ARCTIC SEA ICE –Unprecedented Cold In Canadian Archipelago–

Most eyes tend to focus on the Central Arctic Basin, where temperatures have been above normal all winter, due to surges of milder air (primarily from the Atlantic) fueling the persistent swirl of low pressure I have dubbed “Ralph”.

DMI4 0308 meanT_2017

The problem with the above graph is that it can miss major areas of very cold air, when they occur south of 80° north latitude. Earlier this winter this was occurring over the tundra of Siberia. Currently it is not as cold on that side, as the current incarnation of Ralph has wobbled to that side of the Pole, and is even managing to create a feeder-band of mild air that pokes north through the wastes of central Siberia (demonstrating the sunshine is winning its way north, as that area cannot produce such kindly temperatures in January.)

However, as Ralph wobbles towards Eurasia, Canada is left alone, and in the Canadian Archipelago some amazing cold has pooled. Ryan Maue noticed it and tweeted about it.

Arch Rec 2 C6PrKUxWUAA4Kbj Arch Rec 1 C6G1V2NWgAE7ZeD

Please notice this is not only a record for the date, and not only a record for the month, but is an all time record, and beat the former record by nearly a full degree. Also note that the cold is largely centered south of 80° north latitude, and therefore will not have much influence on the DMI polar temperature graph.

I bring this up for three reasons.

1.) There is much hubbub in the media about warming in the arctic, and all-time-record-cold tends to be neglected.

2.) The jet stream looks likely to tap into this reservoir of cold and bring blobs of it south into Canada and the eastern USA. In the east we have been lulled into a false sense of security by what seemed to be an early spring. Not all that far to my south some plants have been fooled, and are blooming. We are likely to get an unpleasant reminder winter isn’t over, with freezes and snows right down to the Carolinas.

3.) This pool of cold air continues to make the future look difficult for the intrepid adventurers who like to attempt the Northwest Passage in everything from luxury liners to kayaks.  Not only is this extreme cold thickening the ice, but the ice is not being pushed away from the Western approaches to the passage by east winds, as happened last year.

Below is the thickness map from this time last year. Notice all the light lilac (six inches to two feet thick) to the north and northwest of the Mackenzie River Delta. This represents a vast area of ice (I’m not sure how many Manhattans), and having all this ice pushed away from land made the ice thicker to the north (yellow on the map; 7-12 feet thick). It also meant only a skim of ice, with little snow on top, needed to be melted in the summer to make a passage for intrepid adventurers.

Thickness 20160305 Attachment-1

Now compare the above map with the current situation, below.


“Ralph” has ensured the winds have been predominately west rather than east, and rather than the ice being blown away from the Northwest Passage, it has been jammed into the entrance, and places where it was only six inches thick it is six feet thick this year. This does not bode well for the intrepid fellows attempting to be the first to make the passage in what-have-you (an air-mattress or pedal-boat, perhaps.) It doesn’t even bode well for seals, who need to have their pups on ice by open water, and also for polar bears, who chow down on those cute pups.

The fact the ice is being pushed up close to the shore may also explain a peculiar divergence between the volume as measured by PIOMAS and by CRYOSAT.

Piomas 201702 Attachment-1

My assumption is that CryoSat does a better job of measuring thick ice, when it is close to shore. PIOMAS may be completely missing it. This would make a big difference in the total volume of ice.

In any case it will be interesting to watch and see if the winds shift and there are any easterly gales, which were extreme last April, and created the notable polynya. If the thicker ice persists, it will be interesting to watch what occurs when the spring floods come down the Mackenzie River. Stay tuned.


6 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA ICE –Unprecedented Cold In Canadian Archipelago–

  1. You wrote ” this is not a record for the date or the month, but is an all time record, ” How can it be an all time record and NOT also a date record and NOT also a month record. Perhaps you meant something like ” this is not only a record for the date and for the month, but this is also an all time record, “

      • I assumed you left out the word ‘just’, as in ‘not just a record’. I forget to type words I think all the time, can cause issues, but sometimes it’s hard to catch mental assumptions like that even on a reread.

  2. Constant examples, such as this one above, can NOT be discounted.

    Since I have been tracking global climate (now about 10 years) I have seen too many “unprecedented” examples of record cold and snow. (Sorry Warmists, but continuing annual occurrences of record cold and snow does not happen in a warming climate!)

    Several years ago, when Greenland was in a slight warming trend, the anti-CO2 crowd claimed the island was the “canary in the coal mine”. They said that it would be the first indicator of a warming planet. But, the snow accumulation there is now in the third year of record-setting.

    Such examples have been occurring all over. Even where I live we could not get up to the average number of 100º days last summer. California and Texas were claimed to be in “permanent drought”, but now both have experienced record precipitation. It just goes on and on.

    So thanks Caleb for pointing this one out. I would have missed it otherwise.

    For those that do not know, in addition to Caleb’s excellent reporting on the Arctic, there are two blogs that do an excellent job of debunking the CO2 nonsense:

    • Thanks for the thanks.

      Good links. I like how they have gathered their ideas into a cohesive overview.

      One of these days I hope to do an overview of what I’ve observed, but my life tends to be a sort of day by day fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants experience, so I just post what I notice as I go along.

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