It may seem off the topic of sea-ice, but let us begin off the coast of Peru.

SST 20170829 Anomaly globe_cdas1_anom(96)

That blue spear pointing west off Peru is what looks like the start of a La Nina, and is a bit of a shock to me, for only two month ago that area was red, and it looked like we were in for a weak El Nino, at least in the central Pacific (an El Nino Modoki). The switcheroo that has occurred has given me, (and perhaps the patterns) a case of whiplash.

As far as I know this fooled everyone. A year ago people were expecting a big La Nina, because often a strong El Nino is followed by a strong La Nina, (sort of like a strong action creates a strong reaction). Instead there was a rather pathetic excuse for a La Nina, followed by a pathetic excuse for an El Nino.

Perhaps we are seeing a case of delayed-but-not-denied. It is sort of like when my desk gets too messy, and an avalanche of papers at the back starts to slide towards me. I can delay the avalanche with my right palm in one place, but it comes at me from another angle, and I can delay that with my left palm, but when it comes at me yet again from a third direction I know it’s all over, and the mess will slide into my lap and on the floor, (and cleaning my desk will become unavoidable). In other words, a La Nina was primed, but held back by some unknown culprit, (I suspect the “Quiet Sun”), but now the resistance is futile, and the La Nina will not be denied.

How does this effect sea-ice? In a general sense warmer oceans (El Nino) eventually (in several ways) warm the Pole, and increase melting, while colder oceans (La Nina) eventually (in several ways) cool the the Pole, and decrease melting.

Much of the hoop-la about the Pole melting has to do with the Atlantic being in a “warm” AMO phase at the same time the Pacific was in a “warm” PDO phase. The clockwork of these cycles has been messed with by the sun being very “noisy” last century, but shifting to a “quiet” sun this century. The PDO turned cold as expected, but then unexpectedly swung back to warm (though it may be ending that swing now.) The AMO has remained warm, but may be starting its swing back to cold.

When the tropics are warmer the planet tries to balance things out. The planet is like children, and like humanity, in that it attempts to achieve peace through creating a ruckus. The jet stream becomes meridional, as the planet tries to move the heat north and cold consequently sweeps south. So think of that, next time you look out the window at a howling storm. As trees fall say: “The planet is making peace.”

When the tropics cool (La Nina) the flow becomes more zonal and the cold stays north more. I’ve actually been forecasting that, (and seeing my forecasts blown), for some time, as the lagged effects of the big 2015 El Nino were used up (in theory). However in fact, as I stated, the big La Nina never developed and instead it looked all the world like a weak El Nino was going to develop.

This provided me with a handy excuse for all my blown forecasts. It also explained why the anomalous low pressure appeared at the Pole (that I dubbed “Ralph”) and wouldn’t go away, and why unusual warmth rushed up to the Pole in the dead of winter even as unusual snows fell in Kuwait, the Sahara, Mexico and Vietnam.

But now, with this La Nina appearing out of the blue, my forecasts need to go through a switcheroo. But the problem is the timing.  There is a lag between when an event occurs at the equator and the effects reach the Pole, both in terms of the air temperatures and in terms of the sea-temperatures (with the water taking longer to respond.)

My layman’s guess is that it will be around mid-winter when the pattern switches to a zonal one. The winter will start out like gang-busters, with a meridional pattern, (as a lagged effect of the El-Nino-that-wasn’t), but then the cold will retreat to the Pole and the end of the winter will be more merciful, at least on this side of the Atlantic. (I’m not so sure about Europe, as the Gulf Stream looks like it is swinging like a fire-hose on a sidewalk, and currently in a swing that may aim the mildness more towards north Africa than Europe,)

Of course this is dependent on whether the La Nina sticks, or becomes the La-Nina-that-wasn’t. The recent pattern has seemed agitated and fickle, and I blame the confusion on the “Quiet Sun.”

Perhaps we are even still seeing the lagged effects of the last La-Nina-that-wasn’t, for the models keep seeing a zonal pattern appear at the Pole. It starts to happen, but then Ralph reappears.  On a whole the clouds, looking down at the Pole, have moved in a counterclockwise manner.

Recently we have seen one of the best recoveries of “Byoof” (The Beaufort high) and the models were even suggesting we’d soon see a clockwise flow of clouds over the Pole. So far Ralph merely sagged to the Atlantic side, and the contrast between Pacific high pressure and Atlantic low pressure has created a cross-polar-flow from Siberia to Canada.


(All the cool air pouring down into the plains of North America is one of the factors breeding hurricanes in the warmer waters further south.)

Temperatures are falling, after the last Ralph-feeding mild-impulse came north. Surface-melt has ended, and from now on melt can only come from below.DMI4 0829 meanT_2017

It does not appear “extent” will get as low as last year:

DMI4 0829 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

And for those who like to switch the subject to “volume”, it does not look like volume will get as low as well. The ice has not been scattered by “Gustogales”, and remains concentrated in the Central Arctic.

DMI4 0829 FullSize_CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20170828

Will update later if I find time.


After being alerted in “comments” I went to Tony Heller’s site at  to check up on a couple summer-voyagers who can send us pictures of Arctic Sea-Ice.

Creeping Senility Crystal Serenity is a luxury liner that allows you, for a mere $10,000, to travel north and see for yourself the melting ice. To a certain degree their technique for selling tickets utilizes the usual wailing and rending-of-garments about Global Warming, which Alarmists like to employ when making money off the fact ice melts in the arctic in the summer. However someone made a bit of a mistake. In selling tickets they state that they will be taking the Peel Sound route, and then go on to state that if William Parry had turned south and entered Peel Sound in 1819, rather than heading straight west to where sea-ice blocked him south of Melville Island, he might have been the first to navigate the Northwest Passage.

I have no idea if this is true, for the state of the ice in 1819 is largely unknown, except where Parry sailed. However by suggesting the waters were clear in 1819, and then running into ice, they embarrass Alarmists aboard, for rather than making it look like the arctic is melting away, they make it look like ice has increased in the last 198 years.

They may be able to penetrate the ice and complete the Northwest Passage, for they are accompanied by the icebreaker Shackleton.  However Parry was powered by sail, and stated he could be halted by a mere inch of ice, unless there were strong following winds.

Here is a picture of the ice they’ve met and the Shackleton:

CS 0829 2 Attachment-1

And here’s a map of their route:

CS 0829 1 Attachment-1

Ice looks thicker ahead, but sometimes there is open water right along the coast. The icebreaker can send off helicopters to seek the best route. (Another thing William Parry lacked.)

The cross-polar-flow I mentioned earlier in this post has been pouring some cold air down that way, and O-buoy 14, not far to the north, seems to show broken new ice between the bergs of old ice.

Obuoy 14 0830 webcam

I wonder if there is any chance they’d just turn around and go back?

The other adventurers are two boats, the Sea Dragon and the — , which are most definitely milking the Global Warming angle for every drop of cream they can get. The expedition is headed by the arctic adventurer Pen Hadlow, who achieved a remarkable so trek to the Pole years back, but is also known for the “Ship Of Fools” debacle down by Antarctica.

They sold their expedition as a first-time sort of adventure: “First to sail to the Pole”, (though they made sure to include many disclaimers about how science would come first and they might not bother going all the way). They include plenty of footage of sea-ice, and of polar bears reclining on the ice, all the while exclaiming how ice free it is.

(Before I include any photographs I should give credit where credit is due. Their photographer is named Coner McDonald and he is taking some beautiful shots.) You can check out his pictures of polar bears here:

While admiring their daring, I do have to toll my eyes a bit about the way they stress the sea as being ice free, yet need to tie up to a floe to do science experiments. But I bit my tongue, even when they included pictures like this:

(Taken by a drone?)

Arctic Mission 1 21014050_1885841401442838_5566014077910508507_o

And this:

Arctic Mission 2 21150145_1885839721443006_7462560160847329194_n

But today they found a patch of open water, and marveled over how ice-free the Pole was, and I can feel my held tongue slipping from my grasp.

Arctic Mission 3 21150233_1890956340931344_2187743086738490783_n

1.) They are at 80°, far from the Pole.

2.) We have reports of whaling ships sailing above 80°

3.) We have early Nimbus satellite pictures from the 1960’s showing enormous areas of open water up there.

4.) If it is so ice-free, why don’t they just head north? Why are they dilly dallying at 80°? At the very least they should set a new furthest-north-by-a-sailboat record. (I think the old record was set by Nansen’s Fram, 85°55′N)

The truth is, as we have seen from the camera’s of O-buoys in the past, the sea-ice is quite near, just over the nearby horizon (and possibly visible if they climbed the mast) and they likely would have a hard time heading much further north. But we shall see about that.

They should have sailed last year, when the gales had the ice much more broken….though perhaps the ships would have been broken up as well, by such gales.

NRL averaged “thickness” maps:  (Last year on left; this year on right.)

The Navy maps shows ice 2 feet thick where they find open water. This is likely because they average the thickness. There may be ice six feet thick not far away, and when you average it out with the patches of open water it comes to two feet thick. But what worries me is the chance the thicker ice crunches together with them in the middle.

View of that Ice-edge” from space

My best guess is that the “open water” they are in is in the upper center of the above picture. The ice gets thicker and thicker as you head to the Pole. Check out the view yourself here:

In any case, I’ve grabbed a hold of my slippery tongue again, and wish those fellows (and ladies) well. I’ll include them in my prayers. Their Facebook page makes good reading, no matter whether you are an Alarmist or Skeptic:

They have a neat time-lapse shot of their boat motoring through the sea-ice (before they found this “open water”) that likely makes the spirit of William Parry green with envy. Sail-powered ships lacked such maneuverability.

Stay tuned.


HURRICANE HARVEY –Galveston; head for the hills–(UPDATED WEDNESDAY)

At the Weatherbell Site Joseph D’Aleo and Joe Bastardi, (whom I consider among the best of the old-school forecasters), have been warning us that Harvey could be a threat to Texas since last week, (when models were suggesting Harvey was headed for Mexico or Central America, or even would die out after crashing into the Yucatan.). Now others are catching on, but Bastardi’s map of a possible track is a sort of worst-case-scenario that needs to be soberly considered, if you live down that way. Of course, though I like Mr. Bastardi a lot and wish him no ill, I’m praying he’s wrong. (After all, it is no sin for a meteorologist to be wrong; anyone dealing with the weather is often surprised by the twists and turns of chaotic systems. But what would be a sin would be for a meteorologist to fail to alert us of danger, and, as Mr.Bastardi is alerting us of danger, we should sit up and take notice.)

Here is the scenario he has drawn up:

Hurricane Harvey 1 download(2)

Notice Bastardi has the hurricane loop over land and then restrengthen over the Gulf of Mexico, with the ominous note, “May be close to, if not, major at both landfalls.”

To the east of the storm this involves persistent south winds and persistent heavy rains. The rains are somewhat beyond the comprehension of me, up north, where three inches is “heavy”. Parts of the Texas coast could get three feet!  Here is one of Dr. Ryan Maue’s maps (from the Weatherbell site; week free trial available.) Even his excellent map can’t comprehend the rainfall, as the color-key maxes out at 25 inches (two feet).

Hurricane Harvey 2 ecmwf_tprecip_tx_40(2)

What does this potentially mean for people on the Texas coast, east of the eye of the storm? It means a nasty storm surge from the south, due to the winds, at the same time as nasty flooding comes from the north, due to rains.

They say everything is bigger in Texas, (including egos), but there is some truth to this saying, when you look at the history of their floods and storms.

A saint delivered the book “Isaac’s Storm” to my hospital bed as I recovered from an operation a few years back, and I felt a lot less sorry for myself, reading about the unmitigated disaster the Great Hurricane of 1900 brought Galveston, a disaster which lost the fair city thousands of its thriving, young lives.

If you visit that area one thing that strikes you is how amazingly flat the coast is. In the case of a flood, you have a long, long way to go, if you are going to find a hill to head for. Therefore, if you are going to head for the hills, you should start early.

Galveston is now protected by a huge seawall they lacked in 1900, because they learned their lesson. They know the waters can pile up on that coast, and tides can rise twenty feet above normal. These huge tides can travel miles inland, with the landscape so flat. You can be ten miles inland and have salt water lapping at your front door.

Meanwhile, even if the landscape was perfectly flat, you’d have a flood of two to three feet, simply because of the rain. But the landscape isn’t perfectly flat, and all that rain starts to flow south.

The Texas landscape has wide, dry rivers crossed by long bridges, which causes visitors to wonder, especially when years pass and the dry river only has a small flash flood towards the middle, caused by a big thunderstorm. Visitors wonder why so much money was spent building such a long and expensive bridge. Then they see the same bridge, spanning dirty brown waters surging south from bank to bank of the “dry” river, because a tropical storm has dropped the equivalent of a thousand big thunderstorms, with its drenching rains.

Usually the floods from the sea have receded as the Hurricane dies and rains out over the land, and tides withdraw before the floods from the lands peak. What is so nasty about Mr. Bastardi’s track is that the winds don’t quit, and the sea keeps surging north even as the rainwater floods south. Where land-floods and sea-floods meet, the water could become absurdly deep, even in places miles away from both the coast and the river banks.

Then, as a final twist to the knife of this worst-case scenario, if the track of Harvey is as Mr. Bastardi predicts, all the water piled up against the coast will abruptly be pushed south, as winds swing swiftly to the north. This would push water out to sea, you might think. But, in terms of the Houston Ship Channel  and Galveston Bay, it would drive high waters against the landward sides of places that perhaps don’t have seawalls facing north towards land, including Galveston itself.

Yikes. For this reason I pray Joe Bastardi blows this forecast. Joseph D’Aleo, at his Weatherbell blog, points out computers offer other solutions; other paths Harvey might take:

Hurricane Harvey 3 aal09_2017082418_track_early

I think people should recognize the way meteorologists stick their necks out, when they make a risky and threatening forecast. If they see a real danger, they need to speak, to save lives, but they also face a nearly unlimited opportunity for looking like a chump. What would you chose to do? If you are right, you look like Paul Revere. If you are wrong, you look like Chicken Little. And you must chose NOW!

It is wise to turn to scripture in such situations. What did the prophet Jonah do? He was asked to deliver an unpleasant forecast to the people of Ninevah. Basically he was suppose to tell the Hell Angel’s of his time to shape up their act. Quite wisely (in my humble opinion) he said, “no bleeping way”, and headed in the opposite direction as fast as he could scamper. Then he got redirected, and wound up back in Ninevah, telling the Hell’s Angels fire and brimstone was going to rain down on them, because they were way too rowdy. Then he retired to the hills to watch the fire and brimstone rain down. However he blew his forecast. The people of Ninevah completely shaped up their act, for a little while (around a generation,) and the forecast fire and brimstone was delayed. Therefore you have this great scene in the Bible, with Jonah rather irate and sulking in the hills above Ninevah, because  he has (against his will) told the Hell’s Angels they’d get rained-on, but no rains fell.

Every meteorologist is, at some point, in the shoes of Jonah.

This is especially true if, as some suggest, people facing bad weather can change the weather by prayer, or New Age diets. or Hopi rain dances, or by buying anti-Global-Warming curly light bulbs. In fact, if human behavior can change the weather, meteorologists should keep their forecasts a secret, for, if they tell people, people will pray, and prayer will ruin their forecasts.

I would recommend meteorologists to do what psychologists do. When the forecasts of psychologists are absurdly wrong, they blame the client. In like manner, when the forecasts of weathermen are incorrect, they should blame the Baptist Church, or New Age dancers, or whatever, but those weathermen never listen to me.

Instead meteorologists attempt to forecast chaos, and confess when they are wrong. They are pretty amazingly humble, compared to the way the rest of us behave. Therefore, when the likes of Mr. Bastardi sticks his neck out, and makes an unpleasant forecast, I tend to think we should heed it.

Just as the tough dudes of Ninevah once heeded the oddball called Jonah,  the tough dudes of Texas should head for higher ground.


Friday Morning (5:00 EST)  25.9°N 95.4°W  Winds 105 mph.  Moving NW,  9 mph.

Hurricane Harvey 4 NHIR

1:00 PM 27.1°N 96.3°W; moving NW 10 mph; Winds 110 mph; pressure 27.91

Hurricane Harvey 5 vis0-lalo

5:00 PM

27.5N 96.5W; Moving northwest 10 mph. Winds 125 mph. Pressure 29.79

Hurricane Harvey 6 vis0-lalo

Harvey’s northward movement hasn’t yet slowed towards any sort of a stall, which is likely a good thing, as getting the center over the land will weaken the winds.

The eye wall went through a reformation today, where a small inner eye wall is replaced by a wider outer eye wall. Often the storm’s strengthening hesitates during this process, but Harvey kept right on growing deeper, with stronger winds. Fortunately the wildest winds are close to the center and hurricane force winds, at this point, extend out around 35 miles from the center. Also the center appears to be aiming for a relatively uninhabited area between Corpus Christi and Galveston, rather than hitting either city with the full brunt of his fury.

9:00 Update

27.9°N 96.9°W; moving NW at 8 mph; winds 130 mph; pressure 27.79.

NHC reports:

“A station at Aransas Pass run by the Texas Coastal Observing
Network recently reported a sustained wind of 102 mph (165 km/h)
with a gust to 120 mph (193 km/h).

A station at Aransas Wildlife Refuge run by the Texas Coastal
Observing Network recently reported a sustained wind of 71 mph
(115 km/h) with a gust to 102 mph (165 km/h).”

So, with the eye just about to go ashore,  prayers apparently have been effective, as the core of highest winds are hitting a wildlife refuge, rather than a populated area. (Tree-huggers will groan about damaged dunes, in which case I will remind them a hurricane is as”natural” as a natural park.) Also we should be thankful the storm is not as vast as Hurricane Carla was in 1961. Carla gave the entire Texas coast hurricane-force winds.

However the danger now is that people away from the center get lulled into a false sense of security. Hopefully Harvey will continue inland as Carla did, and politely die. But Harvey has slowed a bit, from 10 mph to 8 mph, and this may be a sign it will loop-de-loop as Bastardi forecast. In that case, because part of the storm will remain over the warm, refueling waters of the Gulf of Mexico, it will not weaken as swiftly as Carla did. Furthermore, if it manages to loop back down over the warm water, it may even restrengthen. In this case the people northeast of the storm in Galveston, who may currently be thinking this is just another example of media sensationalism and hysteria, (because they are only experiencing rain and moderate tropical force winds),  will notice the rains just won’t quit, nor will the winds. This will get old after a couple days, and if the winds and rains increase after three days, it will be more than old; it will be ancient.

Therefore people shouldn’t yet breathe a sigh of relief and drop their guard, (nor should “prayer-warriors” stop praying.) (A hurricane is like a rattlesnake; you don’t joke about it until it is all the way dead.)


 8:00 AM:  28.7°N 97.3°W; NNW at 6 mph; 978 mb; 80 mph

Hurricane Harvey 7 vis0-lalo

1:00 PM  –Harvey downgraded to tropical storm–Nearly stalled–

29.1°N 97.6°W;  Moving NNW at 2 mph; Winds 70 mph; Pressure 29.15

The feeder band seen in the above satellite view passed through Galveston with heavy rain but now is east of them.

Here is a great view of the tight, small eye just before it went ashore.

Hurricane Harvey 9 harvey-eye-fulton

In some ways it resembles an oversized tornado.  Fulton got creamed as Corpus Christi laughed that all the hoopla was blown out of proportion. In fact the proportions of the strong winds near the eye were tight and narrow. If the hurricane had another day over the warm waters things would have been very different.

Now it will just be day after day after day of rains, as we wait to see if Harvey can get back down over the water and restrengthen.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 27–Harvey headed back to Gulf of Mexico–

10:00 AM  29.0°N 97.4°W; Moving SSE at 2 mph;  Winds 40 mph; Pressure 29,53

Hurricane Harvey 10 vis0-lalo

The feeder bands kept reforming and heading up over Galvelston and Houston last night. The far from the center at times they got rain at a rate of four to six inches an hour, and in places have totals up near twenty inches.

5:00 PM  Harvey stopped weakening; still heading for the Gulf of Mexico

29.0°N 97.0°W; Moving southeast 2 mph; winds at 40 mph, pressure 29.53

9:00 PM

28.9°N 96.8°W Moving southeast 3 mph;  winds at 40 mph; pressure 29.53

Hurricane Harvey 11 vis0-lalo

Harvey is drawing in dry air on his west side, shown on the moisture map.

Hurricane Harvey 12 wv0-lalo

I’m nervous this may push the storm farther south than models see.  I tend to see a storms isobars as a solid form, like a solid top, but they actually move like waves, and can shift in a manner a physical top can’t. Hurricanes seem to seek warm water and juicy air, and to flee dryness and land. Harvey may get drawn away from land, and even away from the waters his first passage cooled (which remain warm enough to strengthen a storm) towards the untouched and above-normal waters south of Galveston. Time (and sunrise) will tell.

MONDAY, AUGUST 28 –Harvey Reaching Sea; Slight Restrengthening

5:00 AM  28.6°N 96.3°W; Moving SE 3 mph; Winds 40 mph; Pressure 29.48

Hurricane Harvey 13 vis0-lalo

The dry air has circled right around and is now coming up from the southeast , giving Houston and Galveston a break. However moister air has also circled right around and is now collapsing south from the north towards the center.

Hurricane Harvey 14 wv0-lalo

The heaviest rain-band is east of Houston, over Beaumont. The danger is a new rain-band will form southwest of Houston and come north, as Harvey strengthens again.

Hurricane Harvey 15 FullSizeRender

11:00 Am 28.5°N 96.0°W Moving SE 5 mph; Winds 40 mph; Pressure 29.44

The fact the pressure is falling when diurnal variation usually uplifts makes it look like Harvey is already starting to ramp up despite not being over the water all the way and despite dry air. Cloud shot looks like some small convection is bubbling up as well. And though the water is “cooled” and “only normal”, normal is darn warm. I expect the storm to blow up faster than most expect.

Hurricane Harvey 15 vis0-lalo

TUESDAY AUGUST 29  —Flooding Rains Continue In Houston—

2:00 AM 28.0°N 95.0°W; Moving ESE 5 mph; Winds 45 mph; Pressure 29.44

The only good news is that Harvey hasn’t ramped up, despite being over water. But the nighttime infrared picture does seem to hint at an eye-line structure south of the official center, and the storm hasn’t yet turned north towards land, which will kill it for once and for all.

Hurricane Harvey 19 vis0-lalo

Hurricane Harvey 20 104676367-RTX3DL7M.1910x1000

Hurricane Harvey 21 104676362-GettyImages-840080284.720x405

Of course this flooding will be blamed on Global Warming, though history shows us other examples of amazing Texas floods. (What amazes me is Joe Bastardi’s forecast and the fact Joe D’Aleo was posting charts of historical Texas floods a week before the storm even hit.)

Hurricane Harvey 22 Slide01(161)

Houston’s growth has been amazing, but it has sprawled out into many flat areas that were flooded in the past without anyone even noticing. It is now the fourth largest metropolitan area in the nation.

year rank population

1900 85 44633
1910 68 78800
1920 45 138276
1930 26 292352
1940 21 384514
1950 14 596163
1960 7 938219
1970 6 1232802
1980 5 1595138
1990 4 1630553

Quibbling about politics is not needed in this situation, though I have to state politics is in disgrace, when you consider the amounts of money squandered for patronage and cronyism that should have been spent on actual engineering. (New Orleans has been given billions by the American taxpayer, and hasn’t even kept its pumps working, and is currently threatened by a failure of those pumps).

5:00 AM  —Harvey Starting Recurve—

28.1°N 94.8°W; moving East 3 mph; winds 45 mph; Pressure 29.44

Not daylight yet in Texas, but notice the new convection popping up out to sea southwest of Galveston in infrared picture below. They don’t need that.

Hurricane Harvey 23 vis0-lalo

4:00 PM 29.2°N 94.3°W Moving NNE at 6 mph; Winds 50 mph; Pressure 29.36

Hurricane Harvey 25 vis0-lalo

8:00 PM –Storm Strengthening; North winds pushing Bay into north Galveston; Rains finally ending in Houston.

28.7°N 93.9°W;  Movement E 6 mph; Winds 50 mph; Pressure 29.36

Not sure why storm swerved to the east.

THURSAY, AUGUST 39  –Harvey moves inland and weakens

1:00 AM CDT Wed Aug 30
Location: 29.2°N 93.5°W
Moving: NE at 7 mph
Min pressure: 995 mb
Max sustained: 45 mph

4:00 PM CDT Wed Aug 30
Location: 30.8°N 93.1°W
Moving: NNE at 8 mph
Min pressure: 998 mb
Max sustained: 40 mph

Hurricane Harvey 26 vis0-lalo



I just stuck that title in for this post as “Click Bait.” I figure it would get more “hits” than the title, “Quiet Times at Pole.”

The lack of a true “Gustogale” this August has left the sea-ice far less ripped-apart than last year, when we had two such storms.  (2016 to left, 2017 to right.)


Though we did have a couple small gales early in August, we need a big monster if we are going to compare apples with apples, in terms of sea-ice. If things remain calm it is not really fair to compare this year to last year.

I actually want an “Gustagale”, with howling winds and pressure below 970 mb, because of a private curiosity about whether the ice will fail to melt as much as it did in last year’s storms. This would mimic how 2013’s gale failed to melt ice like the gale of 2012, and support my pet theories.

However if I have learned one thing, it is that the Arctic is under no orders to support me and my pet theories. It obeys a higher Ruler. Therefore it seems wiser if I become humble,  and study what is given, rather than attempting to compare apples with oranges.

One pet theory of Alarmists is getting messed up by the quiet arctic. Last fall, when sea-ice “extent” refused to shrink in a manner that supported their idea that Global Warming was melting all sea-ice away, they shifted to sea-ice “volume.” The New-Meme was that, even though the ice had the same “extent”, it was thinner, and this meant the “volume” was wasting away towards the dreamed-of Pole with no sea-ice.  But the quiet at the Pole means the thickness of the ice hasn’t been smashed and sloshed by big storms, and this is increasing the “volume.” (This year’s Volume is graphed as black line, in graph to upper right of illustration below.)

DMI4 0821 CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20170820

I suppose I should point out to Alarmists, especially the ones who treated me like an imbecile for not accepting the New-Meme last spring, that “volume” has failed to shrink and has actually grown. I should find some witty and articulate way of saying “neener-neener-neener.”

But that is a waste of time. Of course the ice will be thicker, if it isn’t pounded to slush by a Gustogale.

I have always argued the “volume” calculations are full of challenges.  They depend on “thickness” calculations, and look at the differences between the NRL (left) calculations and the DMI (right) calculations.

Compare the ice poking south towards the waters northeast of Wrangle Island (towards East Siberia) in the two maps. There are places where the DMI map has ice four feet thicker than the NRL map. Add to that discrepancy the simple fact that, back when we had actual cameras drifting about in the Arctic Sea, we saw ice in waters that both maps showed as “ice free.”

Just to show the difficulty involved in “averaging” thickness, look at the view we get from our lone surviving camera, O-buoy 14, today:

Obuoy 14 0821 webcam

Take note of the biggest berg, up to the right horizon. It is not a big, calved chunk of glacier, but rather a remnant of a “pressure ridge”,  and made of many smashed-together chunks of three-foot-thick ice. It extends downward nine times as far as we see extending upwards. And most importantly, it is utterly invisible to the satellites which are attempting to determine an “average thickness” of the ice. Lastly, the satellites must pierce through the cloud-cover with microwaves, and microwave radar has a hard time differentiating between the open water in the foreground and the puddles of water on top of the ice in the foreground. In other words, the “thickness”maps are full of flaws, and this makes the “volume” graphs be fairly gross estimations.

They were gross estimations when Alarmists chose to make them the “New-Meme” last spring, and they remain gross estimations even when they now make the Alarmists blush sheepishly. They are worthy, as gross estimations, but other things are more interesting, (to me at least.)

Of greater interest is what I’ve dubbed “Ralph”, which is persistent low pressure at the Pole. When you look at the actual maps the individual “Ralphs” come and go. They have recently been flabby and nothing like last year’s Gustagales. For example, the current map shows the last “Ralph” has faded towards Canada, but a new incarnation has appeared on the Siberian side.

Although these lows are weak and flabby, if you look at animations of the cloud-shots of the Pole you witness clouds circle the Pole in a counterclockwise manner, as if low pressure was constantly centered on the Pole. Anomaly pressure-maps show the pressure over the Pole as been consistently and dramatically below normal.

In order for such low pressure to survive it must be fed by “feeder bands” of moist and mild air from the south. The above temperature map suggests a current Atlantic feeder-band entering north of Greenland, and another working north from central Siberia, (but misses the big surge that recently spilled north through the Canadian Archipelago.)

Low pressure at the Pole effects weather to the south. It not only effects the development of North Atlantic gales, but of Caribbean hurricanes.  However “Ralph” is also effected by conditions to the south, which can increase or decrease the power of its “feeder-bands”.

The greatest power to the south is the vastness of the Pacific, and the Pacific has been driving forecasters nuts. After the last super El-Nino a strong La Nina was expected, but it was weak and short and gave way to what looked like the start of another El Nino. But no sooner had models started to suggest another El Nino might be in the cards, when the Pacific plunged into La Nina territory.

2017 La Nina threat Screen_Shot_2017_08_21_at_10_28_37_AM


The reason I pay attention to the Pacific is because, in a “lagged” way, the Pacific seems to effect “Ralph’s” “feeder bands.” I have the idea that, if a big La Nina got going, “Ralph” might vanish altogether, for a while.

In any case, I have explained elsewhere the reasons why I think the Pacific’s odd behavior is caused by the “Quiet Sun” (and not CO2). In essence, my idea thinks the Quiet Sun should make the Pacific warmer, at first. This clashes with the Arctic, which the Quiet Sun should make colder, (during the summer, when the sun shines.) This clash between the cold Pole and warm tropics is what feeds Ralph.

This theory will be ruined by a cold La Nina developing in the Pacific. Bother!  But, like I said earlier, the Arctic is under no orders to support me and my pet theories.

For the moment we are perhaps seeing the last lagged effects of last summer’s mini-El Nino,  and getting a surge of milder air up to the Pole to feed Ralph. The average temperatures are above normal for the first time since early May.

DMI4 0821 meanT_2017

This is a little like last year, but things could change if the Pacific turns cold.

The crews of Pen Hadow’s expedition suffered awful sea-sickness getting through Bering Strait, but now are starting to recover as they head north for the edge of the ice. They are up to 75° north, without finding ice, but they must be getting close, for the gulls are plentiful and feeding.

Arctic Gulls 20915098_1882419045118407_2255152088813664108_n

Stay tuned.

LOCAL VIEW –The Value of the Cantankerous–

I am becoming one of those old codgers who does not much want to adapt. It was hard enough to stop writing with a pen, and get a word processor, but even when I do try to be “modern”, I am on the low side of the learning-curve. By the time I have finally figured out how to use the latest gadget, it is already outdated. Then I have to put up with some juvenile looking at my computer, and saying, in an unnecessarily haughty manner, “Oh, you are still using one of those?”

It is for this reason I have stated that I would rather work on becoming what I call “a cantankerous anachronism”. Back when the automobile was invented there were apparently old men who sneered at the new invention, and said, “Get a horse.” I want to be the modern version. When young men, wet behind the ears, get haughty with me, I want to tell them, “Get a pen.”

Apparently, during World War Two, in certain places, there simply was no available fuel for cars, and for a time people had to go back to using horses. The young were utterly hapless, for they had no idea what to do. The old men were in their glory.

It might happen again, and I might be in my glory, showing the young how to use this thing called, “a fountain pen.”

But I don’t count on it. Life is a fresh breeze, fully of newness, and the dust gets blown away. I am of the Yankee, an outdated people, eradicated by progress. I should be a good sport about stepping aside.

The thing that makes me cantankerous is that the young, wise in their way, are such imbeciles about things that do not change, and that they perhaps should ask their elders about.

For example, take the subject of sex and drugs. My generation felt the preceding generation new nothing, but they did. Now I face a generation who thinks I don’t know, but I do.

I am fortunate because I did listen to cantankerous anachronisms. Not that I took their advice. Just because an elder has been a fool should not deprive me of my right to be a fool. (Especially when it comes to sex.) But later on I could say, “That old geezer knew what he was talking about.”

I am also lucky because the men in my family tree became fathers late in life. Some families can squeeze five generations into a century, but in my family we fit only two in the nineteenth century, and, in the case of my oldest brother, only two generations happened in the twentieth century as well. He has a son, born in the twenty-first century, who can say, “My Great-great-grandfather was born in 1850, and wanted to enlist in the Civil War as a drummer boy”.  Meanwhile my grandson was held in the arms of his great-great-grandfather(on my wife’s side), who was born in 1917.

My own Great-great-grandfather was born in 1797. Think of the expanse of time involved! My Grandfather could not only talk about how his Dad experienced the Civil War, but could talk about how his Dad remembered his Grandfather complaining about how the young just didn’t understand what mattered when the USA was only two decades old!

Then just imagine me meeting a twenty-five-year-old history teacher at my children’s school, who thinks I don’t know a thing about history, because I have never been to collage.

Any wonder I might choose to be cantankerous?

What bothers me most about young teachers is that they seem to never put themselves in the shoes of the people they talk about. Their talk often belittles and scorns. But they could never do what the people they describe did. “They who cannot do, teach.”

Personally I don’t think anyone under age fifty should be allowed to be a teacher of anything but simple grammar and arithmetic. History? To have a young person teach History is like having a ten-year-old girl teach of breast-feeding.

To teach history you must have an acquaintance with the people who made it. I have toiled the soil with the farmers, but even if you lack the luck of such toil you should have at least become acquainted with farmers. I have sailed the waters with the fishermen, but even if you lack that luck you should have at least become acquainted with such seafarers. I have brought livestock I cared for to be slaughtered, and have looked my hamburger in the eye before eating. If I become a vegetarian it will be because of that.  However many who claim they have a right to teach (and that I do not have the right) have not become acquainted with the food on their table. “They who cannot do, teach.” But you must have an acquaintance with those who do do, if you are to teach.

New England is no tropical paradise, and people have had to be tough to scratch a living from its landscape. I learned something of what I know the hard way, because I didn’t listen to my elders, however I also did listen to cantankerous anachronisms of the past.

I have learned what the Abernaki learned, before they were reduced to an echo. I have learned what the Yankee learned, before they too were reduced.

To learn what I know you don’t have to be Abernaki, or Yankee. But you must not be “Progressive.”

Why not? Because Progressives are too busy updating, to heed cantankerous anachronisms like myself.

NON-LOCAL-VIEW –Oregon Fires–(Updated)

(Photo credits first four pictures, Arthur Shaw)

My younger brother has been posting some unnerving pictures on Facebook of one of the many fires in Oregon. So far he hasn’t posted any pictures of actual fire, but does give a clear idea of the threat people feel.

Yesterday the sky began to become obscured by smoke on the dry, hot east winds.

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Here is his house at 2:30 in the afternoon, today, with the exterior lighting automatically clicking on.

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Here are burned leaves he notes falling from the sky.

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And here is the notice he gets served.

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Personally I am praying for my brother, because I am selfish. I am even praying for a materiel object, his house, because he built it by hand and it involved amazing effort. However he is not alone, nor is this fire the only fire.

Nor is it only the people who live there who are involved. The traffic would be bad enough if it just involved the locals. But an amazing 200,000 have come to Oregon to view the total eclipse. Now they must turn tail and flee fire.

If you happen to believe in the power of prayer, I think this may be a situation worthy of stopping what we, who are safe, are doing, and praying for those we don’t know.

UPDATE –August 24

Prayers were answered, as the winds died and humidity rose. The blaze became less of a crazy firestorm:

Oni 5 dt.common.streams.StreamServer

And became more of a fire that can be approached by firefighters:

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But not before three homes were lost in the Brookings area:

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The interlude is likely to end on Friday, when the strong, parched, hot east winds may return. The fire fighters are working like mad to set up fire-lines before that re-occurrence.

Many fire-fighters, including the fire-chief of my little town here in New Hampshire, have rushed out west to help with the Oregon fires. But they were already busy with other fires when the Brookings fire broke out. These fires can explode with astonishing rapidity, and the Brookings fire had an understaffed fire-fighter crew at first.

Now they have more firemen than any other fire, and are getting ready for a wind-shift back to the east. The fire was advancing to the east at five milers a day the last time the wind was east, but now battle lines have formed.

All attention will likely on Hurricane Harvey and Galveston on Saturday, as the short attention span of the media shifts from fire to flood. However the battles in Oregon will go on. If you are into prayer, there’s plenty to pray about. (Including a possible “Hurricane Irma” hitting me, a week from tomorrow.)

A RAVE — Prophecy From a Self-Destructive Culture–

One odd thing I have noted is that the people who give the most lip-service to the idea of human “diversity” tend to be Satan’s agents, when it comes to destroying diversity. This occurs because, even though they claim to support “minorities”, they stand firmly against that which makes a minority prosper, which is “patriotic pride”.

I believe God created us each with unique gifts. Just as our fingerprints are unique we each have God-given weirdness. We are all created equal, because we are all equally bizarre. There is no one on earth quite like you. You possess some special attribute no one else has, and even if you live in some obscure corner of Creation, without headlines or fanfare, what you have and what you do is important to the Creator’s plan.

The concept called “Satan” or “Maya” or “Ignorance” dislikes this individuality. Though Satan/Maya/Ignorance also was created by the Creator, its power drags against individuality like the Law Of Gravity drags against a dancer. It is a power every artist has felt and fought. It is the the urge for conformity.  It dislikes anything that can be seen as disorder, and, if need be, it wants to bring about order with a whip or a club or, in worst cases, with a death camp’s genocide.

We all like that which is agreeable, but there is a world of difference between agreement, when it involves understanding, and agreement brought about because, if you don’t, you die.

When an artist is successful, what he or she does is to bring forth some unspoken Truth that others recognize. People say, “I thought/saw/felt that, but never said it.” People were kept from speaking by the powers of conformity, until someone else had the guts to speak.  People then find it very agreeable to have an unspoken thought/vision/feeling agreed with, because true understanding is involved.

The power resisting an artist is the power that puts order ahead of true diversity and individuality, the power of conformity.  It entices the weak-minded into swiftly agreeing, so they might look wise. It is the backbone of “political correctness.” In many ways it is a kindly aspect of humanity, and explains why people agree to conform to ludicrous fashions, in order to “fit in.” (If you don’t think the outfits you wear [or your tattoos or your piercings] are ludicrous, and will be called a joke by your grandchildren, then try donning the “cool” outfits of the past. Go to work with Washington’s wig, or Lincoln’s hat.)

It is generous of people to go through the work of “fitting in”. It demonstrates they are willing to make an effort to be agreeable to others. However at some point one should ask themselves, “What am I fitting-in to?”

In a worst-case-scenario one is not merely following the flippant fads of fashion, but the fierce evil of a dictator, in which case it takes a lot of courage to not act like everyone else.

Man who didn't heil Hitler download

The man in this picture could not salute Hitler because his wife was Jewish. He (and his wife) paid the absolute price for not being politically correct, (death), but due to their bravery their daughter escaped that hell.

Saint Steven was stoned to death for refusing to be politically correct. Holding the cloaks of the people throwing the rocks, and urging them on, was Saint Paul, (then called Saul), who was completely convinced (at that time) he was correct. He was the ISIS of his time, utterly opposed to Jesus, even to the degree of hunting down Christians and destroying them.

Saul could only become Saint Paul by getting knocked off his high horse. (The revelation that temporarily blinded Paul is where we get that expression, “getting knocked off your high horse.”)

I dare say many politically-correct Americans deeply need to go through a similar “Road to Damascus conversion,” and get knocked off their priggish mopeds.

The problem is that the loyalty involved is a beautiful thing. Being loyal to political correctness is not altogether bad. After all, when Hitler perverted German loyalty, what defied him and defeated him was other people’s loyalty to a different idea.

Unfortunately some, horrified by the slaughters which history has played out, seem to think loyalty itself is to blame. In their efforts to stop the slaughter they slander patriotism. They seemingly feel this would be a better planet if we had no nations, no states, no home town teams to cheer for, and even no Dads that are better than your Dad.

The “business model” for this is McDonald’s. Why have fifty family-owned burger-joints when you could have a cooperate giant? And the simple answer is, “Mac-burgers suck, are unhealthy, and no family sweating, flipping the actual burgers, can subsist on the actual work of the frying, with what MacDonald’s reward them with, in terms of a paycheck.”

However we live in a time when the “business model” wins out. The family-owned burger joint seems stupid, (though the service is superb and the burgers are splendid.) The family-owned farm is equally “unprofitable,” (though that hard life remains the dream of many toiling in cities.)

And the people most fluent in all that the “business model” entails are strangely blind to the fact they are against all that is “family owned.” They are like Saint Paul when he was Saul, insisting they are righteous when they are utterly ignorant. Oh! Forgive the politically-correct, Lord, for they do know not what they have done (and continue to do.)

The most obvious evidence of the ignorant (another word for Satanic) impulses of the politically-correct is the simple fact they claim to support “diversity”, but have destroyed every culture they have touched. They jet-set about talking of “world community” even as they leave ruin in their wake. One decade they make money with oil rigs, and the next decade they make money with solar panels and wind farms, but always what they do is ugly, in terms of anything outside of their greedy pleasure. (I apologize to those who have cared for the poor while working for cooperate giants, and I also concede greedy oil companies are better at helping humanity “sustain” itself than greedy “sustainable” solar panel companies.)

Someone needs to say this, and it might as well be me: We have lived through a horrible destruction of the beauty the Creator created.  I am not talking about landscapes and the stuff you see in National Parks. I am talking about cultures. About the very essence of so-called “diversity.” About humanity.

Back on the first “Earth Day”, back in 1970, everyone thought the “coming destruction” would be due to depleted resources and over-population, and feared 90% of the people on earth would be dead by 2017. But the slaughter happened in a way never expected, and didn’t involve “population.”  And the very people who thought they were avoiding the cataclysm contributed to it. And what is the cataclysm? 90% of the world’s culture is now dead, killed by the very politically-correct people who like to preen themselves by believing they “support diversity.” In truth what they actually support is conformity, and a vast, world-wide MacCulture.

They don’t support diversity.  They actually crucify it. How?  They are unwilling to do the work. Work? Yes, for to “support diversity” you must first support your own culture.

And where does that begin? It begins at home. You must put your spouse first, before your job. Divorce is not an option, and your children? Your job must never come before your child. How many “politically correct” can say they have truly done that? But how many conform to the delusion they “support their family” by putting their job first, even to the degree where their house is completely empty, from 6:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Such echoing abodes aren’t a home, and can’t nurture a culture.

And how dare I say such a thing?

It is because I am a Native American. I am of a tribe despised and ridiculed and oppressed by the “politically-correct”. My tribe is called the “Yankee”.

All over the world people say “Yankee Go Home.” But where is there a nation called “Yankee-land?”  Certainly not in Europe. Yankee are often despised there.

If there is a Yankee-land where Yankee could go home to, it should be here, where I was born, but it is not here. Here the politically-correct rule. As a Yankee I was despised as a child, was despised all my life,  and am despised as an old man. That is why I am an authority on how all the talk about caring about “diversity” is sheer hypocrisy and humbug.

They can’t even care for their own.

They are useless. And their futility is about to be exposed. And their gruesome embarrassment will be hideous!  They who deem themselves the light will abruptly become aware they are made of darkness, and quail back like shadow from a candle in a cave. One Word will be their end.

Hang in there, all you who care more for Truth than political-correctness.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Gustagales 2–

On his “Science Matters” site Ron Clutz has a wonderful post on Gustagales (which is my word for August Gales at the Pole.)

What is wonderful is an animation he has that shows how such storms can melt a lot of sea-ice in a hurry. For example the great 2012 gale

Gusta 1 arctic-storm-modis-image-27-aug-2012-lg_0

melted a huge amount of ice in a hurry

Gusta 2 2012-storm-2-figure4-350x193

Ron’s animation does a better job of displaying the swift melt. But what few seem to sit down and to calculate is how much heat it takes to melt a cubic foot of ice. Though the temperature of ice and water can be the same, the phase change between solid and liquid sucks up heat, turning it into “latent” heat. (In fact one way I have learned to doubt various “thickness” maps, and the “volume” graphs derived from “thickness”, is because they can show six feet of ice melting away in a day, and that would simply require more heat than is available. Such super-fast melting makes me think melt-water pools are messing up the modeled calculations of thickness.)

Please don’t ask me to be the one to sit down and calculate the heat involved. I confess I spent all my Math classes dreaming out the window. However I did know “a lot” of heat was required to melt so much ice in 2012. In fact I doubted the ice had actually melted, but inquiries to very kind people who did reply to emails convinced me it was actually gone.

This brings us to the 2013 Gustagale. Ryan Maue posted a lovely view of the low-level moisture being sucked into it:

Gusta 3 ryan-maue-polar_dp_storm

It tore at the sea-ice from August 7 to August 11.

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And though the 2013 storm may have been smaller than the 2012 storm, there was little doubt it completely churned the sea-ice. Tony Heller posted this view of the situation between 120 and 180 degrees after the storm:

Gusta 7 sarelite-arctic-aug-12-index

The thing that impressed me was that the ice was so churned, but did not melt. I tended to taunt Alarmists a bit, asking them why CO2 had become so weak and ineffectual, but to myself I was more serious. Why the heck had the 2012 gale melted ice with such amazing efficiency, and the 2013 gale was such a weakling? The only reason I could see was that the 2012 gale had used up an extraordinary amount of the available heat in the water under the ice, and the water was unable to replenish itself in 12 months, and therefore there was simple no available heat to work with, in 2013.

In the post I linked to, Ron Clutz shows how 2014 was a calmer year, and less ice melted, but when I checked my notes I saw it too had a gale, on August 30.Gusta 8 2013-storm-dmi2-0930-mslp_latest-big

However the gale also failed to melt much ice, as Ron’s superb animation demonstrates. I conclude the Arctic Sea hadn’t yet replenished itself with warmer waters.

However with the passage of 2015, (and perhaps assisted by the development of the super-El Nino),  perhaps the waters were replenished, so that by last summer, 2016, when we had not one but two Gustogales, there was enough southern waters available under the ice to slightly enhance the melting, so we saw ice vanish with those gales.

That brings us to 2017, when we have had two storms which, while they not have been as strong as Gustogales, have had gale force winds and have tortured and smashed the sea-ice, but without the melting (so far) that we saw last year.

To me this suggests we are in a situation similar to 2013, where the available heat has been used up, turned into latent heat by the prior years churning and melting. We should not expect the ice to melt like it did last year.

I will conclude with this observation:  The ideas I am playing with have little to do with a trace gas in the atmosphere. Instead they have everything to do with the surges in the atmosphere that create Gustagales, and the oceanic surges that replenish mild waters under arctic ice.

I think it is high time the governments stop funding scientists who insist trace gases control our weather and our future, and start funding the down-to-earth (largely unrewarded) dudes who are  focused on atmospheric and oceanic  surges which are far more real and far more likely to significantly effect humanity as a whole.

(I know some are hard at work collecting the data that demonstrates how the water-under-the-ice gains and loses its ability-to-melt, and that there are conversations about whether this may occur in a short, four or five year, cycle. I believe these guys deserve the funding.)




ARCTIC SEA ICE –Summer Crack-ups–

At this point in the summer the Alarmist contingent, who are heavily invested in seeing the Arctic ice-free, tends to raise an uproar at any patches of open water seen by the Satellite. This forces me to once again go through my spiel, to educate the uneducated. I actually did this with a certain amount of zest back in 2007, but ten years have gone by, and saying the same thing over and over and over has gotten a bit old.

In any case, in a nutshell the spiel is this:

The Arctic Sea is not an icecap. It is an ocean, and the sea-ice on it is in constant motion, shifted by currents, tides and gales.  Winds are especially prone to tear at the ice and crash it together, for at times a pressure gradient with a fetch of hundreds of miles is replaced by a different gradient with a different fetch of hundreds of miles. Sea-ice moving at differing directions at different speeds either piles up in heaps, (called “pressure ridges”), or pulls apart leaving open water, (called “leads”.) In the winter the open waters swiftly refreeze, but in the summer the patches of open water remain open for a while. Even if no sea-ice melts at all, the open patches tend to grow, for the sea-ice is not as flexible as an accordion. When you crunch it together you can not pull it apart and expect the sea-ice to rebound to its original shape.

For this reason submarines found it possible to surface at the Pole even in May, when sea-ice was at its end-of-winter thickest and had hardly begun its summer melt.

Sub at Pole 1987 3-subs-north-pole-1987

Or in March of 1959

Sub at Pole 1959 download

Or, (if you insist upon this time of year), the meeting of the Skate and the Sea Dragon at the Pole on August 2, 1962.

Sub at Pole 1962 seadragon-and-skate-north-pole-1962

It is somewhat comical to see how zealously Alarmists have tried to deny the leads in sea ice back then. The gatekeepers at Wikipedia are notorious for only including certain notes kept by the captain and crew. For example, describing the Skate’s cruise under sea-ice in 1958, they quote the captain, “Calvert said, “Seldom had the ice seemed so heavy and so thick as it did in the immediate vicinity of the pole. For days we had searched in vain for a suitable opening to surface in.”  The gatekeepers have apparently deleted all attempts to alter the impression generated by this myopic view.

Back in 2000 the late John Daly simply emailed a member of the crew, James E. Hestor, and received this polite response:

the Skate found open water both in the summer and following winter. We surfaced near the North Pole in the winter through thin ice less than 2 feet thick. The ice moves from Alaska to Iceland and the wind and tides causes open water as the ice breaks up. The Ice at the polar ice cap is an average of 6-8 feet thick, but with the wind and tides the ice will crack and open into large polynyas (areas of open water), these areas will refreeze over with thin ice. We had sonar equipment that would find these open or thin areas to come up through, thus limiting any damage to the submarine. The ice would also close in and cover these areas crushing together making large ice ridges both above and below the water. We came up through a very large opening in 1958 that was 1/2 mile long and 200 yards wide. The wind came up and closed the opening within 2 hours. On both trips we were able to find open water. We were not able to surface through ice thicker than 3 feet.”

It is interesting to me that Wikipedia does mention the Skate was able to surface nine times during the 1958 voyage, but never mentions they could not surface through ice thicker than three feet. The intent seems to be to emphasize how thick the ice was back then, and not to give a true picture of the varying nature sea-ice exhibits .

It is interesting that the Sea Dragon in the above picture was the first Submarine to traverse the Northwest Passage, in 1960, and as it reached the western part of Parry Channel they actually used charts prepared by William Parry in 1819 and 1820, as he was the only other ship to have traveled that far. Beyond the point Parry reached they had no idea how shallow the bottom might be, and discovered and charted the depths by sonar.  As the ship continued to the Pole it did not find impressively thick ice, but rather, Wikipedia states,  “The ship surfaced through the thin ice becoming the third submarine to surface at the pole. Members of the crew laid out a softball diamond with the pitcher’s box at the pole where the captain claimed he hit a fly ball at 4:00 pm on Wednesday and it wasn’t caught until 4:00 am on Thursday.”

I don’t wish to get into a quarrel with Alarmists about the thickness of the ice back then. The data is very scant, but my impression is that the ice was actually growing thicker at that time, in a general way, to a peak it reached in 1979. However the important thing I think needs to be admitted by Alarmists involves not so much the thickness of the ice but the nature of the ice. It is far more mobile than most assume, and leads and polynyas of open water have always formed,  especially during the summer months.

This is especially true when the sea-ice is hammered by summer gales, and while the low pressure I call “Ralph” has not yet been an official Gustogale (below 970 mb), it has achieved gale force winds twice in the past two weeks, and areas of open water can be seen from the satellite’s August 13 view: (Pole at lower left corner).

This ice reminds me of 2013, when the Gales did not speed the melt of ice. In 2012 the ice dissolved with stunning rapidity when churned by winds, I suppose because the water under the ice was warmer. In 2013 the ice was churned, but nothing happened, I suppose because the water was not as warm.

The “Arctic Mission” boats apparently finally left Nome, Alaska, today (August 14) and are heading up through the mostly ice-free waters of Bering Strait. At least one gal says she hopes they can make it all the way to the Pole. Judging from the above picture, there is too much ice in the way. However their chief aim is to study wildlife at the edge of the ice, and they’ll likely be seeing a lot of whales at the edge of the ice at 75° north.

Thickness 20170814 Attachment-1


The speed and drift map shows a route north of 80° may open north of the New Siberian Islands, but that is a long way from safe harbors when the refreeze starts.

Speed and Drift 20170814 Attachment-1

High pressure has swung around from the  east west to over Bering Strait, but models show it will not last long, as a weak feeder-band of “Ralph” currently over the New Siberian Islands will follow the high pressure to north of Bering Strait and strengthen.


The last incarnation of “Ralph” is fading north of Greenland, but another “feeder-band” is north of Norway. The models haven’t done well, when it comes to resolving this sort of confused situation. (One way or another, Ralph always prevails.)  In any case, I lack confidence, but not curiosity, about the next ten days.

One interesting thing is the large area of subfreezing temperatures in the arctic. The graph of mean temperatures north of 80° has dipped below freezing early, despite the mild feeder-band seen in the above temperature map, which  extends right to the Pole.

DMI4 0814 meanT_2017

At this point it does not seem we will have an extended surface-melt like we had in 1964, which extended the melt season a week:

DMI4 meanT_1964

But who knows? Maybe we’ll get a last fit of thawing. On a whole, however, surface temperatures do not indicate a thawing planet, at the Pole in the Summer.

I have been thinking up excuses for Alarmists to use for the colder temperatures, and it occurred to me that perhaps thicker ice allows the air above the ice to get warmer than it gets over open water. The ice has exuded most of its salt, so temperatures are at the melting point of fresh water, or 0°C. However the ice-water the ice sloshes in is salt water, and at a temperature around -1.8°C, which would chill the air in contact with it. In other words, open water might lower air temperatures, as long as it was ice water. Only when the water was completely ice-free, (as it is along certain arctic coasts during the summer), could the water significantly warm, and uplift air temperatures.

There, you Alarmists. Don’t say I never do anything for you. (But, of course, admitting this idea is a booby trap that explodes some of your other ideas, but never mind that. Trust me. I’m not like the others.)

This idea popped into my head as O-buoy 14 showed the ice break up south of Parry Channel, right on schedule, today.

Obuoy 14 0814 webcam Yet as soon as the ice broke up the buoy saw temperatures drop two degrees.

Obuoy 14 0814 temperature-1week

This hints at how complex the dynamics are, for the water is actually colder than the ice (and the melt-water pools atop the ice.)

As far as sailing up there, look at the view from the same camera only hours later:

Obuoy 14 0815 webcam

One moment you have clear sailing, but later…not so much.

For this reason I ignore the politics of the people who dare sail up there, and always bow my head and send a few prayers to people like the people on the “Arctic Mission” ships.

The main thing to watch for over the next month is whether the broken-up ice melts swiftly, like in 2012, or hardly at all, like in 2013.

Stay tuned.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Whaler Gales–

The modern millennial likely would not approve of the life Whaler’s lived, seeing them as back-stabbers, but Whaler’s lived in a society where if you did not produce food, clothing and shelter you would not receive food, clothing and shelter. The choice was quite simple, back then: Work your ass off, or freeze and starve in rags. It was downright Biblical, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

Given this choice, men and women in the times Whalers sailed were motivated to do far more than the millennial mentality allows. There were no trophies for “participating,” for life was clearly a matter of life or death. Winning was life, and losing was death, and it was left to the angels in heaven to decide whether the dead got a “participation trophy.”

Not that people back then didn’t believe that certain losers, called “martyrs”, did get a “participation trophy” of far greater value than the plastic objects handed out to modern losers. However it was because they had given the ultimate sacrifice, their own life, so that others might live. Life and living was still the focus, and there was the awareness that in order to give, and be charitable, you must have. And in order to have, you must work your ass off. You must have a life worth living in order to perform the ultimate charity, and give your life away as a martyr.

Millennials seem confused about the basic premise which states one must have something to begin with, in order to be charitable. Some millennials indeed have things completely backwards. Where, in fact, an act of charity leaves one with less materially than one started with (though one may be richer spiritually), millennials feel they should wind up with more materially, if they are charitable. They only “give” because the pay is good; a “non-profit” should be highly lucrative; a “public servant” taxes those he supposedly serves. This colossal ignorance represents a complete redefinition of the word, “charity.”

This can only have occurred because millennials were misguided. Somehow they were misled into thinking you could give without first working your ass off. Perhaps this ignorance began with the ability of governments to reap without sowing, by printing money that didn’t exist. Who knows? I wasn’t there and I refuse to take responsibility for starting it.

I will accepts a certain amount of responsibility for perpetuating the lunacy of thinking charity is profitable. After all, I am a “Child Care Professional”, which means I profit off caring for small children. It is a shameful profession, for little children have no wallets, and to make money off innocents is surely a vile exploitation. The only redeeming factor is that the pay stinks, so I don’t share the shame of those who get filthy rich being “charitable.” However far better was the old ways of the old days, when a mother charged nothing for her milk.

Some of the worst offenders are psychiatrists, who do get filthy rich by helping the troubled. Likely they are aware of the shame involved, for no other adult occupation matches their rate of suicide. However, until they crack up, they like to sit in their stultifying offices and criticize whalers sailing out in the open air. They like to raise their noses and invent fancy words that demonstrate their contempt for honest men working honest jobs. To harpoon a whale is “sadism”, and the suffering of life on the pounding sea is “masochism.”

This only demonstrates their appalling ignorance, for they can have no idea how wonderful the wildness of whaling was, and that the people involved lost fortunes as often as they made them, but chose that life because a Nantucket sleigh-ride was the opposite of stultifying.

Arctic Whalers 2 1000 dpi un framed

Even though it did not always end well.

Arctic Whalers 3 3ae5bc1d-052d-40e0-80c5-83bff1f82e77

In any case, the daring lifestyle of Whalers took them to where whales congregate, and one such place was the edge of the arctic sea-ice.

Arctic Whalers 1 Arctic-Whalers

It is from these men we learn most about how the sea-ice has expanded and contracted in the past. Because whales like to push their limits, (because the edge of the ice hold the richest foods), and because even whales sometimes pushed their limits too far and were trapped in pockets of open water and eventually killed by expanding ice, (because whales cannot breath if they have to swim too great a distance under ice),  whalers were tempted to pursue the whales into compromising situations. Whaling ships were also trapped, and crushed, and crews only survived by hauling lifeboats south over sea-ice to land, or to open water.

Some captains, such as William Scoresby (Junior), kept amazingly scientific and accurate logs, but most captains had no idea we intellectuals-of-the-future would ever wonder what they saw, and bicker about what the sea-ice was like back then.  Their logs are far less scientific, yet we can learn much from them.

For example, in 1871 forty ships sailed north of Bering Strait in June, and proceeded to hunt whale along the coast of Alaska nearly as far as Barrow during July and early August, but then the winds shifted and the ice came crushing south and trapped all but seven of the ships. 1219 lives were on the line.

At this point I suppose certain people of the “vegan” persuasion are clapping their hands in glee. They hate the idea of men stabbing whales in the back, and if you visit their websites you discover their hatred does not frown upon wishing death upon fellow humans, if those humans feed children with meat. Nor would it trouble them much to learn that some captains had their sons and even wives aboard, so the 1219 doomed people included women and children. Certain vegan types basically loathe humanity, preferring beasts, and snicker when true saints weep.  The fact whales also were trapped by the southern surge of sea-ice wouldn’t trouble them much, as it would be well worth the glee of seeing 1219 evil “hunters”die.

Some of these people would also be glad to see so many ships destroyed. Even though they were mass-produced very cheaply in the shipyards of those times, they were worth roughly a million dollars each (in modern dollars), (though you could never build such a ship for a mere million dollars today.) (Each ship must hold a crew of 25.)  In any case, 33 lost ships represented a loss of 33 million dollars for the investors. The vegan mentality claps its hands in glee, for, though some have never made an honest dollar in their lives and dwell in a mother’s basement, they prefer to avoid their own motivations and instead accuse others of “greed”.

The problem with this idea is that, if greed alone was the motivation, many captains would have gotten out when the going was good. Having made their fortune, they would have stayed home. They were well aware of the risks involved. Why should they risk losing a fortune they’d already made? Yet some of the captains involved had made and lost fortunes more than once. This suggests something besides greed was involved. It suggests men might live for something other than profit. It suggests men might rejoice in the sheer challenge of the sea.

Not that some of the “vegan” mindset can comprehend the joy of such danger. A person who loves danger will seldom hide in his mother’s basement, (unless he understands that is a dangerous place for a man to be).

(As a daredevil who has experienced both storms at sea and living in my mother’s basement, I will testify the sea has a beauty and joy which basements utterly lack, and for that reason a basement may be more dangerous. But the basement’s chief danger involves cowardice, while the sea brings out your courage.)

It is the courage of the doomed 1219 that really stands out. They knew, as the sun sank and September chills filled the air, and the ship’s timbers moaned under the stress of the increasing sea-ice, that the sea-ice wasn’t going to miraculously open and allow them to sail to unload cargo at the home port. It wan’t going to be a happy, profitable voyage. It was going to be one of the unprofitable ones they’d heard tales about. From members of the crew. If not the captain himself. So they knew it was time to abandon ship. They lowered the lifeboats, but not to water. The lifeboats went “clunk” on hard sea-ice, and then served as sleds, as 1219 doomed people headed south for land.

1219 made it to land, and then headed southwest along the Alaskan coast, to where the sea-ice didn’t crunch against the coast. And what did they find there? They found the seven smart captains who had escaped the sea-ice. They were the seven winners, and faced a choice of what to do with the 33 losers.

Now, if the seven winners happened to be like some “vegan” I’ve known, then when faced with 33 loser “meat-eaters” in dire danger, they would not lift a finger to help. They’d likely shriek, “Die! Die! Die! For you deserve it, because you are greedy and cruel to whales!”

In actual fact the seven smart captains may have made a choice that the stock-holders far away frowned at.  They dumped the entire profits of their voyages overboard, to make room for the 1219 lives they saved.

The end of the story is that millions of dollars were lost, but not a single life. The 1219 all arrived safely in the sunny south, to bask beneath the palms of Honolulu.

Knowing this, perhaps you can understand why I am less than trustful of those who write a sort of revisionist history, describing Whalers as being wicked, sadistic, greedy men. Surely they were not perfect, but they had a class you seldom see these days.

Consider, if you will, the class displayed by the seven captains who saved 1219. Talk about charity! They could have been rich, but instead chose to be poor and save 1219 lives.

And then consider how different are seven Climate Scientists. They have been nowhere and done nothing, in reality, though they may have jet-setted to Bali and Paris, spending other people’s money to talk nonsense they could have just as well talked (with less expense)  at home. All their adventuring is in a mother’s basement, with the “mother” being the funding of a government which cannot make money, and instead must print it. It is a landscape devoid of the reality where one must actually catch a whale. And, rather than demonstrating sacrifices they themselves must make to save people, they instead utter strident cries that others should sacrifice, so they (and hypothetical future generations) can profit and do “further research”. It is an intellectual world so divorced from catching whales, from hard facts, from food, clothing and shelter, that I can only conclude it is stark madness.

It is perhaps fortunate that I wasted a winter in my mother’s basement long ago, for I know how the mind can stray from reality in such circumstances, inventing excuses for not leaving shelter, concocting elaborate blamings of others for ones own spineless reluctance to go out into the cold. But I got sick of it, and faced a stark dawn where the choice between fresh air and stultification, between sanity and insanity, was blatant. So I stepped out into the cold, and discovered something that surprised me: Life is a blast. One may not be able to sign up to crew on a whaling ship any more, but there is plenty of fresh air out there, if one only leaves the basement.

Perhaps there are now simply fewer opportunities for millennials to work meaningful jobs, where they can see they actually produce food, clothing and shelter. A lone man in a tractor can now do the farming and produce the food which once would have taken hundreds, if not thousands, of toiling farmers to produce. Robots now do the tedious toil, but should not this allow people to be poets? To study Truth? Instead many just become nasty, and disingenuous, and more prone to con-artistry than to art.

It is for this reason I distrust ideas that seem to be produced in a setting like a Mom’s basement, and have a greater trust of ideas that seem from the decks of ships at sea. I am skeptical of data from models, and more interested the raw facts from “field studies”. And this is most especially true when the maps and graphs produced by professors in cozy offices differ significantly from what is shown, (often without comment) by their interns out on the ice. Or by the floating cameras out on the ice. Or by the adventurers out on the ice. Or by the historical records of Whalers who sailed long ago, and never dreamed a society could exist that is in the state ours is in.

This at long last brings me back to the topic of sea-ice, and the fact one can compare computer-generated ideas of what the sea-ice was like, back before we had satellite pictures, with the records kept by sailors. One discovers the two views disagree. Ships were sailing where the computer-generated maps state they could not have sailed. After all, William Parry observed a sailing ship could be brought to a halt by as little as an inch of sea-ice, unless there was a strong following wind. The people back then were not aboard icebreakers that smash through six feet of ice with impunity. Therefore their reports of open water are not “modeled”, but based on actual fact.

Even the old Danish sea-ice maps, which are decent regarding where the sea-ice lay on the European side of the Pole, tend to overdo the historical amount of sea-ice on the Pacific side. The old Eskimo (Inuit) spoke of whaling every year along the same coasts the Danish maps show as being gripped by ice. One surmises the Danes were just guessing, but the Eskimo, (perhaps the most gutsy whalers of all), not only spoke from experience, but their very survival was staked on there being open water. (One reason the Inuit replaced an earlier people called the “Dorset Culture” may be because the Inuit could hunt from kayaks while the Dorset required sea-ice, which in turn suggests times of thicker ice was advantageous to an earlier people, but losing that ice (perhaps during the Medieval Warm Period) put them at a disadvantage.)

The computer models, for some reason, show more sea-ice in the past than the Danes and Inuit reported. To me it seems the modelers have been so eager to demonstrate that sea-ice is decreasing, and in a “death spiral”, that they ignored the eyewitnesses, and the models became an example of “garbage in, garbage out.”

To get around such bias I have always preferred the eyewitnesses, whether they be Eskimos, Whalers, Explorers, O-buoys, Satellite pictures, or modern adventures sailing those waters.

The modern adventurers often are full of zeal, when it comes to promoting the idea that sea-ice is in a “death spiral”,  but that never bothers me, for they can talk the talk, but they also walk they walk. Often they inadvertently share a picture worth far more than a thousand words, for they share pictures of persisting sea-ice, even while agonizing about an ice-free Pole.

I am of the opinion that the Arctic Sea was at times ice-free, or nearly ice-free, as recently as the Medieval Warm Period. Though sea-ice has increased since then, it has not done so in a steady fashion, and the reports of whalers like William Scoresby seem to suggest there was one summer, around 1817, where there was less ice up in the Arctic Sea, on the Atlantic side, than we have ever seen, during our Modern Climate Optimum.

This pits me against some computer models, and it also, (to those who have great faith in those models), makes my observations seem a sort of heresy.  I try to point out that the models do not match the historical record, but some simply refuse to hear such a possibility can even exist.

I also try to point out that a return to the relatively sea-ice-free summer conditions of the Medieval Warm Period would be good for humanity,  but this also seems like sacrilege to those who think a decrease of sea-ice signifies doom.

In the end time will tell. I just watch what happens, and rue the fact we have so few cameras this year, (for the funding of eye-witness views seems to be greatly decreased).

Because we have so few cameras I am thrilled that a group of sailors, calling themselves “Arctic Mission”, are thinking of attempting to sail several boats north as far as they can:

These are fellows following in the footsteps of the whalers of Yore, and testing the limits of the edge of the ice. I am not particularly concerned about their politics, (one fellow suggests there may be less sea-ice this year than any summer in 120,000 years), because Truth is better than politics, and these fellow will report the Truth.

A slight problem has occurred, as Truth doesn’t always involve fair weather. They were planning to have left Nome, Alaska by now, and to have headed up through Bering Strait, but rather than the summertime calms they expected, there have been gales in Bering Strait. So they are delayed.

Hmm. Is it just me, or is there some irony in the fact that in 1871 forty whaling ships made it north of Bering Strait in June, but these guys are delayed in August?

But I will not deny these fellows have guts to be attempting what they are attempting. They have not the vegan-mentality that stays at home. I’m a little worried they may get trapped up there. But they will give us eye-witness accounts of what the sea-ice is up to, and I personally value that more than any model.

In terms of weather, “Ralph” continues to storm up at the Pole, but high pressure pumped up over Siberia may be swung around to Bering Strait and give “Arctic Mission” some sunny sailing.

Subfreezing temperatures are becoming more common.

DMI4 0811 meanT_2017

Waters are open north of Bering Strait, but “Arctic Mission” should start meeting sea-ice at around 75° north latitude. (For some reason NRL hasn’t updated its maps for three days.)

Thickness 20170811 Attachment-1

Our lone camera shows the thaw has resumed after a sharp freeze, south of Parry Channel. The melt-water pools briefly skimmed with ice, but now are again expanding. Much of the melting now comes from beneath, and the ice should soon break up even if a freeze occurs above the ice.

Obuoy 14 0811 webcam

Stay tuned (even if hurricanes to the south get more interesting.)




ARCTIC SEA ICE –Gustagale–

One thing I seem to see in my notes about Arctic sea-ice is an increase not merely in the low pressure at the Pole, which I have dubbed “Ralph”, but also an increase in the times Ralph gets rowdy, and becomes a full fledged gale.

I say I “seem to see” because I really don’t have the time to carefully peruse old weather maps, and study how often gales, especially summer gales, have occurred over the Pole.

I am aware our records don’t really go that far back. (When my Dad was a boy (1925) the National Geographic maps showed the Arctic Sea north of Alaska as a blank area labeled, “Unexplored”. They didn’t even know if those seas might contain a large island, for not even a dirigible had sailed north, on the Pacific side.) Because our satellite record only goes back to the first fuzzy Nimbus shots in 1964 we have only the records from a few bases, such as “Fletcher’s Ice Island” (T-3), to use, when we try to gauge how common summer gales were before that.

Those old Nimbus shots do make me wary about the rather cynical records of sea-ice extent, which always seem to begin when the ice was very high, in 1979. For example, after the Summer Of Love in 1969 the heat of hippies seemed to melt an extraordinary amount of sea-ice, leading to big areas open water north of Alaska by September 9, including a vast “hole” towards the Pole.


I don’t want to go down the road of complaining about the bias and cherry-picking which ignores such evidence of a “hole”, and perhaps exaggerates the sea-ice extents for 1969. Rather I prefer wonder. First, I wonder over the fact no sailing ship could reach a similar “hole”, in days of yore, and therefore such a “hole” could have existed in the past, and we’d have no records from whaling ships that such a “hole” ever existed. Second, I wonder what sort of gale might have ripped that hole in the ice.

All we really have, in terms of precise records, is from the recent past. Therefore, when the summer gale of 2012 was called “unprecedented”, I rolled my eyes just a bit. We have few records at all from the last time the AMO shifted from warm to cold, so, in a manner of speaking, we will be watching the AMO shift to a cold phase “for the first time”, (if the AMO ever gets around to it).  In a similar manner we only have records from the southern edge of the Arctic Sea, for the last “Quiet Sun”,  which began in 1798. We are like pioneers, climbing to the top of a ridge and peering over, and seeing a vast new frontier spread out before us. That wilderness existed before we saw it with our new satellites, but this is the first time our newfangled eyes will see it.

I have noticed some are not comfortable, facing a frontier. Perhaps it is true that, “it is the unknown that terrifies”, for, rather than facing a new Unknown with relish, some behave a bit oddly. Either they panic, or they insist they do know, and the Unknown isn’t actually unknown.

The panic-response tends to involve the word “unprecedented”,  and also the fact the media gains more attention through sensationalism than through banal realism. (Also it is easier to sell life rafts if people fear a flood, and certain politicians like to portray themselves as life rafts.)

For example, if the “hole” in the sea-ice pictured by the Nimbus satellite in 1969 occurred this summer, there are some who would work themselves up into a complete tizzy, suggesting it was “unprecedented”.  Of course, the Nimbus pictures show there was a precedent, but not everyone knows about the Nimbus pictures, and some prefer to only look at the Satellite record starting in 1979.

Even if we didn’t have the Nimbus pictures the fact we haven’t seen things before does not mean they haven’t happened before. The slender evidence we have from before we had satellites (or even dirigibles) tends to suggest remarkable events did occur. However “it has happened before” does not sell as many newspapers (and life rafts) as “unprecedented” does.

Looking backwards arrives us at the second response to facing a new Unknown, and that is the “we-do-know-about-the-Unknown” response.  This is either called “history” or “proxies”, and involves the idea that history repeats itself, (also called “a pattern” or “a cycle.”) It embraces the idea we can know the future because the past reveals a pattern that will repeat, and it plunges us into the wonderful world of “bias.”

Historians work incredibly hard to avoid bias, but it is in human nature to “take sides”, and to put what politicians call “spin” on events. In fact to attempt to be completely factual about history can make a transcript robotic, for it carefully excludes the very subjectivity that makes mankind do nutty things (like start wars, or explore the barren arctic). Humanity cannot be understood if one insists on being rational.

In order to understand Climate Science, it is important to understand it isn’t entirely rational. Billions of dollars flowed into an obscure field, with a definite political “spin” connected to the money. This is not liable to result in bias-free behavior, or even rational behavior. Behavior was modified. The same thing would happen if you flew over a sedate picnic of poor senior citizens in a helicopter, and dumped out a barrel of hundred dollar bills.  “I never dreamed Grandma could run like that!”

If you look at the pressures Climate Scientists worked under, the wonder isn’t that many produced results warped by bias and “spin”, but rather that any good work was produced at all. And much good work was produced. Often, to be politically correct, the final paragraph of a paper would contain a sort of genuflection to “Global Warming”, but, if you blacked out that paragraph, the rest of the work could be quite good.

An extraordinary amount of work has gone into studying the past of the Arctic.  Much is work so tedious it would make my eyeballs fall out. I’ve worked some tough jobs in my time, and therefore I can appreciate young scientists working in a freezer, wearing a white suit, measuring the isotopes of air in tiny bubbles in layer after layer of a core extracted from the icecaps of Greenland and Antarctica. Maybe such work does not entail the brawn of unloading herring in a Maine cannery in January when the wind-chill is -20°, (which I once did), but it involves brains and an attention-to-detail in uncomfortable conditions, and I know for sure the job was no piece of cake.

However the interpretation of the data is a completely different matter, and involves bias. It involves things that the intern, freezing and doing the hard work, doesn’t even consider. It is the professor, glad he can delegate the suffering to an intern, parked in his cozy chair by a warm computer, who gets plunged into a purgatory all his own, dealing with things such as “funding”.

Truth does not change when one party loses an election. However funding does change. Sad to say, but “findings” then change as well. Even Galileo changed his findings a little, when the Pope got pissed.

In conclusion, one part of being a Skeptic is to doubt some findings.  Especially I doubt those who state the Unknown is known, claiming a proxy proves it,  most especially when the new proxy denies a number of reputable old proxies.

Michael Mann vs Tim Ball graphs

It is understandable why proxies are used, attempting to forecast the future. Some of the best forecasters do exactly that. However the above two graphs should show you the waters are muddied, and we cannot even agree what the past actually was.

In any case, the wonder of weather and life is that every day is fresh and new. There are some things in history that do repeat, in a way, but the repetitions are never exactly the same. Tomorrow is as unique as a fingerprint or a snowflake. In order to truly forecast one needs to be on their toes, for just because today’s map is exactly like a map from 1953, it doesn’t mean tomorrow’s map couldn’t be different from 1953’s. A forecaster must be aware of Chaos Theory, and be alert to a butterfly flapping its wings. There is no such thing as certainty in Chaos.

For this reason I chuckle when anyone ventures a timid hypothesis, suggesting they are certain about Chaos. I admire such people. It takes guts to make such an audacious statement. Of course, other scientists will come in the future and point out what they got wrong, but still it takes guts to be certain about chaos. And, sometimes, the hypothesis becomes a theory which benefits humanity a lot, (as in the cases of Newton and Einstein, even though neither was 100% correct).

Others hypothesises did not need to be ventured in a timid fashion, for their proponents received the accolades of power, privilege, political-correctness and pots of money. In some cases their fraud was flagrant, yet the media made them champions of a noble cause.  Their position was one of invulnerability, and, because they felt no fear, they produced interpretations of proxies that has given the word “proxy” a bad name, and may have led some to think a proxy has something to do with proctology.  I doubt the future will be kind to such interpreters, but that is not really my business.

My business, as a skeptic, is to glance back at the past, the historical record, the various proxies, and to sift the facts from the interpretations. For example,  the tree-rings from a certain conifer in Yamal are facts, but the “Hockey Stick Graph” is an interpretation. It turns out one can create differing graphs by utilizing different trees, just as one would create different histories by utilizing different nationalities. Bias rears its head when one excludes certain views. The “Hockey Stick Graph” was exposed as a biased view by the careful sifting of data, (which was hard to get), largely led by Steve McIntyre at his Climate Audit site. (The early history of sifting-history is fascinating:)

The more I have looked at the interpretations derived from proxies, (usually expressed in the form of a graph), the more I have become aware certain “inconvenient” data is left out, (often described as “cherry picking.”) In some cases the reasons seem to be political and/or economic, and determined by those funding the study, but in other cases it is because a generalization allows one to grasp what usually, but not always, the case.

Generalization is not always a bad thing. For example the actual fact is that in New Hampshire there are cases, “exceptions to the rule”, where there are frosts in June, but this does not keep farmers from planting corn in May, using the generalization, “Plant your corn when the oak leaves are as big as a squirrel’s ear.” (Here in New England seeking to avoid a late frost may expose your crop to the dangers of an early frost in late August.)

But is should be clearly stated a generalization is what it is. If a generalization is instead stated as a Truth, then a single “exception to the rule” sends it down in flames.

Two generalizations which are helpful to have are the idea of planetary circulation defined by Hadley, Ferrel and Polar Cells, and the idea of there being an oscillation of Arctic pressures, called the AO.   These ideas are elegant and helpful, as one attempts to see order in the beautiful swirls of chaos, wrapping our blue planet in pearly clouds. However the appearance of “Ralph” is an “exception to the rule”, and in some ways a wrench in the works of elegance.

First, the circulation idea has a polar cell and descending air creating high pressure at the Pole, but “Ralph” involves rising air and low pressure.  It doesn’t fit the generalization.

Polar Cell polar-cell-atmospherecirculation1

Second, when low pressure does inhabit the Pole the AO should be negative, which should involve a “zonal” pattern, but “Ralph” seems to involve a jet stream so extremely “medridional” that loops can actual reach and even cross the Pole. It doesn’t fit the generalization.

Arctic Oscillation 250px-Arctic_Oscillation


To me this suggests we need a new generalization to explain this “exception to the rule.”  For August has barely started, and again we are seeing, if not Gustogales, Ralph getting to the verge of a Gustogale.

When we last looked the early development of sub-freezing temperatures over sea-ice seemed to clash with the warm air over sun-baked tundra, creating a small, tight, and intense storm on the Pacific side of the Arctic Sea, (which I call a “Hula Ralph”.)


This little beast peaked on July 31.


Even as this little Hula Ralph faded, the swirls of subfreezing isotherms on the temperature map are thought-provoking.


At this point one might think the collapse of Hula Ralph would pump high pressure at the Pole, and the little gale on the coast of the Laptev Sea would reestablish storms tracking along the junction of Ferrel and Polar Cells, with would fit the atmospheric circulation pattern  diagramed above. Instead the gale on the coast of Siberia fades and Ralph displays the uncanny persistance he has manifested for over a year now, swinging up to the Pole itself by August 3.

DMI4 0802 mslp_latest.big    (Misplaced temperature map)



By August 4 the “Ralph” over the Pole seems to be able to persist due to a “feeder band” from either side of Greenland, (which was briefly quite warm), while a reinforcing secondary rides north with a Siberian Tundra feeder band.



The Siberian reinforcement has taken over, this morning, and slightly raises my eyebrow with its strength. At 982 mb  it may not qualify as an official Gustogale, but winds are gale forse where the isobars are tight, and the sea-ice is likely getting churned.


Though the GFS model suggests this incarnation of Ralph will drift to the Pole and weaken, it suggests an immediate reinforcement will follow, and in four days a 979 mb low, with some gale force winds, will sit in nearly the exact same place, as the next incarnation of Ralph.

Gusto 0706-0710 gfs_mslp_uv10m_arctic_18

If and when “Ralph” gets down near 960 mb in August, he will officially become a “Gustagale.” He will be a “top ten” summer storm, (in our very short history). I assume some Alarmists want this to happen, because they imagine the churning will melt a lot if sea-ice, but I want to see it for a different reason.

The Gustagale of 2012, which melted a lot of ice, was followed by a Gustagale in 2013 that melted far less ice.  Last summer we had not one, but two Gustagales, and a lot of ice got melted. I am hoping we also get a Gustagale this summer, to see if we have a repeat of 2013, and less ice melts than expected. I hypothesize that the first Gustagale in the sequence, in the process of melting so much ice, chills the water under the ice,  so the water is less able to melt ice the following year. (Even if we don’t get a major gale, perhaps the lesser gales we are getting will test this idea, to some degree).

Irregardless of how much ice melts, the phenomenon of Ralph getting stronger in August tickles my brain, and I’m playing around with generalizations which may (or may not) explain it.

One idea I have involves the very short window of time, basically three weeks either side of the solstice, when the sun gets high enough over the horizon to, as it shines 24 hours a day, actually make the North Pole a place that receives more energy than it loses. Temperatures over the entire Arctic Sea average above freezing, many melt-water pools form, and the landscape becomes a slushy mess. Even with temperatures below normal this summer, they were above freezong. (View Below from O-buoy 14)

Obuoy 14 0730 webcamObuoy 14 0806 webcam

The generalization I am toying with is that if you slightly shorten this “window”, by having less solar energy due to a “Quiet Sun”,  you create a clash between the cooling air over the sea-ice and the still-warming air over the sun-baked tundra which seems disproportionately large, considering we are talking only a half degree of cooling only occurring a week or two earlier over sea ice. This clash between baked tundra and chilled sea-ice would screech to a halt with the first dust of snow on the tundra in September, but in August it would be most extreme. In any case, it is my explanation for the increase in Gustogales.

In any case, perhaps due to downdrafts and evaporative cooling and snowfall and even mere cloudiness caused by Ralph, arctic temperatures are dipping close to the freezing line already. DMI4 0806 meanT_2017

The “extent” graph has taken a plunge due to Ralph’s raging, but it remains to be seen if it flattens out like it did in 2013.

DMI4 0806 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

The next 45 days are the most interesting of the melt season. I’m going to try to post more often, but, if I can’t, I think Ron Clutz’s “Science Matters”  is an excellent site, with wonderfully detailed analysis’s of the sea-ice extent, sea by sea, (among economic and political articles). The devil is in the details, as are the wonders, and it is important to watch the variations in individual locals, such as the Laptev Sea.

Also Susan J. Crockford’s “Polar Bear Science” has updates from an interesting perspective.

In any case, an “Ice-free Pole” looks like it will have to be delayed another year. There is just too much to melt, with too little time left to melt it:

Thickness 20170806 Attachment-1