LOCAL VIEW –False Start–

Our beautiful glassy-smooth ice was ruined by a snow of around 4 inches, followed by an arctic blast. I missed my chance to go skating, and faced more mundane tasks, such as cleaning snow from lots and walkways at our Farm-childcare. (But at least I was outside and under the sky.) After I was done with the snow-blowing I was confronted by a “2 hour delay” at the school, which overloads our Childcare with children, because usually just when older children leave for school on the bus, a pack of younger ones arrive, but now the younger pack arrived and the older pack wasn’t leaving.

My assessment of the situation indoors, after a quick glance around,  was that I was inside a pressure cooker that was about to blow its lid off. I figured I’d better do something, so I casually mentioned that I was heading back outside to see if I could find any of the local, (mythical), mountain lion’s tracks in the fresh snow,  and that I imagined no one wanted to come with me, because the adventure would be far too dangerous and frightening. I swiftly was swarmed by a small group of adventurers , and also got a grateful glance from a member of my staff, for the noise level dropped significantly just after the boys stampeded thunderously out the door.

The snow wasn’t deep enough to make walking difficult, and the snow was powdery; perfect for tracking, as the wind still sifted enough powder to gradually fill in the tracks, which let you gain an idea how fresh they were. We saw numerous tiny tracks of voles, mice and squirrels, and the bigger tracks of deer, coyotes, fox and even a mink, without seeing a single living creature. During the rare occasions I managed to get the boys to pipe down, there wasn’t even the sound of a distant crow. All you could hear was the sigh of the wind. All the animals were hunkered down, waiting for the cold to let up, but it was obvious many had been out the night before.

I like to track animals, because there are stories in the footprints, but the boys weren’t all that interested. Several kept running ahead and messing up the tracks before I could read them, but I didn’t have to say anything, for the one lad who sometimes likes to heed my imaginative pontificating was quite scathing about them “wrecking everything”, and told them so in no uncertain terms.  If I was a lieutenant, he was my sergeant.

I suppose some of my tales truly were a bit boring, if you are a boy. The tiny tracks of mice can be several different sorts. They are a “jumping mouse” if you can see a sign of a dragging tail, (though such mice tend to vanish early in the winter, as they are wimps and hibernate.)  Voles tend to tunnel under the snow. Almost always the tracks you see are deer mouse tracks.


However these tiny tracks were far too spidery, and indeed showed a jumping mouse was still up and about. He obviously was a hyper fellow, as he wasn’t even dragging his tail, and likely had insomnia.


These little mice have a tail longer than their body and big hind feet, a bit like a kangaroo, and can jump a long way when they want to. I was hoping to show the boys how far they jump, by following the tracks, but our mouse’s tracks led to a wild rose’s thorny stem, and vanished, and I explained that the mouse had likely climbed the stem in the moonlight to look for rose-hips.  I pointed out where the snow was littered with tiny flecks of red, beneath a bunch of hips on a stem, and explained that the mice eat the seeds we throw away, and throw away the outer pulp we use for rose-hip tea, (which is high in Vitamin C). Then I glanced about.

My audience numbered a lone sergeant, who,  after screeching at the other boys to come back, asked me how it was the mouse didn’t get stabbed by the thorns. I explained mice hands are so small they fit easily between the thorns, meanwhile fumbling with my camera to take a picture, which I didn’t take, as I saw I had to run after the other boys before they vanished in the trees.

In the trees I asked them why there were so many squirrel tracks when there were never any squirrels we could see, and the boys looked like they could care less. So I rather lamely explained they were flying squirrel tracks, and flying squirrels only came out at night. The boys were already hurrying on, as they wanted to go out onto the ice of the flood-control reservoir.

I glanced at my watch and figured I should delay them, for the wind is cold out on the ice and we had a long time to spend before the two-hour-delay was over, and I didn’t want them shivering and complaining and heading back early. So I distracted them with some cat tracks. The cat had come back along its own trail from the flood control, and the new tracks were quite fresh. I thought it probably was a big Tom Cat, but it might have been a small female bobcat, and I figured a bobcat would interest them, and it did.


The tracks were interesting because they left the trail after a while, preferring a precarious route hopping from stone to stone atop an old stone wall, which the boys liked clambering over as well. Then we reached the edge of the woods, and the tracks led away across a lawn towards a house. “Guess it wasn’t a bobcat, after all,” I muttered, and we turned back to the flood-control.

The flood-control was crisscrossed by the tracks of fox, coyote, and I think a mink (though those tracks were wind-filled) and I always find it interesting to see how such carnivores respond when their trails cross. Predators are not fond of each other, and will kill each other if they can do so without injury. (Injury makes them weak, and at a disadvantage, so they have to weigh the advantages against the disadvantages before they fight.) (I have seen fox tracks turn the other way, when they come across coyote tracks, when the fox is small, but the have seen the fox tracks continue on, if it is a larger fox and the coyote tracks are small.)

Out west it is fairly easy to tell a coyote from a dog, but in New England, not so easy.


The problem is that in New England fussy people take their dogs to the vet to have the dogs nails clipped, (so they won’t click on the linoleum),  and also the New England sub-species of coyote is getting bigger and bigger. Perhaps it is because they have to subsist on deer, and the shrimpy coyotes don’t make it through the harder winters. The local folk have long referred to our big coyotes as “coy-dogs”, and they were especially hated when the local economy depended on sheep, for they are sheep-killers.

The boys were not the slightest bit interested in this trivia. They only get interested when they lag behind, and I shout back at them, “Y’know, I heard a fellow say he saw a coy-dog big as a German Shepherd in those woods behind you, just last week.” Then they listen, and hurry to catch up.

One interesting thing in the tracks was that a coyote swerved to follow a fox for around fifty feet, and then the snow was all messed up. Briefly I was exited, and exclaimed, “Was their a fight?” You might think that would interest the boys, but it didn’t. Maybe it would have interested them if there was blood in the snow, but the fox’s tracks continued on unperturbed, and indeed they were slightly snow-filled and demonstrated that the fox had passed hours before the Coyote. So why did the coyote roll in the snow? (The answer is gross, and is a disgusting habit canines have I’ll never understand:  They think poop is perfume.)

What the boys were more interested in was the groaning and moaning the ice was making. This was partly because the cold wave was ending, and the ice was expanding, and also because the flood-control’s level was sinking after the rains we had a week ago, and the ice was stress by the shores, because it couldn’t sink at the shores and was bending and breaking.

I told the boys the sound was made by  bergasauruses, and we ought to hunt one.  So we did. We cornered a bergasaurus by a small, rocky island, and a furious battle ensued.


The bergasaurus slithered and was slippery, but could not escape.


Then the question then became, what do you do with a dead bergasaurus? The danged things are heavy


The answer to the questions is fairly obvious. You lug the bergasaurus nearly a mile, to impress the girls at the bus stop. (The battle occurred beside that small island in the background). (I wonder what the foxes, coyote and mink thought, studying human tracks, the next night?)


Now look at the same scene only four days later.


Another warm surge has brought more rain, and the flood-control has risen to cover the island. The ice is still is safe to walk on, but the water on top will so drench a child who slips and falls that it is forbidden territory to explore. (Also there are gaps between the ice and shore with no ice, where a child could step and have water pour into their boot, or even plunge up to their waist.)  fs-7-img_4199

Therefore a new hunt must be instituted, a hunt for snow. fs-8-img_4192

The small girl dragging the sled in the above picture, just past her third birthday, dragged that sled over a three mile hike that was snowless 80% of the time, just so others could drag her, 20% of the time. (I was going to forbid the sled, but I am old and wise, and have learned to chose my battles with women, even when they are only three years old.)

The point of the hike, (not that hikes really need a “point”, but I invent a “point” for parents who want to know what my “curriculum” is),  was to find a thicket of puckerbrush where the children could taste the bark of black birch saplings, and discover where the minty flavor of “birch beer” came from. That part was a success.

Making them wear snowsuits was not so successful. I figured that snowsuits would keep them dry, when we found a patch of snow and they rolled in the snow like a coyote. However at times children can roll more than coyotes or dogs. When I was held back by a child who was getting tired after 2.8 miles, the other children decided to roll down a hill, once they were too far ahead for me to stop them.


It would not have been bad, and in fact would have been healthy activity,  if they were rolling on grass, but they were on a trail, and the thaw had turned the trail partially to mud.

In the twinkling of an eye my name was turned to mud as well. I was turned from a wonderful man, who quiets children by burning up their amazing energy, and makes them mellow at nap time, into a very bad man who brings children back to the Childcare with their snowsuits covered in mud.

Oh well. I likely was feeling proud about how well I was doing, and the expression “pride goes before the fall” seems especially apt, when dealing with children.


One good thing about winter is that usually you don’t need to deal with mud. However winter hadn’t truly started.  The prior cold had been a false start.

The cold came creeping back, and the ponds and flood-control reservoir again were covered by a beautiful lid of glass-smooth ice. The forecast was for snow, and I suddenly thought that maybe I needed some time away from the kids, some time when I didn’t need to be so danged adult all the time. I needed to go skating, without anyone to watch or watching.

It did take me a bit of searching to figure out where my rusty old skates were, but before dawn this morning I was headed back to the flood-control, all alone. It was a brooding gray, and had dropped to 22°F (-6°C), which isn’t terribly cold, but I was amazed by how quickly everything had frozen solid. I suppose all the liquid water is brought right to the freezing point by being in contact with ice, and only needs to be chilled .00001° to freeze, but still the complete lack of wetness was startling. The flood-control was as dry as a desert, as I laced up my old skates and went gliding out into the dusk.


I have a little attachment to my cell phone that tells me how far I’ve walked, but it can’t handle skating. I skated around and around for an hour, covering roughly three miles, but the cell phone said I’d “walked” a third of a mile. That is the wonder of skating on smooth ice. With a minimum of energy you go three times as fast and six times as far.

The only sound was my scratching skates, and, if I paused, the sound of distant traffic, of people hurrying to work early, to get things done before a coming storm. Me? I had to take some time off and be a kid, and do all the things kids do without worrying that I might be a bad example or endanger someone.

For example, one dangerous place on the flood-control is where the brook rushes in, and the water never freezes until the depths of January. It’s a place I’d steer kids away from, but now I was free to skate close.


Or how about the drain, where water sucks out of the reservoir, and a small child might get slurped in and not be seen until they were spat out at the end of the pipe fifty yards downstream?


Or how about where ice fishermen cut holes just the right size for a small foot to plunge through, thigh deep?


Ah, free at last! Glory! Glory! Glory! Free to skim with a minimum of effort, taking the time to noticed pines silhouetted against a hill.fs-15-fullsizerender

Free to pause to contemplate the beauty of old stumps silhouetted against ice


Free to start something new, in the brief hour before work, and, just as winter’s false start had ended, to have my life’s many false starts be over, and to begin the Real Deal, and perhaps even to find the owner of these mysterious boots:


Ah ha!  Found him!


Perhaps in my new, non-false start I will be like those active men who yearn to die with their boots on, but even better. I’ll be a man who yearns to die with his skates on; zooming, just zooming, with a minimum of effort.

And to celebrate the end to all false starts I’ll end this post with a self-portrait of myself with the hills and pines in the background, and…

Blast. Wouldn’t you just know it!? The camera stopped working. It must be the cold. But I can’t end the post with a false start!  Maybe it is the lens. Perhaps if I wiggle this thing over here….




ARCTIC SEA ICE –Not Too Early To Donate $20,000 To Fund My Barneo Trip–

I’m sure there are some who wouldn’t mind sending me away to a dangerous place where jets can occasionally land (in 2005) like this:

And I am equally certain some wouldn’t mind me residing in a base where the sea-ice occasionally cracks and leads form between the tents, like it did in 2010:

Nor would some mind having me aboard a jet whose landing gear collapses slamming down on a rough, blue-ice airstrip, (seen at the start of this 30 minute film from 2015) (There is some controversy about whatever happened to the jet, with cynics stating the Russians polluted the pristine waters by letting it sink when the sea-ice melted, and more sanguine sorts suggesting they disassembled it and removed it in pieces.)

Here’s a picture of the jet:


and here is where I discussed the jet’s fate:


In 2016 (last spring) the Russians had troubles with cracks forming in the runways, and needed to shift their entire airstrip. Here is a wonderful video of a landing on the cracked blue-ice airstrip from the cockpit of a jet.

However the real troubles last spring were political, and caused by the fact that one of the reasons for the Barneo base is to train soldiers. Norway decided to make it hard for the Russians to conduct flights from Svalbard right in the midst of operations that have a very tight schedule and small window (basically three to four weeks in April) to work within, which pissed off the Russians no end, and is to some degree described in these articles.



The upshot of the political squabble seems to be that the people of Svalbard have lost some tourism dollars, as the Russians have decided things will be easier if they stage operations from Franz Joseph Land. This will involve the logistics of building the infrastructure for tourism in a stark landscape that has not known tourism (at least in April) before, but the Russians seem untroubled, perhaps thinking that if they can serve cutlets at the Pole they can do the same in Franz Joseph Land.

I am fairly certain that, after a winter of putting up with me, and with cabin-fever setting in, my wife will be extremely appreciative if I can be sent to Franz Joseph Land this April.

The question is, of course, will there be a Barneo base this year, after all the smashing and crashing the Pole has undergone with weather patterns very “loopy” (IE Meridional), and the Pole looking like this last September.


The thing is that, even when the above satellite picture was taken last September, when sea-ice was at its minimum, temperatures had already dropped below -10°C at the Pole and the leads of open water were already freezing over. What the Russians will do is attempt to locate one of those chips of “baby-ice” in the above picture, (much larger than they look), which will be, by April, “second-year-ice,” and thick enough to land a jet upon. The problem is that the “chips” drift many miles from where they are in September, and by April are not so obvious, for the entire surface is frozen and covered by drifting snow, and to the uneducated looks like one, vast expanse of white. Locating the thicker ice isn’t easy.

Nor is the logistics of building a new base in Franz Joseph Land easy. However the Barneo Facebook page reports:

Irina Orlova, the chief operations officer of the Barneo Camp: “I would say the recent official trip to Arkhangelsk was successful: we took the first step on a long and thorny way of Barneo starting point relocation to Franz Josef Land. It’s well-known that the FJL archipelago forms part of Primorsky district of the Archangelsk governorate. That’s why we had to negotiate with the governorate officials. And now we have got support of all departments, considered several ways to unfold an expedition, and made a plan for the nearest future. So we are satisfied with the results of the trip.”

The various non-Russian tourism entities seem uncertain about whether they will be flying in from Svalbard or not, but still are courting customers. For example, here is “Quark” page:

Click to access 2017-north-pole-express-barneo-ice-camp.pdf

and here is the “Polar Cruises” page:


Now, I’m just wondering if, while you are digging deep into your pockets to send me up there for three days,  you could find the extra generosity to send a friend of mine as well. I’m speaking of Roger Anderson, who is part of the University Of Washington NPEO program, who for 14 0f 15 years since 2000 gave us the luxury of being able to view the Pole via the North Pole Camera, but went unfunded last year, ( I think because the camera showed Truth and not enough ice melting, though I may just be being suspicious.)


In fact, when I think about it, just send Roger. If you send an old geezer like me to the Pole I’ll probably just get hypothermia or get eaten by a polar bear. Fund Roger, and we’ll get excellent pictures of sea-ice conditions all summer long.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph RIP, or reloading?–

It is my understanding that RIP means “Rest In Poverty”, and is used to describe the state of torpor Christmas shoppers and cooks collapse into, after overdoing it. It is also an apt description of the Pole, which has also been whooping it up, to celebrate the solstice. The Arctic imported two major blasts of oceanic air, “Hula-Ralph” from the Pacific, followed by an Atlantic blast I guess I’ll name “Santa-Ralph”, as he was such a gift to Alarmists, who are never happier than when they can make children miserable at Christmas, by insinuating Santa is going to drown.

And, to give credit where credit is due, the ice did indeed retreat northward, first north of Bering Strait on the Pacific side, when it was blown nearly to Wrangle Island, and then along the edge of ice at the north of Barents Sea on the Atlantic side, where the baby-ice was again pushed north of Svalbard, and even briefly north of Franz Josef Land, (though it was interesting to see it was pushed northwest from Franz Josef Land, which actually would pile ice up and make pressure ridges towards the Santa’s house, at the Pole.

You can watch this process occurring here:


Hmmm. My computer is not doing well at supplying the animation from the NRL site. Anyway, if you go there and watch the 30 day animation you can see the ice pushed back, first on the Pacific side and then on the Atlantic side, which would have made a noteworthy down-dip in the ice-extent graph, were it not for the fact the entirety of Hudson Bay flash-froze over at the same time, in around ten days. Still, the Alarmists got a small Christmas present in the ice-extent graph.


Notice the earlier down-dip, from the last big surge of Atlantic air, earlier in the graph, and how swiftly sea-ice-extent recovered and resumed its normal climb. The same thing will happen again. The sea-ice is swiftly reforming in the north of Barents Sea, and has already sealed off the waters north of Bering Strait, so the sea-ice graph will  quickly perk upwards to more usual levels.  Already the temperatures north of 80° North latitude is starting to crash from the last big spike:


The above graph’s red-line has dropped down to the high point of last (2015) Christmas’s mild surge (which was aimed more directly at the Pole, and didn’t cross to the Pacific side as much). Therefore an Alarmist can celebrate the fact that this Christmas had a warm spike nearly 5°C warmer than last year. They seem to fail to consider the simple fact this likely means our planet is squandering more heat to the dark, arctic skies than it did last year.

Let us check out the change in the SST anomalies, especially in the Atlantic, where a lot of this mildness came from. We should be able to see some change. (November 24 is to the left; December 22 is to the right).


To me it seems the warm anomaly off Newfoundland is weaker. Perhaps that is like a Christmas shopper’s wallet getting thinner after a splurge. The arctic night spent our planet’s warmth like a drunken sailor. (It is important to remember these are anomaly maps; actual temperature maps show all the water north of 40° latitude getting colder, as it tends to do in December), (it being frickin’ winter, after all.) Also the map shows a slight cold anomaly spreading southwest of Baja California, as if the signature of a “cold” PDO is attempting to reform.

In any case, it pays to take a world-wide view, and not merely focus on where our pet bias is confirmed, which seems to be what Alarmists are doing. This is liable to trick one onto the slippery slope of wish-casting, which I have done, and which can be very embarrassing, when you wake to the fact the person you fooled the most was yourself.

Right now I am attempting to avoid forecasting at all, because two different solutions are possible. Last time we saw the Atlantic surge, it was followed by a weak Canadian Archipelago surge and then the Hula-Ralph surge, which, after it pressed north to the Pole, flung a bitter cold arctic high in its wake from Siberia to Canada. High pressure is again building out over the Arctic Sea from Siberia, but I’m not so sure it will slip across to Canada and allow the Atlantic surge to occur again on its rear side. This time it may just stop on the Pole, and change everything. (For one thing, Ralph would be dethroned, and RIP.)

When a high just sits on the Pole the winds circle around it, and for a while there is no export of cold air, as the Pole harbors its resources, and just gets colder and colder. However neither Siberia nor Canada actually need imports from the Pole, as they are covered with deep snow, and able to breed their own arctic highs. In the case of Canada there are many open bodies of water, (uncountable small lakes, the northern Great Lakes, [Great Bear, Great Slave, Lesser Slave, and Winnipeg),and Hudson Bay,) and this open water can moderate Arctic Air at the start of December, but which freeze over by the end of the month, and the fact waters are ice-covered allows the cold to get colder in the dark of the arctic night.


(By The Way:  Besides showing the growth of ice on Canadian Lakes and Hudson Bay, this animation also shows how the sea-ice retreated north and then grew back, first north of Bering Strait, and then in the north of Barents Sea.)

There are now three major areas producing arctic high pressure: The enormity of Siberia, the Arctic Sea, and the Tundra and Taiga of Canada and Alaska. It is a sneaky triple whammy, when things get calm and nothing seems to be happening, for what the arctic is actually doing is reloading a triple-barreled shotgun.


Just for your reference, when we talk of temperatures-north-of-80°-north-latitude, we are talking about the smallest circle at the middle of the above map. The Arctic Circle is at around 66.5°, or just inside the second circle out from the center of the above map, and the sun never shines in late December, inside that Arctic Circle.


In other words, as I now prepare to go through my maps of conditions-north-of-60°-north-latitude, you need to keep in mind there is no warming sunshine involved in most of the maps. Only around the edge of the circular maps is there a brief bit of daylight, moving around and around clockwise, like the hand of a clock, and on the ground those daylights are so brief the sunrise is indistinguishable from the sunset.

At the end of my last post we were seeing the peak of the “Surge”.

It was difficult to attend to my Christmas duties, with such interesting things going on at the Pole, but my wife kept giving me a certain look when I seemed to be slowly gravitating away from in-laws to my computer, so in actual fact I had to be very sneaky to save these maps. The sheer size of Ralph’s circulation impressed me, as did the fact the storm track again deviated north and initially came right up through Fram Strait.  A very clear “signature” of Ralph hooked milder air right up to the Pole.

After a while the sheer enormity of Ralph seemed to swivel the storm track; the south side of Ralph had west-to-east winds which sent following storms west-to-east, along the more normal North Atlantic route towards Norway.  Meanwhile the east side of Ralph swung further east, until rather than drawing oceanic air north it was drawing more continental air north. But by this time Ralph had already brought an enormous slug of mild air north, and rather than just a signature curl at the Pole the temperature-map shows Ralph began to stream mild air all the way over to the Pacific. Call it “the Stripe.” Watch how it cools. When we start thaw is bathing Svalbard, but the freezing isotherm backs steadily south.

By Christmas morning it was below freezing in Svalbard, so perhaps it was snowing there and they were getting a White Christmas, but because the sun never rises they likely stayed inside in bright lamplight and didn’t notice. The “Stripe” continued to lose a lot of the imported heat to the dark skies, and imports had ceased,  as Atlantic lows were now moving east and crashing Norway’s Christmas parties, rather than heading north.  Cold high pressure was starting to bulge north from the Siberian coast, and was wearing a mean face, as if it intended to challenge the champ, and knock Ralph off the Pole.

Today we see all that nice, mild air Ralph brought north is simply fading away. The CO2 is doing a lousy job of holding it down. The greenhouse looks like it has broken windows, for there is no Greenhouse Effect,  and I suppose this demonstrates to Alarmists that “people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”.

For the time being the defeated Ralph is retiring down to Norway, Sweden and Finland, perhaps because those folk know how to make winter fun.

I figure the air will continue to get colder, under the upstart high pressure that looks like it intends to be king-of-the-mountain at the Pole, but beyond that I’m befuddled about how things will proceed. I don’t think the surge-pattern can repeat, because Hudson Bay is frozen over, so it seems unlikely we can get a Ralph-reinforcement of mild air coming up through the channels and fjords of the Canadian Archipelago, like we did last time. That alone could be like a butterfly flapping its wings, and changing the consequences of chaos.

Looking at tomorrow’s map, it looks like the next Atlantic Low might turn north, but be so far south, as it bombo-genesis’s into a 950 mb low, that it loop-de-loops into Southern Greenland. This is too far south to be “Ralph”, so I guess I’ll call it “Hillary,” because the more it storms the more it disproves its points.


Judging from Hillary’s isobars, a huge slug of Atlantic mildness and moisture is going to be slammed into Greenland, hoisted higher than 10,000 feet, precipitate huge amounts of snow, and perhaps descend as a lovely, mild Chinook into Baffin Bay, but then turn the mildness south along the east coast of Baffin Bay, rather than north to the Pole. This will likely continue the amazing snows over Greenland, which is suppose to be melting away according to some Alarmists, but seems to be gaining a record-setting amount of ice and snow, according to this:


I suppose I should name the new high pressure dominating the Pole, so I guess I’ll call it “Trump.” What else could knock both Ralph and Hillary off the top?

I’m not too worried about Hillary, but I know Ralph is crafty, and will seek to send new feeder bands north to brew up a new incarnation of Ralph at the Pole. Looking at the upper atmosphere maps, (which Dr. Ryan Maue produces at the Weatherbell Site), I see one 500 mb curl of mildness attempting to sneak north in two days, but being deflected north of Greenland.


A second attempt attacks north from the Pacific, but curls west far short of the Pole, four days from now.


In fact, looking at the surface map forecast a week from now, despite an Atlantic storm crawling up the east coast of Greenland, and an Aleutian low slamming north of Bering Strait, Trump still sits on the Pole.


This does seem to be a situation unlike what we have seen in the recent past, and therefore it is likely wise to abstain from prophecy. We shall see what we shall see, and that is that.

But I likely should not deny you the autumn’s data, concerning snow-cover, now that autumn is officially over. This is not a forecast. It is a fact.


Now, if sea-ice extent of 12 million km2 matters, should not snow-cover extent of 21 million km2 matter? Furthermore, if the “albedo” of sea-ice matters, up where the sun doesn’t shine, shouldn’t the “albedo” of snow-cover matter, further south, where the sun shines all winter long?

Just a couple things to ponder, as we await a New Year. May it be a good one for you, and your family, and friends.

LOCAL VIEW –Orange In My Stocking–

As a child I knew Christmas was wonderful and magical, but the holiday puzzled me greatly, for adults usually did not behave in the utterly mad manner they joyously behaved, on Christmas.

This mystery was increased by the fact I was raised as a Unitarian, and Unitarians didn’t stress the Godhood of Christ, at that time. In fact, as I understood it, being a Unitarian mainly meant you didn’t have to go to church, which meant I was freed from any sort of preconceptions or propaganda concerning the power of priests and popes, but also meant I was ignorant, (though I prefer the word “innocent”), because I was largely untaught.

My father did believe in God, but seemed to have the attitude, “It is better to meditate on God while fishing than to meditate on fishing while in church.” When fishing with him he would tell me about how incredible Creation was, scientifically describing the fingerprints of an awesome Creator,  but the Creator Himself was never mentioned. This seemed to be part of Unitarianism in the 1950’s: Silence was golden, for talking about the Creator, The Only One Worthy Of Worship,  was presumptive, a “Bridge Too Far”, and in some way was politically incorrect.

Considering Christmas is all about the Creator popping in on His Creation, like the author of a book magically appearing in the pages midway through a book, it is logical that my father’s failure to mention the Creator would leave me utterly mystified about what the heck Christmas was all about.

Then my father vanished from my life when I was eleven. (Divorce may be another aspect of Unitarianism.) Christmas kept on happening, but the loss of such a wonderfully crazy man made the following Christmases very gloomy. (Mothers seem to downplay the trauma the loss of a father causes a boy, focused as they are on the trauma an irresponsible husband causes a wife. In my case, the following Christmases saw my father so troubled, and my mother so upset, that we six children spent more time parenting our parents than being parented.)

One thing we kids bravely attempted was “to make Christmas like it used to be”, (before the divorce). We put on a brave face and attempted to be jolly. Behind my mask, I kept wondering, “What the heck are we doing this for?”

I had only one friend who I could be anything close to honest with, as a young teenager, and he got to hear me anguish about things I’d never say to my mother. We’d skulk down streets after dark bitterly grumbling, and at times he saw me completely lose it.

I recall one time we met a couple of pretty girls, after dark, and were attempting to woo them in the center of town by buying them a couple of bottles of soda, but just then a fellow who was older and had an actual car showed up, and the two girls preferred a car to a soda. As the girls drove off with him I looked at the bottle of soda I held in my hands, and then with a snarl threw it. (One didn’t ordinarily do such things in my little town.) As the bottle vanished over the top of a store and smashed in a distant back alley my friend exclaimed, “Are you mad!” I myself was a bit surprised I had done such a thing, and took off, running at top speed into the darkness away from the Main Street lights. My buddy was such a friend that he was running right beside me, though he hadn’t thrown any bottles.

My good buddy happened to be Jewish, which put him at a bit of a disadvantage when I began to confess to him I didn’t understand what the heck Christmas was all about. I told him I just didn’t get it. I knew there was such a thing as “Christmas Spirit”, but felt in the dark.

We were actually walking in the dark, as I complained, beside a very large town green that sloped down into deeper darkness, and some adolescent impulse made me shout, “I can’t stand it!” and I again ran, plunging down into deeper darkness, and I can remember my startled buddy shouting out, “Come back! Come back!”

Looking back, I seem to have amnesia. I did come back, feeling a bit foolish about my behavior, and we continued our walk. But I’m not sure what turned me around, nor did we talk about why I had “lost it”.

This just goes to show you how amazingly ignorant an emotional 15-year-old can be about Christmas. I knew some sort of miracle was involved, but had no clue what it was. There was all sorts of odd behavior, without any explanation.

One odd thing was that, down at the toe of my stocking on Christmas morning, there would always be an orange.  My mother insisted upon it. It was some sort of tradition without a lick of sense behind it, that I could see. I questioned, being the sort of annoying teenager who demands answers, but the best I could get from adults was that, back when my grandparents were young, oranges were a scarce commodity in New England, as they grew far to the south, and bringing them north involved risky sails in coastal schooners (before railroads). An orange was a special gift in 1850, and tradition remembered how special it was, even when an orange wasn’t so special any more.

No one explained the tradition actually goes back far before 1850, to a dude named Nicholas who lived back around the year 300. (Yes, this is THE saint, who became Santa Claus.)

Now, when we talk about a fellow who lived over 1700 years ago, we lack video. Modern historians, who demand signed documents, will go on and on about lack of evidence. However Nick apparently did exist, and was a follower of Jesus Christ, who apparently also existed, though we do not have a single signed document to historically verify the cause of enormous cathedrals being erected in His name.

This Nick fellow, when a lad, had parents who were followers of Christ back before the Bible existed as a book. (There were only scattered documents in the year 300, and the gospel was largely passed by word of mouth). Nick’s parents were wealthy, and likely had access to various gospels and letters written by disciples of Christ, but back then being a Christian was still something you could go to jail for. Then the plauge came through town, and both of Nick’s parents died of it, and Nick became an orphan. He was a very rich orphan, and may have had the help of a Christian uncle, but he was not under any illusion that things of the world (even parents) are lasting. Therefore Nick decided to obey Jesus, and to give away the family fortune he had inherited, to help the poor. (He did not subscribe to the idea that a 401K is worthy of worship).

Details are lacking. I imagine financial advisers must have freaked out. I also imagine that less-than-spiritual people must have flocked to the scene, to help Nick become penniless. Once Nick wound up in jail, I imagine these fair-weather-friends lost interest in him.  Or maybe not. We lack records. Why? Well, you see, apparently Nick didn’t want to get all sorts of press for helping the poor, and therefore was secretive. He didn’t want the benefactors to think the charity “came from Nick”, when he believed it came from Jesus working through him and prompting him, and therefore apparently, when Nick gave, he did so in a downright sneaky fashion.

Because Nick was so sneaky, we have no signed documents, and the IRS is annoyed. All we have is legends. One legend is that the poorest of the poor lived in tiny huts, so small that one couldn’t stand up in them, and Nick knew when they were especially impoverished because they couldn’t even afford fuel on wintry evenings, and no smoke came from their chimneys. Therefore, as he passed their squat abodes, he would furtively reach up to the top of their low chimney’s, and drop a gold coin to clink in their cold hearth beneath, as they slept on winter nights, and then, after doing this deed, Nick would hurry away.  (So you can see this might lead to the idea of Santa sneaking down the chimney at midnight to leave gifts.)

Another tale involves a broke man who had three daughters of marrying age. In order to get a husband, back in those times, the father had to pay the prospective husband this thing called a “dowry”. When a Dad was flat broke, his daughters faced going to the “Poor Farm”, and back in those days in southern Turkey this involved daughters being sold into slavery. This particular Dad was at his wit’s end, because he didn’t want his daughter to be slaves, and wanted them to be wives. When Nick heard about this, he came creeping and sneaking by their house, found an open window, and surreptitiously rolled three balls of solid gold to the hearth, where they happened to roll to a halt nudging against the toes of stockings being dried by the fire. (So you can see why this might lead to the idea of Santa putting a tangerine or orange (golden ball) at the toe of a stocking, put by a fireplace.)

But Nick didn’t do this to be famous. He did everything possible to be unknown and unremembered. He wanted Jesus to be remembered. At first he did a fairly good job of giving God the glory, and finding dishonor for himself. In fact he apparently wound up flat broke and in jail. (Just think of that. Santa jailed by the politically correct.)

However at that time there was a political upheaval. A politically incorrect person became emperor of Rome. Rather than crucifying Christians and feeding them to lions, he became a Christian himself. (His name was Constantine, not Donald Trump.)

All of a sudden being a Christian did not mean you were fed to lions, and in fact it meant you were politically correct. Under the orders of Constantine, followers of Jesus formed a committee, (Council of Nicaea) to decide what a “Christian” actually was. Nick, who had never even officially been a “priest”, suddenly found himself a “bishop”, and was invited.

During the committee-meeting all sorts of esoteric subjects were discussed, and apparently a somewhat Unitarian fellow named Arius was advancing the idea that Jesus wasn’t actually God, and this infuriated Nick to such a degree that he jumped up and punched Arius in the nose. (Imagine Santa punching anyone.)  (When they dug up Nick’s skull back around 1950 they carefully x-rayed it, before putting it back in the grave, and among other things it showed that Nick’s nose had been badly broken at some point, and had healed crooked, which might indicate Nick had failed to “turn the other cheek” fast enough, during another, earlier, pugilistic episode.) (Apparently saints, before sainthood, are quite capable of sin.)

As punching-people-in-the-nose is flagrantly unchristian behavior, Santa Claus was about to be kicked off the committee, but a strange thing then happened. Though Nick was a sinner for belting Arius, he saw a stunning miracle happen. Jesus and Mary joined the meeting, (likely with heavenly music and glowing lights).  Santa was promptly forgiven. (I’m just telling you what research-of-lore reveals.) (I’ll also confess my own church’s committee-meetings are pretty darn boring, compared to the meetings they held 1700 years ago.)

In any case, Christmas only involves Nick because Nick was an extremist, and crazy about Jesus. If people go crazy on Christmas, and go in debt with their irrational generosity, they are only following the footsteps of Saint Nicholas, who was following the footsteps of Christ.

How odd it seems to me that I could grow up and never know what Christmas was actually about, and could hear Santa mentioned a lot, but Jesus hardly mentioned at all. In actual fact Jesus is “The Reason For The Season.”  The fact it has taken so long for me to catch on is rich with irony.

Our Creator is awesome. I, as a creative individual, look around His creation and understand there is no way I could, on my best day, creatively match something that is Matchless. (Even if I could, all I created would be created by the Creator, who created me.)

This Creator has displayed awesome love and compassion in the majesty and beauty of what He has made, but He also made us, and compared to Him I fear we are less than majestic, and tend to be like stingy Scrooge on a good day, and like hateful Hitler on our worst days. In fact, usually we are the opposite of Christmas. We make war, not love, and we take, rather than give. We make misery, and then wonder why we are so miserable. We are in need of help.

What Christmas celebrates is not us. It celebrates the opposite of how we ordinarily are, and does not celebrate what we call “politically correct” and “wise investing” and even “common sense”. It celebrates love and compassion and understanding and generosity we cannot even imagine, and also celebrates the fact our Creator took pity on us, and chose to enter his own Creation, and to walk with us and talk with us, like an author walking and talking with the characters of His own book.

And why should our Creator do such a thing? It is because His book has a happy ending, wherein we experience the joy of love and compassion and understanding and generosity, and He will achieve that ending, because He wrote the book, and is in control. 

Merry Christmas!

LOCAL VIEW –Smooth Ice–


It didn’t look like we’d get smooth ice this year. A couple of weeks of sub-freezing weather formed a nice black ice, but just when I tested it and deemed it safe we had a couple of inches of snow, just heavy enough to push the ice down far enough for water to seep up through the expansion cracks in the ice. As soon as that water reaches the snow the snow sucks the water up like a sponge, and the ice becomes covered by slush. Even though the ice beneath is still safe I don’t allow the kids out on the slush, because it is too wet, and also the footprints they leave in the slush are fossilized by the next night’s freeze, and then you have very rough ice due to footprints.

When the slush freezes it makes the ice thicker and safer, but the surface is rough, like crusty snow. Also, after a blast of bitter cold, down to -4°F  (-20°C),  mild air began pushing back from the south. We promptly got four inches of snow, and the entire process began to repeat itself, with the snow again turning to slush atop the ice.  But the south wind became a surge, and we had some real yo-yo weather,  with temperatures shooting up to 50°F  (+10°C) and pouring rain, before temperatures plunged back down to 7°F (-14°C).  The rain flooded the surface of the pond, and, when it flash-froze, the ice was glassy smooth.

The ice was so smooth that, by holding the rope of a plastic sled and swinging the child around, I could enact a sort of Olympic hammer-throw and send the child spinning and shrieking down the entire length of the pond. Of course, once I did it to one child, I had to do it for all the others. Otherwise I’d face a chorus of, “It’s not fair!”  Over and over I was a sort of amusement park ride, whipping kids around and around and then sending the sled spinning down the pond. Man, are my arms ever sore!  Finally I had to teach them how to fling each other, because I was getting worn out.

It was surprising how swiftly they caught onto the art of something that, as a boy, we called “cracking-the-whip”, wherein a chain of sliding children pivots, with the child at the axis basically standing still, but the child out at the end of the chain going so atrociously fast that they can’t hold on, and are flung away laughing and sliding over the ice.

There is nothing quite like the din made by children playing on the ice. Once I educated them in the art of flinging,  I didn’t have to work any more, and I could simply stand back and listen. It seemed to joyously echo back through time to the time of the Dutch Masters, painting in the Little Ice Age.


It is amazing how many paintings were painted involving skating on the frozen canals, back then. They may not have had thermometers, but simply by dating their paintings one has ample evidence it was, winter after winter, far colder. Painting was a way to make winter wonderful, and became part of their wonderful lore about wonderful winters.

The tale of “Hans Brinker and The Silver Skates” was based on that lore, although the author Mary Mapes Dodge had never visited Holland. She had Dutch immigrant neighbors who told her much about life and childhoods in the Netherlands, and she also was a student of Dutch history, and published the best-seller in 1865, towards the end of the Little Ice Age. (Within the tale is another famous tale, of the little boy who saves Haarlem by stopping a leak in a Dike with his finger.) (Children were amazingly responsible in her tales.) Besides being popular in the USA, her writing was popular in the Netherlands, and they embraced the tale and adopted it as their own, for it caught the feeling of their love of skating and frozen canals.


As the Little Ice Age faded away the canals froze less often, (and pollution added warmth to the water as well), and skating became all the more special as it became more rare.  Of course, with the advent of the Global  Warming hysteria, some seized upon the lack of skating as proof mankind was guilty of polluting the planet to such a degree that we all were going to boil. This was reaching a peak in late 2008, (the leaked Climategate emails didn’t expose the fact the public was being badly bamboozled until November 2009). There was even a famous prognosis that “Children will not know what snow is like”, but then at the end of 2008 winter threw a wrench in the works of such hysteria, with bitter cold blasts, and the Dutch got to skate like they had in the past. It made it a bit harder to talk of “Global Warming”, when the pictures were so similar to the 1600’s.


It became a national craze, complete with traffic jams, and orders for trains to travel slower, as people crossed tracks moving from one canal to the next.


Of course, as the crowds grow, people get carried away, and sooner or later they start driving vehicles on the ice. Even the Dutch Masters saw this happening, back in the 1600’s.


I figured I’d nip any such ideas in the bud, and instituted a rule at my Childcare that there should be no trucks driven on the ice. But would the children listen?


It was obvious to me that this young lady needed a driver, but I was too stiff and sore. It reminded me of the Beatle’s song from their “Rubber Soul” album, “Drive my car”, and I began to hum it to my self. I love the song’s concluding couplet:

I’ve got no car, and it’s breaking my heart,
But I’ve got a driver, and that’s a start!

And as I hummed that part of the song the young lady came by again, and indeed she had found herself a driver.


As I looked around all I could think was the sound in the air was the sound of joy.

Ice this perfect never lasts. But I am not going to be one of those people who always has to spoil things by foreseeing a bad future. If Global Warming happens, we’ll just find warmer things to be joyous about.

What is it about smooth ice different
From polished marble? The slide is farther.
The joy is greater. The air, heaven sent,
(So different from a funeral parlor),
Sparkles and freezes hair in my old nose
As the children romp, dance, and go mad
With glee at scent so far from summer’s rose
That comparing’s absurd, yet just as glad
Is the human heart on winter’s ice.

Go polish your marble. Your mausoleum
Will never match my pond, though it may suffice
For those whom find more life in a museum
Than in noise from a pond where children mingle,
Glittering sound much like sleigh-bell’s jingle.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph’s Resurgent Surge–(with second Yowza Update: [Sahara and Saudi Snowfalls!!!]) (Plus Christmas Eve Greeting)

If you are new to watching the Arctic and its sea-ice, you have missed a lot, and it will be difficult for you to catch you up with the news. Basically we seem to be seeing an “unprecedented”, “unheard-of” pattern, which isn’t saying much, for we don’t have very good ears, and don’t hear very far into the past. Most records don’t even begin until 1979, when I was 26 years old. This makes me 26 years older than the earliest records. It also makes me older and wiser than the records. Which is likely why you turned to me, rather than that young, whippersnapper stuff called “factual data”.

There is of course data from before 1979, but it has been largely ignored. In fact I think it is politically incorrect these days to even admit there was such a thing as the “Medieval Warm Period”. You may even be called “Fake News” if you confess things were recorded before 1979, or at the very least your recollections will need to “adjusted” in order to conform with the Party Platform.

But apparently you are sick of that Party Platform hogwash. Otherwise you would not be searching the web for obscure sites like this one, where people could care less about the Party Platform and Political Correctness, because they are interested in a wonderful, powerful thing called “Truth.”

The Truth is that the Party Platform insisted sea-ice was suppose to melt away unless we all underwent a dramatic sacrificing of our freedoms and prosperity. In fact, unless you bought curly light bulbs (which didn’t work in the sub-zero weather we had here yesterday) the entire planet might boil. Unless we switched from reliable fossil fuels to unreliable sunshine and fickle winds, oceans might engulf our cities. And we had to buy into this deal by various dates or the advertised offer would expire. But we didn’t buy in. So they extended the offer.

They based their fear-mongering on a gas so scarce in our atmosphere you can’t even find it, unless you are a plant. As an old Yankee attempting to function as a hardscrabble farmer, I have to heed plants, which politicians will ignore (until plants get the vote).

Plants in my garden get to work as soon as the sunlight touches their leaves at dawn, when, (because my organic garden includes lots of humus and manure holding fungus that produces CO2), my garden’s air may have 10 molecules of CO2 for every 10,000 molecules of total air. By noon my greedy plants will have gobbled all that CO2, and there will be only 2 or less molecules per 10,000 left, at which point my plants quit. They cannot resume growing until CO2 levels again rise, due to fungus which works best in the sunless dark. However, if you stay indoors, your home may have 100 molecules of CO2 in every 10,000 of air, because you are expiring CO2. (Houseplants have it better than plants in my garden during the summer afternoons, and greenhouses pump even higher amounts of CO2 into their air, the the crews of submarines breathe even greater amounts of CO2, without harm).

When the planet warms, the warmed oceans are able to hold less dissolved CO2, and release it to the atmosphere. Because our planet is recovering from the chill of the Little Ice Age, (which chilled the oceans and allowed the seas to absorb more CO2) our oceans are expiring more CO2. Much of the current increase in CO2 is because the ocean is warming because the planet is warming in a completely natural way. All 7 billion of us mortals, expiring CO2 and burning dung fires and herding cows that belch and fart CO2 and Methane, can’t come close to what the awesome oceans fart and belch. Oh, we mortals like to think we are so grand and so important, but our contribution to the CO2 content of the air is less than 1 molecule per 10,000.

This leads me to wonder: Which should we be worried about? One molecule in 10,000, or the temperament of a nearby star, without which our entire planet would swiftly die?

Our sun is going through a change in mood. Were it not for whippersnappers bleating about curly light bulbs and trace gases and political correctness, our moody sun would be making headlines. Our sun governs our crops, our weather, and one can see why the ancient Egyptians made a whole religion out of respecting that aspect of God’s creation, an archangel they dubbed “Ra.” Those bygone Egyptians must be rolling in their pyramids, because we think it is politically correct to completely ignore the sun, and instead worship our own exhalations, burps and farts.

But the fact of the matter is that our “Noisy Sun”, boisterous and freckled with sunspots, has become calm, and become a “Quiet Sun”, with its face as spotless and fair as a young maiden’s.


In their attempts to promote a trace gas as an archangel we ought worship, the politically correct have desperately attempted to downplay the influence of the most obvious influence. In fact some will claim the above sun is not in fact “spotless”, for it has a small speck on it’s face. (Can you find it?)

The fact of the matter is the sun has the greatest effect on our planet of all things, except for the Creator Himself. If one insists upon worshiping a false god, it should not be money or fame or success or sex, and especially not the the absurdity of one molecule among 10,000, but rather the sun. If one insists upon being a heathen, one ought worship Ra.

In actual fact, one reason the ancient Egyptians may have been so concerned about the sun is because they were able to see a change in the number of sunspots with their naked eyes. Apparently sunspots can be so large that, at sunset, they can be seen on the face of the setting sun by those with sharpest vision, and such events are recorded in ancient texts from China. The sky-oriented priests of Egypt would have noticed when such sunspots vanished, especially if it was immediately followed by a dramatic change in local weather. And just such a dramatic change did occur, as is seen by modern geologists who study the layers of sediment in the bottom of Egyptian Lakes.  What modern geologists have learned is that the lakes abruptly became dry, and lush pastures abruptly became this place we now call “the Sahara Desert”.  (Huge numbers of drought-impoverished refugees may have supplied the labor-surplus that built the first pyramids, just as Dust Bowl “Okies” supplied much of the labor that built California.)

As much as we may mock those forgotten mortals, they were more scientific than we are. How can I say such a thing? Because our scientists do not notice when the sun changes its face. All they care about is funding. All they care about is the faces of politicians.

The switch from a president I will not name to Donald Trump changes the face such scientists face, and such scientists are deeply concerned about their funding. After all, many are fathers and mothers with young ones to feed. For them, money matters. Truth, as they define it, is whatever pays. In some ways their attitude towards the beauty of Truth does not differ from a whore’s attitude towards the beauty of Love.

I am different, because I’m an old curmudgeon, and no one will pay me for Love or Truth. I just say what I see, and am amazed how often what is blatantly obvious gets me yelled at, either called “politically incorrect”, or this new slur,  “a dispenser of Fake News”.

In any case, if you are new to the subject of Arctic Sea-ice, the Quiet Sun is causing a sort of atmospheric earthquake. The CO2 Alarmists are attempting to say the Quiet Sun is not the cause, and a single molecule among 10,000 is the cause. You decide. My view is that the sun is the culprit. The complexity of all the repercussions the sun causes, when it changes its mood, is beyond human understanding, but my best effort to explain it all to laymen is as follows:

“I think our ability to grasp all the inputs into the chaotic system we call “weather” is small. The Creator made a creation that is wonderfully subtle and complex. However I greatly enjoy attempting to link together the cause-and-effects, as if the system was some sort of Rube Goldberg contraption.

My own take is that the “Quiet Sun” supplied less energy, and less energy resulted in weaker winds, and weaker Trade Winds stimulated the El Nino, which resulted in more heat at the surface of the sea at the equator. Now, how’s that for double-speak? “Less energy creates more energy (heat at the equator).”

Once you have extra energy down at the equator the planet wants to balance things out, so you get a jet rushing up to the Pole, where the mild air loses its heat, often forming a low pressure spiraling heat up to the tropopause, (this low pressure is what my whimsy has dubbed “Ralph”.) Because the general background is colder due to the “Quiet Sun,” the contrast between the warm equator and the colder background is larger, so the jet is stronger, bringing more mild air to the Pole. Resultant double-speak? “Colder sunshine makes a warmer Pole.”

Once you have the mildness bumping up into polar air, the polar air gets nudged down into Siberia, causing the early and extensive snowpack to form. Resultant double-speak? “Warmer Pole makes colder subtropics.””

The only reason I need to even mention “double-speak” is because politics has invaded the hallways of science, and has polluted what is pristine. There is no contradiction in what is occurring. It is completely natural:

“The current pattern is an effective way to lose heat and balance things out, for heat is lost in two ways, by radiation in the sub-arctic air that is transported north to the Pole, and by reflection due to the high albedo of fresh snow extending further south. “

In other words, what we are seeing occur is dramatic, but what we should expect to see when the “Noisy Sun”  becomes a “Quiet Sun.” An objective and calm scientist would make no big deal of such drama, just as it is no big deal when summer’s beneficent warmth gives way to cruel winter blasts.

Is there drama involved when winter gives way to summer? You bet there is, on my farm at least. But it is natural. In like manner there is drama involved in other natural cycles. Currently these cycles all seem headed for “cold”. In the North Pacific the PDO seems likely to flip radically from “Warm Blob” to “cold”, and in the Atlantic the AMO seems likely to be falling from its thirty year “warm” peak towards “cold”. When you add the chill of the “Quiet Sun” to all this, you see a lot of “cold” in the way of “Global Warming.” This is all normal and natural, and has little to do with politics.

But this is very bad news to the political priests of Global Warming, who insist we control the weather, and that if we sacrifice virgins the planet will be saved. Things are happening completely outside their control, and more importantly outside their expectations. They thought they had everything figured out, and now look like bozos. For crying out loud, even in the sun-baked deserts of Saudi Arabia snow was falling in November, and the passes between Syria and Lebanon were blocked by snow at the start of December. Talk about your “Damascus Moment!” Here is a view from Damascus suburbs, when winter hasn’t officially started yet:


This sort of bad news makes the people who are most dedicated to political ideology and the false god of Global Warming desperate to find evidence warming is happening. Therefore they look far and wide for evidence of warming.

Allow me to help them. Most places have kept records for less than a hundred years. Even with temperatures level (and no Global Warming) there is a better than a one-in-a-hundredth chance that the temperature in any place on a particular date will happen to be the warmest seen for that date. So where should we go? Let’s go to Santiago Chile, which, (after, I’ve been told, “late snowfalls in the Andes and a very cold spring”),  they hit a record 37°C a couple days ago.

Is that helpful? To me it is no big deal. But then, my income is not dependent on perpetuating a lie. (I cringe when I use the word “lie”, for I know some sweet young school teachers who teach the Global Warming lie only because they trust their lying superiors and lying textbooks.)

The political priests of Global Warming are facing a bad situation. Their congregations may rise in fury, unless they they can find proof they are not full of bull….bull…baloney.

It likely won’t be the first time this has happened. There is evidence that at the end of the Anasazi civilization, in the American Southwest, a crisis occurred which involved an uprising of farmers, who were so outraged by the botched forecasts of their priests (Climate Scientists), that the farmers burned down holy places (Kivas) that had stood for hundred of years.

Twenty years ago politicians were doling out such fortunes that the fat was dribbling down the jowls of so-called Climate Scientists, but now they are being asked to account for what they pontificated back then, and they are wearing dangerous shoes. There was good money in saying what they said, but now the money may vanish, as their patrons were voted out of office by an outraged public. Now they must stand by what they said, with no money involved, or else confess their sins.

There is pathos in their predicament, but they have made their own bed and must sleep in it. They don’t have to stand by a lie. In my neck of the woods many workers have on numerous occasions told their bosses to, “Take this job and shove it.” Consequently they may have been poorer monetarily, and at times may have had to clean latrines, but they stood by the Truth, and upheld the dignity of decency. Now it is time for Climate Scientists to do the same. Somehow I feel most of them lack the gumption. Why? Because if they were that decent they never would have agreed to be the liars they have been.

In any case they are confronted by the fact they must defend themselves, with no money involved, and such stress will likely make them mad. Expect no science. Expect only the defiant self-defense of antipathy, concerning a subject which ought be all rainbows and sky-blue-pink clouds; IE: The weather.

I wish we could just be divorced from these people.  Most Climate Scientists are like people who vowed to be married to a mate, but were married to heroin, and betrayed their mate. In the case of Climate Scientists, their drug was not heroin, but political fluff and humbug. In some cases it involved substantial amounts of money and power, and in others it merely involved front-page meaningless hit-parade status, or perhaps merely keeping a job by being a rump-swab. They betrayed Truth for their cheap high. Nothing they did has anything to do with the simple thing that interests you and I; IE: The weather.

Even when a livelihood is dishonest, people will fight like cornered rats to keep it, resorting to shameful behavior. We may see some of such behavior during these trying times, and even if you reach out to such people, in pity, you may get your hand bitten.  Rats behave like rats. I am expecting this political frenzy to produce a peak of propaganda, demonstrating for once and for all the distinction between True Science, and the pollution of politics.

Let us shake free of that nonsense, and just attend to the beauty of weather. Why? Because most names you can connect with “Climate Science” fail to see weather is beautiful.

Therefore they have failed the Creator, who has blessed us with a creation full of majesty and beauty, with His fingerprints visible in every breeze, but unseen by those who cannot see the wind.

When I last posted, a flow from the Pacific had refueled the low pressure “Ralph” at the Pole, so I dubbed him Hula-Ralph. However Hula-Ralph was the author of his own demise, building high pressure in his wake and creating a cross-polar-flow that effectively cut him off from Pacific air. Ralph then turned to the Atlantic, and a remarkable surge is starting to develop, much like the one we witnessed three weeks ago. It remains to be seen if temperatures will spike as high.

You can see the Atlantic low came up through Fram Strait and created “Ralph’s “signature” hook of mild temperature at the Pole.A second low follows up the east coast of Greenland, bringing a thaw north to Svalbard.

However this second low is to some degree diverted, in a weakened state, along the more normal North Atlantic Path to Norway. Meanwhile a huge Pacific Aleutian Low is bumped further north than usual into Bering Strait.

Now a third low is coming up through Fram Strait and Svalbard is above freezing. Mild air has pushed through Bering Strait, but doesn’t seem likely to penetrate to the Pole.

Some models have been suggesting Ralph gets very large at the Pole, but so far he has remained modest. The GFS model goes so far as suggesting in three days the third low will move to the Pole and be a sub-960 mb gale. (Maps by Dr. Ryan Maue, from the Weatherbell site.)


What seems the biggest change is that North America has been cut off from the cross-polar-flow. (To continue its current cold North America will either have to get moderated Siberian air from a trans-Pacific flow, or use its own Canadian tundra and taiga to grow its own arctic highs.)

North America  is cut off because a flow of mild air is roaring east along the Siberian coast, showing a lot of white heat in the anomaly-maps three days from now. It reaches to the Pacific. However also notice that as these west winds warm Scandinavia, (as we  saw three weeks ago), a sort of backwash of very cold air is east winds moving west, further south, (as we also saw three weeks ago.)  Southern Eutope will shiver, and Saudi Arabia may get more snow.


In five days, (if we can trust the model), the surge is amazing, and Ralph is in complete control of the Pole, from the Atlantic to the Pacific.


What impresses me most is the fetch of west winds from Atlantic to Pacific along the coast of Siberia. The enormity of such a fetch is difficult to imagine, because few really understand the enormity of Russia’s arctic.

Russia’s coastline along the Arctic stretches almost 40,000 kilometers (including the coastlines of the northern islands). This translates to 24,854 miles.  (To drive coast-to-coast in the USA, Los Angeles to New York City, is less than 4000 miles.)  The Russian Arctic coast drains a watershed of 13 million square kilometers, equal to about three-quarters of the total land area of Russia and an area larger than any country on earth save Russia itself. (We are not talking Luxembourg, here.)

The temperature anomaly map shows we are taking a massive amount of Atlantic mildness to the coldest part of the planet during the darkest days of the year. The air will not get warmer. In fact, besides losing heat it brings north to the night skies, it will lose freed-up latent heat as large amounts of Atlantic moisture condense to clouds and precipitate as snow.


In some ways this surge resembles the surge that occurred last Christmas, which ended the year 2015 with a grand spike in the temperatures-north-of-80°-latitude graph.


This year rising to such levels would not be as impressive, for we are already nearly up at those levels. (The graph shows a slight dip, as the mildness from Hula-Ralph cools, but a lot of the extreme cold is south of 80° north latitude, and therefore does not show on this graph.)


In some ways what this graph shows is how much heat our planet is squandering to the darkness of outer space. A measure might be made of the area of white between the red line and the green line, and, by comparing last year to this year, it can be seen that this year we are squandering a lot more.

I could see a good argument being made by Alarmists that the sea-ice is made thinner by such mild air shifted north, and the planet will have to expend less heat next summer to melt thinner ice. I would welcome such debate. I’d wonder about the cooling of the water under the ice, as so much was exposed to bitter winds this autumn, and would point out most melting comes from beneath. I’d wonder how much the degree the seawater was cooled this autumn could influence the melt next summer. I’d also say that besides melting ice, the summer sun must melt the snow on top of the ice, and more Atlantic moisture shifted north likely would mean deeper snow. Any decent Alarmist would then point out deep snow acts as insulation, and deeper snow might retard the thickening of the ice. Such debate would be healthy, and in the interests of science.

However I will bet you a nickle we see none of that, in the ludicrous Main Stream Media. I expect pure sensationalism and propaganda. If last Christmas is anything to go by, the surge will be presented as all-warming-all-the-time, with nothing I have said about cooling touched with a ten foot pole, and they will also throw in some ridiculously maudlin stuff about Santa Claus drowning because the North Pole is melting (even though ice is increasing up there, as it always does in December). They likely will include a picture of Mrs. Claus and Rudolph weeping, just to terrorize the children and spoil their Christmases.

I see your nickle, and raise you a dime.

For the record, here is the graph of ice extent, so you see ice is increasing.


In actual fact, the graph does show the last “surge” did produce a short-term down-spike, when the edge of the ice in Barents Sea and Kara Sea was pushed north by the strong south winds. We might see that again, but it will be a brief interlude in the usual rise.

What the graph does not show is deeper and more extensive snow-cover south of the Arctic Sea, which seems to occur when the polar air is bumped south of the Pole by these invasions of Atlantic (and sometimes Pacific) air. In terms of Sea-ice, the displacement of polar air south shows up primarily in the Sea of Okhotsk on the Pacific coast of Siberia (and also in cooler north Pacific SST.) Also Hudson Bay is now swiftly freezing over.


The NRL “thickness map” will be interesting to watch as winter starts, to see if the incursions of milder air keep the ice thinner. The interesting thing about the current thickness map (to me) is the fact the the thick ice along the shores of the Laptev Sea was pushed off-shore by the bitter blasts of the cross-polar-flow. A Polynya of open water formed, and rapidly skimmed over with baby ice, but not without cooling of the coastal waters.

Waters north of Bering Strait seem to be freezing over despite the Aleutian gale bringing mild winds howling north.


There will be two things to watch for in coming weeks. First is the wonder and beauty of creation as the Creator made it. Second will be the amazing immaturity (I would call it “adolescent”, but it seems more immature than that) seen in the behavior of the politically-minded.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE  –Ralph Rocks–

This likely deserves a separate post, but I am so busy with Christmas stuff that I’ll just attach it here.

Ralph is causing a bit of a ruckus up at the Pole, which is good, for if we are going to have a ruckus it is good to have it up where no one lives, and no one gets hurt, especially at Christmas.

The DMI maps do a fine job of simplifying, and showing the basics of what is going on:

In case you are too lazy to scroll back up, our last maps showed Ralph weak over the Pole, and the ruckus down at the southern tip of Greenland, with another ruckus south of Bering Strait. The Pole looked calm, and incapable of mischief.


What was most interesting on the following day [December 18th] was seen in the temperature maps. Not only does the triangular “feeder band” poke north from the Atlantic side, but one pokes north from the Pacific side. This is just asking for trouble. Mix mild air with frigid air, and you are mixing gasoline with a match, (irrespective of stuff over my head, such as upper air maps). However the pressure maps only show the initial Ralph drift towards the Pacific side weakening, as a replacement drifts to the Pole from Svalbard, only strengthening a itty bitty bit.

Yesterday, [December 19], we saw the Replacement-Ralph failed to weaken (as they usually do), but instead grow stronger. Also a Re-replacement Ralph (via what I call “morphistication”) formed off the east coast of Greenland.  The temperature maps showed a wonderful mixing of gasoline and matches, as both Atlantic and Pacific “feeder bands” swirl at the Pole.

Today [December 20] we see the Replacement Ralph passing its peak and beginning to weaken, but the Re-replacement Ralph exploding over Svalbard and heading north to the Pole, and also the Re-re-replacement Ralph entering the picture from south of Greenland and clobbering Iceland. As there are actual people on Svalbard and Iceland, I pause to pray for their safety, for this is no longer an esoteric discussion of uninhabited places. However it is beyond doubt the current ruckus is well north of the usual storm track, and allows a Ralphist like myself to climb up on his soap box and preach Ralphism.

First, I should point out that, if a gale like the sub-960 mb Re-replacement Ralph appeared over the Pole in the summer, Alarmists would be tooting their horns and throwing confetti, because they would figure it was speeding the sea-ice melt, to have a gale smashing and battering the ice. The situation is a bit different now, for despite the invasions of Atlantic and Pacific air the temperature-map shows that surface temperatures are below the freezing point of salt water. To smash and batter the sea-ice in December has a different effect than smashing and battering sea-ice in July.


One Alarmist view thinks that, if you want less ice, you should bring milder air north, to slow the thickening of sea-ice,  however a different Alarmist view has the perspective that to have less sea-ice you want calm winds, and baby-ice covered by snow, to act as insulation, that keeps the seawater beneath from freezing. This second view strongly disapproves of smashing and battering ice in December, for that exposes seawater to freezing. The second view only approves of mild air coming north if it comes calmly. The current mild air, however, has not gone gently into that good night. (Hat Tip: Dyan Thomas) Rather it is a ruckus. (Note to self: Title next post, “Ralph’s Ruckus”).

Secondly, having a sub-960-mb low over the Pole involves uplift. When milder temperatures vanish from the temperature map, often they have been lifted as an occlusion. (Note to self: Write a post exploring the concept of the Pole as the “Terminal Occlusion.”)

Thirdly, such uplift causes condensation and precipitation and crystallization, which furthers the uplift by releasing latent heat during the phase changes. All this heat is released up where the troposphere is lower than anywhere else on earth, when the sun never shines, and very little in the way of “greenhouse gas” stands in the way between the heat and an exit ramp to the fast track to Alpha Centauri. Heat is lost upwards, as down falls  bitter cold arctic powder snow, that will not melt unless extra heat is added next summer. (Conclusion: The damper is wide open, and the planet is losing lots of heat up the chimney, with only the embers of a dying El Nino in the stove. )

Fourthly, Ralph should be getting more attention than he is getting.

Fifthly, the current runs of the models suggest the Re-re-replacement Ralph will follow and be a second sub-960-mb low north of Fram Strait, but following lows will be unable to penetrate north. Ralph will become so big and brash and vast that, beneath his spread-out center, the North Atlantic will see a  west-to-east flow, and that will send a couple gales crashing west-to-east across the Atlantic into Norway.

(Merry Christmas, Norway. Merry Boxing Day, England.)

Returning to the uninhabited north, and the subject of sea-ice, I am very curious about what happens to sea-ice when Ralph grows mighty and smashes, crashes, and bashes it, and temperatures are below freezing. My experience of such gales involves this stuff called, “freezing spray”, which coats everything it touches with ice, and can so cover the superstructure of a fishing boat with weight that the ship capsizes. (This may be cheating, because it involves fresh water, but it makes my point; here is a picture of what frozen spray did to a lighthouse by Lake Michigan, though the gale-churned water itself was far below the areas the freezing spray touched.)


I suggest, looking at the above picture, that, when Ralph forms two 960 mb gales in December, it might have a different effect than Ralph had, when he formed two 960 mb gales last August.

Oh, by the way, as some of you know, I love to introduce the subject of Africa into the subject of Arctic Sea Ice. Therefore I simply must mention that the sands of the Sahara got some of the “backwash cold,” which can, on rare occasions, make the pyramids colder than the Baltic. In fact, for the first time is something like 40 years, the sands of the Sahara looked like this:



Stay tuned.


Because I am such a modest person (and am so seldom correct and so seldom able to brag), I would like to remind people that I did mention that the warm air surging up to the Pole might “bump” the polar air south, and might cause what I called a “backwash” of cold air to move west under the mildness, and I even had the sheer audacity to suggest Saudi Arabia might get a second “unprecedented” snowfall. Well, “cough cough ahem ahem” guess what?

The great thing about social media is that people don’t know it is politically incorrect to report weather. It is also very hard for political and religious despots to forbid reporting a freak fall of snow. The mainstream media may scrupulously avoid reporting it, following the discipline of their religion, which does not allow eyes to stray to snow, as if it was a woman’s legs, or low cut dress, or cleavage, or even pure pornography. However ordinary folk lack such discipline, and in a wonderfully simplistic manner just tell the Truth. And the mainstream media  grinds its teeth in rage.

“Don’t those fools understand?” The Main Stream Media seems to rave, “Don’t they see that the survival of the planet depends on reporting only Global Warming? How dare Arabs  report things we reporters must avert our eyes from, and pretend we do not notice?”

Back in my youth I had the discipline to avert my eyes from cleavage, and was called a “prude” for doing so. Therefore I think it is only natural that the Main Stream Media must be called “meteorological prudes”.

What I call “the backwash” shows up quite clearly, as does what I dub “the surge”, in a map of Europe (produced by Dr. Ryan Maue at his Weatherbell Site), which shows the surge is mild to the north (red) but the backwash is cold to the south (blue) in Europe.


The only reason it is “above normal” to the south of this map is because it is midnight, and the Sahara cannot get colder-than normal when it is wet and has clouds after midnight. Also the Mediterranean Ocean is warm. So lets  check Master Maue’s map of actual temperatures in the wee hours of the morning.


In the above map we see that the Baltic Sea is in fact colder than the Mediterranean, so we shouldn’t alter vacation plans. Finland is slightly warmer than the Sahara. However the “backwash” is quite clear, making Turkey colder than Poland, and Greece colder than Denmark.

It must be hard to be a prudish reporter, and never look at what is beautiful. I mean, check out North Africa in this Maue Map:

sahara-chill-gfs_t2m_afr_1  Yowza!  The “backwash” even reaches the Sudan! What a headline! But the prudes in the Main Stream Media avert their eyes.

Sigh. I suppose, to appease such morons, we must flatter their anxiety by leaving Africa for the subject I am suppose to be posting upon, which is sea-ice in the Arctic. And yes, milder-than normal air sure is surging up that way.

Today’s DMI maps shows signs the “surge” may be passing its climax, though it sure remains impressive to me.

I notice a lot of Atlantic heat is being stolen by the Pole. It is +10°C  (50°F) off the north coast of Norway (warmer than the Sahara) and it is +5°C  (41° F) way up in Svalbard, where the sun never shines. It will not make the North Atlantic warmer, to be robbed of its heat in this manner.

The Atlantic “signature” of Ralph is now blatant upon the Pole in temperature-maps (even as the latest Ralph-incarnation is backed towards Fram Strait, in pressure-maps.) However the Pacific “signature” is now gone. All that Hula-Ralph air has exited the surface-scene, and is on its way upwards to Alpha Centauri. Such is the fate of all mildness that enters the starless noon of the Arctic, in December.

Certain Alarmists, (the usual suspects), are rejoicing to see mildness rush north to be lost at the Pole. They are prudish reporters who finally see a hem-line they are allowed to lustfully peek at. All their pent up reporter-instinct to tell-the-truth now finally has something they are allowed to talk about, so you can expect them to report like gang-busters, going overboard, when they talk about “mildness at the Pole”.

However I simply think that, if our planet wanted to lose heat in a hurry, it would send mild air north to where there was no sun, and where heat would be lost to outer space, and also our planet would bring snows to the Saudis and the Sahara, where the albedo of freshly fallen snow would lose further heat to outer space.

What might losing so much heat in a hurry mean?

Stay tuned.

Oh, by the way, because we are suppose to be talking about sea-ice, I should likely mention that though “the surge” is pushing sea-ice north in Barents Sea, and therefore reducing the “extent” in that area, I did suggest the displacement of frigid air south would cause Hudson Bay to flash-freeze before Christmas, though it was practically ice-free when I made my brash pronouncement. Well, guess what?


(Cough cough ahem ahem)


Hudson Bay did freeze over by Christmas, so I won my nickle bet. It is amazing how swiftly that Bay can freeze over once it gets started, and one can see why the captains of ships want to have nothing to do with the refreeze.

As I expected, the surge of milder air up towards the Pole did generate hoop-la from the usual suspects. NPR reported on the warm anomaly at the pole without mentioning cold cold anomalies elsewhere, and Tony Heller did a good job of taking them to task for that.


The cold “backwash” that has sneaked back to the west beneath the surge to the north has resulted in a lot of cold down at the latitude of the Black Sea.  Krasnaya Polyana reported 99 cm of snow on the ground on December 12, when usually they see no more 30 cm at any one time.


So they got a lovely white Christmas!



Warm is Cold, and Down is Up

This is a post by Ron Clutz over at his “Science Matters” website. It holds another idea about what has been creating the low pressure I dubbed “Ralph” at the Pole.

Paul Homewood has a post today: Who Is Lying? John Holdren, Jennifer Francis, Or NOAA? The issue revolves around claims of global warming changing the jet stream, resulting in extreme weather, incl…

Source: Warm is Cold, and Down is Up