LOCAL VIEW —Reading Leaves—Updated

Like the wild geese I too must fly away
And so I sniff the wind and read the leaves
Not in teacups or novels, but everyday
And green and sighing as sunshine deceives
The forest ceiling with endless summer dreams.

These woods were once a meadow flower-strewn
And like those blooms my time is brief, it seems;
In the sweeping millennium I’m one noon
Watching shadows shrink and then start to grow,
Reading the leaves that now want to be red,
Learning to lean on how little I know,
And how poems can speak what cannot be said,
As all around me a sun that isn’t seen
Makes a scarlet sunset of what was green.

The change in the seasons could be wild around here, as we are at the end of a very dry spell, yet have flood warnings. I had to drag a hose out to the pig stye, which as become a dust bath despite the fact I located the pen by a pasture spring, which is now spring-less. (What did I expect from autumn?)

The air is hot and muggy, like summer, and there is muttering on the weather blogs about possible hurricanes to our south. One computer has a storm hitting New Jersey next Sunday, and another has New England being hit next Monday. Drought to drown NJ Plot wind_nest_m(6) Drought to drown NE plot uv900_swath_nest3__2_

(Maps created by Dr. Ryan Maue, and lifted from Joseph D’Aleo’s blog at Weatherbell, where you can get the potential for these storms hitting various places discussed in great detail and depth.)

It is still so dry that the pasture grass has gone crunchy. My corn was stunted this summer. It seems absurd to hear flood watches announced on the weather radio, but there they are.

There is a lot of juice in the air, even without a hurricane hitting us, and a cold front bearing down will swing the south wind around to the raw northeast. Therefore I suppose it is time to resurrect my “Local View” posts for another winter. (And they could get interesting, if we do get a hurricane.)

My wife had a project for the children at the Childcare today that involved pressing leaves (and other stuff) between sheets of wax paper, and I got nabbed and sent out to collect leaves with a group of children. The trees are only just starting to change, but a sick maple by the road is ahead of the rest, so we headed to it. The odd thing was that there wasn’t a single colored leaf on the ground. The leaves that fell were completely brown. I assume it is so dry the trees aren’t going to let leaves fall without sucking them dry. I had to bend down a branch, so the kids could pluck colored leaves that still held a bit of moisture. What do I make of that, as a leaf reader?  Not flood watches, that’s for sure.

20150929 satsfc(Note the developing swirl east of Florida. Click to clarify and enlarge.)

UPDATE  —From drought to drenching—

A wall of water came through early this morning. I could hear the trees starting to sigh as I went to bed.  It was over 70° (21.1° C) as I headed off to work in the dark blue light of September dawn-dusk, and felt like Florida, and my mind was thinking of the early picture of Hurricane Joaquin brewing up to the south.Hurricane Joaquin 1 HUIR(4)

This is not a good situation, as hurricanes tend to move very slowly down there and make everyone complacent, and then start up the coast, and abruptly move very fast. In a sense they pounce like a cat, and mortals are mice taken by surprise.

With the weather warm and muggy and rain streaming down, it was easy for my imagination to envision tropical storms, however after drenching us with a third of a foot the streaming rain tapered off around noon, and, with a couple grumbles of thunder, moved away to the north. 20150930 rad_ne_640x480_0120150930B rad_ne_640x480_12

Now the wind has swung around to the north and stars twinkle in the evening sky, and its cooler. Hurricane? Complacency  is setting in.

However I’ll save worry for tomorrow, content in the knowledge my pigs are happy. They did not approve of dust baths.

ARCTIC SEA ICE —The Shadows Lengthen—Updated 5 times—

I saw a child on a playground troubled
By his shadow. He cried and he backed off
But the shadow, unrelenting, doubled
The child’s alarm, for it never slacked off
And hounded the child’s feet, until the child backed
To the ladder of a slide. The shadow
Couldn’t follow up the ladder, and blacked
The ground below, as the child felt joy grow,
And jeered down, and looked up, and forgot the dark.

In the same way, I’m an old man troubled
By lengthening shadows, and seek a spark
Like the child’s ladder, though odds seemed doubled.

Faith is a ladder towards lights that strengthen
As winter comes closer and shadows all lengthen.

You’ll have to forgive me for waxing poetic to start this post, but I got off into an interesting tangent of thought during the sermon at church last Sunday. This often happens to me. Just as I forgot to pay attention to my teachers at school, and my mind went sailing out windows to clouds blooming in the sky, in church some idea in a sermon sends my eyes to the windows, which are stained glass lit by morning sunshine.

(I think that, if they really expected people to heed the entire sermon, the windows would be painted black. The fact they are stained glass encourages independent thought.)

Among other things, the sermon suggested a “saint” isn’t some person with a long white beard and a halo of shimmering gold, but is just an ordinary person who happens to believe that Truth is a good thing. I sort of like this idea, because it suggests that even a cantankerous anachronism like me could be a “saint”. However I didn’t like the next part of the sermon, which suggested being honest invited persecution. I have enough troubles without “inviting” any.

However, as my mind went drifting off from the sermon into the colors of the stained glass, I had to admit that simply stating the truth about arctic sea-ice has earned me a lot of grief. People I greatly respect, members of my own family and church, have used that silly word “denier” on me, when I simply state a mundane fact about banal stuff called “sea-ice”.  It seems more like a knee-jerk reaction on their part, than a deed involving one iota of actual thought.

As I gazed off into the colors of the stained glass it occurred to me that perhaps civilization has made some progress over the last two or three thousand years. Back in the day, the authorities, and especially the Romans, physically tortured people who spoke Truth. Now the authorities only psychologically torture people who speak the Truth.

Hey, it may not be pretty, but it is progress.

If you study Roman times, the brutality of Roman authority stands out. When the Romans marched in, there was no talk about political correctness, it was a case of, “My way or the highway.” They thought nothing of slaughtering all the elders of a town, or all the professors of an university, or all the leaders of a government. In fact they made their slaughter a spectator sport, feeding people to lions at the Colosseum. Physical cruelty was everyday, and Jesus Christ on the cross was no exception.

Nowadays the cruelty is psychological. A modern Christ would be crucified on some sort of  psychological cross. Or so I found my mind thinking, as my thinking wandered through the lights of stained glass lit by Sunday morning sunshine. However the next question is, “What would a psychological cross look like?”

The answer that leaped into my my head was, “To begin with, rather than throwing you to the lions, they throw you to the morons.” That made me chuckle aloud, at which point I figured I had better stop daydreaming, and pay attention to the sermon.

Later, however, the thought came back to me, and I found myself wondering what makes a person a moron. I’m not talking about the fellow with an IQ of 60, who maybe drools a little. I’m talking about an otherwise intelligent person, with an IQ well over 100, who feels they somehow deserve the right to be indignant about a subject they have never studied and know nothing about.

As a boy I was a moron, concerning the subject of New York, because I was a Red Sox fan after Ted Williams retired in 1960 and before Carl Yastremski led the Impossible Dream Team in 1967. Every year New York won the pennant and every year the Red Sox came in next-to-last, (which was ninth place back then), and I developed a foaming hatred towards New York. If anyone said anything good about New York I became quite indignant. I was actually surprised I wasn’t immediately mugged when I first visited the city, and astonished that I actually met kind and helpful people.  The scales fell from my eyes, and I stopped being such a moron.  I also dropped the right to be indignant, which was no great loss, for when I thought about it, being indignant doesn’t feel all that good.

However it seems to me some people really like the feeling. They must, for why else would they spend so much time being indignant about this and indignant about that?  And most especially, why would they bother to feel indignant about things they know nothing about? I mean, as a boy I might feel indignant of anyone who said anything nice about New York, though I had never visited the city and my knowledge of New York (beyond the Yankees) was nil, but I was just a boy and didn’t know any better. As you grow up you are suppose to know better.

Some don’t know any better. They simply like to feel offended, I suppose, and I do my best to steer clear of them, the same way I steer clear of my rooster when his neck feathers stick out and he looks at me in an indignant manner.

Fortunately, at this site, we don’t deal with big issues, such as the definition of marriage, or the point at which aborting life becomes murder. All we are concerned with is whether we are moving towards the next Little Ice Age, or the next Medieval Warm Period. Furthermore we have retreated far from the maddening crowd, to a landscape devoid of mankind, or even signs of mankind, except for a stray contrail in the sky, and perhaps a buoy, every five hundred miles.

However I am sad to inform newcomers that, even when you retreat to a point this far from civilization, you may still find yourself a “saint”  for simply stating what you see, and may even suffer a sort of psychological crucifixion for being accurate.  All you need to do is state a Truth; for example: “The so-called ‘Death Spiral’ did not manifest during the summer of 2015”, and people may become extremely indignant.

They remind me of my rooster, who always is extremely indignant when I come into the stables to get buckets of grain for my pigs and goats. It doesn’t seem to matter that the rooster has a record of 0-524, in his battles with me. He is a bird-brain, which is like a moron. He comes up to strike at me with his spurs, and I have to lower the lid of the grain barrel as a round shield, and there is a loud “plink” as he strikes the metal, and then he gets shoved backwards by the shield, and loses the battle. (In case you are wondering, if a rooster ever successfully strikes you with his spurs it feels like a solid tap on your shin, and you bleed a little trickle, but the next day you are hobbled, as he has penetrated right to the bone and given you a bone bruise. Needless to say, I don’t allow this particular rooster to ever succeed.)

I don’t know why this particular rooster gets so indignant when I enter the stable, especially when you consider the fact I’m the guy who gives him grain and water. However I forgive him because, after all, he has a brain about the size of an aspirin.

It is very painful to me to see my fellow mankind behave as if they have brains the size of aspirins, and to watch them become absurdly indignant about subjects they know next to nothing about. Even worse is the fact many get such a strange joy out of being indignant that they don’t want to learn more about the subject they know next to nothing about. When you attempt to patiently explain things, they sort of go, “La-la-la I’m not listening.” And that is the modern, psychological crucifixion of people who simply speak the Truth. They get thrown to the morons.

I’m sorry to spend so much time explaining this phenomenon, on a site which for the most part is dedicated to simply watching ice melt, and then watching water freeze. However, if we are going to study the state of affairs, concerning sea-ice, it is important to know you will meet maddening, indignant roosters, for they are included in the state of affairs, concerning sea-ice, and they are also one of the shadows lengthening across our social landscape.

In other matters, the shadows are lengthening, as are the nights, across the Pole. The times of daylight are shorter, and also farther and farther from the Pole, as the Pole itself has already started its six-month-long night (though some always insist on calling it “twilight”). (Some even insist on calculating the microscopic amount of heat that comes from twilight, after the sun has set.)

It remains worth watching, even as the views become fewer and farther between, because you can occationally see some interesting events. One thing I have discussed is how leads can open up and expose open water even when temperatures are well below the melting point of salt water. We saw this happen at O-buoy 8-b. I mentioned that such open leads can also slam shut, and rather than an open lead you see a pressure-ridge. We saw this happen at O-buoy 8-b over the weekend, giving us a picture of how an area of open water or thin ice can become extra-thick ice (as we remember 9/10th of a pressure ridge is under water, as is the case with all bergs.) In a sense we have been privileged to see what usually is hidden by winter darkness, and have a sequence of pictures that would teach well on a textbook.Obuoy 8 0923B webcamObuoy 8 0924 webcamObuoy 8 0924C webcamObuoy 8 0925B webcamObuoy 8 0927 webcam

Of course, having such splendid leads and pressure ridges so close to the camera is a bit like living right next to the San Andreas fault. The camera is at risk.

Today’s picture from O-buoy 8-b indicates some milder air is moving in, but is lifted by the cold air at the surface. Wet, sticky snow is falling, though temperatures remain low, down at -10°C.Obuoy 8 0928C temperature-1weekObuoy 8 0928 webcam

The invasion of mild air is much more dramatic over at O-buoy 9 at the north entrance of Fram Strait. Obuoy 9 0928 temperature-1weekHere we are seeing winds of 25-30 mph bringing a flood of Atlantic moisture and mildness north. Also the sea-ice is being pushed back north in Fram Strait, which is unusual this late in the season. Fram Strait is the major exporter of sea-ice from the Arctic Sea, and such export is a major part of low levels of sea-ice.

Now, if you are an Alarmist, and have a major emotional investment in seeing there be less arctic sea-ice, it is hard to know whether the current southerly gales in Fram Strait are good news or bad news. The ice being pushed back to the north is bad news, as it keeps the Arctic Sea loaded with last year’s ice. However the mild temperatures must be good news…or are they? Mildness and moisture makes more snow fall, on the ice, which would be “good” if conditions were calm, for the snow would insulate the ice and keep the ice from freezing. However, as conditions are not likely to be calm, the snow is likely to be blown from the ice into wind-created leads, forming slush which increases the amounts of ice, which is “bad”.

I find it wiser to avoid the value-judgement of calling what happens “good” or “bad”.  Whatever will be will be. Furthermore, it is the Truth, and Truth is a good teacher.

They say history repeats itself, but I can never recall seeing such a wrong-way gale in Fram Strait after the solstice. This is a new one, for me, and I think it is wise to sit back and learn.

Someone said that Harry Truman once stated, “The only thing new under the sun is the history you haven’t read.”  However we don’t have all that much history to read, concerning the arctic. We are newcomers. And when you have no  history book to read, you need to sit back and watch the present tense make history.

Also I doubt Harry Truman ever said that, because he had to handle the atomic bomb, and there was no history book about that topic. When I researched the above quote, it seemed some reporter was putting those words in Harry’s mouth, when Harry might have been talking about Mark Twain, who had a more cynical view about how we are revisionists, concerning history, and may have said something along the lines of, ” The only new thing mew under the sun is the history you haven’t invented.”

While I do believe history repeats itself, and that meteorologists who search the past for analogs can do wonders, I also believe no two snowflakes or fingerprints are alike, and there is something eternally fresh and new in every sunrise and in every weather map. Therefore I watch the current surge in Fram Strait with great interest, fully expecting to see something I’ve never seen before. The view from O-buoy 9, at the moment, is rather dull, gray, and even slushy.Obuoy 9 0928 webcam

Further north, at Faboo (my name for the North Pole Camera), the surge of mild air has arrived, and melted the hoarfrost off the lens after days of blindness. They haven’t figured out the problems they’ve been having transmitting the official data, so I have had to rely on unofficial data from a co-located Mass Balance Buoy (which lacks a time stamp). The surge was rather dramatic, as we saw temperatures shift from -16.98°C to -0.76°C. We also saw Faboo get as far south as 84.69° latitude, and then be jolted back north to 84.84° latitude. Somewhere the ice must be buckling, but no buckling is apparent in our views (which I am very glad to again have.)NP3 1 0928 2015cam1_3 NP3 1 0928B 2015cam1_2 NP3 1 0928C 2015cam1_1

I notice “Lake Faboo” is buried under the new snow, but as is usually the case in the arctic, the snows are not all that deep. In the few places where records are kept, I notice now is the most snowy time of year, but the snow amounts are only an inch or two. At other times the monthly amount is barely a half inch, or even less. The arctic is a desert, in terms of precipitation. When you talk of a half inch of snow per month it is like talking about five hundredth of an inch of rain in an entire month.

You will hear a lot of talk, from various people, about how snow insulates the ice and the water under the ice. It is important to remember we are not talking about snow that you wade hip-deep through, but rather ankle-deep stuff. When the winds howl, often the ice is blown clear of snow.

In order for winds to howl what is called a “meridional flow” is needed. What is called a “zonal flow” is more neat and tidy, and more according to textbooks. Textbooks like to talk about the “Polar Cell”, and place a high pressure at the Pole, with well-behaved lows rotating around it, with the air rising in the lows and sinking in the high pressure centered on the Pole.

Polar Cell atmospherecirculation

This is elegant and tidy, but a meridional flow makes a total mess of it. Floods of warm air surge right up to the Pole, and fuel low pressure right where the textbook states we should have high pressure, and air rises right where the textbook states it should be descending. We are likely to see a splendid example of this, the next week.

When a zonal flow places high pressure over the Pole, conditions tend to be quiet, as calm often occurs under a center of high pressure. However a meridional flow creates storms, and winds smash and crash the sea-ice. Rather than ice and snow sheltering the water, ice splits and leads, sometimes ten or twenty miles across, open up, and the sea is exposed to bitter winds. Not only is the water chilled more, but more ice forms on that open water than would be formed if the water was protected by a yard or two of ice. Air temperatures may be higher, as the open water loses heat to the air, but that heat can only be lost to outer space in 24-hour nighttime. All in all, IMHO, a meridional flow is far more conducive to building the volume of sea-ice.

So let us sit back and watch as the atmosphere does its dance.

In the maps below we see the feature ESib1 has been flung from Bering Strait across northern Alaska to the east side of Hudson Bay, as its Fujiwhara-dance partner FG4 got left behind and whirls north of East Siberia.  I should be paying more attention to that, but only have so many brain cells.

What grabs my attention is the ridge of high pressure sliding east across the Atlantic and the low forming off northeast Greenland, which I’ll call “FG5”.  Between them is the remarkable “wrong way” flow in Fram Strait, and the warm flood toward the Pole. As that warm air hits the cold air it is bound to fuel a frammerjammer, and the flow in Fram Strait could swing right around for a while. “FG5” looks like it might be an interesting storm, and briefly be king of the mountain, riding high atop the entire planet Earth.

DMI2 0927B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0927B temp_latest.bigDMI2 0928 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0928 temp_latest.bigDMI2 0928B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0928B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0929 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0929 temp_latest.big


Obuoy 9 0929 webcam


The buoiy is roughly  at 78.5° N, 141° W, which is south and west of O-buoy 9 in the Arctic Basin. (I’ll call it a Beaufort Buoy because that so obviously irks nitpickers.) Temperatures are around -5°C and winds fairly strong around 25-23 mph. Obuoy 13 0929B webcam


The gale exploding south of Svalbard isn’t suppose to be there. Of course, I haven’t been paying proper attention to maps, (as I have to attend to six-year-olds), but the last I knew the development was suppose to occur around that weak low north of Greenland. I did notice it got abruptly colder at O-buoy 9, suggesting that weak low had a cold front, and apparently the gale blew up along that front. It is more like a true North Atlantic gale than a frammerjammer, but I’ll call it “FG5son.”

DMI2 0929B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0929B temp_latest.big

Considering there was little sign of that gale this morning, the above example is a fine example of what happens when you mix warm and juicy south winds from the Atlantic with bitter cold from the arctic. The isobats suggest the winds are really howling off the coast of Norway, but haven’t picked up in Fram Strait.  However this map is actually from noon, and by afternoon the north-moving ice was lurching back to the south, which is more normal for this time of year.

Across the Pole ESib1 is a decent low, adding to the fact that uplift is occurring over much of the arctic, which sure makes a mess of the textbook defination of “The Polar Cell”, as an area of decending air. Yet all this uplift must go somewhere, and the powers-that-be can’t send the air further north as a Ferrel Cell does, as there is no such thing as further north at the North Pole.  It is a test to our ordinary thinking, which tends to be zonal, and see weather systems parading around the globe from west to east. At the Pole, I sometimes think, the weather simply goes up and down like a yoyo. When all the uplift has no place to go it just comes crashing back down, turning low pressure into high pressure. And before you laugh at this idea, check out the computer models, and notice that where FG5son is a sub-960 mb low tomorrow the maps show it swiftly  fading, and being replaced by a 1040 mb high pressure system. It will be interesting to watch, as will be what happens to the temperatures.  Currently it is much milder than it has been. DMI2 0929B meanT_2015


O-buoy 9 saw the mild temperatures abruptly crash, as the winds slacked off, veered 180°, and increased to the 25-33 mph range of a true gale, which makes for a nasty wind-chill and a swift halt to any thawing that might have been going on.Obuoy 9 0929 temperature-1weekThe buoy stopped the wrong-way movement north and lurched south.Obuoy 9 0929 latitude-1weekThere is little to see, as the nights are getting long up there, but so far the ice hasn’t broken up despite the strong and shifting winds. (Remember that a month ago O-buoy 9 often drifted in seas relatively free of ice, and much of the ice we look at is new “baby ice” between thicker bergs. It doesn’t take all that much to smash up such baby ice.)Obuoy 9 0929C webcam


On September 25 Faboo drifted 4.35 miles south east in very light winds to 84.728°N, 8.772°W and saw temperatures fall steadily, crashing to the low of -17.4°C at 1800Z, before rebounding to the period’s high of -10.8°C at 2100Z.

On September 26 Faboo sped up as winds picked to around 10 mph, covering 6.93 miles southeast to 84.683°N, 7.798°W. Temperatures rose to the high of -7.2°C at 1500Z, before falling back to -13.3°C at 2100Z,

On September 27 Faboo reached its most southerly point at 0300Z, at 84.678°N, and its most easterly point at noon, at 7.510°W, before deversing back to the north and west and finishing the day at 84.752°N, 7.542°W, which was 5.03 miles the “wrong way”.  Temperatures fell to a low of -18.2°C at 0600Z before recovering to -9.4°C at the end of the period. The breezes grew stronger, up to 15-20 mph range.

On September 28 Faboo again returned to moving east, but continued north to finish at 84.876°N, 6.452°W, which was another 15.76 miles the “wrong way”. Temperatures rose from -9.3°C at midnight to a balmy +1.0°C at 0900Z. After dipping to -1.8°C at 1500Z, a second thaw was experienced at the end of the period, with temperatures at +0.5°C. Winds peaked early, with a steady blow of 27 mph, before slacking off to 15 mph.

Unofficial reports showed we continued north for a while today, but then headed south, as temperatures fell. Unfortunately freezing rain was involved. It is my experience that this stuff is hard to melt from the camera’s lens.NP3 1 0929 2015cam1_2



Obuoy 13 0929D webcam


Obuoy 15 0929 webcam Obuoy 15 0929B webcam Obuoy 15 0929C webcam Obuoy 15 0929D webcam


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DMI2 0930B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0930B temp_latest.big


DMI2 1001B mslp_latest.big DMI2 1001B temp_latest.big

I’ll try to play catch-up later. It is hard to run a decent blog when pulling double shifts.


It is also hard to focus on sea-ice when a hurricane is milling about to your south.


On September 29 Faboo  continued northeast as far as 84.904°N at 0600Z before a 180° wind shrift hit, dropping temperatures from +0.5°C to -7.0°C at the next report at 0900Z. Winds picked up from 11 to 17 mph as temperatures fell to -13.2°C as Faboo moved 3.49 miles southeast to finish the period at 84.826°N, 6.363°W.

Yesterday temperatures slowly rose from -13.2°C to -10.2°C as winds climbed to a steady gale-force blasting of 36 mph, grinding the ice 17.6 miles SSE to 84.574°N, 5.923°W.

It is difficult to get your mind around tons upon tons upon tons of ice, covering hundreds of square miles, all moving north twenty miles and then all being snapped back south twenty miles, especially as the shift from north-movement to south-movement does not effect all areas equally at the same time, but rather is a radical change along a front. Somewhere the ice has to buckle and build pressure ridges, while somewhere else it must crack open and expose leads of open water. The frustrating thing is the camera’s lens if frozen over, and we are unlikely to see much more than this:NP3 1 1001 2015cam1_2


DMI2 1002 mslp_latest.big DMI2 1002 temp_latest.big

Quite a mild stream of air has been pulled east over the Siberian Side, as the cold is reduced to a pool north of Canada and Greenland. I expect the cold to expand as the gale weakens and fills.


Temperatures are at -10°C and winds at 4-7 mph. If the recent gale didn’t smash this ice up, nothing will, until it gets further south.

Obuoy 9 1002 webcam


DMI2 1002B mslp_latest.big DMI2 1002B temp_latest.big

SATURDAY’S DMI MAPS (To be repeated to start the next post)

.DMI2 1003 mslp_latest.big DMI2 1003 temp_latest.big

DMI2 1003B mslp_latest.big DMI2 1003B temp_latest.big

I apologize for being unable to properly withdraw from life and enjoy the pleasures of escape to the arctic. Sometimes life won’t let you escape.

Time and tide and arctic sea-ice wait for no man, and a lots been going on I haven’t had time to talk about. A veritable flood of milder air came north with low pressure and made the Pole an area of uplift, which drew more air north at the surface.  A lot of this “air” was water vapor, which went from taking up a lot of space as vapor to taking up very little space as a drop of water or an ice crystal.  Therefore there does not need to be as much outflow aloft as one might expect, with all the inflow.

The vapor also released a lot of heat as it went through the phase changes of gas to liquid and liquid to solid. (There is a phase change the other way when precipitation evaporates of sublimates when falling, but for the most part the recent storm has been releasing more heat than it has been sucking up.)

They say what goes up must come down, but this is not true of the Pole. Water vapor goes up there and does not return, and heat goes up there and is lost to outer space. Once the sun sets the Pole is like a chimney for the planet, and what we have just  seen is stuff heading up the chimney.

That being said, when a mild surge heads north for the Pole I often look for an south-bound arctic outbreak somewhere else,  and indeed  there were two decend surges of cold into eastern and western Siberia, as well as a snowy spell in Alaska that drew notice.

Even as milder air floods the Pole, snow-cover is building on the tundra in Siberia, Alaska and Canada.  This will assist the creation of cold air through radiational cooling, and result in the Arctic ocean being frozen by south winds from the tundra.

Snowcover Oct 3 ims2015276_alaska

However one interesting feature is that swath of snow northwest of Hudson Bay, as much of it is well south of the actual coast of the Arctic Sea. This tendency also shows up in a Dr. Ryan Maue map posted on Joseph D’Aleo’s excellent blog, of the the deepening snow in Western Siberia. Much of the snow is well south of the actual coast.Snowcover Oct 3 ecmwf_snowdepth_russia_41(1)

This of course makes one wonder about the maps which show the arctic coasts as well above normal, in terms of water temperature:  

(I point out elsewhere that these maps can show water as red even when it is full of floating ice, as was the case in Hudson Bay last summer, which does make one suspect they are estimating on the warm side.)

In conclusion, we have a situation where we have a cold circle of ice atop the globe, surrounded by a larger circle of milder coastal waters, surrounded by an even larger circle of cold tundra. Until the coastal water freezes, the situation is wonderfully unstable.

The current temperature graph for areas north of 80° shows the current surge of mild air past its peak, and about to begin what I suspect will be a steep plunge.DMI2 1003B meanT_2015

The ice “extent” graph shows the mild surge did slow the refreeze, but couldn’t halt it.DMI2 1003B icecover_current_new

Most of our surviving buoys did show the milder air reaching across the Pole to Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, and the pacific side of the Central Arctic Basin, as the Atlantic and Siberian side haven’t experience the early season cold as much, and continue fairly mild. Yet the temperatures only briefly could thaw, in only a few places, and rather than thawing there was falling snow and freezing rain. Most of the slow-down in the refreeze was due to bottom-melt having a chance to occur without much upper-freezing,  and also gale force winds smashing up the new baby-ice.

It is unfortunate that O-buoy 10 got crushed (or perhaps retrieved by an icebreaker) as we have no eye down in the Beaufort Sea “Slot”. The NRL concentration map suggests the southern “reef” of the “lagoon” got dispersed by the gales, though we cannot tell if the water still has ice and slush in it once everything gets wet, as it doesn’t show up well to satellite sensors.  If the reef reappears during the refreeze we will know it wasn’t fully dispersed.Concentration  20151003 arcticicennowcast

I’ll download some pictures from cameras, and catch up on Faboo’s doings, in the morning.


It has been wonderful, once again, to sit about watching ice melt for another summer. As always the beauty of the views has been at times staggering. As always it is a cooling retreat on hot summer days, and a splendid escape from the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.  (When it comes to playing the wailing violins of self pity, I likely could thrash the most weepy, loan-wheedling mother-in-law, however over the years I’ve noticed people tend to head the other way when you play those tunes too much, even when you call yourself a “suffering poet”. Therefore I found a better poetry in just shutting up, withdrawing, and watching the skies.)

It has been a special summer for we had, at the start, two North Pole cameras, four O-buoy cameras, and two Mass Balance cameras. We’ve had views we once could only wonder about, of the Alaskan coastal ice melting in June, of the mountains of Greenland looming in the distance, of the yearly Beaufort Sea break-up, and of the chaos in Fram Strait.

Also, as a sort of side-interest, we’ve had a view of the fracas Alarmists and Skeptics make out of a process you might think would be safe, serene, and incredibly boring: Watching Ice Melt. People in the future will not believe that eyes could start from purpling faces with bulging veins over something that we didn’t even know about, when I was born.

In the end both sides wound up basically jaded and disappointed. Alarmists hoped there would be less ice than 2012, but there was more, as Skeptics hoped there would be more ice than 2006, but there was less. The sea-ice refused to be dramatic, and make a decisive statement. All the hoopla was about this graph.DMI2 0919 icecover_current_new

This graph is great fun, especially as there are vast cheers from one side as it quirks up, and vast cheers from the other side when it quirks down. I always enjoy the thrill of a crowd at a sporting event. However the graph, by itself, doesn’t mean all that much. What it shows is that more than half the ice melts every summer, and then the extent more than doubles every winter. The only thing it has definitely shown, over the decade I’ve been watching it, is that the entire idea of a “Death Spiral” is disproved.

The “Death Spiral” suggested that a process existed that would feed on itself, and that warming would create a positive feedback creating greater warming. It would be a vicious cycle, ever downwards. Sturdy ice would become “rotten ice”, and the Pole would become ice-free by 2013, or 2014, or 2015. If that theory is not challenged by the above graph, then it is threatened by the graph that measures the volume of the remaining sea ice.

Volume Sept 15 BPIOMASIceVolumeAnomalyCurrentV2.1

While the “extent” graph shows we lost more than last year, the “volume” shows we didn’t lose as much as last year. For this to happen, the ice that remains must be thicker, which throws a wrench into the works of the idea that the ice that remains is fimsy and more “rotten”.  All in all, the “Death Spiral” is failing to fit the definition of “a spiral”, and few are attempting tackle the problem the “Death Spiral” is facing:

Slinky tangled 8532040475_67e4f48a27_b

(A hat-tip to the blogger “lectricdog” for sending me this picture.)

In actual fact I don’t pay too much mind to these graphs, or to the people who, if they find one graph displeasing, comb the web for other ways of looking at the arctic, until they find a graph more to their liking. Some then rush off drop the graph like a stink-bomb into a quiet web-conversation,  delighting in the negative attention they receive, and displaying the troll-attribute of an obstinate refusal to do the polite, sane and caring thing: Explain why their graph differs from other graphs.  All they care about is “differing”.

Usually the differences have reasons, and you can find out what they are by emailing the authors of the graph and politely inquiring why their graph differs. Busy men,  it may take time for them to respond, but often they are glad to do so. They are glad to find someone interested in their graph, and glad to see someone notices their graph is special, and different. Before you know it you are learning from a really knowledgeable person. It is much better than simply “differing”.

It turns out that when science is dealing with something huge, vast, and magnificent it cannot always do the sort of stuff we expect from science; IE: give us a nice, neat answer that isn’t rounded-off. Once we are dealing with multiple variables at different levels of the ocean and atmosphere even a “grid” as small as a window screen feeding into a computer as big as the moon would miss seeing certain gnats that would sail  right through the window screen, cause perturbations downstream in the data, and screw everything up. And, of course, we are dealing with a grid far larger, a grid so large that a thunderstorm can pass through unnoticed, and a fleet of icebergs able to sink twelve Titanics can go sailing through a sea called “ice-free”.

As we become aware of the limitations involved, and notice graphs differ, there is a tendency to suspect the scientists involved are torturing the data, and fudging the results to fit a bias of either a personal or political origin.  Unfortunately there are some scientists who deserve such suspicion, (if not more), and they have dirtied the reputation of all other scientists, including some who create graphs that differ for completely innocent reasons.

When science approaches vast, “chaotic” systems it is a bit like a man approaching God with a tape measure. There is no way to package Infinity, but, before we say science is involved in an exercise in futility, we should recognize it has produced decent five-day-forecasts even with a bulky grid that can miss entire thunderstorms. In other words, science can have value even when it isn’t always precise, and is in some ways merely an estimation.

Yet as soon as science starts to involve estimation it is trespassing on my turf, the landscape of an artist. Perhaps it should learn some of my rules.

Suppose three artists walked into the same field to paint the same cow laying down in the summer shade of a big, spreading pasture oak. Would the paintings be exactly the same? Or might one focus on the oak, one on the cow, and one ignore both the oak and the cow and focus on the interplay between sunshine and shade? Would it then make any sense to argue about which painter was “right”? Or is it more sensible to recognize that the beauty of Creation is so vast no one person can grasp it all, and that each painting is a sort of “estimate”, and we are better off and more able to comprehend the Entirety (with our hearts if not our minds) when we have multiple views?

It is actually great fun to be with a group of painters (it doesn’t matter if they are skilled or all under age six), and to listen to them discuss why their paintings differ though they were all painting the same object.

In like manner it is interesting to be with a group of scientists and to hear them discuss why their graphs are different, though they were all graphing the same Infinity.

Such discussing would be the proper thing to do, and would be civilized. When people develop a sort of myopia and can only “differ”, a sort of schizophrenia enters the discussion, and when a person advocates the imprisonment, punishment, and even murder of those who hold different views, it is definitely a sort of insanity.



There you have it:  Although God gave us two eyes so we might enjoy the wonders of depth perception, some cast that gift aside and prefer the myopia of a cyclops. They have a dread of two views, seeing it as a form of schizophrenia, and it never occurs to them the truly mad thing to do is to poke one of your own eyes out.

I myself prefer to use the two eyes God loaned to me and to gaze amazed at the marvelous vastness and beauty of the Arctic. No two years have been alike, and in fact each year has an amazing individuality.  This year’s most interesting feature has been “The Slot”, which has made a wonderful mess of all my ordinary ways of thinking about the “edge” of the ice in the Beaufort Sea.

Ordinarily warmer and often less salty water develops away from the ice, due to the warming of shallow coastal ice-free (since May) waters, and the influx of water from the Pacific and the Mackenzie River and smaller streams. Because it tends to be warmer and fresher it forms a “lens” at the surface which moves north to clash with ice at the surface.

The fact ice floats tends to make a mess of calculations based on the temperature and salinity of water. Things would be Oh so much easier if the darn water would just stay water. Then you could figure out a complicated model that demonstrated where water would sink because it was cool, and where it would sink because it was salty. The problem with ice is that it is coldest, but refuses to sink.  Where cold water heading south would take a dependable dive under warmer water, ice blithely breaks the rules and floats right over the top.  In the process it cools all the water it floats over, and makes a total mess of your model.

“The Slot” involved a large wall or “reef” of ice heading south, leaving a lagoon of open water in its wake. This open water was different in nature from ordinary open water, because it was sheltered by the “reef” from influxes of warmer coastal water. It was therefore colder and dotted with bits of ice, which could act as sort of seed crystals for ice to grow during the summer cold snaps.  Each time even a skim of ice formed it would exude some salt that would change the surface salinity, and then when the skim promptly re-thawed fresher water would be change the surface salinity back towards brackishness. If you had a model that had water rising and falling with each of these changes the computer likely would start smoking and perhaps blow up. The irregularities were amazing, and I sure was glad I could just watch without having to figure it all out.

The models confidently predicted the “reef” was too flimsy to withstand the warmth of the coastal waters, and would swiftly melt away, yet for some reason I am at a loss to explain it has refused to melt. It persists, as does the lagoon.DMI2 0920 arcticicennowcast

“The Slot” is, I suppose, the closest thing to a split personality and schitzophrenia  we can come to in nature although, of course, we can’t really call it madness, because it is natural. However it sure does make a confusion out of my preconceptions, especially now that the refreeze is starting. I’m not sure if the refreeze will extend ice south from the north side of the lagoon as the south-side reef melts away, or the ice will extend from all sides, in which case a huge part of the Beaufort Sea would freeze over with “unprecedented” speed (though I doubt you’d see any headlines, except here.)

Our view from O-buoy 10 has been suggesting the powers-of-refreeze are winning out over the powers-of-thawing-bottom-melt. Temperatures fell to -10°C on Friday and haven’t been able to get above -5°C since, and the wind has died down and isn’t mixing the surface water as much, giving the slush a greater chance to grow and not merely wind up pasted to the sides of bigger bergs as they come barging by. Obuoy 10 0919 webcam Obuoy 10 0919B webcam Obuoy 10 0920 webcam

What is needed, to see a final break-up of the Beaufort Sea before refreezing, is a Pacific storm to come up through Bering Strait with a couple of big, bulging pockets of mild air, but what seems to be happening is odd, little, home-grown “Frammerjammer” storms drift north from Greenland, tap into mildness and moisture aloft, and become decent lows over the Pole before fading away as they drift down to Canada.

The Atlantic storms that last year seemed to like to charge up north of Norway and bring south winds over Scandinavia are not so speedy this year; they stall to the south and seem to be hinting at a storm-track further south this winter.

In any case I bet my nickle that the Beaufort Slot will freeze over fast.

I’ll add more later, but will close with some views from O-buoy 9 at the top of Fram Strait. (O-buoy 9 is still refusing to head south, and in fact is drifting northeast at the moment. Usually North Atlantic storms create a roaring north wind in Fram Strait, and the ice is flushed south like gangbusters, but not yet, this year.  Temperatures are at -5° and winds at 5-10 mph.Obuoy 9 0919 webcam Obuoy 9 0920 webcam


Friday Faboo continued its slow drift southeast, reaching longitude 8.781°W before twitching more to the southwest,  and finishing the day 2.29 miles SSE of where it began, at  85.117°N, 8.860°W. Temperatures reached a low of -13.9°C at midnight, rose to a high of -5.0°C at noon, before falling back to a now low of -14.7°C  before ending the period at -13.6°C.  Winds were barely enough to stir the wind-vane about. The spike in temperatures at noon may have been due to bright sunshine hitting the side of the Buoy from the side, also glancing off the fresh snow, and it also may have been assisted by the formation of hoarfrost, which releases the latent heat of a double-phase-change, from vapor directly to solid.

On Saturday the wind vane and anemometer may have been frozen up by the hoarfrost for much of the day, for they didn’t work until temperatures rose a bit at the end. Faboo barely budged, drifting east as far as  8.831°W at 0600Z before heading back west, and heading south as far as 85.108°N at noon before heading back north, and finishing the day .001° further north than where we started,  2.73 miles nearly due west, at 85.118°N, 9.325°W. Temperatures hit their low of -16°C at 0300Z and then slowly rose to their high of -6.9°C at the end of the official report at 2100Z.

Unofficial reports show we continued this very slow drift west while backing a little south again on Saturday, with temperatures fairly level around -7.5°. I can never recall a North Pole Camera being so far northwest on the Solstice. Hopefully the low sun will melt the lens clear of hoarfrost before the long lights descend, but at the moment the view isn’t too hot.NP3 1 0921 2015cam1_1O-buoy Reports

O-buoy 8 reports light winds and cold temperatures between -15°C and -10°C, with hoarfrost forming on the side of the Buoy and the open water in the background pretty much frozen up. If there was any sunshine, the fresh snow and hoarfrost would make the ice’s albedo high.Obuoy 8 0921 webcam

O-buoy 9 shows we stopped drifting east after passing 5° W, but it continues to surprise me by heading back north.  By now a “line-storm” usually has a north wind howling in Fram Strait, but instead we are seeing rather gentle breezes from the southwest, and now southeast (though they are picking up a bit, to 10 mph.)Obuoy 9 0921 latitude-1week

Temperatures remain down around -5°C despite the southerly winds, though the shift to the southeast may bring us some Atlantic air eventually. The new ice looks solid, and is now dusted with snow, as an active lead shows big bergs grinding by in the middle distance. This ice will not “freeze in place” or sit still, for we are talking about Fram Strait, after all.Obuoy 9 0920B webcam Obuoy 9 0921 webcam

O-buoy 10 reports light winds and temperatures up to -2°C dropping back to -5°C, but hasn’t clicked any pictures since their local sunset yesterday. The water contiues to look slushy.Obuoy 10 0920B webcam


It appears to be at the western entrance of the Northwest Passage, 70.5 N, 122.6 W. Winds 10-15 mph, temperatures just below freezing. Lens?  Frosted.


DMI2 0920 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0920 temp_latest.bigDMI2 0921 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0921 temp_latest.bigDMI2 0921B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0921B temp_latest.bigDMI2 0922 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0922 temp_latest.big

Hopefully I’ll find time to go over maps later. Another Frammerjammer is forming between Greenland and Svalbard. Quite a temperature clash between Svalbard and Pole.


Beaufort ice 0920 beauforticennowcast


Occasionally even a person of vastly superior intelligence such as myself must condescend to altering my superb opinions just a smidgen.  For example, when I noticed the new O-buoy 13 produced this picture:Obuoy 13 0922 webcam

“Gosh!” I said to myself, “Doesn’t that look like a view of the sky, such as I saw when young when I was suppose to be hard at work. Why would they install O-buoy 13 flat on its back?  So you suppose the blame thing fell over?”

Because I am of superior intelligence, it occurred to me I should check to see if the buoy had experienced flattening winds, but it hadn’t. Somewhat listlessly, feeling defeated , I checked the GPS, and saw this:Obuoy 13 0922 latitude-1week

How obvious. A calamity associated with Global Warming has flung the buoy 2 full degrees of latitude (120 miles, roughly) in a couple of hours. The acceleration must have been so severe the buoy got flattened.

Now I’m sure some of you will suggest the buoy is actually still flat on its back on an icebreaker, and hasn’t been deployed yet, but that is because you are only of ordinary intelligence.


Before I left for work, in the dark of night, squinting through the arctic gloom, I saw evidence that defied logic:  Despite temperatures below -10°C and light winds, open water had appeared. Impossible. Yet, after work, the stark daylight revealed the bane of all sea-ice calculations based on temperature.  A midwinter lead, more befitting February than the time of the September sea-ice minimum. (And a growth of hoarfrost to the right of the camera lens.)Obuoy 8 0922 webcam Obuoy 8 0922B webcam

Already the lead is slushing over with new ice, but the above shows what will continue to occur even when it is too dark for the camera to see. Far-away winds will pull and push the ice, twisting it and torturing it until, even in a dead calm, there is a loud crack and open water appears. This has nothing to do with warming. It can happen when temperatures are -40°. We are fortunate to see such an example before the sun sinks.

O-bouy 9 has a frosted lens, and shows the sun was up in Fram Strait long before I was, and starting to rise a second time even before I go to bed. Temperatures have crashed to -10°C, and winds are steady at 15 mph. We have finally stopped heading north, short of 80° latitude, and have started drifting west back towards 5.5° west longitude.Obuoy 9 0922 webcam Obuoy 9 0922B webcam

O-buoy 10 has seen temperatures hovering below freezing, (around the freezing point of salt water), with winds in the 5-10 mph range. It isn’t warm enough to thaw but isn’t cold enough for a flash freeze.  So the slushy sea remains in a slushy status-quo.Obuoy 10 0922 webcam Obuoy 10 0922B webcamOver on ice north of the Northeast corner of the Chukchi sea, the pictures are fairly dull, but the temperature graph shows a solid shot of cold arrived.Obuoy 15 0922 temperature-1week Obuoy 15 0922 webcam


After backsliding as far north as 85.120° at midnight, Faboo turned southwest on Monday and headed 3.11 miles to 85.078°N, 9.570°W. Winds were very light and hoarfrost may soon freeze up the vane and anemometer. Temperatures were milder, with a high of -4.4°C at 1500Z falling to a low of  -7.2° at 2100Z . Faboo’s camera lens continues to be frosted over.


The maps show what may be the final frammerjammer of the current pattern heading up through Fram Strait. As it fujiwhara’s with the last frammerjammer that is now weakening over the Pole, a new low is liable to be sucked north from East Siberia, and join the dance, which will effect the Pacific side. Back in the Atlantic side the next storm is liable to transit Greenland employing what I call “morfistication” (much like a Pacific storm hitting the Rocky mountains and briefly vanishing before reappearing out on the Great Plains.) As it first appears on the Atlantic side some models see “wrong-way” winds becoming surprisingly strong in Fram Strait by next Sunday.. That is an interesting solution, but I’ll have to see it to believe it. In any case, it looks like the current pattern is likely to undergo a “switch”.

DMI2 0922B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0922B temp_latest.big

I doubt I’ll have the time to devote to the study of the maps over the next few days that they deserve, and urge interested people to study on their own, for I think the “flip” will be very interesting.


DMI2 0923 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0923 temp_latest.big


DMI2 0923B cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_1DMI2 0923B cmc_t2m_arctic_1


DMI2 0924 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0924 temp_latest.big


DMI2 0924B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0924B temp_latest.big

I guess I’ll just call the newest frammerjammer “FG4”,  and the low that came up from East Siberia north of Bering Strait “ESib1.”  I haven’t had time to give them attention and they are strangers in a way, so don’t deserve familiar names. In any case they are doing a Fujiwhara dance on the Pacific side,  pulling some mild air north yet allowing both inland Alaska and Siberia to get quite cold. Rather than merging ESib1 looks likely to get flung east along the Alaskan Coast and cross Canada, redeveloping as it gets north of Hudson Bay, as FG4 wobbles down to the Siberian coast and then redevelops after some reinforcements arrive.

What is most interesting to me is the failure of a strong northwest flow to develop in Fram Strait. It continues to look like a storm will attempt the transit Greenland’s icecap, (over 10,000 feet tall), and as it moves downslope into Fram Strait its east side will give a period of “Wrong way” winds from the south, keeping the ice to the north right into October.


DMI2 0925 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0925 temp_latest.big

FG4 and ESib1 are dancing over by  Bering Strait as a weak low pushes from Iceland to Norway, taking the northern route to Barents Sea, but without all the stormy power of other years. Call this low “Weakie”, because it is so weak. Beneath it is a nice high pressure for southeast Europe this weekend, and this high pressure will extend north behind Weakie, and the winds on the west side of this extending ridge will create the “Wrong Way” winds in Fram Strait.

It has been a busy week at work, with my wife and I managing to squeeze a little time for our 25th anniversary into the midst of it all, but I have managed to save some pictures from the O-buoys as the time flew by, and I should find time later to catch up on that news, later today.


DMI2 0925B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0925B temp_latest.big

Not much new in these maps, with the main feature that jumps out at me being the growing cold over the Pole. The tongue of minus-five isotherms across the Pole has vanished, and it is all below minus-ten. Also the milder air towards the Chukchi Sea has been shoved south, while shifting over towards Alaska. The brief “warm-up” over the Pole has ended.DMI2 0925B meanT_2015Of course, when we are talking about a “warm-up” now we are talking about temperatures over ten degrees colder than even a month ago. Thaws have swiftly gone from being the norm to a rarity. The sun sulks low on the horizon at noon, and the darkness swiftly grows at night, and 24 hour darkness has even begun, at the Pole itself, (though some will say it doesn’t count, because it still is twilight. They will formulate calculations for radiance bouncing down from the twilight sky, and I can only say I’ve never gotten a sunburn after the sun’s set.)

There is something very final about the end of the melt season at the Pole. In some ways it is downright spooky, as if Halloween comes early up there. However I think it is all based around a very simple fact: Once ice doesn’t melt water no longer is of much use to Life. And when it freezes at the Pole it does with a finality like the slamming of a door. There is not really even a prayer of warming for six, solid months.

As the darkness grows there is less and less to watch, besides darkness, and the cameras tend to one by one shut down. I think they must be solar powered, with back-up  batteries that need to be saved for the spring. It might be nice to have a camera with a flash, to take pictures in the midwinter darkness, but the drain on batteries is likely prohibitive.

Therefore the pictures we now see are to be cherished as the last glimpse we will get of the refreeze, which is something less visible than thawing, as it happens under the cloak of darkness.


O-buoy 10 reported wind getting higher, and higher, until they were over 20 mph, when, with a final picture, the reports abruptly ceased.Obuoy 10 0925 windspeed-1week

As contact was lost the wind-direction was in the midst of a shift of at least 75 degrees, and perhaps more, and temperatures were at -5°, and the final picture shows the new ice cracking up around the feet of the camera. Obuoy 10 0925 webcamMy conclusion is that there was a pile-up of ice, with our faithful buoy in the midst. The GPS is still functioning, and shows the drift to the south abruptly became a drift to the north.  There tends to be a pile up in such situations, and if you don’t believe me you can experiment for yourself by abruptly shifting into reverse and heading north in a southbound lane of your local freeway.

Because the GPS is still functioning, I hold out a crumb of hope the fellows in charge might be able to reestablish contact. More than a decade ago I used to home-school my children with supplementary assistance that came through a satellite dish,  and after storms I can remember freezing my buns off tweaking the dish, attempting to regain the signal. The slightest breath of a difference made a huge change in the quality of the signal. Perhaps it is that sort of situation. I don’t forget we lost contact with O-buoy 10 for a month earlier in the year.

The GPS gives no hint that an icebreaker paused to pick this tough old buoy, the veteran of more than two years’ worth of sailing and being battered, from the ice.

It is a pity to lose this view, as the Beaufort Sea is the subject of so much political hubbub. There is a certain degree of dispute about whether it is as depleted as some say. O-buoy gave us evidence for our lying eyes. Now we have to resort to less direct satellite views, and do some filling-in-of-blanks. Here is the latest NRL view of ice-concentration on the Beaufort Sea, which can be compared with the view above from two days earlier.Beaufort ice 0923 beauforticennowcast

(It may be helpful to open both this map and the map from earlier in this post to new tabs, and then click back and forth between the two tabs, comparing.)

Of great interest to me is the western extension of the “reef” on the southern edge of the “lagoon”, which appears as three islands between 170°W and 180°W and between 74°N and 76°N.  In the map of two days ago nothing was there.

It is highly unlikely three such sizable islands could appear in truly open water, for in open water chilled water simply sinks, because it is denser.  It is far more likely preexisting ice allowed the chilled water to expand crystals from a sort of seed crystal of ice. Then the question becomes: Why didn’t the pre-existing ice show up, and where else might such preexisting ice exist, but be invisible?

It should be noted that models thought the southern “reef” would melt away, and ice would only expand from the northern edge of the “lagoon”. In the past few days the southern reef has not only refused to melt away, but grown more concentrated.  If this trend continues, (and don’t forget we are currently experiencing “mild” conditions due to air coming over from the Chukchi Sea), we could see the entire “lagoon freeze over from all sides towards the middle in a big hurry, leading to a very large up-tick in the “extent” graph.DMI2 0925B icecover_current_new

Even if we lose O-buoy 10’s superb views, we have seen that an area that looks like open water in the above map, 75°N and 140°W, looks far from open at ground level. This is why our open eyes are called “liars” by some who have eyes but don’t look.


After a tease with thawing on the solstice O-buoy 9 has seen temperatures closer to -10°C most of the time. Obuoy 9 0925 temperature-1weekHowever it usually doesn’t matter how cold it gets in Fram Strait, the ice gets flushed south to where it is warmer. Or so I state, but  I’m looking like a bit of a dope, as this particular buoy made it well south of 79°N back in August, yet currently is having a hard time getting back down to 79.5°N. Here’s the past month’s latitude graphed:Obuoy 9 0925 latitude-1month

I still think this ice will eventually be flushed south, but its current obstinate behavior means there is less ice further south along the east coast of Greenland, which reduces the total ice in the extent graph and gives Alarmists something to yippee about. However if there is a single place Alarmists should want to see ice increase, it is off the east coast of Greenland, for all such ice heads south to certain doom, and also is ice subtracted from the totality of the polar cap. What is happening instead is that there is a short-term balking of the cap at the verge of Fram Strait. It is jamming up and refusing to proceed south, which subtracts nothing from the totality of the cap,  and may even lead to an increase, for as long as it stands in the way other ice can’t come south.

Now that we are drifting south again we might expect the ice to spread out a bit and open water to appear, but the forecast for Sunday is for decent winds from the south, so we might get rammed north at least one more time.

Obuoy 9 0924 webcam Obuoy 9 0924B webcam Obuoy 9 0924C webcam Obuoy 9 0925 webcam Obuoy 9 0925B webcam


Off the west coast of the Canadian Archipelago around 83°N, we call -5°C a warm spell, and have already seen temperatures down close to -20°C.Obuoy 8 0925 temperature-1week

I did have hope of seeing some action when a lead opened in the middle distance, but it swiftly froze over. Already it is looking like winter, with the days swiftly shrinking to a degree where I’ll have to take care or I’ll miss the lit pictures, (and then the great darkness will follow). Note the snow sticking to a different side of the buoy in the final picture. This far north, no matter which way the wind blows, it is cold.Obuoy 8 0923B webcam Obuoy 8 0924 webcam Obuoy 8 0924B webcam Obuoy 8 0924C webcam Obuoy 8 0925 webcamObuoy 8 0925B webcam


That nice, mild air over the Chukchi Sea left at the solstice, and since then temperatures have been…well…arctic.Obuoy 15 0925 temperature-1weekWith o-buoy way over at 170°W and up at 81°N, and the nights swiftly growing longer than the days, I have to be on my toes to catch the daylight, but confess I’ve been flatfooted. Every time I check, it is twilight over there. (I just realized it is because they haven’t updated the picture in three days.) Not that there is much to see, but a flat landscape in dwindling daylight and rewindling cold.Obuoy 15 0925 webcam


As these two bupys have identical coordinates, I assume they are aboard the same icebreaker, which is currently busy with something other than deploying these two buoys. It will be interesting to see where they are placed, but I suspect all we will see is a few shots of flat ice before they are shut down, to wait for the sun’s return in the spring.


This is all Faboo has been seeing for the past few days:NP3 1 0925 2015cam1_1

With the sun so low and weak, I’m not sure we will be able to melt the hoarfrost from the lend. Instead we only have the official data to tell us what Faboo is up to, or down to.

On Tuesday Faboo made some decent progress 7.5 miles SSW to 84.970°N, 9.717°W, and temperatures that touched a high of -8.5°C at midnight a low of -10.0°C six hours later. Winds likely were decent to move the ice so far, but the vane and anemometer were likely frosted up, and reported a calm.

On Wednesday we made even better progress 11.19 miles SSE to 84.810°N, 9.406°W, with the low -11.3°C at 0300Z and the high -8.8°C at 1500Z. The anemometer reported 2 mph winds a while, but may have been encrusted.

On Thursday Faboo slowed down, and progressed only 2,57 miles SSE to  84.778°N, 9.194°W. Temperatures were down to -10.2°C at midnight, and then only slowly rose to -9.2°C at 1500Z before falling to the low of -11.4°C at the period’s end.

Unofficial Mass Balance reports suggest Faboo continued slowly southeast today. It will be interesting to see if Faboo heads back north when south winds are forecast, Sunday.


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Just because I am forsed to take a break from studying these maps is no reason for the maps to take a break, and I can see they’ve been busy since I last looked.  Where WSib1 and FG4 were doing a demure Fujiwhara dance towards Bering Strait it looks like someone spiked the ouch and they got rowdy, and FG4 flung ESib1 right off the dance floor and along the coast of Alaska, as it staggered backwards down to the coast of Siberia. I guess it is a sort of “mash pit” pattern.

Mwanwhile, back in Fram Strait, the slow development of a ridge of high pressure up the middle of the north Atlantic, and the resultant “wrong way” flow in Fram Strait, has proceeded with somewhat annoying slowness, as it was suppose to be started by now but is just getting going. Some milder and and moister air will surge north in this flow from the south, and as it clashes with the very cold up at the top of Fram Strait it will fuel the redevelopment of a low that has undergone morphistication, transiting Greenland, and this low will be the next frammerjammer.  As it departs it may reverse the winds to north in Fram Strait, or it may close the top with winds from the west. That  will be interesting to watch, However this low, (which I might as well call “FG5” even though its origins differ from the prior four),  will curl up to the Pole from the Siberian side and likely be the big shot on the top of the planet by Friday.

I’m not sure how O-buoy 9 will handle all the shifting of wind and ice,  At this point it is our lone surviving O-buoy from the spring, as O-buoy 10 shows no sighs of coming back to life. Therefore enjoy O-buoy 9’s pictures, as they be its last.Obuoy 9 0926 webcam

Obuoy 9 0926B webcamObuoy 9 0927 webcam

I would conclude this post with a report on Faboo, but even faithful Faboo has been afflicted by the mash-pit mentality of the autumnal Pole, and we have no official reports since Thursday, and a picture that continues to show a seriously frosted lens. Therefore we will conclude with a snowcover map of the north, showing we cannot hope to escape winter this year, as already snow is starting to blanket both Siberia and Alaska. Fairbanks Alaska reported a snowfall of over six inches, which is early for them, as their average high temperature now should be up around 45°F (+7.2°C).

Icecover 0927 ims2015266_alaskaNotice that the above map not only shows “The Slot” on the ice-cover of the Beaufort Sea, but a couple of smaller “slots” north of the East Siberian Sea and the Laptev Sea. Perhaps the slots are the true schitzophenia of the Poles this autumn. The center of the Pole is thicker and firmer, as the coastal waters are ice-free and milder, but between the two is a wilderness of two minds.

ARCTIC SEA ICE —The Refreeze—Sept 13-19, 2015 Concluded

There may still be a down-blip in the extent graph, due to storms tearing at the edges of the arctic ice-pack in places where the bottom melt is occurring, however it isn’t worth the hoop-la it might possibly generate. The melt season is to all extents and purposes over.DMI2 0912B icecover_current_new

The simple fact of the matter is that those who root for evidence that the Poles are melting, and that a “Death Spiral” exists, had everything going for them this past summer. Both the PDO and AMO spiked into “warm” phases, and a big El Nino occurred. Despite this assistance, they couldn’t come close to the low ice extents of 2007 and 2012. To call this summers low extent, (and it was definitely low), a “spiral” is to turn a spiral into a slinky having a bad hair day.

One of the biggest problems with the Death Spiral is clearly shown by this current picture from O-buoy 10, from waters some maps show as “ice free”.Obuoy 10 0913 webcam

First, the water is obviously not ice-free, which shows some automatic systems have problems seeing wet ice and slushy ice and slushy “pancake ice” floating on the water. However more important is the fact the open water is likely cooling, even with the sun beaming down on it. First, the sun is hitting the water at such an acute angle, this close to the solstice, that it bounces off the glassy surface rather than penetrating, (and a lot does the same even on the more rippled waters). Second, rather than protected by ice, and melting the bottom of the ice, that open water is exposed to air that is currently at -3°, and is losing heat to that air. (In fact that air would likely be colder, if it wasn’t already warmed by the open water.)

In fact, despite the bright sunshine, the water is being cooled, as is shown by the pancake ice floating to the lower left, and also by the oily look the water has out beyond that pancake ice. That glassy look is not due to calm, but to a thin layer of ice crystals expanding out from the edge of the ice.

The theory behind the Death Spiral assumes that less ice means more sunshine will be absorbed by open waters, resulting in warmer waters and less ice. What our lying eyes see is that this is not the case. Open waters result in more ice. It doesn’t matter if this ice is slushy pancake ice, or paper thin oil-slick ice, nor does it matter if such ice is not seen as being ice by satellites, and therefore “doesn’t count” in extent graphs. Ice is ice. What is more, for ice to form the latent heat in water must be released, and therefore, as contrary as it may sound, the formation of ice releases a lot of heat in the arctic, and some this heat is radiated up through the clear, blue skies and lost to outer space.

Not that the skies have been blue all that much. The sunshine that the Death Spiral requires has been rare this summer.  Some might suggest this proves Svenmark’s theory, and that the “Quiet Sun” allows more cosmic rays to hit the atmosphere, creating the seeds for cloud crystals. I  don’t know about that, but it sure has been cloudy this summer.

That may be a subjective statement, however I can’t afford to place sunlight sensors all over the Pole, and even if I could I couldn’t compare them with past years. I simply note it has been gloomy. When I took a voyage all over the arctic, via the webcam of the Coast Guard icebreaker Healy, I was somewhat astonished by the fact the sun nearly never shone. http://icefloe.net/Aloftcon_Photos/index.php?album=2015

I also noticed the ice was starting to reform on the leads they plowed through.Healy Sept 12 20150913-0201_595

This is to be expected in September. Bottom-melt can continue in places right into October, but the at the top of the arctic the air temperatures are plunging, and normal is already well below the freezing point of salt water.DMI2 0912B meanT_2015

Let it suffice to say the Death Spiral has been debunked, for the third straight summer, and therefore I am not going to bother with people who like to quibble about that dead horse. Rather the refreeze is going to be my focus.

I will add one other thing I have noted all summer. The refreeze never really stopped. All summer the thaw was interrupted by cold spells that skimmed the melt-water pools and leads visible to various cameras with ice. Even when that ice melted, I think it must have chilled the summer waters, rather than those waters being warmed in the manner I expected. This likely will have consequences, and I’m keeping my eyes cocked to see if I can spot any differences this year. For example, will the water freeze more swiftly?


(Faboo is my nickname for the North Pole Camera.)

In Saturday Faboo turned more to the east, even shifting 001° to the north at its last entry, moving another 3.21 miles and winding up at 85.190°N, 9.787°W.  Temperatures continued to fall, reaching a low of -14.9°C at 0900Z and then recovering to a high of -8.2°C at 0900Z. It then fell to -11.5°C at 1800Z before rebounding to -9.1°C at 2100Z.

This leads one to wonder what happened to the mild air Framja brought north over the Pole.  Judging from the pictures, it did what warm air is prone to do. It rises, and is seen as a layer of tattered clouds, but not felt much, on the ground. Also a lot headed south towards Greenland rather than being swept around and back east.NP3 1 0913 2015cam1_2 NP3 1 0913B 2015cam1_1

Judging from the time stamp and the shadows, Faboo now looks Northeast rather than north, which indicates the ice it sits upon has undergone some twisting. In the distance a thin white line below the horizon is likely a small pressure ridge, indicating a fracture in the ice, and the potential for a lead opening.

Also it should be noted that Lake Faboo has filled in with drifted snow. If you should ever be aboard a jet forced to make an emergency landing in the arctic while on some Great Circle route, remember that drifted snow can hide thin ice. It is safest to stick to the ice swept clean of snow, as seen in the view from Fabootwo a couple of hours later. NP3 2 0913B 2015cam2_1

Fabootwo looks more to the west-northwest north, and some low clouds can be seen off that way. Perhaps this indicates an open lead, but also it may demonstrate the milder air from the weakening Framja is not that far away.

Unofficial reports suggest Faboo continued east today (Sunday), and temperatures took a plunge, which demonstrates once again how the low September sunshine lacks the warming power of July’s.


To the south of Faboo in the mouth of Fram Strait O-buoy 9 continues to report -5° temperatures, light winds, and a slight drift east and a little south. It still isn’t producing pictures.

Across the Pole O-buoy 8-the-second is cooling slightly to around -1°, and seeing winds weaken to the 2-5 mph range, as Framja fades. Despite the mild temperatures the water looks a little slushy, likely due to falling snow being blown from the ice into the water. Notice there is no snow on top of the buoy, which indicates wind, and that the snow isn’t sticky.Obuoy 8 0913 webcam Obuoy 8 0913B webcam

Further south towards Beaufort sea O-buoy 10 is experiencing temperatures that have warmed slightly from -5° to -2° in bright sunshine, and winds that have increased slightly to the 4-9 mph range, and shows definite signs that the salt-water is refreezing. Also of interest (and concern) is the large berg approaching in the final picture.Obuoy 10 0913 webcam Obuoy 10 0913B webcam Obuoy 10 0913C webcam Obuoy 10 0913D webcamThe large berg is likely what remains of a bigger pressure ridge. Sometimes these jumbles of ice fall apart into many small bergs when the ice breaks up, but in this case the many small pieces were glued together by thaws and refreezes to a degree where they became a single entity. Likely it is “multi-year ice”, and it demonstrates the huge challenge faced by those who attempt to determine the volume of the sea ice. From above it looks like a chip, not any different from a flat piece of first-year “baby ice”, however up close we can see it is far taller, and when we also add the unseen nine tenths of every berg that sticks downwards,  we comprehend what a wrench this sort of berg throws into the machinery of volume calculations. (Notice the new ice forming around the edges, which is difficult for satellites to see.)


As Framja fades and Framjason lumbers east it is important to remember the arctic was robbed, as a big export of arctic air streamed in the flow behind these lows and ahead of the huge high “Notaz” that gave Europe a summery weekend. It is easy to forget the export of cold air, as it is to a degree “disappeared” in the DMI maps, because the open water loses so much heat that the lower layer of the frigid air is swiftly warmed, and shows up as warmer on the DMI maps than it is, even only 50 feet up. Once the air moves inland it does not take long for the cold to get back to earth.

The following GFS maps of temperature are produced by Dr. Ryan Maue at the Weatherbell site, and are among thousands you can access there for less than a dollar a day. The first shows a mild night over Europe, with even the highlands of Scotland and mountains of Norway having a hard time getting below 40° (4.4° Celsius) and Denmark with wee hour readings up near 60° (15.6° Celsius). The second map shows that in central Siberia a blast of cold air is coloring a large area pink, which is below freezing in the color scale of these maps.  (All the pink represents cold squandered, because it could just as well be staying north and freezing the sea. However if it builds a snowpack over Siberia it will indirectly freeze the Arctic Sea, when formerly-warm land breezes start to howl off shore chilled to well below freezing.)Sept warm gfs_t2m_eur_2Sept Cold gfs_t2m_asia_1The final map shows the possible snowfall over Siberia, (inches) due to Framjason.DMI2 0911 gfs_6hr_snow_acc_asia_41


I’ve got a bad cold, and need to sleep, but hopefully I’ll find time to discuss these maps in the morning.

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It is hard to update with a nose that feels the size of a turnip, sinuses that feel like they extend to my elbows, and a cough that rattles my kneecaps and disgusts everyone within a quarter mile. However I’ll give it a go.

As Framja faded away along the Canadian Archipelago coastline no one wanted to take over at the Pole. It is the height of indecisiveness, with, on one hand, weak low pressure extending from Siberia to Canada, and on the other, weak high pressure extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with the high pressure displaced to the Eurasian side.

The temperature maps show the Pole split by milder temperatures, but the cold intence on the Atlantic side and the pool over on the Pacific side growing colder and larger and now containing the minus ten isotherm.

The major decrease in ice melt extent has been on the Eurasian side, caused mostly by ice being compressed and pushed north, especially north of the New Siberian Islands. Off the Alaskan coast there are signs of refreezing, and the flimsy southern boundary of The Slot is persisting, despite many forecasts suggesting it will  melt away, and some maps depicting it as already gone. Below are the NRL maps for concentration and thickness, which now show The Slot with no opening to the southeast. The entire yellow area north of the Beaufort sea is likely to turn red this coming week, suggesting 60% Concentration will become 95% concentration.DMI2 0914B arcticicennowcastDMI2 0914C arcticictnowcast

O-buoy 9’s camera working again.

Temperatures continue cold. down to -7° and back up to -5°, with winds light and a slow drift to the east-southeast.  The pictures are splendid, and show the ice-jam north of Fram Strait freezing up. This does not keep the ice from coming south, but may slow the progress for a time.Obuoy 9 0914B webcamObuoy 9 0914C webcam

Slow cooling occurring at O-buoy 8 

Temperatures are only just creeping below the freeing point of salt-water, roughly -1.7° where the water is slightly brackish due to melt-water. But we need to remember the thermometer is two meters above the ice, and when it is calm (as it now is) the air right at the surface of the ice can be radiationally cooled, (like the frosty surface of your windshield when there is frost nowhere else), and be significantly colder. As gravity pulls this denser air down over the surface of the water it is swiftly warmed, but the water is robbed of its heat. I think this explains the growth of the pancake ice when temperatures are not all that cold.

 Obuoy 8 0914 webcamObuoy 8 0914B webcamObuoy 8 0914C webcam

O-buoy 10 starting to freeze up

Temperatures are down around -5°, where they’ve been for days, and despite the steady breeze of 4-8 mph the sea-ice is obviously skimming over the waters between the bergs. I’m not sure when such ice becomes thick enough to be noticed by satellites and included in extent graphs. (Sometimes it only needs a dusting of snow to be noticed, even when it paper thin.) If the winds pick up, this sort of ice offers little resistance, and the bigger bergs will plow through it and raise slushly little pressure ridges.Obuoy 10 0914 webcam Obuoy 10 0914B webcamObuoy 10 0914C webcam


Faboo apparently had second thoughts about heading down to Fram Strait yesterday, for after heading southeast to 85.189°N, 9.732°W at 0300Z it turned around and headed back northwest to 85.204°N, 9.822°W at 2100Z. This represents a backsliding of 0.99 miles for the day, which may not seem like much, but could open a lead more than 0.99 miles wide, when you consider the fact O-buoy 9 was moving south and east at the same time, to the south. (More likely many smaller leads were opened.)

Temperatures remained cold, achieving a high of -8.6°C at midnight and a low of -13.5°C at 0900Z and finishing the 24 hour period at -12.7°C.

Faboo’s antics were likely caused by one of the eddies that form off the coast of Greenland; micro-systems I call “frammerjammers” that mess up all my nice, neat calculations on a regular basis.

The camera’s pictures suggest most of the mild air has been lifted and effects upper regions, but the later pictures hint some of that milder air is working closer to the surface.NP3 1 0914 2015cam1_4 NP3 1 0914B 2015cam1_3 NP3 1 0914C 2015cam1_2 NP3 1 0914D 2015cam1_1However a final (and gorgeous) picture from Fabootwo shows an image of what is likely snow falling during the midnight sunset, but sublimating before it hits the ground. This would add the aspect of evaporative cooling to our calculations, and hint things might not get milder.NP3 2 0914D 2015cam2_1

All in all it seems somewhat amazing that the ice supposedly shrank today. I suppose it is because we have no cameras (that I know of) on the Russian side of the Pole, where most of the shrinkage apparently is occurring. DMI2 0914B icecover_current_new

One reason the ice is able to avoid refreezing on the Russian side is because the cold isn’t hanging around up there to keep waters cold. Instead it has been exported into central Siberia, where I am certain people don’t give a hoot about the arctic being warmer north of them, as they have pretty much had a year without a summer. The map below, (produced by Dr. Ryan Maue at the Weatherbell site), shows the latest blast chilling central Siberia, even as eastern Siberia has the closest thing to a mild spell they’ve had in weeks. Also interesting in the map below is the fact the North Slope of Alaska also is cold inland.

DMI2 0914B cmc_t2m_arctic_3

I should mention the above map is a “forecast” map and not reality, and is produced by the Canadian JEM model, which always makes the cold a bit colder (IMHO).  In the above map it is noon tomorrow in England, afternoon over eastern Europe, and then the enormity of Siberia has evening and all the hours to midnight, in Bering Strait. Alaska and Canada are experiencing the cold of the wee hours, and day is breaking over Hudson Bay.

The thing about the cold over Siberia is that it will create an early snowpack, which can lead to a colder winter. The meteorologist Joe Bastardi has some interesting arguments that suggest an early snow-pack doesn’t matter as much as the pattern, and has found some historical examples where an early snow-pack in Siberia didn’t result in extreme cold later in the year, but I would humbly suggest that is the exception to the rule. Few people in more temperate climes have the slightest idea of Siberia’s power, and what it can do when its losing heat as only it can lose it.

There are inland cities in Siberia that have, if you look at the weather records, record summertime highs up around 100° (37.8° Celsius) and these same cities have record wintertime lows down around -80°  (-62.2° Celsius). Antarctica may get colder, but Antarctic weather is sissy stuff, when it comes to the whiplash Siberia experiences between winter and summer.

One of the most important differences involved in the switch between summer and winter in Siberia is snow-cover. Once the radiational cooling involved with snow-cover starts to occur, Siberia starts to lose heat in a very big way, and “produces” cold. As this cold builds it presses down as high pressure, and that high pressure is no little and meek thing, pushed about by weather patterns from outside. Sometimes it becomes the boss, and rules the weather patterns, and sends hoards of galloping gangsters out like Genghis Khan. Therefore I pay careful attention to the snow-cover in Siberia, in September and October.


O-buoy 15 was installed a couple days ago on the firm ice north-northeast of Bering Strait, at 81° north and 160° west. (I wonder if the coast guard ice-breaker Healy placed it.) It is liable to mostly show flat and boring ice until next summer, but did record a blast of very cold -15° temperatures, to make things interesting at the start. Temperatures have since moderated to -7° and winds are light, at 8-10 mph.Obuoy 15 0915 webcamTUESDAY DMI MAPS

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That little frammerjammer sneaked north and conquered the Pole, as all the bigger features were distracted elsewhere. The huge Scandanavian high Notaz has been nudged southeast by the gradual eastward movement of Dorga to Britain, but Notaz has a long ridge extending along the Siberian coast, with east winds to its south and a weak Atlantic to Pacific flow to its north. The cold is getting strong north of Canada and Greenland.


From the very first official entry yesterday Faboo was back on course southest, as if Sunday’s wandering was just a day of rest. Only in the final entry did it regress .002° north, to 85.187°N, 9.669°W, which was 1.47 miles closer to Fram Strait for the 24 hour period. . The only indication we are dealing with tricky frammerjammer winds is the slow motion.

Temperatures crashed to a day’s low of -17.4°C at 0600Z, recovered to -8.7°C at 1800Z, and then slipped to -9.0°C at 2100Z.

Unofficial reports show the temperatures again crashing today, and the slow southeast drift persisting. The milder air seems to stay aloft, and can’t get to the surface.

NP3 1 0915 2015cam1_1


O-buoy 8-the-2nd saw temperatures drop to -5°C before the calm broke, and then temperatures rose slightly to -3°C as a slight breeze blew at 4-7 mph.  Note the dust of snow atop the buoy. The water between the bergs looks increasingly slushy, and for the moment the bergs are not shifting about much here.Obuoy 8 0915 webcam Obuoy 8 0915B webcamObuoy 8 0915C webcam

O-buoy 9 continued its slow drift south back towards 79° latitude while shifting east past 7° west longitude. Winds pocked up and temperatures, which had nearly risen to the freezing point of salt water, began falling again. The thin sheet of ice between bergs seems surprisingly stable.Obuoy 9 0915 webcam Obuoy 9 0915B webcam Obuoy 9 0915C webcam

O-buoy 10 has resumed its drift south towards more open waters, and is facing a breeze of 10 to 15 mph. Temperatures are flat at around -3°, so any exposed water is being chilled. The open water we see has been cleared by moving ice, rather than thawing. It seems the buoy currently under the most duress., but at least the big buoy-crusher berg that lay straight ahead yesterday has slipped away.

Obuoy 10 0915 webcam Obuoy 10 0915B webcamObuoy 10 0915C webcam

O-buoy 15 has no new pictures, but temperatures have risen nearly to freezing over that way.

Wednesday Updates


O-buoy 9 spent another day in relatively calm conditions, drifting south and east at the northern entrance of Fram Strait. Winds remained brisk, in the 9-14 mph range, as temperatures sank to around -5° and leveled off there. The thin ice between bergs is under duress and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the water open up a little as the ice disperses southwards. Or perhaps I should say “if”. The frammerjammer low over the pole seems to be trying to reverse the flow yet again.Obuoy 9 0916 webcam Obuoy 9 0916B webcam Obuoy 9 0916C webcamO-buoy 8-the-2nd, which is northeast of Price Patrick Island and therefore officially in the Central Arctic Basin and not the Beaufort Sea, (but I’m calling it a Beaufort Buoy and the heck with officials), continues to experience light winds around 2 mph and cold temperatures around -10°, and the open water between bergs increasingly looks frozen over for keeps. Apparently it is close enough to the center of the frammerjammer low to avoid the stronger winds.Obuoy 8 0916 webcam Obuoy 8 0916B webcam Obuoy 8 0916C webcam

O-buoy 10, further to the south and west, is getting hit by the breezes associated with the frammerjammer low,  (8-14 mph for several days), and continues slowly south.  The thin ice forming over the open waters has been sloshed out of existence in places, and heaped up as slush in others. Where it actually melts it sucks heat out of the water as it goes through the phase change back from ice to water. When the phase change reverses, the heat is released, but largely to the air. The open water has few opportunities for warming once the sun is this low. Temperatures were getting up to the freezing point of salt water, but recently sank back down to roughly -3°.Obuoy 10 0916 webcam Obuoy 10 0916B webcam Obuoy 10 0916C webcam

O-buoy 15, located further east than Point Barrow and is actually our only Chukchi Sea Buoy (though officially in the Central Arctic Basin), has seen temperatures crash back down to -10° after a brave attempt at a final summer thaw.Obuoy 15 0916B temperature-1week

The breeze has been strong here, generally on the 10-18 mph range, but the ice looks fairly solid. Obuoy 15 0916 webcamObuoy 15 0916B webcam

The division between the various “seas” and the Central Arctic Basin is relatively meaningless, for if you spray-painted the line onto the ice the ice would move it out of place immediately, and in some cases the line would wind up on the far side of the Pole in a quite different sea in a matter of months. (We followed O-buoy 9 right across the Pole to the coast of Greenland.)  The ocean has little regard for man-made lines, or borders. However it means a lot to some, if they can say, “The Central Arctic Basin is melting”, and therefore it pays to be alert to when a Beaufort buoy drifts north across an imaginary line. Otherwise you might lose points in an argument due to a technicality.

Not that there is agreement over where these northern boundaries lie. I have seen maps which draw the northern boundary of the Beaufort Sea as a graceful arc from Point Barrow to Cape Manning on Prince Patrick Island. Others show more of a box, and still others have a direct diagonal line. (I sort of like the diagonal line, for that would mean you could stand looking north on the shore at Barrow, and a rock tossed left would land in the Chukchi Sea, and right would land in Beaufort Sea, but straight ahead would land in the Central Arctic Basin.)

For nitpickers the northern boundary of the Beaufort Sea would lie at the latitude of Cape Manning, or 75.86° north, but I tend to ignore that. It is too far south. All of Fram Strait is north of that latitude, as is most of Barents Sea. However I figured I should warn you, just in case you run up against a nitpicker.


Faboo didn’t officially report, which makes things easier for me, though it does look like it may be turning north again, judging from unofficial reports. The frammerjammer that drifted to the Pole has grown stronger and sunk towards the Canadian Archipelago, which is putting Faboo in its south winds. Temperatures are a little milder but still quite cold, at -8.77° C.  All the mild air is aloft, and can never quite make it to the ground, though obviously it supplied enough heat to fuel the frammerjammer. The sun is getting low, and the arctic night (and the end to watching the view from the camera) is not far off.

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I guess we should giver the Frammerjammer a name, “Frajam”. It seems to be absorbing additional energy from a Hudson Bay low that faded north through the Canadian Archipelago. I wish I could take the time to study its development more deeply, for it has been fascinating to see it and its predecessor Framja form out of next to nothing.

Also of interest is the growing area of green-blue inside the minus ten isotherm over the Pole. If the pattern holds, it will eventually become an outbreak over central Siberia, (or so I risk my guess). I sure hope the cold doesn’t come my way.



When Siberia is locked into cold weather, the Lena River has not a trickle of water entering it from above, and in places can even freeze to the bottom and stop flowing, with the local fish hiding out in the deeper pools until the ground water leaching in (as the only source of liquid water) can lift the ice a little and allow a little seepage to head north. The flow is next to nothing in winter months. Roughly 15% of the yearly flow heads to the delta between late November and early May. But then the seasons change and the river goes nuts. All the snows of central Siberia clear down to Lake Baikal melt and surge north, and the river rises as much as sixty feet in June and has an incredible flow rivaling all the world’s great rivers except the Amazon.   It is hard to get your mind around how hugely the flow varies, between a minimum of 366 cu m per sec to a maximum of 200,000 cu m per sec and back again. 

This flow freshens the coastal Laptev Sea so much that, if you watch it, you’ll notice it freezes faster than the edge of the sea-ice further out in the Arctic Sea. (The only other northern place where the sea is so greatly freshened is the northern part of the Baltic Sea, the “Gulf of Bothnia” between Finland and Sweden, and there too you’ll  notice the sea freeze when “it is too warm.” )  Other arctic deltas show the same freshening to a lesser extent, but the thing to remember is that already the flow of these rivers is starting to dwindle, and by Novermber they will be back to a trickle.

Just imagine how hard it is to figure out the salinity of waters at various levels in various parts of the Arctic with such huge river-variations possible, and also with the start-up and close-down dates of such gigantic floods susceptible to the variables we simply call “an early spring ” or “an early winter.” In terms of computer models, we are not talking about a butterfly flapping its wings, but a difference between 366 and 200,000.

Maybe there are times we should just be a little humble, and confess Creation is magnificent, yet to our puny mind’s calculations it seems like a completely unfathomable  chaos.


Sorry to be so late and so brief but I’m still not over my cold.

O-buoy 8  –Continued cold and calm–Snow on buoy–

Obuoy 8 0917 webcam Obuoy 8 0917C webcamO-BUOY 9 –Colder and Calmer, heading Southeast slower. Midnight Sun Gone.

Obuoy 9 0917 webcam Obuoy 9 0917B webcam Obuoy 9 0917C webcam

O-BUOY 10 –Colder, less windy, and refreeze resuming–Obuoy 10 0917 webcam Obuoy 10 0917B webcamObuoy 10 0917C webcam

Note the ice was shed from the strap in the upper right, though temperatures never quite got above freezing over night. Also notice the slush piled up at the edges of the bergs.


NP3 1 0917 2015cam1_3 NP3 1 0917B 2015cam1_1

Unofficial Mass Balance reports suggest moderating temperatures up to  -5.06° C and motion resuming to the southeast after dithering about a bit.


DMI2 0917 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0917 temp_latest.bigDMI2 0917B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0917B temp_latest.big

God willing, I’ll comment on the maps tomorrow.


DMI2 0918 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0918 temp_latest.big

Rhe most interesting feauture to Europeans is likely “Dorga”, bogged down over Norway, but a shield of high pressure keeps it from effecting the Dea ice, so far. Instead my eyes focus on “Frajam”, for even as it weakens north of Canada a long fetch on its asia-facing side is driving the minus-five isotherm towards Beaufort Sea, and the infamous “Slot.”

The slot doesn’t even appear on the Cryosphere map many use, because, although they have 20% ice extent in their map-key to the upper left as a blue color, they have lost the bottle of blue ink and never use it on their maps.Slot Sept 17 cryo_latest_small

However the Navy Research Lab map does a better job of showing the 20% ice, and makes the Slot quite clear.

Slot sept 17 arcticicennowcast

So now cold air is pushing ice south and chilling those waters. What will happen to the slot as it spreads wide? (I recognize the potential for rude jokes, but I would appreciate everyone avoiding touching the subject with a ten foot pole.)


The day began dark, as the buoy now has genuine nights, so we couldn’t see what was going on.Obuoy 10 0918 webcamHowever we could see we were being pushed south into more open watersObuoy 10 0918 latitude-1weekAnd we could see that the north wind doing the pushing was crashing the temperatures.Obuoy 10 0918 temperature-1week

But when I finally got a chance away from work to peek at what daylight showed, I got a surprise, as the warer was more open, yet the open water wasn’t really open.Obuoy 10 0918B webcam

This large stretch of open water appears to be filled with slush, which is the initial stage of pancake ice. The power of the cold wind is obviously trumping the weak sun, and any residual Pacific warmth from waters down below is being overpowered. Also interesting is the simple fact that the slush is too wet to be registered as sea-ice by many systems, and what you are looking at would be called “open water”.

Of course, if you were the captain of a whaling ship long ago you’d see the entrapping slush growing, and be cursing the greed that kept you hunting a week longer than the other ships, and be using every sail you had to push your way south through the slush, and use every bit of the diminishing north wind to get south as fast as you could.

The only way to get truly open water is in the wake of a larger berg, which sticks it top up like a sail, and pushes through the slush leaving open water in its wake. Soon this slush will become a crust, and the only open water will be when winds blow strongly and wide leads open up.


Faboo has been experiencing hoarfrost as some milder and moister air snuck in, I think through Nares Strait on the east coast of Greenland, in association with a Hudson Bay low that headed straight up into the Canadian Archipelago.  This has happened several times the past summer. Rather than warm air invading up through the Atlantic, it takes a difficult route through some of the coldest northern landscapes there are, and brings surprising warmth to the ice north of Greenland and Northernmost Canada. This time you could only see a tendril of mildness creeping right along the coast of of north Greenland, but it looks like the moisture extended further north, and got down to ground level, which the last Atlantic invasion seemed to fail to do.

Tuesday’s report showed a slight movement of 1.2 miles to 85.181°N, 9.475°. Winds were light and temperatures crashed to a low of -16.2°C at 0600Z and stayed low until the end of the period, when they bounced up to the day’s high of -7.6°C at the very end.

Wednesday’s report showed another period of indecisiveness, with Faboo moving north and slightly west to 85.219°N, 9.496°W, which was 2,62 miles the “wrong way”. Temperatures hit a high of -6.4°C at midnight and then swiftly sunk to the low of -10.6°C at 0600Z, and then slowly rose to a secondary high of -6.6°C at 1800Z before sinking to -9.0°C.

Thursday saw us heading southeast right from the start, which shows how useless it is to make a “trend line” from a prior report.  Winds had picked up to 10-15 mph, but backed off again to a near calm, and we traveled 5.72 miles the “right way” and wound up at  85.149°N, 8.962°W. Temperatures rose to a balmy -3.6°C at 0300Z, but fell back to -12.9°C at the end.

In essence we spent three days progressing four miles. Somewhere a turtle is amazed.

The camera did show we finally got some sunshine:

NP3 1 0918 2015cam1_1


The conclusion is simple: The refreeze is underway. A few blips in graphs can’t really change the reality of growing cold and growing darkness.

Here’s a nice picture from O-buoy 10 showing a berg passing, leaving a trail of open water in its wake.Obuoy 10 0919 webcam

In the summer such a cold-wave-caused, slushy sea wouldn’t have a prayer of remaining un-melted, for the sun is higher and beaming and never sets, however times have changed on the Beaufort Sea, and 5 hours after the above picture was clicked a new picture showed us this:

Obuoy 10 0919B webcam

Alas, the sun doesn’t stay up forever, and this week will see the arctic night begin at the north Pole, and arctic nights longer than arctic days even down here at 75.5° north latitude. The Big Chill is arriving.

Here is a map of the water temperatures at the Pole. Of course the water under ice will be right at the freezing point (white), but what is interesting is how much of the “ice free” water in the Beaufort Sea is white. (Hat tip: “sandyS”)

DMI2 0919 satsst.arc.d-00

If you wonder how open water can be white on the above map, it is because it is at the freezing point but unfrozen. How can this happen? Well, the water in your glass of ice water is the same temperature as the ice in the glass, and the only difference between the liquid and the solid is latent heat in the water that isn’t in the ice.

This brings me to a deep, philosophical question about slush. Is is water?  Or is it ice? This profound question is perplexing supercomputers and deranging satellites and disturbing ice-extent charts and causing roaring contentions between Alarmists and Skeptics. And what is the answer?

The answer is this: “Wait a week, and it won’t matter.”

DMI2 0919 icecover_current_new


NP3 2 0911 2015cam2_1

Up at the Pole another summer has passed, and up at 85° latitude the midnight sun is setting. As we watch that sunset, I have some simple questions about the simple Truth.

First, would you call the Pole ice-free? Why not? Lying is profitable, so why don’t you join the club?

Communist Russia had a long history of regarding Truth in cynical manner, freely maiming It and warping it into atrocious propaganda. They regarded even friends, supporters and allies as “useful idiots”. Across the Caspian, Persia (Iran) had to battle this superpower, and the Shah had to battle his own young college students who were useful idiots, and in the end both he and the students lost. The winner, if downfall can be called victory, was a perverted form of Islam which seemingly takes a specific clause of the Koran, meant to apply only to certain situations involving flagrantly wicked Byzantine corruption and Gestapo-like cruelty, and makes it into the clause, “It is acceptable to lie to infidels.”

Wrong. Truth cannot be taught by telling lies. Not that we in the west are saints, as many of our businessmen believe it is acceptable to lie to customers, and many of our politicians believe it is acceptable to lie to voters, and Madison Avenue makes a profitable business out of such lying.

However Truth does not need to be told to be True. It is. It stands alone, like the sea ice in the above picture, and not all the racket of yammering nincompoops can deny it.

At some point we all face a choice. Do you believe in a government of the people and for the people, or do you believe in self-serving self-interest? Do you believe in telling the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth, or do you swear on the Bible with your fingers crossed?  Will you lie for a buck (or for a word that rhymes)?

So look again at the above picture of a sunset. Would you call that Arctic Sea ice-free?

ARCTIC SEA ICE —THE 2015 MINIMUM— Sept. 8-12, 2015 — Concluded

This post will be about the approaching sea-ice minumum, as temperatures start their yearly plunge at the Pole, as ice starts to form at the surface faster than it can be melted from beneath. Already the extent graph is starting to flatten out, before its eventual rise.DMI2 0907 icecover_current_new It can be seen we are extremely unlikely to come close to 2012’s minimum, which emphasizes the fact the so-called “Death Spiral” simply isn’t happening.  I suppose one could attempt to redefine the word “Spiral”, but then one would have to adjust the entire logic of cause-and-effect that explained the spiral, until things became ludicrous. After all, one can try to redefine a knife as a sort of fork, but the knife does not become a fork as much as you yourself become an ass.

It is far more interesting to accept things as they are, and to focus on the many reasons the ice-extent was low this year, and the reasons it wasn’t as low as 2012.

The AMO, which has been wobbling towards its “cold” phase the past two springs, swung back into its “warm” phase:

AMO Sept 4 amo_short

Far more interesting is the PDO, which has been in a “warm spike” during its “cold phase”, but is refusing to get back into its “cold phase.”

PDO Sept 7 pdo_short

This has little to do with the El Nino (which is also quite warm) but a lot due to what is affectionately called “The Blob” and has been a major feature in the north Pacific for going on three years. It built a ridge of high pressure which kept the western USA warm and dry, but caused a trough to dig deeply to its east, delivering arctic air into the eastern USA. It was self perpetuating, for the high pressure allowed extra sunshine to keep The Blob’s waters warm. However on his excellent Blog at Weatherbell this morning Joseph D’Aleo pointed out The Blob is developing new features.  It has a couple of creases in it, and a map of Pacific anomalies shows multiple layers rather than a single blob. (The lowest layer is the El Nino).Pacific Anomalies Sept 7 globe_cdas1_anom(55)

My suspicion is that these “seams” will allow storms to penetrate the Blob, ending the self-perpetuation of sunshine and stirring up colder waters, and messing up winter forecasts based on the idea the Blob will remain firm. The last time we saw such a “warm spike” in a “cold” PDO was in the 1950’s, and back then we had neither satellite views nor Dr. Ryan Maue’s excellent maps.  So we are seeing things for the first time.

The blob was forsing typhoons west, when they came north from Japan, and they were winding up off Kamchaka on Russia’s Pacific coast. Only recently did a typhoon find one of these “seams” and take the more normal El Nino route to the Gulf of Alaska. It gives me the feeling storm tracks will be erratic and weather patterns will vary a lot this winter.

When the typhoons were taking the more western track their western sides sucked cold air down over east Siberia from the Arctic Ocean. I was oblivious of this until south winds from east Siberia onto the sea-ice were not as balmy as I expected, so I checked to see what the score was. I saw sub-freezing temperatures in August. I immediately suspected a freak snowfall, but even now there is only snow on peaks up that way. Snowcover Swpt 7 cursnow_asiaeurope

Despite the lack of snow, when I checked the forecast for temperatures at dawn at that part of the world, Dr. Ryan Maue’s map showed it to be surprisingly cold today. DMI2 0907B gfs_t2m_npac_3This is not what I expect at all. You can see the Arctic Sea is warmer than the land at the coast, and I don’t expect this until the solstice, when the nights swiftly grow longer than the days. Up until then I expect south winds off the tundra to be off a sun baked landscape swarming with mosquitoes breeding in warm pools atop permafrost that has thawed several feet down. It seems those pools have frozen over early this year.

Joseph D’Aleo must also be noting the cold up there, for today (to my great delight) he featured an article about an early season storm that will prowl eastward across that tundra next week, giving early season snows not merely on the coast, but quite far south in Central Siberia.This will force me to adjust my thinking, when I notice winds are from the south off Russia. (It also shows you how, when you are focused on sea-ice, you can wind up in Mongolia.)

Forgive me for reprinting the above map again below, but I like the snow-extent map because it gives a truer idea of how small the arctic is. Most maps stretch the North Pole, which after all is just a dot, across the entire top, and make it look as long as the equator,  and the result is a map that makes Greenland look bigger than Australia. (It isn’t.)  The map below gives a truer idea of how small the area of ice people are up in arms about is, compared to the amazing vastness of Siberia. (The ice itself is orange).Snowcover Swpt 7 cursnow_asiaeurope

The above map is also interesting because it clearly shows “The Slot” in the sea-ice north of Alaska, which also shows, albeit less clearly, in the NRL map of ice extent:This “slot” doesn’t even show on other maps, which completely erase the southern edge of its ice, (I think because floating slush and “pancake” ice is seen as open water.)  If this area truly exists, bounded on all sides by ice, it could freeze over with surprising speed, now that temperatures are plummeting.

The reason has to do with the fact salt water differs from fresh water, in that cold fresh water floats on top of warmer fresh water, once it gets below 35 degrees, but colder salt water always sinks. This makes it hard to freeze the top of truly open salt water, because it sinks before it gets cold enough to freeze. The only way the arctic ocean freezes at all is because tiny seed crystals of ice somehow form from snow or spray or bubbles on the water, and even when they are minute they do float, and form a basis for further freezing.

Because the “slot” has so much more slush available to act as seed crystals, the ordinary process of freezing up the arctic sea could be sped up in that area.  Unfortunately all three O-buoy cameras we had in that area have stopped sending pictures, so we can’t see what the water looks like and how much slush is about.

The area took quite a battering, first from a storm I dubbed “Ruckus” which came up from the Pacific and rattled the Beaufort Sea before sinking back down towards Hudson Bay, and second from a storm I dubbed “Crosschuk” which can be seen being flung from Siberia to Alaska before fading in the sequence below.

DMI2 0905 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0905 temp_latest.bigDMI2 0905B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0905B temp_latest.bigDMI2 0906 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0906 temp_latest.bigDMI2 0906B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0906B temp_latest.big

DMI2 0907 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0907 temp_latest.big

DMI2 0907B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0907B temp_latest.big

(Also of interest in these maps is an eddy of low pressure that formed off the east coast of Greenland and moved towards Svalbard, (called “Famja”), which could grow to a gale, as it is fed by mild air from the high over Iceland (“Notaz”) clashing with very cold air developing over the Pole. But that is news for later.) (The east-side north winds of “Notaz” delivered a shot of cold air to Scotland, giving them snow on the peaks.)

Although these storms battering the sea ice may not have reached the size of the 2012 storm, they did stir the ice and sea up, and the ice did not melt in the swift manner it melted in 2012. In 2012 the swift melt was likely due to a layer of warmer water under the ice, but this summer’s ice behaved more like the ice did during the 2013 summer gale, when it was broken and churned but didn’t melt as much. This suggests the water is colder, and that there is either no layer of milder water, or it is much deeper down and beyond the reach of turbulence.

It fits in with what I witnessed all summer, which was seldom open water being warmed by bright sunshine, but instead was more often gloomy weather, and waters chilled even to the degree where they sometimes skimmed with ice. In essence it was a battle between warmth from the warm PDO below and cold from an unknown source from above.

The Atlantic side is seeing less dispersing of ice and more compression, but I’ll have to wait to describe that tomorrow.


(“Faboo” is my nickname for the North Pole Camera.) After a mild spell the cold is definately arriving, with temperatures down to –11.46° C. The buoy has been drifting steadily southeast, but still is well northwest of where most North Pole Cameras have wound up, in September, at  85.43° N, 12.93° W.NP3 1 0908 2015cam1_1


On Saturday the 5th Faboo progressed  13.76 miles southeast on 10-14 mph winds, seeing a brief thaw and brief sunshine at midnight, when temperatures reached +0.4°C, and then clouds, snow and a flash freeze at noon, when temperatures fell to -6.6°C, before they rose back to -1.5°C at 2100Z.

On Sunday the 6th Faboo continued another 4.2 miles southeast as winds slacked off and temperatures fell steadily to -7.6°C.

On Monday the 7th Faboos progress slowed to 2.13 miles southeast as winds dropped to calm and temperatures crashed to the coldest we’ve seen since May. The high was -7.3°C at midnight, and by 0600Z had plummeted to -13.7°C, bouncing around after that to as high as  -7.5°C at 1800Z, but back down to -12.1°C at 2100Z.

On Tuesday the 8th Faboo sped up to 5.54 miles southeast, so winds likely picked up a little, but apparently both the wind vane and anemometer were crusted up with hoarfrost and not reporting. Temperatures remained below -10°, with a high of -10.1°C at  0600Z and lows of -12.4°C at 0300Z and  -11.4°C at 1800Z.

This cold blast has ended the bottom melt, and we are unlikely to see it resume unless we can get down into Fram Strait.NP3 1 0909 2015D_thickThe views are definitely cold ones.NP3 1 0909A 2015cam1_4

NP3 1 0909B 2015cam1_1The average temperature north of 80° is crashing, and thaws are increasingly unlikely when to be above average is still well below freezing.DMI2 0909 meanT_2015We will have to watch Faboo to see if he can get down to Fram Strait, where is where the action is. NP3 1 0909 2015D_trackIf you locate 79.5° north and 9.5° west on the above map, between Greenland and Svalbard, you have the rough location of O-buoy 9, which has been drifting slowly north and east even as Faboo has labored south and west. Somewhere between the two the ice must be getting crunched up.  O-buoy 9 has also seen cold temperatures and fresh snows, and, as winds are currently light, may experience a freezing-up of the icepack, even while being eventually flushed south.Obuoy 9 0909 webcam

O-buoy 10 reports in.

The polar lows Ruckus and Crosschuk have taken a terrible toll on our buoys, including some of the Mass Balamce buoys that lack cameras, and I feared O-buoy 10 might be another casualty, however so far it is a survivor. (It seems ironic that the older buoys survived, while the newer ones bit the dust.)

O-buoy 10 is roughly at 76° north and 140° west, which is open water according to some maps, but its camera shows ice.  Obuoy 10 0909 webcamObuoy 10 0909B webcam

It really doesn’t matter to me all that much whether this is called open water or not, as long as the people doing the measuring measure in the manner they measured in prior years. It would be quite a different matter if they called this ice-covered, even 30% ice covered, in prior years and now call it ice-free. However to suspect that is to venture into the surreal landscape of paranoia, and even if modern governments make such surrealism everyday, I’m not in the mood to go there tonight. I’m just going to pretend we are comparing apples with apples,  and the manner of measuring hasn’t been changed.

Rather than quibbling about the km2 of the sea-ice that remain, I am interested in the open water and what is happening to it. I actually think the better scientists are the same. They likely smile and nod with slightly pained expressions, when dealing with the people one must flatter to get a grant, but once the money is safely pocketed they likely hurry north to study reality, which is far more fascinating than fiction.

Reality exposes a major blemish in the “Death Spiral” theory, which suggests that open waters absorb more sulight, for when we use our lying eyes we realize by the time the ice finally breaks up the sun is too low to warm much. Down at 76° north it already spends time below the horizon, and when above the horizon it often hits the water at such a shallow angle that water reflects better than ice does. Furthermore, with temperatures plummeting, and with open waters exposed to the cold in a way ice-covered water isn’t, and stirred by winds in ways ice-covered waters aren’t, one becomes acutely curious about what is actually occurring to the water; IE Reality.

I am sure true scientists strive to avoid having preconceptions, and to strictly govern their speculations to actual data they now are gaining with water profiles we never before had, which shows how water behaves when ice-covered and when open. However until this data is published in a manner accessible to a bumpkin like myself I simply note how the ice behaves in the year after there is a lot of open water, such as 2007 and 2012. To a bumpkin it looks like the ice acts as if was sitting in water that is colder. It is more reluctant to melt.

Therefore, even as we watch this year’s minimum, I’m thinking about next year’s. Among other things, I’m watching to see how long the water remains open and exposed, and what sort of cold it is exposed to. I’m thinking that if “The Beaufort Slot” freezes over swiftly, it may actually protect “warm” PDO waters from being cooled. Pondering what that might mean leads me into landscapes of wonder.

O-buoy 10’s thermometer shows that the open waters are already being exposed to cold:Obuoy 10 0909B temperature-1week

What happens next is a wonder-filled thing called reality.


DMI2 0909 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0909 temp_latest.bigDMI2 0909B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0909B temp_latest.big

“Framja” has done well for was was basically an eddy off the coast of Greenland, and is developing a secondary in the Kara Sea which will kick east and perhaps be in the Bering Strait in a week, causing the snows in Siberia Joseph D’Aleo alerted me to and I talked of, above.

The low at the southern tip of Greenland is not an eddy, but a Labrador low loop-de-looping into a stall, blocked by the high pressure “Notaz” yet bumping Notaz east to become a major feature over Scandinavia this week. I’ll call the Labrador low “Dorga” (short for Labrador Gale) as it is fed by various secondary and tertiary lows and wobbles its way across the Atlantic. For a while the southerly flow between Dorga  and Notaz will be impressive, though it likely will be swung east towards Barents Sea rather than invading the high arctic.

The high pressure across the Pole towards east Siberia, “Hisib”, seems to have been delegated the duty of being the new, official, textbook center of the “Polar Cell”, with lows rotating around it. It should direct some of the very cold air north of Greenland back west towards Bering Strait.


Faboo did not send out its official report, but the associated Mass Balance buoy indicated temperatures remain very cold, and it continues to drift south and east. The camera shows increasing clouds and the gloom we have seen so much of this summer, as “Framja” pulls moisture (and perhaps milder temperatures soon) to the Pole.NP3 1 0910A 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0910B 2015cam1_1

To Faboo’s south O-buoy 9 has stopped sending pictures, which is a big loss. Hopefully it only a glitch, and can be repaired. The GPS and weather station still function, and show that the bouy is drifting south in light winds and cold temperatures between -5° and -9°.

Further south they may have fixed the thermometer on Mass Balance Buoy 2015E, which is reporting -4.27° C at  76.22° N, 14.20° W. The track of this buoy is interesting for it shows how sluggish the flow down Greenland’s coast has been, which explains why there is less ice than usual. Although this lessens the sea-ice extent totals, it actually represents more ice remaining up at the Pole, and less being flushed south to melt.2015E_track

Across the Pole in Beaufort Sea O-buoy 10 is experiencing light winds and temperatures between -2° and -3°, and we are starting to see the water take on the oily look it has when it first starts to think of freezing. The short nights are rapidly lengthening, and in less than two weeks will be longer than the days.Obuoy 10 0910 webcam Obuoy 10 0910B webcam Obuoy 10 0910C webcam Obuoy 10 0910D webcam

The above pictures also appear to show fresh snow, which tends to cause an upward blip in extent totals, and may account for what seems to be an early upturn to the ice-extents.DMI2 0910B icecover_current_new I’ll post the DMI maps, but think I’ll catch up on my sleep, and postpone discussing them until the morning.

DMI2 0910 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0910 temp_latest.big DMI2 0910B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0910B temp_latest.big


DMI2 0911 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0911 temp_latest.big

The eastern side of “Framja” and “Framjason” have drawn relatively milder air north over the Pole,  as the western side delivers cold air to western Siberia, even as Europe enjoys a spell of warmth beneath the high pressure “Notaz”, which extends into the upper atmosphere as a “Rex Block”, keeping the various incarnations of “Dorga” from progressing across the Atlantic. The surprise to me is the strength retained by Framja over the Pole, and the failure of the high pressure Sibhi to take charge and direct traffic, as it looks meek over towards Being Strait.  Even as warmth moves up to the Pole we are seeing the minus-ten isotherm make its first appearance of the late summer north of Greenland.

An excellent post by Joseph D.Aleo over at Wearherbell includes 21 Dr. Ryan Maue maps, and discusses the Rex Block over Europe.  Most interesting to me is the growth of snow over Siberia during the next ten days, east of Europe’s warmth.

DMI2 0911 gfs_6hr_snow_acc_asia_41 Snow is fairly common in September in Siberia, in a spotty way, but this seems more general than usual, especially in the first half of the month. It is usually October before the snow really gets going. It creates land that encourages radiational cooling to the south of a band of milder coastal water on the Arctic Sea, with sea-ice that encourages radiational cooling to the north. The band of mildness and the resultant uplift of air seems to create a storm track along the arctic coast, west to east, until the coastal waters freeze.


I think it was a mistake to call this new buoy O-buoy 8, which was a great old buoy who’s name deserves to be retired.  However I’m glad and grateful for the pictures, from roughly 83° north and 128° west. O-buoy  8 has experienced temperatures down to -7° at the start of the week but now are experiencing temperatures back up near freezing in a stiff breeze if 22 mph from Framja.

Obuoy 8 0911 webcam


Faboo continued his(her?) steady progress southeast, travelling 5.01 miles Wednesday to 85.296°N, 12.151°W, and  4.43 miles Thursday to 85.267°N, 11.453°W,  Unofficial reports show this motion continued on Friday, with a turn to the east-southeast.  Temperatures crashed to the lowest levels we’ve seen since May, reaching -17.7°C at 2100Z on September 19, and despite the nearness of Framja’s mild plume of air, only recovering to -8.3°C at 2100Z on September 20.  Even more surprising (to me at least) was the fact Framja didn’t bury Faboo in murky, gloomy weather, and instead the sun burst out. The drying conditions seemed to sublimate away the hoarfrost  from both lenses and the anemometer, even before winds picked up to a brisk breeze of 20 mph. Framja obviously has a cold and dry side, and unofficial reports show Faboo’s temperatures crashing again, rather than undergoing the rise I expected.NP3 1 0910A 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0910B 2015cam1_1NP3 1 0911 2015cam1_3NP3 1 0911B 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0911C 2015cam1_1

A beautiful picture from the Fabootwo camera demonstrates that even up at 85° latitude the midnight sun is setting.NP3 2 0911 2015cam2_1


Looking at the above picture, would you call the Pole ice-free? Why not? Lying is profitable, so why don’t you join the club?

Communist Russia had a long history of regarding Truth in cynical manner, freely maiming It and warping It into atrocious propaganda. They regarded even friends, supporters and allies as “useful idiots”. Across the Caspian, Persia (Iran) had to battle this superpower, and the Shah had to battle his own young college students who were useful idiots, and in the end both he and the students lost. The winner, if downfall can be called victory, was a perverted form of Islam which seemingly takes a specific clause of the Koran, meant to apply only to certain situations involving flagrantly wicked Byzantine corruption and Gestapo-like cruelty, and make it into the clause, “It is acceptable to lie to infidels.”

Wrong. Truth cannot be taught by telling lies. Not that we in the west are saints, as many of our businessmen believe it is acceptable to lie to customers, and many of our politicians believe it is acceptable to lie to voters, and Madison Avenue makes a profitable business out of such lying.

However Truth does not need to be told to be True. It is. It stands alone, like the sea ice in the above picture, and not all the racket of yammering nincompoops can deny it.

At some point we all face a choice. Do you believe in a government of the people and for the people, or do you believe in self-serving self-interest? Do you believe in telling the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth, or do you swear on the Bible with your fingers crossed?  Will you lie for a buck (or for a word that rhymes)?

So look again at the above picture of a sunset. Would you call that Arctic Sea ice-free?


The surviving O-buoys give an interesting glimpse of the warm and cold sides of the polar low I call “Framja”.

O-buoy 8-the-second is in the warm air, and experiencing near-thaw conditions. Fortunately it is experiencing nearly calm conditions, as it was placed rashly, and could well be destroyed swiftly and have one of the shortest lives of any O-buoy. I don’t mean to be a prick, but I do wonder at the decision-making involved. I even wonder if, by naming it O-buoy 8 rather than O-buoy 13, they hoped it would escape scrutiny, and allow them to gather some crucial tidbit of data despite a high cost. In any case, O-buoy 8 seems to show that despite the relative mildness, snow is falling and the seas are slushy.Obuoy 8 0912B temperature-1week Obuoy 8 0912 webcam Obuoy 8 0912B webcam

O-buoy 10 is further south and west, and avoiding the warm feeder-band of Framja, and in fact is starting to get hit by some home-grown cold on the Pacific side of the Pole. Though less dramatic than the cold hitting Faboo, it is bouncing between -4° C and -6° C, and is cold enough to slick up the exposed salt water in the nearly calm conditions. The first and last pictures both show the stage-two pancake-ice in the foreground, stage-one slick-ice further away, and then the open water further off.  The last picture’s open water is most interesting, for you have to wonder if it is warmed by the low sunshine as much as it is chilled by the -4° C air. Obuoy 10 0912 temperature-1week Obuoy 10 0912 webcam Obuoy 10 0912B webcam Obuoy 10 0912C webcam Obuoy 10 0912D webcam

Lastly we have O-buoy 9 at the mouth of Fram Strait, nearly stationary in light winds but just starting to edge south. Its thermometer states it is definitely on Framja’s cold side. Obuoy 9 0912 temperature-1weekSadly, we still have no new pictures, and I am fearful O-buoy 9’s camera’s lens may have been smashed by a berg. It is a real pity, for this camera deserves some sort of award for the wonderful pictures it has sent us.

This patch of very cold air in Fram Strait is interesting, for not only is it assaulted by Framja’s plume of warm air, but a warm flow in the Atlantic between the high pressure “Notaz” over Scandinavia and the low “Dorga” by Iceland would seem to assault it from the south, yet it is holding its own.

It should be noted that a new Mass Balance buoy was placed on the far side of the Pole in mid August. Buoy 2015F: is currently at  81.10° N, 173.11° E, on ice a little more than 3 feet thick. It’s motion has described a small circle the past month, but it is very close to where it started and demonstrating the ice in the Central Arctic isn’t in a hurry to go anywhere. Temperatures there are currently -3.66°.

It also should be noted that the USCG Icebreaker Healy is heading back after a remarkable trip past the Pole and about the Central Arctic. You can study the ice they experienced by going through the archives of their webcam at: http://icefloe.net/Aloftcon_Photos/index.php?album=2015.

The two things that stand out to me is how little sunshine they experienced, and how few leads they encountered. I would expect the ice to have been more broken up, this late in the summer, and after some decent summer storms. In some places it looked like the leads were already refreezing. In any case, the archive is a feast for lying eyes. Here’s the most recent picture, heading south in the northern Beaufort Sea, heading home. This particular lead is definitely refreezing. Healy Sept 12 20150913-0201_595


Yesterday Faboo  continued his/her progress south and east  7.73 miles to 85.217°N, 10.241°W, with the progress assisted by a strong breeze that faded from 20 mph to 10 mph. Despite the nearness of Framja’s mild injection, temperatures fell from a high of -8.1°C at midnight to a low at the end of the period of -13.0°C. More recent unofficial reports indicate Framja’s mild plume may be wrapping around, and most recent images indicate moisture from that plume is murking up the pristine, blue skies. However it remains quite cold, at -9.36° C.

Of interest in the pictures below is a fog bank on the horizon, lighter in the second pocture and darker in the third. This likely indicates an area of open water, likely a wide lead, over the horizon.

NP3 1 0912 2015cam1_3 NP3 1 0912B 2015cam1_2 NP3 1 0912C 2015cam1_1


DMI2 0911B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0911B temp_latest.bigDMI2 0912B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0912B temp_latest.big

The above maps show Framja weakenbing and filling over the Pole, as Framjason takes over and lumbers east along the Siberian coast.  The high pressure Notaz over Scandinavia and the low Dorga southwest of Iceland have created a southerly flow up towards the Pole, but it is diverted east by the coldest air of the late summer, including the minus ten isotherm, which is also diverted east and south, and into the cold flow behind Framjason. A new area of cold air is building on the Pacific side of the Pole beneath the high pressure Sibhi, which is quietly strengthening as Framja weakens. Another weak frammerjammer low is forming off the east coast of Greenland, and will have to be watched, to see if it copies Framja.

I have a hunch we have reached the minimum, and will conclude this post here.

DMI2 0912B icecover_current_new


Here is another fragment cut from a prior “Arctic Sea Ice” post. (Those posts are a notebook full of observations and doodles, and can be too long-winded for some.)

What I have been noticing, but don’t see at the moment, is how cold it has been up at the North Pole this past summer. It is gloomy, as it has been all summer, but the -10°C temperatures we saw a few days ago have vanished, as a recent probe of warm air now spears the Pole.

The summertime cold air doesn’t effect the melt of sea-ice in the short term, because most melt is due to the waters under the ice, but where those waters are exposed to such cold air the waters are chilled, and this does effect the melt of sea-ice in the long run, because the waters under the ice gradually get colder.

You don’t really notice the cold unless you have been a long-term escapist like me, and watched sea-ice for years. It doesn’t show up all that well in the Mean-temperatures-north-of-80°-latitude DMI graph, (though the recent mild invasion shows up).DMI2 0904B meanT_2015

However the unexpected cold air showed up all summer, especially south of 80° over towards O-buoys 10, 11, and 12. Look at my old posts if you don’t believe me. And, as a bumpkin ruled by common sense rather than science, one thing I am highly suspicious of is the simple fact there have been so few sunspots at a time there should be a lot. So forgive me if I blare a headline:

“QUIET SUN” PRODUCES STRING OF FOUR “SPOTLESS” DAYSSunspots 20150902 If you squint at this image you may see some itty-bitty spots at the equator to the left, but they don’t count, because in the old days a small telescope could never get an image this good. They are “sun-specks”, and scientists use them to become confused. The simple fact of the matter is that they would not be seen in the old days, and if you want to compare apples with apples you shouldn’t count them, when comparing the present to the past . And, while you might not agree with the host’s ideas about planets influencing the sun, an excellent “layman’s sunspot count” cam be found here:  http://www.landscheidt.info/?q=node/50

I bring this up because, in the past, when sunspots became few and far between, the earth got cold. Modern science can’t grasp the reason, and some conclude it was therefore “just a coincidence.” This is a bit like saying it is just a coincidence that your thumb hurts when you hammer it, because you can’t scientifically prove how nerves get the message to the brain. Just because you don’t know how a thing happens is not proof it isn’t happening.

Once again lying eyes come in handy. If you stay indoors by a computer, at least visit sites that look out windows. Then maybe you will witness the thawing Beaufort Sea refreezing all summer, when it should be thawing without interruption.

Anyway, here is a graph from the above-mentioned site, comparing our current lack of sunspots with the year 1798.Layman's Comp 20150904 sc5_sc24_1It sure does look like we are seeing, if anything, fewer sunspots than 1798. Is this a hint it may get colder? From scientists all I hear is a lot of, “there is not enough evidence to verify for certain, and therefore…” Then a lot of them use even less evidence to verify that it is getting warmer.

What is a bumpkin to do? Resort to using lying eyes. Are there any signs that it is getting colder? Not if you look where most scientists look. But if you look where Polar Bears look you see them make scientists look like imbeciles on a regular basis. So look to the behavior of other sea creatures, such as whales.

One of the biggest flips from warm to cold (and from cold to warm) involves the Atlantic Ocean, and something called the AMO, (Atlantic Decadal Oscillation). When it flips there is a huge migration of all sorts of sea creatures, and in the past it was primarily noticed by bumpkin fishermen whose livelihood depended upon finding where the fish schooled.  There are great stories of fishermen finding fishing grounds deserted, searching far and wide, and discovering the fish hundreds of miles north or south of where they once were. Only recently have scientists started to become interested in what was a matter of life and death for fishermen, and in a rather snooty manner some of these scientists tend to think they know more than mere fishermen.

Only in my lifetime was it determined that what fishermen knew is factual; the AMO does flip from “cold” to “warm” and back, though why, when and where it happens is still argued about. The AMO has been “warm” for a while, and some say it is likely to turn “cold”, but the data scientists use only show it is wavering on the verge, like a top wobblng at the end of a spin.AMO Sept 4 amo_shortThis is too wishy-washy to be an answer, and therefore a person who resorts to lying eyes must resort to people who actually leave their computers and walk the beaches, and even get in the water to swim and surf. They are the ones likely to see something unusual. (Cue for next sensational headline:)


For many years the Bowhead whale was just another “Right Whale”,  so named because they were the right whale to hunt, primarily because they didn’t sink when they died. They are now known to be quite different from Right Whales, and a truly arctic species. For one thing, they have heads that can butt through ice two feet thick, and for another thing, when threatened they use ice as a hiding place to flee beneath.(Photo Credit: Dennis Scott/Corbus)

There was good money to be made hunting these whales, and many of our earliest records of sea-ice were from the voyages of daring men who risked their lives in the arctic. Some were my ancestors, and I’m proud of their daring, but less proud of their greed, which reduced the population of these whales from 50,000 to roughly 5,000. In fact, were it not for the discovery of fossil oil in the earth, these beautiful creatures might be extinct, however their population has increased to at least 30,000, if not to their their original levels. Now they are only hunted by Eskimo.

“Bowhead Whale 2002-08-10” by Ansgar Walk – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bowhead_Whale_2002-08-10.jpg#/media/File:Bowhead_Whale_2002-08-10.jpg

During the recent harvests, only 20-30 per year, of these whales, very old harpoon tips have been found in the blubber. Some are of slate, or basically “stone-age”, and an unexploded exploding harpoon from New Bedford in the 1890’s was also found, suggesting these whales can live up to (and perhaps over) 200 years.

In conclusion, obviously these whales have far more experience than Climate Scientists. When these whales head south, maybe they know something Climate Scientists don’t.

Therefore I sat up in interest when off the coast of Britain, where such whales had never, I repeat, NEVER, been seen before, this picture appeared for lying eyes:Whale bowheadwhale_561024


Some may say it was a fluke, a young male Bowhead only 99 years old out gallivanting far from home. But that is not the only whale far from home.

Another arctic species is the Beluga Whale, which are pure white when adult, because it helps them to camouflage themselves with sea ice, when hunted by polar bears who are also camouflaged, and by killer whales. They can only break through 3 inches of ice, but will trail bowhead whales, using the holes bowhead’s break through 2 feet of ice. They are the only white whale besides Moby Dick, and are extremely obvious when away from sea ice.Whale 2 220px-Beluga_premier.gov.ru-3

Once again we turn to not scientists, but the ordinary folk in Britain. Off Northern Ireland on July 30:Whale 3 Beluga_Whale_Dunseverick_1-1024x576 Photo Credit Gordon Watson


And then at the end of August two more were spotted in the North Sea off Northumberland.


It should be noted that there are only 17 recorded sightings of Beluga Whales off the coast of Britain, most off the Scottish coast, and none before this summer’s (that I know of) from the coast of Ireland. So, as was the case with the Polar Bears, I wonder if the animals know more than our scientists. And once again it is not scientists who give us the really interesting pictures, despite all their grants and hours spent by computers, but rather it is ordinary people who go outside and use their lying eyes.

(A hat-tip to http://iceagenow.info/ which is a great source of links to gain information such as the above news about whales.)