LOCAL VIEW –Daring the Frost–

I should be a sort of poster-child farmer for Global Warming this spring, for I’ve never had my peas up so early. Usually you “plant peas on Patriots Day” (April 19) but this year mine were up and growing by then. (Don’t complain that the rows are not straight. When you run a Farm-childcare, rows are never straight.)

Peas Up IMG_2761

Having my peas up this early (for this far north; I’m sure people in Virginia are laughing at my vanity),  doesn’t actually mean I’m smart. I’ve just been lucky. I got them in and they likely had sprouted roots, but had not stuck their heads up above the soil, when we got this:

AS4 IMG_2312

What’s more, we got temperatures down in the single digits, (below -12.2° Celsius), and if my peas had emerged, they would not have just been discouraged. Though peas are tough, they’d be dead, dead, dead. All my work would have been wasted, and I’d have to start over from scratch. I’d be singing the blues, but that didn’t happen, so instead I’m smug, smug, smug.

Actually I threaded the needle, and the timing of planting those peas was timed perfectly. In truth you can either say I was lucky, or “to God goes the glory”,  but I so seldom have a chance to swagger that I prefer to think I did it all myself. After years of bungling and doing everything wrong, I have been so trained by misfortune that I’ve started doing things right, as a sort of intuitive reflex (which gets me off the hook of having to intellectually explain my success to scientists.)

Like a gambler “on a roll” I’ve decided to go with my instinct, and am planting other things a little early. I had to look hard to get my onions in, as they hadn’t even appeared in some stores, and in like manner I also got carrots, bulb-fennel, beets, turnips and lettuce planted this weekend.  (I might have planted potatoes, but at the hardware store they hadn’t brought them up to the showroom from the back warehouse.)

This could all be a complete disaster. This far north we can get frosts right into May. In fact, (to discredit Global Warming), we even had a frost on May 29 last spring. However I know how to handle such calamities. You wet everything down in the evening, (as it is harder to freeze wet things), (due to latent heat involved in the phase change, for you scientists), and then you put all your grass from mowing the lawn over the plants, but in a fluffy and thin manner (because the heat generated by wet hay can kill plants, if it is too thick).

The old-timers couldn’t be bothered planting early. They might plant a few things like peas on Patriots Day, but then they kicked back and waited until Memorial Day (May 31) to plant most everything else. Even though beets and carrots and turnips are hardy, and can stand a slight frost, old-timers had seen a few, late killing frosts. It wasn’t worth all the effort of planting a second time, or else rushing about wetting things down and fluffing grass over them. Why? because if you plant on April 24 your carrots take forever to sprout and then grow very slowly. Quite often, though you planted them five weeks ahead of Memorial Day, they have grown only to a height that plants planted after Memorial Day achieve in ten days. By July you can hardly tell the rows apart.  So why bother?

I suppose I bother because I seems to get slower as I get older. My garden is pretty big, and I can’t put the whole thing in on Memorial Day any more. So I pace myself, and do the same amount of work planting over weeks. In other words, I’m just as lazy as the old-timers.

Also, when you get to my age there’s not much you can do that is all that exciting. (Let’s skip the subject of sex.) (Also my finances.) Maybe I’ll drive forty when the speed limit is thirty-five, but the police officer just yawns as I speed by in my old, puttering pickup truck. Where’s the fun in that?

Therefore living-on-the-edge, for me, is to plant too early, but to get away with it.

Wisdom’s just a chance to show you’ve learned
From all you’re bungling, and to demonstrate
Old dogs aren’t dumb. Oh sure, we still get burned,
But flinch less. We’ve seen it’s never too late
To get things right. Although all of the clocks
Say time’s running out, we drive more slowly
Than frantic youngsters. The school of hard knocks
Has shown us speed kills, but the dawdler sees
The sunrises and smells the sweet bacon.
Do old dogs waste their time chasing their tails?
No, for they once bit their tail. Forsaking
The truth they learned would mean old dogs lie.
They don’t. So, if you’ve got things to fix,
Heed the old dogs. Don’t teach them new tricks.

P.S. (For Young Poets)

Yes, it is most definitely true that the young know more about computers and cell phones, but one big solar flare might set all that technology back on its heels, and make it difficult to even start a car. At that point an old geezer with a garden might suddenly seem to have values that are more lasting.

Not that it is wrong for young poets to spend time chasing their tails. It seems to be part of the process.

One way I chased-my-tail when in my late twenties was to be so determined to write that I did so even when I should have been living life, (and thus learning things worth writing about). My writing seemed to just get worse and worse. The worse it got the harder I tried, until I recall being on my knees and pounding the floor, shouting “I will write!  I will write!”

Then, exhausted, I made a liar of myself, for rather than writing I read, and what I happened to be reading was Huxley’s novel, “Antic Hay”, and I happened to get to the part where he has a character acting very much as I just had, pounding the carpet and fiercely insisting he would write.

This made me feel I wasn’t all that special, and was behaving like a character in a comic novel. So I got a job. It didn’t last, so I got another. And another. And another.

I’ve never sat down and counted the number of different jobs I’ve held, but it is over a hundred. Often they felt like they would ruin my ability to write. They never did. They enhanced it.

Eventually you wind up an old dog who knows lots of tricks. Keep the faith.

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Barneo Politics–

After a silence we have a report from Barneo, which suggests the Norwegians made it impossible to use Svalbard as base of operations. The key sentences are these:  “Then on April, 7 we got further problems from the Norwegian authorities. Trude Petterson, The Independent Barents Observer reporter, found a threat to national security in our conventional activities.

As best as I can tell, the Russians have had to shift to Franz Josef Land as a alternative, and will likely do so in the future, if they continue the Barneo bases. It will be rough on the economy of Svalbard to lose the tourists, I imagine. I’m not sure what has happened with the tourists this year, or heard anything about the planting of this year’s North Pole Camera.

The ice appears to be sound, though there are a lot of pressure ridges.

Barneo 8A 13083366_1023415584402206_7795010859968768566_n

Barneo 8B 13051705_1023415624402202_4868506117936992761_n

The Barneo site continues to drift south towards Fram Strait.

Barneo 8C 13087629_1023415681068863_8066820128088290364_n

The red line at the top is the “Race Against Time” expedition, which originally was planned to travel from the Pole to Canada. Likely all the delays caused them to back out of that plan, and take an easier route. I find their site a little amusing, for they are stressing how warm the Arctic has been this winter, but describing how the ice is thicker than it was when Mark Wood crossed the same area two years ago. There are many more pressure ridges, which they describe as “boulder fields”. It is no joke hauling sleds over such barriers.

It is worthwhile to compare this years ice with last year’s. (If you open each map (link)  to a new tab you can then switch back and forth to better see the comparison.) (2015 is to the left; 2016 is to the right.)

 

It is clear that the ice is thinner in Barents and Kara seas, but largely because that ice has been exported, and crunched over to the Pole. Ordinarily a pressure ridge is too small to be seen in these satellite-derived thickness-maps, as a pressure ridge gets averaged-out, however in the above 2016 map a long curving “mountain range” of ice averaging nine feet thick curves directly over the Pole. In order for this to not be averaged-out, it must consist of  numerous smaller pressure ridges, some which obviously would be more than nine feet thick. So far I have been unable to get a good view of this feature from satellite pictures, due to clouds. It curves all the way down to the area north of Greenland’s northeast corner, and is likely bound for Fram Strait. Ice is pushed closer to the northwest corner of Svalbard this year, and likely is chilling the tendril of the Gulf Stream that enters the arctic there, as it is melted.

The Polynya northwest of Alaska is larger this year, as are the polynyas along the North Slope coasts of Alaska and Canada. The ice missing from these areas has largely been swept over towards East Siberia, which has thick ice piled up on its coasts, and thicker-than-last-year ice out to sea. This area will likely be slower to melt this summer, especially as the Pacific seems colder. It will be interesting to watch the Laptev Sea in August, when the freshwater floods from the Lena River reach their peak, as the floods will likely be greater (and perhaps colder) this year due to deep snows inland in Siberia. These surges of fresh water have a big effect on that coast of the Arctic.

One feature I watched last summer I dubbed “The Slot”, north of Alaska. A feature-of-this-feature was “The Reef”, which formed The Slot’s southern edge. This never completely melted away, as it originally consisted of some huge pressure ridges, and I’ve watched it all winter as it was swept around all the way to 160 degrees east longitude. It likely forms a considerable pile of ice-chunks over there. The ice north of Siberia is by no means flat “baby ice”. It is a pity we lost our two O-buoy cameras that were over that way.

In order to have all the ice piled up towards Russia it needed to be exported from the Beaufort Sea, which the satellite views show as being crisscrossed by a web of leads and frozen leads, some quite wide, and some frozen-over quite thickly. That sea’s water has been losing heat all winter through these leads.

O-buoy 13 continues to be swept east north of Alaska, and pictures a cold and windswept scene, with temperatures showing a diurnal swing between -10°C and -15°C.

Obuoy 13 0423 webcamObuoy 13 0424 webcam

O-buoy 14 is further east, has finally melted its lens free. We were lucky to not lose this buoy over the winter, as a small pressure ridge grew right at its feet. Note the Mass Balance buoy tipped  (and likely not reporting) to the lower right.

Obuoy 14 0423 webcamObuoy 14 0424 webcam

This buoy’s thermometer seems more effected by sunlight, and over the past few days has shown a diurnal swing between -22°C and -7°C, with the high temperatures less high when the wind picks up. (Judging from shadows, there are some decent pressure ridges off-camera to the left and behind our left shoulder.)

This should be a very interesting summer, as the El Nino is rapidly fading, and cracks of blue, below-normal water are already showing up off the coast of South America, indicative of a La Nina coming on. The North Atlantic is cooler,  and “The Warm Blob” is largely gone from the North Pacific, (though some residual heat from the El Nino may be heading north past Japan).

SST Anomaly 20160421 2016anomnight_4_21_2016

There will be a “lag time” before any La Nina coolness effects the Pole, but the Scripps model is showing an absolute whopper of a La Nina. Likely it is overboard, and things will not be this extreme (for it would set records) but usually Scripps is a fairly decent model, and the situation does bear watching.

Scripps 0423 Screen_Shot_2016_04_23_at_4_17_56_AM

NSIDC Busted!

It is because of Tom-foolery like this that I resort to using my lying eyes. Either the old NSIDC data was wrong, or the current data is wrong. If NSIDC is going to change the data the public has been relying on to this degree, they need to explain themselves. Do they think people didn’t trust them, and use the data they made public? Now those papers or posts or articles that used their old data look, at the very least, inaccurate, and at worst, stupid. An explanation is not something they can blithely disregard offering.

Real Science

Reader Chris71 has discovered the smoking gun on the NSIDC web site. Read on.

A few weeks ago, NSIDC put out this press release, claiming that 5+ year old ice is at its smallest level on record.

ice at least 5 years or older, is at its smallest level in the satellite record, representing only 3 percent of the total ice cover

2016-04-22061634

The press release included the map below. This is a new style map which they just started in week 39 2015. The map below is for week 41 2015. All of their previous  1984-2015 maps have been deleted from their archive.

iceage_browse_week_n_2015_41

March ends a most interesting winter | Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis

The good news is that Chris found one of their old style maps which had not been scrubbed from their website, and is annotated with the following text.

This graph is reloaded from ftp://ccar.colorado.edu/pub/tschudi/iceage/gifs/age${year}_${month}.gif every day and is available…

View original post 212 more words

LOCAL VIEW –Blighted Spring–

It’s been a drudging sort of week, full of duties one doesn’t plan for. Not much is blooming, but perhaps clouds of pollen from southern lands blew north, and everyone began sneezing. Or perhaps it was the common cold passing through town. In any case, who plans for that? It complicates things, and makes you make mistakes. Who plans for that? In your hurry you leave your key in the ignition, on the “on” position, as you are only hurrying inside for five minutes. But five minutes becomes two hours with phone-calls and other stuff, and when you hurry back to your car with an armload of other stuff, and are ready to rocket off, the battery is dead. Who plans for that?

We got by. Yesterday my battery was dead, but I wasn’t late to open the Farm-childcare as I got a quick jump from my wife’s car. Today her battery was dead at the Childcare, but she got a jump from me. To me it seemed very symbolic of how we get by, when we are not at our best.

Personally, I blame the delayed spring. Not that I wasn’t expecting it. Why? I think it was a queer mix of science and intuition and memory. I just noticed how a band of colder weather gave colder winters to places like Mexico and Syria and Thailand, even as places further north got a warmer winter, and I figured that band of colder weather would retreat north and get us. Meanwhile I recalled warm early springs in my past that got clobbered by May snowstorms, the worst being in 1977. Lastly, when you live as far north as New Hampshire, among Finns who immigrated here from much further north, you own a certain caution about warmth in March. Call it pragmatism or call it cynicism, I planted peas earlier than ever, but wasn’t surprised when snows followed, with record-setting cold.

But it needs to be said that such flip-flopping of weather is cruel. I am not being a selfish human, as I say this. It is not merely humans who get blighted. I can offer photographic evidence of the day-lily leaves with brown points, and the daffodils broken by frost.

Blight 1 FullSizeRender

Blight 2 IMG_2627

Blight 3 FullSizeRender

Of course these are imported species, (as are Finns and even Yankees like myself), but what really impressed me was a local swamp maple that seemed to get fooled. It formed a purple misted tree, in the post I did about frogs singing early, back in March. Currently it looks like it isn’t even going to start budding. I may do a post about what happens with that tree, but I’ll have to wait and see.

In any case, though spring seemed ready to bust out in March, here it is a month later and the treeline looks pretty leafless.

Blight 4 FullSizeRender

However though the spring can be delayed, it cannot be denied. On the blighted lawn purple splashes.

Blight 6 IMG_2629

And a few daffodil were more cautious, and now stand proud for being cowards.

Blight 5 IMG_2632

And the grey fur of the pussy willow suddenly is yellow with pollen.

Blight 7 FullSizeRender

And the wiser, more cowardly swamp maples now venture to bloom.

Blight 8 IMG_2654

And these tiny flowers, softening the treeline with a haze of reddish purple, always are worth a closer look.

Blight 9 IMG_2660Blight 10 IMG_2656

However, though my heart is softened by the loveliness, I will not be a sucker and a chump. I remember snows in May. So I look to the black cherry trees. In Washington DC their cherries may be fools, and come out only to be blasted by frost, but I like to think our northern cherries are smarter. And even this late they are only budding.

Blight 11 IMG_2643

So here I stand, betwixt and between. Spring will not be denied, but will not be a dunce.

The trees are distrustful; the very buds
Are reluctant; yet sneaking through the brush
Is a quickening of all creature’s bloods;
A hope that makes the grayest banker blush.

Who are you? Elf or zephyr or angel;
Invisible dancer swirling dead leaves;
You put us all through a long, slow, strange hell
Where the more one doubts the more one believes.

Logic dictates we distrust, and yet you
Seduce us with memories of past times
When you beat back that logic. Can you do
It again? In the face of this world’s crimes
Can you undo the loss of virginity?
Do that, and Oh! What a spring it would be!

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Insomnia Cure–

I was laying in bed last night contemplating customers, carrots and other things I’m suppose to consider, during the spring on a Farm-childcare, when sea-ice came drifting through my consciousness. It’s usually a sign sleep is creeping up, and worldly worries are melting away. Last night it led to some delightful, dazing dreaminess I doubt I can fully replicate, but which show the complexity of even a thing as simple as water.

Yesterday I was briefly discussing how a tendril of the Gulf Stream, coming north, for a time rides at the top of the ocean, but then takes a dive under the colder waters. For a time it is less dense than surrounding waters, but then it becomes more dense.

This occurs because there are two variables involved. First, there is temperature, and second, there is salinity. The Gulf Stream is more salty than surrounding waters, because it was subjected to a lot of evaporation down in the hot tropics before it came north. Salty water wants to sink. However the Gulf Stream is much warmer than surrounding waters. Warmer waters want to rise.

An analogy is needed. Imagine the water coming north is a bunch of hot air balloons. As long as the air in the balloons is hot, the balloons remain high, but gradually they cool, until they reach a momentous occasion where they take a dive.

It is a simple enough thing to model this on your multi-million dollar computer. First you need to loot the wallets of drained tax-payers, and then you convince the government to print up some extra money. Easy as pie, when you are falling asleep and in a dream world, but I find it easier to command the non-virtual reality in dreamland, and to model the two variables outside computers in the fresh air.

Instantly Fram Strait is experiencing complete calm. What’s more it has been doing so for weeks. The Gulf Stream, coming north, does so in a glassy stillness, and the point where it dives beneath colder water can be seen by the way sea-gull feathers drifting north in the current come to a halt.  The waters to the north are still, even stagnant.

IE:  In dreamland we have simplified things to a degree where slowly moving water is sliding beneath still water. If course we can’t have water coming in without water going out, but let’s have that happen someplace else, so it won’t mess up our dreamland model. Also, of course, you can’t have a fluid in motion moving past a still fluid without this annoying thing called “turbulence” making little whirls along the boundary, like little storms along a front. Fortunately our dreamland model has a “mute” key that dampens that stuff away. In the end we have a nice simple scenario.

Now, as we slip deeper into dreamland and our brains gain super-powers, let’s have a little fun by adding another variable or two.  Let’s reduce the amount of warming due to sunlight, as winter comes and the sun sinks  low.  Or let’s chill the air. This cools the Gulf Stream tendril coming north more quickly, so it reaches the magical point where salinity trumps heat five miles further south.

Oh oh. Problem. If the water sinks earlier, the completely static water which it is sinking under has to move, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it have to move south to fill in the space above the sinking water?

Or suppose we change the salinity of the Gulf Stream heading north. How?  How about a tropical storm dumping a foot of warm rain. Now the tendril wants to come further north before sinking. Would not it plow into the static surface water, and make it move?

But how about both chilling the water and reducing the salinity? How are we going to manage that?

What’s that you say? Why don’t we redirect all the sea-ice heading south along the east coast of Greenland, in that cold current, and push it across Fram Strait into the warm current heading north?  That will both cool the northbound tendril of the Gulf Stream, and make it less salty, you say?

Funny you should say that, for that is exactly the scenario we were looking at yesterday, as vast amounts of ice were melted just west of Svalbard. Svalfloe 3 svalbard 15

Ordinarily it is at this point I get a headache, but when I am falling asleep the implications have a nice way of knocking me over the brink into unconsciousness. Sort of like an uppercut to the jaw. As I pass out, I am usually pondering one of three things.

First, if you cool the water heading north, and lower its salinity,  how will this effect the melt from beneath to the north? In Theory, if you dumped enough ice into the northbound water, you could so cool and so dilute the current that it wouldn’t be all that different from the water to the north, and could skip the bother of sinking beneath it. What effect would that have on surface currents, and submarine currents?

Second, how many more buoys will the taxpayers allow before they come with burning torches? We don’t need a mere string of buoys across Fram Strait. We need north-south strings. We need surface reports and reports at depth, so we can have a 3-D picture of the daily fluctuations of temperature, salinity, and the speed the water is moving, like the weather-maps we get for the air above.

Lastly, what does it mean if ice does not travel in the cold, southbound current to the southerly tip of Greenland? Through much of the winter the ice levels were low, because ice was held back at the Pole, and much of the ice off the east coast of Greenland was “home grown”. Now even more ice is being deprived of it’s right to take the normal route because it has headed across to the wrong lane of the two-lane highway in Fram Strait. Will less ice off the south tip of Greenland make that water warmer?  (Currently there is a fringe of warmer-than-normal water right along the Greenland coast, but then waters are colder-than-normal clear across to Spain.)

Usually thinking about all this is quite enough to cure insomnia. If necessary, you can add another variable: Wind.  A strong wind can move surface water. What effect does a cold north wind have on a current coming from the south? Do you have a current heading south at the surface even as it heads north deeper down? Oh oh. Time to hit that “mute” key again, as I see turbulence rearing its head.

In the end I think very few things travel in the nice neat lines shown by textbooks. I am old enough to remember the way the Gulf Stream was portrayed in textbooks before we could see the surface with heat-sensitive satellites. It was nothing like this:

Gulf Stream images

I have a vivid memory, from back in those pre-satellite days, of attending a class held to make the general public more aware of beach erosion and why we should alter our attitudes about where we built marinas and beach houses. It was taught by a knowledgeable young scientist, and in the audience was a garrulous old fisherman. For some reason the subject got off the topic of beaches and moved out into the Gulf Stream, and at that point the fisherman began to talk about “warm whirlpools” and “cold whirlpools” and how he’d use them to hunt the best places to fish, and the young scientist rolled his eyes, as if the old man was talking nonsense, and finally the young man cut the fisherman off, making it obvious he felt the man was inventing tall tales. Later I always wondered what the scientist thought, when he saw the first satellite images come in, showing exactly what the old fisherman had described.

Perhaps it is for this reason that I, meaning no disrespect to scientists, am less than certain the map below is fully accurate.

Svalfloe 4 svalbard current

The thing I am watching for are the changes fishermen described the last time the AMO shifted from “warm” to “cold”. They were dramatic.

In any case, I highly recommend thinking about this stuff next time you have trouble sleeping.

In more mundane matters,  The DMI maps continue to show the high pressure over towards Bering Strait, and the low nudging toward the Pole, but weakening.

I’m worried they may have had troubles with the airstrip at Barneo, as there have been no reports since the 18th. You can see the ice is “active” across the Pole in the NRL “Speed and Drift” map from yesterday.

Speed and Drift 20160422 arcticicespddrfnowcast

This map also shows ice is likely moving away from the northwest coast of Hudson Bay.

In terms of the Northwest Passage, the western approach looks like it is opening up nicely, with ice moving away from the coast of Alaska. However the ice in Baffin Bay seems to be being crammed north into the eastern approaches.

Lastly, it looks like ice continues to be exported to the “wrong side” of Fram Strait.

The thickness map shows an odd little mountain range of thicker ice crossing right over the pole. (Not really a mountain range, but worth noting: 9 feet thick rather than six feet thick.)

Thickness 20160422 arcticictnnowcast

 

Lastly the “Race Against Time” expedition has been reporting struggling over a lot of pressure ridges as they approach the Pole from the Russian side. Mark Wood mentioned the ice was much flatter when he skied the route two years ago. At last report they had crossed 89 degrees north. Unfortunately they only report by satellite phone, without pictures.

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Killing Fields–

The true “Killing Fields” were places in Cambodia where innocent people were slaughtered by the insanity of the Khmer Rouge genocide, back when I was in my early twenties. It was a horrible place and time, and a bitter disillusionment for those who felt peace would come if American forces withdrew from Southeast Asia. “Killing Fields” are two words which should be accorded respect, not because genocide has a shred of dignity, but out of respect for the more than a million innocent people who died. “Killing Fields” are not words which should be used to describe an area where sea-ice melts.

But Certain Alarmists are not known for having good taste. John Cook, creator of the Skeptical Science website, and creator of of the preposterous “97%-of-all-scientists-believe-in-man-made-Global-Warming” soundbite which even the American president quotes, seems to find the Nazi uniform either humorous or attractive. There used to be plenty of examples of this “humor” at his website, but they were removed due to embarrassment, but the web never forgets, and they were preserved here:

Skeptical Science takes ‘creepy’ to a whole new level

However a single picture of John Cook from his own website will suffice to make my point about bad taste.

John Cook Nazi1_herrcook

Considering one reason I was originally attracted to the subject of sea-ice was because of the sheer beauty of the snowscapes, there is something repellent in the connection some Alarmists make to the most foul episodes of human history. The simple fact I am dubbed a “Denier” epitomizes the bad taste, for that word formally was reserved for those who denied the foulness of the Nazi genocide.

In actual fact I think associating those-who-point-out-the-obvious (that the sea-ice has failed to melt away as predicted) with mass murderers is more of an example of “denial” and “fascist behavior” than any of my own many examples of bad manners, (due to my short temper). It denies there is a difference between the honesty involved in being forthright, and the brutality involved in killing those who disagree. Nor does it just water-down this difference. It becomes the very  ugliness it accuses others of being.

I can endure being told I’m mistaken. In fact, once I smooth my ruffled feathers, I actually admire the people who correct me, for I am big and can have a fierce face, and sometimes the people correcting me have been quite small and by nature timid. The fact they have the courage to tug at my sleeve and, in a most polite manner, tell me I’m a fool, is something that touches my heart. It moves me.

I am moved in a different manner when Alarmists say Skeptics should be prosecuted, imprisoned,  and even shot. I understand they think they are saving the world, but so did the Khmer Rouge.

Therefore, besides mentioning it to make the above point, I am not going to use the words “Killing Fields” to describe places where the sea-ice melts. To do so seems bad taste. Why? Because the Khmer Rouge took pictures of their fellow Cambodians, who they were about to kill; their actual neighbors who might be guilty of only having a writer’s-callous on their middle finger (which proved they were “guilty” of being “polluted” by Western concepts), and I have seen those pictures, and the eyes of those innocents haunt me.

We need to remember them. We need to stand up to bullies, even when they claim they are “saving the world”. This is not a time when silence is golden. Rather silence is a sin.

To avoid losing my temper and raving like a lunatic, what I am going to try to do is simply point out the beauty inherent in the Truth.  I’ll start by avoiding using the phrase “Killing Fields” and instead using something that means “Areas conducive to sea-ice melt.” I suppose I could use the acronym ACTSIM, but we already have too many acronyms.  I’m just going to call them “melt-areas”.

The best way to become aware of where they are is to go lurk at Alarmist sites. Doing so is sort of amusing, because Alarmists huddle over sea-ice maps like generals over maps of a battlefield. It is as if they are waging a war over sea-ice, and cheer the melt of the smallest ice-cube. (It has never made much sense to me, as they also assert less ice is a bad thing.)

There is often a bit of confusion apparent, as open water can appear in the arctic that involves no melting at all. A wonderful example is currently occurring off the northwest coast of Alaska. High pressure has been parked over the Beaufort Sea for a fortnight, bringing that area winds steadily from the east.

The movement of the ice can be seen in the NRL map:

Speed and Drift 20160420 arcticicespddrfnowcast

Strong winds like this do not melt ice. They move it. When it moves away from shore an area of open water forms. It is called a “polynya” if it is close to shore. In the dead of winter it swiftly skims over, but now, with the sun up and days longer than the nights, temperatures are not so cold and the open water skims over more slowly.

In the past, north of Alaska this has tempted adventurers to make an early start at the Northwest passage. The only problem is that, if the winds shifts, the ice can come right back to shore. A couple of springs ago one such gutsy sailor found his boat suddenly surrounded not only by sea-ice but by curious polar bears. He stuck it out much longer than I think I could have managed, but after a harrowing ten days the coast guard sent out an ice-breaker to rescue him.

That being said, a look at the NRL map shows the pocket of light purple northwest of Alaska, indicating a skim of thin ice six inches to a foot thick (and likely slushy “pancake ice” as well).

Thickness 20160421 arcticictnnowcast

What is less apparent is that the “missing” ice hasn’t melted. It has been crunched up over towards Russia. The Alarmist sites are not big on mentioning this, and tend to crow about the thinner ice, and how swiftly it will melt in the summer.

It may, but we shall see. As soon as the ice gets dusted by snow it is just as white as thicker ice, and reflects sunlight just as well. The real melt comes from below, from the Pacific, and the Pacific is two degrees colder than last spring, south of Being Strait.

Another interesting area is the northwest side of Hudson Bay. There the ice has been pushed away from the coast as well, and the new ice is thin. However, like last year, all that moved-ice is crunched up to the southeast.

But none of these areas involves melting, this early in the spring.  If you want to see a real area of melting you need to travel to the east side of Fram Strait, right off the west coast of Svalbard. A warm tendril of the Gulf Stream moves north there, often keeping the east and northeast coasts of Svalbard ice-free even in the dead of winter, even when the north winds are cold and bringing the sea-ice south. This is a true “melt-area”, where you can watch sizable ice floes dissolve. (You can see the streamers of cloud made by the cold winds as they shift from west to north, in the pictures below.)

Svalfloe 1 svalbard 11Svalfloe 2 svalbard 13Svalfloe 3 svalbard 15

It should be obvious the melt is not due to the very cold winds, nor to trace amounts of CO2. It is due to the marvelous meanderings of the Gulf Stream, and the fact a tendril passes that way.

Svalfloe 4 svalbard current

 

The yellow dot in the above map is where the warm water takes a dive, and starts flowing under the cold water. If you wonder how warm water can sink and cold water can rise, it is due to the salinity. Salty water sinks and more brackish water rises, and the yellow dot represents where the salinity starts to trump the temperature.

What is fascinating is how variable this “yellow dot” can be. If more ice moves over that warm current it makes the water both fresher, as it melts, and colder.

This is what people should be focused on, and not the obscure and likely inestimable amount CO2 effects the temperature of ocean currents. Why? because, with the AMO wavering on the verge of shifting from the “warm” to “cold” phase, the ingredients that go into where the current takes a dive and the “yellow spot” will be located  will also change.  That in turn will effect where ice forms and where it melts, which in turn will effect the weather, and where fishermen can fish, and even where the fish will be.

Some big changes are already starting to appear in the sea-surface-temperature anomaly maps. The biggest is the bit of blue just off the coast of Peru, indicative of the El Nino fading into a La Nina.

SST 20160418 CgahiESWwAAuZoW

Also notice how the “Warm Blob” in the north Pacific has eroded, and now in some ways is becoming a “Cold Blob”, while the odd “Cold Blob” south of Iceland has spread over to the coast of Spain. The AMO is still “warm” due to the milder waters north of Norway, but this is not a typical “warm” AMO.

Lastly, look at the chart of the AMO below, and consider the year 1975. What changes might we expect, if those conditions return? How might the “yellow spot” by Svalbard shift?

AMO 201603 esrl-amo-thru-mar-2016

 

 

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Warming Ice–

One dynamic that will cross your eyes, if you should have the time to spend attempting to contemplate all its intricacies, involves the warming of the sea-ice before it starts to even think about melting. In fact it is still freezing and getting thicker, as it first starts to warm. That alone sits one backs onto their heels. How can the ice be getting warmer if it is getting thicker?

It is rather simple, when you think that ice at the surface can be down to around -60°C when the bitterest cold howls off Siberia in the deepest dark of January. It is obvious that, should that ice “warm” to -59°C, there is not going to be much melting going on. In fact it can warm and warm and warm, all the way up to -1.9°, and the ice will blithely ignore all the warming and go right on getting thicker.

In fact the words, “warm”, “warming”, and “warmer” can be handy tools, if you own a cruel streak and wish to agitate Alarmists.   Just make your eyes round and clasp your hands and say the ice is heating up, and you’ll get to watch them rush around like chickens after corn.

However I am a kindly old man, and don’t torture people more than I have to, and if I am going to cause anyone a headache I prefer to do it to myself, simply by trying to get my mind around the complexities of what boils down (poor word choice) amounts to an ice-cube melting in a glass of water.

The warmth is coming from both the top and the bottom.  Assuming the ice “remembers” the winter’s cold, and has been chilled to -25°C , you have that temperature sandwiched by “warmer” air of -15°C above, and “warmer” seawater of -1.9°C below.

Keeping that sandwich in mind, it then pays to remember the first and second laws of thermodynamics.

A bit of thought makes it clear that the most warming of the ice comes from below, and in fact has been radiating up all winter, even as the ice has been growing thicker, and continues to grow thicker. Not only does this heat come from the water, but latent heat is released from the water as it freezes. (That’s a hard thing to get your mind around. When water is freezing one seldom extends their palms to feel the warmth radiating from the phase change.)

Eventually the ice, at the bottom, will reach its melting point, and we’ll then discuss the opposite phase change, which gobbles up available heat, turning it back to latent heat. But before we reach that point we run into a few other small problems. First, as the salt water freezes it exudes the salt, which involves a further heat exchange. Then you wind up with fresh water ice sitting in salt water. How is this a problem? Well, the melting point of fresh water is 0°C and the water is at -1.9°C. So how can the ice ever melt?

I’m getting a headache.

In any case, as you look at the maps below please keep all the above in mind.

When we last looked a “Swirl” was laughing at textbooks and sitting on the Pole. Apparently this irritated the high pressure towards Canada, who believes in doing things by the book, and it has been making a noble effort to sit on the Pole.

Now we have nearly achieved the state where high pressure sits on the Pole, and all is as it should be, according to the book.

Polar Cell cells_mod

The only problem is that the low north of Norway looks like it is going to be rude and head straight to the Pole. Besides exporting a lot of cold down towards Europe, (Joe Bastardi at the Weatherbell site points out by April 27 snow might be seen down in France and Germany),

Europe April snow ecmwf_tsnow_europe_41(15)

but also this will make life interesting for the tourists up at the Barneo camp. So far the skies remain blue and the huts have been set up.

Barneo 7A 13002551_985838608151955_7676097520744859055_o164

The airstrip hasn’t cracked lately, and the jets are landing on schedule.

Barneo 7B 13047949_985838741485275_258960100589539753_o171

Winds are light, and temperatures, which made it up to -15°C, have dipped back to -23°C, as the base drifts slowly towards Fram Strait, and the various cross country skiers, helicoptered to various points on the Russian side of the Pole, hurry to get to the Pole before the storm comes north.

Barneo 7C 13002590_985838818151934_4180146684063629281_o167

Things could get interesting up there towards the weekend.