ARCTIC SEA ICE –Barents Sea Bafflement–

With the arctic flow so meridional this year there have been a lot of surges of mild air up to the Pole, and the south winds have seemed to repress the formation of ice in Barents Sea. Not that it can’t turn around even at this late date in the winter. For example, look at the three NRL maps below, from the late winter of 2014, and focus in on Svalbard. The maps are from February 20, March 16 and April 4, and show that while the ice was melting away on the Pacific side, it was actually still expanding in Barents Sea.

Baffle 1 icen2014021918_2014022000_038_arcticicen.001Baffle 2 icen2014031518_2014031600_038_arcticicen.001Baffle 3 icen2014040718_2014040800_038_arcticicen.001

By April 18 the ice was starting to shrink in Barents Sea, but what blew me away back then was how the extent then fought back, as seen in Maps from May 21 and June 9. (Compare Barents Sea with how the ice vanished on the Pacific side.)Baffle 4 icen2015041718_2015041800_040_arcticicen.001Baffle 5 icen2014052018_2014052100_039_arcticicen.001Baffle 6 icen2014060818_2014060900_039_arcticicen.001

The situation arose in 2014 partly because a lot of ice (including our North Pole Cameras of that year) flowed south to the east of Svalbard, rather than through Fram Strait. But compare the June day above with our current February situation, below.

Baffle 7 icen2016022318_2016022400_041_arcticicen.001

You can see that in many ways there was more ice in Barents Sea that June than this February. The Alarmists are likely jumping for joy, as it will suggest to them that the “Death Spiral” is at long last upon us, and, because the world is ending, they will not have to get a Real Job. (I have great empathy with not wanting to get a Real Job, because I’ve been there and done that, 40 years ago.)

However before we jump to conclusions, lets compare the first map from February 2014 with our current map. So you don’t have to back track, I’ll do it below.

Actually Barents Sea doesn’t look all that different. The major things that jump out is that there is less ice south of Bering Strait and more ice off the Russian Pacific coast, plus less ice in the Canadian Saint Lawrence.

For all we know, looking at Barents Sea alone, we might see a replay of 2014. Or maybe not. Because my main feeling is that most honest people admit they are baffled about the reasons for the shrinking and growing of that ice.

One of the better things I’ve ever written involved asking for help, as I tried to figure out some answers to the Barents Sea Bafflement. It was actually published over on the WUWT site over two years ago, and got some flattering comments, and some interesting insights.

Author of its Own Demise – musings on the AMO

Yet here it is more than two years later, and I don’t feel I’ve done my homework. I am not much wiser.

Therefore I’ve started to poke about to see if there is any new stuff, any fresh discoveries concerning Barents Sea that a layman like myself can understand. One good site is “Science Matters” by Ron Clutz

I’m starting to look back through his older posts, searching for stuff about Barents Sea, and I’m discovering he’s been able to find more free time than I, and also is smarter than I am and more able to decipher unintelligible papers. Among the papers I’ve bungled across is this one, wherein some fellows think it’s possible to forecast what sea-ice is going to do, over large areas of the Arctic Sea, by modelling how much ice there is at a certain time in Barents Sea. (Or that is what I got from the paper after a quick scan.)

One graphic from that study jumped out at me:

Baffle 8 1

What grabbed my attention was that string of buoys between the north coast of Norway and Svalbard. Cool! Wicked cool! (It is the yellow line on the above map.) That string of buoys measures all sorts of interesting stuff. The buoys measure the flow of Atlantic water into Barents Sea, and the salinity and temperature, and not just at the top, but right down to the bottom, where the flow is the other way.

What baffled me was why I hadn’t heard much about these buoys. It has gotten to a point where even taxi drivers know about the El Nino, and will chat with you about what the water temperatures are off Peru. There are entire websites about the temperatures of the El Nino or La Nina at various depths in the Pacific, but the North Atlantic is seemingly ignored. Have I failed to  pay attention? Or are the people who have the data being stingy with it?

Now, I can understand why certain scientists would want to keep the information gathered by those buoys unintelligible, but I want to have it made palatable to a layman like myself.  The AMO is about to flip back from warm to cold, and when this last happened we had none of our modern gadgets and gizmos, nor satellites, to watch the flip with. As the change occurs I have the sense something very, very wonderful is about to be revealed to us.

Because I run a Farm-childcare, I often am in situations where fellow human just don’t “get it”, (because they happen to be very young). I may say, “C-A-T spells ‘cat’ and B-A-T spells ‘bat’, so what will F-A-T spell?” and nobody can answer. The answer is very, very obvious to me, but not to the short people I’m with.

I think we are in the exact same situation, regarding the AMO and how it flips. The answer is glaringly obvious, but we just don’t see.

In 1950 Continental drift was glaringly obvious. The two sides of the Red Sea are a perfect match, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, yet no one could see the fit until around 1960, when I was seven years old. In like manner something glaringly obvious is looking us in the face, right now.

I suppose I can understand why some lone individual drudging away in some obscure back-room of a college might want to get the credit for the eventual discovery.  Me too. We all want recognition. However the real Creator of what we are about to discover is not we peons, who love seeing the “why” in Nature. So perhaps we shouldn’t claim the credit, when we eventually comprehend what we will feel stupid for not figuring out earlier.

In any case, add “BSO”, which stands for “Barent Sea Opening”, to your Sea-Ice vocabulary, and find ways to make the data gathered accessible and intelligible to laymen. For the fact of the matter is this: The more minds you have working on a problem the more likely you are to solve it. And does it really matter who gets the credit?

It only matters if your focus is money. The problem with focusing on money, and hiding tidbits of truth because you fear some agent of industrial espionage will steal the envisioned “profit”, is that the benefit that might be gained, by sharing ideas, is lost. In fact the real profit is lost. Misers miss what matters.

The exchange of ideas that occurs on the web is beautiful, because most are not in it for the money. Most don’t make a cent. All they want is to see more clearly. For that reason, and not because I want to get rich (though wealth might be nice) I want to learn more and more about the Barents Sea. For, in the end, the real definition of wealth has less to do with income than either Capitalists or Communists ever can imagine, in their gnat-sized dreams.

I prefer to dream big, and exchange ideas with people who wander about the internet studying obscure topics like Sea-Ice and the BSO and the AMO, because they are interested in a non-obscure topic called Truth. Why?  Because the wealth that comes from such study is possessed of an Enormity that makes billionaires look like mice fighting over crumbs.

(Who would ever dream such a deep topic could come spinning off wondering about sea-ice? )

I hope to keep updating this post as I research Barents Sea. I’ll start another sea-ice post to continue my journaling of the Arctic Ocean’s daily doings, but have this post as a sort of notebook collecting any information I can about studies concerning Barents Sea. If anyone knows of good papers or sites, I’m all ears.


Here is a paper I’m starting to look at. My initial impression is that they cannot see the forest for the trees, but it does do a good job of explaining that the Barents Sea currents are both complex and also variable.




7 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA ICE –Barents Sea Bafflement–

    • Thanks. I corrected it.

      Obviously the word “meridional” was coined by a person like me who can’t spell. After all, we speak of the “Prime Meridian”, and therefore the word should be “meridianal”. However spell check freaks out no matter how you spell it. Therefore I need people like you to rescue me.

      • Yeah. meridianal sounds like a problem down below 😮
        Another one I see you goof up alot is suppose when you really mean supposed. As in ‘I am supposed to feel guilty for driving my car just to listen to some music.’
        ‘Suppose’ is a verb, while ‘supposed’ is the past participle of ‘to suppose.’ to further confuse matters ‘supposed’ is also an adjective.
        this goes into more detail:

      • Thanks. Unfortunately I never found someone to teach me this stuff in a way I could digest when I was young, and it now looks like, though I strive to improve, I’ll be aged 90 before I’m up to snuff.

        What I really need is to win the lottery, so I can hire a secretary and editor.

      • Ha – I was just poking around re. Meridian vs Meridion, and I can’t explain this, but ‘Meridion’ only refers to a type of Diatom. However, ‘Meridional’ as an adjective means 1.’of or in the south; southern,’ and 2. Of or relating to a Meridian. As a noun it means ‘a native or inhabitant of the south, especially the south of France.’ So my first comment was a little off the mark. But only just a little, like a Meridion. Go figure?!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s