ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph Versus Vortex (With Insomnia Update) (Plus Awe)


These are the glory days for the young, Arctic scientist. Things are happening that have never been seen before, using instruments never seen before as well, (and this means even if something was seen before, we are now able to see it in a way that was never seen).

Oh, ye young and earnest seekers of Truth, beware ye the politicians who come bearing gaudy gifts, grants and advances. (Didn’t your mothers tell you to be wary of advances?) The political  will seek to seduce you away from the fantastic frontier of new discovery, to that which is not already-known, but even worse than already-known, for it is what the prophets of yore called dunderheaded. Or superstition. Or the false gods of false prophets. In any case, it is stupid, because it is just plain wrong.

To do what the seducers ask would be like calling a cat a species of dog. Could you sleep at night, and call yourself a scientist,  doing that?

But what if it was for a noble cause? What if the salvation of humanity itself rested upon your calling a cat a dog?  Would you not do it then? Think of the children!

So they will tell you, Oh ye young seekers of Truth. But do not fall for it! Be wary of these blandish-mentors! Dost thou thinketh, honestly, that the world dependeth on calling cats dogs?  What sort of worldeth wouldeth that be?  Pretty darn stupideth, if you ask me.

But what if they tell you the salvation of not mankind, but your own cotton-picking bank account, depends on calling cats dogs? That is a noble cause, in a manner of speaking, for how are you to be a true scientist if you must earn your bread washing dishes? Surely the only way to be a true scientist is to first be a false scientist, and say cats are dogs. Once you have saved up enough money, you will renounce your falsehood, and speak the Truth. Right?

Wrong. By then you will have had to face younger scientists, who are wildly idealistic, and who have had the guts to stand up to the politicians and tell them cats are not dogs, and you will have had to crush the young idealists, to keep your reputation, to keep your job, to keep your stinking, filthy lucre. And then, with that blood on your hands, do you think you can get your mind to work correctly? Wrong again. Even if you have an IQ of 160 it will have been  besmirched and be an evil genius, and your compromise will be exposed as untenable, and your good-intentions ludicrous: One cannot become a whore to be a virgin.

And so, ye young seekers of Truth, skip that whole stupid, political sidetrack. Wash dishes, if you have to, but keep your focus on Truth, the Whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth. For these are great days, and great things will be revealed to one with open and honest eyes, especially concerning the Arctic.

Currently there are two masses of data and theory, concerning the Arctic. There is the stupid, political sidetrack, and then there is better stuff collected by brave, adventurous, and brilliant men.

All our best and most brilliant ideas about the North are based on but a brief time. We have only had decent satellite data since 1979. Therefore our best ideas may be based on too short a time-frame. It would be like writing a book about the weather of England, based on data carefully collected between the moths of May and July. It doesn’t matter how carefully you collect such data, nor how excruciatingly accurate it is, such data cannot see what England is like in December. In like manner, all our ideas about the North are collected while the AMO is basically moving towards “warmth”, or established as “warm”, and also while the Sun is “Noisy” or only starting to move towards “Quiet”.  But the times, they are a-changing. We are about to start collecting data like data we have never seen before, where the AMO moves towards “cold” and the sun becomes established in “quiet”.

One brilliant idea of the past involves something called the AO, (Arctic Oscillation.) Unfortunately it is not an oscillation that fits most definitions of oscillation, because it has no time-period. It just happens whenever it pleases. This does not make it not be a reality. It just isn’t all that useful, in the long term, because it isn’t predictable, though it has a sort of use in the present tense, because once it happens we can expect certain things….or could expect certain things, until “Ralph” appeared.

“Ralph” is the name I have given to the current tendency for low pressure to wander about the North Pole. This, according to old theory, should result in a zonal flow and a lack of arctic outbreaks further south. “Ralph”, however, seems symptomatic of an extremely non-zonal flow, wherein the jet stream can even be cross-polar. “Ralph” does not fit the past pattern, which looks like this:



According to the above, arctic outbreaks and a meridional flow should be symptomatic of high pressure at the Pole. And indeed that may have been the case, and carefully measured by good and honest scientists of the past, in the past. However Ralph is the September challenge to the un-evolved gorilla-thinking based upon a faded June.


What I am suggesting is that the good work of dedicated scientists my age is based on a limited time frame, and the up and coming generation may be about to witness a time-frame my generation never saw. What we thought was the “positive” phase of the AO may have been, in fact, an insipid “neutral” phase, and a truly “positive” AO may be quite outside our imagination, for we could not collect data on an event that never, ever happened, up until “Ralph” appeared.

To some members of my generation the appearance of weather they have never seen will be a shattering experience, for they like to sit and be know-it-alls, and look down their noses at the young. Others of my generation are rather sick of the status-quo, and are more likely to welcome “unpresidented” weather. However most would call the newness “unnatural”, and deem it a sort of Oobleck.


What I would like to say is that Nature has seasons and cycles, and they are rather drab and normal, if you live as long as Methuselah, (over 900 years). Sometimes the AMO is “warm” and sometimes it is “cold”. Sometimes the Sun is “Noisy” and sometimes it is “Quiet”. These things happen. They are not worth freaking out about. They are neither “Oobleck” nor “Global Warming.” They are just part of a Creation no man could ever create, and man shouldn’t take responsibility for. Instead, it seems to me, man should marvel, and one way to marvel is to describe how marvelous Creation is, either through art, or through science.

When man puts poetry aside and chooses to be scientific, he enters a somewhat drab world of dry facts. The dry facts currently involve big changes in the status-quo of the weather. This is especially true in the Arctic.

If I have time in my busy work-week, I will update this post with some ideas about how Ralph shoots holes in orthodox ideas. Ralph drills a hole in the Polar Vortex, but unless I include the proper charts, all I can do is suggest that the persistence of Ralph tends to threaten the status-quo of scientific structures roughly like  this:




For some reason there is no internet connection tonight. Probably they figure all sane people are asleep, and now is the time for maintenance. So I can’t reach WordPress and am typing these ideas on my word processor.

I’ve been poking through what a real science reporter might look at, if he wasn’t a slave to the madness that seems to be ruling the media these days. I figure that, if a bumpkin like myself, working for zero dollars, can do a better job than paid reporters, then I am proving that the pay reporters receive is actually a sort of hush-money. Reporters are resorting to blackmail. If they get paid a certain amount, they will not spill the beans and will not speak the Truth.

Such behavior on the part of the Press is deplorable. However Hillary Clinton calls people like me “deplorable”, for working hard to uncover the Truth, and not charging a penny for it. Nor am I alone. The power of the web was completely unexpected, by those who thought that, if they could control the Press, they could control the minds and hearts of the Freedom-loving-peoples. People are not the lemmings they think.

I once thought as they do, and, back in 1969, at age 16, had such a low opinion of my fellow man that I wrote a somewhat cynical poem, which went something like this:

Man is like a lemming:
He leads a life of wandering
Forward to his death,
Searching for perfection
Until he’s lost his breath
And why he never finds it
Is anybody’s guess
Unless by finally dieing
He escapes the stupid mess.

Ignore the blue beseechers.
Being fish-food isn’t fun
So ’til your race is finally run
Ignore me in the bleachers.

Say hello to the cliff you seek
Who’ll make your downfall steep.
Say hello to the octopus
Whose company you’ll keep,
And my sweet lover’s coral graves.
They followed you like sheep.

1969 was called the “Summer Of Love”, but I wrote that poem in the “Autumn of Disillusionment.” I honestly think something astounding occurred that summer, and people were given a glimpse of what life could be like if Truth reigned, but a great betrayal of that sweet vision followed, and the people who now have money and power were the greatest betrayers of all, and they honestly and truthfully believe honesty and truth is for chumps and suckers. That is why the Press is now such a disgraceful parody of what our forefathers imagined a true Press would be.

However I was wrong, as a disillusioned teen, because I thought I was alone. It turned out I was not alone. There were many who, like me, believed Truth is Beauty, and sought to live beautiful lives even if it meant they did beautiful things that those who worship wealth and power sneer at, (such as work for reasons other than money), and these beautiful people have spoken Truth, and continue to speak Truth, even when it isn’t advantageous. The web is a resounding chorus of such voices, a beautiful choir, all saying what the enslaved Press dares not say, which is: (Fill in the blank).

My focus on Arctic-Sea-Ice is actually a way to get far away from my daily battle with the goons of materialism. When the distress of life gets me down, I like to gaze on pure white amidst turquoise, and gaze out windows at clouds in the sky, or into the internet at sea-ice on the Arctic Sea. Such skyscapes and seascapes refresh and restore me, by showing me the Power that created us has an Eye for Beauty.


Science is not all that different from art, because they both study the same Truth and the same Beauty. There is Beauty in graphs and charts, though in some ways, to some artists, It is less obvious than in a Van Gough.

The AO (Arctic Occillation) is a man-made way of seeing the Beauty of Creation, but has a blemish or two, like most man-made creations, and we should work to improve upon the AO, because science is always improving its grasp of knowledge, increment by increment.

One thing I notice, as a science reporter, is that our assumptions about the AO hold a flaw. How do I know this? Because our computer models utterly fail to predict what it will do. In the following graphs, the bottom graph shows what the 15 day forecast is, and that it persistently forecast the AO to stay negative, over and over missing the “Ralphisms” that made sharp peaks of positive AO. What does this suggest? It suggests our theory, which we put into the model, is missing something.


Another thing I notice, as a science reporter, is that the AO is a sort of vast generalization. It represents the entirety of the area north (in some cases) of 65° north. That is only slightly smaller than this entire map (area north of 60°) which shows the current condition of the persistent low-pressure I call “Ralph”.


In terms of the entirety of the AO, “Ralph” is just a dimple on its cheek. This may be a case where we “cannot see the trees for the forest”, rather than a case where we “cannot see the forest for the trees.”

Attempts to see the AO in greater detail, in the graphic below, do indicate the existence of “Ralph” in a vague way. Peaks in the AO match up with lulls in upper atmosphere anomalies.


These anomalies barely hint at the existence of “Ralph”, and as a science reporter I want to dig deeper and see in greater detail, which is exactly what the better scientists want to do as well.

One thing their digging has discovered came from studying the arctic atmosphere in greater detail. It is called SSW, or “Sudden Stratospheric Warming.”

In a nutshell, the cold of winter creates a vortex high above the Pole. Weak east winds shift to strong west winds, and at high levels cold cannot escape. A sort of trapped pocket of air is created, and upper-atmosphere chemistry occurs in that extreme cold, effecting things like Ozone and creating the hoopla of the “Ozone Hole”. But sometimes a disturbance from below knocks this vortex out of whack. A SSW occurs, and it can be a very big deal, involving temperatures rising 100°F without sunshine or lava (or any other ordinary, decent excuse I’d use on my Algebra teacher for undone homework), to explain the heat. So of course good scientists want to go there, study it, and explain it.

They have already done great work, and have seen that when a SSW disrupts the polar vortex high above the Pole there are interesting consequences down below, even as far south as latitudes outside of the AO.

This shows me a whole new field to study, as an unpaid science reporter, the next time I suffer insomnia. However, before I go back to bed tonight, the question I’d ask a scientist, as a science reporter, involves the “disturbance from below” that knocks things out of whack, and causes the SSW. (Hint hint……Ralph?)



The above graphic basically takes the entire atmosphere north of 65 degrees, and averages out the pressures from ground level way up to the mesosphere, and pictures whether the pressures are above normal or below normal. It cannot see individual features such as Ralph, as they tend to get averaged away. Also we only have brief history with which to determine what “average” is. However it is awakening me to how little I know about the vortex that forms every winter.

I joke that the Stratosphere and Mesosphere are subjects that are “above my head”, but I can see my curiosity is is heading upwards.

As a “science reporter” I can see there is a lot of studying to do. Also there is unfortunately a certain political bias, due to the hoopla about the “Ozone Hole”. At this point it is likely to confess ignorance, and awe.

My notebooks will eventually come to conclusions, but at this point I’ll steer clear of pronouncements of any sort, as it is obvious to me I know next to nothing.

In some ways it is a relief to put down study of the stratosphere, and return to earth and maps of the weather at the two meter level. I may like to wonder about the higher heavens, but in  the end I think I tend to be an earthy old geezer.


20 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph Versus Vortex (With Insomnia Update) (Plus Awe)

  1. That three headed thing remind me of a girl I met in a bar in the ’70s …. there were some beers involved if I remember correctly 😉

    • I think I remember that bar. Not that I remember much. But I think that was when I learned nothing good happens after midnight. But then I forgot, and had to learn it over again. I can’t remember how many times I had to learn that over again. Now I’m usually in bed around nine. Much safer.

      • Hey Caleb have u noticed how warm it has been around OB14 the past several weeks. Most times the temps have been barely below 0 C but today it is falling hard. I found it interesting that so much warmth was heading up there from down south and I had my furnace running every morning to take the chill off the house … the house was usually about 18 prior to putting on some heat.
        I was down in Fernie over the weekend and lots of snow above 6,000 feet on the mountain tops.

  2. I’m sure you’ve seen this site below but it shows some different graphs than above. It also comments on how the AO models show a large uncertainty. Might be a good source for some different perspective. One interesting thing is that the author mentions the fact that the sea ice is very low so that can affect the severity of the winter (i.e. less ice to start predicates milder winter in NH), but the blog was last updated on September 19th and I don’t think the author has yet factored in the rapid formation of the sea ice this year.

  3. I believe 1967 was the “summer of love”, not 1969. But maybe they were all summers of love back then and I sure could have used some.

    Also, it seems like you are expecting something profound and interesting to happen with our weather/climate. Do you have any ideas in mind?

    I agree totally with your excellent and interesting write up.

    It seem like there are two kinds of people. One kind are the ones that always do what mommy and daddy say to do and never question the not so subtle brainwashing from the mass culture and mass media. They are led around by their noses, on the cutting edge of every inane fad and fashion. They mindlessly worship the golden calf of materialism as they are endlessly carpet bombed with obnoxious, never ending ads. In doing so, whatever individuality and character they may start out with are totally lost in the shuffle.

    Then there are people who question, think for themselves, resist brainwashing, and as you say, seek the truth. The Internet has certainly given them a voice. It is reassuring to see that some of us do exist!

  4. Authoritarian personalities succumb more easily to conservatism etc. and believe the all-pervasive BS about gods they see their elders believing in. Once you realise that the priests etc. don’t know any more than you do and believe in gods mostly due to indoctrination received at a young age, you are on the right track. Scientists are notoriously non-religious because they passed this acid-test…

    • Skiff, do you realize that your comment contains only your opinions? Opinions, without facts and logic, all too often become “belief systems”, i.e., false “religions”.

      And, of course, it follows that the “scientists” promoting those same opinions are your “priests”.

      Amazing how that works, huh?

      • According to studies intelligence is negatively correlated with religiosity. Also, scientists are a very secular bunch according to surveys. These are facts, not opinion…

      • According to studies, people who use the phrase “according to studies”, don’t.

        According to studies, social science isn’t science.

        According to studies, religious people are as likely to suffer things like divorces as non-religious people. People who study social science, on the other hand, have a higher rate of suicide.

      • According to studies, 97% of scientists who think they are smart are not nearly as smart as they think.

  5. Solar F10.7 is cratering, not your normal cratering, but Maunder-type cratering for the next 6 years to at least to cy 2022. Not that that means much today, to an Arctic just past solstice, where sea ice is increasing everyday at an exponential rate as it should in late September.

    As you know, the Arctic sea ice is a ~60 yr cycle of up then down. 1980 was up. 2010-12 was down. It will be fun to watch the establishment climatists, especially the NSIDC climatists, squirm as Arctic sea ice extent goes back to late 70’s values in the next 5 years.

    But beyond that, is the question of your so-called Ralph.

    My Yoda, “Deliver more Arctic vortices to your neighborhood he might.”
    This early fall 2016 looks to be cold for the Western US. But come December, the East better look out. Put up some good, high stack of firewood would be my recommendation.

    Joel, from climate enjoyable Tucson. Be well Caleb.

  6. Please see circulation over Canada and compare it with an excess of ozone. You can see that ozone allows air from the south above the Arctic Circle.

    • This is a whole new subject to me I’m just starting to get interested in. I’ve just been reading about a downdraft from the mesosphere to the stratosphere that has no ozone whatsoever.

      I’m pretty down to earth, and a novice concerning the upper atmosphere. The subject is currently over my head (ha ha).

      • Ozone density relative to air under normal conditions amounts to 1.710.
        Density of water vapor relative to air amounts to 0.594.
        Normal conditions apply to temp. = 273.15 K and pressure of 1013.25 hPa = 1 atm.
        Ozone falls and the water vapor goes up.

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