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.


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

  1. Your mention of how excited Warmists get when the Arctic melts reminded me of last winter. As record cold and snow events occurred in the Northern Hemisphere, their refrain was “AGW causes cooling”. Now, they are having trouble adjusting to “AGW causes warming”! (How about “It’s Summer, stupid”?)

    • The excuses they come with remind me of the excuses I used to come up with for undone homework. My Math teacher was always entertained. However in the end they didn’t get me off the hook.

      Over at Real Science they showed this forecast for an ice-free Pole this summer, which was made as recently as May 9.

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