ARCTIC SEA ICE —Typhoons Effect Sea-ice—(August 27 – September 3) (Concluded.)

I am in catch-up mode, because business has to come before pleasure and sometimes I don’t have time to do justice to the ongoing story of this year’s sea-ice melt. Sorry if this report seems sloppy.

There have been some huge and (from afar) beautiful super-typhoons rolling towards China and Japan in the Pacific, and then curving north, which is typical of El Nino situations. I haven’t been paying proper attention to them,  as I have only so many brain cells left after a misspent youth,  and they get used up attending to mundane stuff. After all, I can’t be everywhere and pay attention to everything.

Just because I can’t pay attention doesn’t mean I can’t (in a sense) delegate attending to others. I don’t have to pay these delegates, for often they don’t even know they are attending for me.

An example of this involves my goats. I might be taking them out for a walk to a place where they can chow down on something they like, such as acorns, and my mind may be engrossed in significant things (such as thinking up a word that rhymes with “typhoons” to put in this post’s title), however I keep an eye out for any sign the goats are noticing something I’m not. Often they do, and alert me to things I’d never notice: A fox in the distance, or the signs in the dirt that a bear also likes acorns, and has been by recently.

Actually that is a lousy example, because it makes it sound like I am calling a brilliant meteorologist a goat. (I am always accidentally offending people with impudent innocence.) However when Joseph D’Aleo pauses to scrutinize a typhoon on a map at his Weatherbell site it is in some way like when my goats stop to scrutinize something I don’t see. It wakes me up to the fact I’m missing something.

These typhoons aren’t quite behaving the way El Nino typhoons are suppose to behave. They are suppose to translate into huge north Pacific gales that roll into the Gulf of Alaska. Instead they run aground off Kamchatka. Dr. Ryan Maue’s maps from the Weatherbell site are showing it happening yet again.  High Pressure gets in the way, and the gale that develops in the Gulf of Alaska is not directly related to the typhoon, although teleconnected. The typhoon is blocked from curving east.

TODAYTyphoon 0 gfs_mslp_uv10m_npac_1  TOMORROWTyphoon 1 gfs_mslp_uv10m_npac_5  FRIDAYTyphoon 2 gfs_mslp_uv10m_npac_9 SATURDAYTyphoon 3 gfs_mslp_uv10m_npac_13 SUNDAYTyphoon 4 gfs_mslp_uv10m_npac_17

The energy of the blocked typhoon may blurb over the top of the ridge using mysterious powers of teleconnection, but to a bumpkin like me it seems a lot of the actual moisture and convection cannot make it east, and comes north towards us at the Pole. In fact I have a hunch the low northeast of Bering Strait in the first map is left-overs from a similar blocked-typhoon situation a while back, and even as this low fades in the Bering Sea, we should expect a copy to evolve from this current typhoon in ten days.

In any case quite a ruckus is going on on the Pacific side,  and I think it may be pushing Polar weather over to the Atlantic side. I think I’ll name the low in the Beaufort Sea “Ruckus”.


On Monday Faboo dawdled around the same spot until noon, and then began inching south, while constantly drifting west, ending the day at 86.190°N, 12.717°W, which is 2.68 miles the wrong way (west) if we want to get to Fram Strait. However the real news was the temperatures, which crashed from a high of -1.0°C at midnight to a low of -4.9°C at 0600Z, and only could recover to -3.3°C at 1500Z before ending the period at -4.1° Cat 2100Z.

Yesterday Faboo continued southwest to 86.168°N, 13.157°W., which is 2.53 miles from where we started. Unless we work back east there remains the slight chance we will be the first North Pole Camera ever to get sucked into the Beaufort Gyre. Temperatures remained cold, dropping to -5.0°C at 0500Z, which is the coldest we’ve seen since Spring. After that there was steady warming, but only to -2.9°C at the final report. Judging from unofficial reports, we could soon go a week without thaw.  (Remember that it takes time for the cold to chill downwards through four feet of ice. As cold as it is, the underside of the ice is not yet reached by the cold, and is still melting away.) Up on the top, all Faboo can see is cold landscape with no signs of thaw.

NP3 1 0826 2015cam1_7 NP3 1 0826B 2015cam1_1


It may look like the buoy is hesitating, but I think it is too far gone to stop now.Obuoy 9 0826 latitude-1weekWith temperatures crashing to -5°C, I once might have thought the buoy could be frozen to a standstill, but such things do not happen in Fram Strait. It could be -20°C and still the ice surges south. Obuoy 9 0826 temperature-1week The pictures remind us we are not talking about a stable icecap. We are talking about a stormy sea.Obuoy 9 0824 webcam Obuoy 9 0824B webcam Obuoy 9 0825B webcam Obuoy 9 0826 webcam


Ruckus could be our “summer gale” this year. O-buoy 10 is showing signs of the ice breaking up. The first image shows a lead opening up below the horizon to the left, as the camera stops moving south and lurches north in south winds.Obuoy 10 0823B webcamThe next image sows signs of thawing in the south winds.Obuoy 10 0825B webcamThe next image shows the sun actually sets, south of 80° latitude, but Ruckus has brought south winds of 20 mph and thawing.Obuoy 10 0826 webcamThe final image shows our camera has swung around counter-clockwise slightly in its private melt-water pool, as thaw continues.  Ice break-up seems near at hand to me.Obuoy 10 0826B webcam

O-buoy 11 also has experienced 20 mph winds and thawing, but rather than ice being dispersed and melted the buoy has traveled north back into the pack ice. Wind have recently dropped, along with temperatures, towards calm and freezing.Obuoy 11 0824 webcamObuoy 11 0825B webcamObuoy 11 0826 webcamObuoy 11 0828B webcam

O-buoy 12 may have run into trouble, as winds increased to gusts likely of gale force and temperatures that dropped below freezing. It too was pushed north to pack ice, but then lurched south. The camera is currently blank, and the weather information delayed, but the GPS still is working.Obuoy 12 0824 webcamObuoy 12 0825CObuoy 12 0826 webcam

Obuoy 12 0826B webcam

Maybe it just got really, really foggy. Not that I’d mind all that much of O-buoy 12 was sunk. It has been making me look bad all summer. Not that it is all that hard, considering even my goats see things I miss.

With the typhoons jamming up south of Bering Strait, I really should have seen this storm “Ruckus” coming. The only good I can see in the situation involves the fact I’ve thought of a word that rhymes with typhoon.whatamaroon

O-Buoy 12 Flattened.

The screen continues to show white, but perhaps the pitch and roll graphs tell the story:Obuoy 12 0827 pitch-1week Obuoy 12 0827 roll-1week

Unless the heavy seas somehow broke the keel off, these buoys are designed to bob back upright when flattened in open water. Therefore I surmise open water is not involved. This seems an incident of titanic proportions. (Ha Ha) Some collision with sea ice seems likely, which seems an odd fate for a buoy some maps show as being in open water.


One accidental benefit of falling behind is that I get to see these maps as more of a sequence, and can spot progressions more easily.

DMI2 0825 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0825 temp_latest.big

DMI2 0825B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0825B temp_latest.big

DMI2 0826B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0826B temp_latest.big

DMI2 0827 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0827 temp_latest.big

The big news in these maps is the arrival of Ruckus from the Pacific, however Dawdle south of Iceland may also be interesting to watch, as it may develop a secondary on an occluded front north of Norway on Sunday, and that secondary may in turn develop a secondary on its occlusion that makes a charge for the Pole next week. The high pressure “Hichuk” over the Pole is getting it from all sides, and likely will fade. In fact we are seeing a pattern switch.  I suppose it was to be expected, for when you build a nice cold pool over the Pole it is bound to fuel some action.


It broke up in a hurry, once it got started, likely due to the winds of Ruckus pulling the ice in different directions. Obuoy 10 0827B webcam


The fact the picture is different at all is a good sign, though I’m nervous those thin lines might be a broken lens. The “roll” is still at 90 degrees, which suggests the buoy is horizontal and taking a break. (Someone tell the boss.) I imagine it is looking up, due to the brightness of the picture. There is still no readout from the weather instruments. Obuoy 12 0827B webcam


Yesterday Faboo continued south and west 4.77 miles to 86.124°N, 13.952. Temperatures continued cold with the “daytime” high -3.7°C at noon, and the low -5.6°C at 1800Z.  Unofficial reports suggest we have continued the southwest motion and cold temperatures today as well, with a dusting of snow. As the Pacific side gets bashed apart by “Ruckus”, the Atlantic side looks as solid as rock.NP3 1 0827 2015cam1_3 NP3 1 0827B 2015cam1_1


Light southwest winds are drifting us back north and east, as temperatures climb back up towards freezing. This buoy, at least, is seeing some nice weather. Hopefully the sun will melt the slush from the right corner of its eye.Obuoy 9 0827 webcam


O-buoy 11 is experiencing lighter winds, and has stopped drifting north and drifted south slightly, as the calmer center of “Ruckus” passes. Temperatures are just above freezing.Obuoy 11 0827 webcam

I apologize in advance for the fact postings may be sparse over the next few days due to the fact I am busy and also need to post from a foreign computer, as this old, faithful pile of junk needs work.


I am taking some time off, but before I go fishing in a lazy, sandy-bottomed stream I figured I’d see what is possible with an alien laptop.

Well, that took too long.  It shows Ruckus is still wreaking ice in the Beaufort Sea, and Dawdle has kicked  Dawdleson up towards Norway to lead an attack on the Pole from the Atlantic side. Hichuk sits on the Pole like an officer who thinks he is directing traffic but who is about to be run over.

The temperature map shows Ruckus lifting mild air up over the Pacific side, and mild Atlantic surge fighting north over Scandinavia. Less obvious are the outbreaks of Polar air, which I can’t emphasize without access to Weatherbelle and Dr. Ryan Maue Maps.(This alien computer requires a password I can’t remember off the top of my head.) I do remember East Siberia was colder than usual for this early. When warmth invades the Pole there is always cold blurbing south somewhere else, if you look for it.

Before I go fishing I am going to try to download an essay on rotten ice that insomnia allowed me to write


I did say it looked like the ice O-buoy 10 rode on appeared likely to soon break up, and it did promptly break up, so I figure I deserve a pat on the back for that. I don’t get things right all that often. The thing that puzzles me is why it was such an easy call. It is not enough to simply say that I have spent years walking on ice in New England, and that, in the spring, a day comes when you eyeball the ice and simply don’t trust it any more. That isn’t science. That is experience.

A couple of times I have been curious enough to walk on the Ice when I no longer trusted it, making sure to do so in shallow water I could wade in. It seemed the ice lost its structural integrity. It goes from being a solid block to being many small crystals with the consistency of corn snow. As boys we noticed this spoil the ice hockey during a January thaw, though in that case it was only on the surface, (and it didn’t keep us from playing and winding up sopping wet).  It is when the ice reaches a certain temperature from top to bottom that you simply cannot trust it. It then becomes what some call “rotten ice”.

There are scientific instruments that take the temperature of the sea-ice from top to bottom, and it is interesting to see the changes the ice goes through.

In the dead of winter it is usually coldest at the top, and warmest at the bottom. At the top, when blown free of snow, the ice can be nearly as cold as the winter winds, which can get down to minus forty at the center of the Pole, an colder where winds roar off the tundra. At the bottom the ice is at the freezing point of salt water. The heat is constantly moving upwards through the ice, but when the supply is less than the demand the ice get colder, even at the very bottom, which is why it is able to freeze the water it is floating on. The only exception to this rule is when winter storms suck milder air north over the ice, and then the ice briefly experiences springtime conditions.

In the spring the ice increasingly may be colder than the air blowing over it. At first the ice may be at -30 and the air at -20, in which case, down at the bottom, the supply of heat in the seawater is still too small to meet the demand from above, and the ice keeps expanding downwards, even though the ice is starting to be “warmed” from above.

As time passes the air above the ice warms until, while still below the freezing point of salt water, a profile of the ice shows a sort of sandwich, with the coldest ice in the middle. The exact point at which the ice at the bottom stops growing and starts shrinking involves nuance of thermodynamics I don’t claim to understand, but the tipping point seems to have more to do with the temperature of the middle of the ice than what is happening up at the top. It also matter whether the water is coming from a warm source or not. I have seen ice grow at the bottom despite thaws at the surface, and ice shrink at the bottom despite flash freezes at the surface.

It always seems to take a long time for thaw season to begin, as heat must move down to warm the ice beneath. Also the heat moving up from the bottom reaches a point where its supply exceeds the demand, which does not necessarily show as the bottom melting, but will show as the ice in the middle being warmed from beneath. The sandwich-effect fades in the ice profile, as the middle-ice is warmed from both above and below, until the ice arrives at the “rotten ice” stage, where it is at the freezing point from top to bottom.

Whether that “rotten ice” then breaks up or not depends most on whether it experiences calm conditions, or strong winds, and also whether the wind converge, pressing the ice together, or diverge, spreading the ice apart. To a lesser degree it depends on whether the refreeze can create enough of a crust on top of the ice to increase the structural integrity. This is not so easy to do, and I have observed ice break up even after the refreeze was well underway. Lastly, the break-up is more likely if the water under the ice is warmer than usual due to the “warm” phase of a PDO or AMO.

The break-up of O-buoy 10 seemed likely because it was moving south into relatively open water (diverging) and that water was warmed by the “warm” PDO. That break-up was delayed but not denied by flash freezes and calm conditions. When thaw resumed and winds increased, the ice disintegrated swiftly. It had met the criterion for structural weakness.

Faboo has not yet met that criterion, and remains the only buoy left on sound ice. Until (and unless) Faboo moves down into Fram Strait that ice is likely to remain firm, though the Atlantic is now hurling some late-season  challenges north.

FABOO REPORT   Westward Ho!

The above graph demonstrates how the bottom melt continues despite a solid week of very cold conditions at the surface. It will take a while for the cold to penetrate to the water, however the surface is likely  firmer, and any open leads between floes will be freezing over. 

Faboo has continued to creep south and slide west. Thursday’s report had us move 6.31 miles southwest and reach 86.062°N,14.940°W,  and  Friday’s had us move 5.10 further southwest and wind up at  86.026°N, 15.890°W. 


On Saturday Faboo progressed  4.35 miles southwest to 85.996°N, 16.687°W, which is the furthest south it has reached all summer. This is still further north and west of most North Pole Cameras. If a polar storm doesn’t soon blow it southeast it may be sucked into the Beaufort Gyre. Conditions remain cold.DMI MAPS SHOWING MINUS FIVE ISOTHERM


I apologize for brevity. This laptop is too slow.


I basically threw my hands in the air and went fishing. After all, sea-ice is an escape, but so is fishing. I waded and wandered and paddled the Ashuelot River, which meanders from Mount Sunapee to the southwest corner of New Hampshire. I caught four tiny fish which I released, but I really wasn’t fishing for fish. I was fishing for escape, and I found it. I feel sane, which is uncommon.

You’ll be glad to know that even wandering the river banks I didn’t slack off my study of clouds, and the ways things swirl. One fascinating place to fish is in an eddy, where the flow of water goes the “wrong way”,  much as our buoy Faboo has done. Rather than a north Pole Camera I was watching a little red bobber, and even though I was getting no bites I found a fascination in how the bobber moved: The eddy wasn’t a simple circle, but rather circles within circles. The bobber never took the same route twice, much like North Pole Cameras. I was so engrossed in the movement of the waters that I was shocked when I got a nibble (and I did catch a record-setting small-mouthed bass. It set a record for smallness, less than an inch long).

Also the landscape was made by glaciers, so my wandering was full of thoughts about post-ice-age geology. The Ashuelot likely was originally a torrent under the ice, gouging deeply with boulders as big as cars, but then when the mile thick ice melted its canyon became completely choked with sand and it was a flat, braided stream. Then, when the ice was gone and the supply of sand diminished, it began to dig down into that flat and wide stream bed, creating its current meandering channel. For the most part its meanderings now only carve away at its current, lower banks, but here and there the outer curves of the oxbows gnawed at the higher bluffs and exposed sandy cliffs, and I could see the layers laid down by the braided stream stage. It is a distinctive look, neither the flat layers of a lake bottom nor the feathers of windblown sand, but something between the two. It was the pages of a book, read from the bottom up, and towards the top there seemed to be evidence of trees coming north. Some layers had a more rusty look, as if beavers came north with the trees and blocked the channel and the standing water allowed bog iron deposits to build. There also was a thin black layer, and I had to clamber up to squint at it. I could be wrong, but I think there could have been a huge forest fire, and the the river held a lot of charcoal. Then the rivers began to eat down through the braided riverbed, and at the sides the old bottom of the braided stream became a flood plain,  and topsoil began to build up over subsoil. End of story.

I hope you can understand that, after such splendid escapism, to wrestle with a recalcitrant laptop in the dim light by a campground restroom wasn’t an escape. When the laptop got slower and slower, until it took a minute to show the word “the” after I typed it, I decided to escape that escapism. Forgive me. I know it was irresponsible, but isn’t that what escapism is all about?Ashuelot CoveredBridge_Web2008W_80

Photo credit:


Faboo continued southwest 5.72 miles on Sunday, arriving at 85.933°N, 17.455°W. Temperatures remained cold, with a high of -2.6°C at midnight and the coldest we had seen to date, (since June), of -7.3°C at 1500Z. On Monday the westward motion stopped at 0900Z at 17.663°W and motion wobbled back east, as Faboo continued south, slowing to 4.03 miles south-southwest and arriving at 85.876°N, 17.639°W. Temperatures recovered to the period’s high of -3.6°C at midnight, and stayed in that general vicinity until the very end of the period, when the official record shows an abrupt drop to -10.7°C.

I can’t help but wonder if that is a glitch. That is impressive cold for the last day of August. Someone with more time than I have might look through old records, to see if this is the earliest any North Pole Camera has seen -10.0°C surpassed.  It raises my eyebrows, and fuels a suspicion I have that we are not properly accounting for some way the arctic atmosphere loses heat.

The unofficial Mass Balance reports show we recovered to  -4.81° C, which we would have called very cold a week ago. However, as the skies clear there can be little short-term hope of warming, with the sun sinking so low at midnight.NP3 1 0901 2015cam1_2 NP3 1 0901B 2015cam1_1Notice that Lake Faboo has vanished under fresh snow. September 1 is early for the melt-water pools to vanish. I suppose one could say Faboo is much further north than other North Pole Cameras have been, but there is no avoiding the fact the starting points were the same, and this ice is more solid.


I thank “Bit Chilly” for alerting me to the fact that, even as we have lost the eyes of O-buoy 12, we have gained the vision of USCGC Healy as it crunches its way north through ice 4 to 5 feet thick towards the Pole. Here’s a good picture from yesterday of re-frozen melt-water pools.Healy 20150831-0901_595

As of 3:00 Shop Time today they had reached Lon: -179.803568 ° Lat: 87.511580 ° and the air temperature was -5.67 ° C.  You can track them yourself at

Their webcam gives hourly pictures and can be accessed at

The most recent picture is from !:00 AM tomorrow, which suggests ship time may be Greenwich Mean Time. Here’s the view up near the Pole:Healy 20150902-0101_595

There has been a lot of discussion about whether these icebreakers hasten the ice melt by breaking up the ice. My own view is that they only do so at the edge of the ice, where the ice is very slushy and can disperse. In springtime harbors and channels icebreakers could speed the time it takes for those waters to be safe for other boats. However where the ice is refreezing and not entirely slushy they has the effect of a flea. Boats following them  need to stay close or they will be frozen in by the ice “healing” the artificial lead they create, and when the ice pinches in from either side the icebreaker itself can be stopped. The track of Healy shows a quirk at  Lon: 174.867200 ° Lat: 83.674818 ° on August 27 where I imagine they avoided some thicker ice.

Of course the enormous Russian Icebreakers such as “Fifty Years Of Victory” can crunch through much thicker ice, and this time of year make money bringing tourists to the Pole. If you want to go sign up at Quark Expeditions, at for a jaunt on this ship:Russian Icewbreakers sam-crimmin-np-2015-v3-10

As huge as the Russian ships are, they are still fleas in the scheme of things. Remember that. even during the coldest part of winter, leads many miles wide can appear in the arctic sea-ice, be covered by a skim of ice a couple of feet thick, and then be slammed shut with all that skim of ice becoming a pressure ridge that sticks upwards over 20 feet, and downwards over 180 feet. No icebreaker comes anywhere close to such power.

O-buoy Updates

I missed these pictures most, as I escaped escapism. For some reason (which I didn’t bother to figure out) the laptop I used couldn’t seem to download anything beyond the GPS of these buoys.

O-buoy 9 is drifting back north in Fram Strait, which is not correct behavior. I’m sorry, but it simply isn’t done, nor should the south winds nudging it north be below freezing. In Fram Strait all heads south. In fact, because the ice has less of a sail, it likely headed south with the current, as this idiotic buoy used its mast, and headed north into open water, aiming for the ice hesitating at the mouth of Fram Strait. All the water you see is being chilled towards the freezing point of salt water, but even if it froze, it would slide south.

Obuoy 9 0901 webcamObuoy 9 0901B webcamObuoy 9 0901 temperature-1week

If this buoy thinks it is headed north it is a Nutkin taunting an owl.

Nutkin 1 48Nutkin 2 beatrix-potter-the-tale-of-squirrel-nutkin-1903-mr-owl-grabs-nutkin

O-buoy 10 and 11, which ordinarily would be experiencing colder temperatures, are at the end of a salty-thaw, which is where temperatures are above the freezing point of salt water, even if not always above freezing. The winds of Ruckus have faded away, and the broken ice drifts in a sea soon to be slushy. O-buoy 10:

Obuoy 10 0901 webcam Obuoy 10 0901B webcam

O-buoy 11:Obuoy 11 0901B webcamO-buoy 12 likely bit the dust. What tends to happen is that smashing bergs sheer off a sensor up on the mast, and the opening allows saltwater in, to corrode and short-circuit the wiring. We can hope O-buoy 12  reestablishes contact, but the hope is slim.

It is interesting to note that O-buoy 6, which abruptly lost contact on October 25, 2012 in Fram Strait, was recovered this June off the Faeroe Islands, between Iceland and Scotland. They hauled it ashore to examine, saw it had sensors sheered off, took it apart, and now know all about corroded stuff. (WARNING: Following image contains graphic degradation of buoy) Obuoy 6 recovered OB-6-from-Faroes-profile This is the tragic fate that awaits all Nutkins who taunt the owl of Fram Strait, or even Bering Strait.  Not only would O-buoy 9 do well to take a hard look at the above gruesome image, but Faboo should stop acting like such a smarty pants as well. O-buoy 6 was also once a survivor of slush season, and frozen so solidly in ice north of Fram Stait you’d think nothing could touch him, but if you watch the movie you’ll see how the owl’s talons snatched him south and his throat got gripped on October 25:

I should add that these camera-buoys are not cheap, and they try to rescue them with icebreakers if they can. Many have been saved and are being recycled.   Buoys 13, 14 and 15 are ready to deploy, and already are capable of transmitting pictures:Obuoy 13 webcam Obuoy 14 webcam Obuoy 15 webcam

Sadly, deploying the final three buoys will scrape the bottom of the barrel, in terms of funding these views of the arctic for our lying eyes. There will be no O-buoy 16. The politicians in control of purse strings would rather pay six-figure salaries to pseudoscience-fools who spew pure propaganda,  than cut ten of such social leeches from the budget so we can have an O-buoy 16. Rather than pictures of the ice you’ll get to look at their yammering faces. Why? If we must cut our budget, which should suffer arrested development?

Photo Credit: Ben Powless

Photo Credit: Ben Powless


To have a clue about what is going on you must pay attention to maps even when fishing. I didn’t, so I won’t pretend I have a clue what is going on.

DMI2 0901 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0901 temp_latest.bigDMI2 0901B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0901B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0902 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0902 temp_latest.bigDMI2 0902B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0902B temp_latest.big

Ruckus looks like he slid southeast towards Hudson Bay, yet flung a sort of feeder-band of milder and likely moister air north towards the Pole even as he plunged south. The coast guard icebreaker Healy is reporting only a degree below zero as it approaches the Pole, in that band of mildness. Yet my experience is that such feeder bands breed weak low pressure which does not warm the Pole, but rather has the opposite effect.

Dawdleson swirls in Barents Sea, as his father Dawdle seems to have become lodged in the North Sea, and will dawdle there for days. The high pressure over Iceland is unusual, and too far north to be called an Azores High.

Hichuk has deflated to a weak area of high pressure over northern Greenland, and no longer directs traffic. This is giving a resurrected Chuck new life over the Laptev Sea.

All in all things are fairly chaotic, and we need a new high pressure system to step in and direct traffic.The models seem to recognize how indecisive things are and are flip-flopping their forecasts. I’m forecasting nothing, but am watching to see if all the weakrming storms “create cold”, and also to see if the typhoons send a copycat of Ruckus north from the Pacific.


Faboo is making a belated start for Fram strait, and progressed 6.22 miles southeast to 85.808°N, 16.820°W. Temperatures fell to a surprisingly low -11.2°C at midnight, and then rebounded to  the period’s high of -5.1°C six hours later, and slid back to end the period at -6.4°C. The tongue of mildness hadn’t made it to Faboo yet.NP3 1 0902 2015cam1_2



If you click on the above map, and then click it again to enlarge it further, you can see the final bit of ice in Hudson Bay, in September, which is rare. In fact that hue represents one-tenth to three-tenths coverage with ice, and there are plenty of bergs floating in the waters shown as clear. This is demonstrated by polar bears wearing radio collars staying out in waters shown as being ice free. They would swim for shore if there was no ice, as they are not creatures of the open sea. However as long as there are a few bergs to clamber up on, they prefer the sea to the shore. This makes sense. Guys who worked on pipelines up there say the mosquitoes are so bad you don’t need to use toilet paper.  At this time of year the bears fast, for the most part, and you could see why they’d prefer that mosquitoes fast as well. There are no mosquitoes out on the waters, so the bears will stay out there even it is only 1% ice-covered.


O-buoy 9 drifted north into a field of bergs freshly coated with snow, experiencing continued temperatures down around -5°C and light winds and an occasional clout to the side of the head by a larger berg.

Obuoy 9 0902B webcam

The Beaufort buoys are still in relatively mild air, and still see ice and not the open waters some maps show.Obuoy 10 0902 webcamObuoy 11 0902 webcam

The slot has grown large, but is still dotted with ice and bounded by thicker ice, so that it will be swift to freeze when temperatures drop.DMI2 0902B arcticicennowcast


DMI2 0903 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0903 temp_latest.big


Polar Bear healy-aug-24-2015-polar-bear-v-tim-kenna

The armchair speculation of Alarmists was that there was no food away from the continental shelf to feed cod, which feed seals, which feed bears. Apparently this is untrue. Enough green slime grows on the bottom of the ice to feed cod which feed seals which feed bears, so that when the Coast guard sends icebreakers such as the Healy towards the Pole the bear they find far from the shore are, if anything, obese.

Lying eyes beat armchair speculation.


O-buoy 9 is drifting slightly west, but continuing to resist getting sucked south into Fram Strait, midst winds that continue light and temperatures that continue below the freezing point of salt water. It survived a collision with a larger berg, and is currently bumping midst flatter and thinner bergs covered by fresh snow.Obuoy 9 0903 webcamObuoy 9 0903B webcamObuoy 9 0903C webcam

O-buoy 10 continues through light winds and temperatures just either side of the freezing point of salt water. The first picture shows how the darker waters absorb sunlight in September. /sarcObuoy 10 0903 webcamThe second picture is interesting because it shows the sort of slushy water that often is called “Open”. While it is true you wouldn’t attempt to walk on such slush, it is not “Open”, the primary reason being it is far easier to freeze than truly open water is. Open water demonstrates how salt water differs from fresh water, in that colder water always sinks, so that it is hard to get the surface cold enough to freeze. It involves frozen spray or snowflakes of windblown powder, to supply “nuclei” for ice crystals to grow. Slush has those nuclei ready-made.Obuoy 10 0903C webcam

I fear O-buoy 11 took a blow to the chin. It first saw black, and now is seeing white light. I don’t know if you have ever taken a shot to the chin, but the brain tends to produce some odd stuff. O-buoy 11 recently reported a temperature of +300.0°C. Maybe it is just that Global Warming they are talking about, but it aparently made things very steamy, for O-buoy 11 is also reporting humidity of 200%. Now, that is HUMID!  Obuoy 11 0903 webcamObuoy 11 0903B webcam


Yesterday Faboo continued south and east another 6.34 miles towards Fram Strait, finishing the period at 85.732°N, 16.119°W. It apparently is feeling a bit of the mildness thrown north by Ruckus, as temperatures rose from low at midnight of -4.3°C to -2.2°C at 0900Z, which is the warmest we’ve seen in over a week.  Then there was one of those odd down-spikes during the part of the day when the low sun should be at its highest and nudging temperatures up, and we had to erase the old low for the day and write a new one of -5.8°C, at 1500Z. Then temperatures recovered to -2.5°C, at the end of the period at 2100Z.

These down-spikes make no sense, according to the principles I have gleaned from study, and continue to sting me, constantly rubbing my fur the wrong way by suggesting I am missing something rather fundamental.

Faboo showed more gloom, which we have seen a lot of this summer. The entire albedo-theory is a bit absurd when the sun hardly ever shines. Today’s last picture showed more snow and a frosted lens. Temperatures may have nudged above the freezing point of salt water briefly.

NP3 1 0903 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0903B 2015cam1_1


As I began this post talking about typhoons, I should mention that there are three in the central Pacific as I conclude this post, even as the two we looked at to start this post fill in further west than is usual during an El Nino. (The GFS model can’t handle the very low pressure at the tightly wound centers of typhoons and hurricanes, so ignore the too-high central pressures in the Dr. Ryan Maue Weatherbell-map below.)Typhoons Seot 3 gfs_mslp_uv10m_npac_1The thing that bothers me about typhoons is the same thing that bothers me about summer thunderstorms. It seems obvious to common sense that they uplift warmth and lose it to outer space, but common sense is, I have been told, wrong. By the time air is uplifted to the top of a powerful typhoon it has been chilled to -70°C, and air that cold has no heat left in it to lose. They can measure it with satellites, and the satellites show cloud tops at -70° are not radiating heat like a cloudless desert baked to +110°.  It makes sense to me. Obviously a cold stove does not radiate heat like a stove that is cherry red.

However my common sense simply doesn’t give a -bleep-. It knows a thunderstorm cools a summer day, and that is that. I don’t care if satellites can’t see any heat escaping. It is gone. (We have been going through a late summer heat wave here in New Hampshire, and a passing storm brought us wonderfully refreshing breezes today, even though the storm didn’t hit us.)

In like manner, my common sense knows typhoons cool the planet. Maybe I can’t explain why, but some things you just know. A small child might not understand electricity, but after sticking a fork into an outlet one time, the child has enough common sense to not repeat the experiment.

This morning I pointed out polar bears don’t care if scientists state there is no food out beyond the continental shelf, they go out there and get fat. In a way bears are smarter than scientists. And in a way I was nearly as smart as a bear, at age ten.

A half century ago my gang was faced with crossing thin ice, and many doubted the ice would support our weight. I was a ten-year-old leader, oldest and wisest. Somewhere I had learned ice can support more weight if you spread your weight out, so I lay down and slithered across the ice spreadeagled on my belly.  Flush with success, I turned, raised an index finger, and grandly pronounced, “This ice is safe!” I also was so filled with confidence that I stood up, and promptly plunged down waist-deep into ice-water, to the joy of the rest of the gang, who didn’t always approve of the egotism involved in my leadership.

Polar Bears may be worse egotists, for all I know, but they do not raise index fingers and make ridiculous pronouncements, most likely because they don’t have index fingers and can’t talk to the verbose degree we can. Scientists, on the other hand, do have index fingers, and make a lot of scientific pronouncements, and can be verbose.

After making careful measurements of the load-bearing ability of ice, and the weight of a polar bear’s massive paws, and consulting engineers who know far more about such stuff than they do, they pronounce ice cannot hold up a bear. (They are much like my gang once was.) The bear doesn’t care. Even though they often swim ice water that would freeze a man in 300 seconds, and have been known to cross hundreds of miles of open water, they apparently don’t always like to get wet, if they don’t have to. So, when they get to thin ice they do exactly what I did at age ten:

A polar bear slides across thin Actic Ocean ice Aug. 21, 2009.

A polar bear slides across thin Actic Ocean ice Aug. 21, 2009.

(Photo Credit: Patrick Kelly)

In short, some scientists need to get out more. They have no actual experience of the outdoors. They spend far to much time glued to computer screens, and despite the exactitude of their measurements, Polar Bears are smarter than they are.

ARCTIC SEA ICE —Tundra Wonder, Methane Blunder—

Smoking HillsSometimes, as my mind’s eye wanders over the Arctic Ocean, I am drawn ashore to contemplate wonders of the Tundra. I try to avoid politics, as the wonders are more wonderful when simply appreciated in the light of Truth, but Climate Alarmism is a sort of whirlpool that sucks you in, even when it is basically a comical shtick.

For example, along the coast of the Northwest Territories are the “Smoking Hills” of Franklin Bay, which appear over and over in the Facebook images sent by sailors attempting the Northwest Passage.  The sailors always seem jarred by the image (and scent). Often they have been cluttering their log with editorial comments about how beautiful the arctic is, and what cads humans are to destroy the pristine beauty of nature with Global Warming caused by burning coal. Then they come across a stretch of coast which is in essence Mother Nature’s Strip Mine, miles and miles of exposed lignite, black stripes in the sedimentary stripes of seaside cliffs. In places the lignite has spontaneously ignited and has been burning for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, without the slightest effort on the part of Mother Nature to install smokestacks or put scrubbers in those stacks.smokinghills 2In the above picture the red areas are stone after the coal has been burned out, and the black is unburned lignite. Besides the current fires there is evidence of fires that burned long ago and went out. This is not a geologically recent occurrence, so don’t try to blame Eskimos who were careless with campfires.

In any case, even if you went to the arctic to get away from ever having to even think about the issue of coal fired power plants, the issue gets shoved in your face, and you find yourself forced to rethink some of the ideas doled out like pablum in the Alarmist shtick. In this case the simplistic idea is that man burns fossil fuels and nature doesn’t.

In another case one might think man leaks oil and nature doesn’t, and then see natural slicks in the Gulf of Mexico or tars oozing up from earthquake faults off the California coast.

Even as I type my daughter has bought a new “pink” salt, which is supposedly more healthy as it is from up in the Himalayas, and that makes me think about how that salt got way up there, and what happened to all the fossil fuels when the subcontinent of India was sent smashing into Asia by continental drift.

The problem with some people is they don’t think very deeply about the lollipop shticks they get handed and asked to suck upon. It doesn’t take much thought to realize Nature is the original recyler,  plowing the ocean floor down in geological subduction zones, and creating huge mountain ranges with fossil seashells at the tops.

Over at “Watts Up With That” there was a guest essay by Larry Kummer about the Alarmist shtick involving Methane. Initially I wasn’t interested because the alarmism involved is so soundly refuted that not even the IPCC thinks it is worth freaking out about, (and the IPCC freaks out about stuff grandmothers laugh at).  (I couldn’t ever take the Methane Fear seriously, because I have seen plenty of evidence it was much warmer in the arctic in the past, and if there weren’t uncontrollable methane releases back then I don’t see why they should occur now. )

Ordinarily I would have skipped the post, as the issue usually bores me, however the Alarmist cartoon at the start intrigued me, for it suggested that some Alarmists are so sold on the idea of a “Methane Monster” that they even see the pro-Global-Warming IPCC as “deniers.”  .


I fully intended to only skim the article, but discovered a portal to another tundra wonder, found in this paper:

In a nutshell the paper states there are two sorts of arctic soil, one which is frozen ooze that is rich in carbon and might be expected to burp up some methane if warmed, but a second more-common soil which holds little carbon, as it is the sort of till one associates with glaciers and glacier-scraped landscape. (Glaciers largely transport topsoil far away to terminal moraines and out-wash streams. After a glacier departs the landscape is usually denuded of topsoil. This means it holds no organic carbon and can brew no methane. It also is devoid of compost, and can’t grow much. However a bacteria inhabits the surface of such soil that can snatch methane from the air, and enrich its own habitat.

That was what grabbed my mind’s eye. Perhaps it was because as a farmer I’m interested in enriching soils, but my mind highlighted the paper’s suggestion that, where the soil lacks carbon, nature has found a way to enrich the soil, using bacteria that gobbles methane. The paper went on to to state that the warmer it gets, the livelier that bacteria gets, and the more methane it gobbles. (IE: warmer temperatures mean less methane in the air; the exact opposite of what Methane-hysteria predicts.)

This shows how little the more hysterical Alarmists understand the Earth they claim to be the protectors of.

The old time farmers knew of two basic ways to enrich soil. The first involved sweat and toil, and lugging manure from the stables and spreading it in the fields. The second was a heck of a lot easier, because all you needed to do was give the field a rest. It was called a “fallow” field.

A fallow field shows nature’s ability to enrich a landscape without any help from humans. You’d think Alarmists would get this concept, considering they portray man as the raping, robbing bad guy, and nature as the giving good guy. However they don’t see nature will not allow a natural thing like methane to go to waste. Nor will nature allow a natural thing like crude oil seeping up from earthquake faults in California to go to waste. Nature gobbles the substances up, and they becomes part of the food chain, which involves all sorts of stuff eating, being eaten, and, in the end, turning to manure which enriches the soil.

Nature can take a most sterile landscape and make it verdant. The second a glacier recedes nature gets busy on the barren landscape, starting with lichen and progressing through tundra to taiga to the rich farmlands of Ohio.

In essence nature is guilty of altering its environment even more than man. Nature does not care a hoot about the current ecosystem. It improves upon it. However Progressives fail to understand this natural progression.

The arctic landscape is amazing, for it shows nature tested to its limits, and how nature will not stand for the status-quo of a sterile ecosystem, but enriches it. Besides the micro-critter in arctic soil that craves methane, there are some amazing micro-critters that live out on the even more hostile environment of the sea-ice. Not only is there a sort of slime that discolors the bottom of sea-ice, but there is a micro-critter that loves extremely salty brine.

When the ice flash-freezes in the fall, salt is exuded from the ice and sinks down through the ice as little teardrops of very salty water, boring wormholes downwards. Within these extremely salty down-elevators are micro-critters who are not satisfied with the brine, and adjust it to their liking. Unlike Alarmists, they do not want to make a Natural Park of the status-quo, and fundamentally alter the brine, so it is chemically different when it exits the ice at the bottom of the sea-ice.

Not all these micro-critters make it down into the sinking brine. Some are sucked up by the brine on top of the ice, which is sponged up by a phenomenon called “ice-flowers”, and then pulverized by winds and blasted to powder.  This powder is whipped about by winds so cold nothing melts or sticks, and the powder winds up as a sort of haze in dark, arctic midwinter skies, and some is swept to the top of the stratosphere. There, because the bromine in micro-critters turn into bromine-monoxide, it contributes to ozone depletion, and  to ozone holes.

Now, if an Alarmist hears of a ozone hole in the arctic, do you think they will blame micro-critters, or man?  It makes me wonder. Alarmists want to be the protectors of nature, but  if you actually don’t have a clue how nature works, how can you protect it?

I don’t want to continue down this path. It is too political. Instead I’ll turn my face to the sunrise, and contemplate some ice flowers on flash-frozen ice.Ice flowers IMG_1496.

ARCTIC SEA ICE —One Whale Of A Slot—(August 20-24, 2015 — Concluded)

People have been probing the arctic for slots in the Sea-Ice for a long, long time.Whaler 1 ross1-1Back when more than half of all Americans were farmers, farming was only a way to get by. Whaling was a way to get rich, and tempted many to take risks.Whaler 2 currier-ives-capturing-the-whaleSome of the gambles taken and lost cannot be verified by historical records, but live as lore.Whaler 3 AmericanWhalersCrushedInTheIce

However the owners of the whaling boats demanded that captains of the the ships they moved north like pieces on a chess board keep very accurate logs, so they could later pour over the logs and decide where to move the ships the following years. These logs represent a fabulous treasure trove of information about what sea-ice did in the past.

The blogger “TonyB” merely scratched the surface of this wealth, and humbly confessed that the information he gathered was merely the tip of an iceberg (pun), but produced a superb paper that is a treasure trove in its own right, and was published first on “The Air Vent” and later on “Watts Up With That”.  As far as I’m concerned, it is required reading for all who wish to pretend they know diddlysquat about sea-ice.

Sadly, there exists a group of slapstick scientists who have never figured out how to utilize history, when they create a computer model. History may tell us that history is repeating itself, as slots appear in the sea-ice, for sailors of the past found and sailed through such slots, however to certain slapstick scientists such slots are “unprecedented”.

The slots I am referring to (huge in the Beaufort Sea, and a mere notch in the ice northeast of Greenland), are best shown in this map:Slot N_bm_extent_hires

The above NSIDC map is notorious for using a huge grid and clumsy automated apparatus to  create ice-free areas on maps, where other observers report ice. But the value of such simplicity is that it makes notches more obvious. For example the Canadian Ice Service makes the huge Beaufort Sea notch far less obvious, due to its fine grid and meticulous attention to detail. (In the upper left of the map below.)Slot Aug 17 CMMBCTCA

Cryosphere Today avoids this Canadian problem because, even though their map has a key to the upper left which shows 20% ice concentration will be shown by a blue color, their printer ran out of blue ink a decade ago, and their system is so obsolete no one can figure out a place to reorder blue ink. [sarc/off] The result is that their map shows the slot very clearly.Whaler 4 cryo_latest_small

However frequent visitors to this site kniw we are not satisfied with the virtual reality of computer maps based on models based on satellite data which itself has been through a model or two on its way down to earth. Instead we demand that we sail out into the open waters of those notches. We are in fact, (in a sort of fat and lazy modern way), whalers.

Through the eyes of O-buoy cameras we know exactly what is going on in the notches, and how much ice is in those open waters. Satellites? Pah! Who needs stinking satellites, when you can bob those seas in a rowboat with a thermometer, seeing the situation from roughly a meter above the level of the sea?

One thing we have seen is that these notches open not because ice melts.  Rather it is because ice to the north moves north, as we move south or stand still. Obviously this will create open water.

On the Atlantic side we’ve seen the North Pole Camera, (which I nickname “Faboo”) head fifteen miles to the northwest the past two days, as the ice at O-buoy 9, south of there, does not move north. This has created lots of open water for O-buoy 9 to sail about in, reporting temperatures below freezing that cannot create open water.Obuoy 9 0819 webcam Obuoy 9 0819C webcam

Considering the ice on the Atlantic side has been shoved north, you might think the ice on the Pacific side would be shoved south, and this is exactly what we have seen happen to the solid ice O-buoy 10 rests upon. Because it is being shoved into the open waters of the “Slot” we are expecting it to break apart, but it hasn’t happened yet.  Instead we get pictures of a melt-water channel thawing and then refreezing with boring regularity.Obuoy 10 0819 webcam Obuoy 10 0819C webcam

O-buoy 11 is to the southeast, and bobbing around in The Notch. We have seen those waters are not as ice-free as some satellite maps suggest. One moment the water may appear ice-free, but that may be because our whaler does not have a kid up in a crow’s nest three stories tall, but rather a camera in a buoy three feet tall. The horizon is close. Still, three feet is a better sail than a flat iceberg a half foot tall, and our keel has less drag than an iceberg with 9/10th of its ship underwater. A big, flat piece of sea-ice with a sail only six inches high has a keel sticking down three feet, whereas our buoy might have a keel that sticks down that much, but has a bigger sail, sticking up three feet, and this allows us to sail hither and thither among the lumbering bergs, gathering data satellites can’t. Some satellite guidance, through modeled filters, call this water ice-free:Obuoy 11 0819 webcam Obuoy 11 0819B webcam Obuoy 11 0819C webcam

O-buoy 12 is a subject I approach with trepidation, as it has been clouting my preconceptions, either side of my head, all summer.

My preconceptions state that southern ice-free waters are warmed by sub-baked tundra air and Pacific intrusions, and that these warmed, southern waters move north to melt ice further north from beneath.  What we seem to be seeing is ice to the north refusing to wait, and instead coming south to be melted. .This cools the southern waters even before they can start north.

To the north of there is “The Slot.” As far as I can tell The Slot is open water not sheltered by a lid of ice and warmed by waters from the south, but rather is water chilled by unseasonable cold from above.  Rather than warmer this water is colder.

With southern waters cooled even before they can start north, and the “Slots” waters also cooled, the sea-ice to the north will see less melt from below. Or so I guess. However O-buoy 12 has embarrassed me so many times that I tend to just watch his views, waiting for my next comeuppance.

Obuoy 12 0819 webcam Obuoy 12 0819C webcam The above view is from waters that are “ice free” according to some maps. Temperatures have dipped below the freezing point of salt water. Winds are around 10 mph.

Despite the fact this is shattering my preconceptions and making my predictions look foolish, I find it worthy of wonder. Something new is being taught. A door to understanding is opening. Forty years ago I’d look at such unexpected stuff and exclaim, “Far out!” Now I tend to grouch, “Oh crap,” because it means I have to go back to the old drawing board.Whaler 5 Peter Arno drawing board cartoon, New Yorker 1941-8x6

Hopefully this post will involve a new drawing board and new ideas, (which might not be so new, and which old whaling ships might have known about, but which wasn’t taught to me, because whaling was politically incorrect, when I went to school).

One reason for “The Notch”, on both the Atlantic and Pacific side, may be a discordance between the Polar and Ferral Cells, but blabbing about that can wait until tomorrow.

DMI2 0819B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0819B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0820 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0820 temp_latest.big

Likely I am over-simplifying as usual, but I am seeing “Hichuk” on the Pacific side as the center of the Polar Cell, and “Hiska” over Scandinavia and the blocked low south of Iceland as Ferrel cell systems. “Beaucat” has some strong winds north of it over Laptev Sea, as “Chuck” is weak and drifts towards Svalbard. With “Chuck” now a north Atlantic low, and a high  building over Greenland, we are getting back to a more normal situation in Fram Strait,  with north winds, and perhaps Faboo will start  behaving itself and head south like it is suppose to.

The unofficial reports that gave us a shocking -4.19° C  at Faboo last night have become more reasonable, at -0.39° C, but I must admit Lake Faboo does look frozen this morning. We went from freeze to slush-season to refreeze so fast I’m suffering a sort of whiplash.NP3 1 0820 2015cam1_1

To the south the whiplash had O-buoy 9 tilted, with temperatures below freezing, followed by light winds and the first sunshine we’ve seen in a while. Perhaps we’ve drifted farther south than I thought, because it looks like we’ve run aground on a beach where the coral has been tragically bleached by Global Warming.Obuoy 9 0820 webcamObuoy 9 0820B webcam

O-buoy 10 had winds drop to near calm and overnight temperatures dip near -2°.Obuoy 10 0820 webcam

O-buoy 11 sees light winds of 5 mph and overnight chill around -1°. If anyone is paying the slightest bit of attention to albedo any more, the bergs look like they have been repainted white by recent snow.Obuoy 11 0820 webcam

O-buoy 12 sees wide open waters and clear sailing through “The Slot”, with winds around 10 mph. The surprise to me is that the air temperature is -3°. Those waters are being chilled.Obuoy 12 0820 webcam

Now is a time of mourning at the Pole. Polar bears wear black, and the white flag is flown at half mast, (which confuses enemies, who can’t figure out if the Pole is surrendering or not.)  The mourning is because the average temperatures dip below freezing. Slush season is officially over.DMI2 0820 meanT_2015The sharp drop in the extent graph may be due to the last hurrah of slush-season (and also ice melting in Hudson Bay), but we may soon see a bit of an uptick as melt-water pools freeze over, and stop being seen as open water.DMI2 0820 icecover_current_new

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE  —Beaufort O-buoys showing freeze-up—

O-buoy 10 has seen temperatures drop to -3° and the melt-water channel has frozen.Obuoy 10 0820B webcam Obuoy 10 0820C webcamO-buoy 11 is seeing -2° and the open water is starting to have the stage-one “oily look” of a freeze.Obuoy 11 0820B webcam Obuoy 11 0820C webcamO-buoy 12 ran into some traffic after a spell sailing free, and temperatures continue to drop, down to -4°. Here a 10 mph breeze is making sure the cold air stirs in with the water, which looks a bit slushy at the edges.Obuoy 12 0820B webcamObuoy 12 0820C webcam


After plowing northwest as far north as 86.315°N Faboo’s course backed to southwest, end ing the 24-hiur-period at 86.304°N, 12.088°W, which is 5.3 miles nearly due west of where we began, and not the right way to be heading if we want to get to Fram Strait. The course correction was accompanied be a wind shift from southeast to northeast, and then by a dramatic freeze at the very end of the time period. The high was +0.5°C, and temperatures only gradually fell to +0.2°C at 1500Z, and then to -0.5°C at 1800Z and -2.4°C at 2100Z. (We may have fallen further, but that must wait until tomorrow’s official report).

The dramatic nature of the freeze is shown by the fact Lake Faboo has some dusty snow blown over its left side. As soon as melt-water pools turn white satellites have an easier time understanding they are not open water.NP3 1 0820B 2015cam1_1THURSDAY AFTERNOON DMI MAPS

DMI2 0820B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0820B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0821 mslp_latest.big

There is no DMI temperature map this morning. I’ll stick it in  if it becomes available later. But I want it now. I want to know how much warm air is invading the Pole from central Siberia., and up the west side of the warm high pressure, Hisca, over Europe.

Also there are no  O-buoy pictures this morning. Sometimes too many people want to download data from  the Pole, and the satellite only has a limited capacity to transmit data,  the O-buoy people have to wait in line. However I want pictures now. I want to see, with my lying eyes, if the refreeze is continuing in Beaufort Sea.

Even Faboo is not giving us a very clear idea of what is going on, except that it is frosty. Unofficial reports have us at -0.58° C.NP3 1 0821B 2015cam1_1

I refuse to be denied. I go to the Weatherbell Site, and look at Dr. Ryan Maue’s amazing maps. I chose the Canadian “JEM” model’s polar views of 2 meter temperatures, and get a surprise. (Because I’m American, I look at temperatures in Fahrenheit. Below freezing is pink.)  This map is the initial 0000z map, and the warmth in  Europe is muted because it is night. (Click  these maps to clarify and enlarge.)SKA 1 cmc_t2m_arctic_1To accent the heat in Europe I click ahead to the noontime forecast.SKA2 cmc_t2m_arctic_3What catches my attention is not the warmth in Europe, but the cold pouring south into Russia. Also it is freezing in Siberia. In August?  What the heck?

As a general assumption I figure the tundra is  sun-baked and warm, under long days and clouds of mosquitoes (which is why the polar bears stay out on the ice if they can.) When isobars suggest winds from the tundra out onto the Arctic Sea, I figure those winds are mild, at least until the nights lengthen in September. But once again I need to adjust my assumptions, for it looks like Siberia is not the mild source-region I took for granted it must be in August. The polar lows I call “Beaucat” and “Chuck” are not sucking warmth north, on their east sides.  The Siberian coast is colder than I suspected.

OK then, what about the heat over Europe? is that going to head towards the Pole? I look at the UK Met Maps.

INITIAL 0100Z FRIDAY UK Met 0821A 26854736 FORECAST 0100Z SATURDAYUK Met 0821B 26857227  FORECAST 0100Z SUNDAY  UK Met 0821C 26858646FORECAST 0100Z MONDAYUK Met 0821D 26858658

Even though Hiska hangs tough as a blocking high over Europe, and the gale over Iceland is stalled and can only kick weak low pressure towards The English Channel, at the top of the map there seems to be an arctic wall keeping the warmth at bay. (It does look like a nice weekend for a lot of Europe, though you can see the cold front come down over Russia to the east.)

My morning conclusion? The Arctic Sea is staying cold.

FRIDAY NIGHT UPDATE  —Faboo straightens Up His Act—

Yesterday Faboo continued south, and quit the business of drifting west at 12.180°W at 0900Z, and henceforth behaved himself, heading south-southeast for Fram Strait like a good camera. The 24-hour period concluded with Faboo at 86.210°N, 12.018°W which is 6.49 miles nearly due south of where we began. (There was one little waver of willpower at the end. Faboo actually made it east to 12.003° W at 1800Z, and then backslid west at the end. However I think it best we overlook that transgression. We do not wish to discourage poor Faboo, who has obvious issues in terms of direction.)

Faboo went through  a stressful day yesterday, with temperatures plunging to -4.4°C at 0300Z . (I thought those low readings must be a glitch when they appeared on the unofficial Mass Balance Buoy report.) ( After all, Buoy 2015E: is currently reporting it is -43.59°C down at 77.33° N, 11.09° W in Fram Strait.) (Call me a “denier” if you will, but I doubt that data.) Faboo’s pictures of Lake Faboo flash-freezing did make the low reading seem plausible, but I had to wait to see the official data to be sure.

The flash freeze only lasted around nine hours, and by 1500Z Faboo had made it back up to 0.0°C for the day’s high, and had only slipped to -0.2°C at 2100Z. So here too we see Faboo is shaping up his act and behaving himself. Today’s pictures even show Lake Faboo thawing slightly and melting the fresh snow on its surface to slush, as a snow-bow circles the horizon.NP3 1 0821B 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0821C 2015cam1_1

The pictures are pretty, and Faboo’s efforts at reform are praiseworthy, so I am surely going to seem like a cad when I look back at his aberrant behavior. However I have a taken a certain amount of abuse for saying flash-freezes are a part of arctic weather even in the height of summer. Therefore this blatant example redeems my reputation. (You see, I want to earn redemption as badly as Faboo does.)

In a nutshell, I have been informed that when air descends at the Pole it must be warmer, like Chinook breezes downwind of a mountain range. I have asserted that there must be an exception to that rule, for (and it happened here today) when a summer thundershower passes near on a sweltering summer day, a down-burst brings refreshingly cool breezes. In the arctic, where temperatures are so close to freezing to begin with, the down-burst is not refreshingly cool but rather a flash freeze.

Some Alarmists object most strenuously to my assertion of what seems to me to be a farmer’s common sense. In the most elaborate and lengthy replies they explain the science of the top of the troposphere and other stuff well beyond my pay-grade. As a bumpkin, I just look at them askance. What do they take me for? I know what I know, see what I see, and no amount of algebra is going to persuade me that the downdraft from a passing thundershower is hot.

Rather than continuing to questioning myself, I have started to question them. What worries them so much about flash-freezing, up at the Pole?  To me it seems a fairly obvious fact. Abruptly Faboo saw temperatures of -4.4°C. What’s the big deal?

O-BUOY CAMERAS BACK ON LINE  –An end to paranoia–

The flash freezes that I mentioned above, while relatively rare on the Atlantic side of the Pole (as far as I could see) were astonishingly common this past summer on the Pacific side, even to the point where you could call them the rule rather than the exception. Even in July, when the slush season is suppose to be at its height, temperatures were often below freezing.

Obviously this would fascinate me, especially as smarter people had told me flash freezes could not happen. I happen to believe in what I can see, more than I believe in smarter people, because smarter people are not God. God is Truth, which is something better scientists respect, better poets respect, better engineers respect, and even better Atheists respect (because better Atheists believe in Truth even if they don’t believe in God.)

American coins state, “In God We Trust,” because initially America was founded on Truth. This Truth respected the sanctity of the eyesight of even a bumpkin farmer like myself, for I was given the same one vote of the richest man, and the same one vote as the smartest genius.

Unfortunately America has fallen. It is governed by people who do not trust Truth, because Truth can make us look incorrect. When they say they will reduce unemployment, and unemployment rises, rather than trusting the Truth, they simply change the way the data is gathered, so it looks like unemployment isn’t rising.

In the same manner, when they say the Globe is warming, and it isn’t, they just change the way the data is gathered, so it looks like the world is warming. This falsification of temperature data has been done so blatantly and so crudely that I think the rest of the world is starting to catch on. The United States is not what it used to be. Rather than the rescuers of other nations, we might be in need of rescue.

In the end, the nation that saves the world will be the one that is most honest and most truthful, not the one that is most sly and deceitful. In terms of a free press, I’m ashamed to say the American Press is the latter and not the former. Americans only read their papers to learn what the Bogus News is. For the Truth they turn to the internet.

As an American, brought up to love the Truth, I am utterly appalled by my government’s dishonesty. I will do all in my tiny power to remove big-shots from office. However the United States may have past its prime, and it may be up to another nation to take the baton as we fall.  Once we were “the Last Hope Of Humanity,” but maybe that honor will pass on to India. They certainly have a freer press, a greater population, and may well deserve the honor of being called “The World’s Greatest Democracy”.

As an American, it really aggravates me to watch America lose the status of being the “good guys”. But what can a bumpkin do? All I can do is speak the Truth as loud and as long as I can. All it has ever done is bring me trouble, in terms of political power and wealth, but it makes me free, and that is better than power and wealth. (Even if they lock you up, you are still free, as Paul and Peter proclaimed from Roman jails.)

What does this have to do with sea-ice? Well, a government so fallen that it would falsify unemployment figures, and temperature figures, might also be tempted to falsify sea-ice data, or at least shut down cameras that refuse to verify that water the government states is ice-free holds no ice.  Or so stated my paranoia.

However the wonderful thing about the O-buoy cameras is that, even if they are denied access to satellites, they can store their information and just wait. Later, when the satellites become available, all the evidence can be down-loaded.

For a while Truth may be hidden, like the part if an iceberg under water. But it doesn’t cease to exist just because you can’t see it. (And it can sink a Titanic, if you ignore it.)

My favorite picture, now available, is from O-buoy 12, and shows no ice in sight.Obuoy 12 0821 webcamI like this picture because it verifies a forecast I made last spring. (I do not need to confess a large mass of ice just retreated into the distance, or mention that ice does not need to be far away to be “over the horizon.”)  However what continues to blow me away is that these open waters occur despite the air being in a steady state of “flash-freeze”, and below the freezing point of salt water.  (IE This is not a picture of a “warming” Arctic Sea.)Obuoy 12 0821 temperature-1weekO-buoy 11 was viewing similar “ice free” waters not long ago, and now look at it.Obuoy 11 0821 webcamObuoy 11 0821 temperature-1weekO-buoy 10 has been drifting south into *ice-free” waters, but doesn’t even have the decency to crack apart.Obuoy 10 0821 webcam Obuoy 10 0821 temperature-1week

Even O-buoy 9 over on the Atlantic side is seeing a flash freeze.Obuoy 9 0921 webcamObuoy 9 0821 temperature-1week

What you need to do is match these buoys with the map that shows areas as ice-free, however after a long and hard and hot week living as a bumpkin, I’d rather look for evidence Truth is beauty. Such as O-buoy 9 at midnight, yesterday.Obuoy 9 0820Z webcam


The first thing I wanted to check this morning was O-buoy 12, to see if it still had clear sailing. It did, which means I lost another nickle, because I bet it would run into ice by morning. (There may be some bergs in the mist on the distant horizon, but they don’t count.) I never bet more than a nickle on sea-ice, because it is so unpredictable, but this buoy is costing me a lot of nickles. They add up, y’know.Obuoy 12 0822 webcamThe second thing I checked was the thermometer attached to this buoy, to see if the open water had warmed the air at all. It hadn’t, which costs me another nickle. (Click graph to clarify, of not enlarge.)Obuoy 12 0822 temperature-1week

I am amazed the air is so cold so close to water that can’t be colder than -1.7°C or so. I’ve started to wonder if this thermometer might read low. At the very least it would provide me with a handy excuse for losing so many nickles. The only problem is that Buoy 2014G: is coming in at  -2.13° C, and it can’t have drifted too many miles away. (Formerly it was co-located with O-buoy 12.) Perhaps I’d better check the maps.

DMI2 0822 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0822 temp_latest.big

“Hichuk” is now a textbook polar cell over the Pole with lows rotating around it. I am going to grotesquely simplify, and call the low over the Kara Sea (and pouring chilly air over Moscow) “Chuck”,  though another part of Chuck is a very weak low north of the Canadian Archipelago, and still more of Chuck went down to Hudson Bay to join that fracas (I’ll call that  low “Hud”.)  The stalled storm over Iceland will be “Dawdle”, and the one over east Siberia will  retain the name “Beaucat”, as it starts its second lap of the Pole.

Hichuk seems to be swinging the cold around from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Faboo is unofficially reporting another flash freeze, as Buoy 2015D: has gone from reporting +0.32°C to -3.52°C, as the midnight sun creeps ever closer to becoming a midnight sunset.NP3 1 0822 2015cam1_2 NP3 1 0822B 2015cam1_1

The cold has made it down to the northern mouth of Fram Strait, as O-buoy 9 reports temperatures down around -4°.Obuoy 9 0822 webcam

I am curious to see if the cold swinging to the Atlantic allows Beaufort Sea to warm. O-buoy 10 has mellowed only slightly, up to around -0.77°C according to a co-located Mass Balance Buoy. It’s light winds are likely south, for it has stopped drifting south and nudged north a bit. Obuoy 10 0822 webcamO-buoy 11 has seen temperatures flirt with freezing, but temperatures have sagged back to -1° as winds became nearly calm.Obuoy 11 0822 webcam

O-buoy 12 is still showing the same picture, but I’ll bet you a nickle it shows sea-ice by noon.

NOONTIME  —I Lose—(Unless you count that upper left chip)Obuoy 12 0822B webcam

BLACK HOLE THREATENS O-BUOY 9Obuoy 9 0822C webcam 

SUNSET (AND SUNRISE)  AT 74.4° LATITUDEObuoy 11 0822B webcam


DMI2 0822B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0822B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0823 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0823 temp_latest.big

The pattern looks nice and zonal, but Hichuk may be destabilizing like a wobbling top, as it is pulling mildness in from The Canadian side, and Jack has roaring, gale force winds along the Siberian coast. This is backing the waters towards the Atlantic, and also snitching some of the cold air from the Pole and exporting it down over Moscow.

This is worth visiting the Weatherbell site, to look at Dr. Ryan Maue’s cool maps of Asia. However danger is involved. Do not, I repeat, do not look at the cool typhoons down in the lower right. Such distractions can take you off onto sidetracks, and you may not get back to sea-ice for hours. (Click maps to enlarge, and click again to enlarge further.) (They show the warm afternoon in western Europe, but Russia getting north winds.)

DMI2 0823 cmc_t2m_asia_3 DMI2 0823 cmc_mslp_uv10m_asia_3


O-buoy 9 has been through a fairly wild spell of weather, with temperatures dropping to -5°C and swinging back up to freezing and also a considerable lurch back to the west even as Faboo curved east, which you would think would condense the sea-ice between. At one point the camera was leaning backwards and showing mostly sky, so I imagine the buoy is taking a beating, though winds only peaked briefly up around 20 mph and now have settled back to the 5-10 mph range.

Obuoy 9 0823 temperature-1week Obuoy 9 0823 longitude-1weekObuoy 9 0822D webcamObuoy 9 0823 webcamObuoy 9 0823B webcamO-buoy 10 has had a more sedate time, starting to drift back north in light winds, with temperatures persistently between zero and -3° C. Obuoy 10 0823B webcamO-buoy 11 has stopped reporting, though we did get a good picture of arctic twilight right after a blast of -4°C air came through this morning.  It should be noted that the conditions that appear in these pictures do not warm the exposed seawater much. This ice appears stationary at the moment.Obuoy 11 0823 webcamObuoy 11 0823B webcam

O-buoy 12 is happily sailing the open waters of The Slot with only an occasional berg passing in the distance. Air temperatures have risen to the approximate temperature of recently thawed seawater, or -1.5°C. The breezes are fairly gentle, at 5-10 mph, but the buoy has carelessly turned from southwest to northwest, which is not a very wise move if it wants to avoid ice to the north.Obuoy 12 0823B webcam


I know I said Faboo was shaping up. I know I must seem like one of those bosses who writes a glowing recommendation because it is the most recent employer who pays a percentage of a bum’s unemployment. However I had no idea Faboo would go a-rambling this weekend. And it really wasn’t all that bad, compared to other rambles. Perhaps we should be patient with the poor thing.

On Friday he did wobble a bit, in terms of heading east. He started at 12.018°W, proceeded east to 11.892°W, briefly backslid to 11.929°W, then proceeded on to 11.831°W, before backsliding more brazenly to 11.890°W. But what the heck. It was Friday night, and there are always a lot of bad influences around on Friday nights, and Faboo did end the day further east than he started. And he did much better in terms of heading south, making steady progress until the final report, when he slid back from 86.178°N to 86.179°N, and heck, what is .001° between friends? The important thing is that Faboo progressed 2.22 miles in the right direction, towards Fram Strait.

The temperatures achieved a high of 0.0°C at 0600Z and then some chillier air began wafting in even though the winds were dropping to mere breaths of 2 mph. Faboo could feel another flash freeze coming in, but the thermometer began to display the ABUHI effect as the wind dropped. (That stands for “Arctic Buoy Urban Heat Island.) This became very apparent when winds dropped to a complete calm at 1500Z and temperatures abruptly spiked to +2.4°C. This caused poor Faboo to look wildly about for signs of flash thawing, but all he could see was wan sunshine and a snow-bow on the horizon. Then, as soon as winds rose to 2 mph temperatures dropped to -0.5°C at 1800Z, and as winds puffed up to 5 mph temperatures plunged to -2.3°C as the sun swung down to whatever the arctic opposite of its zenith is (alphanith?)  You can see that this might shove Faboo off the wagon, for, “if you need a reason you can find one,” is a good old buoy motto.

On Saturday Faboo stopped heading the wrong way at midnight, because good old buoys know nothing good happens after midnight, but by breakfast he had only made it down to 86.174°N, when someone suggested a hair-of-the-dog, and it was all wrong way from there, with Faboo up at 86.180°N at the final report. And in terms of heading east he was definately staggering, first west to 11.892°W, then east to 11.858°W, then west to 11.908°W, then east to 11.842°W, and finally west to 11.901°W. All in all it wasn’t such a terrible backslide, only .001° of latitude and .009° of longitude, which works out to 0.09 miles the wrong way. Give the poor old buoy a break.

Temperatures got down to -3.0° at midnight yesterday, and only got up to a high of -0.8°C at the final report. Lake Faboo looks flash frozen, with a bit of drifted snow by the near banks.NP3 1 0823 2015cam1_3However once the sun comes out, and is up at its zenith, it still has the power to melt at the very edge of Lake Faboo, where it hits the banks at a perpendicular angle, even with temperatures still below freezing.NP3 1 0823B 2015cam1_1

This view is more typical of September than August.


DMI2 0823B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0823B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0824 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0824 temp_latest.big


Obuoy 12 0824 webcamIt is a typical Monday morning for O-buoy 12. After a weekend of sailing free, you face a mound of stuff. Don’t you just hate Mondays?

Winds have dropped to calm, and temperatures to -2°C, in the evening twilight over at 160° longitude.

Over at 140° longitude O-buoy 11 looks like it might aim at some clear sailing in the distance, if it can only jostle its way through the ice in the foreground. Winds atr 7 mph and temperatures are a bitter -3°C.Obuoy 11 0824 webcamO-buoys 9 and 10 have obscured lenses, which is also typical of Monday mornings.


Faboo continued his bohemian antics yesterday, moving the wrong way north-northwest  1.49 miles. He did stop the northward movement at noon up at 86.199°N, as the westward drift persisted, and finished the period at 86.195°N,12.136°W.

This failure to move to Fram Strait is starting to get slightly interesting. Every North Pole Camera I have ever watched gets sucked south, sooner or later, by the Autumnal Gales, and once out of the arctic you can hope to see an extended slush season. However Faboo is so far north and west there is a slight chance it will escape the huge suction down the the coast of Greenland, and be the first North Pole Camera ever to see a second sunrise in the arctic.

We are so far north that thaw is likely toi become rare, as the average temperature this far north starts to crash far below freezing. If we were down in Fram Strait it would be quite a different matter.

Yesterday we saw a high at 0600Z in wan sunshine of -0.4°C, but then it grew gloomy and we experienced our third flash freeze in a row, with a low at 1800Z of -4.1°C. The sun popped out and we ended the period at -1.2°C, but the unoffical Mass Balance reports suggest we couldn’t break freezing. And one must admit the midnight sun is getting very low at midnight.NP3 1 0824 2015cam1_1

The sun is so low that even an above-normal reading can be below freezing.DMI2 0824B meanT_2015

Obviously we cannot hope for melting from above any more, unless the currently zonal pattern becomes abruptly meridianal and allows a huge surge of warm air north. No thawing can come from the sky, yet the “extent” of the ice keeps dropping.DMI2 0824B icecover_current_newIcecover Aug 24 N_stddev_timeseries

How is this possible. It is only possible because ice melts from below. After all, ice must be sitting on warmer water, for it is on water that isn’t frozen. One might even argue the water shouldn’t have frozen in the first place. How can it freeze when it is water sitting in warmer water? Interesting topic, but I don’t want to go there tonight.

The point I wish to make tonight is that the only thing separating the entirety of all the sea-ice from complete melt-down is something called a “phase change.”

By early August all the ice has been warmed to the freezing point from top to bottom, and the water below is warmer and the air above is warmer. Why doesn’t the ice dissolve?

It is because, to turn solid to liquid, you must put it on a stove and add heat. Water can exist at the same temperature as ice, but water holds that added heat from the stove, called “latent heat”.

In like manner, to turn water to ice, you must remove that “latent heat”. It is hard to imagine, but as ice freezes hear is released. When an entire Arctic Ocean freezes, enormous amounts of heat are released,

I’m not sure I can describe how fun it is to think about this stuff. The top of the ice is freezing, and releasing heat, as the bottom of the ice is melting, and sucking up heat.

Unfortunately some over-simplify the complex, and get maps like this, which thrill Alarmists by exaggerating “The Slot.”Ice Extent Aug 24 cryo_latest_small

However I know “The Slot” is not as ice-free as it appears because I’ve sailed those waters via O-buoys, and also the above map shows no ice in Hudson Bay, but the Canadian Ice Service says ice is still there.Hudson Bay Aug 24 CMMBCTCA

Whatever the reasoning was, saying there is no ice where it is was likely plugged into models, and resulted in stupid predictions. I’ll put two side by side below. The first thrilled Skeptics by saying the “extent” would be the highest in years, and the second thrilled Alarmists by saying “extent” would set a record for lowness. The first is from June, and the second is from August.

Sea Ice anomaly forecast June 16 sieMonIce Anomaly Aug 24 sieMon

How stupid both Alarmists and Skeptics are to give credence to such a totally malfunctioning model!  Would anyone give credence to a calculator that only gave you the right answer half of the time?

I prefer my lying eyes, and O-buoys, but as soon as they showed ice in an ice-free zone this morning, they were disallowed access to the satellite that transmits data. I felt paranoid, and figured they wouldn’t be allowed to transmit a picture until the ice was gone. And I was right, but what a mind-boggling picture got shown!

In petty terms, involving Skeptic and Alarmist bickering, this picture shows water can get glassy and reflect sunlight in an open ocean. Big deal. For in other terms this single shot is better than the best painters of surrealism, impressionism, and Realism:

Obuoy 12 0824B webcam


If the above seems a little bad tempered, it is because I deleted had a post I’d worked hours upon, as my computer was freezing up, and for some reason the Auto-save didn’t bother to save it. I still had the pictures, so I just re-did the post in about five minutes, doing a lot of muttering to myself.  It was a bad conclusion to a long day.

Today the computer problems continue, so I suppose I might as well call this post concluded.  I figure the beauty in that final picture is a better conclusion than I could write.


Pope Francis claims he has become involved in the Political side of Global Warming because of his concern for the poor, yet seems blind to the suffering of some of the toughest poor people in the world, who live at high altitudes in South America. Where Global Warming suggests those high places should be warming they have been suffering this winter, as I already described in my post here:

Some will blame man for the death of livestock at high altitudes, suggesting that man is always to blame. They will suggest it was human foolishness and greed that led to exploiting nature at too high an altitude, and therefore man deserved the punishment of having his non-native and invasive cows and sheep frozen. In the case of native alpacas, man will be accused of herding them in an unnatural way.

Therefore it might be good to look at the behavior of a natural animal, the guanaco, which is the wild version of a llama, and was the hereditary stock from which Native Americans “unnatually” bred the llamas they used for meat and clothing. The guanaco is an animal splendidly adapted to high altitudes.Guanaco_de_San_CarlosGuanaco are amazing, able to graze as high as 13,000 feet above sea level. Perhaps they could go higher, but there is nothing growing higher.  Their blood has four times as many red blood cells as human blood in each drop, which allows them to survive at high altitudes, and because they are relatives of camels they have a camel-like ability to go without water. In fact in parts of the Atacama Desert where a year can pass without rain the native Guanaco survive basically on fog blowing in off the sea and making lichen damp.

Obviously it is an animal superbly adapted to its environment, and one would never expect this to happen:Guanaco Frozen 0000774466

These two guanacos died standing up, while crossing through a mountain pass, in the Popes’s homeland of Argentina. However perhaps the Pope can’t be bothered scanning the Argentinian tabloids any more, especially a “pro-Peronist” tabloid such as El Tribuno.

The pity is that by being disconnected from the common people of South America he claims to care so much for, and by being so connected to the elite and politically correct La-di-da  of Europe who wring their hands about Global Warming that doesn’t happen, the Pope is in danger of losing touch with the very poor people the Catholic Church was once famous for caring for. He will look like royalty flouncing about in extravagant clothing, calling the salt of the earth the “Hoi polloi “. And the poor do notice such disdain, as their livestock freeze in the high Andes, and they lose their ability to feed and clothe themselves.

(A Hat-tip to Argirls Diamantis, who can be bothered with scanning South American tabloids, and who sent me this news.)

ARCTIC SEA ICE –SLAPSTICK SCIENCE–(Or, “Why should I cry over you.) (August 16-19, 2015)

This is a continuation of observations of the sea-ice melt of the summer of 2015, with as little reference to Climate Science as possible, for I figure I can make a fool of myself quite well without help from experts.

I’ve been watching ice melt for years, as a form of escape, much the same way I once watched clouds out the window during Math classes. It was by sheer accident that I discovered that, rather than the faceless rejection slips I received for my other writing, all I needed to do was share my honest observations about the shrinking and growing of sea-ice, and I could get paragraphs upon paragraphs of detailed response. This was so much better than rejection slips that I didn’t mind it a bit that a lot of the paragraphs were unflattering.

Originally these discussions began at the Accuweather “Global Warming” site, beginning around 2005, for the site wasn’t well moderated, and in some ways resembled a glorious barroom brawl. Unfortunately it became more strictly moderated in 2007 and turned into a sort of echo chamber of parrots, and I became a refugee. I tended to lurk at sites such as Climate Audit, well aware most of my comments would be too rude to be acceptable. Fortunately a new site called “Watts Up With That” appeared at that time, and allowed ruder conversations, and became not only a place where I could comment, but a place that published a few of my writings. Finally in December 2012 I started this site, mostly as a place to talk about things other than the weather and climate. I’d average 10 to 20 views a day, which was fine with me, because that is better than a rejection slip. Then, in July 2013, I wrote a single post about sea-ice, and abruptly received 500 views.

I suppose a sort of law of supply and demand kicked in. Also some very nice people asked me to continue to post about sea ice. I have done so, and am now well into my third summer. (I still post other stuff, which tends to get 20-40 views).

I do not claim to be any sort of authority. I am merely a witness, and these posts are a sort of notebook, holding my observations and some doodles. Of course, if you carefully observe sea-ice for years you can tell when a person who has not observed it much is talking through their hat, but that doesn’t make me an expert.

The North Pole Camera was my original window to a new world, and continues to be my favorite, because it starts so close to the Pole and is often the only camera that can be called a “Central Arctic” camera, as most of the others wander about the perifery of the sea-ice. I’ve nicknamed this year’s camera “Faboo”, and the secondary camera is nicknamed “Fabootwo”.

This camera has always drifted south to Fram Strait, summer after summer. Last summer might have been an exception, for the ice the camera was on took off to the southeast as if it might pass around the east side of Svalbard, but unfortunately the camera was crushed by a pressure ridge before its destination could be determined.

This year the camera has been far more hesitant to come south. We nearly crossed 86° latitude two weeks ago, but then retreated north, and are now giving heading south another try. (We get our official data a day late, so I will always be reporting yesterday’s movement and temperatures, unless I report the data from the co-located Mass Balance Buoy 2015D, which I call “unofficial data” because it has no time stamp.)

Yesterday Faboo drifted south and west in slackening winds 3.89 miles to 86.112°N, 6.987°W. Temperatures were quite cold, considering we are still officially in the period of the summer thaw. Our low was -2.1°C at 0300Z, and we were only up to -0.7°C at noon. A spike followed that I distrust a little, as the buoys are micro “Urban Heat Islands” and sit in small pools of melt-water of their own making, and spikes in temperature are often seen when winds become calm, but officially we did hit a high of +0.2°C at 1800Z in calm conditions. By the next (and final) report  at 2100Z a gentle breeze of 5 mph was blowing, and temperatures were back down to -0.9°C.

Today’s unofficial reports show Faboo’s drift is to the west and temperatures are still below freezing at -0.36°. despite the fact the camera has shown moisture moving in.NP3 1 0815C 2015cam1_3NP3 1 0814C 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0814F 2015cam1_1South of Faboo, at the northern entrance of Fram Strait, O-buoy 9 has run into a slushy situation, heading southeast to 4° longitude, and finally getting down to 80° latitude. Winds are 7 mph and the temperature is a hair above freezing.Obuoy 9 0815B webcam

Across the Pole, down in Beaufort Sea, O-Bouy 10 is not transmitting data, and O-buoy 11 reports s slight thaw and light winds, and transmits this foggy pictureObuoy 11 0815B webcamTo the west O-buoy 12 is experiencing sub-freezing temperatures and more breezy conditions of 12 mph. The slush forming on the salt water now appears gone.Obuoy 12 0815C webcamI’ll likely post some maps and pictures tomorrow but won’t have time to comment, as my youngest son is graduating from college. Here are today’s DMI maps. The area of subfreezing temperatures in the arctic is expanding.

DMI2 0815B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0815B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0816 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0816 temp_latest.big

NP3 1 0816 2015cam1_1Obuoy 09 0816 webcamObuoy 10 0816 webcamObuoy 11 0816 webcamObuoy 12 0816 webcam


Yesterday Faboo headed south to 86.106°N, and then once again turned tail and retreated north, winding up the day 2.5 miles WNW of where we began, with our final position at 86.116°N, 7.519°W. The north winds pushing us south were colder than the south winds pushing us north, so the temperatures bounded about as well, reaching yesterday’s low of -1.7°C at 0300Z, and then yo-yoing upwards until we finally achieved thaw, with the day’s high of +0.2°C reached at 1800Z and held to the end of the reporting period.

Today’s unofficial reports make it look like we are continuing to retreat the “wrong way,”  in south winds that continue the thaw. The clash between the cold north winds, likely associated with the weak low “Beaucat”, and the south winds, likely associated with west side of the weak “Pohi” ridge, have made it cloudy and gloomy. It’s hard to take advantage of a thaw and melt ice like mad, when there is no sunshine. Our new melt-water pools are but puddles on the frozen surfaces of July’s more robust pools.NP3 1 0816B 2015cam1_1

Last year a freeze in the middle of slush season was followed by a thaw, and a slighter version seems to be replaying this year, for our other buoys are, if not thawing, less cold.

Obuoy has made it past 3.5° longitude and south of 80° latitude. Because it heads south as Faboo heads north, open water appears between the two, without a bit of melt being necessary. Temperatures have been thawing for a day now, and the breeze has been gusty, between 5 and 15 mph.Obuoy 9 0816B webcam

I’ll comment on the other buoys and the DMI maps in the morning.

Obuoy 10 0816B webcamObuoy 11 0816B webcamObuoy 12 0816B webcamDMI2 0816B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0816B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0817 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0817 temp_latest.big

This morning’s maps show “Pohi’s” high pressure being warped into a dumbbell shape as it ridges across the Pole, as the remains of “Beaucat” on the Eurasian side and “Chuck” in the Canadian Archipelago act like pincers in the middle. Beaucat is cut off from its original energy, but is being infused by energy from central Asia related to the old storm “Verge.” Even though the new incarnation is largely of Asian origin, I’m going to keep the name “Beaucat” for the resultant storm, because this is my blog and one of the few places I  get to be boss. In like manner, the weak impulse moving east along the north coast of Greenland will be “Chuck”, even though it has dubious origins. The new incarnation of “Pohi” is splitting like an Amoeba, and the part over Scandinavia will be “Hiska” (for High Pressure Scandinavian) while the one on the Pacific side will become “Hichuk” (for “High Pressure Chukchi Sea)”. In conclusion the current ridge over the Pole looks unstable and likely to transition into a new scheme. Although you can trace the 1016mb isobar from the Azores to the Pacific side of the Pole, there’s no way air from the Azores is going to get that far. The milder air seems to to be home-grown over Europe rather than imported, and seems to have trouble staying down at the surface once it gets to Svalbard. However it does seem this is the last hurrah of slush season. It remains to be seen  how strong it is, and whether it has the ability to endure beyond the official end of slush season. We are reaching the point where the average temperatures at the Pole dip below zero.  DMI2 0816B meanT_2015However this is not to say we couldn’t have a year like 1964, and see slush season extended more than a week. DMI2 1964 meanT_1964Faboo is seeing a slight thaw, and gloom as the milder air brings moisture and clouds. It is moving northwest, the “wrong way.”NP3 1 0817 2015cam1_1Considering the ice stopped spreading south and was compressed back north I found it difficult to explain the uptick in yesterday’s extent graph. Perhaps it spread south somewhere else, but I couldn’t locate it.DMI2 0816B icecover_current_new


It is scorching hot here in New Hampshire, so I’m escaping north to look at some ice.  Down at the north entrance of Fram Strait O-buoy 9 has been experiencing breezy conditions, with winds up to 18 mph  though currently down to 10 mph. I was expecting that we’d be blown back north, judging from the isobars, but saw no sign of any northward progress. Obuoy 9 0817 latitude-1week However we sure are heading east.Obuoy 9 0817 longitude-1weekI suppose I should give up hope of more pictures of the coast of Greenland, and look east to Svalbard. (Which it is highly unlikely we’d reach, as we’d have to cross 13 degrees of longitude without moving south.) However I’m always on the lookout for exciting possibilities.

I did check back at Station Nort in Greenland, and saw the winds were south there, and at three stations in Svalbard, and saw winds were fairly light because they are still at the center of the Pohi ridge, but are forecast to become south. Therefore it seems peculiar our buoy is not heading north. A strong southerly current? A local front or micro-system? A large whale has become attached to our buoy?

Its in the 40’s (F) (+7 Celsius) both back at Station Nort and ahead on Svalbard, but has been right at freezing at our buoy, and even looks a bit like wet snow is falling.Obuoy 9 0817 webcamObuoy 9 0817B webcam

Over the top of the Globe and down south of 80° our Beaufort Buoys are seeing more normal and slushy conditions, if I judge with my eyes, though temperatures are still a bit cold. O-buoy 10 was showing melt-puddles atop frozen metlwater pools for a while, but now it looks more like the entire pools are melting at least at the top. Winds are around 10 mph and temperatures around -1.0°, and we continue to drift south towards an area the ice can spread out, but the ice hasn’t yet broken up.Obuoy 10 0817 webcamO-buoy 11 is in the area where the ice can spread out, which has become such a notable feature I’ll give it a name and call it “The Slot.”  It is causing a bit of a buzz among sea-ice nerds because extent maps with low resolution show it as open water in the Beaufort Sea. Slot Aug 15 cryo_latestThe Canadian Ice Service map, with a grid of higher resolution, shows it as well, but suggests it is not completely ice-free, but holds as little as 1/10th ice and as much as 7/10th ice.  (Upper left of map below.)Slot Aug 17 CMMBCTCAWhat our lying eyes have been witnessing through O-buoy 11 tends to agree with the Canadian map. We’ve seen water that looks practically ice free, and then suddenly are midst a traffic jam. During the recent cold wave the ice looked fairly solid, but now it’s more broken up again. The water had an oily look earlier, despite a 9 mph breeze, which might suggest the drop in temperatures at that time to around -2.5°C had the water thinking of freezing, but temperatures have since perked up towards freezing, and above the freezing point of salt water, so the slick look is a style forgotten. Obuoy 11 0817 webcamObuoy 11 0817B webcam“The Slot” extends all the way west to O-buoy 12, which also has been showing open water some times and then traffic jams of ice other times.  It has been heading south to 77.5° latitude and consistently experiencing subfreezing temperatures above the freezing point of water, around 1° currently, and the breeze has been fairly brisk at 10-15 mph. Unfortunately the lens is obscured, I think by fog but perhaps by wet snow.Obuoy 12 0817 webcamObuoy12 0817B webcam

Yesterday’s report from Faboo has come in, and shows we drifted 4.01 miles northwest. The breeze ranged from 11 to 18 moh, and temperatures hit a low of -0.2°C at 0300Z and achieved the high of +0.9°C at the final report at 2100Z.

The fact this ice is moving northwest while O-buoy 9 has headed southeast should theoretically create a second “Slot” of opening water, in theory at least.


Ron Clutz runs an excellent site at

I snipped this chart to show the August 15 comparison between 2014 and 2015. If you have the time you can compare the numbers on this chart with earlier charts on his site, and see exactly where the ice grows and where it shrinks (usually growth where the ice  “spreads out”, at this time of year.)

Breakdown for day 227 of ice extent in the various NH seas.

Day 227 Comparison 2014 2015 2015-2014 % of 2014
yyyyddd 2014227 2015227
% of NH Maximum 0.405 0.418
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 6282898 6080352 -202546 -3.2%
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 771986 750624 -21362 -2.8%
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 489766 394176 -95590 -19.5%
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 651085 458960 -192125 -29.5%
 (4) Laptev_Sea 52095 235646 183551 352.3%
 (5) Kara_Sea 201661 60965 -140696 -69.8%
 (6) Barents_Sea 111609 23510 -88099 -78.9%
 (7) Greenland_Sea 280844 252593 -28252 -10.1%
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._L 13947 211146 197199 1413.9%
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 538858 431954 -106904 -19.8%
 (10) Hudson_Bay 88865 176683 87818 98.8%
 (11) Central_Arctic 3081039 3083153 2114 0.1%
 (12) Bering_Sea 0 0 0 NA
 (13) Baltic_Sea 0 0 0 NA
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 0 0 0 NA
 (15) Yellow_Sea 0 0 0 NA
 (16) Cook_Inlet 0 0 0 NA

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Pohi has split into Hiska, which is warming Barents Sea, and Hichuk which is warming the Laptev Sea. Chuck has reformed north of Greenland, though its original trough drapes back to Beaufort Sea, and it’s southerly east side winds are bringing thaw up to Faboo, and continuing to shove the ice Faboo is upon north and west. Faboo is seeing sprinkles of rain and an unofficial temperature of +1.21°, which is slush-season stuff. NP3 1 0818 2015cam1_1Hope to get to O-buoys at lunch time. Busy, hot day ahead.


Yesterday fairly strong and steady southeast winds shoved the ice Faboo is on 6.63 miles to the northwest, winding us up at 86.239°N, 9.213°W. The breezes are mild, and we are seeing a decent thaw without sunshine. Yesterday’s low was +0.7°C at midnight, and the high was +1.0°C at noon, until we had a spike at the final report at 2100Z to +1.5°.

Today’s unofficial Mass Balance reports suggest this movement has continued, backing to the west as the winds became more easterly and temperatures fell slightly. Faboo shows a return to July slush-season conditions without the benefit of sunshine. The level of Lake Faboo to the right has increased, and there are even some hints a slushy estuary that extended to the lower, left corner of our image in July might reappear.  (My view was that the estuary drained when the level of Lake Faboo was lowered by a outflow channel out of view, or by percolation downwards through cracks or “rotton ice”, but perhaps the recent cold snap froze up those outlets.)NP3 1 0818B 2015cam1_2

I’ve seen such late-season thaws before, but I need to keep in mind those cameras were far further south, and in some cases already entering Fram Strait. Faboo is far further from the Atlantic’s relative warmth, so I need to be a little more impressed by thaw than I’d be further south.

However I’m far more impressed by the “wrong way” movement of nearly 7 miles. I’ve seen triple the daily movement in the other direction, to the south, especially once the North Pole Camera is in heading down the east coast of Greenland, however in such cases there is open water both to the south and east, and all the ice is moving the same way like cars on a freeway. When you are heading north it is as if you are in bumper to bumper traffic.

In fact that might be a good way to comprehend the power displayed by Faboo today: Imagine you were in bumper to bumper traffic that was at a standstill, and were seven miles from home, and got very impatient. Then imagine you crept forward until your bumper touched the car in front of you, and then you stamped on the gas and started pushing that car forward against its will, until it pushed the car in front of it, and so on and so forth, until you were pushing seven miles of traffic like a train pushing a lot of boxcars.  (Before you try this out, next time you are in a hurry to get home, you should think about the phenomenon of pressure ridges. A pressure ridge of rush-hour traffic is not something you want to see, especially because the other drivers can be less than understanding about your fascination with sea-ice. Or at least that has been my experience.)

The amazing thing about Faboo is that this small buoy is not merely pushing seven miles of traffic, but hundreds of miles of traffic. The entire stylish beret of white worn by our planet is shifting from last years style (tilted down on Svalbard) to this years style (to be determined).  Who would believe such a small pebble could create such an avalanche of change in the world of polar fashion?

Of course the beret does not shift from tilting left to tilting right in a straight line. Ice hardly ever moves in a straight line. If you study aerial views of glaciers you’ll see they are all curves and only rarely straight. Straight lines are reserved for slapstick scientists, who call them “trend lines.”  However today’s NRL map of ice-speed-and-drift shows Faboo part of an unnaturally straight beeline of ice from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

DMI2 0818B arcticicespddrfnowcast

You can see how this flow differs from the textbook by comparing it to the image below.Beaufort Gyre 360px-BrnBld_ArcticCurrents.svg

The difference this year seems to be that the Beaufort Gyre has taken over, and the Transpolar drift is AWOL. However in both examples there is a nice, textbook clockwise flow around the polar high pressure centered on the Pacific side of the Pole, which is a nice textbook pattern the Pole laughs at when it creates summer gales, as it did in both the summers of 2012 and 2013. Those gales turned the Polar high into a doughnut, with a hole in the middle.

In any case, I like to simplify, and to think in a crude manner well beneath the dignity of reality, though not quite as simple and straight-line as slapstick science. (I take a straight-line approach, but expect to be wrong.) My simpleton approach wonders if, when we see Faboo shift 7 miles north on the Atlantic side, we should expect to see our Beaufort O-buoys shift 7 miles south in the Pacific side. And, well, there is some sort of correlation, but surely nothing could be that simple.

And surely it isn’t. If you look at the above NRL Spreed-and-drift map you’ll notice that while Faboo might be in a nice, neat straight-line drift, that drift begins in chaos in Fram Srait and ends in chaos in Beaufort Sea.  Furthermore, both areas have witnessed “slots” of open water this summer.

These sort of “slots” were important to the crazy guys who used to sail up their hunting whales. It is hard for us to comprehend, but they saw all the hardship they endured as “easy money.” I guess it shows you how hard life was back home on the farm.

The guys who became rich enough stayed home, but they commanded the captains of the whaling ships to keep accurate records of where the “slots” were. When the various captains came home the ship-owners would pour through the logs of their various ships, plotting the following years voyages.  And they likely were as puzzled by the antics of sea-ice back then, as we are today.

However they did not make the mistake slap-stick science now makes, and assume ice close to Alaska meant solid ice lay between that point and the Pole.  How could they? They would read the log one captain who found it hard to sail along the coast of Alaska, due to sea-ice, yet another captain far to the north sailed in open waters, as he had found a “slot”.

Sometimes, as I look at the views of the O-buoy cameras, I like to pretend I am the captain of a whaler, and trying to decide if I should sail on or turn back. Is this a slot that will persist? Or is this the jaws of a bear trap about to slam shut?

If I was down in Fram Strait by O-buoy 9 I think I’d take my money and run south. The calm conditions and patches of open water we used to see seem to be filling in, and winds were pretty high, even if they are now dying down. In theory, with Faboo heading away and the ice here not heading north, there should be more and more open water, but I just don’t trust the look of the sea and the sky.Obuoy 9 0818B webcam Obuoy 9 0818C webcam

Because the ice at O-buoy 10 hasn’t yet broken up, it isn’t ice a whaling captain would sail midst, so I wouldn’t need to worry about it.  It’s below freezing with light winds at O-buoy 10.Obuoy 10 0818 webcam Obuoy 10 0818C webcamA captain might sneak into the slot O-buoy 11 jostles about in. After the freeze of last week he’d likely be busting his butt to get out now, while the going was good, though he might be tempted to pause to grab a whale or two, if they got too close.Obuoy 11 0818B webcam Obuoy 11 0818C webcam

However I-buoy 12 shows the real challenge such captains faced. Looking at the first picture, would you guess picture two lay to your south?  Obuoy 12 0818 webcam Obuoy 12 0818B webcamObuoy 12 0818C webcam

If I can, I hope to locate, for you,  a fabulous collection of reports from the logs of old whaling ships, and also the ships that resupplied the Hudson Bay fur-trader trading-posts. I will be doing so at great risk to myself, because I’ll be very tempted to lose hours upon hours rereading the work. However the thing that flabberghasts me is that slap-stick science refuses to accept the painstaking observations kept by these old captains, when they map past conditions.

If you look at modern renditions of what the past looked like, you will notice that if the edge of the sea-ice budges down towards Barrow, then all the area between that edge and the north pole is solid ice. There is never a “slot”. In fact, the slot we are seeing this year is the first slot that ever occurred since the beginning of time (or so you might think). And the best picture of the Beaufort Slot (and even, to a small degree, the Greenland Slot), is provided by the NSIDC map below:Slot N_bm_extent_hires

The possible reasons for such slots are many, but I personally think it merely is a reflection of the fact that systems in the Ferrel Cells have been progressive while the Polar cell has been stable and even stagnant. (Call it a “zone of discordance”, of you will.)

The interesting (and frightening, if you were captain of a sailing ship), thing about a “slot” is that it can slam shut in a hurry, like the jaws of a bear trap. I’m watching this situation with interest.

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For the time being I am seeing “Hichuk” as the Polar High, with all the weather of the world rotating about it, to the south in all directions. This makes “Hiska” a high-pressure feature of the Ferrel Cell. Both “Beaucat”, reinvigorated in the Laptev Sea, and “Chuck”, weak in the Greenland Sea, are lows rolling along the line of demarcation between the Polar Cell and the Ferrel Cell.  This handy, textbook way of looking at things works when it works, and the rest of the time you need to toss the textbook out the window.polar-cell-atmospherecirculation

A quick glance at Faboo shows it is continuing its wrong-way cruise to the northwest, but the thaw is chilling back  down towards freezing.  Lake Faboo looks like it may hold slush, in this morning’s gray and gloomy picture, and it’s level seems lower, as if its outlet has reopened. NP3 1 0819 2015cam1_1

South of there O-buoy 9 has seen a calm descend, and its drift has slowed to a near standstill around 79.9° N and 2.5° W. With the sea-ice to the north heading away, it should be in a slot of increasing open water. Air temperatures are a hair below freezing, likely because that is the temperature of the salt water. Rather than a urban-heat-island effect it is a sort of polar-seawater-cold-island effect, when winds get calm.Obuoy 9 0819 webcam

O-buoy 10 is seeing temperatures a degree below freezing and light winds, and continues to head south upon ice that stubbornly refuse to break up. Obuoy 10 0819 webcamO-buoy 11 also is heading south on winds decreasing towards calm, with temperatures dipping towards -2°C, which is past the freezing point of salt water.Obuoy 11 0819 webcamO-buoy 12 also heads south, and also sees temperatures dipping to -2°C, but breezes have been stronger for the past 3 days, in the range of 10-15 mph. Unfortunately all we can see is a smear. The Polar Smear-monster has apparently migrated west.Obuoy 12 0819 webcam

Another hot and humid day is forecast for us here in New Hampshire, so when I come dragging in after work today I’m not sure whether I’ll want to write. Sometimes I don’t want to do more than look at the ice.


Yesterday’s official data confirms what we suspected: that Faboo crunched another 8.71 miles northwest, winding us up at 86.302°N, 10.896°W, which puts us back where we were in early July. This movement was assisted by a strong breeze of 15-20 mph, with temperatures declining from a day’s high of +1.5°C at midnight to a low of +0.5°C at noon, and also for our final reading at 2100Z.

I’m not sure I can believe today’s unofficial reports, which show we stopped heading north but continued west, and also that our thaw ended with a thump as temperatures fell to -4.19° C. We’ll have to see if that stunning plunge verifies in tomorrow’s official report.  In the gray and gloomy pictures Lake Faboo does look like it may have again frozen over.NP3 1 0819B 2015cam1_1

Temperatures crashing to -4° is worthy of a new post, so I will conclude this one with the following profound thought:

Slapstick science attempts to slap ideas against a wall and hope they stick, but when the wall is melting ice it is too slippery and no known glue works. Only when the melting ice freezes do things stick to it, and what sticks to slapstick scientists, when temperatures drop to -4° in mid-August, is that the concept of an ice-free Pole is slapstick comedy.

Amazing, stupid, sea-ice picture

This is a totally cool picture of stage-one-sea-ice becoming stage-two-sea-ice. It belongs in a sea-ice textbook.

During stage-one the water starts to look oily, because, rather than the chilled surface saltwater sinking because (unlike fresh water) cold surface saltwater sinks, right down to the freezing point, instead microscopic icebergs start to form, and every sea-ice geek knows ice floats on water, even if it is microscopic.

During stage two these tiny particles start to coalesce into slushy islands called “pancakes,” and bunches of these join together to form “pancake ice”. This is slow-growth-ice, and different from flash-freeze-ice.

In the picture below we look at an area of salt water beyond sea-ice closest to us. The skim of ice closest to us, in that water, is lateral-growth-ice and more like flash-freeze-ice. However beyond that is water that, at first glance, seems merely dappled by ripples caused by the wind. If you look more carefully you see those are not ripples; they are little “pancakes.”

What blows me away is that this is not a picture from the very cold water north of Greenland. This is from the supposedly warmer waters of the Beaufort Sea, which according to me should not be behaving like this. According to me the water here is warmed by influxes of Pacific water up through Bering Strait. According to me this balmy water will be eroding the underside of the sea-ice in this area. However this stupid picture is telling me I might not be as smart as I think I am.

If the Beaufort Sea has been chilled more than I thought it would or could be, then its waters will not be able melt the underside of sea-ice to the degree I have come to expect. Usually a large area of ice melts away, sometimes right to the start of October. Usually this melt can boggle your mind, because it keeps right on happening even as air temperatures drop well below freezing. Usually, even as temperatures ten below freezing try to grow new ice from the top. the mild Pacific waters overwhelm it and melt from beneath.

“Usually” this and “usually” that, but the picture above is not what you “usually” see, in the first half of August, in the Beaufort Sea.

I call the above picture “amazing” because it is totally cool to see something you have never seen before, but I call it “stupid” because it might make me look like an ass, because I predicted warm PDO Pacific waters would be melting the ice like crazy, in the exact location my lying eyes are seeing otherwise.



A breeze of eleven miles per hour stirs the slush, and even though temperatures remain below freezing, (reported at -1.11°C and then -0.62°C, at a nearby Mass Balance Buoy), the temperatures are above the freezing point of salt water, and the slush dissolves back into the water, leaving little sign of either “pancakes” or “lateral growth.” I suppose I can breathe a sigh of relief, as the evidence of my being an ass is hidden.Obuoy 12 0815 webcamI suppose I could even pat my own back and state, “You see? The Pacific warmth sure did melt that new ice, didn’t it?” In which case I am a mule, stubbornly ignoring the hint given to me by nature.

Melting ice involves using up the heat available, because the phase change from solid to liquid sucks up the heat, turning it into latent heat in the liquid water. To envision this, think of an old time ice-cream maker. The ice melting due to salt in the outer bucket sucks the heat from the strawberries and cream in the inner container, freezing it into ice-cream. In like manner the melting of the slush we have witnessed in the past seven hours has sucked the heat out of the Beaufort Sea’s surface water at this location, turning it into…

Hmm. What is it turning into?

It is turning it into salt water colder than it was before, and less able to melt last year’s ice, because it has had to melt this year’s ice.  That may be a minor factoid, but I park it in the back of my brain, and then sit back to watch and see what’s next.

PS (What was next was an almost immediate plunge in temperatures to -4.0°C, and some sort of snow squall that obscured the lens. Typical. All I need to say is that it is thawing, and you see what happens? This is Natures version of slapstick comedy, and a pie-in-my-face.Obuoy 12 0815B webcam

PPS The snow shows as a down-dip at the end of the temperature graph, followed by a recovery. You can bet a nickle the snow didn’t warm the water any.Obuoy 12 0815B temperature-1week


If you are going to have anything to do with trying to understand weather or climate, you need to be humble, because the Creator has a habit of astounding. Even if you try your hardest to never forecast, thinking you may thus avoid being wrong, you expect certain things, perhaps because you learned them as “facts”. Soon you learn that “to expect” is in a sense “to forecast”, and you will be humbled, because what you expect doesn’t occur.

When this occurs you should be glad, for you are not as stupid as you were before. When mistakes are made they offer an opportunity to learn. Which would you rather have? A fat ego, and to walk about with an erroneous belief and not even know it? Or to be humbled, but walking closer to Truth?

I think Hudson Bay is pointing out some errors this summer, simply by retaining its ice a bit longer than usual.  For example the way the University of Illinois gathers its data creates a graph showing there is 0.7 million km2 ice left, while the Canadian Ice Service shows 1.7 million km2, and this quite obviously will create two very different graphs.

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS (Below average ice )Hudson Aug 13 A recent365.anom.region.13

CANADIAN ICE SERVICE  (Above average ice.)Hudson Aug 13 B 20150810180000_CVCSWCTHB_0008414299

When you ask for an explanation for such glaring differences, you can get more explaining than you bargained for, involving the different ways and means of measuring, and in the end you discover the graphs are in some odd way measuring different things. One is measuring sea-ice and the other is measuring cabbages, I suppose. All I am certain of is that one says there is less ice than normal, and the other says there is more, and you can’t have it both ways. One is wrong, or perhaps wronger, and I doubt it is the Canadians, because it is their Bay and they have the most to lose if their data is incorrect.

What this would mean is that the University of Illinois is being shown a correction they need to make, due to the kindness of Mother Nature and the Creator. They should be flattered by the attention, and glad they will soon be improved.

The problem with being a sensitive poet (like me) is that sometimes improvement hurts your feelings. Rather than stand corrected you fall prey to self-pity. Rather than improve you glower about how you are misunderstood.  Actually you are the one in error, and therefore the misunderstanding is yours, but the ego has a marvelous ability to blame everyone else, and never the man in the mirror.

The next problem develops when you cling to flawed concepts, and use them to build further concepts, which then have flawed foundations and must necessarily be flawed. As mistakes increase the glaring nature of the incorrect results gets larger, but you can be so blind that you think the results are correct. For example, look at the current NOAA map for whether Sea Surface temperatures in Hudson Bay are above or below normal. Hudson Aug 13 C color_anomaly_NPS_ophi0 This map shows the entire Bay is above normal, and the water choked with sea-ice is above normal, but less above normal than the rest of the Bay. And we know this must be correct because, after all, it is NOAA talking, so we post this map to our friends stating it proves Global Warming has heated the Bay.

Then a friend replies, wondering how ice-water can be above normal. After all, water cannot get any colder than that, and still be liquid. He is so rude as to question NOAA. You reply that if NOAA says the water is above normal it must be so, and that must mean the ice has actually melted.

Then the friend goes to Joseph D’Aleo’s blog at the Weatherbell site and snips a picture Joe. D’Aleo snipped from Dr. Roy Spencer’s site, of what the Bay looks like from outer space, and sends it to you. (Click to enlarge, or open to a new tab, and click again to enlarge further, to give your lying eyes a feast.)Hudson Aug 13 D MODIS-Hudson-Bay-ice-8-8-15

After a brief argument about how the heck the Canadians can keep those huge letters from drifting out of place, and whether they are made of ice or vinyl, you will likely agree that besides some white down in James Bay and a small area to the right of the word “Hudson Bay”,  (which are likely clouds), all the other swirls are sea-ice.

Then you will look back at the NOAA map that says that water’s temperature is above normal, and a light bulb will go off in your head. You will realize how embarrassed they must be, for if they call ice-water above normal, when it can’t get any colder, then it also means all the other red areas of the map hold the same error.

In conclusion, what really should be red is their faces.

“A million” mountain livestock dying of cold in Peru and Bolivia

Andes cold alpacas nieveAndes Cold - Bolivia - 2

The “Ice Age Now” site reports the cold events the mainstream media seems to avoid, and I was troubled when I came across two stray headlines.

Global Warming is suppose to make mountains warmer, and in some cases cause plants and animals to go extinct because they can’t migrate any higher than a mountain’s top. It seems some South American herders did move uphill during the warmer years of the past few decades, and now are paying the price as it is too cold at those altitudes this year.

It should be noted that in Peru the animals dying include alpacas, which are native to the high altitudes of the Andes Mountains. (The person writing the second article obviously isn’t pleased by the Peruvian government.)

“This is a disaster unparalleled in our history. Of course, Ollanta Humala and his court seem to have been unaware. The presidential message of July 28 said iota about the tragedy. Frightening is the situation created by the snowfall that hit especially the poor peasants. The regime cares only for transnational mining poor things.”

(You may have to use your “translate” feature to read these articles)

Argiris Daimantis sent this news item to the “Ice Age Now” site, and added insights that ought cause some shame:

“One lion killed in Zimbabwe has got a lot of attention in the Main Stream Media,” says Argiris. “A disaster unparalleled in the history of Peru gets no attention at all.”

“Even the President of Peru chooses to ignore this disaster.

“Why? Because this news might disturb the new Global Warming religion.”

ARCTIC SEA ICE -The last floes of summer-(September 8-15, 2015.)

“The Last Rose Of Summer”

‘Tis the last rose of summer left blooming alone
All her lovely companions are faded and gone
No flower of her kindred, no rosebud is nigh
To reflect back her blushes and give sigh for sigh

I’ll not leave thee, thou lone one, to pine on the stem
Since the lovely are sleeping, go sleep thou with them
Thus kindly I scatter thy leaves o’er the bed
Where thy mates of the garden lie scentless and dead

So soon may I follow when friendships decay
And from love’s shining circle the gems drop away
When true hearts lie withered and fond ones are flown
Oh who would inhabit this bleak world alone?
This bleak world alone

Thomas Moore      

I was considering abandoning these Sea-ice posts today, as it seemed foolish to waste the power of my pen on such topics, when it seems my purple prose might be of more use in opposing a gas pipeline through my backyard. Call me NIMBY if you will, but the pipeline would not be necessary if people in Europe were not idiots about Global Warming, closing down perfectly good coal plants for dysfunctional wind turbines, and solar panels where the sun hardly shines in December. And, because the elite snobs of my neighboring state want to copy Europe, even to a degree where they fake make-believe English accents, they too are closing down coal power plants and need natural gas. However here in New Hampshire we actually export power, thanks to the Seabrook nuclear power plant, and also the fact we have some power plants that burn our trees. So we do not need a pipeline. Europe and Massachusetts do. So let the pipeline go through Massachusetts backyards.

I can wield a very nasty poisoned pen when I want, sharper than any sword. Despite the fact I recognize the fact fossil fuels have lifted mankind from mean poverty, and the fact some of my best friends work in the coal, oil and gas industry, I can rabble rouse, when it comes to outsiders ruining my homeland for their outside interests.

And I know I must be deemed rabble, to be treated in the manner I and my fellow citizens are being treated by our insane president and the insane politicians in Washington DC.  We are not worth the time of day. We are like Cherokee before the Trail Of Tears, Like Navajo before the Long Walk, like Scots before the Clearances.

Therefore I am not going to waste my time discussing the silly politics involved in Sea-ice. The “Death Spiral” has been so completely debunked that anyone who still believes it might be real is embarrassingly deluded. They, and not I, are a “denier”. For heaven’s sake! Today’s extent graph shows we are nearly to the line deemed “normal” ice extent. The idea of an ice-free Pole is complete humbug in the face of such evidence:DMI2 0809B icecover_current_new
I rest my case.

It is amazing to me that, despite this and other evidence, the president of the United States persists in erroneous statements. I cannot believe he is misinformed, and misguided. I believe he is well informed and is fully aware he is misinforming the American people. He simply is hard-bitten and cynical and has the horrible belief that Truth does not matter. In conclusion, (and I have a hard time saying this about any fellow American, but say it as a warning to the rest of the world,) he is evil.

Truth is goodness. Falsehood is evil. Knowledge is good. Ignorance is evil. Truth is beauty. Lies are always ugly. If you believe there is such a thing as a “white lie”, you are probably a racist.

Suppose I had to hide a fugitive from a Gestapo. Would I lie to the Gestapo, when they burst in? No, for I would have moved my chair, and would honestly tell them, “I’ve been working in this room all morning, and as long as I’ve been sitting here no fugitive has come into this room.

People who live in the Truth would immediately recognize that statement as crafty, and might cross-examine me, but people who live a lie have lost that ability. You don’t need to lie to misguide them, for they are so misguided to begin with they basically have no idea where they are. I pity such blindness, but such people can be a problem, especially when they grasp power and become a president.

I think the time has come for people who can see to speak to the blind. I am going to do my best to do so, though at times it is like trying to convince the tone-deaf there is tone or the color-blind there is color. It is a weary task, and at times I just want to get away from it all, and rather than needing to teach power-mad, greed-mad, and lust-mad morons, I want to just sit back and be the moron, being taught by the Truth.

Henceforth, that is all these Sea-ice posts will be. For Sea-ice doesn’t care about the president, or the United Nations, or Isis. It is simply the Truth. And, like a child looking at summertime’s clouds, we are disciples watching our guru. We are humble students, and the arctic is our teacher.  It is the poetry, the symphony, and we are the audience, listening in awe and feeling our souls expanded as we heed.

We are now entering the final time of the summer thaw. At first we will see the surface freeze, and then the sides of burgs and surface of the exposed salt-water, and lastly even the bottoms of the bergs will stop melting and start growing.

I am going to attempt to ignore the annoying politics involved. Skeptics tend to root for ice not melting, and Alarmists root for ice melting, and both sides go through anguish as we approach a point where ice will either have melted more or less than last year.

In Truth, it really doesn’t matter a hill of beans. It is a tiny variation, in a huge scheme of things. It is like worrying about how many micro-millimeters your child’s fingernail grows, and keeping charts, and worrying about that “science” so much you forget to tuck the child in and kiss it good night.

In the end, we shall see what we shall see, and the arctic shall do what the arctic will do.  It will be above our heads, but teach us much, if we simply observe.

The North Pole Camera, that I call “Faboo”, has been interesting this year as it has not been slushed down towards Fram Strait, and in fact is further north than I can recall a North Pole Camera ever being, in August. Two years ago the camera had a hard time getting south of 84° latitude, but this year we’ve had trouble getting south of 86°. Last Friday we headed 1.37 miles north to 86.287°, which puts us back where we were in mid July. On Saturday we continued north as far as 86.296°N before we finally resumed expected behavior, and made it south to 86.290°N, 7.959°W, which means we moved 0.31 miles in twenty-four hours. At that rate we would make down to Fram Strait in 2016, likely in December. This is very different from “normal”. and we, as students, should be attentive to what the guru is teaching us.

As very little happened, in terms of movement, a big swing in winds from south to north occurred, and temperatures swung from thawing on Friday to freezing on Saturday. Friday saw a low of +0.5°C at midnight and a high of +1.2°C, which seems nice and diurnal and normal, but Saturday was not diurnal, with the high +0.9°C  at midnight crashing to a low of -0.9°C at noon and then to a lower low of -1.6°C at 2100Z. What was the guru teaching us?

The pictures from this time teach a lot to poets who dream at clouds. First we see the thaw.

 But then clearing brings sharply colder temperatures.
I have no data for what follows, but it looks like “Lake Faboo” to the left was frozen over, despite the sunshine that followed.

I’ll continue these observations tomorrow, including the O-buoy visuals.


Very little action occurring over the Pole. Perhaps this will allow inversion to increase the cold?  The cold still  is centered on the Pacific side, and rings the Pole.

DMI2 0810 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0810 temp_latest.big

O-buoy 9 continues to drift the “wrong way”, to the northeast, through calm and fog and temperatures right at freezing. The dirt on yesterday’s berg may be from any number of sources, including wind-blown tundra dust, volcanoes,  Chinese power plants, underwater algae, and glacial moraines. Obuoy 9 0809 webcamObuoy 9 0810 webcamO-buoy 10 has started drifting back north, with temperatures nearly up to freezing in the southerly wind, and milder air aloft producing drizzle that is falling and freezing onto the dangling strap in front of the lens. The melt-water pools remain frozen over, and there is no sign of the ice cracking up  yet.Obuoy 10 0809 webcamObuoy 10 0810 webcamAt O-buoy 11 to the southeast, where the ice has cracked up, the ice is also moving north and temperatures have risen, but not above freezing. It is unusual to see a skim of ice on sea-water this early. I wonder if the Satellite sees such a very-thin layer of ice as open water or as ice-covered. That second picture is just plain beautiful, and worth enlarging and forgetting science with, for a bit.Obuoy 11 0809 webcamObuoy 11 0810 webcamOver to the west O-buoy 12 has started south again in light winds, and continues to experience sub-freezing conditions. The ice looked jammed up and cold yesterday, but now will start spreading out and dispersing.Obuoy 12 0809 webcamObuoy 12 0810 webcamObuoy 12 0810B webcamMONDAY EVENING UPDATE

Faboo returned to some degree of normalcy yesterday, drifting 2.07 miles due south to 86.260°N, 7.955°W. Winds were light, and some of the coldest air we’ve seen since June wafted by with temperatures falling to -2.4°C at 0300Z. Temperatures remained cold, only rising to -1.0°C at noon,  and then spiked up to the threshold of a thaw at 1500Z with a reading of -0.1°C, before sliding back a little to -0.6°C at the final reading at 2100Z.  Today it looks a little warmer, with mackerel skies.NP3 1 0810 2015cam1_3NP3 1 0810B 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0810C 2015cam1_1To the south O-buoy 9 has had a run in-with what appears to me to be not sea-ice, but a berg calved off a glacier. The bigger bergs of sea-ice are made up a jumble of slabs cemented together, but this berg looks like pure, packed snow. You can get a faint glimpse of the larger part under water. Winds are nearly calm and temperatures a hair below freezing. We are nearly east to 5° longitude.Obuoy 9 0810B webcamOver in the Beaufort Sea we are flirting with thawing, in light 9 mph winds. I’m hoping we can melt that ice from the strap obstructing our view. The wind shift to south has swung us around in our private melt-water pool, so we can look back at the neighboring buoys.Obuoy 10 0810B webcamSoutheast of there O-buoy 11 is also attempting to thaw, with 9 mph winds and temperatures right at freezing. The small iceberg in the center looks like it left a path through the very thin new ice.Obuoy 11 0810B webcamOver to the west O-buoy 12 is seeing winds starting to  slack off after blowing around 10 mph a while. Temperatures continue a hair below freezing. Ehat I find striking is how white the bergs are, likely all covered by fresh snow.Obuoy 12 0810C webcamThe earlier picture from O-buoy 9 of the glacial (I think) berg brings to mind this YouTube video from August 5 that has gone viral, (1.3 million hits). It is of an iceberg breaking up in a Newfoundland harbor. These bergs drift all the way down the east side of Baffin Bay, and are from glaciers in Greenland, on  Baffins Island, and occasionally from the north coast of the Canadian Archipelago that get sucked south through Nares Strait. I suppose they deserve to be called “sea ice”, but are fundamentally different from most ice we study because they form on land, up in the mountain valleys.

The DMI maps show Beaucat is weak, but taking a run at the Pole as what is left of Pohi sagges towards Scandinavia. The low north of Iceland is stalled and not effecting the Arctic much at this point, but deserves a name, so I’ll call it “Zerves.” It looks like it is pumping some mild air up the coast of Norway that could eventually effect Faboo. The cold air is remaining stubborn on the Pacific side of the Pole.DMI2 0810B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0810B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0811 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0811 temp_latest.big

“Pohi” continues to be assailed from two sides, and to retreat down into Scandinavia, as “Beaucat” becomes the first low pressure to gain Top-of-the-world status in weeks. This is likely indicative of a change in the pattern, and we should be on the look out for new dynamics.  For the time being, things are the same, with a ring of cold surrounding the Pole, centered on the Pacific side.   Beaucat is a gentle, 1000mb low and nothing like the summer gales we saw over the arctic in 2012 and 2013.

“Zerve” spins north of Iceland, with a warm flow up the coast of Norway and touching Svalbard. It helps to sneak a peek at the UK Met map to understand that southerly flow. It shows that flow is full of occlusions, and largely aloft, Zerve’s front extends to a weak low north of Scotland, a weaker low west of the Azores, and then across and up to a new storm in Newfoundland. That storm, “Zerveson,” will explode to a 967 mb gale southeast of Iceland, and bump Zerve east over the top of Scandinavia, as Pohi is squished south and then bulges back north behind Zerve.  This is more winter-like stuff than we’ve seen.UK Met 0811 26569141Faboo is back to seeing the world through gray glasses.NP3 1 0811 2015cam1_1O-buoy 9 continues east through calm, fog, and temperatures right at freezing.Obuoy 9 0811 webcamThe Beaufort Sea buoys have all been seeing wet snow on the lenses. O-buoy 10 shows the best signs of clearing at the moment, with a drop in temperatures to around -1.5°, and winds around 11 mph.Obuoy 10 0811 webcamO-buoy 11 has seen a diurnal dip to around -0.5° with winds around 6 mph.Obuoy 11 0811 webcamO-buoy 12 is drifting southeast, seeing temperatures just below freezing, winds of 12 mph, and slush.Obuoy 12 0811 webcam


Yesterday Faboo continued south, veering a little west, and moving 1.93 miles to 86.235°N, 8.147°W. After  spending more than 48 hours below freezing it finally got above freezing at 0800Z and reached the day’s high of +0.4°C  at noon, before falling back to -0.3°C at the final report at 2100Z.  Winds picked up slightly from nearly calm to 7 mph.

Today it looks like we continued south west, though I expect we’ll turn right around and head back northeast if we get into a southwest flow as Beaucat approaches.

The gray views continued. (You know things are looking gray when the wan sun only comes out at midnight.)NP3 1 0811B 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0811C 2015cam1_1

Down towards Fram Strait the northern influences of “Zerves”, now a weakening 995 mb low heading away towards the top of Norway from the top of Iceland,  may be sprawling just far enough north to effect our buoys. Neither seems to be getting any southern warmth, but light northeast winds has started shifting them south. Buoy 2015E: was at +0.27°C and O-buoy was just below freezing. It’s view of fog and dispersing ice was indicative of a shift in direction at a frontal boundary, I thought to myself as I snatched brief glimpses of open water and only a few scattered chips of ice, as I barely hesitated by the computer during a rushing day. Of course, now that I sit down to illustrate what I mean, the camera has come a cropper of a mass of ice. My ego wants to delete this picture, but Truth is watching as I type.Obuoy 9 0811B webcamOf I had any brains I’d wait ten minutes and post a picture with less ice. In fact I think I’ll do exactly that.Obuoy 9 0811C webcamWell, that’s not perfect, but a little better. Just ignore that berg in the foreground.

Over in the Beaufort Sea O-buoy 10 is not having much luck melting the ice from the strap in its face, as temperatures took a plunge down to -4° right in the middle of the day when they should have been rising. The strap did get blown a bit to the right, despite the fact it is encrusted with ice, so I expect the wind is rising, (though the data is being “stored” and not “delivered” at the moment. I suppose the satellite is busy at the moment, and they sometimes have to wait in line.) Notice the melt-water channel is again dusted by blowing snow on a skim of ice. I think one can safely say that surface melt is temporarily arrested, though the ice is still moving south towards open waters, and still might break up.Obuoy 10 0811B webcam Southeast of there O-buoy 11 has been giving weird, bleary views all day that suggest it got swept though a time warp to some other planet. It is less cold, but did show a dip to around -1°C, rather than a diurnal rise. Obuoy 11 0811B webcam Meanwhile O-buoy 12 continues south, and continues to see sub-freezing temperatures and snow.Obuoy 12 0811B webcam

I’m tuckered out, but hopefully will discuss the DMI maps in the morning. DMI2 0811B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0811B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0812 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0812 temp_latest.big

“Beaucat” is already weakening and only at 996mb, but is the closest thing we’ve had to a polar storm in a while. It wont make much of a ruckus, with winds below 20 mph at the highest, on the Siberian side. Towards Canada weak “Beaucatson” looks likely to split off and head down to Baffin Bay. (I’ll call the weak low in East Siberia “Chuck” because it is moving into the Chukchi sea.) The real ruckus will be “Zerveson” which is starting to blow up into a gale at the southern tip of Greenland. “Zerve” is going to wobble away weakly over the top of Scandinavia and then likely restrengthen in the Kara sea as it heads southeast. The question to me is where high pressure will rebuild, with all these weak lows around. “Pohi”, as an entity, looks like it will sink south into Europe and become an extension of the Azores high.

Milder air looks like it is getting north to Svalbard and Barents Sea, but just north of there the edge of the ice is clearly shown by sub-freezing temperatures, and perhaps some sort of weak surface front. The pattern seems very zonal, without the spears of warmth pushing right over the Pole we see in a meridianal pattern. The subfreezing temperatures form a ring around the Pole.

Faboo is reporting temperatures just below freezing via the Mass Balance buoy, and even the sunshine is gray. I think Altostratus suggests the warm air aloft isn’t all that  warm.

NP3 1 0812 2015cam1_1To the south Buoy 2015E: is reporting a subfreezing -0.35°C way down towards 77° north latitude in Fram Strait, and it also looks like it is just below freezing up at 80.5° latitude, where I-buoy 9 bobs in a gentle breeze of 7 mph and thinks about finally heading south. It continues to show highly variable amounts of sea ice. If it doesn’t support your private theory, just wait for the next picture. The second picture is interesting, as that nearest berg to the left seems to faintly  show that even flat bergs can have a lot of their mass under water, which demonstrates the difficulty of measuring volume by satellite, as a satellite would have a hard time seeing the underwater part of that berg.Obuoy 9 0812 webcam Obuoy 9 0812B webcamObuoy 9 0812C webcamOver towards the Pacific side O-buoy 10 continies to drift very slowly south with 9 mph winds and temperatures stubbornly below zero, and clouds increasing, though we did get just a peek of just-before-midnight sun.Obuoy 10 0812 webcam Obuoy 10 0812B webcamObuoy 10 0812C webcamO-buoy 11 continues to see a smear. Winds are higher (18 mph) and it is headed south faster than O-buoy 10, so the ice in theory should be spreading out, with more open water, though temperatures remain flat at around -1°C. (That may be the temperature of the salt water, which doesn’t freeze, even when made slightly brackish by melting ice, until down around -1.7°. )Obuoy 11 0812 webcamO-buoy 12 has stopped drifting south for the moment, as winds slacken to 7 mph and temperatures settle to -3°C. We only got one half-decent picture before the freezing fog moved in.Obuoy 12 0812 webcamObuoy 12 0812B webcam

Now the fog has lifted and the sun is blearily looking over a scene where temperatures have dropped to -3°C in the “warm” part of the afternoon.Obuoy 12 0812C temperature-1weekObuoy 12 0812C webcam


Yesterday Faboo turned around and drifted back northeast 1.3 miles to  86.243°N, 7.887°W. Temperatures made it up to freezing at midnight and the day’s high of +0.9°C at noon, before slipping back to +0.1°C at the final report at 2100Z. We are likely starting to feel the winds of Beaucat, which may not push us south but could drive us a ways east. It will be interesting to see if some the cold gets spun around from the Beaufort Sea side. Our view remains gray and dreary.NP3 1 0812C 2015cam1_1

Buoy 2015E: is reporting -19.05°C, which has got to be a glitch.  I’ll catch up with the O-buoys later.


O-buoy 9 continues to mill around in slack waters and a near calm, with temperatures right around freezing. I’ll stick five pictures below to give an idea of how much the view changes. Keep in mind the view was nearly ice-free this morning. I get the sense a lot is going on in a very thin layer of stratified atmosphere.Obuoy 9 0812D webcamObuoy 9 0812E webcamObuoy 9 0812F webcamObuoy 9 0812G webcamObuoy 9 0812H webcam

O-buoy 10 remains on firm ice, though still drifting south. Winds have picked up to a breeze of 15 mph, and with temperatures rising during the time the sun is higher, but still below freezing.Obuoy 10 0812B webcam Obuoy 10 0812C webcamObuoy 10 0929D webcamO-buoy 11 continues to get smeared by the blear creature of the north, which is now pressing its face against the lens for a “selfie.” Winds are nearly calm, and temperatures are up to freezing.Obuoy 11 0812C webcam Obuoy 11 0822D webcamO-buoy 12 is stationary, with temperatures doing a quick dip after a quick spoke up towards freezing. This picture wins the coveted “Shot Of The Day” award.

There are some impressive bergs in the distance, which I judge to be jumbled ice, and not from glaciers.  They are what larger pressure ridges can become when the ice breaks up. A decent thaw can cause these bergs crumble back to their component bits and pieces, which then spread out as many small bergs. In other words, one of these jumble-bergs, covering an area of X, can become many small bergs covering an area of 4X or more. (Remember 9/10th of the jumble is underwater and out of sight.)

Obuoy 12 0812E webcam

The DMI maps once again can wait until morning.

DMI2 0812B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0812B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0813 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0813 temp_latest.big

Beaucat stalled and cut-off on Pole. Noontime reducing the cold on the Pacific side, but the cool pool is still evident, and part of a ring of subfreezing temperatures around the Pole.

Faboo is seeing a bit of wan sunshine but not much warming yet, with subfreezing temperatures.

NP3 1 0813 2015cam1_1

“We Are Now Starting To See A Dramatic Cooling In The Arctic”, Says Former NOAA Meteorologist  (See more at:

This fellow links lunar cycles to Periodic surges of milder water from the Atlantic in 1990, 1998 and 2006. The Arctic stuff starts at 17.48 of the video.


O-buoy 9 continues to drift southwest, which is a pity, as I was hoping we’d head east and visit Svalbard. Winds are very light and temperatures alternate a hair either side of freezing.Obuoy 9 0813 webcamIt is so cold at O-buoy 10 that a tornado froze solid over to the left. Oh, that’s not a tornado? Well, winds are fairly brisk at least, at 18 mph, and temperatures are stuck at -1°C. The melt-water pools don’t look very melted. We are continuing south and a little east, likely in the influence of “Beaucatson” to the south rather than “Beaucat” to the north.Obuoy 10 0813 webcam At O-buoy 11 the weird, leering blear-creatures of the sleep-deprived arctic night are starting to fade like a bad dream, but we really could use a thaw and some sunshine to clear the lens. We may have touched thawing temperatures briefly yesterday, but the night dipped us back down to -1°C. Winds have dropped to calm, so the drift south has slowed, which means the ice from O-buoy 10 should be catching up and making the pack-ice more packed. Hopefully as the sun gets higher the lens will clear and we can see.Obuoy 11 0813 webcamOver to the west at O-buoy 12 the winds swung around 180° and our drift to the west shifted to the east, which apparently created elbow room and allowed the bergs to spread out. For a time this morning there was nothing but open water in sight, so I expected the temperature to rise to the temperature of the water, which typically happens, but rather than rising to roughly -1.5°C the  temperatures dropped to -4°C, which made me look like a bad forecaster, and also caused me to stir up my dandruff. For the life of me I can’t figure out where the cold is coming from. (I was tempted to blame a solid expanse of ice out of sight, directly behind the camera.)

What it means is that all the open water you can see in this picture is being chilled at a time it theoretically should be being warmed. Not that the sun could do much warming, even if it wasn’t cloudy. Because it is just past midnight local time, and we are down at 77.5° latitude, the sun is so low on the horizon that water reflects radiation as well as the ice does, unless it is very rough, which it isn’t, with winds at 2 mph. Conclusion? Beaufort Sea is being chilled as we watch.Obuoy 12 0813 webcam


Yesterday Faboo only made it north to 86.245°N, before the west winds swung from WSW to WNW, and we moved in stronger winds than we’ve recently seen, steadily 11 mph, to 86.227°N   6.838°W, which is 4.88 miles from where we were yesterday. Temperatures defied the diurnal norm, reaching a high of +0.4° at 0300Z and then sinking to -0.6°C at 1500Z as a low.

Today the SE drift likely continued, as the weak low over the Pole swung a sort of front over, giving us a spell of freezing drizzle and then, at long last, some sunshine, though it didn’t raise temperatures. The final picture is from just before midnight, local time, and the unofficial temperatures were dropping to  -1.85° C. This demonstrates that the warmth of slush season has past, and clear skies don’t automatically mean temperatures cause thawing, especially towards midnight. (Notice how much of the sun is reflected from the old, gritty snow, and think whether you require sunglasses as much as you will in a picture-to-come of sun glancing off glassy water.)

NP3 1 0813B 2015cam1_4NP3 1 0813C 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0813D 2015cam1_1

South of there O-Buoy 9 stopped drifting west and started back east, while nudging south closer to 80° latitude. Here too temperatures dipped when it cleared, and here too we happened to see the sun close to midnight. This coincidence is totally cool, because it demonstrates glassy, open water reflects a lot of light when the sun gets low, but not all the light, until the sun gets even lower and sits on the horizon. The question for you, dear reader, is,  “Which better reflects sunlight? Old snow or glassy water?”  Which requires sunglasses more?Obuoy 9 0813B webcam The following picture wins today’s award for “Most Beautiful Picture.” It was taken three hours later, the other side of midnight, but the sun has seemingly moved the wrong way across the sky and is now out of sight to the left. This is because the camera is swinging around, panning to the right. This picture is loaded with cool stuff that fascinates the scientific mind, but it is worth simply opening it to a new tab and gazing at the beauty like a stupid poet.

OK. Enough of that happy hornswaggle.  Now lets be amateur scientists and notice the neat stuff. Have you ever seen bergs as brown as the ones in the distance? Don’t you crave to go sample the dirt and take it to a lab for proper analysis? And how about that skim of ice on the sea-water in the foreground? How cold must that water be, to freeze so quickly after temperatures barely nudge below the freezing point of salt water? (Answer: Very cold.)Obuoy 9 0813C webcam

South of there down in Fram Strait, Mass Balance Buoy 2015E: is reporting a likely-incorrect  -12.46° C. Likely the buoy is under attack by the dreaded arctic blear-creature, which distorts reality. Less likely is the possibility that the read-outs from this buoy are automatically fed, via satellite, into a computer model costing the taxpayers of Lower Slobovia six ka-zillion Slobovian Burros. Because this incorrect reading is like a butterfly flapping its wings in the face of Chaos Theory, they are currently evacuating the Sobovian capital, because their computer model is predicting winds of 300 mph for tomorrow’s rush hour.

Turning our attention across the Pole to the Beaufort Sea and O-buoy 10, it is with complete horror I must report it now has been pounced upon by the blear-creature:Obuoy 10 0813B webcamThis occurred because the blear-creature had to flee O-buoy 11, who heroically fought off its leering, smearing effects and gave us a visual, which is interesting because there is so much fresh snow and so little open water.Obuoy 11 0813B webcam

Further west O-buoy 12 must be seeing a wind-shift to the south, as it has started drifting back north, but temperatures have only risen a half degree and still remain below the freezing point of salt water. The water in the foreground in the picture may have an oily look because salt water looks oily, when it first starts to freeze.Obuoy 12 0813B webcam

The DMI maps show a changed arctic, in terms of isobars, though it looks much the same in terms of temperatures. The Pole remains ringed by colder temperatures, with the cold pooling on the Pacific side. Where we had high pressure “Pohi” over the Pole, with a long fetch from Siberia to Greenland, we now have the weak low pressure “Beaucat.” “Chuck” is the weak low north of Bering Strait. “Beaucatson” has dipped to Hudson Bay, leaving the weak low “Beaucathree” behind.  “Zerve” is also weak and drifting east north of Norway, with “Zervezip” kicking ahead and diving down as a weak low into Kara Sea. The only decent storm is “Serveson”, the gale southwest of Iceland.

DMI2 0813B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0813B temp_latest.big

“Pohi” in the above maps has been pushed all the way south to Sweden, which allows me to write an analysis I proudly title:


Thise who put up with me know that last spring I thought, due to the state of the PDO and the AMO, that the Pacific side of the Pole would be warm this summer and the Atlantic side would be cold. In my attempts to salvage some credibility, I have noted that while the Barents and Kara Seas may not have been colder, Scandinavia was.Scandinavian August 1 ncep_cfsv2_360_t2anom_europe

Today, on his excellent blog at Weatherbell, Joseph D’Aleo shared some insights about the Scandinavian situation, and in the process gave me a computer model’s hopeful idea that the Norse might actually have some summer this summer, over the next 20 days. Of course, I care more for sea-ice than gorgeous blonds, (when my wife is watching), so I was looking north of Scandinavia when Joseph D’Aleo shared the following maps of the next ten days, and the ten days after that.Scandinavian August 2 cfs_anom_t2m_eur_2015081218_x41 Scandinavian August 3 cfs_anom_t2m_eur_2015081218_x81 This is only a computer model’s idea, and not reality, but such warmth in the northeast Atlantic is something well worth being wary of, if you watch the melt of sea-ice, which I never waste my precious time doing….but only indulge in when it repays me many times over.


The heat surging north in Europe, and to a lesser degree on the west coast of North America, may be the warm aspect of a meridianal flow bringing cold air down to Iceland.

I have been thinking to myself that the low pressure bombing out by Iceland looks a lot like an Autumnal gale, when it isn’t autumn yet. Apparently I’m not the only one who noticed. This German meteorologist’s comment is well worth thinking about, and his linked paper is well worth reading, (though the auto-translate butchers it a bit.)

“Well said. May I contribute a confirmation of Dilleys speech from an entirely different direction? Every synoptical meteorologist should have noticed that there is an extraordinary series of most intense low pressure systems on the Atlantic. Just today there is one with core pressure below 975 hPa! In average this happens every five years ONCE in summer, but a sieries like this one I never experueinced in more than 40 years of work as a bench forecaster.

The intensity, amongst other phenomena, depends on the temperature difference between high and low latitudes. The bigger the difference, the stronger the low pressure systems. Thats why in winter this is a regular phenomenon – there is much more seasonal variability in the arctics than in the tropics. If there is a series like this occurring in summer, there is just one conclusion: it must be extraordinary cold in the arctics this summer! This must not necessarily be mirrored by sea ice cover instantly, but wait for the next few years.

More information about this can be found in my article (in German) over by the EIKE here: 

– See more at:

Hat tip to “Craigm350”  at


The “last in a series of storms” mentioned above is what I’ve dubbed “Zerveson” and can be seen south of Iceland, where it is already past peak and has weakened to 960mb.  It is interesting to me that “Pohi” is rebuilding a weak ridge of high pressure from Scandinavia up over the Pole, behind “Zerve” as it dives down through the Kara Sea into western Siberia. This weak ridge is nudging weak Beaucat off the Pole. Warmth has surged north to Svalbard, Barents Sea, and to Kara Sea, but just north of there a wall of sub-freezing cold is resisting.

DMI2 0814 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0814 temp_latest.big

Faboo has experienced a shot of air down towards -2°C, and “lake Faboo” to the right is definitely frozen over.NP3 1 0814 2015cam1_1O-buoy 9 caught a view of the dirtiest berg I’ve ever seen. Perhaps someone was planning a garden up there this summer. Light winds are swirling sub-freezing air with air right at freezing, making a jagged temperature graph, but the second picture shows the “oily” water indicative of salt water trying to freeze. We are right on 80° latitude, and have started back east again.Obuoy 9 0814 webcamObuoy 9 0814B webcamO-buoy 10 continues to show the blear-monster, (do not confuse a polar blear with a polar bear.) Temperatures have made it up to freezing, and winds are 5 mph.

O-buoy 11 has winds of 9 mph, temperatures roughly a degree below freezing, and takes a dim view of the situation.Obuoy 11 0814 webcamLastly O-buoy 12 attempted a thaw but only made it up to -0.5°C before dipping back a bit, with winds around 10 mph. We’ve drifted northwest a hair, which suggests southeast winds and a chance of thawing. If you squint at the water by the ice in the mid-distance I think you can glimpse varying depths of underwater ice, which suggests the ice we are looking at was once (perhaps last summer) broken bergs of various sizes, and then frozen together into a single slab. Just an idea. Obuoy 12 0814 webcamFRIDAY NIGHT UPDATE

Faboo curved from southeast to southwest yesterday, getting as far east as 6.578°W, and traveling 4,13 miles to wind up at 86.167°N, 6.804°W. Winds slacked off a little, from 11 mph to 7 mph. Temperatures went through a nice thaw and then a refreeze,  with the day’s high +0.7°C at 0600Z and the low at -1.4°C at 1800Z. (Diurnal variation be damned!)

The unofficial reports and pictures indicate we have continued to inch southwest, and temperatures have continued below freezing despite some sunshine. Whether we make it down to 86° latitude in the near future depends on whether “Pohi” builds a ridge to our east or to our west, and currently models show us smack dab in the middle of the ridge, which likely means we’ll go nowhere, and be slow about it. We’ll see.NP3 1 0814B 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0814C 2015cam1_1To the south O-buoy 9 continues southeast in a light breeze of 7 mph through varying temperatures slightly below freezing. It also continues to produce a kaleidoscope of sea-ice pictures, each one worthy of examination, but if I posted fifteen pictures and went on and on and on about them I might come across as a tedious old man, rather than the dashing and dapper character I’m striving to be, so I’ll just post the latest.Obuoy 9 0814C webcamAcross the top of the earth and down in Beaufort Sea I’m expecting a warm-up, because the circulation around “Beaucat” theoretically should pull cold air from the Pacific side to the Atlantic side. This is “sharing the wealth” and politically correct, and only incorrect people would call it “robbing from Peter to pay Paul,” and suggest it doesn’t pay in the long run. But first let us check to see if it actually happening.

O-bouy  10  has shaken free of the polar-blear, and gives us a view of fresh snow with little wind, but Huzza! Huzza! We’ve made it up to thawing!  True, it is only +0.02°C, but let’s not get greedy.Obuoy 10 0814C webcamIf you are greedy, head southeast to O-buoy 11, where a sad situation has developed. Despite marriage counselling, the co-located Mass Balance buoy 2014I and O-buoy 11 have drifted apart. (Please don’t sob; it helps no one.) But the good side of the seperation is if you don’t like one temperature you can take the other. The O-buoy may be reporting temperatures right at freezing, but the Mass balance buoy has reported a noteworthy rise from  -0.64°C to +1.49°C.

In the picture we see fresh snow that does look like it is wilting a bit, and could pack a mean snowball, however the pack-ice looks more solid than I would have expected, considering it should be melting and breaking up.Obuoy 11 0824C webcamWhen we go west of there to O-buoy 12 we get to a view that is, to me, rather annoying. After all, this buoy is closest to the mild Pacific and should be showing the most melt. I predicted it, and I’m sick and tired of this dumb buoy making an ass out of me. Temperatures actually have risen and flirted with freezing a a bit, but instead of soggy snow and slush and dissolving bergs, we get a wrongful photo of a freezing sea.Obuoy 12 0814C webcamThe skim of ice on the salt water is obvious in the foreground, but less obvious is what is in the water just beyond that skim. At first it looks like dappled water, but when you squint at it you see the painter didn’t do a very good job of conveying what dappling looks like, and then you suddenly realize it isn’t dappling; it is tiny little “pancakes” of ice.

This is actually the second stage of ice formation. In the first stage the water has an oily look, due to fine partials of ice floating like microscopic icebergs, but then they start to coalesce into larger and larger pancakes. This is a neat picture for a textbook.

I wouldn’t mind it if this was happening in the cold water up by Greenland, but it shouldn’t be happening down here at  77.85° N. According to me, this water is warm PDO Pacific water that melts bergs from beneath. It has no business acting cold enough to form pancake ice, and IMHO should go back to school and learn what is proper behavior.

At least the Mass Balance buoy is reporting we have inched above the freezing point of salt water here, to -1.11°C, so perhaps the pancake ice will melt, and I’ll only look like a mule, rather than an ass.

The DMI maps show that despite the efforts of both Beaucat and Zerve to push Pohi down into Eurasia, Pohi was a tricky little high pressure, and oozed like an ameoba under their attack and now is extending back north behind their backs, and is strong enough to keep Zerveson stuck by Iceland. The question now is how the nose of Pohi, extending towards the Pacific, will deal with the weakling Chuck, over on that side. Some models show Chuck will not remain as weak as he appears.

Meanwhile the temperature maps continue to show a pool of cold on the Pacific side, despite the efforts of Beaucat to swing some of that reservoir of chill over the Pole towards the Atlantic.

DMI2 0814B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0814B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0815 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0815 temp_latest.big

“Pohi” looks like it expanding back up to the Pole, pushing “Beaucat” towards the Siberian coast. It is one big game of “King of the mountain.” I wondered if Pohi was making it nice and sunny up in Svalbard, so I headed up there to have a look.

It looks surprisingly gloomy to me. Pohi holds a fair amount of moisture.

The subfreezing air rings the Pole, and seems more evenly distributed than last week. I’m waiting to see if weakening “Chuck” creates cold over the Beaufort Sea.

Up at the Pole it is bright, sunny and cold, with the unofficial Mass Balance buoy reporting temperatures down to -1.45°C and Lake Faboo looking both frozen and shrunken, as if the water under the  surface ice is percolating downwards through the foundation ice.NP3 1 0815 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0815B 2015cam1_1To the south O-buoy 9 is moving east past 4.4° longitude with temperatures a hair above freezing and winds at 7 mph. Another filthy berg floated past earlier, but the current berg is a blue eyed blond.Obuoy 9 0815 webcamO-buoy 10 has made it down to 76.5° latitude, with calm conditions and temperatures just below freezing. The ice still looks fairly solid.Obuoy 10 0815 webcamO-buoy 11 is seeing the ice spread out again. It saw a slight thaw, but not the warmth of +1.49°C that Buoy 2014I: saw. It has dipped back below freezing, as Buoy 2014I: has dipped to -0.64°C. Winds are nearly calm.Obuoy 11 0815 webcamO-buoy 12 was seeing the temperatures below freezing but not below the freezing point of salt water, and the slush in the water is getting melted. Available heat was being used up on new ice when it should be busy with the old. However no sooner had I noted that on another post, (first picture) when temperatures crashed to -4° and snow hit me in the eye (second picture). I swear this camera is out to get me.Obuoy 12 0815 webcam Obuoy 12 0815B webcam

I think a pie-in-the-face makes a fine conclusion to this post. As my youngest son is graduating from college, I’m not sure how diligent I’ll be able to be, starting the next one, but I’ll do my best.

ARCTIC SEA ICE -Not all it’s cracked up to be- (August 3-9, 2015 — Concluded)

August tends to be a month of heartache for both Alarmists and Skeptics, as both sides want the sea-ice to make a dramatic statement. If you are an Alarmist you desire less ice than 2012, but in August you start to see the first signs of a refreeze, well short of record low levels. Skeptics, on the other hand, want to see more ice than 2006, but in August, even as temperatures tantalize by occasionally dipping below the freezing point of salt water, the bottom-melt causes ice to vanish until mid September. In the end you wind up with more ice than 2012 but less ice than 2006, which is a bit like kissing your sister and annoys everyone.

In actual fact what we are experiencing is the best situation, as neither side has fully thought out the consequences of the extremes they are hoping for. In the case of Alarmists record low ice-extent would (according to their false theory) verify that Doomsday was upon us, and justify a sort of marshal law wherein there would be a great loss of individual freedoms and liberty. Skeptics, on the other hand,  are rooting for a situation which is ruinous, for a cooling world is a world of hardship and drought. The Roman Climate Optimum was a wetter world, as is shown  by the bridges the Romans bothered to build over rivers that now are dry.Roman Bridges1605p

In truth a warming world is greatly to be desired, and the only reason to fear it is that Alarmists seem to want to use warming as an excuse to declare dictatorship is necessary, and individual liberty is an anathema.

This being Sunday, it is interesting to glance through the prophecies of Isaiah, and to understand he was describing the end of the Minoan Climate Optimum. Among his visions of rising and crashing superpowers and social chaos are some descriptions of vast and green valleys of cultivated crops becoming dry wastelands of briers and thorns. Likely it seemed laughable to the people of that time, but that landscape is now very changed.

The modern capital of Jordan, Ammon, derives its name from the ancient Ammonites, When Moses marched north from Egypt with the Israelites he instructed them not to make war on Ammon, as they were descendants of Abraham’s brother Lot, who chose to live in the lusher and greener lands. Those lands are lush and green no longer, but amidst Isaiah’s grim prophecies of Jerusalem being destroyed and its people marched off to captivity are a few more hopeful promises that someday the dried up streams will again brim with sparkling waters, as the Creator blesses the planet with another Climate Optimum. (The words “Climate Optimum” do not appear in most versions of the Bible.)

It should be obvious that a warming world does not alarm me at all.  In fact the only reason I got dragged into the absurdity of Global Warming pseudoscience is because some fool, for purely political reasons, decided the modern blip of warming wouldn’t impress people if they knew past warming was greater,  and therefore revisionist history was necessary, and it was vital that the pseudoscience “erase the Medieval Warm Period.”  To any person as interested in the Greenland Vikings as I was, this sort of book-burning was clumsy beyond belief. It attempted to ignore evidence that glared like Godzilla. I was faced with the choice of being a complete Global Warming Skeptic, or being a complete chump.

In any case, here we are in the middle of yet another summer when the sea-ice at the Pole is failing to melt away. Perhaps it is not making a “recovery”, (which is a lousy word for a colder climate that will bring man much misery), but enough ice remains to make mincemeat of the “Death Spiral” theory. You see, the Death Spiral theory states that a summer such as 2012, with less ice on the Arctic Sea, will allow the Arctic Sea to absorb so much heat that even less ice will be there on following summers. The fact this hasn’t happened disproves the Death Spiral theory. It is as simple as that. If the Death Spiral theory had any validity, the black line should be below the green line in the graph below, and it isn’t even close.

DMI2 0802B icecover_current_new

As far as I’m concerned, the “Death Spiral theory” has already been debunked. The idea that less ice would create a sort of vicious cycle, ever escalating to ever increasing heat, seemed stupid to me in the first place, but out of a courtesy which my mother and father hammered into my head,  I gave believers in this idea the benefit of the doubt, and patiently waited a couple of summers for the end of the world to manifest. It didn’t. So now I  refuse to listen to their humbug.

The question then becomes: Why do  I bother with sea-ice at all? The answer, to be honest,  is the same reason I gave my Math teacher when she asked me why my attention was on clouds out the window. “They are beautiful, and you are not.” (Honesty, they say, is the best policy, but either this isn’t true in math classes, or honesty requires sweeteners at times.)

A secondary reason involves the fact I like to get, if possible, a “heads up”, in terms of whether the coming winter will be bad or not. Therefore the warmth of the water in Hudson Bay,  northwest of where I live in New Hampshire, is of concern to me because our coldest winds come from the northwest. If Hudson Bay is warmer our northwest winds are warmer. It concerns me that that this summer those waters are so cold that a third of the bay still has ice floating in it.Hudson Bay August 1 CMMBCTCA This also concerns me because certain agencies who are suppose to be reputable, and are suppose to supply the taxpayers with worthwhile advice, look at the above situation and call it “below normal.”Hudson Bay Aug 1 Cryo recent365.anom.region.13 My concern is that the above graph is not a mere mistake, or “glitch”, but is a blatant misrepresentation of the truth for political reasons. There is absolutely no way the current amount of ice in Hudson Bay in August is “below normal.”  As recently as July 17 the situation was deemed serious enough to divert an icebreaker from its summer activities to help an oil tanker deliver fuel oil to coastal communities who needed to resupply to prepare for next winter.Hudson July 28 3 ccgs-pierre-radisson-in-sea-ice Cryospere Today needs to correct the above graph, unless they believe it is correct to misinform the public. (Some do believe misinformation is good policy, as “might makes right” and “the ends justify the means”, but if I take the time to dismantle the logic within such erroneous beliefs I’ll be treading into political and religious mires, and get agitated, which is not the reason I look at sea-ice. I prefer peace.)

I prefer to simply observe and be a witness. Some flatter me, by calling me a minor “expert”, but that is because they are comparing me with people who have never spent time observing the ice, and instead parrot what they hear. In some cases I honestly believe such “authorities” can’t tell the difference between sea-ice and a glacier. To call me an expert because I am not as idiotic as they are is like calling a radish a rutabaga because it is not an onion.  I am not an expert, and prove it over and over, by making assumptions which prove to be wrong.

This summer I was expecting the Atlantic side of the Pole to be cold and the Pacific side to be warm, and quite the opposite has been the case. To see how wrong I am, I like taking a top-down view of the planet, and like the simplicity of the DMI maps, (though at the Weatherbell Site one can find a wide variety of more detailed polar maps, produced by Dr. Ryan Maue.) Below are the pressure and temperature DMI maps for noon Greenwich time on Saturday and Sunday.

DMI2 0801B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0801B temp_latest.bigDMI2 0802B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0802B temp_latest.big

The yellow high pressure over the Pole is “Pohi”, which is reasserting itself after being reduced to a ridge by attacking lows from both the Atlantic and Pacific side. The Atlantic lows have greatly weakened, though an actual summer gale is speeding east south of Iceland, and could be a news item off the Scottish coast this week. The Pacific low “Beau” is not a gale like the summer storms of 2012 and 2013, but has kept its strength by getting pulses of reinforcing energy, and perhaps the next reinforcement can be seen on the east Siberian coast. Though “Beau” has pressures above 1000mb, its winds have been above 20 mph and it has facilitated the yearly breakup of ice south of 80° latitude in the Beaufort Sea. We are watching to see if that sea-ice melts, as it did in 2012, or simply bumps about, as it did in 2013.

The temperature maps show a (to me) surprising increase in sub-freezing temperatures, with no apparent source region, right at the warmest time of year.  This also happened last summer, and I have a vauge hunch it has to do with weakening storms, but can’t claim to have a clue about what mechanics are involved. The cold means surface-melt is not as quick as it could be, but it is important to remember most melt comes from below, due to warmer water being transported north under the ice, or the ice being transported south to warmer water.

At this point we turn to the NRL maps, which show us how the ice is moving, how concentrated it is, and how thick it is (though I have doubts the ice is as thin as they suggest.)DMI2 0802B arcticicespddrfnowcastDMI2 0802B arcticicennowcastDMI2 0802B arcticictnowcast

One thing these maps show is that not much ice is being flushed from the Arctic Sea down the East Coast of Greenland. While such a flush does increase the extent of ice in the Greenland Sea, it represents a loss for the Pole as whole, for such ice heads south to melt in the Atlantic, while ice that stays north can become “multi-year-ice.”

The slow movement this year can be seen by tracking the North Pole Camera, which once was the only camera, and therefore, due to loyalty, is my favorite, and which I have named “Faboo.” The last few days it has hardly moved at all. Our official reports (which we get a day late) show that on Friday Faboo inched SW from 86.203°N, 8.579°W to 86.188°N   8.378°W, which ( using the gadget Steve Morse makes available at ) gives us a paltry 1.38 miles of progress.  On Saturday we moved even less, 1.25 miles, which is a bit surprising as Friday winds were largely dead calm, and Saturday they picked up a little to 6 mph, however more careful study shows we spent part of Saturday backtracking, for first we headed east to  8.292°W, before heading back west and ending the day (which ends at 2100Z for some reason) at 86.170°N 8.347°W.

The temperatures at Faboo were more surprising, as we saw the normal thaw resume as the sun came out on Friday, though at first they dropped from +0.6°C to freezing at noon, and then hopped right up to +1.3° at 01800Z. However they were right back down to 0.0°C at midnight, and -0.2°C at 0300Z, and though they did recover to +0.6°C at 0900Z, they crashed down -1.2°C at 1500Z and were still down at -0.7°C at the final report at 2100Z. This sort of stuff will not help the surface melt, of course.

I call these ups and downs of temperatures “mini-systems” and, as a sheer guess, I’d say a swirl brought cold air to us, from the pool of cold air towards Bering Strait. You can see the weather change in Saturday;’s pictures:

NP3 1 0801 2015cam1_1NP3 1 0801C 2015cam1_6NP3 1 0801D 2015cam1_4The final picture suggests “Lake Faboo” (the melt-water pool to the right) might be skimming with ice, but again sheer guessing tells me, glancing at today’s pictures, that  today’s mini-system was milder, and thaw resumed, though it may be short lived.NP3 1 0802 2015cam1_3 NP3 1 0802B 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0802C 2015cam1_1

One thing Faboo’s pictures have conveyed is how cloudy it has been up north this summer. We’ve really only had one decent week of thawing sunshine. Some suggest the “Quiet Sun” may be allowing more cosmic rays to generate more cloud nuclei, but the clouds are impressive. (In picture below clouds are white, sea-ice is red, land is green, and open water is black.)Pole clouds Aug 1 ScreenHunter_10027-Jul.-30-08.53 With Faboo’s ice so solid and moving so slow, less ice has been making it into Fram Strait, and this has created a pocket of open water on the northeast corner of Greenland, and O-buoy 9 has made it into that open water, but so far has not headed south. (In the first picture it has bumped into a berg, and shadow tells us it is looking east, but the next picture, an hour later, has the sun in front of us so we may be looking southwest, and the faint fringe on the horizon may be Greenland.) This area of open water is completely surrounded by a thicker ice pack.

Obuoy 9 0801 webcamObuoy 9 0801B webcamObuoy 9 0801C webcamObuoy 9 0802 webcam

Over on the Pacific side we have seen a lot of views with snow and rain smeared lenses, as O-buoys 10, 11 and 12 have experienced “Beau’s” wandering whirling. O-buoy 10 has managed to keep its ice together despite strong breezes.Obuoy 10 0801 webcam Obuoy 11 is drifting free in thick sea-ice. It has experienced the most rain mixed with snow.Obuoy 11 0801 webcam Obuoy 11 0801B webcam Obuoy 11 0802 webcam O-buoy 12  is being pushed south into an area that should allow the ice to spread out, but has experienced the most sub-freezing and perhaps the most snow.Obuoy 12 0801 webcam Obuoy 12 0801B webcamObuoy 12 0802 webcam Snow can cause the extent graph to jump up, as melt-water mistaken as open water needs only a skim of ice and snow to be seen as ice. The jump in the extent graph is therefore an illusion.

Reports may be sparse this week, as we are short-handed at work.


The DMI morning maps have noon at the top, and so the slight arctic diurnal variation warms the Pacific side and cools the Atlantic side. A circle of sub-freezing temperatures surrounds the Pole.

DMI2 0803 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0803 temp_latest.big

Faboo looks across a gray landscape, with Lake Faboo looking liquid, as if slight thawing is occurring.NP3 1 0803 2015cam1_1 O-buoy 9 has drifted east into some floating ice.Obuoy 9 0803 webcamO-buoy 10 is looking out after the storm, and sees the ice hasn’t broken up yet, that far north. “Beau” has moved away, but will be circling back.Obuoy 10 0803 webcamA little further south and east O-buoy 11 sees a frosty world of floating bergs.Obuoy 11 0803 webcamO-buoy 12 continues south towards more open water, with winds dying, a light fog forming, and temperatures just below freezing.Obuoy 12 0803 webcam


Faboo made it as far south as 86.167°N at 0600Z yesterday, before turning and heading back north, while moving west all day, and winding up 1.82 miles NW of where we started, at 86.187°N, 8.651°W, which is going the wrong way if we intend to get to Fram Strait. It also is compacting ice towards the Pole rather than spreading it out, and makes the break-up of the ice harder. Another mini-system passed by, with temperatures sinking to -1.3°C at 0300Z and then perking up to +0.7°C at 1500Z before dropping tight back down to -0.5°C at 2100Z. Only roughly six of the twenty-four hours saw temperatures above freezing yesterday.

Today the sun did peek out late in the day, but I’m wondering if Lake Fanoo isn’t showing any signs of wind because it is glassy ice, rather than calm water. Winds were up around 10 mph for a while, at the start of the day, at least. (There have been no Mass Balance Buoy updates for a while.)NP3 1 0803B 2015cam1_2 NP3 1 0803C 2015cam1_1 It is surprising cold down in the Beaufort Sea, but I have to run to a meeting. I’ll give the O-buoy reports later.


If you are an escapist like I am, the O-buoy reports have been especially satisfying today, full of interesting stuff that so engrosses the mind one is able to get away from the stuff escapists are escaping from.

O-buoy 9 seems to at long last be starting its slow decline south into Fram Strait, and is creeping down towards latitude 80°.Obuoy 9 0803C latitude-1week However in terms of longitude, it has headed quite a ways east, touching 9.5° longitude, displaying a strange twice-a-day tidal pulse to its movement.Obuoy 9 0803C longitude-1week This made me wonder about the stresses tides put on sea-ice. It just seems it might be difficult to create a stable sheet of ice with the ocean rock and rolling in this manner. Be that as it may, O-bouy 9 moved across a stretch of sea that has been exporting ice without importing ice, and, as my wallet knows all too well, such a scenario results in a certain emptiness. Yesterday’s pictures from O-buoy 9 showed no ice on the sea, but today we ran into the far side of that emptiness.Obuoy 9 0803B webcam(Noting that some of this ice is “dirty” leads me down a splendid sidetrack of thought, concerning what the “dirt” is. I used to think it was either soot from China or dust from volcanoes, but have recently learned ice is full of micro-critters. In fact the bottom of the ice is a slime of algae-like stuff in the summer, and then this stuff gets swallowed as the ice thickens in the winter. Sometimes when a berg gets flipped the bottom is sort of charcoal-colored, which has nothing to do with soot from China. This suggests a splendid topic for an essay some other night.)

Temperatures dropped. Perhaps the chill was due to so much ice about, but the fog thickened and the temperatures dropped below freezing.Obuoy 9 0803C temperature-1weekObuoy 9 0803C webcam

Our other “old” buoy, O-buoy 10, sent the most shocking picture earlier today, for it showed a melt-water pool frozen over, with a streak of drifting snow on the ice. Obuoy 10 0803B webcam This sent me scurrying to the temperature graph.Obuoy 10 0803C temperature-1weekWhat we see here is temperatures getting down to, or close to, -3.0°C, which is not only cold enough to freeze the reletively fresh water in the melt-water pools on top of the ice, but cold enough to freeze the salty sea-water between the bergs of ice. Unfortunately the ice by O-buoy 10 hasn’t broken up yet, so we cannot investigate exposed sea water at this local, unless this melt-water pool is a channel that has dug through to the sea beneath. Obuoy 10 0803C webcamI cannot tell for sure, squinting at this picture, so I hurry southeast to O-buoy 11, which I know is a free-floating buoy midst bergs floating in sea-water, and check its temperatures.Obuoy 11 0803C temperature-1weekHere too we see temperatures dipping down to levels more befitting September than the start of August. Right now the sun never sets, and the arctic solar budget is at the end of a time when it shows an actual surplus. So where is the cold coming from?

The pictures show a sea attempting, perhaps only briefly, to reverse the ordinary process, and attempting to refreeze rather than unfreeze. The first picture shows how the water gets a sort of “oil slick” of suspended ice-crystals, and the second picture shows this oily sludge just starting to form floating clots, in protected places. I do not expect this process to continue. It is too early, and the thawing will likely resume, however the fact it is happening at all is worth headlines on page sixteen of the New York Times. [Sadly, we are more likely to read news of computer models predicting greater ice-melt, on page one, (complete with a picture of a guy who flunked science but got a passing grade in public relations, who pretends to be a scientist by wearing a white coat for the photographer.)]Obuoy 11 0803B webcamObuoy 11 0803C webcam This is the second straight summer we have seen unexpectedly cold temperatures appear in the arctic right in the heart of the melt season. Because it is largely happening, this year, south of 80°, it will not effect the DMI graph of temperatures north of 80°.DMI2 0803B meanT_2015Last year we had another spell of summer thaw after the cold spell, but this year we are running out of time. I still expect thaw to return, but it seems it will be a squeeze to fit it in.

O-buoy 12 had our coldest temperatures for a week, but now seems to be experiencing milder conditions, perhaps because it is in the warm sector of a micro-storm moving up to reinforce “Beau”. It isn’t in a southerly flow, as it is still moving south towards waters with more elbow room, but it isn’t as cold. The melt-water pool to the lower right shows a break-up crack on its bottom, but the view is not typical of speedy melting and “rotten ice.”  There is, for one thing, too much fresh snow. Still, this camera is closest to the warm Pacific, and I’ve been expecting the melt to be fastest here all summer.Obuoy 12 0803B webcamObuoy 12 0803C temperature-1week I’ll close tonight with the arctic maps, which I’ll hopefully have time to discuss in the morning.

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“Beau” is weaker over Beaufort Sea, but looks likely to restrengthen. A big (for the summer) gale is west of Scotland. Cold temperatures continue to circle the Pole. A weal Greenland-to-Bering Strait flow looks likely to push Faboo the “wrong way”, north. The unoffical Mass Balance Buoy report shows Faboo at -1.01°C, despite sunshine. Likely the sunshine has warmed it back to above freezing. (Mass balance reports have no time stamp, but my guess is the last report is from midnight, Greenwich Time.)NP3 1 0804 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0804B 2015cam1_1South of there 0-buoy 9 got crunched between bergs and is tilted foreward, giving us a remarkably good view of refrozen slush, with winds light and temperatures below freezing. We have moved east to 9° longitude.

Obuoy 9 0804 webcamO-buoy 10 shows us the long melt-water channel has skimmed over with ice which is dusted with snow.  This is not unheard of in the middle of the melt season, but it is definitely not a sign of “runaway warming” and a “death spiral”. Conditions are well below zero and quiet.Obuoy 10 0804 webcamO-buoy 11 is also calm and cold. The jumble of ice in the central near distance demonstrates how hard it is to calculate the volume of the ice, when it is busted up. There are patches of open water, but also patches where the ice is at least twice as thick. (Remember that 9/10 of that jumble of ice is under water.)Obuoy 11 0804 webcamO-buoy 12 has stopped drifting south, but winds have just picked back up to 10 mph, and movement in some direction  should resume.  Temperatures are up towards freezing, but the melt-water pool in the lower right remains frozen.Obuoy 12 0804 webcam


Yesterday Faboo continued slowly but steadily north, as far west as 8.691°W at 0900Z and as far east as 8.637°W at 1800Z, arriving 1.72 miles further away from Fram Strait, at 86.212°N, 8.643°W. It is possible this northerly movement will continue into the weekend.

Temperatures remained below freezing throughout the period, beginning at -0.5°C and sinking to -1.4°C at 0900Z, before rising back to -0.4°C as yesterday’s report ended at 2100Z.  Today the thaw resumed, as conditions were bright and sunny for much of the day.NP3 1 0804C 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0804D 2015cam1_1To the south O-buoy 9 ,which floated as free as a bird two days ago, had managed to get itself wedged firmly into a new ice-pack. Temperatures were below freezing and winds were light. The position of the sun indicates we are looking back to the west, from whence we came.Obuoy 9 0804B webcamObuoy 9 0804C webcamAcross the Pole and down south in the Beaufort Sea O-buoy 10 saw near calm conditions and temperatures down near five below give way to fog, temperatures climbing up towards freezing, and 10 mph winds.Obuoy 10 0804B webcamObuoy 10 0804C webcamTo its southeast O-buoy 11 had not yet experienced the warming, and saw open waters chilled by light breezes and subfreezing temperatures at a time they are supposedly being “warmed” by summer sunshine.Obuoy 11 0804B webcamTo the west O-buoy 12 saw its drifting halt, as it stagnated with other ice floes in a sea abruptly chilled by temperatures down to -5.0°C, and light winds.Obuoy 12 0804C temperature-1week

Obuoy 12 0804B webcam  The DMI maps show Pohi dominating the Eurasian side of the Arctic as “Beau” dominates the American side, and the large storm southeast of Iceland unable to effect the Pole much at all. The flow is from Atlantic to Pacific, and in some ways reverses the Transpolar Drift and Beaufort Gyre.

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“Pohi” is now a long ridge of high pressure extending from Finland all the way to Bering Strait. Because it extends down through Finland it has broken the back of the long fetch of east wind  along the Siberian coast to Iceland. That fetch is now broken into two segments, one from Norway to Greenland, and one from Bering Strait to western Russia. Between the two some milder air is forging north through the Baltic, but it never really invades the Arctic, and instead is deflected west.

Between Pohi and Beau north of Canada is a reverse flow which looks likely to push  Faboo north, and delay the exit of O-buoy 9 from the arctic. This seems to demonstrate that not all that much ice is flushed south through Fram Strait in the summer. The real flushing comes when the autumnal gales start creating north winds in the Strait. In the winter there tends to be frigid high pressure over Greenland and low  pressure over the North Atlantic, and the north winds between the two creates a counter-intuitive situation wherein it is the colder weather that melts the most ice, not by melting it locally but rather by exporting it south to warmer waters. The current reverse flow doesn’t do that, and on the Atlantic side is condensing the ice and preventing melt. If this flow continues then, over on the Pacific side, the ice will be pushed south and spread out and perhaps melted by  Pacific water coming up through Bering Strait, but because this melting happens in the arctic it actually  contributes to the chilling of local waters. Ice shoved south through Fram Strait, on the other hand, contributes to the chilling of the Atlantic.

If I had the time, or could hire an undergraduate, I’d look back through old records to see if this seasonal pattern varies much. Perhaps a 60-year-cycle would appear.

In any case the ice is being condensed on the Atlantic side and spread out on the Pacific side. Beau is likely to weaken and fill from now on, and it will be interesting to watch and see if it “creates cold”. A new low might come north out of east Siberia and cross north of Bering Strait to the Canadian coast, too late to reinforce Beau, but sort of as a copy-cat, and be a new low in the Beaufort Sea next week. (If it manifests I’ll  dub it “Beaucat”.)

The last two unofficial Mass Balance reports from Faboo seem to show another micro-system moving through, as we had a thaw up to +1.34 and then a dip down to +0.10, and also there was a pause to our northward drift.NP3 1 0805 2015cam1_2 NP3 1 0805B 2015cam1_1

South of there O-buoy 9 looks like it is drifting back north slightly at 9° longitude, with the freeze coming to an end.Obuoy 9 0805 webcam  Over in the Beaufort Sea O-buoy 10 could be facing crack up, as it is being pushed south towards open water by a stiff breeze of 22 mph. Temperatures are cold, around -3°.Obuoy 10 0805 webcam

Further south O-buoy 11 is heading south in the open water, which is being chilled by a lighter breeze of 11 mph, and surprisingly low temperatures around -4°. The “Death Spiral” isn’t “warming waters” at this local, especially with the sun so dim.Obuoy 11 0805 webcam

Over towards the edge of the Chukchi Sea O-buoy 12 is seeing its cold snap end, with temperatures just below freezing, and freezing fog blowing in a 11 mph wind. It has started creeping south again.Obuoy 12 0805 webcam


Faboo did experience thaw and start back south today, which shows it is at least attempting to behave in an ordinary manner, however, like some people I know, it did a lousy job of being ordinary. For one thing, it only moved 0.63 miles SE, winding up at 86.203°N, 8.615°W. I don’t wish to appear negative, but, whilst Faboo is moving in the right direction, at this rate we won’t be into Fram Strait until next summer.

And then there is the small matter of the thaw. First of all, Faboo began a bit like a person who begins a time on-the-wagon with a Mardi Gras and twelve beers. Faboo plunged to the day’s low of -1.1°C at midnight before, after taking a deep breath, bravely and nobly strove up to +1.4°C at 1500Z when, apparently completely exhausted by the effort, it went sagging back down to +0.3°C at yesterdays’s final report at 2100Z. (I do  not wish to foster any illusions, and feel compelled to reveal that our private detectives have looked at today’s unofficial Mass Balance reports, and I am sad to reveal Faboo has returned to the gutter and is well below freezing.)

Shame, shame, shame!

If your looking for an excuse reason for Faboo’s deplorable behavior, blame the weather. It has gone all gloomy again, up there.NP3 1 0804C 2015cam1_1

Down south, it looks like O-buoy 9 is also sloshed. What? Sloshed to and fro by the tides, of course. What did you think I meant?

It has worked its way to longitude 8.5° without making any headway south, as temperatures flirt with thaw but seem to stray to the freeze side of freezing, and winds have slackened to a calm. The ice-pack has spread out a little, and some very strange bergs have drifted by. In the first picture I wonder about the “volume” of that berg to the right half-way up the margin. 9/10th is hidden.

Obuoy 9 0805B webcam In the following picture I’d like to sample the dirt on the pinkish berg in the central foreground. Also you can see some thin plates of new ice between the two old bergs in the foreground, which shows refreeze has occurred even in the heart of the thaw.Obuoy 9 0805C webcam In the final picture I think it particularly tragic that a poor, white, arctic bunny is stranded on that little berg in the central foreground. Curse Global Warming! We should send a helicopter up there immediately!Obuoy 9 0805D webcam

Over in the Beaufort Sea O-buoy 10 has seen winds decrease to 11 mph with the ice holding together, and temperatures flirting either side of freezing. Looking at the darkness at the lower left, I wonder if we are looking at a bunch of crud at the bottom of a melt-water pool, or peering into the depths of the Arctic Sea.Obuoy 10 0805B webcamTo the southeast O-buoy 11 continues to be much colder, down around -4°. It is only 140 miles southeast of a thaw.  It looks like the salt water is starting to freeze at the edge of the ice. Winds have picked up to around 20 mph here, so that water is definitely being chilled, at the very time it is suppose to be warming.Obuoy 11 0805B webcamLast but not least, over to the west O-buoy 12 continues to creep south with winds at 9 mph. We never thawed, and temperatures are currently dipping again. A spell of freezing fog is lifting.Obuoy 12 0805B webcam Obuoy 12 0805C webcam

It seems that spell of freezing fog may have been associated with the spine of a ridge of high pressure extending from Pohi, and winds shifting. “Beaucat” is emerging on the coast of east Siberia, and may give O-buoy 12 something to write home about. The cold on the Pacific side remains impressive.

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“Beau” continues to dominate the North American side, while Pohi rules the Eurasian side, except in east Siberia, where “Beaucat” is emerging as a tight little storm. Despite the “wrong way” flow at the northern entrance of Fram Strait, not much milder Atlantic air is being sucked north. Instead the milder air seems to be taking the unusual route of Nares Strait, on the western side of Greenland, which seems a cold and narrow route to take, but some surprisingly mild air has made it north through the bleak landscape of the Canadian Archipelago this summer. Here’s a helicopter view of Nares Strait on a summer day in 2007.Nares Strait R0014290-e1344462570859I was thinking that Beaucat might bring a surge of milder air up through Bering Stait, but at this point it looks like it will form a front and then travel along the front across the Chukchi Sea into Beaufort Sea, without the mild air making it very far north at the surface, though some may surge north aloft. Ahead of the low the winds will turn south and likely push the ice back north. At the moment the ice is spreading out in light north winds which, along with fresh snowfall, might explain the upward blip in the extent graph, which is causing abject gloom in Alarmist camps this morning. Expect the blip to rebound back down.DMI2 0806 icecover_current_newFaboo is experiencing sub-freezing temperatures despite bright sunshine, and the northward drift has resumed. Lake Faboo is skimming with ice. A polar bear has sauntered by investigate the equipment to the right, and then sauntered back, (unless it was two bears). It waited until after yesterday’s pictures were taken so we wouldn’t see it was drinking Pepsi. NP3 1 0806 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0806B 2015cam1_1To the south O-buoy 9 has seen the ice spread out, while continuing to slosh east and west with the tides twice a day, and making it east nearly to 8° longitude. We aren’t moving south yet. Temperatures hover at freezing and winds remain nearly calm.Obuoy 9 0806 longitude-1week Obuoy 9 0806 webcamFurther south in Fram Strait, at 77.63 N, 11.44 W, Mass Balance  Buoy 2015E: has dropped from a reading of +0.40° to a chilly -1.39° last night, which does not suggest much mild, Atlantic air is getting up into the strait.

Over in the Beaufort Sea O-buoy 10 flirted with freezing, but dipped back below as winds dropped to a gentle breeze around 5 mph. A change in the wind has swung the camera away from Lake Beaufort, and the landscape appears dusted by snow. Likely we are getting north winds after the passage of “Beau”.Obuoy 10 0806 webcam140 miles southeast of there O-buoy 11 has seen temperatures struggle up from -4°C to just below freezing, and appears to be getting some snow from Beau. Winds have slackened to around 10 mph.Obuoy 11 0806 webcam280 miles west of O-buoy 11, Obuoy 12 is seeing the afternoon sun is not as high as it used to be. Winds have dropped to around 5 mph, and temperatures are back down to -3°. All melt occurring is bottom-melt at those temperatures. The melt-water pool to the lower right (fresh water) looks frozen solid, and the even narrow lead to the lower left (salt water) looks slushy, while the wider lead in the mid distance is open, and its water is being chilled. When the sun gets low the rays increasingly glance off the water without penetrating and warming the water, (as any fisherman who has fished at sunset knows. You can almost feel the warmth of the reflected sun through the camera’s lens).Obuoy 12 0806 webcamAll in all I’d say this is a depressing morning for Alarmists hoping to see an ice-free Pole. We are still likely to see one more good thaw before the cold comes clamping down, but the time is getting short.


Yesterday was another sluggish day for Faboo, who made it south from 86.203°N to 86.197°N only to backtrack back north to  86.208°N, for a retreat of .005° for the day. However we did creep east the entire time, which gave us a movement of 1.38 miles to 86.208°N, 8.321°W.  Things held a bit of promice that they might become more lively, as the sluggish winds gradually increased to 10 mph.

Temperatures yesterday took another surprising (to me) plunge, despite a spell of bright sunshine. They were up to +0.4°C at midnight, but had sunk all the way to -1.6°C by the end of the official report at 2100Z. It was only as the bright sunshine began fading in growing gloom that temperatures began to rise. This makes no sense to me and causes me to sulk and be as gloomy as Faboo’s pictures from the Pole.

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So I turn south to O-buoy 9 for solace,  but alas, the lovely calm has ended as winds rise to 11 mph and fog descend and temperatures plunge below freezing.

Obuoy 9 0806C webcam Obuoy 9 0806D webcamTherefore I flee across the Pole to the Beaufort Sea and O-buoy 10, and just get more winds increasing to 11 mph and more sub-freezing temperatures and more gray skies, though at least there is no fog.Obuoy 10 0806C webcamObuoy 10 0806D webcam

It is when I get to O-buoy 11 that my jaw drops,  and my gloom is pierced by a glimmer of sheer astonishment.  The first picture shows obvious proof of salt water freezing. But…but…it is the height of the melt-season. But…but…the PDO is midst a “warm spike.” But…but…a raging El Nini is occurring. But…but…the arctic doesn’t care about my theories. The arctic does what the arctic does.Obuoy 11 0806C webcam Obuoy 11 0806D webcam I’m fairly sure I’m not just a bumpkin layman, when I get fooled by the freeze. Some far smarter men have also been fooled. They do not refer to “bottom melt” and “surface melt”, but rather refer to “basal melt” and “lateral melt,” but they have been just as wrong as I have been. For example, check out this nsidc statement:

“data from the beginning of July show a tongue of old multiyear ice extending from the southern Beaufort Sea towards Alaska into the Chukchi Sea. However, passive microwave imagery from AMSR-2 reveals that the ice pack has become very diffuse within the Beaufort Sea, with ice concentrations dropping below 50%. Corresponding visible-band imagery from MODIS shows a mélange of very large and smaller multiyear ice floes surrounded by open water. The presence of open water surrounding the floes allows for enhanced lateral and basal ice melt, raising the possibility that much of the multiyear ice in this region will melt out during the remainder of the summer.”

I highlighted the part in red to show they didn’t expect what the above pictures show: Ice growing in a “lateral” manner. But I didn’t expect it either, so I’d be a complete hypocrite to pick on them. Instead I’m just going to stand back and give my skull a good scratching. What the heck is going on here?

There has got to be some unrecognized power involved, when you get cold temperatures despite all evidence pointing to warmth. However I am completely baffled, and can’t say what it is.

Meanwhile, life goes on. To the west O-buoy 12 has recovered from a cold snap and  is experiencing a bit of a thaw, and light winds of 5 mph, as the sky gets gray as “Beaucat” approaches. This close to the Pacific, “bottom melt” os significant, and may be showing in the melt-water pool to the lower right of the camera’s view: Where there was once a crack on the bottom of that pool, there now seems to be an eroded hole to the depths of the sea.

Obuoy 12 0806C webcam

I’ll discuss the DMI maps tomorrow, but will mention the Pacific side sure does look cold.DMI2 0806B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0806B temp_latest.big


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“Pohi” looks like it is weakening and giving up control of the Pole, but is forecast to make a comeback as “Beau” fades in the Canadian Archipelago and “Beaucat” becomes the storm to reckon with, scooting across to the Canadian side of Bering Strait. Temperatures continue cold south of 80° even as north of 80° temperatures are a hair above normal. DMI2 0807 meanT_2015

Faboo looks to be just to the east of sub-freezing air, still drifting north and still gloomy. It’s hard to get a good surface-melt without sunshine.  All the melting must come from below.NP3 1 0807 2015cam1_1O-buoy 9 has drifted east to 8° but still hasn’t started south. This morning’s picture has a good view of how much ice is under water, even when only a chip shows above water. Temperatures are below freezing and winds light.Obuoy 9 0807 webcamA o-buoy 10 temperatures have again crashed to -4° and winds are light. Brrr!Obuoy 10 0807 webcamAt O-buoy 11 temperatures are also crashing to -4° and there is no sign of “lateral” melting. Winds are light. Brrr again!Obuoy 11 0807 temperature-1week Obuoy 11 0807 webcamO-buoy 12 is also seeing colder temperatures, but only down to -1°C, and we have started back north in light winds. Here I’d say there are signs of “basal” melt. Obuoy 12 0807 webcam


Yesterday’s data is in, and shows that Faboo continued to drift away from Fram strait, now moving north-northeast 4.11 miles to 86.264°N, 8.010°W. We are back north where we were around July 22. All that drifting, and it got us nowhere!  (Reminds me of my life when I was in my twenties.)

Our cold wave ended rather abruptly, with a low of -1.5°C at 0300Z, and with us still down at -1.2°C at 0900Z, but at our next report at noon we were up to +0.5°, which was also our high for the day and the temperature we ended at, at 2100Z. Winds picked up to 13 mph at the time the temperature rose, and then slowly ebbed to 7 mph at the end, but didn’t shift from the SSW.  Weather has remained steadfastly gloomy.NP3 1 0807B 2015cam1_1O-buoy 9 still hasn’t started south. The freeze has ended and winds have picked up to 9 mph, and we’ve gone crunching into some thicker ice. Obuoy 9 0807B webcamObuoy 9 0807C webcamO-buoy 10 has experienced bright sunshine with nearly calm conditions, and may have managed some slight thawing despite temperatures remaining down around -3°. (The sun can warm you even when it is cold, as skiers know.) Melting is continuing as water sloshes beneath this ice, but those waters will be colder than usual if places where it is exposed keep getting caressed by these chilly winds. (It takes time for the ice itself to be chilled, and for the cold to penetrate down through the ice to the ice-bottom.)Obuoy 10 0807B webcamAr O-buoy 11 we continue to see scenes you usually see in September occurring in early August. Winds are light, and there wasn’t much of a diurnal rebound to temperatures during the day. They may be starting to rise now due to a change in the weather, to -2°C. The small berg closest to us on the left margin has been pushing to the right, plowing up the thin, new ice and creating a miniature pressure ridge of slush. Obuoy 11 0807B webcamOur westernmost O-buoy 12 is now experiencing a drop in temperatures below -3°C as it continues back north in light winds. Even though I expect this ice to continue to shrink, at these temperatures the sea-water is getting colder than it usually would be, I suspect. Obuoy 12 0807B webcam

The DMI pressure map shows Beau is fading fast, as Beaucat crosses north of Bearing Strait. The “wrong way” flow over the Pole is weaker. The big gale that was west of Scotland has occluded and loop-de-looped back to the north coast of Iceland, without sending much of a surge north to the Pole. Pohi has slumped to the Eurasian coast, but looks like it is getting pumped back up in the lee of Beaucat. I’m very to see what the temperature map shows, when they issue it. (That map is late, and it’s Friday afternoon, and I think I may go out and enjoy myself a bit tonight, but hopefully I’ll remember to check for the temperature map when I get in.)

Later—Temperature map is in, and shows a lot of spots of sub-freezing green north of the Canadian Archipelago,  right where “Beau” weakened, which reaffirms my hunch about the midsummer cold having something to do with storms that weaken and fill, but doesn’t explain how or why it happens.

“Beaucat” seems to have dragged some warming up into the Chukchi Sea, but so far it isn’t heading towards the Pole.

Odd. WordPress just alerted me I got a hundred “views” the past hour. What the heck? Usually I get a hundred a day.

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Welcome to the wonderful world of watching ice melt. We tend to be long-winded at this site, compared to the wonderfully terse reporting at “Ice Age Now”, but I will do my best to give a quick update on Hudson Bay’s Ice,  (which I assume you are here to read about.)

The map says it all. Usually there is no ice in the Bay by the end of July.Hudson Bay August 8 CMMBCTCA

Viewer from Europe sometimes don’t understand how far south this ice is. If you trace the lines of latitude around in the ice-concentration map below you realize southern Hudson Bay is at the same latitude as Scotland and Denmark.DMI2 0808 arcticicennowcast

Even the upper left corner of the Canadian Ice Service Map, (which shows the Beaufort Sea, where O-buoy’s 10, 11 and 12 are located), is at a latitude which, when you trace it around to Europe, seems southerly, as it is the equivalent of the open waters off the north coast of Norway, well south of Svalbard.

Hudson Bay gets little attention, as few live up there, but it is the same latitude as the southern Baltic Sea. If ice was drifting about the Baltic in August, that would get people sitting up and commenting.


In effect the entire icecap is shifting from the Atlantic Side to the Pacific side.

DMI2 0808 arcticicespddrfnowcastThis shift is quite different from last summer, when ice was pushed down against Svalbard and into Barents and Kara Seas. Those areas will have reduced extents, as will the Greenland Sea, which is deprived of imported ice. Even Buoy 2015E:, well down into Fram Strait, is failing to make much progress south.2015E_August 8 trackAnother observation of interest to me is that, despite south winds holding up the flow of ice south in Fram Strait, there hasn’t been a flood of warm Atlantic air north into the Arctic (so far).

Two summers ago we had a somewhat similar situation, in that the North Pole Camera kept crossing 84° heading south, and then turned around and crossed it heading north. In all I think we crossed 84° twelve times (counting  the time men took it north.) I started to get excited, thinking we had seen a shift in the Transpolar Drift, and might see the camera head to the west north of Greenland, but as soon as I voiced these thoughts the big fall gales began, and the camera was slurped down the coast of Greenland and (after the camera itself was rescued by an icebreaker) the associated GPS wound up on the north shore of Iceland. So you can bet I won’t say anything about Faboo getting sucked into the Beaufort Gyre and heaping west this year. Nope, not me.

The southerly flow is bringing moisture north, and Faboo’s view has been very gloomy this summer. Today we finally got a patch of blue overhead, though the angle of the sun is so slanted that the sunshine only hits the most distant ice. Beautiful. (Don’t let the science blind you to the charm.) The clearing is likely associated with a pool of cold air, as the unoffical Mass Balance reports show a drop from +0.53°C to -1.57° C. (Click pictures below, or open to new tabs, for larger and clearer views.)NP3 1 0808 2015cam1_1 NP3 1 0808B 2015cam1_1 The angle of the sun is approaching a point that accents one of the greatest flaws in the “Albedo” arguements that are so necessary for a “Death Spiral” to occur.  As the angle of the sun gets lower, water goes from being a great absorber of sunlight to being a great reflector. In fact as the sun gets down towards the horizon it is a better reflector than ice.Albedo 800px-Water_reflectivityIn other words, the summer goes through a great deal of work to expose the arctic waters, but just when the water is finally exposed the sun gets lazy, and just bounces off the water’s skin. Rather than absorbing heat the water is bouncing it away, and also losing heat through radiation, and losing heat through evaporation. It is simply the wrong way to run a Death Spiral.

In actual fact from now until melt ceases in late September or early October, melt increasingly is not occurring on top of the ice, or on the sides of the bergs, but on the protected bottoms of the bergs, where water is constantly sloshing against the ice.

Faboo see a false surface melt, due to the fact it forms a micro “Urban Heat Island” and creates a melt-water pool all its own to dwell in, seen clearly in the graph below’s black line. The blue line shows the melting at the bottom of the ice, and will likely continue right to the end of September. It is slower up here than it is in the Beaufort Sea, as the water is colder.NP3 1 0808 2015D_thick

I’ll catch up with the O-buoys later.


O-buoy 9 is floaring through reletively open seas and thawing conditions, with temperatures around +1°, but the real news is we are headed north and east, which is against the current and unusual.Obuoy 9 0808C latitude-1week Obuoy 9 0808C longitude-1week

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Obuoy 9 0808C webcamAcross the Pole and down in Beaufort Sea O-buoy 10 is still on ice that is holding together. We cannot know how thick the ice is, because the bottom-sounder unfortunately quit working in June. The top-sounder is producing some mixed data indicative of snow and/or a refreeze. (Remember the buoy sits in its own, private melt-water pool.) You can see the ice started out thicker this year, but there is really no way of knowing how thick it is now, and also thick ice can break up just as much as thin ice can, given the right circumstances.Obuoy 10 0808C 2013F_thickO-buoy 10 has been milling around for 16 months, but, if anything, is a little north of where it was last year.Obuoy 10 0808C 2013F_trackWinds have increased back to 11 mph after a calm spell, and temperatures have crept up towards freezing after another dive to -3°. The temperature antics may be diurnal variation, for we actually did see some sun, for a change. (A loose strap is invading the scene from the upper left corner. The poor old camera must be experiencing some wear and tear.)Obuoy 10 0808 webcam Obuoy 10 0808B webcam Obuoy 10 0808C webcamTo the southeast, O-buoy 11 may have parted ways with its co-located Mass Balance Buoy, but they are likely still close together. I think the O-buoy is in the water, however the Mass balance Buoy is still on a berg and reporting its thickness.