In the last post I noted how a low I dubbed “Ralph” had looped up to the Pole, in essence reversing the Beaufort Gyre. It looked like it it was going to weaken and fade.


However Ralph persisted. Twelve hours later we can see noon has warmed the top of the map, but the warming to the south of Barents Sea is occurring at midnight and is due to an influx of less cold air, even as the below freezing patches of air increase north of Greenland and Svalbard. This is going to create a clash, and reinforse Ralph with low pressure moving up from Scandinavia.


Twenty-four hours later we see the area of sub-freezing air has increased as the less-cold air has decreased (likely because it is rising) and Ralph is reinvigorated.

Twelve hours later midnight has moved up to the top of the map, which explains the sub-freezing temperatures reappearing up there, but the sub-freezing temperatures down to the north of Barents Sea are due to Ralph, and are occurring at noon, when the midnight sun peaks highest near the arctic circle. Ralph is pulling more energy up from  Siberia and his winds are strengthening towards gale force. How due I know this?

I know the winds are gale force because I hurry over to the Weatherbell site (week free trial available) and look at Dr. Ryan Maue’s maps.  One shows surface pressure and winds.  Here are the GFS model’s guess at what Ralph will do. (The area of green is winds over 20 knots, and towards the center of those blobs when the green tints towards yellow the winds are over 30 knots.) (I don’t know why they insist on sticking Iceland at the top of their maps.)

INITIAL (0000Z JUNE 21)Ralph 1 gfs_mslp_uv10m_arctic_1

 12 HOURSRalph 2 gfs_mslp_uv10m_arctic_3

24 HOURSRalph 3 gfs_mslp_uv10m_arctic_5

36 HOURSRalph 4 gfs_mslp_uv10m_arctic_7

The models agree that Ralph will head toward the Canadian Archipelago and weaken, but even after only 36 hours discrepancies start to appear. The GFS sees temperatures hovering around freezing in 36 hours:

Ralph 5 gfs_t2m_arctic_7

But the Canadian JEM model sees Ralph has created sub-freezing temperatures: (Iceland back at the bottom.)

Ralph 6 cmc_t2m_arctic_7

The Canadian map shows a greater clash in temperatures, which may explain why the Canadian model tends to create storms where the GFS sees none, but all the models seem to agree that Ralph will not be replaced by high pressure, and instead Ralph will linger about the Pole for over a week.

As I explained in my last post, this counters the idea of a Polar Cell creating high pressure at the Pole, and also reverses the Beaufort Gyre.

Transpolar Drift 360px-BrnBld_ArcticCurrents.svg

As I also explained in my last post, this will tend to spread out the ice that was piled up last winter. It may even create an uptick in the extent graph. It will be the same amount of ice, but spread out like a pat of butter over bread. The chunks of ice will still be as thick, but they will have areas of open water between them, so the “average” thickness will abruptly be thinner.

This likely will create a hubbub, especially among Alarmists, who will assume the ice is melting swiftly, like it did in the Gale of 2012, which occurred in early August. The ice did not melt in the gale of 2013, which occurred when the ice was at its minimum in late September. This Gale, occurring in June, is an entity all its own, and it is risky to guess what it will do. My assumption is that the response (whether the melting will be sped up) largely depends on how cold the water under the ice is, and I have no reliable source to turn to, so I am going to zip my lip and just watch.

One interesting effect is that the ice will be pushed back down into parts of the Beaufort Sea that were open water. That is also an area the Canadian JEM-model map shows will have sub-freezing temperatures as Ralph weakens.

Our only on-the-ground reporter is O-buoy 14, which got a glimpse of sunshine and showed open water in the distance, with pressure ridges to the right, a bit like the North Pole Camera of three summers ago.

Obuoy 14 0620 webcam

However O-buoy 14 is much further south, (at 77.5 degrees latitude rather than at 86 degrees), and heading further south as the sea-ice spreads out.

Obuoy 14 0620 latitude-1week

It registered a surprising cold-wave as Ralph first weakened. We’ll have to see if it happens again.

Obuoy 14 0620 temperature-1week

One thing I have noticed is that the sunshine never lasts for long.

Obuoy 14 0621 webcam

This does make me wonder a bit about Svenmark’s idea that the Quiet Sun is allowing more cosmic rays to make more clouds.  One part of Alarmist theory assumes that more open water will absorb more sunlight, which will warm the water, which will hurry the melting of the ice, but it is hard to see how that can happen if the sun seldom shines.

The temperatures up at the Pole did register a dip as Ralph weakened the first time. The thaw is continuing but temperatures are below normal.

DMI3 0620 meanT_2016

The extent graph continues its yearly plunge.

DMI3 0620 icecover_current_new (1)

However there is a bit of a hubbub about the above graph, as it may be missing some of the ice in the south of Hudson Bay.

Hudson hubbub 2016-06-19-23-14-11

(Picture credit: )

Judging from the NRL thickness map, some fairly thick ice is pushed up against that coast. Also some thinner ice has been pushed south into the polynya that opened in April northwest of the Mackenzie River Delta and northeast of Alaska.

Thickness 20160620 arcticictnnowcast

These sort of discrepancies do occur, due to the varying sensitivities of instruments and problems with clouds, however Tony Heller will be flying over that area and able to give a first-hand report, weather permitting.

These are interesting times, which is unusual, for usually Junes are pretty boring, in the world of watching ice melt.


I should have mentioned something I noted in an earlier post that shows how difficult it is to gauge the amounts of sea-ice. Susan Crockford dug up this news with her excellent reporting here:

Ice maps vs. observations in the W. Arctic – polar bear habitat reality check

Basically some walrus hunters got trapped by sea-ice thicker than they expected, and needed to be rescued. I myself thought the sea-ice looked thin in the area they hunted, but then I don’t hunt walrus, and I’d expect those fellows to be smarter than me. Here is a video of their rescue.

The time lapse movies made by the various O-buoys have been a very good way to get a sense of what summertime sea-ice is like. In several cases the buoys have bobbed totally free of ice one day, and then are totally surrounded by ice a few days later. If you have the time, move the slider along the bottom of last summer’s O-buoy 9 film to the 25 minute mark, and spend ten minutes watching it slide along the north coast of Greenland, with mountains occasionally visible in the background, and then out into Fram Strait and then south. The amazing thing is that it wound up totally surrounded in thickening ice, just before its demise.


12 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA ICE –POLAR GALE–

    • I’d say that image has problems. But it shows you how difficult it is to measure the ice. Susan Crockford has a good video of a coast guard rescue of walrus hunters who got surprised and trapped by the ice. I just added to the end of my post. I figure that, if even walrus hunters get fooled, what chance does a climate scientist 3000 miles away have?

  1. That is very cool seeing Hudson Bay almost totally ice covered at the solstice. So much for all the polar bear angst about lack of ice. They can play all the games they want, but basically this is another very unexciting summer. Also looks like good growing conditions in the corn belt as far as the eye can see.

    We’ve had a very active afternoon in the DC area, are currently getting our third thunderstorm since about 2:30 PM. The first on brought high winds, the 2nd one 1/2 to 3/4 inch hail. The third one, now in progress is more or less garden variety.

    • The front pushed through here with thunder at around 3:00 AM. First decent rain in ten days. I can’t really complain about glorious weather, but the top three inches of the soil in my garden was bone dry, where I didn’t water.

      An interesting pattern is starting to appear in the models. A band of heat will build across the USA and southern Canada, and the refreshing polar air will be trapped up to the north. In terms of the sea-ice, it could mean that the polar air will stay at the pole and keep temperatures below normal up there.

      Of course models are models, but they turned out to be right, then my forecast is this, in terms of Global Warming headlines:

      There will be an adroit shift away from a focus on sea-ice, to a focus on blazing heat down where we live.

      The media is a lot easier to predict than the weather.

      Enjoy the cool breezes after the thunder. I don’t think they’ll last.

  2. Hi Caleb, this is actually a comment about your “LOCAL VIEW –June Graduations’s Long Light–” post. It provided a wonderful escapism just at the right moment for me – thank you. I read and digested every word. Also, seeing the Thomas Jefferson quote at the end made me wonder, what do you think of Brexit here in the UK? Appreciate your wisdom

    • I’m glad you enjoyed my musing.

      My prayers are with the people of Britain. One of the most dangerous times in any democracy is during the transfer of power. I always heave a sigh of relief when the leader in power has the humbleness that lets go of power, for the strings of control are like the “Ring of Power” in Tolkien’s tale. Power addicts, and addicts behave badly. “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

      I was surprised a vote was even allowed. Now I am leery of the behavior of the rich bankers. I have heard talk of them pulling out of London, to “make England pay.” That is not the talk of people-with-power who believe the voters have wisdom, and who love democracy and want to see it succeed.

      God be with you.

      • Thanks Caleb, thought-provoking reply. I thought it was a shame that Cameron had to resign at this stage – but he had made his position untenable, so it was the right thing to do. As for the rich bankers, I’d maybe tend to look at their faults more as a symptom rather than a cause in relation to ‘ordinary’ voters being neglected. If the nature of the EU has contributed towards the imbalance of our economy towards London and financial services, then to an extent bankers have been predictably following the best prospects for maximising profits, as with other businesses. But simultaneously, the associated demographic and economic changes have tended to drown out the voices of people further from London and other ‘metropolitan’ centres.
        In my city Birmingham, ‘Leave’ had an unexpected, albeit narrow, victory. It, too has had large demographic changes. One illustration of this is that Christianity was relegated to 2nd religion among schoolchildren a few years back. So it’s not facetious for me to wonder, what God do you think might be with us, in my city at least? (In reference to your closing remark).

        Quickly on that topic, my personal view is that promoting secularism is incredibly important. As soon as you give any special protection to religion in public life just because it’s claimed as a ‘right’, it can be abused because you’ve thrown away the principle that people have to convince others by reason. I like an interpretation of Christianity that amounts to ‘it can improve society if you treat people as if they have extensive free will, but let’s reserve judgment about the actual level of determinism in life, and accordingly give sinners a get-out clause in terms of repentance and forgiveness’. So I think it can ‘work’ well in that way. But the subordination of intelligence to Allah’s will also ‘works’ well for Muslims and I can see that with several of my friends (the most common background in my particular case of my friends I went to school with). Unfortunately, if you give religion a greater wedge into public life, it’s not just about people who loosely follow something that gave them stability in childhood and some positive memories. You make it harder to question anything contained within it that might otherwise be seen rationally as undesirable. At least if you claim to be non-religious (like myself – having been to church while growing up) you can criticise any religion without seeming too partisan/hypocritical.

        Hmm I said ‘quickly’ at the start of the last paragraph but it actually took some time to write!

      • Thanks for your thoughts.

        Religion is a dangerous subject, but I’ll venture a few words.

        In my time I have witnessed a Christian widow weeping before a statue of Jesus and a Hindu widow weeping before a statue of Krishna. They were so identical I could not say that a compassionate Creator would differentiate.

        Not that I have the authority to state this, but personally I don’t think God gives a damn what religion you follow, as long as you look to Him with increasing appreciation.

        It is the priests who turn worship into warfare. They are so mistaken, and so greedy for people to come in through their doors and not go through the doors down the street, that they promote competition and hatred. Then, whereas it is easy to believe in God in times of peace, when you can look around and see the glory of creation, they have created war, which makes it hard to believe in God, for all you see are horrible things, and all you can think is, “How could a compassionate God allow this crap?” However God wants us to have freedom, and doesn’t often step in like a despot. It is we who take our freedom and make wars, and create a bizarre psychic landscape where the only two choices seem to be the lawless freedom of a maniac and the slavery where nothing is allowed. The third choice, (which is what the idiotic priests are suppose to be teaching), is a lovely heaven-on-earth that is utterly neglected.

        Or so I think. But usually I keep my belief private, because ones relationship with their Maker is basically private, and such intimacy was never intended for public scrutiny. (However you confided in me, so I confided back.)

        For the most part I avoid the word “God” in public, because it infuriates some people. However I do use a word that means the same thing, “Truth.” That works much better with scientists. Most wrinkle their noses when the subject of “God” is brought up, yet their eyes sparkle when you bring up the subject of “Truth”.

        In any case, perhaps I should have said, “May Truth be with Britain”, but that lacks something. So I probably should have said, “May the Power of Truth to be True be with Britain.” Yet that is getting a bit cryptic.

        So allow me to back away from this subject like a complete coward, and say, “Best Wishes.”

      • Thanks for confiding back to me, and so quickly! Really interesting to read your take on elements of religion, and see where you think problems lie. I have a slightly different take on priests from what I’ve seen here. I wonder if they’ve bought too much into socialism. Referring back to free will and determinism, I think a possible interpretation of socialism is as a sort of non-religious heir to Christianity, focused on social issues. So it’s inherited the twin notions of personal responsibility and compassion that the best representatives of Christianity have cultivated historically (though obviously not the worst), but in a very different way. Hence many people from a Christian background (or just from a vaguely Christian society) have been drawn to it….. because it appears to give them them these same “nice” things but as part of a more clearly defined/prescriptive and “inclusive” cause.

        However, the compassion can translate into an almost completely deterministic take on social problems, which blames practically everything on ‘social injustices’/circumstances… and hence requires more and more social engineering. Meanwhile, the personal responsibility/free will is practically lost for objects of the social engineering… Furthermore, since the socialist thinker implicitly follows a ‘natural law’ (coded into socialism), they too may consider themselves following a largely deterministic ‘truth’. BUT, there is one type of person who is seen to have a lot of personal responsibility. Can you guess who that is? It’s the Right Wing person. (By the way, full disclosure, I consider myself centrist. Though for some socialists this is considered almost as bad as right wing anyway). Anyway, to finish the point, the socialist needs an explanation of why the right wing person rejects their manifestly logical and unarguable ‘truth’. Especially if the person has had privilege and therefore has no excuse for failing to ‘educate’ themselves. So… the only explanation is that this person has *chosen* to reject truth. This, it’s plain to see, must surely make them A Very Bad Person.
        I suppose if I’m to bash socialists, I should also point that a reverse case may be made that many on the Christian right treat people on the left leading unorthodox lives as ‘choosing’ a ‘bad’ life. They may sometimes be less hypocritical, but then again some of their ‘truth’ may be even less logic-based.
        Just realised I didn’t tie up the original point about priests. I suppose what I’m saying is that if they’ve turned their teachings too much into socialism (say by preaching excessively about ‘social justice’ and the need to ‘tackle climate change for a fairer world’ for example) they’re getting pretty close to the model that morality is essentially about making sure you’re not too ‘right wing’.
        (Personally I think a better model of politics is one where it’s seen as equally legitimate to argue for a smaller or larger state i.e. economic right vs left, and similarly for cultural conservatism vs cultural progressivism etc… Should tend to be about finding a balance, and informed by advocates free to express different points of view without being morally judged too much, rather than ideologies being encouraged that are passionate about only one binary choice being good).
        Sorry, I’m on the verge of starting a blog at the moment and I seem to have jumped the gun by pouring many of my ideas onto your comments section…. amongst the arctic ice discussion at that! Hope you haven’t minded getting the full whack of all that, when you’ve turned to the ice for a peaceful retreat!
        Oh and thanks for your Best Wishes 🙂 Likewise 🙂 I suppose it’s just nice to end communications on a positive, basically. But I cheekily used what you said originally to draw out some (hopefully) interesting issues!
        Really, when I’ve dropped by at your blog I’ve often found it particularly uplifting compared to so much of what I tend to read elsewhere. Poetic creativity and a truly compassionate grounding in real-life human interactions (or play) are inevitably in short supply in a lot of profit-driven journalistic writing. And how much narcissism and charlatanism do you have to sift through in amateur blogs before you get closer to the polymath, or at least the humble.
        I added ‘or play’ in brackets above because I too do a certain amount of work with children, and as you’ve described has been your experience it’s definitely taught me a lot about people generally.
        So, very final point: as I’ve mentioned once or twice in the past when I’ve dropped by, I’ve felt like a simple ‘thank you’ doesn’t really do justice to a long, rich post – and i’m sure you’re not the narcissistic time to want an endless stream of pithy ‘great piece’, ‘perfect analysis’ type comments…. a bit like what certain extreme alarmist type bloggers sometimes get when they apparently eviscerate the egregious, for example! So my attempt at writing longer comments on this thread has at least demonstrated a more meaningful gratitude.

      • Ouch, I forgot to check my last sentence before hitting ‘Post Comment’. I’d meant to add the words ‘I hope’ in at some point. It seems to read rather arrogantly without them!!

      • No problem. And thank you for all the thought you have obviously put into your comments.

        You have a mind, which all people have, but you use yours, which some others seemingly don’t.

        I think you should start a blog of your own, and please inform me if and when you find the time to do so. I would like the honor of being the first to comment. But do not be discouraged if a long time passes with few visitors. The most important thing is to express and develop your ideas. (The web is much better than sending your developing ideas to a publisher who could care less, and responds by sending you an unfeeling and thoughtless rejection slip.) The few responses you get will stimulate your thinking wonderfully, as long as you don’t slip into the mentality that measures success in terms of “hits”, “likes”, and “responses”. (I have visited sites where a post has fifty comments, but they all say little more than “Cool post. And thanks for giving my site a ‘like'”.) (It is as if they spend more time chasing “likes” than actually thinking.)

        Some of the thought you have shared with me qualifies as “contrary thought”, which is basically thought that doesn’t agree with mine and therefore must be called “disagreeable.” However that turns out to be the best part of having your own blog, for it is the thought that challenge our limited concepts that force us to be less limited.

        One thing you stated made me ponder a bit. It was, ” …the socialist needs an explanation of why the right wing person rejects their manifestly logical and unarguable ‘truth’. ”

        I agree that this is true, and the same is true of those called non-socialist. They are sure they see correctly and their view is right.

        However consider this simple example: For most of us, we have two working eyes. They see differently. To prove this, line up your thumb with an object across the room for one eye, and then ask the other eye if your thumb is lined up. It will disagree, and say you must move your thumb to line it up with the object.

        Why in the world would the Creator make us with eyes that are so disagreeable? Well, it turns out that if two eyes work together they have something neither eye has alone: “Depth Perception.”

        Now suppose we are not talking about two eyes, but some other duality, such as Republicans and Democrats, or Liberals and Conservatives, or young and old, or rich and poor, or men and women. The same reality applies. If one side dominates the other, they lose something they gain if they work together. A tyrant is a cyclops, without the “Depth Perception” having two views allows.

        Both the right and the left tend to lambaste “centrists”, but I give centrists credit for refusing to take sides in a stupid argument.

        Lastly, here is a final thought to ponder: Which eye has “depth perception”? Neither. Therefore, utilizing the single view of each eye alone, can it be proved that “depth perception” even exists?

        You probably guess where I am going with this: To put it most succinctly, there are times I may lose faith in myself, for my vision has proved faulty, and I may lose faith in others, as their vision has proven the same. But is there a third thing, that might be worthy of faith?

        As an aside, I have absolutely no idea why the comments and “pingbacks” were turned off in the post our conversation sprang from. They were turned off, but I have turned them back on.

        I hope this explains our mysterious conversation to those interested in sea-ice.

        In any case, thanks for visiting. I have enjoyed this exchange.

  3. I meant to add, the reason for commenting under this post is that there didn’t seem to be an option for commenting under your “LOCAL VIEW” post. As for the ice, it’s fascinating this year as ever. I was heartened to see the countering of Wadham’s latest hysteria, by the BBC recently: (Though for all I know they’ve had other more alarmist articles recently too – haven’t been following closely). My interest in the arctic ice will probably grow again in the next few years if it goes from being the ‘canary in the coalmine’ to the ‘thorn in the side’ for purveyors of doom. I’ve had a hunch since 2012 that the best chance for its record to be broken would be round about 2017 – in fact I postulated that in my response to a friend who emailed in autumn 2012 claiming that the emphatic minimum record proved the continuation/acceleration of the death spiral he’d been keen to highlight in 2007. It wasn’t a serious prediction, but my reasoning was based on the idea of a bounce-back from 2012 for a few years, then a delayed impact on the arctic of the next El Nino…. before solar minimum and perhaps stronger La Nina(s) closed in again. At the same time, in terms of what I’d *like* to happen, I think a lesser-than-expected melt next year (as well as this) would give me great pleasure in presenting my friend with a comparison of 2007 minimum and 10 years later. For him, and all the people I argued with at RealClimate in 2008, it seemed inconceivable around that time that only one year in the next 10 would definitively (as in by a significant margin on all key indicators) ‘beat’ 2007 for melt…

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