 23 10NP2 May 24 18

If you enlarge and compare these pictures from yesterday (left) and today(right), you will spot the crack apear towards the horizon, dead ahead. It slants towards us, to the middle right margin.  It is an old crack that never “healed.”  Maybe it will open up, and we’ll get another chance to study the formation of leads and pressure ridges.

This does hint at how pulverized the ice up there is, after the stormy winter.  Keep in mind the air temperatures have been below the freezing point of salt water. No thawing from above can be involved.  Nor is much sunshine involved, as the skies remain predominately gloomy. I doubt the crack is caused by melting-from-below, for a quick check of nearby Buoy 2014E: shows the ice is actually getting a little thicker.  The culprit is the winds.

The two above photographs are 24 hours apart.  It is interesting the darker clouds are in the same place. Coincidence? Or are arctic adventurers correct, (at least some of the time), when they state darker clouds show where wider leads of open water lie?

AN EXCELLENT ANIMATION OF BEAUFORT SEA GETTING PULVERIZED

This shows not only the ice cracking, but the ice “healing.”  (A hat-tip to “Just The Facts.”)

MAY 24  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI May 24B mslp_latest.bigDMI May 24B temp_latest.big (1)

Well, at least we don’t have a storm over the Pole.  It looks like the high pressure, centered just south of Svalbard but ridging over the Pole, will persist until midweek, gradually sliding towards Norway. Computer models suggest that the next storm to charge at the Pole will be coming straight north from west of Hudson’s Bay, of all places. (So I’ll call it, “Valplaces,” if it happens.)

Despite the building high pressure, it is still cloudy at the camera.

Temperatures are rising rapidly at the Pole, which is typical for this time of year.  There is no night over a larger and larger area, expanding to the entire area within the arctic circle on the first day of summer. If there is no night, there is no chance to escape the warming sun.  What is odd is that the temperatures are rising more slowly than normal. This is exactly what happened last year.

This perks up my ears, for, when dealing with weather, things almost never happen the same way twice.  Any sign of similarity whets interest.

NORTH POLE CAMERA PICTURE  —Amazing lack of change—

I’m going to skip Camera One, as looking at it gives me a crick in the neck.  The only change is that the snow in the foreground has slumped slightly. (Even this is interesting, for a guy like me, because with temperatures below minus-six and no sunshine, the only way snow can slump involves some salt being mixed in.)

After the excitement of the crack appearing yesterday, there is no change in Camera Two, but this is odd, because not even the dark cloud straight ahead changes, though the pictures below are from midnight, 10:30 AM, and 4:45 PM.  (Ther first is a duplicate of one I posted this morning.)

NP2 May 24 18NP2 May 24B 10NP2 May 24B 18

Clouds don’t stand in the same place like that unless some physical feature is causing them to exist. As there are no mountain ranges in the Arctic Ocean, I tend to think the arctic explorers are correct, and open water creates dark clouds (when circumstances are correct).

Hmm. Selah. (Pause, and consider that.)

Because our Pole has been pulverized, there has been more open water, even if it swiftly freezes over.  If there is more open water, there could be more clouds.  In the short term, clouds keep heat from escaping and warm temperatures by a degree or so, but in the long term they deflect the 24-hour-sunshine, and prevent those beams having the effect they ordinarily have, (which, according to some, is to greatly warm the open water.)

It does seem odd that the clouds persist, even though pressures have steadily risen and at noon were at 1031.0 mb.  

Another theory, (Svenmark’s), states the clouds are due to the Quiet Sun and to cosmic rays.  Maybe that theory is also true, and we have two things contributing to increased cloudiness.

However my theory (and perhaps I should simply call it my wondering) thinks that the pulverized Pole creates open water, which create more clouds. The reason the Pole is pulverized is because the AMO and PDO are out of sync, and rather than zonal the flow is loopy (meridianal).

Perhaps, when things get back in sync, the sun shall shine again. Again the ice will melt. Again we shall enjoy a Medieval Warm Period, and the permafrost of Greenland will turn to soil we can plow and grow barley for beer, as the Greenland Vikings once did.

But then is not now. Now we are witnessing a world out of sync.

(Isn’t it amazing what my imagination can get out of three pictures that show, basically, nothing happening?)

Our camera’s southerly drift has slowed as its easterly drift has resumed, and at noon it stood at 85.951°N, 13.213°E. Winds have been light, mostly less than 5 mph. Temperatures have shown a slight diurnal variation, nearly 250 miles south of the Pole, dropping to -7.4°C before midnight and then rebounding to -6.5°C at noon.

LOCAL VIEW  —The arctic retreats—

A battle 216 satsfc (3)A battle 216 rad_ne_640x480_08

I originally put these “local view” segments into my sea-ice posts to demonstrate how the North Pole was effecting the weather of New Hampshire.  However that was just a thinly veiled excuse to talk about something other than the North Pole.  After all, I did not start this blog to watch ice melt.

The “local view” segments described how the hard winter was effecting other areas of my life, which can be divided into my business, (Childcare), the farm, my family, and my writing.  It was fun squeezing all these topics onto a post about arctic sea-ice, but recently it is becoming difficult, as there is less and less arctic to deal with in New Hampshire, in May.

The above maps show we are in a stubborn northerly flow, and a front is having a hard time getting across New England, (just as a front in Scandinavia is having a hard time getting across Norway.) Day after day we hear of warm weather to our west, but it never gets here. However the vegetation got tired of waiting, and spring busted out and our world became lush and green. The last memory of ice is melting even from Lake Superior:A battle 216 lice_00__26_(1)

Therefore, because the “Local View” will have next to nothing to do with arctic sea-ice for months, I’ve decided to discontinue it until next winter, (which looks like another hard one.) However it turns out a few people actually like the “Local View” more than all my notes about sea-ice. Hmm.  What should I do?

What I’d like to do is revamp this site into a site with several sub-sites.  There will be a sort of entrance hall, where you can chose what door you want to go through. If you are more interested in sea-ice you can go through that door, but if you are interested in bad poetry you can go through the bad-poetry door. (Or the childcare or farming doors.)

Until I figure out how to construct such a site, (and I don’t have much free time,) what I think I’ll do is have “Local View” posts intermingled with “Sea-ice” posts, and when you arrive at the home page of this site you will have to scroll down to find the thread you are most interested in. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

MAY 25   —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI May 25 mslp_latest.bigDMI May 25 temp_latest.big (1)

It looks like a feeler of mildness is groping north between the Pole and northeast Greenland, which may explain the gray weather our camera is seeing, as such air would be moist Atlantic air.

NORTH POLE CAMERA   —Max™ makes an interesting point—

The view from camera 2 is the same, including the dark cloud on the horizon.

NP2 May 25 17

In the comments below the blogger “Max™” raises an interesting point: “Could it simply be that the open water is darker, lending a darker tone to the clouds above it?”

Upon reflection, I think this may well be the case.  Lots of water-color painters slyly use this technique, tinting the undersides of clouds over red sandstone buttes red while clouds over nearby forested hills are tinted slightly green, for that is what you actually see, gazing over desert landscapes in the American southwest. Of course you also see clouds grow dramatically more purple as they load up for a thunderstorm, however, as these clouds have sat on our horizon for two days, (and it hasn’t thundered yet), I think they may merely be reflecting darker water.

The crack in the distance has “healed” and is less obvious.

Over at the crick-in-the-neck camera (camera 1) the distant pressure ridge seems a bit larger, on its left (upper) side.

MAY 25  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI May 25B mslp_latest.bigDMI May 25B temp_latest.big (1)

MAY 26  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI May 26 mslp_latest.bigDMI May 26 temp_latest.big (1)

The news is that big high blocking the top of the Atlantic Ocean, and ridging over the Pole.  It is stalling storms in the Atlantic, and what is left of those storms have to take a more southern route.  The high is bringing colder air south over Scandinavia as slightly milder air heads fro the Pole up the east coast of Greenland, pushing ice back north a little in Fram Strait. Even as this high slowly moves east over Scandinavia it looks like a western extention will continue to block the north Atlantic. A general pathway of low pressure will set up south of Scandinavia, through the Baltic and up to the coast of Siberia, however storms will be sluggish and may even adopt a retrograde motion, in this pathway.

With the Atlantic entrace blocked, “Valplaces” will move north through the Canadian Archipelago and out onto the Arctic Ocean, on the Bering Strait side of the Pole. When a storm replaces the so-called Beaufort High in this manner it’s isobars oppose the ordinary flow of ice in both the Beaufort Gyre and the Transpolar Drift.

It is too early to tell if this is a mere quirk or a summer pattern, but last year storms over on the Canadian side prevented the flow of ice down through Fram Strait, and last year’s North Pole Camera crossed latitude 84 eleven times before finally moving south in September.

Something is causing the NOAA CFS V2 model to see less ice being flushed from the Pole.  I don’t trust models, but Joe Bastardi pointed out these graphs, which show the ice only decreasing to 6 million km2, (bottom graph,) which would be a change from ice -0.7 of normal to ice +0.3 of normal. (Top graph.)

DMI May 26 sieMon

If this model is even close to correct it will be a shock to many Alarmists. It is hard to talk about a sea-ice “death spiral” and an “ice-free-Pole” when you have more ice than normal.  (At this point I think we may approach normal, but being above normal would surprise me.)

There is a post about the above graphs, with a great discussion involving more than 200 comments, at:  http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/05/23/sea-ice-news-volume-5-2-noaa-forecasts-above-normal-arctic-ice-extent-for-summer/#comments

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Still no sunshine—

The crick camera (Camera 1, which gives you a crick in the neck as you have to look at everything sideways) has the new pressure ridge nicely highlighted by purple clouds on the distant horizon.

NP1 May 26 9

Camera 2 shows two interesting changes in an otherwise dull scene:

NP2 May 26 18

First, the dark cloud straight ahead looks smaller, which may indicate open water is closing up. (See the interesting comment by Richard Smith, below, to gain first-hand-experience of such skies.)

Second, the crack looks different. It is hard to see it clearly in the dull light, and I wish a stray sunbeam would shine and make the contrast of shadows,  but I think the edges are starting to crumple and perhaps build a very small pressure ridge.

Our camera drift halted its southward progress just before the noon report, yesterday, and even moved .001°N degree north. (I thinks that’s around six hundredths of a mile.) Also the eastward drift stopped at 13.282°E at 0300z, and it started drifting back west. The noon position yesterday was 85.936°N, 13.248°E. Winds remained light. Temperatures ignored diurnal variation, hitting a high of -5.8°C at midnight and dropping back down to -7.1°C at noon.

MAY 26  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI May 26B mslp_latest.bigDMI May 26B temp_latest.big (1)

“Valplaces” continues north, bumping against the high pressure ridge over the Pole and creating a “wrong-way” flow north in Fram Strait.  Temperatures continue to rise, but continue to rise a little more slowly than normal.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —Is this any way to run a high pressure system?—

I’ve been hoping for high pressure, thinking it would give us fair weather and we might get some good camera pictures, but the pressure crested at  1032.9 mb yesterday, and we didn’t even get a sunbeam. Now, although it has only fallen a little, to 1026.6mb at noon today, we’ve got glop on the camera lens.  I tell you, this year’s camera is not the best behaved one I’ve known.

NP2 May 26B 17

Winds are still fairly light, and are camera is heading north and east, to 85.950°N, 13.427°E at noon today.  Temperatures bottomed out at -7.7°C at six yesterday evening, and then slowly rose to -6.0°C today.

NORTH POLE CAMERA MAY 27  —Worse and worse—

Freezing fog, anyone?

NP2 May 27 18

Well, lets look on the bright side:  At least the sun is out.

MAY 27  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI May 27 mslp_latest.bigDMI May 27 temp_latest.big (1)

There looks to be a pretty decent wrong-way-flow, pushing ice back north in Fram Strait.  That is not the way to reduce sea-ice.  However it is also bringing milder temperatures up towards the Pole. The thaw is not far away.

Asd this post is getting pretty long, and is threatening WordPress’s capacity to hold pictures and data, I should continue this notebook with a new post, which I guess I’ll call,   “The Approaching Thaw.” You can link to it here:https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/arctic-sea-ice-melt-the-pulverized-pole/