An odd thing about Chaos is that it is always trying to become organized. It has been doing this since the Big Bang, which involved a flash of sub-sub-atomic partials of mind exploding out of an Om Point the size of your navel, expanding at warp speed and, within a day, already starting to organize to sub-atomic partials of energy, if not atomic partials of matter. You can see Chaos organizing itself right from the start.
Chaos continues in the whirling winds of our weather, yet out of the chaos comes the amazing spiral structures of hurricanes, which fill me with hope, for if nature can organize chaos into such structure I may be able to organize the papers on my desk.
The problem then becomes: Hurricanes fall apart and disorder returns. (That also happens to my desk.) Chaos goes back to being chaotic, and basically unpredictable.
What the better meteorologists of the old school did, (and a few still do), was to seek for signs of order appearing from the chaos. Only when you see order developing can you get an idea what might follow. It is for this reason they leap to attention when anything in the swirling worlds of weather repeats. Not that anything every repeats exactly, but similarities can be seen, and cycles and patterns described.
One thing that has repeated is a “warm” spike in the PDO after it shifted to its “cold” cycle. I believe it was Joseph D’Aleo that pointed out this happened in the late 1950’s, and is happening again now.
I myself wonder if the PDO “warm” spike might be a sort of pulse that kicks-back when the AMO remains stubbornly “warm” and is out-of-sync with the PDO, and furthermore wonder if this kick-back might be part of what kick-starts the AMO into its “Cold” phase, wherein it is more in sync with the PDO. (We are really novices, when it comes to understanding the engineering of these events.)
Another order that appeared out of Chaos involved the amount of ice in the Bering Strait, as the PDO shifted to “cold” and then spiked back to “warm”. It seemed quite obvious the ice grew dramatically when the PDO was “cold” and then shrank back when the PDO spiked “warm”.
This sort of obvious connection between sea-ice and the PDO cycle is very annoying to certain Alarmists, who insist the ice is shrinking because of CO2 and warming, even though the warming has stopped for 18 years. To me, if the ice does its thing even as world temperatures remain basically flat and CO2 rises, then what causes the ice to do its thing must be something other than CO2 or World Temperatures. However it apparently isn’t politically correct to say so.
This “warm” spike of the PDO at the start of its “cold” cycle is larger than the last one. I suppose some Alarmists might hope it will stay stuck in its “warm” state, and disprove the idea that the PDO follows a certain cycle. That hope is likely to get punctured, for already there are signs that the pattern is setting up a rebound to cold. Often such patterns are authors of their own demise, in this manner.
However even as it fades, this “warm” spike is likely to last into the winter, and give the Eastern USA a third cold winter, (because the warmth off Alaska builds a ridge which pours airs south on its east side). The “warm” spike is also already reducing the amount of ice in the Bering Strait, and likely will soon start to take a bite out of the ice in the Arctic Ocean, especially in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas.
This is bound to get a lot of news coverage, and be used as “proof” Global Warming is melting the Pole. (There will be far less news about a possible increase of ice on the Atlantic side, if the AMO remains “cold”.)
Therefore it is best to be aware of the Pacific-side meltdown, and not involve yourself in knee-jerk arguments with Alarmists. You will look foolish if you automatically argue that the melt isn’t happening, when it likely will be happening. Some of melt-down will be normal stuff that happens every year, and some will be normal stuff that happens when the PDO is warm.
What usually happens up there is that the ice melts along the shores. The land heats swiftly once the snow is gone, and the tundra can often experience temperatures above 70° (21° Celsius.) This warmth melts ice along the shore even when the colder ocean pushes a cold sea breeze inland, and any time the wind shifts around to the south and becomes off shore, mild winds push out over the ice, and the ice itself is also pushed away from shore.
For example, right now a Aleutian Low off the east coast of Russia is pushing air up into Bering Strait and on towards the Pole.
(The above map is produced by Dr. Ryan Maue at the Weatherbell Site.) The Aleutian Low straddles the bottom center margin, and the Bering Strait is at the bottom center.
It is the winds that do most, when it comes to creating open water, though an influx of milder water through Bering Stait also does a lot, when it comes to melting the ice from the bottom up, especially when the PDO is warm, and most especially when the water is warmest in August.
Currently the NRL ice-movement map shows that the ice is being pushed north.
The above map shows open water along the Canadian shore at the lower right corner. This open water was created by very strong winds pushing off shore a week ago, and is a sort of Polinya. It has little to do with ice melting and much to do with ice moving. However the open water, which would freeze over swiftly in the winter, is unlikely to freeze over now, as temperatures are up close to freezing. Also notice the black line on the land in the lower right corner. That is the Mackenzie River
At this time of year the Mackenzie is in full flood, due to vast amounts of snow melting, and all that water is pouring out into the Arctic Ocean. Even when it is ice water it spreads out over the denser salt water, and when it warms only to 33° (+0.6° Celsius) it can be warmer than the salt water, which can be down around 29° (-1.7° Celsius) in the spring, and this gives the river-water another reason to spread out over the salt water, because warm water is less dense than cold water. This flood of milder, fresh water at the surface contributes to the break-up of the ice in that area. Until it can be shown that the river is consistently thawing and flooding earlier each year, (it was late a couple years ago), then the melt around the Mackenzie Delta has nothing to do with Global Warming.
Because the ice is being pushed north, it is not forming leads, but rather is being crunched and compressed and likely forming pressure ridges to the north. The Watts Up With That “Beaufort Sea Ice Page” has NRL maps that show the situation from a satellite’s perspective: http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/beaufort-sea-ice-page/
Here is the map showing there is little formation of leads of open water occurring, as the ice crunches north:
And here is a map that shows the ice is undergoing compression:
Therefore one is able to conclude that, while open water is appearing along the shores, the ice towards the Central Arctic is still being built up thicker.
There are seven Mass Balance Buoys floating on that ice, which are indexed here: http://imb.erdc.dren.mil/newdata.htm
They were showing south winds and a thaw, but all but one have recently slipped back below freezing, with Buoy 2015D: the coldest at -3.77° C (25.2° Fahrenheit) and the sole exception to below freezing temperatures being Buoy 2014I: at +1.59 C (34.9 Fahrenheit).
My old friend is Buoy 2012G: which was placed up near the Pole back on October 1, 2012, and taken its sweet time riding the ice south and then west.
Most interesting is the new Buoy 2015B: which was placed last March 26, and has shown the ice drift west and then get crunched north.
2015B also has a camera, which has shown the view change from this on April 20 (with a lead refreezing in the far distance):
It is interesting to note that the Mass Balance Buoy (the white buoy in the first picture) may be missing from the second picture, but is still reporting that it sits atop ice that is 177 cm (5.8 feet) thick. Apparently it hasn’t fallen into the water, and rides a separate berg. (One hopes there are separate GPS’s; I’ve seen buoys that began close together on a single sheet of ice wind up over a hundred miles apart.)
I noted a certain Alarmist making a big deal about the open water in the second picture, exclaiming it was early for the ice to be “melting”, and pointing out the NTL Lead Opening Rate map didn’t show this “melting” (from a satellite stationed miles above). Comments and conclusions such as his are why it is important to use your own lying eyes, and watch things for yourself. It enables you to politely respond with facts.
For example. I could point out that the temperature is currently -0.66° C at Buoy 2015B, so no melting is occurring, and suggest that what is happening is that the ice is getting crunched as it is blown north, and in fact there is more compressing going on than lead-opening or “melting”.
Not that melting won’t begin soon. It always does, but this year we have more buoys to watch it happen. There are also three O-buoy cameras up that way, but they are rather boring, all showing flat ice with some jumbles of pressure ridges, but no leads yet (and likely no melt-water pools until July). In fact here is the view of melt-water pools Obuoy 10 gave us last July 8:
And here is the view from that same buoy now:
The only sign of the recent thaw is that the snow has shrunk down enough to expose the very top of the buoy. A week or so ago you could only see the antennae sticking up.
The Beaufort Breakup is only just beginning. Here’s to a summer of happy watching!