ARCTIC SEA ICE –Fram Jam Philosophy–

I feel a need to begin this post with a digression, defending how a non-scientist like myself can have any right to comment on the Truth, (or lack if it), in highly scientific papers.

I assert that Truth, in and of itself, never needs to persuade anyone. It simply is. Furthermore, It doesn’t give a flying flip if you agree with It. It simply is, and persists, and is a thing you cannot bully, or shoot, or put in a death camp, or threaten in any way.

Unfortunately we live in a world that lies a lot. Sad to say, but the commercials you see on TV are not produced by dewy-eyed virgins, incapable of dishonesty. They are produced by skilled liars, who have such a reputation for fooling the public that they are hired by some politicians, and even some churches. Consequently we have trouble telling an honest politician, or even preacher, from a confidence trickster.

But time will tell. Engineers know this. If you ignore Truth, in the end you will face “Murphy’s Law”, which is a way Truth has of telling you that you have built your foundation on shifting sand.

The people who think it is wiser to lie may not commit actual murder, but in a sense they are trying to get away with murder, when they crucify the Truth, to sell their soap flakes, or win their election, or to get any other specific desire-they-lust-for gratified.  Therefore, “Caveat Emptor “, “let the buyer beware.” The consumer, or voter, is in the position of Sherlock Holmes. We may be facing someone who has committed murder, but is highly skilled in disguising the fact.

Advertisers who murder the Truth to sell Chocolate Sugar Bombs Cereal must someday face the fact they rotted little children’s teeth to make money, and I don’t envy them on that day, even though I now do envy them, (because they are much richer than I am, writing their claptrap, as I gain poverty, writing of the Truth).

It may not seem very spiritual to write some schoolmarmish thing like, “Oatmeal is better for teeth than Chocolate Sugar Bombs Cereal”. But it is. You see, if you murder Truth you are nailing Truth to a cross, to sell your Chocolate Sugar Bombs Cereal. That may score you points in your ad agency, but it might be different when life gets to its end, and all the money in the world can’t save you. At that point the dreary, boring schoolmarm who stood by the Truth, and uttered dull things like, “Oatmeal is better”, might turn out to be in the very shoes the ad agency once mocked, but now yearns for as deeply as stepsisters yearned for Cinderella’s slippers.  But…we shall see about that.

Some of us would prefer to be honest. Who wants to be seen as a murderer? Truth is Beauty, and who wants to nail Beauty to a cross?  Truth is what we want, for at its best It is a honeymoon full of forgiveness and heaven. Therefore we need to be like Sherlock Holmes, as we face a world full of liars.

The neat thing about Truth is that it never needs to make up excuses. 100% of its testimony stands up in court of law. It is what It is. Therefore what a Sherlock Holmes must do is to nod at the 97% that claims to be righteous, but seek the 3% which proves the testimony is not the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth.

Let me put this in another way.

A con-artist may go to great lengths to hide his con, and may carefully put 97 footprints in the snow to make it look like he walked a certain way, but the detective doesn’t have to waste time carefully examining 97 footprints. All he needs to do is say, “See here,  old chap! Three footprints are missing. Did you fly at that time /sarc?”

(Truth doesn’t even bother with this stuff, because Truth needs not forge footprints, and leaves a hundred when It walks a hundred.)

What does this have to do with arctic sea-ice?

Well, the science involved is meticulous and detailed and, unless you are so inclined, downright boring. For example, take the core-samples removed from the icecaps of Greenland and Antarctica. You would not believe the exhaustive lengths undergone to make sure a fact is a fact. You and I may read there was a humongous eruption of a volcano called Toba, 74,000 years ago, and we just say, “OK, if you say so.” Scientific fellows are not so willing to be gullible. In their own way they are detectives, in terms of a specific, scientific footprint, and they can be painfully meticulous, for they want to be absolutely sure every “T” is crossed and every “I” is dotted.

Don’t take my word for it. Go check out their hard work here:

I actually did skim through this exhaustive paper, a bit like a dog looking at Shakespeare, or an Italian looking at a page written in Chinese. (My first conclusion was, “These guys suck as writers; I wish I could buy them some beers at a pub, and get them talking when their tongues are loose.”)

Considering this is only one footprint of 97, and I have trouble comprehending a lot of its intricacies, certain con-artists might make a point of asking me how I have the nerve, the complete audacity, to question 96 other footprints, when I can’t even understand the first. How dare I doubt?

My reply is, “Of course I am not an expert.  I am am a detective.  It is different.”

How is it different?  Well, it takes a certain sort, a sort of podiatrist, to focus on a single footprint. However a detective is looking at all hundred footprints necessary to track the path of Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But The Truth.  Anything short of 100 footprints makes a true detective suspicious. Anyone who speaks of 97% makes a detective smell a rat. Or perhaps smell unwashed feet, or something fishy, like a red herring.

Now here is the odd thing: The reason the above study is so meticulous, so exhaustive, so draining to read, and such bad writing, is because they are straining at gnats, in an attempt to be all-the-way correct.  They make tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes of Truth, although brevity is the soul of wit.

(I just plagiarize from Polonius, one of the most boring and tedious of Shakespeare’s characters, who was so hypocritical that while advocating dishonesty he spoke a so-called truism [which the self-serving love to quote, as if it was Biblical], [rather than understanding Polonius’s so-called “wisdom” is merely the silly words spoken by a foolish old man who got himself  killed because he was mistaken for a rat.])  (IE: “To your own self/patron/government-grant be true.”)

Brevity is not merely the soul of wit. It is good governance. Churchhill demanded that very erudite and learned people report to him in a manner that could be encapsulated in a single page. I don’t doubt he would have scowled one of his famous frowns if, instead of a single page, he had been handed the above exhaustive study.

That is why I breezed through their paper. Those guys have the time to dwell on such details and (somewhat amazingly) they actually get paid for it. I don’t.  And I’ve learned it is sometimes good to demand money for my time. (It is amazing how swiftly con-artists retreat, once you ask them to pay you for the work they demand of you.)

I actually glean things from breezing through papers that involve stuff I don’t have time to study to the gnat-straining depth which the paper-writers do. (Some things that fascinate me might make the paper-writers nervous, for, besides the science, I am am interested in what is revealed by their writing technique.) Even though much in their paper is above my head, (in their particular subject), I do notice and nab small snippets of trivia that grab my attention. For example, the above paper contained this intriguing sentence.

“The bipolar linking gives no support for a long-term global cooling caused by the Toba eruption as Antarctica experiences a major warming shortly after the event.”

That may not have been what  the paper-writers intended I take-away from their paper, but as a detective it made me go, “Hmm!” It represents a footprint where there shouldn’t be a footprint.

You see, it is commonly accepted that enormous amounts of volcanic ash ejected into the atmosphere makes the planet colder. There may even be 97 papers showing that this is largely, (or at least in some ways), a “truism”. However Antarctica getting warmer, after the biggest blast in the past hundred millennium, does seem, if nothing else, to be “an exception to the rule.”

Even a lone exception should cause a Sherlock Holmes to pause, especially when he has read elsewhere that the 97 papers reaffirming the truism, “volcanoes make it cooler,” have been used as a “rule”, when computer climate-models have failed to “hindcast” correctly.  When hindcasts are botched this “rule” has been employed in order to “tweak” the program.

Now I don’t know about you, but the word “tweak” makes me uncomfortable. Maybe it was permissible when I was a lusty young man, and wanted to move an individual in a certain direction, but at my advanced age “tweaking” is more liable to get me arrested as a dirty old man. And Truth in its purest form can’t be tweaked at all.

An “exception to the rule” should get a Sherlock Holmes casting about, to see if there might be a unseen reason for the exception. Where a footprint should be, a footprint is missing, or perhaps there is a footprint where no footprint should be. It doesn’t matter that 97 or even 99 other footprints are exactly where Truth says they should be. It only takes a single misplaced footprint to set off bells, whistles, and flashing red lights.

What in the world could cause Antarctica to warm after the Toba eruption? Could the jet stream have become so meridional it even penetrated the wall of wind whirling about Antarctica? Could Pacific warm-fronts have dared assault that forbidding continent? Inquiring minds want to know. A true Sherlock considers such things.

Now, before you think I dreamed up any of this on my own, I should mention that, back before the government decided to pour an ungodly amount of money into a single answer, and zip-zero into alternative answers, a group of scientists gathered in 1992 in Canada to ponder “The Year Without A Summer” (1816).  Their pondering can be found here:

The Great climatologist Hubert Lamb had retired in 1978, but was invited to this event, and thought enough of it to send his assistant John Kington. Lots of fine minds attended, including a young whippersnapper named Dr. Tim Ball. Two major known events were contemplated, the onset of a “Quiet Sun” called the “Dalton Minimum”, and a huge volcanic eruption called “Tamboro”. Most of what they discussed was stuff I skimmed over, but I screeched to a halt when Dr. Ball summarized, “The pattern is one of extreme Meridional flow.”

(One reason I screeched to a halt was that the word “meridional” wasn’t in my dictionary. However it described a jet stream I used the word “loopy” to describe, and was opposed to the jet-stream called “zonal”.)

This grabbed my attention because a jet stream that loops far to the south brings arctic outbreaks to places which seldom see snow and frost. This actually fits the tweaked climate-models that suggested volcanoes cool the climate. It represents a footprint where a footprint should be. However, when that same jet stream loops back, far to the north, it brings thaws to the North Pole. Misfit alert! We have a footprint where no footprint should be!

In other words, perhaps the sun going quiet or a huge volcano blowing its top does not cool the planet in a nice, evenhanded manner which is easily plugged into a climate model, but rather throws everything out of whack, so that the jet-stream must go bananas to bring things back into balance.

It seems to me that the smart thing to do would be to “tweak” the model yet again, and introduce the “new” (actually old and pre-Global-Warming) idea of a varying jet-stream into the Climate Models. An honest scientist would do this for the sake of Truth, but a really, really crafty con-artist might do this to continue his scam. Sadly, the current crop of con-artists lacks genius, and are taking the dull and unimaginative approach of attempting to deny the past, in a sense “burning the books.”

Besides the onset of the Dalton Minimum, (which our current “Quiet Sun” may be trying to emulate), there was an injection of volcanic ash into the atmosphere we can’t really imagine, using the experience of our lifetimes. As I wrote elsewhere:

On April 10, 1815 the Tambora Volcano exploded.  It is estimated it blew 39 cubic miles of ash skywards. (A three-mile by three-mile by three-mile cube is only 27 cubic miles.) (I have no idea how many Manhattans that is.) (Homework: Manhattan is 22.82 Square miles, so the eruption could have buried the how deeply in ash? [Hint: Burying Manhattan island a mile deep would use up 22.82 of the 39 cubic miles.)

The noise was so loud it was heard 1200 miles away. Ships over the horizon assumed it was the cannon of a ship in distress and sailed around looking for another ship, and on one island troops were marched off to reinforce other troops because it was assumed an outpost was under attack.  Then the great cloud of ash began to spread across the sky.

It is estimated 10,000 people were killed immediately by the blast, as many as 70,000 more by starvation or diarrhea brought on by the heavy ash fall, and another 4600 by tsunamis ranging from six to thirteen feet. The blast, as large as four Krakataus, penetrated the tropopause, roughly 11 miles up near the equator,  and reached 16 miles further into the Stratosphere, to a total height of 27 miles.  There, high above the circulations of Hadley and Ferrel Cells, it began to spread out around the Globe.

I should note that Tamboro was not the first, but the second enormous blast, judging from ice-core records, though we apparently don’t know where the “mystery volcano” occurred.

Tamboro ash Greenland_sulfate

If volcanoes “cool” the planet, then surely there should be ample evidence of expanding sea-ice at this time. However now enters a Sherlock Holmes:

John Daly-pic

John Daly was a man who simply pointed out where the footprints were missing, and he should have been welcomed, if Climate Scientists truly embrace Truth. Instead a low point was achieved when the Climate Scientist Phil Jones, upon hearing of Daly’s death in 2004, emailed, “in an odd way this is cheering news”.

Fortunately Daly’s website lived on, and those who thirsted for the Truth (that Phil Jones wanted denied) could find all sorts of interesting clues on Daly’s haunting site (even back before the “Watts Up With That” site appeared in 2006).  For me the most interesting thing he offered was this quote, which  he dredged up from the Royal Society’s minutes of November 20, 1817. (Volume 8, pp 149-153), (and which Daly used as a sort of heading for the part of his site that focused on sea-ice). 

“It will without doubt have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated….”

It was utterly counter-intuitive for the Poles to warm after volcano’s vomited humongous amounts of ash into the stratosphere.  However the more one digs the more one sees it did happen.

Fram Jam 1 screenhunter_37-feb-10-07-22

Fram Jam 2 screenhunter_38-feb-10-07-23

18,000 square miles of ice is impressive, especially when one compares it with the mere 8 square miles that broke off the Ward Parks Ice shelf in 2008, and generated wide-eyed hysteria among Alarmists.

Fram Jam 4 download


Something was really moving the ice about back then. The English Navy had a huge surplus of ships in the postwar quiet, after Napoleon was defeated, and there were great hopes that the sea-ice was vanishing from the north, and new trade routes would open up. The following is also from 1817:

“We learn that a vessel is to be fitted out by Government for the purpose of attempting again the north-west passage, the season being considered as peculiarly favourable to such an expedition. Our readers need not be informed that larger masses of ice than ever were before known have this year been seen floating in the Atlantic, and that from their magnitude and solidity, they reached even the fortieth latitude before they were melted into a fluid state. From an examination of the Greenland captains, it has been found that owing to some convulsions of nature , the sea was more open and more free from compact ice than in any former voyage they ever made: that several ships actually reached the eighty-fourth degree of latitude, in which no ice whatever was found; that for the first time for 400 years, vessels penetrated to the west coast of Greenland, and that they apprehended no obstacle to their even reaching the pole, if it had consisted with their duty to their employers to make the attempt…”

What really blows me away is the idea that several ships of those times managed to sail from Fram Strait and up over the north side of Greenland and down through Nares Strait into Baffin Bay.  In recent times the sea-ice is always very thick north of Greenland. Remember, we are not talking icebreakers with steel prows and driven by engines, but wooden sailing vessels driven by greed.

Greed did lead to some embarrassments, for the swiftly shifting sea-ice was able to trap some ships of the English Navy sent north of Svalbard to investigate “ice-free” waters in 1817, but the fact there was less ice over-all during this period is perhaps demonstrated by this history:

The uncharted coastline of east Greenland became clear of ice around 1820, and in 1822 Scoresby, in the midst of an arduous whaling voyage, sailed along some 400 miles of this inhospitable landscape, charting it, and naming points as he went in honour of scientific and other friends, chief of which was Scoresby Sound, named for his father. Almost all his place names survive today.”

What seems to have happened is that a vast area of sea-ice was flushed south by the loopy, “meridional” pattern. The north may have been more open, but to the south the sea was more cluttered. Icebergs were grounding on the coast of Ireland.

This brings up a fascinating problem for climate modlers to attempt to handle. It involves the fact that water moving south at freezing can be either liquid or solid. It can be very cold water, or it can be icebergs, and these two forms of water behave in opposite manners.

Very cold water is not much of a fighter. When it is confronted by warmer water it takes a dive, and once it no longer is at the surface it has little immediate effect on the weather up above the surface of the sea.

Ice, on the other hand, cannot take a dive. It obstinately goes right on floating on top, even when moving into far warmer water. It therefore is a fighter, for although the warmer water may melt it, the warmer water takes a beating in the process, and becomes colder. If enough ice comes charging south the surface water will be significantly chilled, and this will have an effect on the weather up above the surface of the sea.

It seems very possible that the “Year Without A Summer” in Europe may not have been so much caused by a gray sky allowing little sunshine to warm the fields, as it was caused by the fact the west winds were not the balmy Azores breezes of the past, but a frigid wind off ice-water. The old records show that the further one moved east from the Atlantic the less cold it was, and when one moved into Russia one found central Siberia baking under above-normal temperatures, which does not suggest their skies were gray with volcanic ash and their sunshine was dim and powerless. Rather it suggests that they were benefiting from the warm loops of a meridional flow. Mwanwhile Western Europe not only suffered the cold loops of the same flow, but had their chill exacerbated by a huge flush of icebergs into the North Atlantic. (The cold summer in New England, dubbed “The Year of Eighteen Hundred and Froze To Death”, apparently involved a different loop of the meridional jet.)

In conclusion, the footprints left by weather events in the early 1800’s had little to do with an increase of CO2, and therefore, if we see similar events occur now, as we seem to move into a “Quiet Sun” period, we perhaps should not be so quick to conclude there is a new cause. Not that chaotic systems ever perfectly repeat themselves, but we should at least consider the ingredients, and the results, taught by history. A year with no summer would not be good news for Europe.

One thing has not repeated itself. We have not seen two super-volcanoes explode. However I have seen some suggestions that there is a slight increase in volcanic activity during ordinary solar minimums, and this idea would suggest a super-minimum might lead to super-volcanoes. I am not sure this idea makes sense, (because I can’t see how sunshine can cause lava), but if this idea had merit it would be true that we were still too early in the minimum to expect much. The Dalton Minimum had been underway for quite a while before the Mystery Volcano Of 1809 and then Tamboro blew their tops (and there were a number of other not-so-super-but-big eruptions during the same period).

What has repeated itself is the beginning of a “Quiet Sun.” For all I know it could reverse, starting tomorrow, but while it is occurring I study the ice north of Greenland like a hawk, to see if it looks different.

Fram Jam 5 IMG_4808

To me it looks very different. Formerly the Transpolar Drift supplied the north coast of Greenland with a superabundance of sea-ice. In fact, to understand the journey sea-ice went on I urge all sea-ice fanatics to travel with O-buoy 9, from 80° south on the Siberian side, nearly over the Pole, to a crash into the north coast of Greenland, and then on a grinding journey east towards Fram Strait, and then south to doom.

Over the past year an odd low has appeared over the pole, which I have whimsically dubbed “Ralph”. This has created a counter-clockwise flow which has slowed and at times reversed the Transpolar Drift, and therefore denied the north coast of Greenland some of its supply of piled-up sea-ice. Yet the same counter-clockwise flow has swept the north coast of Greenland with west winds, stripping away some of the ice and pushing it to Fram Strait and eventual doom to the south. In other words, there is less ice to be seen on the North Coast of Greenland.

There is still no way a man greedy for whales could sail a wooden ship from Fram Strait across the top of Greenland to Nares Strait and then down into Baffin Bay, but perhaps we are seeing the start of such a phenomenon. It seems to me that it should at least be considered. After all, while the meridional flow of 1817 might have been good for whalers, it was not so good for other people in other places. I’m not asking people to freak out and run in circles, but perhaps we should be on guard. I repeat: A year with no summer would not be good news for Europe.

Sadly, when I visit Alarmist sites as a silent lurker I see they too have noticed the diminished ice north of Greenland, but have no Sherlock Holmes in them, and seek no alternative reasons for peculiar footprints. They immediately leap to the conclusion, “It must be caused by CO2”.

To be so fixated on one, and only one, solution in some ways resembles a captain who nobly insists on going down with his ship, though he has managed to dock it safely at a pier. An alternative is available, but is refused.

It baffles me, for often people are nobly faithful to CO2 as a be-all and end-all, when they are not faithful to parents or spouses, children or their alma mater, their homeland or their religion, or even, like poor old Polonius, to their “self.” They seemingly have lost faith in everyone and everything, including their own ability to deduce right from wrong,  yet they trust CO2 as an explanation for all ills.

Is CO2 a god? I only ask this because my own life has occasionally nosedived into such ruin I lost faith in all I ordinarily trust, and I too grasped at straws. Once I was in the middle of a prolonged car crash, and another time I was in a small sailboat that had lost its sails and engine during a storm at sea. However during neither occasion did it occur to me that CO2 mattered, though if the sailboat has gone down…no. Not even then. CO2 would not have killed me as I drowned. Lack of oxygen would have been my demise. But I was not calling out, “Oxygen! Save me!” when death loomed in the portholes.

Is CO2 a god?  If Truth has the power to be animate, then He (or She) gave us wits to be faithful to Truth. We are given eyes so we can see. We are given ears so we can hear. And we are given experience so we can learn. Yet some Alarmists deny their own history, their own experience.

A splendid example is National Geographic Magazine. They have a wealth of experience, all sorts of old issues to peruse, before declaring what they see as being the Truth. However they don’t even consult themselves! I doubt I could create a detective as foolish as the one they enact. Even Peter Sellers could not match their inanity.


To punctuate this example, let us just consider facts. We dullards who avoid politics, and just observe reality, have noticed the counter-clockwise winds of “Ralph” have recently been nudged off the Pole by  more normal clockwise winds of the “Beaufort High.”

These clockwise winds have so far been too-little-and-too-late, when it comes to creating a Polynya at the entrance to the Northwest Passage, but further west, in Bering Strait, the clockwise east winds have created a Polynya on the Alaskan side of the Strait. (Alaska is towards the bottom.)

Fram Jam 8 IMG_4809

Now of course the young Alarmists will freak out, at any sign of less ice in the Arctic, but the editors of the National Geographic have over a hundred years of wisdom to access, and looking back at a 1924 issue can see this:

Fram Jam 9 IMG_4810

But they don’t. Instead I have to point out that, according to them, back in 1924, water was open well north of Bering Strait. I have to use their own magazine to show that their magazine is no Sherlock Holmes, because it cannot even include itself as evidence.

Bizarre. National Geographic cannot even believe in itself, but gets mad if we don’t believe in them?

I pity God. In His compassion he understands everyone, but when he understands National Geographic I think he gets one hell of a headache.

Me? I am only mortal, and fail to manifest the compassion of God, but I too get a headache. I’m sick of this silliness. There are better things to blog about than the behavior of imbeciles.

(If I have time I’ll update this post with the usual DMI maps. To be brief, they show the Beaufort High build, and then “Ralph” reappear atop the Pole.)




12 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA ICE –Fram Jam Philosophy–

    • Yes, I think that surges of ice down Baffin Bay can add another variable to the weather. Here’s a neat satellite shot of ice off Labrador:

      Some huge bergs can break off the Petermann and Humboldt glaciers, but to some degree the amounts of lesser sea-ice are limited by the narrowness of Nares Strait. The other side of Greenland is far more open to invasion, and I think in 1817 a large area of sea-ice was swept into the North Atlantic all at once.

      I wrote about the Baffin Bay side here:

      Thanks for the kind words . Getting a thumbs up from a Canadian meteorologist will likely give me a fat head, but I know another Canadian who will probably keep me from becoming too uppity.

  1. Thanks Caleb, superb sleuthing. Maybe all that boring study of history etc hasn’t been wasted. Not that polar history can ever be boring, really. We have our 1st wildness for some weeks returning as the SH cools seasonally. Snow, and frost tomorrow around 45 South. May be SSW from the CME a few days ago too. I snugged down my sailing cat yesterday, which I had been using in lovely autumnal warmth the day before. Watching with interest and some trepidation…..Also for what is developing around the NH, as Joe Bastardi and Piers Corbyn show. Piers seems to have some deeper solar understanding from his Astrophysics, though I suspect it is still in development. As of course it must be. I suspect you-all up North are having a difficult time.

    • We have had a few hints of summer, as the coldest invasions are in the central USA now. They are getting snow from Denver up to Minnesota. That air gets moderated by the times it swings through the south and comes up our east coast. The true summer heat is also trying to come up the coast, but hasn’t really made it yet. Our trees are just starting to leaf out, and I’ve only planted stuff that is hardy, like peas, potatoes and onions.

      May for you must be like November is for us. A few melancholic days of mildness, but brooding grayness and rumors of gales, if not the real thing.

  2. A fascinating read, I was aware of the events but not how they were linked. Thank you for enlightening me.
    I have ground fond of Ralph and your reports of his progress, I’ll be sorry when he finally leaves.

    • My guess is that Ralph is nourished by the contrast between El Nino warmth and a Pole chilled by the Quiet Sun. He may weaken for a bit as we experience the lagged effects of last year’s weak La Nina, but I also think he’ll be around, constantly saying, “I’m ba-a-ack”. The Quiet Sun is something we haven’t seen before, using modern tools, and I think Ralph will be but one of several surprises. (I am curious if we will have more summer gales this year.)

      Are you in France? I heard they had an early spring that suddenly went into reverse back into winter.

      Be sure to double check the ways I link things. Both scientists and historians have told me I am far too hasty to leap to conclusions. (But I have a hard time dealing with the drudgery they so faithfully endure, dotting every “I” and crossing every “T”.)

      • Yes Caleb, great to have a Meteorologist here, and to be told you are on the right track. Very rare, in this game of life. Some of our NZ southern snowfields are white now, as they were in January. Not usual since the last cool cycle, c.1945-80. Being old enough to remember that…. But yes, could be an interesting if uncomfortably different cycle this time. Good thing we are not ‘snowflakes’.
        Susan Crockford’s book (Eaten!) describes a Newfoundland with characteristics we seem to be seeing now, sort of.

      • Caleb,
        Yes our spring did go into reverse causing all sorts of problems for fruit and wine growers. Across much of France fruit, in particular apples, was just setting on the trees and was frost damaged, new growth on vines has been killed. I suspect grape harvest will be late leaving it vulnerable to early frosts and some fuit harvests non-existent. I am rather fond of Apricot Jam so am hoping the price of locally grown fruit doesn’t get too high. Some of my high risk seed plantings also took a hit, marigolds were wiped out but they were planted knowing that one night could be enough to get them.

        This is the second time in the last few years late frosts have caused problems, this one is more severe and longer lasting than the last one.

        My brother in Scotland reckons there’s been more snow in April than for the rest of the winter. They haven’t had much at all previously.

  3. From WUWT: “@ Chimp May 1, 2017 at 10:16 am: Reposting from David’s Greenland article today:
    This year’s Arctic sea ice winter maximum was about the same as other recent years, just ever so slightly lower. What is “unprecedented” however is how slowly Arctic sea ice is melting this year.
    The 30-year median melt in April is 1.175 million square kilometers. This year it was only 730,000 sq km. March melt was also lower this year.
    As predicted here, sea ice extent is headed for the normal range. It’s already higher than on April 30 this year than it was in 2016 and 2015. Unusually cold Arctic SST, which even NOAA has grudgingly acknowledged but downplayed, is the main reason for the slow thaw, but air temperatures in the region are also back close to average. .”

  4. National Geographic is now just “a brand” [the actual words of the National Geographic’s CEO] in the Murdoch media empire.

      • “It is totally counter-intuitive…”

        Less so if one recognises that it is a complex system; before investigating which it is needful to study the principles of Cybernetics and Control – and hence develop a different intuition!


        “The fact is that the concept of “feedback,” so simple and natural in certain elementary cases, becomes artificial and of little use when the interconnexions between the parts become more complex. When there are only two parts joined so that each affects the other, the properties of the feedback give important and useful information about the properties of the whole. But when the parts rise to even as few as four, then twenty circuits can be traced through them, and knowing the properties of all the twenty circuits does NOT give complete information about the system. Such complex systems cannot be treated as an interlaced set of more or less independent feedback circuits, but only as a whole.”

        Dr R Ashby, Introduction to Cybernetics, 1957

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