ARCTIC SEA ICE –Quick Glance at Maps–

A weak swirl has roamed past the Pole. It formed on a “home grown” manner, seeming to suck in both a tendril of Pacific air all the way from Bering Strait and a greatly modified and occluded area of Atlantic-Mediterranean air that was swept north ahead of the cold trough moving across Europe. The first map shows it forming north of Greenland.

The second maps shows it passing the Pole.

The third map shows it  settling down into western Russia, and starting a sort of Fujiwhara dance with another low further east in Siberia. Sometimes this will fling the low to the east up to the Pole, but the high pressure towards Canada looks like it will win out and be king-of-the-mountain for a week.

Gales are loop-de-looping in the North Atlantic, and the people of Iceland must be getting sick of them. The gate is closed, across from northern Greenland to northern Norway, and there are no surges of Atlantic air to the Pole.

Just watching, without using any scientific data, it looks like the “updraft” or “chimney” over the Pole is not drawing as much, as 24-hour sunshine moderates the surface temperatures. The temperature map is much “milder” (though still below freezing) than it was even 30 days ago, it it makes a sort of unscientific “common sense” that with less of a clash in temperatures certain “powers” would weaken.

It will be interesting to watch to see if, as things change up there, temperatures shift as they have shifted the past four Mays, from being above-normal to below-normal. Right now temperatures are wavering.

DMI3 0503 meanT_2016

Compare the above graph with how temperatures dove below normal last year in May in the graph below.

DMI3 2015 meanT_2015

Remember this occurred even as a warming El Nino was building strongly. Now a cooling La Nina is coming on, which will change the equation greatly. How? I’m going to zip my lip and just wait and watch and see.

In other  news, O-buoy 13 has stopped reporting, which means we are down to a single camera reporting from the Arctic Sea. I’ve heard no news about whether there will be a North Pole Camera this year. (I asked via email, but haven’t received a reply yet.)

O-buoy 14 has seen a lot of drifting snow. Note how the crunched mass-balance mast to the lower right is nearly covered by a drift in today’s picture

APRIL 30 Obuoy 14 0430 webcamMAY 1 Obuoy 14 0501 webcamMAY 2  Obuoy 14 0502 webcamMAY 3 Obuoy 14 0503 webcam

Drifting snow is far more complex than most suspect, for at times it contains drifting salt. That will have to wait, and be the subject of some other post.

I will go so far as to mention that more drifting salt is added to the melt-equation when there are a lot of leads formed in the deep dark of winter, when temperatures get down near to -40°.  And this past winter the ice has been treated like an accordion. Even this surviving buoy is lucky to exist. For example, check out the location of the redheaded buoy in the above picture, and then in the picture below, from last October 20, (when the red was plastered with white snow.)

Obuoy 14 1020 webcam

There is a slight chance the sea-ice scientists are right now consulting each other and saying, “No, I didn’t put that redhead buoy there; I thought you put that redhead buoy there.” In truth, the redhead buoy may be a visiting alien. However I venture it is more likely that this ice, like ice all over the Pole, got really crunched this past winter.

OK. Time to shut the computer down and plant potatoes.



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