ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph’s Chill–

After a week of dominating the Pole, Ralph is starting to fade away towards Siberia, as Byoof finally starts to rebuild over the Beaufort Sea. Models suggest we are likely to see the low pressure on the Siberian side, with Byoof building on the Canadian side, which should suck some mild air north through Bering Strait. However a Pacific-to-Atlantic cross-polar-flow may be blocked by an extension of Byoof across the north Atlantic. This block will be an interesting complication, but is off in the fog of the future. Uncertainty is involved.

We can be a little less uncertain regarding the present. Of course, there are various glitches involved in our instrumentalizations, but it does seem Ralph cooled the air at the Pole.

Ralph C1 cmc_t2m_arctic_2

You may note that over Greenland there are temperatures below zero (-17°C), but that is because Greenland’s icecap is well over 10,000 feet up. (Icecap is 12,119 feet high and rising, at last report, at the center, but lowering at the edges.) In fact temperatures rarely get above freezing at that altitude, so far north, and there was quite a fuss a few years back when a brief thaw barely softened the icecap’s snow. The media made it sound like the entire icecap was melting, when in fact the softened snow refroze, and formed a crust. Study of the yearly layers of snow beneath suggest such thaws occur roughly once every fifty years, at that high altitude and high latitude.

The situation is entirely different when you drop down 10,000 feet to sea-level. There thaw is the norm, and freezes are the rarity. Here too the media has done a very bad job of stating what the norm of an arctic summer is. They tend to act as if a thaw is something to be alarmed about. Nope. It is quite normal.

In fact, though Ralph did manage to create some areas of sub-freezing temperatures, they were outweighed by the areas above freezing, and the mean of the entire area north of 80° north latitude never quite dipped below freezing.

DMI4 0629 meanT_2017

Ralph’s main fascination, to me at least, is that he suggests a change in patterns we are used to, and not that he can “stop” the thaw. There is always a thaw. Here is the DMI graph from 1958 (the earliest we have.)

DMI4 meanT_1958

This 1958 graph is actually warmer than anything we have seen in recent summers, for the red line of actual temperatures gets above the green line of “average”. Recent summers have seen the red line below normal. But never, in the height of summer, does the red line sink below the blue line which represents freezing. There is always a thaw.

I actually found this surprising, when I first began to look at the history of the arctic. I thought for sure we could find at least one summer where it was especially cold, and there was no thaw, but I have yet to see a record of such a summer. I am starting to think it may have thawed during the summer even back during the height of the last ice age. The sun is simply too powerful to ignore, when it shines 24 hours a day, day after day after day.

Once you accept the thaw as a yearly event it is hard to get all bent out of shape by signs of melting sea-ice. In fact I feel like a person “in the know”, who can chuckle at the rubes who get excited by signs of slush. But the truth of the matter is that I was once just such a rube.

Now that I’m wiser my appreciation of men who crossed the sea-ice during the summer, back before rescue was possible with helicopters sent from massive icebreakers, has greatly increased. The more comfortable air temperatures get, the more treacherous the ice gets.  The scientists Marc Cornelissen and Philip de Roo were lost in 2015 because the air temperatures were so warm they apparently were skiing in their long underware, and fell through thin ice into water that can kill you in five minutes.

Back in the days of the Cold War, to avoid the thinner and more treacherous sea-ice, both Americans and Russians used to seek out the thicker bergs that calved off the north of Greenland and Ellesmere Island. These flat bergs were over 100 feet thick, but, because 9/10 of an iceberg is under water, they hardly stuck up at all above the other ice, and were hard to locate. Once discovered they were invaluable, because airplanes could be landed on them, and bases built upon them, and the Americans and Russians could busily spy on each other while pretending to only be interested in scientific experiments. However, at the height of summer, even these high points on the arctic seascape could be afflicted by the problems of slush. I suppose that, because they were so flat, the water didn’t run off to the lower ice ten feet below these “highlands”. In any case, while reading about life on T-3 (also called “Fletcher’s Ice Island”) I recall raising an eyebrow when one one man casually mentioned he wore hip waders, to get through the slush.

Thaw is the norm in the north.  We are lucky to have a camera, O-buoy 14, which drifted into Parry Channel last autumn.

Parry Channel Map_indicating_Parry_Channel

Parry Channel has great significance in Climate Science, because it is in the shape of a hockey stick, and we all know how hockey sticks cause climate scientists to tingle and spout adithering verbosity.  However the channel is annoying to those who want to say current melting is “unprecedented”, for it is named after William Parry, who back in 1819 sailed a wooden, non-motorized ship along the entire “shaft” and into the “blade” of the above hockey stick, and, after spending a winter stuck in the ice, sailed back east the following summer. In comparison, when the “Northabout” sailed the Northwest Passage last summer, it sneaked through a southern route and never got as far north as Parry Channel.

It is amazing to consider the guts of the fellows who sailed the arctic back then, for they seemed to always get stuck and spend winters in the ice. The next spring they had to wait and wait and wait for the ice to melt. O-buoy 14 is giving us a glimpse of what they saw, as the sun shone all day, day after day. The three pictures below are from June 23, 25, and 29, and show us softening snow, slush (with polar bear tracks), and melt-water pools.

Obuoy 14 0623 webcam

Obuoy 14 0625 webcam

Obuoy 14 0629C webcam

Now, before you get too excited by melt-water pools, please remember the lesson we were taught by “Lake North Pole” back in 2013. A melt-water pool does not mean the ice is breaking up; it can drain away in 48 hours, and the ice will remain.  (Left July 26; right July 28.)

 

 

 

Hopefully we will see the ice break up. The long-ago sailors hoped to see the same thing. The danger was, it didn’t always happen. The most tragic case involved the Franklin Expedition of 1845-1846. The waters that had been more open in the time of Parry were less open, and likely the expedition’s provisions were also tainted by lead-poisoning. It was crucial they escape after the first winter, but seemingly the ice didn’t melt enough the second summer, though the survivors apparently attempted to escape to the south.

It seems to me that the ships of that time, though better equipped than Parry’s, were to some degree tricked by dreaded “Climate Change”. In the period 1816-1817 there were reports of whalers sailing up through Fram Strait along the east coast of Greenland, and over the top, and down through Nares Strait and into Baffin Bay on the west coast of Greenland. This was no longer possible in 1845, and Parry’s route was increasingly difficult. The expedition of HMS Investigator, entering the same area Parry explored but from the west, became trapped in the ice in 1850, and waited through two winters on increasingly shrunken rations, hoping the ice would melt, but it didn’t. They faced the same doom as Franklin’s crew.

In 1853 an expedition was sent to look for both Franklin’s ships and HSM Investigator. Four of five ships were trapped in the ice and abandoned. Three of the abandoned ships were lost. The fourth ship was abandoned but not lost, and makes for a very cool story. This ship was HSM Resolute.

The Resolute managed to copy Parry’s route, entering Parry Channel from the east in 1852, and wintering to the west and north of where O-buoy 14 now sits, not far from where Parry wintered, but the next summer they couldn’t escape as Parry escaped, though they did find and rescue the crew of HSM Investigator. Then the entire bunch was trapped by the September refreeze of 1853, and the captain prepared to endure another winter, which they successfully did. However as the sun rose the following spring they received orders to abandon their ship, and travel over the ice to other ships. Under protest, the captain obeyed, taking great care to prepare the ship before he left. They sailed back to England in 1854.

Then, unmanned, the  Resolute traveled east through Parry Channel during the summers of 1854 and 1855, and was boarded by American whalers up at the top of Baffin Bay in September, 1855. Because we Americans are such gosh-darn nice people, we gave the ship back to the English, and it was back in England in 1856.

Ralph C2 300px-HMS_Resolute_cropped

Apparently America’s sweetness and light didn’t impress the British much, for they put textile mills and cotton before freedom for slaves, and supported the wrong side during our Civil War. But later, after the relatively-good guys won our Civil War, the British got over it. When the Resolute was decommissioned in 1876 they took some of the less rotted timbers and made a desk, which was given to our President, Rutherford Hayes, in 1880.

Consequently no American president could sit at such a desk, in his right mind, and say the melt of arctic sea-ice was “unprecedented”, unless they were amazingly ignorant, and were created as a sort of divine pay-back to England, for abolishing slavery throughout their empire in 1833, but supporting America’s slave-states in 1861. (Karma’s pay-backs can be bizarre.) (Such an impossible person would send back to Britain, if not the actual desk, a bronze bust of Winston Churchill given to the USA by the English. Could any man sit at a desk made of timbers of the Resolute and be so crass?)

Ralph C3 Barack_Obama_sitting_at_the_Resolute_desk_2009.jpg

I suppose this may show I just don’t understand politics. Politicians like to think they are ahead of the facts, but to me it seems they are always behind. Just as the British Navy was losing ships left and right, because they were basing their intelligence on an outdated idea that suggested sea-ice in 1845 was like it was in Parry’s time, the intelligence of American leaders who misled and mislead the American voters was and is sadly outdated. However I don’t think the English admiralty promoted arctic exploration knowing their intelligence was wrong. Some American leaders are well aware Global Warming is based on faulty intelligence.

It takes an extraordinary American buffoon to think it is intelligent, to be unintelligent on purpose.

The simple fact of the matter is that the current thaw in the arctic is neither greater nor less than thaws of the historical past, and anyone who says otherwise either hasn’t researched the past, or thinks it is intelligent to be unintelligent.

Parry Channel is the proof.

*******

If I have time I’ll stick the DMI maps of Ralph’s recent rise and current fall, as a footnote and update to this post.

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LOCAL VIEW –Wink–

Here is a picture of children not being obedient. I told them to wait. They are vanishing into the distance. (Actually this is a zoomed-in part of a larger picture; you can barely see them in the larger picture.)

Kids in woods FullSizeRender

In a sense children are a lot like life. They refuse to follow the plan, and this can cause all sorts of different sorts of dourness to afflict us. One thing I’ve recently been noticing is the cure often isn’t words.

This is bad news for people like myself, who have invested a lot into the study of words. It is also bad news for people who don’t think talk is cheap, and make it expensive, such as psychiatrists. But again and again I’ve recently seen members of my staff, and the young parents who are my customers,  not only say a lot with a wordless gesture, but seem to solve a problem as well.

Solve a problem? Yes, because everything is stressed, and then, just by the way they roll their eyes, or give themselves a face-palm, they cause laughter to come to relieve the stress. This is bad news for the pharmaceutical industry.

I’ve been noticing this phenomenon so much that I’ve started to study it. As it is beyond words, I don’t suppose I can find the words to describe it, but sometimes poetry is within a glance. We say a person “beams” at us.  It makes me think we should observe silence from time to time, for otherwise words, whether spoken or written,  can become mere yammering. Silence is golden.

Most recently I saw this wonder within a wink. Not a word was spoken. A person just winked, and my heart was eased by a good laugh. It got me thinking, and looking backwards across the years…

…Musing backwards to days I spent drifting,
When shaving and showers were luxuries;
When shopkeepers thought I’d likely be lifting;
When hunger made appetite easy to please
And downwind of kitchens was Oh so delicious,
I couldn’t help look unworthy of trust.
One look at me made policemen suspicious.
I practiced innocent looks, or got cussed,
But one day I decided to risk arrest.
I saw a bored girl in a black limousine
And as I slouched by I gave her my best
Roguish wink. I wish you could have seen
Her sour face dawn a recalcitrant smile.
It made being a drifter completely worthwhile.

LOCAL VIEW –Of Polar Bears And Rainbows–

Sometimes we so-called adults take our problems too seriously. We forget the story has a happy ending, as we climb the stairs to our personal gallows.

Even as a humorist I am guilty of bringing up so many things to laugh about that I forget joy. My sense of humor is based on the pathos of human bungling: The way we attempt to be gods, and wind up forgetting where we put our car keys. It is better to laugh about such things than to spit, but if you focus on such things too much you can forget that laughter can be quite different, and not founded upon stooges bungling, but rather upon joy.

As I care for children at my Childcare I see them laugh at all sorts of things adults have forgotten to laugh about. Sometimes it is for sheer joy: A bird lands on a fence-post and sings, and the child just laughs.

One time in the 1950’s Winston Churchill, despite his amazing efforts to save Britain from destruction, was plunged to despair by the writing he could see on the wall, which suggested the the British Empire was crumbling. An American preacher was visiting, and Churchill inquired how the man could have hope. The answer was, “I read the end of the Book.”

In other words, our Creator was not so ill informed that he created a creation where everything blew up in His face, as if our Creator was a mad scientist with test tubes. We mortals might achieve such an end, but the Creator has a slight advantage because He stands outside of time. (Even time is His creation.) We may be bound by time, like characters in a single frame of a comic strip, but the Creator, as “the Alpha and Omega”, stands outside the comic strip, and sees all the frames from beginning to end simultaneously. Considering He knew the ending before the beginning, he would have to have had a very odd sense of humor if He created a comic strip that made Him look like an ignorant buffoon, and a chump.

This is especially true if it is true that a fundamental and intangible quality of the Creator is: The only thing more spiritual than a sense of humor. Which is? It’s a thing called “Love.”

Science has yet to measure Love, but science also has yet to measure humor. But Love, I think, is what differentiates laughter over human bungling, from laughter for sheer joy.

One reason we mortals like to “get back to nature” when we are in a bad mood is because out in the landscapes of nature we see how amazing our Creator is. Even though I aggravate some of my fellow Christians by including “evolution” in the many examples of the Creator’s creative genius,  to me evolution is a reason to laugh in delight.

For example, consider the hoof of a horse. We have ancient skeletons to study, and can see that ancient horses had five digits like we do. Then they had three digits. Now they are running around on their middle fingers. When a horse rears around and attempts to kick my chin past my ears, it is “giving me the finger.” Is that not a reason to at least chuckle?

Evolution has a harder time explaining other examples of our Creator’s genius. For example, there is an orchid in the Amazon that is dependent on a certain species of wasp. Without these certain wasps it cannot be pollinated, and can’t produce seed, and would swiftly die out.  Therefore, to make sure that wasp comes to its flower, the orchid tricks the wasp into thinking it is a wasp. It achieves this by making a flower that not merely looks like the wasp, but smells like the wasp, so the male wasps literally attempt to mate with a vegetable, fooled into thinking orchids are female wasps.

It is hard to figure out, step by step, how evolution came up with such an arrangement. It is not as simple as five digits gradually becoming a hoof. But I’m working on it. It may help explain to me how Madison Avenue convinces some men they can successfully copulate by buying a Cadillac.

In any case, when you “get back to nature” you enter a world of wonder. I’m not talking about a city park, where everything grows because humans planted them there. I’m not even talking about well kept farmland, where the weeds are under control. I’m talking about lands where man has little to do with where things sprout, and things are sometimes more beautiful than man could ever devise.

It is there we perhaps find a hope beyond our own efforts, and a sign we are under the wings of a compassionate Creator. I have seen nature “cure” children psychiatrists can’t “help”. Children deemed “uncontrollable” and “in need of medication” become downright serene, if you allow them to throw rocks and smash the crystal surface of a pond, and pluck dandelions and puff the seeds to the winds. Furthermore, nature is not harmed by the young hooligan’s destructive behavior, and in fact nature seems to like it, and to incorporate it into a grander plan.

Pharmaceutical companies and psychologists will despise me for saying this, but the Creator kicks their butts. A walk in the woods and by a pond simply benefits boys more, and costs zero. (Financiers won’t like that either.)

In like manner, the entire “Global Warming” scam is people thinking the Creator cannot manage things, and they themselves are the almighty savior.

In some ways it is difficult to see the scam, for the con-artists pretend to be on the side of “nature,” like snake oil salesmen pretending to be “doctors”. However, just as snake oil salesmen are in a hurry to leave town before customers discover that their claims had no basis in fact, Global Warming Alarmists seek to muddy waters, oppress critics, hide their emails, avoid full disclosure, and, if need be, leave town.

This is typical human behavior and is laughable, but sometimes it reaches a degree where laughter is inappropriate. The people who claim they “help children” may become fat and rich, as the children themselves become increasingly skinny and afflicted by suffering. My humor then becomes increasingly bitter and sardonic, and drifts away from joy. In a sense I am drifting away from the very thing I stand for.

I am in need of rescue, but who can I turn to.? A psychiatrist? Forget it. A pharmaceutical company? Forget it. And so on and so forth. Forget it.

The so-called “helpers” of this world are so corrupted that I think I can see sanity in youth losing hope and preferring heroin and death.  In fact a lot of other so-called “adult” behavior isn’t all that different. Maybe death is deferred a little longer, but no rescue is hoped for. Life loses its appeal.

Fortunately, if you are keeping your eyes open,  a rare rescue will come to pass. It is called, “a day in June.” It is the single day each year wherein the Creator hints just how good things could be, “if only.” It knocks ordinary logic back on its ass.

Robert Frost pointed out this phenomenon when, (tongue in cheek), he created an amazingly long title for a relatively short poem. The long title was,  “Happiness Makes Up For In Height What It Lacks In Length.”

“O stormy, stormy world,
The days you were not swirled
Around with mist and cloud,
Or wrapped as in a shroud,
And the sun’s brilliant ball
Was not in part or all
Obscured from mortal view–
Were days so very few
I can but wonder whence
I get the lasting sense
Of so much warmth and light.
If my mistrust is right
It may be altogether
From one day’s perfect weather…

(You will have to research the end of his art yourself, because I stop at this point because he has made my point: One day a year has a huge influence.)

One such day defies science, for it is not replicated. It denies democracy, because it is out-voted by 364 other days. It is a single beam of love from the eye of One who can bring you to your knees.

And don’t tell me you have never experienced that. You may have called yourself a fool for becoming gushy, but we’ve all been there and done that. One glance, and everything changed.

When you are young the one-day-a-year-better-than-all-others may result in disappointment, for it often involves the glance of a potential lover. When you get to be an old grouch like myself you have not so great a hope for carnal gratification. The only gratification you want is one day the weather doesn’t suck. One fricking day that isn’t too hot or too cold, too snowy or too rainy, or too like a frying pan.

Guess what? I just passed through that one day a year.

It happened in all areas of my life. For example, my study of arctic sea-ice involves the potential extinction of polar bears, but O-buoy showed, between June 23 and 25, a couple of bears ambled by unconcerned about the summer thaw:

Obuoy 14 0623 webcamObuoy 14 0625 webcam

The bears are alive and well, with populations increasing.

I’m well as well, after a perfect day, not to hot, not too humid, and, just when I was thinking that maybe I should water the garden, a benign evening shower watering the garden for me, with only a few contented grumbles of thunder,  which then made a spectacular double rainbow.

Bow 1 IMG_5112

I include the power-lines because I am a humorist, and wise to how even this evening’s gorgeous sunset can be lessened, if your focus is a sardonic joke:

Bow 2 FullSizeRender

But that is not truly my focus. (To focus on a bully misses something nicer.) All one needs to do is walk fifty yards and there are no wires in the picture.

Bow 3 FullSizeRender

I took a lot of pictures, and all failed to communicate how vivid the rainbow was.

Bow 4 IMG_5109

Nor can anything communicate what my 3-year-old granddaughter was communicating to me, as she rode my shoulders, as I snapped the shots.

You are just going to have to trust me, when I state it was my one-day-a-year, wherein the Creator trumps all other cards dealt out.

Pay attention to this lone card, when it is dealt out to you. Do not be seduced by the 364 other cards you are dealt. They only spoil the view.

Sometimes it takes a perfect day in June
To remind me that defeat is not the end.
Oh, it may end me, and it could come soon,
But today’s rare beauty was such a friend
It made morbid thoughts piffle. An old tune
Found its way to my lips, and I walked
With summer in my step. It could end soon
But life was no longer a thing I stalked
Like elusive prey, but was what I was.

How blue was the sky! How green were the trees!
The sun’s touch was perfect, as was the breeze,
And I felt free of desire’s cruel claws.

How can defeat ever torment and sting
When you see, owning nothing, you have Everything?

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph Rains?–

Ralph hasn’t become the gale some models were foreseeing, but is a persistent feature at the Pole, and a wrench in the works of the summer thaw.   In essence Ralph creates clouds where I expect sun. This slows the creation of melt-water pools, which are a creation that quickly changes the albedo equation, for the brilliant white of the snows (which reflects light in a highly efficient manner) is changed to the battleship gray of slush (which absorbs more sunlight and accelerates the surface melt.) Once the slush turns into an actual pool particles of soot, volcano ash, and arctic algae often create a black bottom to the pool, which hastens the melt further, and on occasion melt down and create a hole to the sea beneath, weakening the ice and contributing to the break up of floes.

This is a time I sorely miss the floating cameras, for they gave you a visual proof of what otherwise is merely modeled guess-work. The only camera we have is lodged in the ice of Parry Channel, and can’t give us a clear idea of the conditions out in the open sea. However it is better than nothing, and does show the crispness of the drifted snow softening in the thaw.

Obuoy 14 0623 webcam

O-buoy 14 is down around 74° north latitude, and away from the center of Ralph near the Pole. I have an insatiable curiosity about higher latitudes. The DMI graph shows the mean, north of 80°, as being below normal but above freezing.

DMI4 0622 meanT_2017

To look at Dr. Ryan Maue’s maps of modeled temperatures (free week trial available at Weatherbell site) isn’t exactly helpful, because the GFS tends to average it all out to a blandness, while the Canadian differentiates to a degree where it seems to make storms more intense. Which is a curious George to trust? (GFS to left; JEM to right)

 The reason this matters is because in the polar summer snow can change to rain, and this makes an enormous difference. Snow (usually a dusting to an inch, as the arctic is a desert), slows the melt by adding more brilliant white to reflect heat, while rain immediately creates slushy, gray spots and speeds the melt. As is often the case in the arctic, a half degree can make a big difference.

One of my favorite examples was the case of “Lake North Pole”, in 2013. The melt-water pool directly in front of the camera, expanded by summer rains in mid July, generated no end of media hype, complete with stories of Santa drowning and so on.

LNP 1 np-july-26-npeo_cam2_20130726072121 However no sooner had the media gotten everyone looking that way, when the water drained away down through a crack in the ice (as is often the case.)

LNP 2 np-july-28-npeo_cam2_20130728131212

The ice was still gray and capable of absorbing more heat than snow, but, rather than summer rains, summer snows followed.

LNP 5 np-july-29-npeo_cam2_20130729071817

And by August 5 all talk of “Lake North Pole” was muted. It had gone from being an Alarmist talking point on July 26 to being a Skeptic’s talking point.

LNP 3 np-aug-5-npeo_cam2_20130805065710

The camera allowed the curious to compare the August 5 view of 2012 (left) with 2013 (right).

To the dispassionate it simply looked like perhaps 2013 was a colder summer than 2012, but, in terms of getting a political message across, I fear cameras had gone from seeming like an excellent idea on July 26 to seeming like a very bad idea on August 5. This may be one reason funding dried up, and we are without their wonderful visual evidence this summer.

In any case, we now are stuck with what a satellite can see from afar. Ralph’s clouds can then present one with a bit of a problem, though there are usually plenty of interesting views further south, if you are in the mood to ruin your schedule with a wonderful form of procrastination. Here’s a nice, current view of Petermann Glacier and Nares Strait.

The problem is we are too far away to get the intimate feel for conditions the cameras gave us. We can’t see if it snowed or rained, last night. And, in cases where radar attempts to see through clouds, we are not even sure if we are looking at open water or a melt-water pool.

I sure do miss those cameras.

The best I can do is look at Ryan Maue’s “precipitation type” maps, keeping in mind they are models. The GFS seems to suggest Ralph will not rain. Ralph will continue to dust the north with snow (blue). The only rain (green) is towards the Alaska coast.

The maps below represent the GFS forecasts for 6, 72, 120 and 168 hours. Recognizing these are forecasts and not reality, Ralph looks like he will peak in 72 hours, down at 977 mb, but persist for a week. Only then are there signs Byoof (the Beaufort High) will come back.

Ralph B3 gfs_ptype_slp_arctic_2

Ralph B4 gfs_ptype_slp_arctic_13

Ralph B5 gfs_ptype_slp_arctic_21

Ralph B6 gfs_ptype_slp_arctic_29

To me it seems Ralph is being a real spoil sport to the melt-season. Right when the sun is at its highest he is murking up the sky and dusting everything with snow. Of course, most of the melt comes from below, but we won’t be setting any records unless Ralph takes a hike.

I should confess I blew a forecast, for I did not expect Ralph to show up much this summer. My assumption was that the lagged effects of the weak La Nina would reduce the difference in temperatures between the tropics and the arctic, and that it was that difference that fueled the anomaly I call “Ralph”.

This is merely my wondering, and likely should not be dignified with the word “hypothesis”, but the persistence of “Ralph” intrigues me and calls for an explanation, and what I wonder is this:

If the “Quiet Sun” does deliver less energy to the earth in various ways, could it be that less energy warms the Equator while cooling the Pole? At the Equator less energy would produce less wind,  indirectly leading to warming, by stirring up less cold water, and therefore intensifying El Ninos while weakening La Ninas. Meanwhile, up at the Pole, less energy has a more direct effect during the summer, making it colder. During the winter there is no sun so no effect, but the import of warm surges makes the winter’s milder. All year long the tropics are generally warmer (so far) and this fuels a more meridional jet, which is what creates the “feeder bands” that fuel Ralph.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Before Ralph reappeared Byoof did manage to push the ice away from the western entrance to the Northwest Passage, (lower right) but the ice is still fast against the shore at Barrow (top right).

Daytime sea-breeze shifted to a light land-breeze during Barrow’s “night”, and warm inland temperatures wafted over them, lifting them to a balmy 41°F.

Barrow 20170623 05_27_09_508_ABCam_20170623_132400

Here’s the Navy thickness map. (Ice-out starting in Hudson Bay):

Thickness 20170623 Attachment-1

And here’s the “extent” graph everyone likes to watch:

DMI4 0622 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

Stay tuned!

LOCAL VIEW –200,000 Views–

Yesterday was my wife’s birthday, and for some reason extraordinary stuff always seems to happen on her birthday, no matter how much we try to keep it quiet. One year we chose to have a quiet take-out dinner on a beach on the shore of a lake, and as we ate there was not only a spectacular sunset with a thunderhead shooting forks of amazing lightning, but the obligatory double rainbow to boot, vivid against deep purple clouds.

Another year we were just about to leave for the beach, when a pipe burst in the cellar. (Not a usual thing in June). The miracle was that we found a plumber who showed up within minutes and had the pipe fixed so fast we still left for the beach before noon.

This year the problem was again in the cellar, and began the night before my wife’s birthday. The hot and humid weather had condensed water on cold pipes, which drizzled down into the pressure switch of the water pump, causing a shorting that filled the cellar with smoke, and melted the switch into the “on” position. Usually the switch clicks off when the pressure reaches 40 psi. Now it was increasing past 40 psi, past 45 psi, past 50 psi, past 55 psi…

I was oblivious, typing at this word processor.  I have developed this ability, because I have a granddaughter in the house, and if I don’t develop extraordinary powers of concentration I’ll never get a word written on this blog. This is especially true because any time my granddaughter demands attention my dog Elsie gets jealous, and Elsie has this weird response where she barks frantically and chases her tail. I can’t tell you how often this stuff is going on in the background, as I write the words you read.

Night before last my wife and daughter were attempting to convince my granddaughter to get into the bathtub, which my granddaughter was vehemently objecting to. The dog was chasing its tail and barking. The water was shooting into the bathtub with extraordinary power from the faucet, and a strange smell was arising from somewhere. And I was completely oblivious, concentrated as I was on details on a computer screen pertaining to sea-ice, and a critical comment made by a troll on my website.

My wife sweetly managed to get my attention by evacuating the house, including a naked three-year-old. As she departed she noticed I was looking down a cellar staircase filled with smoke, and inquired “Should I call 911?” I said, “No,” and headed down into the smoke, whereupon her advice was, “Hold your breath.”

In the cellar I could find nothing burning, and in fact after I opened the windows the smoke seemed to be dispersing. My daughter came down and helped me look for something burned, but we could find nothing. Then she mentioned the water coming out of the faucett more vigorously than usual, as she was filling the bath, which seemed odd, so I went upstairs and turned on the water in the kitchen sink. It shot out with amazing ferocity. So I went back down and looked at the water-pressure gauge, and saw it going from 110 psi to 115 psi to 120 psi…

It then occurred to me that maybe I should check the pressure switch, but it was in a dark area and I couldn’t see very well. so, with the cover removed, I gave it a nudge with the plastic handle of a tool. This produced a vivid blue ball of electrical arcing about the size of a turnip, followed by a smaller tongue of orange flame, at which point it occurred to me I should turn off the circuit breaker labeled “pump.”

Problem solved. I could get back to what I was writing. I mention this only because some young writers say they cannot write without a grant. And they are not even married, and run no business, and have no problems worth mentioning, (except maybe a bad choice for a girlfriend). I doubt they could stand five minutes in my shoes, dealing with the distractions I deal with, yet I do write, (and sometimes write too much, according to my wife).

Let this be a lesson to you young poets. You have no excuse for not writing. If you are going to whine, make a music of your blues. You can do it if you really want to write. If you want money, well, that is a different matter, and you probably should seek some other occupation.

Less artistic and more pragmatic readers will have noticed that, while I solved the problem of smoke in the basement, a new problem, involving no water in the house, had raised its head. This was no way to be beginning my wife’s birthday.

I planned to head off for a new pressure switch as soon as the closest hardware store, twenty miles away, opened in the morning. However company arrived early, to wish my wife happy birthday, and I had to smile and nod. As soon as I could enact a diplomatic escape I drove twenty miles, bought a $16.00 pressure switch, drove twenty miles back,  and went down into the cellar and replaced the fried switch myself. A plumber would have charged $300.00.

There was a lurid red warning on the pressure switch instructions that stated the switch should be rewired by a qualified electrician. Pish tush! What plumber heeds that warning? And if they don’t, why should I?

Not that either an electrician or plumber could figure out the wiring of a 250-year-old house, where electricity was an afterthought. In a modern house the wiring for the pump is right next to the pressure switch, and four wires are involved, but in my house the wiring for the pump is far across the room, and only two wires are involved at the pressure switch. It’s no big deal; just a different way of achieving the same end. But small-minded people and government regulators likely would freak out, because they insist there is only one way to skin a cat. They would likely tear the whole house down and rebuild it to “specs.” Me? I just put the switch in, adjusting for only two wires.

The pump worked and my wife got to shower before noon on her birthday. We saved $270.00, and I figured we could go out to some semi-classy joint and buy ourselves a fine meal with expensive drinks for $270.00, but instead we were invited to a special birthday late-lunch by friends who don’t drink. So we saved $270.00 twice.

I was slightly annoyed, because the way things were turning out I had no time for my art.  I’m not referring to this blog, for I did sneak in a few replies to comments here, but rather to another form of self-expression, which is my wood carving. You see, I am a small-town version of Michelangelo. Much smaller. More like a Mike. And I did want to find the time to finish a birthday present for my wife. I didn’t.

Now here is another lesson for young poets. You don’t need to despair when you don’t have time to finish a poem, and you don’t need to whine for a government grant that might allow you to finish. Just call your unfinished work “a fragment.” People who really love you will see where you were aiming.  They will give you the leeway to fulfill your promise.

For example, one year my wife gave me a scarf she was knitting me, though she had only the time to knit a third of it. The next year she gave me the same scarf, only two thirds completed. And the following year I got the finished scarf, and it means more than any other scarf to me. I still have it to this day, and still use it though it is tattered. In like manner, my wife was surprisingly pleased by the carving I hadn’t completed.

Unfinished IMG_5106

I will admit it bugs me to have a carving uncompleted. (Not that Michelangelo didn’t leave some amazingly cool stuff only partly carved.) However the reason it bugs me is a reason that may scare the socks off some young poets. And the reason is this:  The only way a carving can get better is to lose more.

In any case, we headed off to our late lunch, and lingered long, and just as we were leaving that lunch at sunset we received a text from a neighbor stating our smoke detector had gone off. We texted back we were on our way home, and that the smoke detector could go off in humid weather, and they shouldn’t worry. But then my wife remembered the pressure switch I had put in, and we decided we’d drive a bit faster.

As we passed the fire station we noticed all the trucks were gone, but the place was lit up and around thirty people were happily milling about. When we arrived home we couldn’t see the house, because three firetrucks were in the way. There was also a police cruiser, adding blue lights to all the red lights.

I have to admit I was thinking about the pressure switch I’d replaced. Had I crossed wires?  Was my home, beyond the looming firetrucks obstructing the view, a pile of ashes?

Nope. That morning my daughter had set off the kitchen alarm, burning the toast, so she removed the alarm from the ceiling and put it on the window-sill, whereupon it went quiet. Why it chose a later time to blare out, I don’t know, but it was basically a false alarm.

The odd thing was, no one was annoyed. Life must get boring in my little town, for all these volunteer firemen had showed up, dressed in sixty pounds of fireman clothing, and they all seemed positively delighted they’d found an excuse to get out of the house on a warm summer night. Rather than anyone angry about a false alarm, it was a happy social event. We all laughed about smoke alarms, (apparently they’d been called out the night before because someone threw a smoke alarm away, and it went off in a dumpster,) It was the typically unusual event that always seems to happen, on my wife’s birthday.

Eventually everyone went home, and I entered the house, to meet a very guilty dog. Apparently Elsie felt she was to blame. Usually she barks her fool head off when anyone knocks at the door, (and I’d wondered why she was so silent with three firetrucks outside).

When I first entered I couldn’t even find her.  The poor cur was cowering in the bathroom. She barely poked her nose out when I walked in the neighboring room, and when I said, “Hey there, old dog, come here”, she didn’t rush out for reassurance, but rather slowly backed from sight. Why? You figure it out. Apparently dogs take responsibility for things we cannot comprehend.

The same is true for young poets, but I haven’t time to elaborate much on this idea.

Instead I chose to point out that I, at long last, without any government grants to free me from worldly distractions,  did sit down here at my computer to blog. The first thing I did was to check the WordPress “stats” page, which shows me how many people have visited, and what nations they have visited from. Also I can see how many “views” I’ve had since I started this blog in December, 2012. It said I’d been “viewed” 200,006 times.

I sat back to think about that number. Not that any particular view means more than another, but it was a bit like when your odometer rolls over in a car. It gives you pause.

My mind went back to when I was a young poet, and very much wanted to be noticed, but no one seemed to want to do it. In fact I had the ability to help people remember appointments they were late to, simply by clearing my throat, lifting my index finger, and mentioning I’d written a poem. The only people who would stay and listen required that I listen to their poems in return, and that was a pretty steep price to pay. In the end I became discouraged and decided the world could go to hell. If they refused to be lectured to, about a way to end all wars and make everything nice, they could just go get stuffed.  I became a hermit of sorts.

That got old. Not that I didn’t have some mystical experiences born of deep thought, but they were few and far between, and mostly I was lonely and felt like my brains were shriveling up. No man’s an island, and we need the input of others. Also if you never go out you wind up broke. Eventually I hit the road.

A while back I came across a folder of my letters that my mother had saved from my days as a drifter. She had a tendency to worry too much, so the letters were always upbeat, even when written from difficult periods in my life. One letter in particular made me laugh.

My mother was worried I was too isolated and too much a loner. I told her I thought God agreed, and therefore God had arranged for me to make 10,000 people smile, on an individual basis, one after another. It then listed the series of jobs I’d had in the prior six months, pumping gas, serving burgers, serving donuts and running the register at small markets, and explained how I took it upon myself to get customers to smile. (I didn’t mention the failures.) At the bottom of the list was the number 10, 242. I figured this would ease my mother’s worry about me being a loner. Also I added that I’d decided I wasn’t a poet; I was the American sort of writer called a “humorist”, a sort of modern Will Rogers, defying depression with a “I never met a man I didn’t like” attitude.

I then concluded that while some gain acclaim by making a crowd of 10,242 laugh, it is also great to create the same number of smiles by dribs and drabs, unnoticed by the crazy media, but perhaps smiled at by God.

I’m not sure this convinced my mother; she did seem to like to worry; but the important thing is that it convinced myself. Furthermore I became aware I was not alone. As I drifted through the heartland of America I became aware there was a vast body of people making smiles, even when it was raining. It was something I failed to notice when I was a hermit, and down on humanity, and, if I saw anything in society, it was the mentality of a mob. Not that such bad things don’t happen, but it is more than countered by the fact God is in everyone, and shines out from faces if you make the effort to cheer people up.

And this is my final bit of advice to young poets. Don’t be fooled by fame. It isn’t necessary, and judging from people afflicted, is actually a hazard. Also, for every singer who makes the big time, like the Beatles, there are thousands in small places, singing in remote church choirs or to children or with friends, and they make an enormous difference. Without them life would be stark.

Not that it isn’t nice to get 200,006 views. It was especially nice that it happened on my wife’s birthday.  She’s the one who has to put up with me when I get a far away look, and don’t notice the cellar is on fire. And when there isn’t a fire, she sometimes has to light a fire under me to get me moving. I wouldn’t blame her for wondering, at times, if I am wasting my time at this computer. 200,006 views is therefore a sort of reassurance.

And you never really see the effects of small and random acts of kindness. It only takes a grain of sand to start an avalanche, and our influences go onward even after we have left the scene.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph’s Back!–

After a period of relative calm, when Byoof (The Beaufort High) ruled the roost and sun could get to work on the yearly thaw, low pressure has loop-de-looped north from the Siberian coast, and Ralph (anomalous low pressure) has retaken the Pole. (Maps created by Dr. Ryan Maue at the Weatherbell site [week free trial available.])

Ralph 2017 1 gfs_precip_mslp_arctic_2

Ralph will tend to slow the melting, for two reasons. First, the clouds block the sunshine. Second, summer storms at the Pole seem to create cold, perhaps utilizing evaporative cooling in the manner of a summer thunderstorm. Even when the precipitation largely evaporates (or sublimates) before reaching the ground, temperatures can be lowered a degree or two, and at the Pole that is the difference between temperatures just above freezing and temperatures just below.

Ralph will meander weakly about the Pole for the next few days, and then the GFS model sees Ralph reinvigorated by a sort of secondary moving north from east Siberia, and becoming our first gale of the summer.  Of course, we will have to wait and see if the computer is correct, but the current forecast is impressive, with pressures dropping to 966 mb in five days.

Ralph 2017 2 gfs_precip_mslp_arctic_20

 

If such a gale manifests we will not merely be talking about a dusting of snow, but several inches, and also the winds will increase:

Ralph 2017 3 gfs_mslp_uv10m_arctic_20

Once the winds get over gale force the ice tends to be crunched and broken. This will be our first opportunity to see if the water under the ice holds enough mildness to melt ice, as occurred in the summer gale of 2012, or is so cold it melts little ice, as occurred in the summer gale of 2013.

The Canadian JEM model also shows the gale. As usual it sees a stronger storm, though it takes longer to develop.

Ralph 2017 4 cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_24

The Jem model also sees colder resultant temperatures associated with the the gale, (again as is usually the case.)

Ralph 2017 5 cmc_t2m_arctic_27

Stay tuned!

Ocean Cooling Resumes

Another valuable shared-observation from Ron Clutz. At his site I commented:

My guess is that the “Quiet Sun” is starting to show its effect. I also guess that the cooling effect was not immediate, as less energy from the sun might have slowed the east to west winds at the equator. This in turn would reduce the cold upwelling along equatorial west coasts, resulting in milder SST. In other words, though it may seem counter intuitive, less energy would temporarily result in milder temperatures. However the milder temperatures are indicative of the seas giving up heat due to a “Quiet Sun”, rather than sucking up heat due to a “Noisy Sun”.

The effect of weaker east to west winds would be a stronger than expected El Nino, which we saw in 2015, and a weaker than expected La Nina, which we just saw. Despite these fluctuations the general trend is that the seas are losing the stored heat. Or that is my guess.

Science Matters

May Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are now available, and we can see ocean cooling resuming after a short pause from the downward trajectory during the previous 12 months.

HadSST is generally regarded as the best of the global SST data sets, and so the temperature story here comes from that source, the latest version being HadSST3.

The chart below shows the last two years of SST monthly anomalies as reported in HadSST3 including May 2017.

After an upward bump in April 2017 due to the Tropics and NH, the May SSTs show the average declining slightly.  Note the Tropics recorded a rise, but not enough to offset declines in both hemispheres and globally.  SH is now two months into a cooling phase. The present readings compare closely with April 2015, but currently with no indication of an El Nino event any time soon.

Note that higher temps in 2015 and…

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