ARCTIC SEA ICE –The Thaw Resumes–

I need to retreat to my sea-ice. It’s been hotter than blue blazes here in New Hampshire, and dry as a bone, and yet I’ve been trying to hustle. Not the smartest thing to do, when you are sixty-three. On one hand I’ve cursed every cigarette I ever smoked, and on the other I’ve been wishing I didn’t quit and craving a carton. In the meantime I’ve huffed and puffed, moving at a snail’s pace in ninety-degree heat, trying to make a dirty, old, hardscrabble farm look elegant, romantic, and like a place befitting a wedding. Fat chance. However we will arrive at some sort of compromise.  After all, if you insist on having a wedding at a farm, you should include the manure.  Romantics always forget the manure. For example, Christ was born in a manger, but how many Christmas cards have you ever seen that include the manure?

If you detect a bit of crabbiness in my attitude you are perceptive and correct. I’m ashamed of myself, but grumpiness wells up in me like lava in a volcano. Obviously I need cool, cool sea-ice, and lots of it.

Therefore, as I have done a mediocre job of fulfilling all my worldly responsibility, (on a bleeping Saturday, which other people get off), I am going to sit down after dark and catch up on the images from the arctic.

There is nothing nicer than forgetting all your problems (and politics) and watching sea-ice the way you watch clouds. Unfortunately politicians intrude, in the same way my Algebra teacher used to intrude upon my study of the meteorology of cumulus. But good old Miss Zelinka, God rest her soul, at least could teach me some math. Politicians teach nothing but how to puff and flounce and lie and, unfortunately, how to bluster and even threaten.

I can’t help but wonder why they didn’t fund the North Pole Camera this year. I assume they got no bang for their buck. Rather than supporting their narrative about Global Warming it made them look like complete idiots. Rather than getting the obvious hint, perhaps they decided to de-fund the camera.

When my suspicions creep dangerously close to the borders of paranoia, I wonder if they instructed the Coast Guard to place all the O-buoys in places where they would be destroyed, this year. (It likely is definite paranoia to wonder if the president and Hillary sent drones to blow the O-buoys up.) In any case, the buoys were badly placed, and by all rights we should not even have a O-buoy 14, for it did it’s best to self destruct last fall.

Here is the view on October 23. Observe how far away the central gadget is. Obuoy 14 1022 webcamOn October 25 trouble appears.

Obuoy 14 1025B webcam

By October 27 bad has come to worse.

Obuoy 14 1027C webcam

And by Halloween it doesn’t look likely our camera will survive. The Mass Balance Buoy in the right foreground is trashed, and the buoy that was distant in the center has been crushed forward practically in our lap. Even the horizon is tilted.

Obuoy 14 1031 webcam

At this point I imagine some political hack in Washington was going, “Nyah ha ha. I knew that if I appointed Cousin Nerdwick, as captain of an icebreaker, I could depend on him to place all the O-buoys in the most stupid places imaginable. He’s too lazy to locate a thicker floe of multi-year ice, and instead placed the buoys on the thinnest baby-ice, and by accident, dope that he is,  made quite sure to break the ice near the buoy with the wake of his icebreaker.”

I could be wrong. Perhaps it was simply a dramatic year, with many storms. Cold air drove very far south in Mexico, in Vietnam, and in Kuwait, even as above freezing temperatures were sucked north to the Pole at Christmas. (Of course, the idiotically-biased media did not report the cold waves, and instead only reported Santa’s misery over melting at the Pole on Christmas. )

I did not expect O-buoy 14 could possibly survive, yet amazingly it did. Then I didn’t expect the ice it was on to survive the smashing and crashing that has been going on north of Alaska since April, but it has. I imagine some political hack in Washington is gnashing his teeth and rending his garment.

(I could be wrong about this as well, but it does make me smile to imagine it.)

In any case, here it is the end of July, and the buoy miraculously still survives, tilted horizon and all. Despite being down south of latitude 77 degrees, the yearly thaw, which seemed well underway the first half of July, came to an abrupt halt as everything refroze, due to a storm I dubbed “Ralph.”  Among other dynamics, the very winds pushing our buoy south were from the north and therefore not south winds gentled by a baked tundra and mild Pacific. However when the buoy began to head north, we knew the winds had turned south.

Obuoy 14 0730 latitude-1week

And indeed we did see the freezing stop and thawing resume

Obuoy 14 0730 temperature-1week

And we can sit back and meditate on the slow melting of ice.

JULY 22. We begin in bitter cold. Pay attention to the bottom of the black and yellow buoy to the right, sitting on the refrozen ice. Obuoy 14 0722 webcam

On JULY 24 we see a slight thaw, but then another frigid blast dusts the ice with snow.Obuoy 14 0724 webcam

Obuoy 14 0724C webcam

Obuoy 14 0724D webcam

On JULY 25 we see something we have seen little of. Sunshine. For all the talk of “albedo” there has been little opportunity for the sun to show its power. Now we see it. Despite subfreezing temperatures, melting is starting, and the black and yellow buoy to the right is tilting the slightest bit. Obuoy 14 0725 webcam

When the mild air returned with the wind-shift to the south, the clouds returned. By July 27 open water can be seen along the horizon, for we are upon a floe that moved south, with the bergs spreading apart and the ice dispersing. The very bottom of the black and yellow buoy is hidden by water. Wet snow is falling, or I assume it is snow for a flake seems to obscure the lens in two pictures taken an hour apart

Obuoy 14 0727 webcam

Obuoy 14 0725B webcam

On July 28 even more of the base of the buoy is hidden by water I think is growing deeper, for by referring to other objects the yellow and black buoy does not seem to be significantly rising or falling. (It may be sinking very slightly.) Open water is now seen to the right, on the horizon.

Obuoy 14 0727C webcam

Obuoy 14 0728 webcam

On July 29 the melt-water may have lowered slightly. There seems to be a rivulet running off to the right, or perhaps approaching from the right. Another may be partially hidden, moving off to the left. Perhaps a third rivulet cuts to the bottom left corner. 

These melt-water streams are interesting, when viewed from the air. At first they run to a sort of lake, on top of the ice. Then, when the lake finds a drain, all the streams run to that spot, like roots to the trunk of a tree. 

A few years back I looked wise, as the media was making a hubbub about “Lake North Pole”and how it showed the Pole was melting, but I said it was a pool that would drain downwards, and it did. However last year I looked less wise, for I was waiting for one pool to drain, when it already extended through the ice to the ocean beneath, and the water in the pool was not melt-water but seawater.

Therefore I am being more careful this year, but the picture below does seem to show the water has run off or drained down slightly. 

Obuoy 14 0728B webcam

Then today, July 30, began with rain and a snow-eater fog, and the water is definitely rising again. If the water was running off to a melt-water pool, then that pool is full and the water is backing up. I’m sort of hoping we may see a new “Lake North Pole”, and I might even seem wise again.

Obuoy 14 0730 webcam

Obuoy 14 0730B webcam

Obuoy 14 0730C webcam

However one seldom looks wise for long, when dealing with sea-ice. For example, Alarmists were happy the above camera was heading south and seemed to be among ice that was dispersing, but the camera only showed bitter cold north winds, and all the slush and melt-water refreezing, which made Alarmists sad. Then the winds turned south, and they were happy to see melting, but now the open water we had seen along the horizon is gone, likely because the floe we are on has headed back north and is bumping back against other floes. So Alarmists are likely sad about the ice condensing rather than dispersing.

Even more ironic is the fact that this camera is reporting from an area north of Alaska and Northwest Canada that has seen much less ice than ordinary this year. Considering O-buoy 14 shouldn’t even exist, and should have been crushed last Halloween, it almost is as if this camera is cruel and is taunting Alarmists. Call it a “syndrome” related to “The Al Gore Effect.”

Even more ironic was the fact that the entire coast of Alaska was clear of ice due to polynyas formed by south winds, except for, due to some cruel and perverse side of meteorology, a skinny little tongue of ice that stuck down to Barrow. This allowed Skeptics to be terrible party-poopers. Whenever Alarmists tried to celebrate how little ice was in Beaufort Sea this summer, snide Skeptics would just post a picture of ice-clogged waters shown by the Barrow webcam.

At long last that ice is gone, and the Barrow web-cam now shows open waters.

Barrow webcam July 30 08_37_06_304_ABCam_20160728_163500

It is a cloudy picture, as usual. They did have a bit of a sunny spell a few days ago, but I feel like an old coot when I say, “It isn’t as sunny as it used to be.” But that is my impression.

Maybe it is because, with few cameras, I am more dependent on the satellite views, yet when I try to look down from above more often than not what I want to see is obscured by clouds.

This has been especially true of the Siberian side. All the ice pushed away from the coast of Alaska had to go somewhere, but the crunching of that cross-polar ice was the demise of O-buoy 8b and 15. I keep the slender hope they might reestablish contact with those buoys, because they would have a tale to tell, and would be positioned on the Siberian side.  As it is we have only unreliable satellite maps, which seem to be increasingly underfunded and unavailable. (For example, I can’t access any NRL maps tonight.) However the maps we can access do show more ice pushed against Siberian shores than was there during the low-ice-year of 2007.


Why is it the government, with all the tax-payer money spent on O-buoys, Mass Balance Buoys, and satellites, is completely inept, when it comes to giving me information about the Siberian side?

Why is it I must turn to private citizens, aboard the boat “Northabout”?

(It doesn’t matter that the sailors on that boat may be Alarmists and even avowed Leftists who believe in a cradle-to-grave nanny-state,  they are behaving like crazy free spirits out on the wild, blue sea. And they are sharing more data than the government, for much less.)

They are cruising east along the north coast of Russia, and have given us some pictures of their first contact with sea-ice, as they approach Severnaya Zemyla.

Northabout 4 Screen-Shot-2016-07-30-at-14.04.26-600x470.png

Northabout 5 IMG_3337-600x400

I have been known to mock Alarmists, but usually I am mocking people who live in a bubble, and who care more for computer models and virtual reality than for real people on the street or out on the farms. However I will not mock people actually out “conducting a field study”.

Northabout 6 IMG_3339-600x400

These folk are not on any sort of luxury cruise. I think we should drop politics and wish them well. Perhaps even pray.

Even though they are idealists full of Alarmist ideas, they are out there, face to face with Truth. They may even be making a fellow in Washington gnash his teeth and rend his garment.

In my imagination I picture a Beltway fellow who would not fund the North Pole Camera, because he felt that Truth was not helpful to his political agenda. But now along comes this boat, the “Northabout”, showing us exactly what I imagine this Beltway fellow didn’t want us to see.

I’ll leave it at that.

However I will note that the crew of the Northabout mention how gray it is on the Siberian side, and how little sun they have seen. (Good time to blame Svenmark’s cosmic rays and the “Quiet Sun”.)

(The various incarnations of the storm I dubbed “Ralph” continue to be interesting, but those maps will have to wait for another post.)






4 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA ICE –The Thaw Resumes–

  1. Being a leftist doesn’t mean you have to be an alarmist, I’m so far left I can’t even see what’s going on politically except one of the little dots is apparently a big loud lizard of some sort and jabbering a lot and the other looks like someone’s grandmother got lost and wandered on stage?

    Even still, I have to prop up Uncle Marx’s corpse and stand on top to see over the Hills of Idealism.

    • That’s a pretty funny description of Trump and Hillary.

      I didn’t leave the New Agers; the New Agers left me. I still believe in Truth, Love and Understanding, but so-called “liberals” are actually blatant hypocrites and believe Truth is a shortcoming.

      Politics is too often a bickering veneer over real depth. There are good people on both sides of most issues, but there are also people rotten to the core. The real test is honesty, and that brings us back to Truth. If people stand by Truth, even the most wide differences can be bridged. But the people who think lying is the way to get rich don’t see that.

  2. Climate change is supposed to be one of the great issues of our time, but we can’t afford enough thermometers to keep a decent temperature record, nor can we cannot afford to keep a few buoys going. Better to leave it all in the hands of money/agenda driven alarmist propagandists and their perverse imaginations/adjustments, than to learn the actual truth.

    • Amen. And, by the way, I highly approve of the good job you are doing being a grumpy old man. It has taken us years of practice, but we’re getting pretty good at it. And we do have a lot to grump about.

      The thing that really gets my goat is how much time and money is being wasted. I’m of the old school that believes what goes around comes around, and the consequences of wasting so much cannot be pretty. However some think they can escape the consequences.

      Of course, I’ve been expecting the shit to hit the fan for decades, and am constantly amazed by how a few smart people keep our nation and planet from ruin. (And it is never the ones who blabber so much about “saving the planet”, either.)

      Things do look pretty grim these days, and some Mondays I don’t much want to hop out of bed singing. I have little faith in my aging self, and not much faith in my fellow man, so I guess it comes down to my faith in our Creator. Not that I want to get all religious on you, but I figure Whatever created a world so fabulous isn’t going to sit about and allow His creation to be completely spoiled. There are all sorts of natural laws of action and reaction that kick in, and the bad guys get what they deserve, and a new age dawns. (The sad thing is that so many innocent people get hurt in the process.)

      Anyway, that is my serious thought for the day. Now I’m off to pick blueberries with small kids.

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