ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph’s Rambles–

When I last posted the Pole was ruled by “Ralph”, a low pressure center who has been wandering about the Pole for weeks, in various forms. Purists might insist it was several different storms, but I’m an impurist, and calling the general situation “Ralph” makes a point: Low pressure has been predominant over the Pole.

Besides Ralph another feature is now “Scandy”, which is low pressure over Scandinavia. (It too is made up of various lows fugiwhara-dancing and loop-de-looping.)  Between the two is a wall of high pressure I’ll dub “Ridgway”.

Ridgeway was an interesting feature, a high pumped by the descending air from both Ralph and Scandy. Some models got excited and had Ridgway get very strong and shove both lows right off the map. But models have been over-doing the power of high pressure at the Pole for weeks, as Ralph diddybops about and makes the models look ludicrous.

One thing Ridgway did was cut Ralph off from any inflow of Atlantic air, which was significant because Ralph’s last reinforcements came via R6, from the Atlantic.


(The 00z and 12z maps for July 7 are missing.) (Business before pleasure, and family matters before pleasure.)

On July 8 we see Ralph fading towards East Siberia and weakening, as Ridgeway gets pumped and is stronger. Scandy is stalled, and looking to the Atlantic for reinforcements.


On July 9 I was camping, but in the spirit of pioneers I hiked a considerable distance (for an old man), with my laptop huddled to avoid raindrops, to get reception and maps which show Ridgeway is being confronted by both Ralph and Scandy refueling.  Scandy looks to an Atlantic low coming east beneath Iceland,  as Ralph looks to R7 coming north from the Pacific  over the easternmost part of Siberia.

On July 10th things got interesting. Ridgeway became the first high in a long time to be king-of-the-mountain and rule the Pole, but he was a nervous king, under attack from two sides.

The reinforcement of polar lows is interesting and is worthy of study by competent  people who are not camping. I only deserve credit because I did not sneak off to save these maps on my laptop escaping the notice of family who can be blunt. They had a thing or two to say about Danial Boone and Davy Crockett not having laptops, and not caring a hoot about sea-ice.  I had a thing or two I didn’t say in reply, (involving Danial and Davy not having RV’s and pop-up campers.) And, where Danial and Davy got their bears, I got my maps.

To really study the Polar lows you need the high-resolution polar maps you can get from Dr. Ryan Maue at the Weatherbell site.  Even these simplified maps (which I prefer) show that Scandy was not merely reinforced by Atlantic lows leaking east from Iceland, but also by a retrograding low coming up from the southeast.

Most of R7 did a Fujiwhara dance while merging with Ralph, as a small piece was kicked east along the coast of Alaska.


On July 11 Ridgeway was already starting to wilt under the relentless attack from either side.  Scandy was weakening, but reinforcements from the southwest and southeast were converging. Ralph was also weakening, but R8 was coming north from the Pacific to help.

At this point the temperature maps get interesting, for there is an increase of sub-freezing air. In some ways this is impossible, for the sun never sets. In theory, this is a brief period where the Pole actually gains energy. If summer was endless, we’d see warm fronts coming down from the north, because hour after hour the sun shines, and the Pole receives more energy than it loses. How then can cold be created in July?

I assume it is some process like that which occurs in a summer thunder shower, to the south. Despite the heat of the day things get swiftly cooler. Some similar process occurs with summer lows at the Pole, especially when they weaken and fill. (But you’d be surprised by the debate this idea can generate.)

On July 12 Ridgeway is weaker, as Scandy is reinvigorated over Finland and Ralph loop-de-loops with R8.

(The July 12 12z map is missing, as we were unpacking after camping, and exhausted, which is the typical post-camping state.)

On July 13 Ridgeway continued to weaken, but remained strong enough to cut Scandy off from the Pole, as Ralph and R8 did a Fujiwhara dance, with apparently Ralph the boss and R8 weakening.

Lastly, today’s surprise was that Ralph weakened and R-8 saw a flare-up, as they continued their dance. Models show their dance tightening and turning into another decent Polar Storm, which will be called….Ralph.



The final map shows the Pole in a state that is about as placid as it ever gets. The isobars as far apart, which suggests only the lightest winds. In fact there is so little difference between the low pressure and the high pressure that computer models have very little to work with, and a greater chance of being wrong.

At times it is better to pretend computers haven’t been invented yet, and we are those barbarians of the past who used this thing called “their eyes.” For example, some models are producing maps which show only a little ice left along the south coast of Hudson Bay, but when you use Google explorer and look at the middle of the Bay with your lying eyes you see plenty.  (Only to the lower left is the white you see clouds.)

For water and ice to coexist they must both be at the freezing point. The difference between them is that the water holds the latent heat it takes to melt ice to water, and the ice doesn’t have it yet. In fact, water can get no colder than ice-water (except in unusual cases of super-cooling) and therefore ice-water cannot be water that is “above normal.” Why not? Because having icewater be “above normal” presupposes a normalcy could exist where water was below the freezing point and still be water, and not ice. However, in the wonderful world of computer models,  the water in the north-center of Hudson Bay, which our lying eyes can see is choked with ice, is above normal.

Hudson July 14 color_anomaly_NPS_ophi0

Models seem to need to be faced with the sort of reality-check that imaginative people like me are faced with. They need to be brought to earth. Otherwise they mess up other models, that use their data.

To me it seems that some scientists get so enchanted with their models that, rather than bringing their models to earth, they attempt to bring earth to their models. For example, when reality didn’t affirm Hansen’s models, he spent millions and perhaps billions of taxpayer’s dollars “adjusting” past temperatures, to make his models look right.

I am afraid this sort of nonsense pollutes even good models with bad data, and results in all sorts of sea-ice maps, graphs and data that leave a man scratching his head.

Fir example, look at these two maps of how the thaw is making ice less thick.  The one from June 9 is to the left and today’s is to the right.

Now, it is possible to do a back-of-the envelope calculation and arrive at how much heat it would take to reduce the amount of ice shown by the above maps. In a few places the ice is (supposedly) six feet thinner. In others it is only an inch thinner. However it is a simple calculation, involving the area and thickness, to arrive at the total volume of ice lost, in terms of square inches of ice. Then you figure out how much heat is needed to melt a square inch of ice, and you will arrive at the amount of heat necessary to melt the amount shown by the above illustration.

Sorry, but there was not that much heat available.  Some sort of modelling error is involved in the above maps.

I pity the people who use such maps as if they were gospel. They most definitely are not. They, at best, are a sort of best-guess estimate.

.In conclusion, as the thaw reaches its peak at the Pole, we must use raw data and our lying eyes whenever possible.

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”




2 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph’s Rambles–

    • Ha! You are right!

      There are actually reasons the measurements don’t add up. I hope to find time to do a post on five reasons. In the end, people need to stop taking various maps, graphs, charts as gospel, and start seeing the Truth.

      Otherwise these maps give you a migraine. 9 foot thick ice becomes 6 foot thick ice in three days. Sunshine can’t do that. So you start looking around for some nearby lava, when in fact some leads opened, and a thing called “averaging” is involved.

      The more I look at this stuff the more I understand the press is reporting about things they haven’t a clue about. They look at asses and report elbows.

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s