ARCTIC SEA ICE -I thought the thaw was pretty flat-(July 26-August 1, 2015)

Tweety Bird images We have passed the halfway point of the summer thaw, and from now on the periods of thaw tend to slowly be interspersed with periods of freezing. Ar first the downturn of temperatures is very gradual, but as time passes the sun sinks lower and lower, and when it touches the horizon in September the downturn becomes dramatic. (Green line in graph below.) (All illustrations in this post can be clicked to clarify and enlarge, or opened to new tabs when comparisons are desired.)DMI2 0725 meanT_2015 This is not to say a summer thaw can’t extend more than a week longer than usual. A good example occurred in 1964, long before “Global Warming” became a topic outside the most rarefied circles.DMI2 1964 meanT_1964 Many felt this summer’s graph should look like 1964’s, if not warmer, due to more than a year of warm El Nino conditions in the tropical Pacific. Instead, while milder than the past two summers, it has still been below normal most of the time, so far. (Red line, top graph). Adding to this puzzle is the fact the ice-extent graph, despite beginning the melting season with a head-start, compared to other years, has failed to melt away as fast as many expected.DMI2 0725 icecover_current_new This post, like its predecessors, is merely observations on a scratch pad, as we watch what is occurs, plus some wondering as well. One cannot help but wonder, when seeing what wasn’t expected, but for the most part I try not to pretend I am an authority, and to merely be a witness.

I find the DMI pressure and temperature maps of the area north of 60° latitude helpful. The world looks different, when viewed from the top, and one gains a unique perspective on how weather systems operate.

Recently we have seen a textbook pattern, where the “Polar Cell” squats on or near the Pole, orbited by small low pressure systems which mark the boundary between the Polar Cell and the Ferrel Cell.. Polar Cell atmospherecirculationIn the DMI pressure map below, the Polar high pressure is the yellow area just above the Pole, and I have dubbed it “Pohi”.  (You’ll have to forgive me for naming systems; I’ve never been good with numbers).  It is surrounded by six lows. “Beau” is north of Canada and weakening; the stronger ” Karazip” is well inland, in east-central Siberia; “Karason” is nosing into the Kara Sea, very weak “Laggard” is between Norway and Iceland, and its far stronger secondary, “Laggardson”, is off the map moving up from France towards the Baltic Sea, but most interesting to me is “Kara”, a retrograde low moving east into Fram Strait.

Most of these lows move west to east, seemingly propelled by the Ferrel Cell, but when they occlude they seem to hook up with the Polar Cell’s circulation and loop-de-loop back west. Occationally  one, such as Kara, breaks out of the loop and continues merrily west. A few others assault the Pole itself, in which case you can throw your textbook out the window,  for the Polar Cell becomes a doughnut, with a hole of low pressure in its middle.

What is interesting about the current textbook situation is that the ring of low pressures have created a ring of sub-freezing temperatures around the Pole. (The deepest shade of green on the temperature map.) These cold temperatures, and also the gloomy cloudiness associated with the lows, are situated right at the edge of the sea-ice, where melting is ordinarily liable to be fastest. I wonder if the slowness of this year’s melt might be partly explained by the storm tracks.

DMI2 0725B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0725B temp_latest.big

Our on-the-scene reporters are the various cameras bobbing about on the sea ice. My long-time favorite is the North Pole Camera, which I call “Faboo”. This year Faboo has been far slower to come south to Fram Strait, which has always been the graveyard of North Pole Cameras. Rather than a “pulverized pole” like last year, the ice Faboo is on seems more solid this year, and more difficult to flush south. Yesterday it traveled 6.92 miles SSW, which is more than usual, because winds were a stiff breeze up to 15 mph, whereas we are more used to seeing conditions with winds down around 5 mph, if not complete calm. Temperatures didn’t vary much, reaching a low oif +0.2° at 0600Z, and a high of +0.7°C at noon, before slipping back to +0.5°C at 2100z at our final report. (This data always comes in a day late.)

Faboo’s view was glorious sunshine and thaw a week ago, but this week has been mostly gloomy, with a little wet snow and a lot of drizzle. (I call the melt-water pool to the right “Lake Faboo”, in honor of a larger pool two summers ago that the media dubbed “Lake North Pole”, until it drained away overnight into a crack.) The first picture shows the first shreds of blue sky seen in a long while, but the second shows the drizzle is back. NP3 1 0725B 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0725C 2015cam1_1

Despite a long period of thaw, a fair amount of liquid precipitation, and now some stiff breezes, the ice pack shows no signs of breaking up. Usually you can see some leads and pressure ridges, at least in the far distance, but this year the solidity is noteworthy.

For action you have to head south around 360 miles, where O-buoy 9 has, after a drift of nearly two years from the Eurasian side of the Pole, crashed into the chaos north of Greenland and is in the process of being flushed down into Fram Strait. It is aboard a berg of dwindling size, and every picture it transmits is very different from the prior view.

Obuoy 9 0725 webcam Obuoy 9 0725B webcam Obuoy 9 0725C webcamObuoy 9 0725D webcam The fog that formed in the final picture did so as temperatures dipped below freezing. The winds have died down to 5 mph. The camera has started to tilt.

Hopefully I’ll find time to add the other cameras tomorrow morning, but it is past my bedtime, so good night!


The focus I have continues to be the low Kara, which is weakening and filling in Fram Strait, and the high pressure Pohi, which is now extending towards Eurasia, with an arm extending down towards northern Scandinavia and then west towards Iceland, curving around Kara like a guy making his move at the movies on a date. (How’s that for an image?)

I am watching the temperatures carefully, because I’ve noticed cooling associated with these arctic storms, when  they weaken and fill. It doesn’t make sense to me, for my simple logic tells me that when lifted air has rained out its moisture and then descends, it should be warmer, like the descending air in a Chinook. I’ve also  been assured the air doesn’t radiate much heat upward into outer space, especially in 24 hour sunshine in July.

The tight gradient of isobars between Kara and Pohi has greatly slackened, and I look for light winds and calm between Fram Strait and the Pole. Meanwhile the cold air on the Pacific side persists, and is larger than it was yesterday. (Remember that in the 0000z maps noon is at the top and midnight at the bottom. Even though the sun doesn’t set, as you move away from the Pole it does get higher and lower in the sky, and there is a slight diurnal swing in temperatures. In the map below it is the warm part of the day up towards the Pacific, which makes the sub-freezing area all the more noteworthy.)

DMI2 0726 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0726 temp_latest.big

Conditions at Faboo must be windless, for the drops on the lens have only gravitated downwards slightly. They are all in the same position and only the smallest have dried up, so humidity must be high. It looks like a dank, grey day.

NP3 1 0726 2015cam1_1Down by Greenland O-buoy 9 also sees gray and calm conditions, with temperatures just rising back up to thaw after a dip below freezing. The calm is accented by the mirror-like reflections in the water, and the fact the small berg that has grounded on our berg hasn’t washed free in over half a day.

Obuoy 9 0726 webcamSouth of there in Fram Strait Buoy 2015E: is reporting +0.36°.

I’ll discuss the buoys over in the Beaufort Sea after church.


This area has been an embarrassment to me this year, as I was expecting mildness and melting due to the “warm” spoke in the PDO, and we haven’t seen much yet.

We are blessed with three cameras this year, where we only had one last year. Furthest south and furthest east, at roughly  76° N, 139.5°W, sits O-buoy 11. It resides on ice roughly 5 feet thick, but is interesting as just beyond a pressure ridge in the near distance is a lead that had repetitively opened up and then slammed shut, sometimes increasing the size of the pressure ridge with the violence of its slam. Today it slammed shut and then reopened. Winds have been around 9 mph, and temperatures barely poked above freezing before dipping back down.

Obuoy 11 0726B webcamObuoy 11 0726C webcam Moving north and west from there we arrive at O-buoy 10, which was the lone buoy we watched last summer. It has been describing erratic circles the past year, as it is near the center of the Beaufort Gyre. Currently it is roughly at 77.5° N, 143.8° W. Today its view has gotten breezy, with winds at 15 mph, and temperatures just dipping below freezing after a day spent with temperatures a hair above freezing (and a raindrop on the lens of the first picture.). It has an impressive meltwater pool I call “Lake Beaufort” in the center of today’s view, but the camera drifts in a pool of its own, and tomorrow the camera may look in a different direction. Lake Beaufort seems no deeper, but is eroding its shorelines by melting them.Obuoy 10 0726B webcam Obuoy 10 0726C webcam Far to the west, at the boundary of the Chukchi sea, sits O-buoy 12 at roughly 77.5 N°, 164.3° W. Here is where I expected the warm PDO to have its greatest effect, as this buoy was closest to Bering Strait. However as soon as I made that forecast it drifted north away from the strait, and also experienced temperatures consistently below normal. I am convinced this buoy holds some sort of grudge against me and is out to make me look like a jackass. Lake Chukchi (the melt-water pool to the left) even started to skim over with ice right in the middle of the thaw season, but today we got back to thawing, and the breeze has stiffened to 18 mph, so maybe the ice will break up and the smart-Alex buoy will at last get its comeuppance.Obuoy 12 0726B webcam Obuoy 12 0726C webcam

The noticeable thing about the views this year is that the sunny pictures which I like are few and far between, and it is cold.  The melt-water is ordinary, for the time of year, but on other years the ice has been thinner,  and more fractured. In fact a few summers ago O-buoy 12’s view would have been open water.

The open water resulted in another source of on-the-ground reporting, which came from adventurers taking on the Northwest Passage.  Some wanted to be the first to do so by row-boat, or kayak, or ski-do. Often they were sponsored by people concerned by the prospect of an ice-free Pole increasing the rate of Global Warming,  and often their satellite pictures and postings were filled with the violins of pity for the planet, even as they ran into increasing ice and accidentally showed the Pole still had plenty of ice.

This year I’m still awaiting the first pictures from the passage. The NOAA ice map does show some open water along the northern coast of Alaska.Alaska July 1 ice And the satellite view suggests it might be possible to thread that needle. (East is down in this view, and the coast is to the left, with ice off shore.)Alaska July 2 ScreenHunter_9971-Jul.-25-10.14 Therefore I’m wondering why no one has started. Perhaps they know a shift in the winds can bring the ice south in a hurry, and one might suffer the fate of the fellow who got trapped for ten days on the ice last July. (It wasn’t sitting still that bothered him as much as it was the 1500 pound polar bears wandering about the boat, looking at him, and licking their lips.)Alaska July 3 arctic-sailor-july-21-alt_altan-girl-trapped1 And you have to admit it makes a fellow blush when, after talking a lot about Global Warming and an ice-free Pole, he needs to be rescued by a coast guard icebreaker. Alaska July 4 arctic-sailor-july-21-alt_altan-girl-under-tow1 However I sure hope people aren’t letting a little thing like that discourage them. We need our on-the-ground reporters. If anyone knows of any, please alert me, because I do enjoy watching, from the safety of my  armchair.


Yesterday Faboo swerved more to the west, traveling 3.19 miles to 86.016°N, 8.054°W. Temperatures rose from a low of +0.4°C at midnight to a high of +0.9°C at 1800z before falling back to +0.6°C at 2100Z The breezes slacked off to around 5 mph. The weather remained grey, with the drying drops on the lens looking odd, as if they might have frozen and then sublimated at the very end. We’ll have to wait for tomorrow’s data to know about that, as the Mass Balance Buoys are not reporting.NP3 1 0726B 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0726C 2015cam1_1 Down at O-buoy 9 we are drifting to the east, passing 12° longitude again, in light winds of 5 mph and with temperatures just below freezing.Obuoy 9 0726B  webcamObuoy 9 0726C webcam I’ll discuss the maps tomorrow. My eyes are closing on their own.DMI2 0726B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0726B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0727 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0727 temp_latest.big

Kara is fading away north of Greenland, but retains just enough identity to create a weak southerly flow in Fram Strait.

Faboo continues grey and calm. NP3 1 0727 2015cam1_1

Usually there is no ice in Hudson Bay at this time. Last year there was less ice on the Laptev Sea, but more ice east of Svalbard and in the Kara Sea.DMI2 0727 arcticicennowcast

Need to get to work. Mondays…….bah!


Yesterday’s data shows that Faboo flinched, and actually backed away from Fram Strait, moving northwest  2.1 miles to  86.043°N, 8.257°W. The furthest south we got was 86.015°N at 0300Z Yesterday morning. We’ll have to carve a notch there and see how long it takes to get back that far south.

It is no small thing to stop the huge amount of ice involved in the transpolar drift, and set it all back on its heels. I always wonder if there are a lot of strange noises heard, as the ice changes direction, and all sorts of leads and pressure ridges formed.DMI2 0727B arcticicespddrfnowcast Apparently there was some sort of front involved as the ice changed direction, as the wind swing around over 100 degrees, roughly from NE to SSE, and the wind picked up from 4 mph to 13 mph. There was an odd plunge in temperatures just as the wind shifted, from +0.6°C to -0.1°C  at 0600Z, though it rose right back up to + 0.6°C at 1500Z. Those temperatures represented yesterday’s low and high.

The view continues gray and monotonous.NP3 1 0727B 2015cam1_2 With winds swinging around to the south you might think we’d be getting warmer, but it doesn’t look like it will be right away. The current unofficial Mass Balance report has Faboo at -0.02° C, while down in Fram Strait at 77.74° N, 8.51° W Buoy 2015E: is reporting a surprisingly cold -1.68° C. Also south of Faboo, O-bouy 9 looks like it is down close to -2°CObuoy 9 0727B temperature-1weekThis all fits in with my observation that fading arctic storms mysteriously generate cold air.

O-buoy 9 hasn’t been moving south, but has drifted east all the way to latitude 11°. Winds picked up to around 10 mph for a while but have slacked off to 5 mph. The first picture shows we finally, (perhaps helped by the breeze), shook  of the hitchhiking freeloader-berg, which is drifting away, and the second picture shows we have run into a traffic jam.Obuoy 9 0727 webcam Obuoy 9 0727B webcam Over in the Beaufort Sea the O-buoys are generally seeing cold temperatures nudging up to a diurnal high at, or just above, freezing, with a breeze around 10 mph.

Obuoy 10 0727B webcam Obuoy 11 0727B webcam Obuoy 12 0727B webcam The DMI maps show Kara has nearly completely faded away north of Greenland, as Laggardson swings up from Scandinavia, but will be deflected south by an arm of Pohi, who is jealously defending the Pole. Pohi should be looking behind his back, however, for the inoculous-looking Beau, north of mainland Canada, may get a second wind. The temperature map shows warmer air at the west mouth of the Northwest Passage getting ready to clash with colder air just to its north.

A lot of what happens in Fram Strait depends on whether it remains in a southerly flow generated by the east side of Beau, or switches to a northerly flow generated by the west side of Laggardson.

There is more sub-freezing air around Fram Strait than we’ve seen in a while, especially at noon.

DMI2 0727B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0727B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0728 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0728 temp_latest.big

Not much new that I notice. Warm day at Svalbard, but warmth not making it north in Fram Strait. Circle of sub-freezing around core of thaw at Pole. Faboo’s view continues gray.NP3 1 0728 2015cam1_1 To the south O-buoy 9 continues cold and relatively calm.Obuoy 9 0728 webcam

At O-buoy 10 Lake Beaufort looks larger, and perhaps ready to drain downwards. Thaw is at height.Obuoy 10 0728 webcam At O-buoy 11 the lead in the distance has reopened yet again. Obuoy 11 0728 webcamO-buoy 12 has really given me something to ponder at work today. A decent chunk of ice has grounded on the shores of Lake Chukchi, to the left, which makes me wonder what is going on off camera to the left. A lead may have opened in that direction, out of sight, and Lake Chukchi may now be a bay on the lead’s side.Obuoy 12 0728 webcam TUESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE

Yesterday’s data is in for Faboo, and shows we continued NW 4.65 miles to 86.109°N, 8.463°W. Air temperatures remained flat, slightly thawing, with a low of +0.4°C at the start and end of the period, and a high of +0.8°C at 1500Z. Winds were a breeze of 13 mph from the SE, swinging slightly to the SSE. The gray conditions persisted.

NP3 1 0728B 2015cam1_1

TUESDAY EVENING UPDATE —All Mass Balance Buoys report below freezing.—

You don’t  see this all that often at the height of the summer thaw:

Buoy 2015B -0.82 C
Buoy 2015D -0.80 C
Buoy 2015E: -1.68 C
Buoy 2014F: -0.41 C
Buoy 2014G: -1.21 C
Buoy 2014I:   -0.37 C
Buoy 2013F:  -0.21 C

OK, OK, the latest Buoy 2015E report did just come in and show it just got above freezing down in Fram Strait, but that news would spoil our headline, wouldn’t it now?


The NRL (Navel Research Lab) maps have always been great, but this year I suspect some glitch is effecting the thickness maps. At least those thickness maps don’t make ice vanish, where it still exists, as some other maps do, however they seem to show ice as being far thinner than it actually is. For nearly a month it has been showing the remaining ice as being quite thin in Hudson Bay, only six inches thick in places,  as other maps and charts produced by the Canadian Ice Service tell a different story.

Hudson July 28 A CMMBCTCA Or see:  (hat tip: Stewart Pid)

However a picture from up there may be worth more than a thousand maps:Hudson July 28 3 ccgs-pierre-radisson-in-sea-ice

This is a picture of the the CCGS Pierre Radisson escorting the oil tanker Havelstern to Iqaluit on July 17, so the people there can have heating oil for the coming winter. That ice does not look as thin as the NRL maps suggest.  Ice breakers ordinarily have the summer off in Hudson Bay, and can be hired by scientists. The fact scientists had their research interrupted by the very real needs of very real people resulted in some sarcasm on the part of Skeptics.

Actually this possible glitch is a matter of concern. If the thickness data is seriously under-estimated, and is put into the concentration forecast, then the ten-day-forecast can quite logically be expected to predict the ice will melt away within ten days. And this is exactly what the forecast been doing since June.

The glitch  shows up quite clearly when you compare the NRL thickness map for this year with the map for the same date on the record-setting year of low ice extent, 2012.  According to this comparison, we have significantly less ice this year, (Hat tip to poster “Jusse” over at “Real Science” for creating this comparison.)

If we truly have so much less ice than 2012 then we are about to see Alarmists become very happy, for the extent graphs will take a dive below even 2012.  However if it is a glitch, it should be fixed before the embarrassment becomes too keen.


The O-buoy cameras aren’t reporting, but here are some pictures I saved in the afternoon. It is cold atop Greenland, and looks like they are getting slushy snow in Beaufort Sea, with clearing over towards Bering Strait and O-buoy 12.

Obuoy 9 0728B webcamObuoy 10 0728B webcamObuoy 11 0728B webcamObuoy 12 0728B webcam EVENING DMI MAPS

DMI2 0728B mslp_latest.bigDMi2 0728B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0729 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0729 temp_latest.big

“Laggardson” is starting to fade in the North Atlantic, drifting down towards Iceland rather than invading Fram Strait, and it looks like in its lee “Nolag” will take a similar route, up through the Baltic and then loop-de-looping back into the Atlantic, at first towards Svalbard and then back down towards Iceland. Some milder air does invade Barents Sea, but looks like it will primarily be swept west and not north. For the time being the circle of sub-freezing temperatures stands strong around the “Pohi” and the Pole.

The storm of most interest to me is “Beau”, which is now strengthening in the Beaufort Sea. This looks like it will sneak in behind Pohi, and be the closest thing we’ve seen to a polar storm in a while. Currently it is not forecast to deepen much below 1000mb, or have winds much above 20 mph, however it should budge us into a new pattern. Pohi looks like it should retreat to Eurasia and the Atlantic side.

It is midnight in the second (lower) temperature map above, and it should be noted the area of sub-freezing temperatures has significantly expanded. The question not troubling world leaders in capitals across the globe is, “Where did the heat go?”

It will be interesting to see Faboo’s official data from yesterday when it comes out this afternoon. The unofficial Mass Balance reports have had it dipping below freezing and drifting northwest, at -0.70° C at last report. The weather continues to be a tedious grayness. Lake Faboo looks glassy, so the breeze pushing us north has likely died down to a calm.NP3 1 0729 2015cam1_1 For excitement we have to head south to O-buoy 9 off the northeast tip of Greenland. Winds have picked up to 15 mph, our ice has stopped drifting east and has lurched west, temperatures have risen to just below freezing, and another chunk of the berg we ride upon has fallen away. The ice has eroded dangerously close to our camera, and we could be bobbing in the drink soon.Obuoy 9 0729 webcam

South by southeast of there Buoy 2015E: is reporting +0.10° C, and may be already in the drink as it is reporting an ice-thickness of -8 cm. Negative thickness is a new concept to me, and I am having a hard time getting my mind around it, perhaps because, until my first coffee kicks in, my mind is afflicted by negative thickness.

Over in Beaufort Sea both O-buoy 10 and O-buoy 11 look like they are starting to feel the effects of the developing low pressure “Beau”, as both have had teary lenses.  Both have seen temperatures just below freezing. O-buoy 10 has seen the stronger breezes, with winds at 20 mph, and has recently cleared its eyes. It’s view has swung around to the left of Lake Beaufort.Obuoy 10 0729 webcamO-buoy 11 has gone all weepy on us and is sharing a fairly useless view, with winds at 11 mph.Obuoy 11 0729 webcamO-buoy 12 is of interest to me. Lake Chukchi has significantly expanded. Because small bergs beached on the shore to our left, and then drifted away, I’m tempted to say there is a lead and open water behind us, however Lake Chukchi itself does not behave like a lead, for the ice on the far side does not move in relation to where we view from. We also know that, while the lowest part of Lake Chukchi may have punched through to the sea, it has a bottom and shallower areas. You can see why a satellite might have a hard time differentiating between open water and ice covered by water. There is still a chance Lake Chukchi might abruptly drain, and prove to be pure melt-water, but I never recall seeing melt-water pools with individual bergs drifting in them before.Obuoy 12 0729 webcam

August and early September tend to see a lot of breaking-up of ice in the Beaufort, Chukchi and East Siberian seas, and we may be seeing the start of it here. I actually was expecting it earlier in the summer, due to the “warm” spike in the PDO, but this rascal buoy had to wait until I ventured that maybe it had drifted far enough north to avoid the break-up, before doing it. I tell you, this buoy has a grudge against me, though I haven’t a clue what I  ever did to deserve it.


The large mass of ice to the left has drifted to the right. Looks like the sea is cracking up here, and O-buoy 12 is officially adrift.  obuoy 12 0729B webcam

WEDNESDAY EVENING UPDATE  —Faboo continues north—

Faboo continued to regress north towards the Pole, now slanting a little east of north. The furthest west we reached was 8.484°W at 1800Z Monday. Yesterday we traveled 6.03 miles, which is decent progress for summer, but in completely the wrong direction if we intend to get to Fram Strait before nightfall in September. Our position at the end of yesterday’s report was 86.195°N, 8.220°W.  We were blown north by a southerly wind that veered slightly to the SSW, blowing a steady 16 mph for half a day before slacking off to 11 mph at the end of the period. Strangely, the south wind brought cold temperatures, with the day’s high at the very start, +0.3°C at midnight, before sinking to -0.7°C at 0600Z, rising to a second high of -0.2°C at 1800Z and then falling slightly to -0.4°C at our final report at 2100Z. This was not merely pools of cold air wafting about in calm conditions. This was a steady, cold, sub-freezing wind.  The unofficial Mass Balance reports showed we continued below freezing this morning, but made it back to a very slight thaw at +0.17° C later. The camera continues to  gaze forlornly over a gray landscape, with the reflection in Lake Faboo suggesting yesterday’s winds have abated, or the water has glassed over (which I  doubt).NP3 1 0729B 2015cam1_1

To the south Buoy 2015E: is at +0.01°, and may be far enough south to be touched by Laggardson’s winds.


On the northeast corner of Greenland O-buoy 9 has only a fragment of its foundation berg left, and has been through strong, 20 mph breezes that have pushed it south and west, with temperatures right at freezing. I can’t ever recall a camera bobbing on so small a platform before.

Obuiy 9 0729C webcam Obuoy 9 0729C webcam

Over in the Beaufort Sea O-buoy 10 is the one camera still seeing fracture-free ice, as the winds of “Beau” come north. Temperatures have been below freezing, but it the wind that does the damage, and winds were up at 27 mph earlier, before falling back to the current 15mph. The camera has swung right around and Lake Beaufort now lies behind our back.Obuoy 10 0729B webcam O-buoy 11, further south, has seen the ice crack up right at its feet with temperatures below freezing and winds rising to 18 mph. The swiftness of the crack-up has been impressive.Obuoy 11 0729B webcam Over towards the west O-buoy 12 continues to remain stable midst its crack-up, with less water and more ice apparent now. In fact, if I didn’t have the earlier pictures I could draw the wrong conclusions, and assume Lake Chukchi was draining. Temperatures are back up towards freezing after taking a dive earlier to around -2.2°C. Winds have risen again to 16 mph.

Obuoy 12 0729B temperature-1week Obuoy 12 0729C webcam O-buoy 12 seems to be situated on a fairly solidly-packed, old pressure ridge which may allow us to enjoy a long ride before we get dumped, Once these cameras get dumped the pictures are all over the place and from erratic angels as the buoy bobs, and can give you a case of whiplash.

The break-up of the ice is a yearly event, and usually is a time of rejoicing for Alarmists, and gloom for many Skeptics. It doesn’t show up much on the extent graph, as the ice can be as little as 15% of the area and still “make the graph”. In fact sometimes the extent can actually increase as the ice breaks up, as it can spread out more and cover a larger area. The current dip in the extent graph may be more due to the opposite happening north of Fram Strait; ice that was spreading out is being pushed back north and consolidating. In any case, the graph does continue to plunge every year for another 30 days before it even starts to think of bottoming out.DMI2 0729B icecover_current_new Even though “Beau” is weak, as polar storms go, it is forecast to wobble about the Beaufort Sea for a week, and models suggest it will get two new infusions of energy, and rather than simply fading will get a second wind, and then a third wind.  It may be able to churn the seas a bit, now that the ice is breaking up, and this will tell us a lot about the temperature of the water under the ice. If the “warm” spike of the PDO has been able to slip a layer of warmer water under the ice, like a playing card slipping into a deck, then the ice may vanish swiftly as it did the summer gale of 2012. However if the water under the ice is not stratified and is colder, the ice will be churned about by storms and not melt all that much, which occurred when a gale spun atop the planet during the summer of 2013. It will be interesting to watch. Among other things, I’ll be watching the location of the lows center, to see if that has much to do with the break up of the ice, and I’ll also be watching to see if the low “creates cold.”

The DMI maps, with noon at the bottom, shows the sub-freezing air gone from the Atlantic side, but impressive on the Pacific side.

DMI2 0729B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0729B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0730 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0730 temp_latest.big

“Nopo” getting shifted towards the Atlantic by “Beau” over the Beaufort Sea as Larggardson weakens east of Greenland. Nolag moving up into the Baltic to follow Laggardson. Mild air drawn north through the Canadian Archipelago towards the Pole.

Faboo is in a cqalm area between competing systems. Conditions continue gray, with temperatures either side of freezing.

NP3 1 0730NP3 1 0730B 2015cam1_1O-buoy 9 continues its precarious ride on a surfboard of ice.  Obuoy 9 0730 webcam O-buoy 10 sees slackening winds and temperatures just below freezing. It is close to “Beau”.Obuoy 10 0730 webcamA very pretty picture from O-buoy 11, which I think is drifting on its own now, free of an ice foundation. Temperatures are just below freezing, with Beau’s winds slackening.Obuoy 11 0730 webcamO-buoy 12 is coldest of our buoys, with the drifting ice currently crushing together but definitely broken up. Winds are slackening here as well.Obuoy 12 0730 webcamI may not have time to post later. Temperatures are heading up to the 90°s here in New Hampshire again, and there is nothing like dealing with a mob of kids in heat to keep a man busy and humble (but hopefully not too crabby). My plan is to turn on the hose and keep them wet. In the back of my mind I’ll be thinking of sea-ice.


Faboo slowed down as the winds died down to a complete calm yesterday. We only traveled 1.53 miles, but it was away from Fram Strait.  We moved northeast, with our most eastward longitude 8.190°W at 0300Z, and then traveled northwest, with our northernmost latitude being 86.215°N at noon, and then floated due west, with our final position at 86.214°N, 8.393°W.

Yesterday’s data showed us complete a period of 24 hours with temperatures below freezing, with our low at -0.4°C at the start of our data at 2100Z Wednesday, (and still at -0.4°C at midnight, if you insist on starting the day there), and still  right at freezing at 0300Z. Then we popped up to the days high of +0.4°C at 0600Z, but were back down to the freezing mark again at 0.0°C at 2100Z.

For the most part the view was gloom, gloom, gloom, but Fabootwo (the second and inferior camera,  did catch just a hint of clearing, minutes before midnight yesterday.

NP3 2 0730 2015cam2_4 Faboo, however, remains in a blue funk:NP3 1 0730C 2015cam1_1 O-buoy 9 saw rthe winds die to a calm, with temperatures right at freezing.Obuoy 9 0730B webcamObuoy 9 0730C webcamO-buoy 10, co-located with Mass Balance Buoy 2014F, is reporting temperatures about a half degree below freezing, and the ice is srill four feet thick, but must be under duress as winds have picked back up to 20 mph. The darkness of the clouds on the left horizon may be due to those clouds reflecting the hue of open water. Obuoy 10 0730B webcam Obuoy 10 0730C webcam Obuoy 10 0730C 2013F_thickObuoy 11 is now sailing free, though likely getting bumped a lot by bergs. If an icebreaker is available they will likely pick this buoy up. Temperatures remain just below freezing, and winds are picking back up to 18 mph. Obuoy 11 0730B webcam Obuoy 11 0730C webcamO-buoy 12 is on the south (Bering Strait) side of Beau, and in some of the coldest air over the arctic. It’s companion buoy 2014G last reported a temperature of -1.12°C. This is not conducive to summer thaw, nor is the lack of sunshine conducive to warming waters. It seems likely that the ice broke up because, after crunching north for a considerable period, Beau’s winds started to blow the ice south, which allowed for many leads to start to open up. (There is no way to be sure that O-buoy 12 and 2014G are on the same piece of ice, and they could drift far apart. For the time being I’ll be assuming they are close together, but it is an assumption.)Obuoy 12 0730B webcam Obuoy 12 0730C webcamThe DMI maps show midnight at the top and noon at the bottom. The area of sub-freezing air on the Pacific side has enlarged over the past 24 hours. The remains of “Karazip” (and some additional Pacific energy) are likely to cross Bering Strait and supply a spoke of additional energy to Beau, giving it a second wind. “Karason” has generally stagnated south of the Kara Sea, but pumped mild air north into an easterly flow from the Kara Sea clear to Iceland, but the mildness can’t seem to penetrate north of Svalbard (so far). “Laggardson” is fading fasr south of Fram Strait, and is now little more than an appendage of “Nolag”, which is looping up off Norwa. A Johny-come-lately low is joining the fray, crossing the Atlantic beneath Iceland, (I’ll call it “Lately.”)  Last but not least, (and perhaps worthy of my focus tomorrow), downright hot air surged north to the ice in Hudson Bay, and has clashed with the cold up there and is brewing up a new storm, over at the left  (nine o’clock) of the map. I’ll call it “Clash.”

The mildest invasion continues to be through the Canadian Archipelago, on the “warm” side of Beau.  The Pole is warmer than the Beaufort Sea.This mild invasion passes right over the Northwest Passage, and hopefully will encourage some adventurers to attempt the passage, so we have some on-the-ground reporters.

DMI2 0730B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0730B temp_latest.big


DMi2 0731 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0731 temp_latest.big

“Pohi” is now basically a ridge separating “Beau” on the Pacific side from “Nolag” over Scandinavia. Noon is at the top of the maps, and the warming on the Pacific side is likely diurnal, as is the appearance of sub-freezing air north of the Kara Sea and Fraz Josef Land. The ridge creates calm in Fram Strait, and Faboo looks to again be in a very slight southerly flow, though it did shift very slightly southeast overnight, according to the unofficial Mass Balance report, with temperatures rising from -0.10°C to +0.29°C. The view continues gray, though perhaps there is hope of a change in the weather in the central distance.NP3 1 0731 2015cam1_1 O-buoy 9 sees near calm, fog, and temperatures just above freezing down at the northwest entrance to Fram Strait.Obuoy 9 0731 webcamO-buoy 10 seems to be swinging around to look at “Lake Beaufort”, with temperatures nearly a degree below freezing and winds of 15 mph. It may have wet snow in its eye.Obuoy 10 0731 webcamO-buoy 11 continues to bob in a strong breeze of 18 mph, (notice slightly tilted horizon) with temperatures dipping back below freezing.Obuoy 11 0731 webcamO-buoy 12 continues to experience sub-freezing temperatures and a steady wind around 9-12 mph. It rides a berg with a pointed bow like a battleship. “Beau” has been pushing us south into waters with more elbow room, and it looks like this spreading-out of ice along the Beaufort-Chukchi boundary will continue for as long as Beau mills about to the northwest. This can create upticks in the extent graphs, though of course there is no increase of actual ice. DMI2 0731 icecover_current_new


The official data reports what we already knew: It was calm at Faboo yesterday. We again barely budged, floating largely west but slightly south 1.14 miles to a final position of 86.203°N, 8.579°W. Winds were light from the north, dropping to a dead calm at the end of the period. Temperatures began right at freezing at the start and rose to a high of +0.7°C at noon, and only dropping to +0.6°C at the end of our reporting period at 2100Z. Likely we are in the milder air brought north by “Beau”. The Pole is warmer than areas surrounding it.

Faboo saw the sun come out at long last. The “snow bow” was a nice touch, but hints at colder air.NP3 1 0731B 2015cam1_2 NP3 1 0731C 2015cam1_1 To the south Buoy 2015E: is now firmly in the control of the south-bound current, and saw daytime temperatures rose from +0.15°C to +0.97°C. It likely is in calm conditions, still north of the flow of air brought all the way from Central Siberia, across the Kara, Barents and Greenland Seas.

O-buoy 9 continued to teeter at the brink of heading down into Fram Strait, heading east (seemingly more by tide than by wind, as it was fairly calm) to 10.5° longitude, and sending us beautiful pictures of sea-ice. This is what I like to look at on hot summer days. Check out how much ice is under water. Then check out the big berg in the distance of the second picture, and consider how much of that sucker is hidden. (These pictures can be clicked to enlarge and clarify.)

The final picture is from at midnight local time, and shows you that at 80.5° latitude the days of midnight sunshine are drawing to a close.Obuoy 9 0731B webcam Obuoy 9 0731C webcamObuoy 9 0731D webcamO-buoy 10 has seemingly recieved a remarkable summer snow, for an area which is in some ways a desert, or at least semi-arid.  The melt-water looks milky and likely has been made slushy with snow. The camera has swung back around and in the final picture we are looking at Lake Beaufort. The island in it is called “Casper Island” for some reason. You can see it is furry with new snow, which can make extent graphs jump up. Fresh snow has the highest albedo of anything except aluminum foil. This ice is under duress, as the breeze has been steady and strong, and recently up to 27 mph. Temperatures have been at freezing or just below.Obuoy 10 0731B webcam Obuoy 10 0731C webcamObuoy 10 0731D webcamO-buoy 11 is further east and south, and winds are not as string (18 mph) nor has there been obvious snow, though it sure was foggy earlier.  It is cold, and the the fresh-water puddles atop bergs look like they are glassing over. (Note the slush in the seawater in the third picture, at the very bottom of the photo.)Obuoy 11 0731B webcam Obuoy 11 0731C webcamObuoy 11 0731D webcamO-buoy 12 has veered and niw ic cruising SE rather than SW. It continues to experience the coldest temperatures of all our buoys, even though it is so far south it isn’t included in the SMI arctic temperatures graph, which only includes temperatures north of 80°.Obuoy 12 0731B webcam Obuoy 12 0731C webcamObuoy 12 0731D webcam

The DMI maps  show the “midnight” expansion of cold air on the Pacific side. The small pockets of sub-freezing air on the Atlantic side, north of Greenland and north of Franz Josef Land are a bit surprising, as it is noon down on that side.

DMI2 0731B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0731B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0801 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0801 temp_latest.big

Noon is at the top of the above maps, and the chill holds even during the “warm” part of the day over the Beaufort Sea. It looks like reinforcing energy is moving up into “Beau” to keep it spinning. It is not much of a storm, compared to other summer gales, but it has kept the sun from shining and has dumped summer snows in places. Currently its pressure is over 1000mb, but it may dip below 1000mb after gobbling up the reinforcements.

Pohi continues to exist as a ridge separating Atlantic from Pacific. On the Atlantic side Nolag has loop-de-looped back west and is weakening northeast of Iceland, but has kicked energy east across Finland. There is a long easterly fetch from the Kara Sea all the way to Greenland, and I can’t help but wonder what that does to the flow of warmer surface waters into Barents Sea. Perhaps it blocks the import of milder, northern tendrils of Gulf Stream waters, if it is a long-duration event.

Off the map, a tight little summer gale has departed Newfoundland and making the Atlantic crossing, and could be a newsworthy gale west of Scotland tomorrow evening. I’ll dub it “Tite”.

Faboo gives us a nice picture of midnight sun, with light wind and unofficial temperatures dipping to +0.15°C.  NP3 1 0801 2015cam1_1The pictures from Fabootwo show an alien robot popping in on the right side to wave at the camera, and then vanishing.NP3 2 0801A 2015cam2_3NP3 2 0801B 2015cam2_2 NP3 2 0801C 2015cam2_1 I think that may be the Mass Balance Buoy, and also a fine example of how these buoys can make their own private pools.

To the south O-buoy 9 is bobbing about, bumping into bergs, with its camera swinging wildly about. In pictures an hour apart we first look away from the sun and then towards it. The first picture looks east, and I think the horizon may hold a distant view of Greenland. Winds remain fairly light ant temperatures are just above freezing.Obuoy 9 0801 webcamObuoy 9 0801B webcam  Over in the Beaufort Sea all three cameras make it look gray, stormy and perhaps snowy. “Beau” is having an influence.Obuoy 10 0801 webcam Obuoy 11 0801 webcam Obuoy 12 0801 webcam I think I’ll conclude this post now, and start another. I hope I haven’t stressed you out too much with the wild excitement of watching ice melt. You have to admit it has been an incredibly exciting week, with a polar storm, the ice-break-up, and two buoys into the drink. Who knows what next week will hold? Stock up on tranquilizers.

ARCTIC SEA ICE -The First Law-(Updated 9 times and concluded.)

I’ve been busy with other posts, but do not neglect my important responsibility when it comes to watching paint dry ice melt. Because part of my responsibility involves educating you, the reader, I insist you study the following interpretation, by artists, of scientific stuff. It is especially important because it explains the laws of thermodynamics I need you to understand. It also explains bullshit involving the difference between science and poets. And it does this back in the 1960’s. In fact, as you watch these two guys, you get the sense they were miles ahead of their times, and perhaps were minor prophets.

I can’t compete with those two guys (one in a wheelchair.) There is more education and wisdom involved in replaying their ancient video five times, than I am liable to produce.  I’m humbled.

Until I can recover from being so humbled, the best I can do is post DMI maps. Reality also produces more than a poet ever can.                             DMI20719 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0719 temp_latest.big DMI2 0719B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0719B temp_latest.big

Before I return to my more-boring focus on the above maps, perhaps we should briefly consider other realities, which were obvious to Flanders and Swan, a half century ago.


DMI2 0720 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0720 temp_latest.big

Last week some models were showing a summer storm moving north from the Kara Sea to the Pole, but reality begged to differ, and what we witness is the opposite: High pressure rebuilding over the Pole. There is only a vauge dimple of low pressure denting the isobars at the Pole, and rather than from the Kara Sea that dimple came from, of all places, the taiga and tundra west of Hudson Bay. Some surprisingly mild air came seeping north through the Canadian Archipelago and gave one of the strongest thaws of the summer to off-shore ice, on its way to the Pole. Once such mild air gets north it tends to rise, and weaken the high pressure. Faboo (my name for the North Pole Camera Buoy) saw our sunny spell come to an end, and the Pole experienced above-normal temperatures for the first time in three summers.

DMI2 0720 meanT_2015 The above graph only includes temperatures north of 80° latitude, but if you look at the temperature maps above you notice there is a sort of ring of sub-freezing temperatures associated with weak low pressure dancing around the polar high pressure, with  much of the chill south of 80°. (This is as the textbook states things should be, with the high pressure over the pole the center of the “Polar Cell.”) (Half of the time the Pole just laughs at the textbooks.)

Most of the melting of the sea-ice comes from warmer water transported north under the ice, or the ice being transported south to warmer waters and climes, however the chill  around the edges of the Pole cannot be speeding the melt of the ice, which continues slower than last year. DMI2 0720 icecover_current_new Although I earlier showed you how wrong models can be, I will mention some models are showing the sub-freezing temperatures growing, during the next two weeks, over the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska. (You can click all maps and images in this post to clarify and enlarge)DMI2 0720 ScreenHunter_9947-Jul.-19-08.07 My job is made easier this Monday morning by the fact neither the O-buoy camera site nor the Mass Balance Buoy site are transmitting, this morning. It like the old days, when all we had was Faboo, and Fabootwo, (the second North Pole Camera).

Fabootwo did catch a glimpse of midnight sun, (Notice the sun is already getting lower.) (Also notice a snow stake has fallen over.)NP3 2 0720 2015cam2_2

However for the most part Faboo has seen the thaw be sunless.

NP3 1 0720 2015cam1_1 We have to wait a day to get the official data from Faboo, and it shows us Faboo continued its very slow drift to the south and west, traveling 2.42 miles in 24 hours and winding us up at 86.341°N, 5.490°W. Winds remained light, even calm, but the transpolar drift shoves us along even without wind.

There does seem to be a heat-island effect caused by the sun striking the buoy, even though they try their best to make the buoy be white and reflect heat. It sits in its own private pool of water, and when it is sunny temperatures spike when it gets calm. For example, Friday’s final reading was in a calm, and was +2.7°C, but as soon as a slight 2 mph draft started wafting, the next reading came in at +0.4°C, for Saturday’s low. But then it grew cloudy, so I am less liable to distrust the high temperatures, especially as winds touched 5 mph at times. We reached +1.9°C at noon, and even though our final reading of +2.0°C was measured in a calm, I trust it more than I trust readings when it is bright and sunny.

In conclusion Faboo sits in the center of the height of the summer thaw, as all around the edges of the Arctic Ocean sub-freezing temperatures play ring-around-the-Rosie. (And, in case you wonder why I use such a childish analogy, it is because I have to go face a bunch of children, running my Farm-childcare.  Mondays….)


Faboo continued its slow drift south Sunday, covering another 2.62 miles and winding up at 86.303°N, 5.503°W. The calm gave way to a light breeze if 6 mph, and the slow fade to the west reached 5.552°W at noon before turning back to the east, which suggests the light breeze has swung around to the west. Temperatures rose from a low of +0.7°C at midnight to a high of +1.2°C at 1500Z before falling back to +0.9°C at the final reading at 2100Z. This small range is likely due to the gloomy weather. It will be interesting to see tomorrow’s data, for the mist on the lens in the most recent picture looks frozen to me, which is possible when temperatures are very close to freezing, due to evaporative cooling.NP3 1 0720 2015cam1_2 NP3 1 0720B 2015cam1_1 Lake Faboo has grown slightly larger during the recent thaw. I don’t think it is deeper, but rather is melting away at its edges.

The O-buoys came back to life, though they still aren’t reporting the weather. They are transmitting GPS and Pictures. As usual, O-buoy 9 is the most interesting. It is still around 81° latitude, but after getting east to 10° longitude it has come all the way back to 12°. The front edge of the berg is steadily eroding, closer and closer, nearer and nearer, and the drama is so intense that I’m thinking of adding some background music, (of the dramatic sort, of course.)  Also you can see the berg is swinging around to the south, for the sun is in the same part of the sky in the first and last pictures, but the first was taken at 0801Z and the last at 1101Z. (3 hours difference is 45° rotation). If we can only swing all the way around until we are looking west, we’ll see Greenland.  The winds look fairly light, especially for the North Atlantic. Obuoy 9 0719 webcam Obuoy 9 0720 webcam Obuoy 9 0720B webcam Old O-buoy 10, which stopped transmitting pictures back on June 16, amazingly came back to life. Also it is actually transmitting weather data, on and off, and reports a-hair-below freezing temperatures and light winds. A lot has changed. The buoy has shifted to the right, which may suggest our camera is afloat in its own pool. The yellow shows on the buoy, which shows how much snow has melted. And the melt-water is located differently from last summer.

 Last August 12webcam This June 12Obuoy 10 0612 webcam Today (July 20) Obuoy 10 0720 webcam I tried to warn O-buoy 11 not to drink too much beer in the summer heat, but it wouldn’t listen. The melt-water pool to the lower left partially froze and then thawed, and the lead in the distance has reopened. Obuoy 11 0718 webcam

 This June 12Obuoy 11 0719 webcamObuoy 11 0719B webcam Obuoy 12 seemed to have wet snow in its eye on Saturday, but that likely was mixed with rain, as Lake Chukchi has widened a little, and the spot of melt in the lower right corner is enlarged. Obuoy 12 0718 webcam Obuoy 12 0719 webcam Obuoy 12 0720 webcam The maps show the high continuing to build over the Pole, even as a decent storm I’ll call “Kara” brews up south of the Kara Sea. The sub-freezing spell continues over towards Bering Strait, even as it is quite warm in the strait itself.

DMI2 0720B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0720B temp_latest.big

The models seem to come up with different solutions every run, concerning what “Kara” will do. A recent run has it flatten against the building high, and then break into two blobs, one of which will head east, but the other blob rolling retrograde to the west, north of Finland and then under Svalbard and to the top of Greenland. That would be interesting, if it ever happened. (I’ve seen summer storms do that before.)


DMI2 0721 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0721 temp_latest.big

The showdown between “Kara” and the Polar high continues to develop, as both have advanced towards each other. A weak Pacific-to_Atlantic flow is developing between the two. Milder air is coming north  through Bering Strait, and may erode the sub-freezing areas on that side.

Faboo sees a misty rain falling.NP3 1 0721 2015cam1_1 O-buoy 9 sees thaw, with temperatures spiking above +2°. Winds remain light.Obuoy 9 9721 webcam O-buoy 10 is swinging in its private melt-water pool, looking more to the right. Winds are nearly calm, and temperatures a hair below freezing.Obuoy 10 0721 webcam O-buoy 11 has finally listened to me and quit the beer, and now likely floats upright in its own melt-water pool. This is a good thing, as that tilt can cause you to get a crick in your neck. It’s weather reports still aren’t transmitting. The lead in the distance has shut again.Obuoy 11 0721 webcam O-buoy 12 may have a slushy snowflake in its eye. Temperatures are right at freezing, and the light breeze has picked up a little to 9 mph. Obuoy 12 0721 webcam TUESDAY EVENING UPDATE  -Faboo Snowblind-

The real news is that Faboo’s view of a rainy landscape abruptly was blocked by wet snow.NP3 1 0721B 2015cam1_2 NP3 1 0721C 2015cam1_1 Now is when it would be nice to have recent data, but the Mass Balance Buoy site, while back on line, is still reporting data from the 17th. All we have is Monday’s data for Faboo, which tells us we drifted south-southeast with winds of about 6 mph, covering  3.63 miles and winding up at 86.251°N, 5.373°W at 2100Z  last night. Temperatures reached a high of +1.1°C at noon and fell to +0.5°C at 2100Z.

The Pacific to Atlantic cross-polar flow may be bringing some of the sub-freezing air from over towards Bering Strait north to the Pole, and some evaporative cooling may be occurring as well. What will be interesting to see is if the snow could accumulate, or is just slush. Even an inch of fluff has the highest albedo of all natural objects, and sometimes can seem to lead to further cooling.

I’ll add more later, but need to go to a meeting.


It looks like Faboo did get dusted. This is midnight, with the sun at its lowest.

NP3 1 0721D 2015cam1_1

We’ll have to wait to see what the temperatures did.

O-buoy 9 sees temperatures back down to freezing.Obuoy 9 0721B webcamO-bouy 10. Where’d that second buoy come from? Am I seeing double? Obuoy 10 0721B webcam O-buoy 11.  The lead has closed with quite a crash.Obuoy 11 0721B webcamO-buoy 12  Slushy snow ends. Breezy.Obuoy 12 0721B webcamObuoy 12 0721C webcam

I’ll discuss maps in the morning .

DMI2 0721B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0721B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0722 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0722 temp_latest.big

The maps show “Kara” still facing the Polar High. Current projections have Kara start to do one of those North Atlantic loop-de-loops that occluded storms do, but get a bit carried away doing the top half of the counter-clockwise loop, and regress clear back to Greenland. As the low does this the high pressure will scoop around behind it and raise pressures to the rear. This will create totally backwards winds, for as Kara approaches Fram Strait winds will be north (when winds are usually south as storms approach) and then as Kara fills and fades away north of Greenland winds will be south, (when winds are usually north after a storm passes.) However this is only stuff occurring in the imagination of a model. We shall see what remains to be seen.

In the above maps it is high noon on the Pacific side, yet the stubborn sub-freezing temperatures persist.

To me it looks like the drizzle on Faboo’s lens is frozen this morning, (because of that dry patch on the right-hand side.)NP3 1 0722 2015cam1_1 I double checked the Mass Balance Site, and though the main page is still stuck on July 17, you can get updated data if you dig down to the individual buoys. Buoy 2015D, co-located with Faboo, was coming in at  -0.93° C. No such sub-freezing temperatures are indicated on the above DMI map, but I think Faboo is experiencing a freeze.

This is a little like last summer, where right at the heart of the summer thaw we experienced a cold snap. (Of course by then the North Pole Camera was demolished, down towards Svalbard, but O-buoy 9  was far further north last year, and showed us the refreeze. Although the thaw did get going again in August, it never had time to really get cooking.

So far this summer I felt things are milder, and more like an old-time thaw, but now I’m watching carefully. In the charts below (click to enlarge) 2014 is to the right, and the midsummer freeze barely shows as the red line dipping a little towards the blue freezing line in the second half. It will interesting to see how much of a dip Faboo’s current freeze puts in the graph, or whether it is reflected on the larger picture at all..

DMI2 2014 meanT_2014 DMI2 0722 meanT_2015

Down in Fram Strait, Buoy 2015E: is reporting -1.66° C, which is surprising cold for so far south. ( 77.63° N, 8.36° W).

O-buoy 9 still survives, on the brink of doom. My best guess is that it is now gazing south-southeast.Obuoy 9 0722 webcam Time for work. I’ll catch up on the other O-buoys later.


O-buoy 9 has survived another day, thanks mostly to relatively light winds of 5 mph and gentle seas.  Of interest is the way we move back and forth, in terms of longitude, in a diurnal manner.Obuoy 9 0722C longitude-1week My guess (and it is a sheer guess) is that the land is quite close behind our back, and tides are effecting us. The only other thing I can think of is the switch between a sea breeze and a land breeze, and that also depends on the land being near. The temperatures dipped just below freezing last night, and jogged irregularly above freezing today. Obuoy 9 0722B webcamObuoy 9 0722C webcam The final picture shows brighter sunlight out to sea from us, as our camera only casts a dim shadow. I wonder if a cliff looms behind our back. The camera is starting to tip a little. If we can sit in our own private melt-water pool, perhaps our view will swing around like camera 10 does.

O-buoy 10 has a a very slight thaw and light winds. It is swinging back in its pool to look at the original buoy.

Obuoy 10 0722B webcam Obuoy 10 0722B webcam Obuoy 10 0722C webcam O-buoy 11 is seeing winds pick up a bit to 7 mph, and a day of thaw end with temperatures just dipping below freezing. The lead is reopening.Obuoy 11 0722 webcam Obuoy 11 0722B webcam Obuoy 11 0722C webcam O-buoy 12 has experienced a cold, gray day, and seems to have wet snow in its eye. Temperatures are a hair below freezing with a breeze up near 10 mph. Co-located Mass Balance Buoy 2014G’s most recent report has temperatures at  -0.11° C.Obuoy 12 0722 webcamObuoy 12 0722B webcamObuoy 12 0722C webcam Not far south of O-buoy 12 Buoy 2015B is reporting -0.34° C.  Down on the coast of Alaska, Buoy 2015A hasn’t reported in over a week, and may have been crunched by a berg, or picked up.

Back towards the Pole, Faboo’s data from yesterday shows temperatures slightly dropped, but doesn’t show we get below freezing. The day’s high was +0.6°C at midnight and were about as flat as you ever see, dropping to +0.2°C at the final report at 2100z. Winds were a little stronger than we’ve seen, up around 11 mph, and we moved 4.86 miles SSW to 86.183°N, 5.654°W. Earlier the co-located Mass Balance buoy 2015D reported us below freezing at -0.93° C, but its more recent report has us at +0.52° C. The view remains gray.NP3 1 0722B 2015cam1_1 The Maps show the battle between “Kara” in the Kara Sea moving into Barents Sea  and the Polar High, (henceforth “Pohi”) continuing. On the virtual world of models Laggard, which has been sitting south of Iceland as a quasi-permanent feature, may finally be budged east to Scandinavia, and may copy Kara by loop-de-looping back towards Greenland, but do so further south than Kara.

The cold continues to hold over the Pacific side. Please don’t remind me I thought the cold would be on the Atlantic side this summer, (and didn’t keep my big mouth closed).DMI2 0722B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0722B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0723 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0723 temp_latest.big

“Kara” is continuing to retrograde west across Barents Sea towards Svalbard, as “Pohi” holds its ground but weakens. “Laggard” has budged slightly east under Iceland, but sent another blob into Scandinavia, which hasn’t had the nice, hot summer France has largely enjoyed. (Finland and western Siberia have been especially cool and wet.)

Sub-freezing temperatures continue to rotate about the Pole at a distance. Pockets of thaw exist in Beaufort Sea, and up towards the Pole Faboo is experiencing rain again.

NP3 1 0723 2015cam1_2 The unofficial Mass Balance report has Faboo at +0.14° C this morning, with Buoy 2015E: down in Fram Strait at -0.14°C. Between the two, and slightly to the west, O-buoy 9 has drifted back west to nearly 13° longitude, and sits in calm with temperatures a hair below freezing. The puddle in the lower left corner of the picture seems to have a slight skim of ice, to me. The water is so still a seal or bear would be obvious. Now is their big chance for fame. Where are they?Obuoy 9 0723 webcam Moving around a third of the planet to 76.08° N, 139.67° W we come to O-buoy 11, who seems to have snow in his eye. The ice there is still 1.7 meters thick, though the Mass Balance Buoy seems to sit in a pool half a meter deep. Temperatures are right at freezing, according to O-buoy, but at +0.95° C according to Mass Balance, and winds have been gusty between 2 and 10 mph.Obuoy 11 0723 webcam Obuoy 11 0723 2014I_thick A little further west and north we come to O-buoy 10, at 77.47° N, 143.79° W, where O-buoy shows temperatures a hair above freezing and Mass balance shows a full fledged thaw at +1.50°C. Winds are gusty here too, at 2 to 10 mph, and the view is absolutely gorgeous. I think that melt-water pool deserves to be dubbed “Lake Barent”. Obuoy 10 0723 webcam I’m not sure I trust the bottom-sounder here, which seems to show the ice thickening at the height of the thaw. Obuoy 10 0723 2013F_thick

 Further west and south, at 75.90 N°, 148.85 W°, we come to Buoy 2014F (with no camera) which is also reporting thaw, at +1.53°C. Here the ice, which had grown to over 2 meters thick in March, has dipped below 1 meter thick, and was reported at 93 cm back on July 6.

Then we head all the way west to 77.49 N°, 164.31° W, where it is a chilly -0.10°. The camera here bit the dust, which was a real pity, as it was giving us superb shots of thick ice breaking up. Likely it was buried in a jumble.

Not all that far north of there, at 78.37 N, 163.02 W, Buoy 2014G and O-buoy 12 reside together. They are interesting because they have been drifting straight north to the Pole.Obuoy 12 0723 latitude-1week

It is important to remember, when looking at thickness maps, that the thick ice may drift north, making the ice seem to get thinner at its old location.  Temperatures here are at -0.08° C according to Mass Balance, and O-buoy seems to agree. I think the sky and snow are that odd color due to an invasion of alien bacteria, though I could be wrong. Lake Chukchi looks a little more full.Obuoy 12 0723 webcam


Faboo has continued to drift SSW in diminishing winds under gray skies. The official record shows that yesterday we crossed 3.09 miles to wind up at 86.144°N, 5.985°W. The temperature crashed below freezing for roughly six hours, reaching the days low of -0.7°C at 0300Z, but had perked up to +0.3°C by the next report at 0600Z. The day’s high was +0.7°C at 1500Z, and then we sagged back to +0.5°C by the final report at 2100Z. The unoffical Mass Balance reports have shown us down to +0.14° C this morning and then back up to +0.63° C this afternoon. The camera shows a drizzle starting, which I don’t think is freezing.NP3 1 0723B 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0723C 2015cam1_1 I left the O-buoys on all day, and every time I came dashing through the house I’d sneak a peek. However now that I sit down to focus they are unavailable. However I did save two from O-buoy 9, which seems to be backing west into thicker ice.Obuoy 9 0723B webcam  Obuoy 9 0723C webcam It is interesting to think that we may have just drifted, on this hunk of ice, through waters that are mapped as “ice free” and now are in an area which may show as 50% ice-covered, yet never moved from a most definite piece of ice. It changes your idea of what “extent” means.

I have to do some chores. Will return.


It is still drizzling at Faboo, but the Mass Balance thermometer reports temperatures down to +0.10°C. (They have no time stamp, but I’m starting to wonder if they post at midnight and noon, Greenwich Mean Time.) The picture is pretty gloomy at midnight.NP3 1 0723D 2015cam1_1 At temperatures this close to freezing it doesn’t take much of an increase in precipitation to drag cooler air down and change rain to snow.

The O-buoy cameras are still not reporting.

The DMI maps show “Kara” stalled, and weaker, as “Pohi” pushes across the Pole. The chill on the Pacific side is starting to make the news on Skeptic sites, as is the ice lingering in Hudson Bay. (An icebreaker has been diverted from scientific studies to help clear a path so heating oil can get to a coastal community.)

DMI2 0723B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0723B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0724 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0724 temp_latest.big

“Kara” continues to inch across Barents Sea towards Svalbard, as Pohi stands tough at the Pole and shunts Kara towards northern Greenland (and poor, defenseless O-buoy 9). Behind Kara a tiny bit of high pressure is building northeast of Finland, (which seems the closest thing poor Finland is getting to a Scandinavian High this summer). This tiny bit of high pressure is the start of a wrap-around arm of Pohi, which will scoop Kara across the Atlantic, theoretically first giving Fram Strait north winds, and later south winds. We’ll see about that.

It is high noon over towards Bering Strait, and still the sub-freezing areas persist.

Faboo continues to look over a dank and drizzly world of gray. I suppose we are paying for all the beautiful weather of last week. Despite all the wet, Lake Faboo looks about the same.NP3 1 0724 2015cam1_1 O-buoys are still off line. Mass Balance buoy 2015E, down in Fram strait, was reporting a thaw at +1.08°, and then the next report it came in at -1.25° C. Diurnal? Could be, as it is pretty far south, at 77.69° North.

Over on the other side, our Mass balance buoys closest to Bering Strait report a break in their sub-freezing air, as 2015B went from -0.30°C to +0.57°, and 2014G went from -0.03°C to +0.18°C. I suppose some Pacific air is involved in the general swirl. You can see some cooler air got swept into Bering Strait, despite the fact it is noon, so some milder may have been swirled north. That area has been the graveyard of storms rippling around “Pohi”. Currently it holds faint traces of Baltzipson, plus some unnamed storm that faded south of Bering Strait. The fact it is so persistently cold over there tickles the part of my brain that wonders about some cooling effect involved, when storms collapse and fade. When I’m rich I’ll hire an intern to do all the research for me, but I’m not rich yet, so off to work I go.


Faboo continues his/her dismal drift through dank, dark drizzle. It is somewhat uninspiring, and therefore to liven things up a bit I think I’ll title my next post, “The Clash Between Titans,” or some such thing, and will freely use hyperbole while describing “Kara” and “Nohi” doing their little dance together. The difference between Kara’s low pressure and Nohi’s high pressure is tightening the isobars a bit, and the calm has given way to breezes. I think “stiffening breezes” sounds better, and more ominous.

Yesterday’s official report shows the winds picking up from 4 to 13 mph, which is not exactly a lashing gale, but perhaps I can stagger about like a news reporter giving a live storm report from a parking lot outside the newsroom, and make things more dramatic. Also temperatures have been dropping. There is a sort of drama in that, (if you don’t mention it is only half a degree). We climbed up to a high of +0.7° C at noon, and then slipped back. Closer and closer came we to freezing. At 2100Z, as the dread hour of midnight loomed like black death, we reached the very verge of calamitous crystallization, +0.1°C, and then….and then…and then…we waited for today’s data, tomorrow. Meanwhile we drifted SSW  3.69 miles to 86.094°N, 6.266°W. If we continue in this dire direction we will miss Fram Strait to the east and crash into Greenland.

NP3 1 0724B 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0724C 2015cam1_1

If Faboo does hold his/her present course (extremely unlikely, unless you are the sort of fool climate scientist who draws straight “trend lines”), it will wind up down where O-buoy 9 needs no hype or hyperbole. In fact, if you have seven minutes to spare, you should watch “O-buoy 9: The movie” from the 25 minute mark to the current happy ending (July 21). It is sure to win an Oscar in that little-known category, “Sea Ice Time Lapse Films.” See it here:

Just today there was an amazing variety of scenery. I just wish we’d swing around and look west, and see Greenland again. We are into our second day of thawing, and the breeze has stiffened to 22 mph at times. I’m amazed this camera is still on its feet, after all the smashing and crashing it has seen.

Obuoy 9 0724 webcamObuoy 9 0724B webcamObuoy 9 0724C webcam O-buoy 10 has recovered to freezing from -2°C, with a breeze up around 14 mph. Lake Beaufort still has no outlet, and seems to be slowly expanding. There have been dustings of snow. (With the camera floating and the view shifting, it isn’t as easy to compare pictures.)Obuoy 10 0724 webcam Obuoy 10 0724B webcam Obuoy 11 saw the lead across the pressure ridge seeming very wide this morning, but then close right up. It too has seen temperatures climb back up to freezing in a gusty wind up to 16 mph. Wet snow seems to currently be flaking the lens.Obuoy 11 0724 webcam Obuoy 11 0724C webcam O-buoy 12 saw winds drop to calm, and then pick up to 8 mph from the opposite direction (though what direction I can’t say, as the buoy has swung about so much. A very rough guess would be from south to north) and temperatures fall from a slight thaw to below freezing.Obuoy 12 0724 webcam Obuoy 12 0724B webcam The DMI maps show “Kara” has crept across to Svalbard, as “Pohi” pushes toward the Pole, squeezed from the backside by “Beau”, which has appeared on the north coast of Canada (I should have seen that coming, but didn’t). I also should have expected a southerly flow behind Kara, but the warmth up into southern Finland surprised me. The cold hangs tough on the Pacific side, and that is where my focus has been.

I am convinced there are always too many things to focus on, and one will always be surprised, however the better meteorologists learn to constantly shift their focus through a repertoire of focuses they deem important. It is not that they don’t get surprised, but rather they are the first to be surprised, and therefore the first to be alerted.

DMI2 0724B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0724B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0725 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0725 temp_latest.big

(Yawn) As usually occurs, when you have resorted to some cheap hyperbole to generate interest, (which is a general practice of any Alarmist of any ilk), you awake the next morning and discover you look like a Chicken Little, and have displayed “The Dash Of The Frightened” rather than “Clash If The Titans.” And indeed “Kara” looks weaker this morning, and the isobars between Kara and “Pohi” look more relaxed and less windy. Blast. I was hoping for a gale to liven things up a bit.

Even the chill over towards Bering Strait looks less newsworthy, though it does look more windy in the East Siberian Sea. “Beau” remains stalled north of mainland Canada, the low bogged down inland in east Siberia is “Karazip”, and the low now entering the Kara Sea is “Karason.”

Some interesting stuff is occurring off the map, in the north Atlantic, as the summer doldrums, with a sort of semi-permanent low I called “Laggard” stuck south of Greenland, finally on the move. Laggard shifted east as a disorganized mess, and part of it (Laggardson) is now moving into France as a decent summer storm. It will rotate up into the Baltic and then retrograde back as Kara has done, but further south, and it does so the next Atlantic low will not stall and lag under Iceland, so I’ll dub it “Nolag.” It will get caught up with Laggardson and do a bolo, fujiwhara dance between the North Sea and the waters off Norway, and the map forecast to look like this next Tuesday:UK Met 0725 26126844 Of course most of this will not show on our DMI polar maps, so we will pay no attention to it. For the most part I think we’ll watch how Pohi defeats all invaders, and keeps high pressure in charge of the Pole.

Without a good summer gale, the ice pack remains fairly solid.  I’m not sure whether the way the ice-extent graph flattens at this time, every year, is due to the powers of the melt running up against more solid ice, or due to an adjustment those in charge attempt to make for the melt-water pools being seen as open water by satellites. In any case, the melt continues slower than last year, though just barely.DMI2 0725 icecover_current_new Pohi will need to give us more sunshine, if we are to get the summer thaw above normal.DMI2 0725 meanT_2015 However at the moment Faboo continues to show us a gloomy view, with Lake Faboo fully and slightly larger, but the small pool that was starting to form in the lower left three weeks ago now completely gone. The Pole does not look remotely “ice free” to me.NP3 1 0725 2015cam1_1 Down south of there O-buoy 9 came through a bit of a blow still fairly upright, and sees winds back down to nearly calm. The thaw continues, and I must admit the berg we view from seems lower to the water and less impressive. Obuoy 9 0725 webcam

O-buoy 10 is seeing breezier conditions with winds around 13 mph. It has been experiencing subfreezing conditions, but is creeping back up towards thaw. Lake Beaufort may have slightly skimmed with ice in areas protected from the breeze.Obuoy 10 0725 webcam O-buoy 11 sees lighter breezes of 11 mph, and may have seen some thawing, but the pool to the lower left appears to have a skim of ice around its edge. The lead in the distance has been constantly opening and slamming shut, and I’ve been interested to see the pressure ridge actually grow at the time of year they usually  shrink. (Remember that 9/10th if the ice is under water. Pressure ridges have roots that stick down into waters that melt them, and as the roots are reduced upwards the top of the ridge usually slumps downwards, even as it wilts in the sun.) Also of interest to me are some sizable bergs on the far side of the lead, to the upper right.Obuoy 11 0725 webcam O-buoy 12 has recently been experiencing the coldest sub-freezing temperatures, and a breeze of over 10 mph (though it has died down some since this picture was taken), which has me wondering if Lake Chukchi is looking a bit slushy or not. If not, (sunshine may tell us), then that water may be more salty than we usually think of melt-water being.Obuoy 12 0725 webcam With that I suppose I’ll conclude this particular post, as its getting too long. “Concluding” consists of going through the post to correct the spelling, for though these posts are basically  a notepad of observations and stray ideas, it does aggravate me to go back through old posts and spot glaring typos. Spellcheck is not infallible. For example, rather than “spot glaring typos” I just wrote “spit glaring typos”, and spellcheck didn’t mind it one bit.

I’ve got chores to do and other things to research, but part of my mind will be busy thinking up a new title.


It is a hot and humid Sunday, with air temperatures in the evening over 80°F, but what gets you is the dew point, currently at 73°F. You can break a sweat by lifting your pinkie. Fortunately it is the Lord’s Day, a day of rest, when weeding is forbidden. Rather than my sitting-about being proof I own the sin of sloth, it is proof I am spiritual. Will wonders never cease?

Of course, there is a question about writing. Is that not work? Am I not working on the Lord’s Day?

Fortunately I’ve never made money writing. In truth it has gotten in the way of my becoming fabulously wealthy, and lighting my cigars with hundred dollar bills. Therefore my writing cannot be called work. In fact, even when I bash my head against writer’s block, or write experiencing such anguish that my pores all become polka-dots of red,  it is not work, or so I’ve been told.

It being Sunday, confession is good for the soul, and therefore I confess to you there have been times I’ve wanted to punch people in the nose, when they say, “Writing is not work.”

Be that as it may, the truth is that, when your writing makes no money, it does tend to become a form of star gazing. Rather than getting to work, you are avoiding the weeding. Because I didn’t mind being a staving artist, but did not wish to become a starved artist, I did concede to weeding a little bit, rather than only writing poetry. (Unlike many poets, I’m remarkably pragmatic at times.) In fact I became so pragmatic I actually, to my own astonishment, got rather good at weeding.

You may think I’m making this up, and no poet could possibly ever get so good at weeding, but I got so good at weeding I was able to raise five children by weeding.

I was able to do this because it turns out rich people do like the idea of gardens, but don’t like the reality, which involves sweat and grunt-work and worst of all, weeding. They will pay good money to poets if poets will do a bit of weeding for them, however one of the first things I learned is that the poet must never admit he is a poet. Rich people did not become rich by being foolish with their money, and if you say you are a poet they immediately step backwards with a hand protectively over their wallet, for they are wise to the ways of the world, and know that “poet” is just a word for “a crafty beggar.”

Therefore I would tell them I was a “landscaper.”

You’d be surprised how many landscapers majored in English in college, and once dreamed of being poets. An English degree is in many ways useless, in terms of making money, unless you are willing to be unscrupulous.

The unscrupulous English majors sell their souls, and become speech-writers for lying politicians, or work writing lying advertisements for Madison Avenue, or write what they are told to regurgitate for newspapers and call themselves “journalists” when they are merely parrots in an echo-chamber.  I feel sad for those fellows, though they do enjoy a certain time of wealth. One of the rules of poetry is that, if you want the founts to gush, you need to be honest and stand by truth, but if you sell your soul and become unscrupulous the well gets plugged up and the poetry dries up and you look in the mirror and know you are a has-been,  a poet who could have been champion but who sold his birthright for a mass of pottage.

Therefore the really good poets wind up as landscapers, but then face a second temptation. It turns out that the wives of rich men have realized how empty wealth is, and see the fellow in the garden holds more poetry than a millionaire, and try to purchase it, which results in poets falling and becoming mere gigolos in a garden.

Fortunately I was not tested in this respect, partly because my wife was young and extremely beautiful, and partly because my customers were older ladies who attended church regularly. Even so, my wife did refer to my customers as “my harem”.

In any case, I cannot hate either weeds or weeding, considering weeds fed my family figuratively, and at times literally.

Some weeds are delicious. Purslane tastes like beet greens, but is less stringy, more succulent, and tastes better if you get it at the right time. Stinging nettles are excellent spinach with surprising side effects, (in terms of stamina, not crazed brains), if you pick it (with gloves) when it first shoots up in the spring, because the sting vanishes when you boil it. All sorts of other weeds are edible, but have somewhat dubious flavors and can lead to astounding flatulence, if eaten straight. But who eats mustard greens straight? You have to know how to mix your weeds. The most superb spinach is lamb’s quarters, in my opinion, and it turns out lamb’s quarters was a staple in the vanished Mound Builder cultures, (due more to the quality of its seeds than the delicious leaves).

And I could go on, but you likely would think I was just inventing the excuses poets are prone to, when it comes to avoiding getting down on your knees in the dirt, and pulling the darn weeds up.

When I was younger, my customer’s gardens were weed-free, but when I got home I was tired, and my own garden tended to be a bit weedy. And now that I am older, and have managed to create a situation where my garden is actually part of my Farm-childcare business, my garden is still weedy, because the dratted thing is too large. In fact I have conceded half the garden to the weeds, because I am so old and pathetic I couldn’t even plant that side, this year. Fortunately my long study of English gets me off the hook, and when people wonder why that side is “weedy” I tell them it is “fallow”.

That still leaves me with half a garden to weed, and I’ve been fighting the good fight this past week. Much to my joy, my middle son found time in his busy schedule to join me on two days. He has a completely different strategy. Where I slowly plod down a row, leaving it utterly weed-free, he zooms down a row, only weeding by each plant, and leaving all other weeds in place. However you now can see there are rows, and beans don’t hold up top leaves like drowning swimmers midst thriving green.

As I worked I could not help but think to myself what a long love-hate relationship I have had with weeds. In 1973 I wrote not one, but two very long poems about a young poet complaining about weeds getting in the way of poetry, and a wise old farmer giving the young complainer sage advise.

How ironic it is that now I myself am the sage old farmer, and still I am wishing I could write poetry, as I weed. Usually poetry and weeding mix like oil and water, but last week I composed as I weeded, and then rushed to my pick-up truck and scrawled a rough draft of this:

When you sit back to think, the weeds keep growing.
They don’t take breaks, so you’d best keep going.
When mosquitoes swarm weeds won’t be slowing
So think all you want, but keep on hoeing.

Weeds don’t take breaks. They don’t say, “Poor me!
I have a deep thought! To dwell upon it
I need you to pull all my weeds for me
So I can sit back and finish this sonnet.”

The weeds keep growing in my soul as well.
If I sit back to think, my sloth will swell.
Poetic intentions pave roads to hell
So I must weed on, and I know it well

But pause. I pen this poem. I can’t resist.
My Love dubs me, “Hopeless Optimist.”

(In case you don’t get it, optimism is based on hope, and therefore to be a “hopeless optimist” is an oxymoron.) (However the point is that I wrote that sonnet, to some degree, while weeding, and therefore weeding does not necessarily oppose sonnets.)

And so a hot and humid Day of Rest draws to a close. All the static on the AM band of the radio is fading, the heat lightning to our west has died down, and it looks like we might again escape the thunderous wrath of muggy aIr being replaced by dry air. Tomorrow should be cooler and drier, and a good day to weed.

20150719 satsfc 20150719 rad_ec_640x480 20150719B rad_ne_640x480


There are shenanigans going on at NOAA, concerning adjustments made to the temperature record, which make recent years look warmer than they actually are, when compared to past years. Some suggest  this has been done for purely political reasons, because of growing disbelief in “Global Warming”,  and because of a political need to be able to claim things such as “Last May was the warmest ever.”  Rather than properly scrutinizing such claims, the mainstream media seems to merely take what it is told and to run with it.  Rather than report they regurgitate.

The scrutinizing is left to others, who find it quite easy to cast considerable doubt on NOAA’s new, adjusted way of measuring temperatures. I myself wrote a post the day after they came out with the scheme, pointing out it made little sense to take temperature readings from the sun-baked, mosquito-infested arctic tundra, where temperatures can easily top 90° F, and to use those land-based readings to guess what temperatures might be out over the ice-choked waters of the Arctic Sea, where temperatures seldom get up to 40° F.  Such “homogenization” makes no  sense, yet NOAA’s “new way” did it.

Another way of scrutinizing the “new way of measuring temperatures” is to compare it with the temperatures NOAA actually uses, when making forecasts. NOAA doesn’t want to use “adjusted” or “homoginized” temperatures, when  it runs its GISS model. It wants to use “real” temperatures, and to make sure they are as accurate as possible, because even a slight variance in the data put into the forecasting tool can make a big difference, with the difference getting larger and and larger as the model forecasts farther and farther into  the future.  (It is sometimes suggested that even a butterfly flapping its wing can make a difference, ten days down the road.) Therefore, over at the Weatherbell site, Dr, Ryan Maue simply made a graph of the “real” temperatures, used for real forecasts, and rather than the past  May being the warmest ever, it appears to be the “eighth warmest since 1978”.

Of course at times one gets fed up with pointing things out, and being utterly ignored. Rather than  reporting, the media goes right on regurgitating, seeking out hot places to report upon, and utterly ignoring the cold places. At this point I’m afraid I resort to less than level headed and spiritual behavior. Even though I’ve just come from church, and know I should be gentle when I point out errors, and only remonstrate in a  fatherly manner when I see a lack of truthfulness in others, I resort to sarcastic potshots. I’m not sure the Bible actually states, “Thou shalt not resort to sarcastic potshots”, but I think it is implied.

One of the best sinful potshots, which I confess I’ve succumbed to employing, is to simply counter the media’s silly reporting of every heatwave they can find with reports of snowfalls. The media avoids reporting snowfalls in their silly  focus on heat, and it throws a wrench in their works to even mention the white stuff.  For example, you can post pictures of a July snowfall atop Mauna Kea Volcano on Hawaii.

Silly Snow 1 2015-07-17snow04Silly Snow 2 ScreenHunter_2562-Jul.-17-18.37Now, if you were a good reporter you might mention that the observatory up there is at an altitude of 13,796 feet, and up that high, while July snow is unusual,  it isn’t unheard of. However that  would be mature behavior, and, because we have been reduced to playing tit-for-tat with an immature media, you don’t mention that. Instead you sensationalize, and report the National Park is closed, and the rangers have posted:

“The road to the summit of Maunakea is closed to the public at the Visitors Information Station due to icy road conditions at the summit. After road inspection this morning, the ranger reports ice on the upper summit ridge and switchback, the east/ west summit ridge, and the UKIRT-IRTF roads. He also reported mixed rain and snow, fog, there is an inch and a half of frozen snow on the summit and moderate winds. This message will be updated accordingly as conditions change. (Mauna Kea Rangers on July 17, 2015 at 5:55 a.m.)”

In this manner, rather than educating the public, you can take advantage of the fact the general public assumes Hawaii is warm, and create an impression. After all, the mainstream media is more interested in impressions than in reality, isn’t it?

In the same way, the general public assumes Africa is a hot place. There is no need to mention South Africa is far south of the equator, and has passes up at higher altitudes, or even that it is winter down there. Simply mention the words “Africa” and “Snow”, and beat the media at its own silly game by posting pictures like this:

Silly Snow 3 snow1Silly snow 4 snow3-henn-417x313OK. Now, to see if you have been listening, I am going to show you a picture of a snow-covered farm in southern Chile, in South America, where they had up to 80 cm of snow.   You have to invent headlines and a brief article. (The only stipulation is that you are absolutely forbidden from saying, “It’s chilly in Chile”.)

Silly Snow 6 20150714183254No! No! No! That was utterly wrong! First, you mentioned that it was winter in the southern hemisphere. That is utterly unnecessary. Then you pointed out southern Chilie includes Cape Horn and juts down towards Antarctica. That utterly spoils the effect. The only reason I’m not flunking you is because you did mention there was “up to 80 cm of snow” even though there is not that much snow in the picture.

I’ll  give you one more chance. Here is a picture from a railway station, yesterday in Australia:Silly Snow 5 466912-5e729cba-2c1a-11e5-aa8f-85f55b955825 What do you mean, “At what altitude was this picture taken?” Just who do you think you are? An honest reporter of the old school? Modern reporters never ask questions like that. Please remember, “regurgitate, regurgitate, regurgitate”.

If you are an alarmist, you might try suggesting this snow is actually warmer than snow used to be. There are some who will believe you.

Silly Snow 7 2A9B8C0400000578-3164774-Queenslander_Billy_Brislane_pictured_running_through_a_snow_clad-a-119_1437112686604However if you are a Skeptic, you must post all the pictures you can find of snow in July. It is actually a refreshing job, when it is hot and muggy outside. Here is a great resource, for finding all the cold, frosty, snowy news items the mainstream media always neglects to report:

LOCAL VIEW —July Jackets—

20150716 satsfc

The map shows yesterday’s hot and humid air driven out to sea, and the front rammed clear down to Georgia, yet it managed to pass under us. We didn’t even get a sprinkle. I was a bit amazed, watching it happen. You could see the cool air clash with the hot, and brew up a squall line that NOAA noted for its longevity, and Joseph D’Aleo posted on his superb blog at the Weatherbell site. (The picture overlays many separate radar shots of the same squall line.)

Squall Line 20150713_summary1 If you follow the direction the red arrow points you can see the energy passed well south of New Hampshire. We just had a muggy morning gradually dry out, without a sprinkle of rain. I headed off to a barbecue in the early evening, and everyone was wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts, as the shadows from the trees at the end of the lawn gradually extended over and the warming sun was lost. Then someone remarked, “Sheesh! is it ever cold!”

I looked around, and noticed everyone was hugging themselves. It was like it hadn’t penetrated anyone’s consciousness that a sunny July evening could possibly be cold. But it was downright uncomfortable, and as soon as people woke to the fact many headed off to cars and came back wearing summer jackets. I’d come in my wife’s car, and had no jacket, so I got so close to the grill I was practically in among the steaks. As soon as the meat was done we moved indoors.

The good thing about such cold shots in the north winds is that often they don’t last long. I’ve seen winter days when the temperatures fall all morning and you expect the cold to become extreme with the advent of evening, but instead the cold wave relents, and temperatures don’t drop after dark, and can even rise a degree or two. However those are winter events. In July you only expect to don a jacket when east winds bring fog and drizzle inland from the cold Gulf of Maine. You don’t expect it when it is sunny and the wind is north. I can only assume this shot from the north contained a packet of air from Hudson Bay, which still has a surprising amount of ice on it, for the middle of July.

Hudson Bay Ice extent July 16 CMMBCTCA By this morning that shot of cold was long gone. Rather than Hudson Bay the wind was from the Canadian Prairie, baking under long summer days and barely cooled by short nights where the twilight never completely fades. However the shot of cold activated some instinct in me, and I got out of bed thinking I should get going, in terms of firewood.

Now is the time to lay down the less desirable trees, and to let them lie as the leaves suck the sap from the wood before withering. Then cut them up. Then split them. Then stack the wood to dry in the summer sun, so they don’t hiss in the stove, wasting heat boiling off sap, but burn clear and hot.

Dream on, old man. You are sixty-two years old, and it will take you a week to do what you once did in the morning.

Now I do stuff sort of as an exhibition, for the children at our Farm-childcare. “This is the way things were done a long, long time ago.” However it does not seem so long ago to me.

Not that I ever used a cross-cut saw. However there is a film of the center of this town after the 1938 hurricane, with trees down left and right, and not a chainsaw is in sight. All the local folk are out at either end of cross-cut saws. Some look like they are out of practice, but all know how to use such saws, how to always pull and never push. It is amazing how swiftly they cut through the logs.

I do remember when people built houses with hand tools, with saws and hammers and drills that had no batteries or cords or pneumatic air lines. It did take longer, but the men were stronger.

In the 1700’s the average worker burned off over 4000 calories a day. Few men work half as hard, now. Now we expect weekends off, but farmers never had weekends, for milk cows don’t stop making milk on Saturdays and Sundays, and chickens don’t stop eating.

The strange thing is that some think we are worse off. We work less and have more leisure, but they take their leisure and use it to gripe, often complaining they work too hard, or aren’t paid enough, or are hurt emotionally and should not have to work at all.

Idiots. I just wish I could still work as hard as I once did. God knows there was a glory in it, and someday I’ll write a book about it. But tonight I’ll just think about those men of the past, who worked twelve hour days, full of faith in a thing called “progress”, and believing we would rejoice to have the things they lacked. I’ll look back a half century, to when I was twelve and knew nothing of work, and didn’t like the prospect of work much at all,  until I saw old men loving it, and became curious about what could be so good about it.
Free wood is seldom free. The gnarled apple
Really required a pneumatic splitter
And I had but a maul, but youth will grapple
Ridiculous tasks: I was a hard hitter
And relished each victory, each split log
And the sheen of sweet sweat; the impossible
Challenge; the twisted, bumpy, Dryad-eyed frog
Of old apple attacked, wedges buried full,
But struck with a final karate scream
And torn open like a closed-case, long-shut book:
A hundred-fifty years of history
Lay exposed to the sun…Long time it took
For that scythe, hung in fork of young tree,
To be swallowed by growth, a tool forgotten
But a man now recalled, though flesh be rotten.

LOCAL VIEW —Making Hay—

Making Hay pa_neh_17 Nowadays when you say, “There is money in growing grass”, people immediately assume you are talking about growing marijuana, which seems sad to me, for in my experience marijuana rots character, while working in hay fields built character.

Now, in some neighborhoods, when the lawn grows too long in front of your house you can actually get a ticket, and a member of the town Parks and Recreation Department will show up and mow it and charge you more money. If you don’t have the time to cut it yourself you must hire a landscaper, which I once was, and I didn’t work for free. Growing grass is costly, for most people.

My grandfather was born in 1888, and at that time there were no cars. He was twenty years old before the first Model T rolled off the first assembly line in 1908.Modle T images Before automobiles became affordable, gasoline was not the important fuel. Hay was. And, because you could not grow hay in big cities, it had to be imported from the country. Back then “teamsters” actually handled a team of horses or oxen, carrying loads of 12,000 pounds in various types of freight wagons.Conestoga_Wagon_1883 The above wagon was a big “Conestoga”  wagon, but smaller versions were the typical “Covered” wagon of Wild West Movies. They were the U-haul Trucks of the time, and while the appearance of railways around 1860 reduced their importance, they were still common when my grandfather was a boy, and they were powered by hay.

Hay was important. Rather than Big Oil there was Big Hay, and rather than OPEC there was a local HPEC, and New Hampshire was a sort of Saudi Arabia. Profit was involved, and it is amazing the stones men will move for a profit. They will move stones to create hay fields, and move stones to create amazing stone bridges to transport the hay south to big cities. The physical labor involved is beyond the imagination of flabby modern men, and this includes the cutting of the hay, which was done by a long knife on a stick called a scythe. We call marathon runners “athletic”, but they only run for around three hours. When you look at the man swinging the scythe in the painting at the start of this post, you should understand he would keep working from the moment the dew was dry to sunset, which is often over twelve hours, in the summer.

I could write a book about this subject, and hopefully will, but for now I’ll just say that, back when I mowed lawns to feed a wife and five children, it used to exasperate me that I was cutting grass and not making use of it. One time I made up a song as I mowed, and a verse of it went:

I roll my eyes to God. What would the Good Lord say
To see me cutting grass, and never making hay?
Hay could feed some sheep that would feed and clothe the poor.
It makes me want to weep. What am I mowing for?

However I’m just a cantankerous anachronism. Where I can recall sweating under the hot sun, loading bales of hay into the back of a pick-up truck out on a farmer’s field, that sort of sweat is out of date. Now they create big rolls of hay that are moved by a sort of forklift attachment to a tractor, which shoves a pole into the center of the round bale, much like I once used a forklift to shove a pole into the center of huge rolls of carpet when I worked at a carpet warehouse.  There is no need for muscles, farmhands, or the work ethic.

Fine with me. I’m too old to impress the babes with big biceps, and I thought that sort of strutting was stupid even when I was young enough to impress the babes with my big biceps.  I wanted them to appreciate my mind, not my body, so I tended to strut my poetry, and sadly learned women are as bad as men are, when it comes to caring about the body before the mind.  Or, I should say, they seemed to care more for my biceps than my poetry.

However a lot of the poetry was about the Yankee work ethic, and how I learned, (against my will, I confess, especially when I was younger), that there is a beauty in toil, in effort, in striving through the final mile of a marathon. There is a harvest. You do “make hay” before you “hit the hay”. (Not that anyone uses those expressions, these days). You do “reap what you sow”.

However I am pragmatic enough to see no sensible person is going to use a scythe when a mower works better. Sometimes it is hard enough to get the lawn mowed even using a mower, especially when your mower is 25 years old, like mine is, and breaks down a lot. I was having a hard enough time keeping the playground and front yard of our Farm-childcare mowed, and the back field accidentally turned into a hay field of lush clover, timothy and crown fetch, knee deep.

I didn’t mow it to make hay. I mowed it because if you don’t mow that field little trees invade with shocking speed, as do wild roses that smell nice in June but stab little children the rest of the year. Also a member of the staff has a phobia about ticks, and dislikes long grass. Also a little boy is a baseball fanatic, and it is hard to play ball in long grass. Lastly, if there is ever a national emegancy, that field may need to revert to a corn field, and it is much easier to plow a lawn than a young forest. So I mowed it, but hay was not a thing I was thinking about.

However I mowed it on a perfect day for haying, just after a front had passed with thunder muttering in the hills, and then the air became dry and Canadian. Nor was it the Canadian trajectory from the ice-choked waters of Hudson Bay. It was from the sun baked prairies. If there was any moisture in the air, it was squeezed out coming over the Adirondack and Green Mountains. Was it dry?  Well, you could spit, and it wouldn’t hit the ground.

I couldn’t help but notice that all the Clover, Timothy and Vetch I’d cut was being parched into just about the most superb hay you could ever want. It has all the incidental stuff goats like, as well, (the trailing vines of bramble and occasional shoots of goldenrod). But I had so many other things to do that I couldn’t stop to make hay. Yet I kept walking through that field, over and over, and I couldn’t help see that superb hay, just laying there, green and crisp, like money in the bank, even though grass isn’t worth it any more.

Finally I just couldn’t stand it. I had to make hay. I don’t really understand my reasoning; maybe I’m some form of hay-addict; but I had to figure out some way to make haying practical even when it isn’t. I decided I would teach the little kids at our Farm-childcare “The History Of Haying In New England”.

Usually this sort if idea goes over like a lead balloon. This time the kids had a blast, though I’m not sure they believed me when I told them vehicles once ran on hay and not on gasoline. Mostly they just liked raking up the hay, stuffing it into empty grain bags, lugging the grain bags to the back of the pick up truck, and,  (joy of joys), riding in the back of a pick up truck with the hay to the barn.

I didn’t over-do it. Modern children have short attention spans, (and lack the stoic ability to endure I have seen ingrained in Navajo girls only four years old, trudging uncomplaining across scorching desert), so at the first sign they were not finding it fun any more I ended the “lesson”. They surprised me by lasting over 90 minutes.

I think I did well, for later they were whining, “When can we go haying again?” This allowed me the chance to point out that you cannot hay in the rain, and must “make hay while the sun shines”.

It was amazing to me how, as soon as I decided that hay was worth gathering, I was hit by an anxiety it might rain and spoil my hay. My awareness of the weather instantly increased tenfold. I mean, who the heck cares if a hot and muggy wind shifts from southwest to south-southeast? Modern people don’t give a fig, but the old hay farmers broke into a sweat, because they started working twice as fast. As soon as the wind swings from southwest to southeast, Atlantic mist starts creeping north, and showers start to appear.

This was a big deal when your income could be considerably reduced by a mere sprinkle of rain. This made those old farmers super aware.

What does that mean about us, and what progress has done to us? Have we become super unaware?

Due to my efforts, a small bunch of kids are less unaware about the obscure subject of hay. We gathered perhaps $40.00 worth, before showers came north and spoiled the rest (though it will make good mulch for the garden). I mused how we had stopped after only 90 minutes whereas, in the old days, the entire family would have worked until they dropped to get every last blade of grass in. When I thought about it, I was sort of glad I didn’t have to work so hard. It isn’t all bad, being modern.

But that is no reason to become super unaware, or to forget the old ways, or the old expressions. What can replace, “Make hay while the sun shines”? Hmm. “Save your document before the Computer crashes”?  Perhaps that works, but to me it doesn’t have the same charm.

The south-southeast winds from south of Cape Cod are about to be replaced by Canadian air, perhaps from ice-choked Hudson Bay. That ought give us some thunder, and then cool breezes and dry air and perfect haying weather.

20150715 satsfcnps 20150715 rad_ec_640x480_12

ARCTIC SEA ICE —Breaking Up Is Hard To Do—(Updated 11 times and concluded)

These are the days the sun beats down 24 hours a day on the Pole, and it actually gains more heat than it loses. The heat should add up until warm fronts come down from the north, but this never happens. A little thing called the Arctic Ocean gets in the way. Melting its ice sucks up all the extra heat, and even in July cold fronts come down from the north.

The intense sunshine turns out to be rather feeble, compared to the ice, for the sunshine has only two months to do its stuff, but the ice had ten months to not only form, but to chill to a degree wherein it can be twenty or thirty degrees below freezing, and it can take a long time simply warming the ice up to the freezing point. Then, once you get to that magic point, the phase-change between solid H2O and liguid H20 involves all sorts of heat just plain vanishing, as it becomes “latent”, in the fluid molecules of water. By the time the sunshine has really started its melting its allotted time of two months is over, and freezing starts.

In the end it turns out the breaking up of sea-ice is not a top-down matter, but rather bottom-up, due to warm waters under the ice, or else a ice-transport matter, due to the ice being transported south to warmer climes. In other words, breaking up the sea-ice is not easy, for either you have to transport a warm sea north beneath it, or you have to transport it down to the warm sea.

On these posts we only deal with the superficial, for we lack access to what is going on under the ice. It is down deep that the important shifts in currents occur,  but we are merely passengers bobbing on top. However even so we are able to refute a lot of Global Warming theory, for it is even more superficial than we are.

We focus on the progress of “Faboo”, which is our name for the North Pole Camera. This year it is behind schedule, heading south. Yesterday it only crossed 2.01 miles, nudging south and ending at 86.626°N, 3.901°W. (Westward movement halted at 3.931°W, at 1500z, and now we creep east.) Winds were light, and even calm at 0300z. During this calm we created a mico-climate, and temperature spiked up to +4.6°C, and then plummeted to +1.5°C  at 0600z, as the slight winds again blew. These mirco-climates are due to the objects sitting around absorbing sunlight, which Faboo demonstrates by showing us that buoys sit in pools and snow-stakes in dents, which demonstrates the darker objects catch the heat of the sunlight, and may inflate temperature readings.

NP3 2 0711 2015cam2_1

The best example of transport we have is O-buoy 9, whose movement has recently been arrested, as we now are nudged back north and west. Temperatures have dripped back nearly to freezing.Obuoy 9 0711B webcam

Currently high pressure rules the Pole, as the low pressure “Baltfil” is repulsed back towards Siberia.

DMI2 0711B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0711B temp_latest.big


Once again the Mass balance buoys are taking the weekend off, so this report will be short.

The morning maps show the high pressure weakening slightly on the Pacific side of the Pole, and being nudged slightly towards Svalbard, so the flow at the north entrance of Fram Strait may even be swinging around to the south. The high pressure has sucked some of the Pacific chill towards the Pole, but the sub-freezing temperatures persist towards East Siberia. (This continues to surprise me, for I expected warmer-than-normal readings towards the Pacific, due to “warm” PDO.)

Faboo’s camera shows the melt-water pool I dubbed Lake Faboo is shrinking again, after filling slightly during yesterdays thaw.

YESTERDAYNP3 1 0711B 2015cam1_1   TODAYNP3 1 0712 2015cam1_1

Down towards the northeast corner of Greenland O-buoy 9 is hesitating at the brink of doom, backing away west slighty rather than plunging southeast into Fram Strait. temperatures have dipped below freezing, and winds slacked off to below 5 mph.Obuoy 9 0712 webcamAcross the Pole towards Bering Strait, on the border between Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, O-buoy 12 continues to make a liar out of me. I predicted it would be the first camera to show ice breaking up, and instead it remains solid, and has shown us snows and sub-freezing temperatures. Currently we’ve made it back to thawing, and “Lake Chukchi” to the left seems to be slightly fuller. Obuoy 12 0712 webcam

Further east in the Beaufort Sea O-buoy 11’s camera continues to slowly tilt as its base thaws, but the thaw has ended for the moment. The lead in the middle distance, just beyond the pressure ridge, had opened but appears to have again clapped shut.Obuoy 11 0712 webcam The Pole is relatively cloudless, compared to other times, and now is a good day to zoom in with the Google Map to see the actual state of the ice with your own lying eyes. Of interest is the patch of open water O-buoy 9 explores at the northeast corner of Greenland. The ice in the central arctic is more solidly packed than last year, when I described it as “the Pulverized Pole”. The link below will hopefully get you to the google map.


Faboo  barely budged today, moving only 1.38 miles southwest in 24 hours, to 86.607°N, 4.005°W. (Yesterday’s eastward bump ended with yesterday’s final report, and all longitudinal motion was to the west.) Winds were very light, and even calm, and when calm decended the temperatures jumped, likely due to the heating of the man-made object sitting on the ice. For example, in the dead calm at 1800z temperatures were +3.3°C, but in the 2 mph wind at the next report they had dropped to +0.6°C.

It truly is glorious weather and a genuine thaw. Lake Faboo again filled and again drained.

NP3 1 0712C 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0712D 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0712E 2015cam1_1 The final picture looks north at the sun near midnight.

Far to the south O-buoy 9 sends us a fantastic picture of the headlands of Greenland. It has stopped moving west and is heading east out into open water again.Obuoy 9 0712B webcam

I expect each picture from O-buoy 9 to be its last, (unless it bobs about as a buoy with no ice,  for some of these cameras can float rather well, as O-buoy 7 demonstrated), however it keeps on trucking.

This picture reminds me of the whalers reports from back around 1816 or 1817. As far as they knew this coast of Greenland was inaccessible, but abruptly they were able to chase whales up here, and deemed it remarkable they could see coasts no other captains had seen in living memory.

The other O-buoys are less remarkable, so I’ll skip them until tomorrow. I figure that, if the Mass Balance Buoys can take a vacation, then so can I.

Oh, I should show the DMI maps. They show the chill hanging tough over by Bering Strait, and high pressure hanging tough over the Pole. It looks like Baltfol is giving up its attempt to attack the Pole, and is weakening in the Laptev Sea.

DMI2 0712B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0712B temp_latest.big


Have to cover for an employee who called in sick. Just maps and pictures this morning.

DMI2 0713 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0713 temp_latest.big

NP3 1 0713 2015cam1_1Obuoy 9 0713 webcamObuoy 11 0713 webcamObuoy 12 0713 webcam


It’s been a long, hot day here in New Hampshire, and the cool pictures from the Pole are welcome. The maps surprise me a little, as the high pressure over the Pole abruptly broke in two and weakened, as the remains of Baltfol bulged back toward the Pole.  What I suppose is the remains of Lagzipson are moving north from Eastern Russia towards the Kara Sea, and this reinforcement  will continue a general push of Ice towards Svalbard. Whether this Pole-to-Atlantic flow can start to involve Faboo, and push it south more speedily, is a possibility, however for the moment Faboo sits in a calm area.

Yesterday Faboo only moved 1.46 miles south and west, to 86.588°N, 4.163°W. Winds remained very light, with calm spells. There was one surprising dip below freezing to -0.2°C at 0300z, but temperatures had rebounded to the day’s high of +2.0° by the next report at 0600z. For the most part the thawing persisted, and the 2100z reading, which ended yesterdays report, was +1.5°C.

Mass Balance data still refuses to download on my computer.

O-buoy 9 continues to hesitate at the brink of taking the plunge down towards Fram Strait. Winds have slacked off to a breathless calm, and temperatures are right at freezing. We have continued east, but drifted north a little. The pictures we relieve continue to be striking. I think the berg we are perched upon is slowly spinning clockwise, for in the first view the headland of Greenland is just slipping off camera to the left, while in the final view we are looking at the sun at midnight, and that is north..Obuoy 9 0712C webcamObuoy 9 0713 webcam

Obuoy 9 0713C webcamObuoy 9 0713D webcam TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE 

I was so sleepy last night I nearly fell asleep at the computer, just dreaming at the pictures. That was actually my original reason for visiting Faboo, back in the days I just did it without feeling any need to write about what I saw. I liked to just watch and wonder, without worry or warring Alarmists. (Early summer is actually a good time to let your mind drift like the ice, for usually little goes on, and you have to search far afield to find any headlines.) Last night I found myself wondering about fascinating micro-critters that have found an odd niche on our planet to exploit: They live in the ice, in little pockets of super-cooled brine. I was thinking this must  be a rough time of year for those creatures, because the ice warms to the freezing point from the top of the ice to the bottom, and most of the brine leaches downward to the sea. And so engrossing was this wondering that I forgot to post the Faboo pictures.

The gorgeous weather continues. Comparing the pictures by opening them to new tabs and then clicking back and forth makes two things clear. First, Lake Faboo continues to slowly shrink, though it is unclear whether the water is draining down through a hole or crack, or leaching down through ice made, by fascinating processes, more like pervious sandstone than impervious limestone. (Hmm. My spell-check says there is no such word as “pervious”.) Second, the snow-stakes are creating their own personal dents in the snow, which shows that the equipment up there does catch the sunshine and create mini-pockets of warmth, especially when it is calm.

YESTERDAY 1224Z (NOONTIME)NP3 1 0713B 2015cam1_3   TODAY 0624Z (MORNING)NP3 1 0714 2015cam1_1 The clouds appearing to the right (east) are likely from “Baltfol” which is attempting to bulge towards the Pole from Siberia.

DMI2 0714 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0714 temp_latest.big

Despite the fact it is noon at the tops of the above maps, the sub-freezing cold persists over towards Bering Strait, and also along the more cloudy Eurasian coast, where it is afternoon and evening. The sub-freezing temperatures in Baffin Bay likely is associated with the ice that lingers there, and is indicative of the colder environment created by the spike towards a “cold” AMO this spring (it is now swinging back towards “warm”.)AMO July 14 amo_short Despite the obvious thaw seen by Faboo, temperatures up there remain a hair below normal.DMI2 0714 meanT_2015 The sea-ice extent graph continues to plunge, as it always does this time of year, but it continues to lag a little behind recent years.DMI2 0714 icecover_current_new I continue to wait for a major crash in the above graph, when Baffin Bay, Hudson Bay, and the Laptev Sea melt out, but they continue to dawdle. Hudson Bay is of course more interesting to me, as it is closest to my north and actually effects New Hampshire weather. There is an intesting comparison between this year and last year over at , which includes this comparative map. Hudson Bay July 14 arctic-sea-ice-canada-2015_2014_14-july (Click to enlarge, and click again to enlarge further.)

Despite the NRL forecasts of swift melting in both the Laptev and East Siberian Seas (as well as Hudson Bay), the ice lingers. The thickness map shows it to be thin, (but remember the data is gathered via microwave from a satellite, and melt-water pools are a royal pain in the ice to deal with.)

DMI2 0714 extent arcticicennowcast DMI2 0714 thickness.arcticictnowcast The drift map shows the reverse-flow at the entrance to Fram Strait, that is holding up I-buoy 9.DMI2 0714 drift arcticicespddrfnowcastO-buoy 9 continues east, which doesn’t show well in the above map, and has now passed 11° longitude. It may be driven by a local shore-breeze, with its pressure ridges acting like a sail and allowing to cruise against the flow of the current, and the more general flow of the greater mass of the ice. (Faboo has no such freedom; if the mass of the ice is moving one way it doesn’t matter so much if a local breeze blows another.) O-buoy 9 is seeing temperatures drop below freezing, and the breeze pick up to 10 mph, and may have gotten a snowflake in its eye earlier.Obuoy 9 0714 webcamObuoy 9 0714B webcam Across the Pole at O-buoy 12 Lake Chukchi remains the same, as temperatures dip below freezing and winds remain light. Obuoy 12 0714B webcam It is breezier at O-buoy 11, with winds over 10 mph, and temperatures dipping back to freezing after a period of thaw. The lead is opening to the right while it seems to have slammed shut to the left. This sort of twisting can break up the ice, I’ve seen in the past, but as it hasn’t happened yet I’ll have to sort of cheat to get a headline out of this picture.


It is perfectly obvious a huge wave is moving in from the right  left and if you deny it you are a denier. The only way to stop this wave, and keep it from smashing in your front door, is to hurry out today and buy curly light bulbs.

Obuoy 11 0714B webcam  TUESDAY NIGHT UPDATE —Relentless, Merciless Sunshine—

Faboo benignly rafted tragically limped another 2.34 miles south-southwest, winding up at 86.557°N, 4.392°W. The beautiful, beneficent relentless, merciless sunshine continued to bathe pound the sea-ice with summer’s typical gentle thaws horrible proof of the planet’s destruction. Here are some pictures from Faboo’s serene nerve-shattering day.

NP3 1 0714B 2015cam1_3 NP3 1 0714C 2015cam1_2 NP3 1 0714D 2015cam1_1 I’m worn out, so I’m just going to post the DMI maps, hand this report over to the Global Warming Editor for editing, and hit the hay.

DMI2 0714B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0714B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0715 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0715 temp_latest.big 

The morning maps continue  to show high pressure over the Pole and low pressure over the Eurasian though the high pressure is starting to be pressed to the Atlantic side, as low pressure works across Bering Strait to Alaska.

The low pressure intensifying over Kara Sea, (which I suppose is a reincarnation of Baltzipson), is accenting the area, basically Finland into West Siberia, that has had a very cool summer.

The Pacific to Atlantic flow has pressed past the Pole and may start to move Faboo a little faster soon.DMI2 0715 arcticicespddrfnowcast Currently Faboo is taking its sweet time, and is far north of where we were at this time last year, when our North Pole Camera was about to be crunched just north of Svalbard.2015D_track.png July 15Interestingly, though there is visible melt atop the ice, and indeed Faboo sits in its own self-made melt-water pool, the melt beneath the ice from the bottom up hasn’t started much, yet. Is the water especially cold in this part of the Arctic Sea?2015D_thick.png July 15 NP3 1 0715 2015cam1_1Sadly, the O-buoy cameras aren’t reporting this morning.

The Mass balance buoys report general thaw, with only two buoys, 2015B and 2014F reporting a hair below freezing, reporting -0.09°C and  -0.03°C respectively.

2015A is drifting northwest along the coast of Alaska, and has moved far enough from the coast that we aren’t getting the really warm temperatures from off the sun-baked tundra any more. It’s coming in at +0.53°C at noontime, when it would be reading +7.00°C a couple weeks ago. You have to take such things into account, for some times cooling is due to a cold air mass, and sometimes due to a buoy drifting away  from land.

2015A_track (2).png July  15 WEDNESDAY EVENING UPDATE

DMI2 0715B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0715B temp_latest.big

High pressure is hanging on at the Pole, as low pressure plays ring around the Rosie, for a while longer, though there are changes in the air, especially with cold air and low pressure home-brewing over by Bering Strait. The stable pattern is starting to wobble a bit, and some models see a low, a secondary of Lagzipson that now sits over the Kara Sea, come shooting up from the south and right across the Pole to Canada, around a week from now. In the meantime the high pressure towards Greenland and low pressure towards the Kara Sea will push the sea-ice towards the Atlantic.

Faboo saw the calm end and light breezes spring up, immediately dropping temperatures a degree. The day’s high was +1.4°C at noon and the low was +1.0°C at 2100Z at both ends of the measuring period. The light breezes up near 10 mph meant we moved more, 5.59 miles south-southwest to 86.478°N, 4.694°W. The view seemed to show a change in the weather threatening from Eurasia.NP3 1 0715B 2015cam1_2 NP3 1 0715D 2015cam1_1 The O-buoys still aren’t reporting, which irks me as O-buoy 9 has been so fascinating.

Have to run. Sizzling meat on a barbecue is calling me. Sometimes sea-ice comes second.


O-buoy 9 still survives, now drifting back to the west and south. Winds around 6 mph. Air temperatures just above freezing. Slush in the water shows the water is very cold. Obuoy 9 0715B webcam At O-buoy 11 the tilt goes on. A foot of the surface has melted away, and a foot of the bottom of the ice as well. Remaining ice is roughly 4 feet thick. Temperature at freezing, with light airs at 2 mph.Obuoy 11 0715B 2014I_thickObuoy 11 0715B webcam O-buoy 12 has temperatures at freezing with winds around 6 mph. Obuoy 12 0715B  webcam As a side note, the grubby bottom of Lake Chukchi is not necessarily caused by man-made soot or the erupted ash from volcanoes. Much may be locally grown micro creatures, various slimes and germs that thrive in bizarre habitats, including sub-freezing brine and the bottom of sea-ice lit from above. Over time they, or their microscopic corpses, can make ice appear dirty.


It looks calm and mild at the Pole this morning, with all the action over towards Eurasia. All the sub-freezing air looks to be south of 80° latitude, so expect the DMI north-of-80° graph to spoke above normal. Some warmth is trying to push east through the Baltic to the Kara Sea, but from there east it is cold clear around the Arctic Circle to Alaska. Then some warmth is pushing north through central Canada, along the western shore of Hudson Bay, through the Canadian Archipelago, and out towards the Pole. My guess is that warm air will rise and create low pressure, ending the rule of high pressure at the Pole. Continuing east, sub-freezing is seen over ice-covered waters in Baffin Bay and northwest of Svalbard.

DMI2 0716 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0716 temp_latest.big

Faboo has seen a return of sunshine. Likely winds are dropping, as the high pressure centers over them. Temperatures from the Mass Balance buoy’s unofficial report are at +0.10°C , which is below normal.

NP3 1 0716 2015cam1_1 The only report of normal warmth os from Buoy 2015E in Fram Strait, reporting +1.06°, but O-buoy 9 is showing thaw and light winds.  Obuoy 9 0716 webcam Over towards the Beaufort Sea the only report more than a half degree above is from Buoy 2014I, coming in at +0.88° C. Obuoy 11 0716 webcamThe only report of below freezing comes from 2015B in the early afternoon, when temperatures are usually highest, at -0.35° C. North of there 2014G reports +0.30° C, and co-located O-buoy 12 shows Lake Chukchi not rising, but expanding ever so slightly towards the center of the picture by eroding that bank.Obuoy 12 0716 webcam  I’ll be late posting tonight.


Faboo drifted another 4.72 miles southwest to 86.422°N, 5.331°W, as winds slowly slacked off from 10 mph to 5 mph. The wildly exciting news for the day was an abrupt wind shift from north  to east, accompanied by a nearly two degree drop in temperatures.  Temperatures had been roughly a degree above freezing all day, achieving the high of +1.2° C at 1500z, and then at 1800z it was down to -0.2°C. STOP THE PRESSES!!! The final reading at 2100Z yesterday was -0.5°C.

Looking back at the picture from around that time (above) the 1821Z picture did have a bit of gloom in the sky, but things swiftly reverted to the gorgeous weather we’ve lucked into lately, after a very gloomy start to the summer. The only possible sign it may have been a bit colder is that the snow sparkles. Lake Faboo  continues to be less than impressive, and is failing to get us proper press coverage.

NP3 1 0716B 2015cam1_1 To the south-southwest O-buoy 9 has turned back to the southeast in light winds and temperatures just above freezing. We have lost a couple large blocks of ice from the prow of our ship. Perhaps this will be like setting our sails in a different manner, and we will swing around to look behind us, where I think the bluffs of Greenland’s coast lie. As best as I can tell, just calculating from shadows, we are looking northeast, and are just turning the corner at the northeast tip of Greenland. Obuoy 9 0716B webcam To the south-southeast of there, nearly due south of Faboo, 2015E had made it down to  77.87° N earlier today, yet managed sub-freezing temperatures of -0.10° C in the unofficial Mass Balance reports. It has since bounced back up to +0.57° C.

Over on the Pacific side things are fairly dull, with nothing noteworthy. Its hard to get headlines when temperatures barely stray a half degree from freezing. But O-buoy 12 has a nice picture this evening.Obuoy 12 0716B webcam I don’t see much in the maps, but my eyes nay be keener in the morning.DMI2 0716B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0716B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0717 mslp_latest.bigDMi2 0717 temp_latest.big

The maps show high pressure stubborn over the Pole, though now eroded from both the Pacific and Atlantic sides. It remains surprisingly cold just north of Bering Strait, especially with the PDO in a warm phase. An interesting kickback low is retrograding north of Scandinavia, increasing the flow into Fram Strait. It may be spreading ice out like butter over bread, and explain the uptick in the extrent graph, (You can know for sure the sea isn’t freezing up, in July). The only other explanation is that a snowfall towards the Pacific has dusted slush, and areas recorded as “open water” by microwave sensors up in satellites abruptly were seen as “ice.”DMI2 0717 icecover_current_new Faboo continues slowly southwest through fair weather. Lake Faboo is staying the same size despite constant sunshine and thawing temperatures.NP3 1 0717 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0717B 2015cam1_1 With the Pole sunny  and thawing, and sub-freezing temperatures all shunted south of 80°, the DMI temperatures-north-of-80° shows the first midsummer above-normal temperatures in three years.DMI2 0717 meanT_2015 If you are an Alarmist you should focus on this graph and ignore the extent graph, but if you are a Skeptic seize the extent graph. In truth the midsummer weather is normal, and rather boring, which is how I like it.

O-buoy 9’s camera may be in the drink, as there are no pictures this morning.

I have a busy day ahead, and may be posting late again this evening.


O-buoys not reporting, which is what I check first, as mostly nothing happens when you sit about watching ice melt, but something was always happening out the window of O-buoy 9, but I fear it may be sunk.

Faboo is reporting the same old dull drift southwest, though it did pause and then move east, after reaching 5.471°W at noon. (Whoopdedo.) We wound up at  86.398°N, 5.458°W, which is a whopping 1.74 miles in the last 24 hours. At this rate we’ll get to Fram Strait sometime next year. It gives a totally false impression of how active the Arctic Sea actually is. Only during the summer does ice sit about like this. The pity is that during the winter, when things get wild, it is pitch dark and the cameras can’t see.

Faboo also reports temperatures gradually creeping up from freezing to +1.2°C at noon yesterday, and then falling back to +0.2°C at 2100Z, but there was time when the winds got completely calm, and the buoy baked in the sun and created an air-cocoon of warmth around itself, and then the temperatures spiked up to +3.6°C at 1800Z. This data likely should be tossed out, but considering they use data from over the hot tarmac of airports in the exhaust of jumbo-jets, and then “adjust” it up a bit, I doubt they’ll throw this daytime high out.

The DMI maps show the high eroding away, over the Pole, and the chill persisting over towards Bering Strait.

DMI2 0717B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0717B temp_latest.big

SATURDAY UPDATE  —Faboo Stands Alone—

This will be a little like the old days, as both the O-buoy site and the Mass Balance Site seem to be taking a well-earned weekend off, and all we have is Faboo. I’ve been a bit spoiled through having so many cameras to look at. Back in the  day, there was only one.

Faboo has remained tucked in the calm center of high pressure, and the ice is moving faster than the wind, when the wind is calm (obviously.) It demonstrates the bulk and magnitude of the Trans Polar Drift. At time the ice is pushed along by other ice which is pushed by other ice, and the power may be winds hundreds of miles away.

Our winds were never higher than the 1 m/s range, which is a draft of around 2 mph. I was expecting to see the usual heat-island effect, but even a light draft can drop temperatures. For example, on Thursday we saw winds calm and a reading of +3.6°C, and the next reading, with winds only 2 mph, saw a drop to +0.2°. (Readings in these official reports are three hours apart. Also they are a day late, so today’s report involves Friday’s temperatures.) Friday’s low got below freezing when the midnight sun dipped down to its lowest, and were at -0.2°C at 0300z. Then they began the typical slight diurnal rise you notice even though the sun never sets, and because the wind never stopped entirely I likely should not suspect any heat-island effect when we arrive at our high at noon of +2.3°C, (but of course I do, being a suspicious fellow, and noticing Faboo has melted its private pool to sit in.) Then temperatures were in their slight diurnal slump, when the wind did die for the final report at 2100, and the temperature obligingly jumped from +1.7°C to +2.7°C, verifying my pet theory about the heat-island. This is a big event for me, for usually I have to confess my theories have just been proven wrong. Faboo does keep a man humble.

With the winds so light we only traveled 1.52 miles to 86.376°N, 5.454°W. There were some interesting giggles east and west as we crawled south, as far east as 5.452°W at midnight, and as far west as 5.483°W at noon, and then back east to 5.452°W again at 1800z, before we shifted back .002° at our final reading.

It should be noted that at this latitude a full degree of longitude is only 4.36 miles, so when you are talking about a thousandth of a degree longitude you are talking about 4 thousandth of a mile. You can spit that distance.

Often when winds are calm, we get our prettiest pictures. NP3 1 0718 2015cam1_4 NP3 1 0718B 2015cam1_3 (Click to enlarge, or open to new tabs to compare.)

Lake Faboo is no deeper, but is melting away at its sides, and a small ice island in it has all but melted away completely.

DMI maps show the high pressure starting to again expand over the Pole. The models were showing a low moving up over the Pole from the Kara Sea, but they have dropped that idea. Now it looks like the high will  move back and rule the Pole. The sub-freezing air continues to hang around over towards the Pacific side. If this keeps up it may make one of my predictions wrong. I predicted a lot of melting on that side, due to the warmth of the PDO, but, even though most of the melting comes from underneath, sub-freezing temperatures can’t hurry things along any.

DMI2 0718B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0718B temp_latest.big

As this post is getting lengthy, I’ll think I’ll wrap it up, and spend some time trying to think up a witty title for the next one.

LOCAL VIEW —The Forthright of July—

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978),

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), “The Gossips,” 1948. Painting for “The Saturday Evening Post” cover, March 6, 1948. Oil on canvas. Private collection. ©SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN

I haven’t posted many “Local Views” recently, because they are suppose to have the charm of a Norman Rockwell painting, which can take the everyday and reveal something exalted. Such an aim may be brimming with idealism, but it isn’t always realistic. Norman Rockwell himself, in a typically self-depreciating mood, dismissed his paintings as “Pictures of how we wish life was.”

In actual fact God is in everyone and everything, and there is absolutely nothing that is not exalted, seen in the correct Light. My failure to see this beauty lies in my human inability and blindness. God’s beauty is right in front of me, as plain as the nose on my face. But I ask myself this: Have I ever really seen the nose on my face? (And I’m not talking about some second-hand photo or mirror image.)

Because I can’t see something as plain as the nose on my face, I ignore it and instead speak of “being realistic”. I miss the beauty and poetry all around me, even in those nearest and dearest to me, and I call this ignorance “sensible.”

What I admired about Norman Rockwell was that he really never attacked the status quo of “sensible” behavior. Rather he simply showed that status quo in such a way that a feeling was prompted that was not sensible: Pragmatism crumbled, and one laughed and felt affection for neighbors, despite their bad behavior.

Nothing in my recent life was making me feel that way, initially. Now I can laugh, but it took me a while to get the joke. And, during the time it takes me to get the joke, I find it is usually wisest to be quiet. (Not always, but usually).

The joke this time involved the simple fact I’m not as strong as I used to be, and need to downsize the vegetable garden. However last April people got enthusiastic, and there was a lot of talk about assistance. So, rather than putting in a smaller garden, I put in a big one. Then, when it came time for the assistance to manifest, guess what happened?


The failure of assistance to materialize doesn’t occur all at once, like Lucy snatching away the football. Rather it happens by slow stages and degrees, for the road to a weedy garden is paved with good intentions. As it happens I work harder and harder, trying to make up for the failure of man-hours to manifest, but eventually I have to face the fact I just can’t do it alone. This year I couldn’t even keep up with the watering, during the early-spring drought, and couldn’t keep up with the planting schedule. And when the rains came and the weeds exploded, as they always do, I sadly gazed out over a garden that had gone the wrong sort of green.

I think in April people go mad. That’s why we have April Fool’s Day, so you can get it out of your system, but people never do. Instead it manifests as mad ambition, and in terms of a vegetable garden, people become enchanted by a picture Norman Rockwell never painted, (that I know of). It is a picture of people all working happily together under the hot summer sun, in a tidy garden without a weed, and baskets of bounty being canned and frozen by smiling folk who just love the job.

It is what the old timers called a “bee”, but what people forget is that a bee took a job that basically sucked, and made it be fun. Few women really liked to sew, and if they had to do it alone they likely would be cursing quietly beneath their breath, but when it became a “sewing bee” it was far more fun.  In like manner picking the meat from crabs was a tedious job that sucked, but I saw women up in Maine turn it into a crab-picking-bee, and it truly was a time of laughter and a joyous social event. However the thing of it was that these jobs were jobs that had to be done. Nowadays no one really needs to sew, so why bother? In the old days the farm garden kept you from starving, so you had better darn well make sure it was weeded. Now it is just a sort of appendage to your yard, and perhaps a way to get fresher food, but definitely not a matter of life and death.

I personally enjoy the exercise, because it does produce something that is far better than the stuff you get at a supermarket, and anyway, going to a gym always seemed a waste of time and money to me. A garden produces food, but a gym only produces vanity, and a salve for the fear of getting fat, unattractive and dying of a heart attack. A gym is all about the ego, but a garden is about other things, and you can forget yourself there.

I could go on at length on this topic, but I’ve already gone there and done that:

Now I am contemplating the fact that people may have a dream of working in the hot sun like a happy, healthy peasant, but when push comes to shove, no one (except, apparently, me), actually wants to be a peasant. In fact when I think of Norman Rockwell’s paintings they seem to be more about playing hooky.

Norman Rockwell Fishing had4680 I do take the children at our Farm-childcare fishing, but it is nothing like the Norman Rockwell view of fishing.Norman Rockwell fishing 2 il_fullxfull.221025553 When I take seven small boys fishing I basically spend hours untangling lines and trying to teach them to untangle their own lines, and baiting hooks and trying to teach them to bait their own hooks, and trying to keep hooks from flesh and especially eyeballs, and if we catch a fish it is a wonder. (A boy did catch a five pound bass last week, but that miracle deserves a post of its own.) The boys are aged three to seven, and I’ve learned a whole new definition regarding “the patience of a fisherman.” I explain things as elementary as the fact you cannot catch a fish unless you keep your hook in the water, and find my joys in the fact boys are boys. For example, it used to make me mad when, right after I said splashing would scare the fish, a boy made a splash. Now I simply ask, “Didn’t I say throwing rocks would scare the fish?” Then I watch, and await the inevitable answer. “It wasn’t a rock. It was a boulder.”

When I get back from these adventures I’m completely exhausted, (and usually carrying all the poles), (which are all hopelessly tangled), and the last thing I want to see is that the garden is crying out for care. The beans can barely be seen, and wave their topmost leaves like drowning swimmers. “Help us! Help us!”

What I really need is a patron who will donate a vast sum so I can hire a weeder. Fat chance of that happening around here. People around here won’t even donate much for widows and orphans, (let alone for poets who seem to goof off for a living), and yet these same impoverished people seem to have all sorts of extra money to have go up in smoke, when July fourth rolls around.

I suppose I should be understanding. When young I used to go through considerable risk to buy illegal fireworks in a back alley of Boston’s tiny Chinatown, but my views have changed since then. Physical fireworks are lame, compared to poetry. Heck, even LSD now seems like a slum, compared to really being high. However others, who have not a nickle to spare for charity, will pay two hundred for beer and a thousand for fireworks.

However I have little patience with people who haven’t grown up while I have. When I was young the daylight on July fourth never seemed to end, as I agonized waiting for fireworks. Now, after fishing with seven boys, and feeding goats, pigs, chickens and a rabbit, and even doing a small amount of desultory weeding, all I want on the evening of July 4 is a shower and my pillow. However before I turned in I did warn my middle son, who is younger and more energetic and had four college buddies dropping by, that he should not set off fireworks anywhere near our goats, because our goats are not patriotic.

Just as my head was nestling down into my pillow the cellphone call came from somewhere in the woods, from my son. The neighbor had set off a shell measuring several megatons that barely cleared the treetops.  The goats had totally freaked out, and behaved like cartoon characters who leave a hole of their size and shape, running through a wall, only the goats ran through a fence.

I caught up to my son halfway to Greenville,  and he told me he’d managed to herd the goats half the way back when the neighbor set of an even bigger display. He hadn’t yet caught up to the goats a second time, but we figured they must have veered away from Greenville, because an even bigger and more raucous display was going off in that direction, and they now likely were heading for the town of Temple.

I wondered about a lot of things, as the mad full moon rose orange midst the fireworks flashes of the night.  I wondered over the fact that only twenty years ago I would have been walking in woods, but now was in a transplanted Waltham, a hundred new houses.  I wondered over the odds of my being arrested for wandering through people’s backyards yelling, “Here Goats!  Here Goats!” I wondered why people moved to the country when they lacked the courtesy to avoid terrifying livestock. I wondered if this was God’s way of declaring my independence from goats, from farming, and of freeing my time for poetry. I wondered if the local bear would relish a good goat dinner.

I gave up when the fireworks were quieting only a little, at 10:30, (when they legally are suppose to stop). I recalled I was “deacon-on-duty” at church, in the morning, and it would not be proper to show up red-eyed and incoherent. Also the goats had headed into a swamp full of thirsty mosquitoes, and I have only so much blood. Enough was enough, and I went back to bed.

I was back at the barn in the twilight of dawn, yawning but dutifully ready to hunt down the goats, but the goats beat me back, and were waiting for me. They were not cut very much from their wild, panicky run through darkness, but very hungry, and as the day progressed they seemed to get sore and to limp a little, though not as much as I did.

When I got back from tending to the goats, still before sunrise and church, my wife showed me a couple Facebook exchanges she thought might interest me. The first involved people who had moved to the country to have horses, who were irate about how the fireworks had freaked out their horses, and who were rebutted by many, many Facebook pundits who said if they didn’t like freedom and fireworks they should move back to the city, and take their snobby horses with them.  The second exchange involved a photo of a black bear walking by the entrance to our church, close to the sign that says “All are welcome.”  I said we should add, “except bears”.

I find it odd that, even as people destroy the country by wanting to move out into it, they live such an indoorsy lives, tweeting and facebooking, that the wildlife is moving back into the suburbs. Even down near Boston deer, moose, coyote, beaver, ermine, fisher-cats, wildcat and black bear, (practically extinct in my boyhood), are now chowing down at backyard bird-feeders.

At my farm-daycare I am constantly asked by audacious children questions that point to a fantastic disconnect between man and nature. The children ask, wrinkling their noses, “Why do you get your carrots from the dirty dirt?”

Even more fantastic is the fact the parents are not much wiser. Where I was raised by the woods, they were raised by TV sets. Where my parents told me to get out and not to bug them until dinner time, their parents plunked them in front of a TV and told them not to bug them until dinner time. (Perhaps I am resorting to hyperbole, but there is a huge difference between generations.)

Now I have become an anachronism, an old Yankee who really doesn’t fit in. Strangely, despite my being a misfit, we have a long waiting list at our Farm-childcare. I suppose we are what the TV calls “green”, and are therefore desirable, though I am a conservationist and heartily despise all that environmentalists claim is “green” and “natural”.

It is difficult to describe the difference between a conservationist and an environmentalist, but I think Norman Rockwell could paint a picture of what conservationists represent. But try to imagine, if you can, a Saturday Evening Post cover portraying what environmentalists represent, in a manner that would make you smile and glad to be a member of the human race.

I doubt you can.  At best you would have a Pravda characterization of humanity, a propaganda poster, white-teethed and bronze-skinned Kens and Barbies marching on to the dictator’s utopia. Compare such unreal faces to the Rockwell faces in this post, and tell me which are closer to nature.

Considering my society is playing hooky from so much that is natural, and veering towards such unnatural madness, I hope I can be forgiven if, by the time Monday rolled around, I said the heck with weeding, and decided to play a little hooky myself. (Well, actually,  I couldn’t totally give up on the weeding, but rather than getting down on my knees and doing a good job, I just ran the rototiller up and down between the rows a little), and then…

Going to the beach on a hot July
Mid-morning with the stain of brass heat draped
On every bough and street, and in my eye
Even shadows hazed gold, nothing escaped
The heat…but I am. Like a boy
Playing hooky, the consequences fade
In the face of surging, giggling joy.

While it may be true we’ll sleep in beds unmade,
Face stern principles, grip hungover foreheads,
That’s all far away. Now we’re on our way
To the beach, and like flowering dawn sheds
The dark dreads of night, joy drives gloom away.

We’re all going to die, but boys playing hooky
Have light in their eye, and life’s their cookie.


Summer nights may be short, but they can slug
Like winter can’t. Humidity salts heartache,
And a cricket’s really a horrid bug
When you think of it, because it will take
The time to keep time like a mad drummer
Fixated on a single, small cymbal.
Give me a break, a more solid summer
Beyond tic-tocking time; summer so nimble
It eludes the looming lust of harvest,
Of bankers counting kernels of corn-gold.
Of sunsets early and shifting southwest,
Of frost and fading and fondness gone cold.
Summer shouldn’t stand for greed and brevity.
Summer should stand for hope and levity. 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –The Summit Of Slush Season (July 5-11, 2015)

For ten months a year the arctic loses energy, and is a sort of chimney for planet earth, ventilating away heat. However we are now midst the brief time when, in theory at least, twenty-four-hour-a-day sunshine allows the arctic to gain energy. In reality we don’t have to draw warm fronts on weather maps, coming down from the north, because all the extra energy is used up melting ice. As water goes through the phase change from solid to liquid vast amounts of energy go from being available heat to being latent heat. When the water freezes up again all that heat is freed, and likely much is lost up into outer space.

However for the moment we are not losing heat, though some is becoming latent, and this means we aren’t creating cold to clash with warmer air to the south. Storms are meeker and winds are gentler and it tends to be a period of quietude. In some ways Nature has achieved a rare state of balance that it is always striving for and never achieving, wherein temperatures are all mixed and there is no need to rush warm air north and surge cold air south. It is a precarious balance, and you know darn well it isn’t going to last, but while it lasts it is full of subtle events that usually get drowned out by more dramatic weather.

More dramatic weather in the Pacific may soon send its reverberations north, but for the moment Faboo, (my name for the North Pole Camera), is barely moving. Friday it drifted down to 86.856°N, 2.719°W, which was only 1.74 miles further southwest, and yesterday it drifted back north to 86.877°N, 2.554°W, which was a scant .24 miles in 24 hours, and basically the wrong way, back northeast.

The temperature antics were more interesting, as temperatures bounced either side of freezing. For example on Friday the temperatures (which are recorded at 3 hour intervals), began below freezing, but bounced up to +0.6°C at 0600z, down to -0.1°C at noon, up to    +0.6°C at 1500z, and back down to -0.4°C at 1800z.

Now, a degree may not seem like a big deal to you, but that is because you don’t know how the Global Warming game is played. When the degree is either side of freezing, it is a huge deal, and each time temperatures get above freezing there is a huge roar of cheering from the Alarmist side of the stadium, and when it drops below freezing there is bedlam on the Skeptic side. Friday left everyone completely exhausted, but the Skeptic got to smirk in the end as temperatures dropped to -1.0°C at midnight.  (And midnight also counts for Saturday’s low, which is a doubled smirk.)

Saturday saw the more normal thaw return,  with temperatures getting above freezing at around 0500z and peaking at 1500z at +0.9°C, before dropping back to +0.6°C at midnight. (Alarmists could be smug but not too smug, because the normal temperature is a full  degree above freezing, which truly dedicated Skeptics were swift to point out.

In actual fact there is nothing to debate, for today things are  normal.  I repeat, NORMAL!

DMI2 0705B meanT_2015 I’ll update further later, but figured I’d best stick this post in before getting back to my July Fourth Weekend, for the fans of Faboo.


The temperature antics were due to a subtle feature I neglected to name. (I name storms, though I know it annoys some people, and my explanation is that I’m no good at Math, so numbering storms creates confusion.) It was a weak low passing the Pole that is barely visible on this morning’s arctic map, and all but invisible on this evening’s.

JULY 5 0000Z                                              JULY 5 1200Z DMI2 0705 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0705B mslp_latest.big

Just because such a feature is barely visible on a map doesn’t mean Faboo can’t see it. How can you avoid seeing freezing rain on your lens?NP3 1 0705 2015cam1_4The interesting thing thing about these subtle mirco-features is that the computer models know they exist, but not where. By that I mean models create such micro-features when information is plugged in for their initial run, but (I assume because they have very little actual raw data from places that actually report like Faboo does, and have to “homogonize” and “extend” data out over places that have no reports), (or take satellite data and run it through some best-guess formula to create data for places that have no reports), the micro-features often are in the wrong places. For example, look at a recent GFS initial run, focusing in on the faint gray lines that represent 10 m winds. (Open in a new tab, and then click again to fully enlarge.)DMI2 0705C gfs_mslp_uv10m_arctic_1(This map is created from GFS data by Dr, Ryan Maue at the Weatherbell site.)

Faboo’s most recent micro-feature actually shows up on this map as a dent in the isobars and a gray area of 9 knot winds north of Svalbard. Often we see micro-features pass that don’t even appear on the map. Last week we watched temperatures drop all day over four degrees to -2.4° C, and the DMI temperature maps never even showed temperatures below freezing. Today’s maps don’t show any either.

JULY 5 0000Z                                           JULY 5 1200Z DMI2 0705 temp_latest.bigDMI2 0705B temp_latest.big                    (These maps show an interesting, slight diurnal effect swinging around and around the Pole, despite the fact the sun never sets. In the left-hand map it is afternoon north of Alaska, and no sub-freezing temperatures appear, but they do appear in the wee hours of the morning, in the right hand map. In an equal but opposite manner it is the wee hours of the morning northeast of Svalbard in the left hand map, and the area of sub-freezing temperatures is fatter than the right hand map, which shows early afternoon.)

Because the computer generated initial maps sometimes miss the micro-features, it pays to use your lying eyes, for sometimes you can spot freezing long before Faboo releases the official data, a day late.  For example, Fabootwo (North Pole Camera 2) pictures a snowbow at noon today. What would your lying eyes guess about the temperature?  np3 2 0705 2015cam2_3One thing is certain; rain isn’t causing that snow-bow. Even if it is just a dust of superfine ice in the atmosphere, I’ve noticed it seldom accompanies warming in the short term, and even if it precedes a warm storm, there is often a dip in temperatures (perhaps due to evaporative cooling?) The official  data tomorrow will tell me if my lying eyes, or the DMI map, is correct.

I also scrutinize the edges of the melt-water pools. The one above, and the picture from Faboo at 1854z below, look suspiciously like the water is freezing up a bit despite the brilliant sunshine (which can melt even at sub-freezing temperatures).NP3 1 0705B 2015cam1_2Often I get fooled. I am focusing on the melt-water to the lower right, but perhaps I should be focused at the center of the picture, where a slight gully may be appearing, as the melt-water channels through the slight rise of an thawed-away pressure ridge. If that were the case, the melt-water to the right might drain away to the left, lowering the level of the water in the small puddle to the lower left (which is to right of the slight rise).

You have to have a sense of humor about being fooled. That is half the fun of watching ice melt. It is a dull thing to do, and if you don’t have the right attitude, being both dull and wrong holds no joy. In this way, watching ice melt is a lot like golf.

Besides Faboo, the other big news involves O-buoy 9, which may be floating free of the thick ice into an area of open water northeast of Station Nort off the northeast cape of Greenland. That open water appears as a spot of blue in this ice-concentration map.DMI2 0705C arcticicennowcastThe openness of the water may be indicated by how fast O-buoy 9 is able to float past longitude 14°.Obuoy 9 0705 longitude-1weekAnd also by the the warmer temperatures, which can indicate more open waterObuoy 9 0705 temperature-1weekAnd lastly, my lying eyes see open water, as the lead that opened hasn’t slammed shutObuoy 9 0703B webcam Obuoy 9 0704 webcamObuoy 9 0704B webcamObuoy 9 0705C webcamObuoy 9 0705D webcam

This patch of open water is not actually indicative of melting, as much as it shows how little ice is being exported from the Pole down the east coast of Greenland. The ice to the south is heading south, but little ice moves in from the north to replace it.

The Mass Balance buoys are taking another weekend off, so I’ll wait to report on the Pacific side tomorrow.

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE  —Faboo’s Heatstroke—

Whenever it gets bright and sunny Faboo can’t take the heat. Either he’s using up the battery running the air conditioner, or perhaps using the solar panels to fan a flushed face, but there’s never enough power left over to transmit a complete picture. All we see is the distance, and never what’s going on at our feet.

It is interesting that the melt-water pool in  the mid distance fails to reflect the sun in the first picture. Perhaps it is drained, or filled with slush, or skimmed over by a film of freeze. By the second picture, six hours later, it looks fairly normal, but we don’t have the reflected sunshine highlighting things.NP3 1 0706A 2015cam1_2 NP3 1 0706B 2015cam1_1Fabootwo has a more myipic view (80° rather than 120°), and seems to show normal thawing by 0600z.NP3 2 0706 2015cam2_1The Mass Balance Buoys still are on vacation, so I’ll just quickly share some O-buoy pictures. O-buoy 9 continues its journey east through thaw and open waters. Once we round the northeast point of Greenland I expect we’ll start seeing the GPS showing a southward dive, but that hasn’t happened yet.Obuoy 9 0706 webcamO-buoy 11 has seen the open lead just beyond the pressure ridge, open yesterday, close up again. Winds have slacked off to nearly calm, and temperatures look like they’ve dipped below freezing.Obuoy 11 0704 webcamObuoy 11 0706 webcamO-buoy 12 also has temperatures dipping a hair below freezing as the sun dips low behind the fog. Winds are around 7 mph. Lake Chukchi to the left doesn’t look much different.Obuoy 12 0705 webcam Obuoy 12 0706 webcamThe DMI maps show 0000z conditions, before the sun dipped low on the Pacific side, and no sub-freezing temperatures appear over there. “Nublok” (for “New Boy On The Block”) has wandered north from eastern Europe to join the fray, and likely will spin his wheels in the Kara Sea, as Laggard south of Iceland kicks impulses east into Europe.  I’ll dub the one just reaching Norway now “Lagzip”.  The low spinning in the Laptev Sea is “Baltfol”, which was once forecast to attack the Pole but now looks like it will meekly fade away south. It appears high pressure will build over the Pole, as weak remains of “Folfol” fade south into Canada.

DMI2 0706 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0706 temp_latest.big

I’ll likely be late updating this evening. Hopefully the Mass Balance buoys will be back from vacation.


After retreating as far north as 86.879°N  at 1800z Saturday, and as far east as 2.425°W  yesterday at noon, Faboo got back on its southwest track and finished the 24 hour period at 86.827°N, 2.455°W, 3.47 miles roughly due south. With Fram Strait roughly 550 miles south,  we’d better pick up speed if we expect to be there before the midnight sun sets to a midday moon.

Winds were up around 11 mph early yesterday, but fell back to 4 mph, which doesn’t push ice about much.

My lying eyes lied yesterday, when I thought I detected freezing, for temperatures only dripped to +0.1°C at 0900z, before rebounding up to +0.8°C at 1500z, and then sagging back to +0.4°C at 2100z. So the thaw is back on track..

Today anothe mini-feature passed through, with a spell og gloomy weather giving way to more brilliant sunshine. As usual, Faboo gives us a fine picture when it is hard to see, but malfunctions when the sun is bright. It seems downright coy of Faboo to send us a picture of the midnight sun at midnight, but showing no sea-ice at all.

NP3 1 0706B 2015cam1_2 NP3 1 0706C 2015cam1_1So we have to resort to the view from Fabootwo, which also shows the midnight sun at midnight. If it is looking at the same buoy, then it also shows The farthest part of Lake Faboo, which may have drained slightly. However I’m not sure if Fabootwo’s location.NP3 2 0706C 2015cam2_1 O-buoy 9 continues to experience thaw, light winds, and to drift east through relatively open seas. That mat be a headland of Greenland at the far left horizon. If not, it is one heck of an iceberg.Obuoy 9 0706B webcamO-buoy 11 is experiencing slight thawing, winds picking up to a bit over 10 mph, and the lead beyond the pressure ridge in the mid-distance is opening up again. The camera is starting to lean, which tilts the horizon.Obuoy 11 0706B webcamO-buoy 12 has broken out of its frosty spell and looks to be enjoying a slight but steady thaw under milky sunshine. It looked like it had gotten a dusting of snow, but now that snow seems to be definitely wilting. Lake Chukchi liiks like it is expanding.Obuoy 12 0706B webcamThere are still no reports from the Mass balance Buoys.

The DMI maps show an impressive string of small storms from Bering Stait, along the Eurasian coast, south of Iceland, to Hudson Bay, but all seems to be stalled and fading, with very little cooling involved. The main feature seems likely to be high pressure building over the Pole, and we be about to see the mist intensive thawing of the summer, (which usually occurs in July).

DMI2 0706B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0706B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0707 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0707 temp_latest.big

EVENING REPORT  (Catching up)                                      DMI2 0707B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0707B temp_latest.big

(My most senior and important employee at my Farm-childcare suffered a bizarre home-accident  wherein she broke her big toe and tailbone, and I have had to cover at work. It is one of those cases wherein, when I most crave escape into the pristine world of sea-ice, I can’t post. But now, late at night, I can.)

The above maps show high pressure continuing to build over the Pole, as our various weak summer storms seem inert.  They hardly deserve to be called storms. The 998 mb low over the Laptev Sea, “Batfol”, just sits there and weakens slightly. That is one of a trio of dips in the jet stream that achieved an illusion of the atmosphere becoming stable. The other two were a vauge connection to “Klyuchi”, down in Hudson Bay, and “Laggard”, south of Iceland.  As usual, the atmosphere can never remain stable, and the decadence of stability is appearing most clearly in the ruckus atop Europe. Laggard has booted the 994 mb “Lagzip” east into Finland, and the new 988 mb “Lagzipson” into Scotland, even as the weakening 996mb low “Nublok” fades south in the Kara Sea.

There are two basic solutions to this mess of low pressures. In the first case things resolve back to the trio, and in the second the trio breaks down to a new pattern of dips in the jet stream, (perhaps a quatrain.) I imagine we are in for some changes, due to the ruckus the MJO is causing way down south in the Pacific, but we’ll see.

The strongest storm is the 988 mb low in Hudson Bay, which has some gale-forse winds, and may be breaking up the ice in the bay. North of Scandinavia are some strong southwest breezes which may approach gale force gusts.  For the most pat breezes are lighter, but only in the center of the polar high pressure do we see calm. There is a lot of thaw, but some patches of sub-freezing air. The only surprise to me is the cold north of Alaska.

I still can’t get data from the Mass Balance Buoys, which perplexes me. Perhaps they had an employee break a big toe and tailbone.

Faithful Faboo reports it has drifted slowly southwest down to 86.790°N, 2.730°W, which is another 2.76 miles. Winds have been very light, often below 3 mph.

The temperature reports redeemed the impression I got above, from the Fabootwo picture showing the snowbow. I thought it looked colder, and then showed how humble I was yesterday, and how I graciously confess my mistakes, when I stated there were no below-freezing temperatures. However the actual report from the time that picture of a snowbow was taken states that in fact temperatures abruptly (and briefly) fell to -0.5°C, at 0000z on July 6.

(Oh, isn’t it wonderful when you get to show how humble you are, and then get to supply a reason you should be vain.)

In any case by 0600z temperatures had rebounded to +0.4°C, reached a high of +1.3°C at noon, and then slid back to +0.5°C at 2100z yesterday.

Faboo took a gloomy view of things much of today, and then when the sun popped out it faithfully refused to transmit a picture of the foreground. It looks to me like the Level of Lake Faboo is very slightly higher.

NP3 1 0707 2015cam1_1NP3 1 0707B 2015cam1_3NP3 1 0707C 2015cam1_1 O-buoy 9 continues east, without any movement south, in light breezes around 7 mph. Temperatures have taken a did to just below freezing, despite a lot of open water about. (The water itself, being salt, may be “below freezing”, when “freezing” is the freezing point of fresh water.)  The water looks more open than ever, Obuoy 9 0707 webcam Obuoy 9 0707B webcamO-buoy 11 has seen winds increase to over 10 mph, as temperatures climbed back to freezing, The ice starting to skim the melt-water puddle to the lower left has melted away. The lead is the middle distance is remaining closed.Obuoy 11 0707 webcamObuoy 11 0707B webcamO-buoy 12 has shown winds spiking above 15 mph and then falling back to 10 mph, and a brief spike of thaw before temperatures fell back just below freezing. The reason temperatures fell may be due to fog giving way to a fall of snow. Lake Chukchi looks no larger, though it is difficult to tell with visibility so poor.Obuoy 12 0707B webcamObuoy 12 0707 webcamThere does seem to be stuff happening around the periphery of the high pressure that sits on the Pole.

Wednesday, July 8 Update

DMI2 0708 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0708 temp_latest.bigDMI2 0708B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0708B temp_latest.big

The maps show the high pressure continue to build over the Pole, and the surprising (to me) cold continue to build over the Beaufort Sea. The general area of low pressure along the Eurasian Arctic coast is impressive as a whole, but the individual storms have all been smushed into generic flow from west to east. Lagzipson is likely most noteworthy, over Europe, and requires a map of lower latitudes, (partly to show that Laggard still exists, in a refreshed form, south of Iceland.)UK Met 20150708 25701766I am watching to see of the trio of lows reestablishes itself in Hudson Bay, South of Iceland, and Siberia, or whether the atmosphere is going into a destabilized wobble due to the ruckus in the west Pacific. which has three tropical systems.Ruckus xxirgmsbbm__3_(1)However my mind is not suppose to be down there where ladies wear grass skirts. I’m suppose to be focused on sea-ice and Faboo.

Faboo continued it’s slow drift southwest to 86.753°N, 3.184°W, which is another 3.1 miles on our way. Winds remained light, around 5 mph. Temperatures attempted to be well bejaved and diurnal, sinking to +0.3°C at midnight and rising to the day’s high of +1.3°C at noon, but they it just had to pull off a fluky little freak-out and plunge to +0.1°C at the next report at 1500z, and then pretend nothing had happened by popping back up to +0.7°C at the following report at 1800z, where we ended the day at 2100z as well. (I think that, when winds get light, small mirco-systems of warmer and cooler air eddy about the surface of the ice; for events like this are not uncommon.)

Amazingly Faboo sent a picture including the foreground, when the sun was shining. The following picture is a bit clipped at the bottom, but comparing the two pictures with earlier shots does make it look like Lake Faboo is draining. The water table seems to have lowered, and this is especially obvious if you look to the lower left, where an expanding Lake Faboo seemed to be creating a slushy area and we had some hopes of expansion right to our feet, where the water is now absent.NP3 1 0708 2015cam1_1NP3 1 0708B 2015cam1_1It is a pity Lake Faboo has apparently found some weakness in the ice and is draining down to the sea, for when you get a big melt-water pool at the Pole there is a lot more media attention. Now it looks like we’re doomed to be obscure.

In other news, O-buoy 9 has paused in ots voyage to certain doom in Fram Strait, as winds are nearly calm. Temperatures have been a hair below freezing. The views continue to be fabulous.Obuoy 9 0708 webcamObuoy 9 0708B webcam O-buoy 11 has seen thawing return, steady breezes over 10 mph, and a major lead open in the middle distance, (which places it in some danger.)Obuoy 11 0708 webcamObuoy 11 0708B webcam

O-buoy 12 has seen temperatures recover to just above freezing after a cold spell, and winds have slacked off from around 15 mph to around 6 mph. Obuoy 12 0708 webcamObuoy 12 0708B webcamDespite the recent cold and dust-of-snow Lake Chukchi is expanding. It is especially noticeable along the near shoreline to the lower left. Perhaps we can make a media event of it.

We totally blew a chance for a media event in the case of Mass Balance buoy 2015A, which originally was attached to ice on the coast of Alaska, but now is drifting to the west.2015A_track (1)

This buoy had a camera that showed the winter scene turning to a summer scene with many melt-water pools, but just when it was getting really interesting the camera stiopped sending pictures. They may have retrieved it, as such cameras are expensive. However I was very interested in seeing the melt-water drain as the ice broke up, and now I feel terribly deprived. All I know now is that by the shore of Alaska a land breeze had temperatures up to +6.65° C today, but now they’ve plunged to +0.13° C.

They may have retrieved the camera from Bouy 2015B as well. All we know is that the ice we drift with continues to be compressed north towards the Pole, and today temperatures dropped from +0.50° C to -1.18° C.

North of there Buoy 2014G fell from -0.11° to -1.22° C. 16 degrees east of there 2014F fell from +0.69° C to -0.63° C. Four degrees further east 2013F hung steady at +0.17° C. Another five degrees further east 2014I rose from -0.77° C to -0.34° C. Though in this instance temperatures rose, they are still below freezing, and during slush season temperatures are suppose to be between one and two degrees above freezing. Therefore I find the entire situation over the Beaufort Sea intriguing. While some of the variation may be diurnal, it still is colder than normal down there.

The final Mass Balance Buoy is across the Pole and down in Fram Strait at, or very near, the edge of the ice. It experiences an opposite diurnal effect, and in the case of Buoy 2015E we see temperatures rise from   -0.12° C to +0.40° C. Here too temperatures are below normal.  All Mass balance buoys report from south of 80° latitude, (with the exception of 2015D, associated with Faboo,) and therefore none of the below normal temperatures I reported above contribute to the average used for the DMI map of arctic temperatures, which remains near average.

DMI2 0708B meanT_2015


High Pressure still rules the Pole. Lagzipson is bringing cooler air to Europe. Easterly flows along Eurasian coast and also north of Hudson Bay.DMI2 0709 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0709 temp_latest.big                            All cameras showing sunny views for a change. Faboo is unofficially reporting temperatures back up to normal, at +1.13° C, but despite the thaw Lake Faboo still seems to be shrinking.NP3 1 0709 2015cam1_2O-buoy 9 has an amazing shot of Greenland in background. Winds remain light, and thaw has resumed, but we’ve actually drifted back to the north a bit. (To the southeast in Fram Srait Buoy 2015E is reporting  -0.42° C.)Obuoy 9 0709 webcamO-buoy 11 has seen temperatures dip below freezing, (co-located 2014I was reporting +0.18° C), as the winds slack off to around 7 mph, and the lead in the distance appears to be again closing.Obuoy 11 0709 webcamO-buoy 12 has warmed up to normal, (co-located Buoy 2014G reported +1.11 C), and the breeze dying down to 7 mph. Lake Chukchi looks like it is eating its way down through the ice a bit. Obuoy 12 0709 webcamThe thaw will have to hurry to catch up to the ice-free-pole and “Barber Event” predicted by “Climate Sanity” back on May 9:Barber Event ice-free-pole ScreenHunter_9884-Jul.-08-15.34In actual fact the DMI graph looks like this, this morning:DMI2 0709 icecover_current_newI actually think the failure of the graph to plunge may be due to some ice spreading out in the current, relatively calm conditions. It is important to remember that the same amount of ice can be spread out like butter on bread, so that (as long as the concentration of ice to sea-water remains above 15%), the extent can increase even though ice everywhere is melting. It would be helpful if we had graphs for different concentrations, so we could judge if more open water is appearing, but the only such map I know of is the old DMI map of concentrations greater than 30%, which excludes coastal areas. It currently shows more of a dip, which suggests some ice that was compressed to more than 30% concentration has spread out to less-than-30%-but-more-than-15% concentration. (That big dip in the graph last week was a glitch.)DMI2 0709 old icecover_current THURSDAY EVENING UPDATE  —Footprints—

Snails don’t leave footprints, even when they  pace, so they cannot be blamed for the footprints by Faboo and Fabootwo, though we did continue at a snail’s pace to 86.705°N, 3.594°W, which was another 3.68 miles to the southwest. Temperatures rose to a respectable thaw of +1.5°C for the day’s high at noon, and then fell back to +1.2° at 2100z. Winds remained light, at around 5 mph. The failure of the melt-water pools to expand despite the length of the current thaw suggests they are draining. However the real interest in the pictures are the footprints.NP3 1 0709B 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0709C 2015cam1_1Also interesting has been the coast of Greenland whizzing by, from )-buoy 9’s view. The ice isn’t actually moving at eighty miles an hour, but the ice the camera is upon is slowly pivoting from facing west to facing south.Obuoy 9 0709B webcamObuoy 9 0709C webcamI’ll update more later, but have to run to a meeting.


DMI2 0709B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0709B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0710 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0710 temp_latest.big

The high pressure remains in control of the Pole, but the general area of low pressure over the Eurasian coast looks like it will gather its energy to the east and send what I will call Baltfol north as a sort of feeble attack upon the Pole. It seems this will be deflected towards Bering Strait, and have the general effect of nudging the high pressure towards Fram Strait.  This might be interesting, for if the high centers east of Fram Strait the strait could get  south winds, pushing the ice the “wrong” way, as further towards Finland the same high pressure pushes ice the opposite way, west and south down into the northern reaches of the Kara and Barents Seas.

The extent graph does not differenciate whether ice is heading down through Fram Strait, in which case it has received the kiss-of-death and will lead to a long term decreawe, or is being blown into Barents and Kara Seas, in which case is may hang around and lead to a long term increase.

Of course this is a moot point if the high pressure centers further west, and Fram Strait doesn’t get south winds.

Our wonderful eye upon the situation is O-buoy 9, which teeters at the northeast tip of Greenland, on the verge of plunging south to its doom. It has moved south slighty, and winds have increased to 10 mph, and the thaw has resumed. The waters are open, and the berg it is on is precarious and may break apart at any moment, so feast on these pictures while we have them. To the right on the horizon is the white ice-cap of Greenland. Obuoy 9 0710 webcam

The Pacific side continues to surprise me with sub-freezing areas, especially when the midnight sun dips down towards the horizon in the 1200z maps. On the coast of Alaska Mass balance buoy 2015A shocked me by dipping a hair below zero, though it has now recovered to +0.94° C. The high pressure is rotating some of that cold back towards the Pole, though not to Faboo.

Faboo continues to show sunshine and thawing. Mass Balance buoy report has it at the warmest it has been all summer, at +2.24° C, though down in Fram Strait Buoy 2015E iss reporting -0.16° C. So it is colder around the Pole than at the Pole itself.NP3 1 0710 2015cam1_2FRIDAY EVENING UPDATE

DMI2 0710B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0710B

High pressure continues to rule the Pole, as Baltfol makes a weak effort to push it off the top of the earth, from the Siberian side.

Faboo has continued its slow drift south and west, finishing the day 3.59 miles further southwest, at 86.655°N, 3.844°W.  Thaw continues, with the footprints already fading in the snow, but Lake Faboo looking like it holds less water. While the above map shows sub-freezing air in the vicinity, the unofficial Mass Balance reports have indicated temperatures above +2°, as the official thermometer shows neither. We slowly climber to the period’s high of +1.7°C at 1800z yesterday, and then promptly dropped to the low of +1.0°C at the next report at 2100z. Winds remain light, at 5 mph or below, and for the most part it has been sunny, which has been rare this spring and summer. NP3 1 0710B 2015cam1_1

The Mass Balance Buoys continue to show the chill on the Pacific side, with all but one buoy dropping below freezing as the sun sinks down towards the horizon at midnight. The real surprise to me is 2015A, right on the sun-baked coast of Alaska, which has seen temperatures up near +8.0°, but today has seen them peak at only +0.94° C and then dip below freezing to -0.26° C. The coldest buoy was 2014F which peaked at +0.47° C but then plunged to -1.69° C. The mildest was 2014G over towards Chukchi Sea, which peaked at +0.77° C but then only sank to +0.40°C, and may indicate milder air sneaking in behind the “cold wave”.

Across the Pole down in Fram Strait, 2015E is a real oddity, as it remained below freezing all day, ranging from -0.16° C to -0.03° C. Though the ice is concentrated down there, the low temperatures may also indicate just how cold the sea-water is.

To get an idea of why that sea-water might be cold, it helps to watch the final two minutes of the O-buoy 9 animation, as the buoy moves out into the patch of open water to the north. Unfortunately it doesn’t include the past few days, with recent glimpses of the Greenland coast, but it does give you a clear idea of how the ice is churned and agitated in the sea, like ice in a cocktail shaker. It is much like the slurry of ice and salt in the outside of an old-fashioned ice-cream maker: There is no way it can make thing warmer until the ice is completely gone, and models that focus on “waters absorbing sunlight” and neglect the profound cooling effect of this cocktail shaker are bound to be in error.

While watching the final two minutes, keep an eye on the compass in the upper right. Our camera is swinging around from south to west and then back south to east, as our little island spins in the chaos.

The still shots still show us happily bobbing to our doom. I wish the camera would swing around so we could see Greenland again. Thawing continues, and the light breeze of 10 mph persists.Obuoy 9 0710 webcamObuoy 9 0710B webcam

Across the Pole the tilt of O-buoy 11 increases ever so slightly, in sub-freezing temperaturesObuoy 11 0710B webcam

O-buoy 12 is at the edge of the warmer temperatures, but Lake Chukchi actually looks lower. This may be because its waters were salty enough, at least initially, to render the ice beneath permeable, so the water can percolate down to the sea beneath without any major crack or hole.Obuoy 12 0710B webcam


DMI2 0711 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0711 temp_latest.big

The morning maps show little change. Baltfol has been unable to budge the high pressure from the Pole. Other weak lows are basically tricling their way east along the arctic coast of Eurasia, with remnants Lagzip and Nublock perhaps traceable. Lagzipson has pushed across Europe with cool north winds behind it, but the high pressure building ahead of Laggard (now bulging north under Iceland), is not hot like the last one. Lagzipson may replace Baltfol as the next big boy on the coast, as Laggard throws more cool and wet weather towards Europe. The temperature map continues to surprise me with the coolness on the Pacific side. (Remember the 0000z maps have midnight at the bottom, so the temperatures at the top of the map should be at their noontime high.)

I have yet to see any counter-flow effecting Faboo. I’m expecting it to hesitate and even head back north a little, but the NRL drift map shows no such counter-flow.DMI2 0711 drift arcticicespddrfnowcastOne interesting thing about the drift is that down the east coast of Greenland the ice has stalled and is currently immobile.

I’ve been waiting for Hudson Bay and the Laptev Sea to become ice-free, but they continue melt very sluggishly. One interesting thing about the 30-day-animation of the NRL concentration map is that the animation ends with a five-day-forecast into the future, and that forecast always shows considerable amounts of ice melting. Then the five days pass, and it doesn’t happen. (What is puzzling is that the NRL thickness 30-day-animation also ends with a five-day-forecast, but it doesn’t show the same melting.) (At least one is bound to be right, I suppose.) It is safest to avoid the forecasts, and stick with the most recent maps.DMI2 0711 consentration arcticicennowcast DMI2 0711 thickness arcticictnowcast I don’t entirely trust these maps, as there are always struggles with how the satellites “see” melt-water pools as open water or thinner ice. (However they are working hard to take the problem into account.) Remember that the thinning of the ice largely happens from beneath.

I think I’ll conclude the post with a pictures from Faboo, which shows that “breaking up is hard to do”, and a picture from O-buoy 9, which is reminding us that often it is transport that gets the ice to lower concentrations.

The unofficial Mass Balance temperature from Faboo contradicts the DMI temperature map above, as it is coming in with the warmest reading of the summer, +3.18° C. If you compare the two pictures it can be seen that Lake Faboo, which had been slowly draining, has started to refill.NP3 1 0711A 2015cam1_2 NP3 1 0711B 2015cam1_1 Meanwhile O-buoy 9 has hit a patch of wide open water. Temperatures are cooling, but still thawing, and winds, which git up around 18 mph, have slacked off a little to 13 mph. Our situation is precarious, and high winds could dump us in the drink. It is interesting to note that, though we are obviously riding a solid berg, this area may have so little ice it counts as “open water” and does not get counted in the ice-extent graph calculations, because it is less than 15% ice.Obuoy 9 0711 webcam I’ll likely start up a new post this evening.