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.)


  1. at last, a topic that i know a little about. firstly, my hypothesis for the amo going into the cool phase is several years of diminished arctic sea ice believe it or not. i think the lower levels of summer ice allow more ocean heat to escape to space during the re freeze season,particularly the early part,and over a couple of decades of reducing levels of sea ice this gradually cools the atlantic more than the pacific due to the flow of the oceans through the arctic,with far less in and out on the pacific side (if this is correct ) http://www.divediscover.whoi.edu/arctic/circulation.html

    for me el ninos are actually part of the cooling process involved in various oceanic cycles, where the oceans lose heat, and la ninas are the period the oceans gain heat.
    i am not a scientist so i could well be very wrong , but it is nice to have a theory on how things may work,and if i am wrong it is no big deal.

    currently the noaa global ocean anomaly map has the sea of cortez showing positive anomalies, unfortunately for noaa the local charter skippers and the bait fish that are appearing there at the moment would disagree with that. who knows ,maybe these species of fish that usually prefer far cooler water suddenly decided i would ice to be cool 🙂
    “Closer to home off the La Ribera high spot greenback mackerel and sardineta have appeared. These are normally cooler water baits and I’m a little surprised to see them in late August. All the same they are welcome and have really turned things around. Limits of smaller grade tuna along with snapper, amberjack, yellowtail and marlin are being taken drifting baits. Just outside the high spot blue marlin, striped marlin and sailfish have been bending rods. ”

    when the amo goes into the cool phase the north east atlantic see a huge increase in deep upwelling nutrient rich waters that in turn provides huge amounts of food for the plankton that every single species of fish relies on at some stage of their life cycle,usually straight after te larvae consume the egg sack. most of the egg bearing commercially important species in the atlanic lay vast amounts of eggs,in the instance of cod, around 500,000 per kg of body weight.

    this increase in plankton due to the boost in nutrient rich water can see recruitment for many species jump several percent in just one year,as you can imagine there does not need to be many 10 kg cod laying 5 million eggs to see a huge influx of recruits . the last time this happened the period is now referred to as the gadoid outburst http://www.researchgate.net/publication/240590738_The_gadoid_outburst_in_the_North_Sea

    since the early 2000,s we have seen some very good years of recruitment in the north sea ,particularly 2010 (please do not put any faith in anything the international council for the exploration of the seas (ices) say, they are around 5 years behind the curve in assessing stocks and have severely embarrassed themselves on several occasions in recent years by underestimating several stocks including mackerel, haddock ,both by 3 to 4 fold,plaice , cod etc and openly admit this) and to me this follows the short cooling period seen in the northern hemisphere in that time frame

    keep an eye on the grand banks cod stock caleb, this upcoming cooling phase of the amo should see these stocks finally build to strong levels. one thing to note with cod , like other species they are opportunists. if you look at barents sea stocks,as the waters in the lower latitudes warmed in the warm phase of the amo, the northern cod stocks exploded as that brought the ideal conditions for good recruitment further north, in recent years the cod quota for commercial fishermen has been as high as 1 million tons http://barentsobserver.com/en/record-high-cod-quotas-barents-sea-12-10 and cod numbers in the barents hit record levels, many other species followed this increasing trend also, but no others are as efficient as the mighty cod.

    as someone who fishes regularly for north sea cod in the winter time, there may be a large dose of confirmation bias in the above,but commercial catching pressures aside, it is well known that marine species recruitment is cyclical, and something must be driving those cycles.

    if i was smart enough i would have been able to figure out the lunar and solar cycles in there as well.with there being short , medium and long term tidal cycles, they no doubt play a huge part in the cyclical boom and bust of of certain fish species as well as major current shifts generated by the shifting point of greatest lunar effect on the oceans ,there will be a proper scientific term for that,but like i say, i am no scientist 🙂

    again sorry to post such a long comment on your blog caleb,feel free to edit or throw it out with no hard feelings , but it is a topic i look at daily as i missed the last boom by a few years and the excellent fishing that came with it, and look forward to the day we see it return. not long now as it has been moving in the right direction for a few years now.

    • http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/06/12/the-amo-codfish-seals-and-fishermen/

      I greatly enjoy the topic of fishermen on the open sea. Above is a post where I threw a couple ideas out, more to start a discussion than to put myself forth as any sort of authority. Did you notice it, back in 2013? I got chastised a bit in the comments, but learned a heck of a lot in the process. I think it might interest you, especially concerning the problems we are having getting our codfish to come back on this side of the Pond. (Apparently some nets wreak the sea-bottom.)

      • that was a great essay caleb. i was reading anthonys blog at that time, but i did miss it (i cannot find my name in the comments ,so i must have !).

        the only part i would disagree with is farming fish to release to the wild. i used to be an advocate for this until i started looking at the early part of the life cycle of species of interest to both anglers and commercial fishermen. i realised that the natural selection process was hard at work at every stage, and out of the millions of eggs layed by a cod, shoal of mackerel and any other species, only the very strongest fish made it through to adulthood .the drops from one year class to the next are tremendous particularly for cod.

        i worry that any attempt at artificially bypassing one of these natural selection stages would introduce an amount of fish that were genetically inferior leading to problems in the future. only my opinion mind,and again it may well be wrong.

        looking at willis replies to latitude i think i am glad i missed the essay at the time, for i would surely have ended up a subject of his ire. i stopped reading the exchange in comments between them as it is too late at night to get mad , i need to get to sleep as soon as i go to bed, i have a fishing competition tomorrow. he is missing the point ,that with restrictions on catches and days at sea imposed for commercials ,any recovery will not be noticed as no more fish can be landed.

        that is not strictly true, you can tell there is some recovery when the fish/cod the commercials are landing are a larger average size than for some time. this tells you there are more fish on the ground and the fishermen are high grading the catch. picking out the larger more valuable fish and discarding the smaller ones dead.

        this will shock you,but in some european fisheries the discards can be higher than 90% ,and currently in uk waters for every cod the fishermen are allowed to land i estimate as many as ten are thrown back dead. i know this as i have several friends that either work as crew or captain commercial vessels. i note “bloke down the pub” in the comments section fell for the same discard petition i did as he mentions hugh fearnley whittingstalls fish fight, which put pressure on those managing eu fisheries to end the practice of discarding perfectly edible fish.
        the best the eu with their common fisheries policy could come up with on discards as they put them to landfill instead so not only will we still be wasting perfectly viable food, we will no longer be returning the biomass to the ocean food chain. utter madness.

        unfortunately those managing the common fisheries policy of the eu are worse than the very worst climate scientist. they are completely incompetent .if i were to meet any of them face to face i would be commenting from jail from that time o. that is hw strongly i feel about their mismanagement. every single species they have brought under their brand of management has suffered a stock collapse, every single one. they have recently got involved with managing european sea bass, i fear these fish will follow suit,as their inept policies encourage underhand fishing practices, discarding, non reporting of catches, under reporting and many other issues as ordinary fishermen are driven to the breadline by rules created by idiots that would not know a cod from a halibut if you slapped them about the head with them.

        we have the same problem regarding seals in scotland. the population of grey seals has exploded,causing problems not just for fish like salmon and cod until recruitment recently started outstripping all effort ( when recruitment is at a peak, there are no natural predators that will pt a dent in the cods own production levels, the barents is a good example) but common seals ,which in the uk are not as common as the grey seals as they are far bigger and can take command of haul out areas.

        in scotland we have approximately 150,000 grey seals and 50,000 common seals(at the last count) and the numbers of grey seals are growing year on year. big storms do cull the pups if they arrive at the right time, but these are sporadic and do not appear to be affecting the increasing trend. that is around 15 to 20 seals per mile of coastline. for a relatively small country, that is a lot of seals eating a lot of fish. it is estimated (i know willis does not like estimation) that they now eat the equivalent or slightly more than the entire uk catch of fish every year. that is the uk ,not just scotland.

        only yesterday i had a grey seal lazily taking mackerel off my line. this particular seal is an old hand at this, and is part of a group that arrive along with the mackerel at a local pier every year. the largest seal will be around 500kg,and as we are getting near the end of mackerel season for my area they all look like they have been inflated with pumps through eating so many mackerel. they say they eat around 9kg of fish per day,but i once watched a group of kids feed the large seal over 120 mackerel over the space of two hours. those mackerel weighed between quarter and half of a kg,so i believe just like humans, if they get a ready supply of something they like, they will tend to over eat. i may film this one day, it would be a nice upload to you tube to let the marine biologists see the 9kg of fish per day they state might be a slight underestimate 🙂

        i also believe fisheries history is too short for any certainties in the narrative. prior to the gadoid outburst no one had ever had any sort of significant landing of cod in the english channel i have actually communicated with the son of the first fisherman to do so, whose father layed a trammel net for rays and it came up full of cod. these were adult fish that literally appeared overnight in the early 1960,s. i believe these fish were forced to migrate from further out in the atlantic (that word believe again 🙂 if someone has evidence to the contrary i would change my mind immediately , currently supposition is the best i have) due to the simple fact at that time the cod population growth was so great they literally ate themselves out of a home.

        i wonder if the current barents commercial fishermen could only land a hand full if that population would do the same, possibly regenerating stocks in other areas ? it is a thought worth dwelling on possibly.

        the cod around the atlantic side of the uk were predominantly herring eaters. when the herring stocks collapsed (over fishing and poor recruitment ?) the cod were forced to switch to other food sources. this is when recreational anglers in the uk caught the biggest fish,as they pushed into nearshore waters eating dabs, flounder,whiting etc until the stock dwindled through lack of recruitment and over fishing due to poor fisheries management.

        today the herring stocks are booming. we are seeing bluefin tuna in numbers around the uk. the longline shark fisheries were halted long ago and the shark populations appear to be on the up judging by the amount anglers are catching. (they must all be returned alive ). large apex predators cannot survive without a healthy food chain to support them. it has taken many years for uk fisheries, but the light has finally appeared at the end of the tunnel. what we now need is fit and proper management. i will not hold my breath on that one.

        from what i can tell one of the key plankton species is calanus finmarchicus . i have read about how important the timing of the phytoplankton bloom that supports the copepods of which the calanus fm (too long to keep typing that out) is one, but i also wonder if the nutrient rich deep upwelling waters that come with a negative north atlantic oscillation extend the production cycle ,lengthening the period in which the fish/cod larvae have access to them.

        cod are batch spawners, taking approximately 54 days to lay all their eggs. it is suggested this is to cover the likely period of availability of food for the larvae, so a loner period of peak food availability would result in greater year 0 recruits.

        now we have a continuous plankton recorder project in the uk and access to most of the data is free. unfortunately for me the last five years of data is of commercial value apparently and i would have to pay to access it. i do not have any spare money for this. any spare i have i use to go fishing 🙂 but it may be worth me enquiring purely on the calanus fm copepod density in the samples since 2010. if this species is as important to cod recruitment in the north sea as they say, then it must have gone up significantly. that or the original supposition it was important to recruitment was wrong, as th last few years of great recruitment must have been fuelled by something.

        again another slightly disjointed and incoherent ramble from me. i should maybe write my posts out first and at least make some attempt at shortening them.
        i now know why people came up with the tl/dr abbreviation. it was for people like me 🙂 once again thanks for posting interesting thought provoking topics based on real world observations.

      • Thanks for another long and very interesting response.

        It is good to hear about the recovery of codfish populations in Europe. I cannot tell you how frustrating the complete failure to see any recovery over here has been. The blame seems to currently be aimed at nets that drag over the bottom. (They occasionally pull up prehistoric spear points and elephant skulls from when the sea level was lower, so you know the nets really drag and gouge along the bottom.) There is some talk of setting up handline-only areas.

        I could talk about this stuff for hours, but have to run. Hopefully I’ll get back to this topic at some point.

      • here is a link to the hugh feanley whittingstall fish fight page caleb. it will put you in the picture of the state of european fisheries management and give you some idea why so many people including myself signed up to what appeared a good idea at the time,but has turned into a logistical nightmare for the fishermen and yet another common fisheries policy driven environmental disaster for our seas.

        discard ratios in eu fisheries https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=pSUwN6gVinMC&pg=PA25&lpg=PA25&dq=eu+fisheries+discard+percentage&source=bl&ots=xkifB78X8U&sig=kaEGg-ehx_cb_gPbUMmuyB5bRws&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CFUQ6AEwCGoVChMInrqe6ofhxwIVw38aCh3oCwfj#v=onepage&q=eu%20fisheries%20discard%20percentage&f=false

  2. You write ups are very entertaining and informative. I find you to be the best source of factual information regarding sea ice and other related topics. Unlike so many others that pop off about “climate change”, you have actually delved deeply into the subject. That is so refreshing!

  3. You really are good at saying a lot in a few words. Two prime examples:

    “They are “sun-specks”, and scientists use them to become confused.”

    “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.”

    >>>>Also, typo-alert: “…and something called the AMO, (Atlantic Decadal Oscillation).” Should be, of course, “Multidecadal”.

    Finally, I have heard about the increasing whale population for some time. I have been guilty of tweaking warmist/eco-freaks with that fact. I claim that the larger whale population is what causes sea levels to rise! I can almost hear their heads exploding, over the internet…

  4. the sad thing is there is no logic behind throwing dead fish back caleb. you will find this incredulous, but the people running the common fisheries policy actually thought landing quotas were a way to protect fish stocks. being a bunch of desk bound city dwellers they do no have the capacity to understand there is a very fine line between a successful commercial fisherman and a bankrupt and homeless fisherman.thus commercial fishermen have to maximise earning potential at every opportunity.

    in scotland the commercial fishermen themselves saw the problems the quota system was causing and introduced a system called the real time closure scheme. it was a purely voluntary scheme whereby when the fishermen were catching a certain amount of juvenile cod per hour in their nets in a particular area, a 25 mile square box would be closed off to all commercial fishing until the juvenile cod moved on to another area.

    at times there were several areas closed and this has shown huge benefits .the main one being better year on year survival of a year class which is very important in times of poor recruitment.

    this led to an increase in spawning stock biomass that is now flourishing in better conditions not only for spawning,but an increase in year on year survival rates.
    there are problems appearing now the european union are looking to ban discards and many whitefish boats have had the onboard cameras(skippers volunteering to have these cameras fitted were allocated extra days at sea or quota in return for constant monitoring to prevent high grading) removed in preparation for this, as they will be forced to high grade rather than land catches of unmarketable fish.

    for me a system of area closures,days at sea legislation and constant monitoring of everything from the egg and larval stages of all commercially caught species to individual year classes is required to stay one step ahead of what is happening populations wise, and to adjust catches (not landings) in line with what the various species can support. unfortunately the track record of the eu common fisheries policy is appalling , too much politics between the various nations with shared interests in the fishing areas,and not enough meaningful action.

    at least in the united states you have autonomous control of your own fisheries so at least have a chance at achieving something.

  5. “at least in the united states you have autonomous control of your own fisheries so at least have a chance at achieving something” But do’n’t forget to fund your coast guard / fishery protection or you won’t have the hulls to enforce that control. The big factory ships can go were the fish is.

    • It was the Russian factory ships that wiped out the New England fisheries. They were booted off shore, and the mystery now is why the populations never recover.

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