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/

 

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

    • What a nice surprise it was to have that clip waiting when I got home from work after a long, hard Friday!

      I tend to zone out, after work, just clicking to and fro between pictures of the ice up there. It gets my mind off the problems of this world, for a little while.

      Thanks again. I hope you don’t mind that I included your gift in my post, so others can enjoy it.

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