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.