ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph’s Raging River–(Updated)

It is hard, with the election upon us, and so many revelations of human horribleness blared by the media of both sides, to remember we humans are mortal and puny, in the greater scheme of things. Yet the truth is that we are like grass that flourishes and is full of flowers for but a season, and then is browned, and then burned to nothing by a prairie fire.  The definition of “perishable” should be “humans.” The things we think are of earth-shaking importance actually don’t shake the earth in the slightest. The economic factors we quiver about don’t mean a thing to frogs, deer, drifting cumulus clouds, drifting continents, volcanoes, or the face of the sun.

My original reason for watching ice melt was to get away from the nonsense that political people espouse as being important. I have never been much different from a schoolboy looking out the window of a classroom and watching clouds, rather than focusing on the blackboard. Teachers could bellow at me, until they were blue in the face, that, if I didn’t attend to the blackboard, I’d grow up to be a garbageman. I’d rather be a garbageman, because garbagemen get to be outside and watch clouds.

The Wikileaks only reaffirm something I already suspected. People who focus on wealth and power at the expense of clouds are, in a way, seriously demented.

I mean, have you ever visited the financial district of a big city, and seen how odd the characters who work there are? I have had various subservient jobs into the bowels of such plush environs, and I swear those fellows all look like they haven’t seen a cloud in years. They all look a bit “green around the gills”, as it were. I never departed feeling the slightest bit of envy, though they made (and make) twenty times as much as I do. Rather I depart thanking my lucky stars.

Therefore, when I discuss sea-ice, please understand I am not talking about politics. Rather I want to get away from that nonsense, and enter a grander world. Sadly, politics sticks its nose in where it doesn’t belong, but if I mention politics at all it is to give that nose a smack, like I’d smack the nose of dog shoving into my lunch.

The northern news involves the deepening darkness of what is the opposite of the “midnight sun”, but has no name, so I’ll just call it the “Midday stars.” The dark starts at the Pole on the first day of autumn, and expands south as a sort of black hole in our ability to rely on visual data. By the end of October even down at 74° north, where O-buoy 14 is located in Parry Channel, the sun barely peeks over the horizon at noon.


If you are busy, and can’t save that picture, you miss the day, for only an hour later the sun is already setting.


That was on October 23. As November nears it gets harder and harder to catch the daylight. It may be cloudy, or frost may obscure the lens, or (even if you are your own boss as I am) your boss may not let you go to the computer at the brief moment of daylight. And then comes a time the sun does not rise at all.


Even these brief views are solace to my soul. (They sure are better than looking at  presidential candidates). They are the Truth.

As the dark grows the temperatures fall. Fortunately this buoy records the temperature of the spot it rides, in Parry Channel:


I say “fortunately”, because as O-buoy 14 acts as our on-the-scene reporter; it records that several times the temperature dove below -25°C,  (-17°F), which escaped the vision of satellites attempting to gauge the temperature from many miles above. The satellites reported the temperatures stayed around -15°C  (+5°F).

A ten degree difference is something that can get some people turning purple, about politics polluting science, but I prefer to simply assume satellites are like me, and can’t see things very well when they are more than sixty miles away.  Therefore it is important to have these buoys as our on-the-scene reporters. Unfortunately the funding for these excellent reporters seems to have dried up.

The simple fact of the matter is that there was no funding for the “North Pole Camera” last summer, there have been no new “Mass Balance Buoys” placed this autumn, and as far as I know there is no funding for any “O-buoys” after O-buoy 14.

Now, if you are into bulging your veins about politics invading science, the explanation for the lack of funding is as follows:  The on-the-scene reporters were telling the Truth, and the Truth they reported did not happen to be politically correct. The buoys were showing ice when they were suppose to show open water. They were showing -25°C when they were suppose to be showing -15°C. And therefore, because some warped politicians have a bizarre idea they are the creators of Truth, the buoys fell into disfavor. In terms of “pay-to-play” the buoys were not performing in the manner the bribed should behave. When you accept money you are suppose to regurgitate the politically correct data, but the buoys spoke the Truth. Therefore they get no more bribes.

In any case, the views we are getting from O-buoy 14 are likely our last. From now on we will get views from outer space, and, when the black hole of darkness spreads over the Pole, these will not be actual daylight views, but views of total darkness, interpreted by microwave-imaging, radar, or what-have-you. We will not be allowed to use our lying eyes, but rather will have to trust the “interpretations” of others.

I don’t know about you, but my trust is not what it should be. Long before Wikileaks I had the sense certain Climate Scientists had been bought by bribes, and were putting political correctness before Truth. Wikileaks only affirms what I deeply wished to dismiss as my mere paranoia, but instead turns out to be verifiable suspicion. Something is rotten in Denmark, and London, and Washington DC.

Be that as it may, I feel it is the antics of ants. It cannot touch the Truth. Truth goes right on being True even if every human alive decides it is more profitable to be a liar. What’s more, Truth is Beauty, and it goes right on being beautiful even if humanity becomes ugly. And in the end, when people are sick of the sheer ugliness they have made, it is that Beauty that will uplift us from the gutter we have descended to. The joke is:  Truth was here all along. It was the moronic politicians who thought they were smart and sly and Oh-so-clever to be otherwise, and made a complete debacle of what should have been as clean and pure as an April sky.

I have always preferred to just ignore them, and look out the classroom window. As they gibber their mainstream media rubbish, I just observe the Greater Teacher building the cumulus.

Some unusual stuff has been happening up north, which I think is due to the “Quiet Sun”. I’ll try to give the gist of my interpretation, confessing I am only guessing, and then will simply back away from my hypothesizing and state the unusual facts.

Most think the “Quiet Sun” should result in cooling, and I think they are right, in a way, but I think this cooling has a short-term effect which looks to the uninitiated like warming.

First, less energy results in less wind, and this decreases the wind over oceans which upwells cold water from the depths. Without that cold water the SST (Sea Surface Temperatures) are warmer, and this directly effects the air temperatures, at the surface. Therefore one is faced with the contrary logic, “cooling causes warming.”

Second, the warming is happening over oceans which are broadest to the south. To the north the background Quiet-sun lack of energy creates cooling. This creates a greater contrast between the north and the south. This in turn creates an attempt to balance things, in the atmosphere, which involves a so-called “meridional flow”.

The jet loops further north and further south and, among other things, warm air surges right up to the Pole. The Pole is warmer than normal.


Now, though I have explained how the “Quiet Sun” might turn less energy into warmth, others take the view that what controls things is infinitesimal amounts of the trace gases CO2 and Methane in the atmosphere. To have surface temperatures warmer and the Pole warmer affirms their hypothesis, and they see it as a sign of Global Warming.

The problem is that the meridional flow does not merely bring warmth to the Pole, but also transports cold to lower latitudes.  On needs to check out the situation further south, in Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia, and Siberia. Over at the Weatherbell Site Joseph D’Aleo did exactly this, and noted the snows are spreading across the “southern” landscape ahead of schedule.  First he showed the current situation:


And then he showed if the current situation was ahead of schedule (blue) or behind schedule (red):


The ahead-of-schedule snows in Canada, Siberia, and Eastern Europe should make one pause, when talking about Global Warming. Snow cover, especially when fresh, breeds cold because it has a high albedo and reflects the sun during the short winter days, and it intensifies radiational cooling during the long northern nights.

In fact, as Alarmists are big on “albedo”, I must mention that a lack of ice and snow at the Pole means nothing now, as there is no sun now. It means far more at lower latitudes. The lack of sea-ice to the north is more likely to chill the Arctic Sea’s waters, than to warm them. However Alarmists focus on the amount of ice. And indeed the ice extent looks very low:


So of course Global Warming Alarmists will be pleased by this graph, and think it has to do with trace gasses. It doesn’t. It is largely due (I think) to the wonderfully unusual meridional flow brought about by the “Quiet Sun.”

The more I watch such “extent graphs” the more I understand they are a generalization, and miss the details.  At times an increase in the ice is an illusion, as is a decrease.

One way the arctic loses a lot of ice is to have it flush down the east coast of Greenland. To have a lot of ice off the coast of Greenland may create an “uptick” in the “extent”, but it represents a loss. In the same manner, a lack of ice off the east coast of Greenland may cause a “downtick” in the “extent” graph, but it means ice is being kept north, at the Pole.

This has happened a lot, the past year. There has been a wrong-way flow in Fram Strait. Ice that usually goes south has stayed north, as warm air has rushed north through Fram Strait, rather than cold air howling south.

Before I talk about that warm air flooding north, I’d like to briefly reaffirm that air must exit, when air enters, and the exit region has made it amazingly cold over Siberia and Europe.


(Alarmists are often fooled by the projection of such maps, which make northern areas look much larger than they actually are. The entire warm north, of the above map, stretching from one side to the other, is actually significantly smaller than the warm sector moving into Mongolia and giving them a break from their early winter.)

Having mentioned the cold exiting the arctic, I want to return to the flood of warmth rushing from the east if the USA north and eventually up the east coast of Greenland. This is a pet interest of mine, as it involves “Ralph”.

Ralph is a generality. It is the simple fact low pressure has hung around the Pole a lot since last Christmas, as the planet seems to have a lot of extra warmth it wants to squander to outer space at the Pole.

However, to be honest, I was getting tired of Ralph. I hungered for a new and interesting pattern. And, though it may seem cruel of me to abandon old, faithful Ralph, I was a bit glad to see him seemingly erased by a more normal and typical pattern, with an Icelandic low and an Aleutian low, and high pressure over the Pole.  However I could not shake my Ralph bias, and tended to look for any sign of him breathing. In the map below Ralph’s river of warm air still existed as a spike of milder temperatures north of Svalbard, and I suppose Ralph existed in a slight weakness in the ridge of high pressure crossing the Pole. But He did seem to be fading.


By the next map Ralph seemed utterly gone, and I was more focused on the cross-polar flow robbing Canada of cold and feeding Asia. However I couldn’t help but notice Ralph’s river still was pouring milder air north. A bit like a firehose, it had flopped about from the Asian side of the building high pressure to the Greenland side. However Ralph was clearly seen in the temperature maps, if not in the isobars.

On the following map there is no Ralph, in terms of isobars, but there is a sort of triangle of milder temperatures constantly poking towards the Pole north of Greenland. I tried to think up some dramatic name for this triangle, such as “Ralph’s fang”, or “Ralph’s shark-fin”, but it is basically Ralph’s signature. It tells me Ralph is still there, even when not evident in isobars.

By Halloween I was sure the Icelandic low to the south would interupt the flow of mild air north, and Ralph’s signature would vanish. It didn’t.  However I still was most interested in the cross-polar flow from Canada to Siberia. I had dismissed Ralph as a goner.

On November 1, when the Icelandic low weakened and the signature of Ralph persisted, I began to perk up, and wonder how all that warm air could flow up north of Greenland without ever rising and making any low pressure.

On November 2 the low pressure appeared. Ralph had reincarnated.

This morning I woke up to see Ralph sitting on the Pole, once again. Ralph simply will not quit. It now does seem as if the mild air feeding Ralph, (the feeder band that is his signature), may be being cut off, however I am looking for a new feeder band. I can’t see one, but when Ralph has been this stubborn and persistent, I can’t help looking.

There is a lot of scuttlebutt about a “pattern flip” occurring over the next fortnight. Some suggest it may be even be as extreme as all the cold air that has been draining over Asia swinging around and starting to clobber North America. If you are interested in such stuff, I suggest you frequent the Weatherbell site, for the meteorologists there know more in their little fingers than I’d know if I had six brains.

All I will be doing, if the “pattern flip” occurs, will be watching to see if it wipes Ralph right off the map, or it just means a new route appears for mildness to rush north, and be squandered at the Pole.

At this juncture I am sticking to my guns, and stating that having a Ralph squander so much of our planet’s heat-budget will not make planet warmer, but rather breed a colder winter at lower latitudes. (I’m ordering some extra firewood.) (Here’s hoping I am being overly cautious, and my extra wood is never burned until 2018.)


I thought I’d add a few more maps, to show an interesting development.

I keep expecting Ralph to fade away, and the river of mild air to peter out, and cold to start building at the Pole, but the past three days have seen the river revive, and become a roaring cross-polar flow from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

This mornings temperature map once again shows Ralph’s “signature”, the triangle of milder air thrusting past the Pole, (this time on the Asian side).  When this occurs the mild air tends to rise, and Ralph reappears at the Pole.

And indeed by tomorrow morning the Canadian JEM model shows Ralph reincarnated as a 965 mb low north of Svalbard.


And the American GFS model shows the same storm. (Map flipped, with Greenland at top.)


This will continue the mildness at the Pole, and the loss of heat to outer space.


Stay tuned. I have a sense this winter will be a wild one.




10 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph’s Raging River–(Updated)

  1. It was autumn, and the Indians on the remote reservation asked their new Chief if the winter was going to be cold or mild. Since he was an Indian Chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets.

    When he looked at the sky, he couldn’t tell what the weather was going to be. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he replied to his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect firewood to be prepared.

    Also, being a practical leader, after several days he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, “Is the coming winter going to be cold?”

    “It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold indeed,” the meteorologist at the weather service
    responded. So the Chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more wood in order to be prepared.

    A week later, he called the National Weather Service again. “Is it going to be a very cold winter?”

    “Yes,” the man at National Weather Service again replied, “it’s definitely going to be a very cold winter.” The Chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of wood they could find.

    Two weeks later, he called the National Weather Service again. “Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?”

    “Absolutely,” the man replied. “It’s going to be one of the coldest winters ever.”

    “How can you be so sure?” the Chief asked.

    The weatherman replied, “The Indians are collecting wood like crazy.”

    • I heard an different version. The young city-dweller was in awe of the Indians, and went to the old chief and reverentially asked if the winter would be cold. The chief said it would be a very cold one. When the youth asked what sign the old chief used, the chief stated, “Me look at white man’s wood-pile.”

    • I wonder if the police officer arrested himself.

      I’ll be interested to see what happens to the SST of exposed parts of the Arctic Sea. Apparently the water entering Barents Sea is already colder than normal. The AMO is up high in the “warm” phase, (according to the NOAA graph) but perhaps a dramatic flip could occur, if Barents Sea is chilled.

  2. You know, what you say about losing heat up the winter chimney makes a lot of sense when we think in terms of ice ages. The Tropical oceans store a lot of heat, but without the winds blowing strongly and piling the warm water up, it can’t sink and cause upwelling along the Pacific coast off South America. That would mean that the warmth isn’t reaching down into the deep ocean, and heat rises, thus the deep ocean should be actually getting cooler. The oceans will continue to give up heat whether they are taking it in from the Sun or it’s rising from the deep. At some point, with a quiet Sun, the ocean is going to start receding due to contraction of the colder water, but with all the warmer, moister air trying to sneak to the poles, the snows would get worse, and start the movement towards an ice age.

    With that thought in mind, then, we really do need to be concerned that we are being lead in a direction that will create massive opportunities for hypothermia to kill off millions of completely unprepared people.

    • Interesting concept. I’d never added the part about contracting oceans before. Something more to muse upon.

      Hopefully the sun will not sulk too long, and our grandchildren will speak of “The Lively Sun.”

      • There are a lot of competing concepts on how the planet has changed through the years. The Bible implies a lot shorter period of time than does science. My biggest problem with science has been the reliance on proxies as to determine how old things are and how temperatures, and other things existed in years gone by.

        The window of empirical knowledge is very narrow, the window of anecdotal knowledge is somewhat wider, and science is trying to use “proxies” that are defined in a window of say 300 years, calibrated by anecdotal information of 3000 years, and applying it to billions of years. We really don’t have that long a period of data acquisition to rely on proxy data to determine the past, much less predict the future.

        It’s very much like trying to determine the political past 1000 years by looking at the last 10 years of political history, and predicting where it will go. Lots of information in the past 10 years, but it can’t help determine what humans were like 500 years ago nor what they will be like in 100 years.

      • It is very interesting to find old books written in the 1800’s, and to see their views of history, and also of what the future holds. We humans are often as blind as bats.

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