ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Remarks on the Remarkable–

The surge of milder-than-normal (but still sub-freezing) air over the Pole has penetrated the slumberous psyches of Alarmists, and the expected hub-bub is occurring. Ho hum. Old news here, as I posted on it back on February 16.

Much of what I have to say I said then. Much more can be found in the comments to be found in the “Watts Up With That” post about the subject, that appeared today.

Warm spike in Arctic drives alarmists into alarm mode – but there’s no reason for alarm

However I don’t want to look like I am ignoring how remarkable the spike is. It is extraordinary, for February.

DMI5 0226 meanT_2018

Something remarkable is occurring, and I’d dearly like to talk about it with sensible, inquisitive people. The problem is that some Alarmists don’t want to talk about it, and say they already know the answer. Their answer is always the same answer: “Global Warming”. The real geniuses midst this ilk may add, “caused by mankind’s addition of extra CO2 to the atmosphere”, but they go no further.

Back in the day (around 2005) there were Alarmist fellows who at least had the decency to venture an idea of how the cause-and-effect played out, and who suggested some interesting ideas of how the atmosphere was engineered. The problem was these ideas didn’t stand up to the poking and prodding of scientific scrutiny. They especially didn’t stand the test of time. (For example, when you state the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free by 2013, and it isn’t, time has debunked you theory, even if it is elegant. [And I know all about having elegant ideas debunked, as I have had lots of good ideas go down in flames!])

Now Alarmists no longer seem to venture any ideas. Their answer is always the same, “Global Warming. Global Warming. Global Warming caused by mankind’s addition of extra CO2 to the atmosphere.” It explains an absurd number of things. (Someone has compiled a list of things CO2 has supposedly spoiled, and it is fabulously long.) Why did the home team lose? You guessed it: “CO2”.

Something remarkable is indeed occurring, and it really should be talked about more deeply. Personally I think the “Quiet Sun” may be instigating a series of meteorological extremes we have never seen before. I could be wrong. But at the very least we should examine the remarkable without bias, and especially without political bias, and see if we can figure out what in the world is going on. I find it dismaying when people seem completely unable to talk, and instead parrot, “CO2, CO2, CO2”.

If I find time I’ll post the past week’s DMI maps which show what happened. But to put it in a nutshell, we began with the Aleutian Low and the Icelandic Low positioned in a way that fed Pacific and Atlantic streams of moisture and mild air up to the Pole, either side of High Pressure ridging over the Pole. Then the Atlantic feed won out, feeding low-pressure north of Canada as the ridge of high-pressure slumped towards Siberia. Then the feed of Atlantic air, between the low-pressure and high-pressure, became a remarkable cross-polar-flow, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with the low-pressure digging on the Canadian side and the high-pressure pumping up on the Siberian side. Now the low-pressure seems to be rotating towards the Pacific as the high-pressure rotates towards the Atlantic, and the Atlantic feed is getting cut off.

Please note I did not bring up “CO2” nor the “Quiet Sun” in the above discussion. I simply observed.

I think we need to observe more and judge less. We are like the judge sitting up in his bench, simply listening. After all, what are “observations”? They are the testimony of a witness. We need to listen carefully to the witnesses before coming to any sort of judgement.

Alarmists have already decided. They say. “The science is settled.” (It isn’t.) They say, “97% of all scientists agree.” (They don’t.) At some point they listened enough to ingest those two statements, but now refuse to hear any more. (Perhaps they are dieting, and fear becoming bloated…..sorry…sarc off.) It seems sad to me, for marvelous stuff is happening, but they’ve drawn the blinds.

In any case, the rushes of wind north from the Pacific and the Atlantic have definitely pushed the edges of the ice north north on both the Atlantic and Pacific side. The edge of the ice is farther north than usual (except in Baffin Bay).

Comment 1 n_daily_extent_hires

With the ice shoved north it is obvious the extent will be less. In fact “extent” is at the lowest point for this time of year that recent records have ever recorded.

DMI5 0225 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

It is possible to question these extent graphs. They don’t always include southern waters, such as the above-normal sea-ice in China’s Yellow Sea, the above-normal and swiftly growing [due to “the Beast from the East”] sea-ice if the Baltic Sea, or the huge waters of the enormous American Great Lakes [also above-normal]. However to a degree this is nit-picking.The witness is giving his testimony about “extent”, and there is no need to cross-examine like a hostile lawyer.

The simple fact of the matter is that winds from the south have pushed the edge of the ice north. It’s a fact. But some feel admitting so much concedes too much to Alarmists. One good fellow scoffed at the very idea of “extent”, posting this picture and commenting, “This would probably qualify as sea ice extent.”


To me this seemed a sort of red-herring, and so, at the risk of looking like the rump-swab of Alarmists, I replied,

Yes. It would qualify. But that pictures a summertime situation, showing “extent” of roughly 40%. It can get down to 15% and still be called “ice-covered”, in some extent-graphs, during the summer.

Winter is a quite different situation. Any open water that appears, (a “polynya” ), usually is skimmed over with “baby-ice” with surprising speed. The same thing happens when howling gales open “leads” that can be miles across. For the most part the ice extent is 100%, until thawing gets underway in May.

One thing that happens in the winter is that the ice gets compressed, and buckles, forming jumbled mountain ranges of ice called “pressure ridges”. But though the ice compresses like an accordion, it doesn’t decompress like an accordion. Instead it opens a lead with a pressure ridge on one side. That lead skims over, and then winds shift and the lead claps shut, with all the skim of baby-ice adding to the pressure ridge.

When this happens over and over the bulk of all the pressure ridges adds up. I think that is why the ice is so much thicker in the Central Arctic this winter. “Volume” has increased even as “extent” had decreased. Wind rushing north from both the Pacific and the Atlantic have compressed the ice into the middle.

Please give me credit for getting the discussion back on the subject. We are witnessing a remarkable event in the arctic, and when the Creator shows his stuff in such a clear manner, we should try to remark about the remarkable with clarity.

Now I should post maps and graphs that show that in the Central Arctic the ice is indeed thicker and the volume is indeed increasing. Sigh. I’ve been there and done that. (See earlier posts.)

I know. I know. This post is incomplete if I don’t add the DMI volume graph and NRL thickness maps, and the really cool DMI isobar and isotherm polar maps that show this remarkable scenario developing. So, if I can find time, I’ll update this post.

But, just between me and you, my wife thinks I’m working on our taxes, as I spend all this time at the computer. You don’t want me to catch hell, do you? I think I’ll be responsible,  and work on the taxes a while.

Stay Tuned.

P.S. Paul Homewood has insights on the current situation at his site here:

P.P.S. Here is a very good visual of how the remarkable surge split the very cold air in the Arctic into Eurasian and North American blobs. But please note that plenty of cold remains up there.

Comment 4 gfs_T2m_nhem_2

P.P.P.S.  Here are the NRL “Thickness” maps for February 27 for this year and last year. 2017 is to the left. 2018 is to the right.



Rome 1 499A13A600000578_5435055_image

Police had to be called in to the Vatican…

Rome 3 49994BF100000578_5435055_image

To help the priests fight off this Global Warming….

Rome 2 4999245F00000578_5435055_image

…Caused by the warm front seen over Italy on this mornings UK Met map. Obviously it is warm snow.

Rome 4 65267994

The cold high-pressure over Scandinavia will repress the mid-Atlantic gale (in the lower left of the above map), eastward to Spain. West winds beneath it may swing mild air up over Spain, changing snows to rain there in two days. (Below: GFS 48 hour forecast).

Rome 5 gfs_ptype_slp_eur_9

The low-pressure is then expected to loop north from Spain to the Atlantic west of Ireland, pulling milder air north and changing the snows to rain over France and Italy by four days from now. But Great Britain will continue to get snow. (Below: GFS 96 hour forecast.)

Rome 6 gfs_ptype_slp_eur_17

It is to be hoped that the peoples of Britain will be inspired by the courage of the people of Rome, as they faced the dangers of White Global Warming for the first time in six years. (/Sarc).

(GFS Maps from Weatherbell site.)

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –The Busted Blockbuster–

Things are happening with speed, in terms of the weather patterns, which perhaps is to be expected when we may be about to witness what is termed “a flip”.

Personally I find “flips” disconcerting. I like nice, round weather features you can track, like a hurricane, but a “flip” has a now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t quality. It is as if you were tracking a hurricane, and it abruptly became a high pressure system. You tend to be a bit staggered, and mutter, “Where the heck did that come from?”

The “flip”weather models are now starting to suggest may occur, (and which experienced meteorologists like D’Aleo and Bastardi at the Weatherbell Site have been suggesting we’d see since last October), has involved a late winter “flip” to a negative NAO, and the abrupt appearance of a “blocking high” over Canada and Greenland, which forces low pressure south, raising mayhem over more southerly latitudes.

Even five days ago this possibility seemed highly unlikely to a layman like myself, for there was no high pressure over Canada, and rather there was a fat “Bermuda High” pumping mild weather “climate” up into the east of the USA. (Hat tip to Tony Hellar).

Block 1 FullSizeRender

Now, to a layman like myself, to send such a huge amount of warm and juicy air north does not seem likely to generate high pressure.Quite the opposite. Rather than a block of high pressure it seems sure to generate a blockbuster of low pressure.

Sure enough, the DMI maps this morning showed a massive gale had exploded east of Cape Farewell by southmost Greenland, with pressures well below 950 mb.

Such a massive storm seemed sure to perpetuate the flow of mild air north to the Pole, fueling a Ralph-like feature (anomalous  low pressure) north of Canada,and preventing the establishment of a blocking high.

Alarmist might like the mild surges up the east coast of Greenland that such super-storms shove north, but such super-storms also alarm Alamists, by whipping moist east winds directly into Greenland, resulting in fabulous snowfalls up at 10,000 feet. To have the snows so deep spoils the Alarmist message that Greenland’s icecap is shrinking.

Greenland MB 20180224 accumulatedsmb

The massive storm ruined, (temporarily at least), Alarmist’s hope that the above graph of the weight of the accumulating snow (“Mass balance”) might show a total that was below normal. But the more phlegmatic Alarmists (few and far between) might have felt they could not have their cake and eat it too. At least they had the “warm” (but below freezing) Pole, and could hope it might derail the establishment of a “blocking high”. Alarmists don’t like big, blocking highs in March, because they can breed major blizzards in population centers like Berlin, London, New York City, and Washington D.C., and that tends to spoil the Global Warming narrative, (at least for a few weeks).

I may not be an Alarmist, but I have no fondness for major blizzards in the east of the USA, at my age. When I was young I may have thought differently, but now that I am old and wise I have concluded life is better without such happy horseshit. What this means is that I am not biased towards an anti-Global-Warming solution. I don’t want the pattern to “flip”.

However one problem with having huge gales crash into Greenland is that, when they loop back and slam into a 10,000 foot tall icecap, they tend get cross-eyed and lose their confidence. In only 12 hours the mega-gale did not look so tough, on the DMI maps.

This did not surprise me, not because I am a great forecaster, but because, as soon as I saw that 940 mb gale on the DMI map, I sought out the GFS model’s “initial” map (on the Weatherbell site), and understood the monster gale was looping and slamming and losing its starch. It’s central pressure had risen from 940 mb to 967 mb.

Block 3 gfs_mslp_uv10m_natl_1

What perturbed me was when I ran the GFS model only 24 hours into the future. Not that I trust models, but they tend to be semi-reliable only a day into the unknown. The map it produced astounded me. You could say it “flipped me out.”

Block 4 gfs_mslp_uv10m_natl_5

Low pressure had basically vanished from Greenland, and high pressure was building up there. The nice, warm, juicy air from North America was fueling a new gale, but it was far to the south. In fact the new North Atlantic Gale was where you would expect storms to develop, in a “blocking pattern.”

Oh me. Oh my. How did everything change so fast?

My hope for a blockbuster, which would prevent the blocking pattern from manifesting, is starting to look like I’m clinging to a straw. I dimly can conceive that perhaps all the “warm” (albeit subfreezing) air at the Pole could fuel a “Ralph” that might be a blockbuster, but I feel a little lame suggesting the possibility. In actual fact it looks like my blockbuster is busted. The block is building.

One interesting observation is how the flow of relatively mild (but subfreezing) air up towards the Pole is starting to be pinched off. Cold air is pinching from the east, over Europe, as cold air pinches from the west, from Labrador under Greenland.

Block 5 gfs_t2m_natl_1

I wonder about this “pinch”. The engineering of the atmosphere is chaotic and full of mystery, but if a huge surge north in the Atlantic could be the intimation of an oncoming blocking pattern, perhaps this “pinch” could be the intimation of the block’s demise.

In any case, while I do not approve of the sensationalism of Alarmists, the way this pattern is trending makes me feel a bit glum, to a degree where I could not only match Alarmists, but kick their butts, when it comes to running around alarmed like Chicken Little. I can come up with any number of dire prognoses, which history demonstrates are possible.

To put it bluntly, sleet could really hit the fan. Hopefully it won’t, but it could. I’ll be glad to tear March from the calendar and crumple it safely in the wastepaper basket, with this winter over and done with.

I can recall the joy of cancelled school,
But now I run the school, and what is more
I run the home. When the cruel rule of school
Is overthrown, the castaways need shore
To crawl up on. Someone must keep the stove
Stocked with wood, whether it is the quaint one
At home, (like a sailor’s secreted cove),
Or the dragon in an institution
Dungeon: A rumbling furnace that’s fueled
By oil involving all sorts of slick, sick
Politics. Winter has us all well-schooled.
We cannot quite state, (and be politic),
The simple fact that we’re all bound to freeze
If no one tends stoves, and all chose ease.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Super Surge Alert! (Look Out Below!) (This means you, Europe)

An extraordinary plume of above-normal (but still sub-freezing) air is pouring up to the Pole from the Atlantic. The spike in the mean-temperatures-above-eighty-degrees-latitude graph, if not “unprecedented”, is highly unusual.

DMI5 0223 meanT_2018

This is caused by high pressure towards Eurasia and low pressure towards Canada and Greenland creating a roaring south-to-north flow from the North Atlantic over the Pole.


However, as I have pointed out to the point of sounding like a broken record, (IE “repetitive”, (for those of you too young to have experienced a record skipping on a record-player, and who think a “broken record” involves record temperatures), ) we do not get these milder-than-normal temperatures at the Pole without the displaced cold air freezing the socks off people in more southern latitudes.

The big high-pressure over the Eurasian side of Arctic Sea has a southern side, which creates the east winds of Mordor, bringing Siberian bitterness west into Europe. Here is a map from an Italian Site, worried about what is looming.

Super Surge 1 Gelo-21Feb18

I’ve been watching the UK Met maps, and must comment that they do a bad job of showing the east winds from Mordor. They never show a cold front progressing from Siberia to England. The isobars hint at the deepening chill, and at daffodils ducking back down into the dirt, but the fronts they draw on their maps give no clue. Here is their map for this coming Sunday.

Super Surge 2 65134687

The BBC is reporting the Met Office is issuing “amber alerts”. (Hat tip to ).

Parts of Germany may see a fortnight pass before temperatures get back above freezing. Expect headlines.

North America will also likely see the displaced arctic air swooping south, though it may take longer to develop. It is already cold in the west, but, if the pattern develops as the veteran forecasters D’Aleo and Bastardi are forecasting at the Weatherbell site, the east of the USA may make headlines in early March, as a classic negative NOA builds high pressure over Canada and Greenland and low pressure off the east coast.

Super Surge 3 gfs_z500a_5d_noram_65(3)

The thing which I think may be a fly in the ointment is that nothing is truly “classic” in the current situation. Why not? Because the sun has gone “quiet”. All our hard-gleaned wisdom, that goes into what we define as “classic”, is based around much that is dependent on the sun being “noisy”. But the sun’s face has gone blank. (After a couple spots rotated across its face, and gave the earth a small blast in passing, the sun’s face is again spotless.)

Sunspots 20180223 latest

In fact the current sunspot cycle (#24) resembles the sunspot cycle at the start of the Dalton Minimum in 1798 (#5).

Sunspots Layman's January sc5_sc24_1

Much that we describe as a “classic” weather pattern is therefore subject to a degree of doubt. Patterns may not behave as they behaved in the recent past, but rather as they behaved in 1798.  And we have poor records from that long ago.

This does not render old-school forecasters obsolete.  Some rules do not change. The freezing point of water remains the same, and so on and so forth. However I think we should expect the unexpected. Forecasters should stay on their toes, and as soon as they become aware a pattern is not behaving in a “classic” manner, they should use all their wisdom to gather an idea (called “a forecast”) of what the pattern actually is up to.

The thing to watch for in the current situation is the building of the “classic” blocking-high-pressure of a negative NAO over Canada and Greenland. If it fails to form, expect the unexpected.

There is another thing fun to watch for, in the current situation. There are certain Alarmists who will note the milder-than-normal temperatures over the Pole, and will make a great big media event over announcing the planet is facing Global Warming, and they will stage this event in some locale roughly a half hour before the winds from Mordor arrive from the east, and a howling blizzard ensues.  People leaving the press conference will get stuck in the snow.

If this classic scenario fails to form, I will be deeply disappointed, for I confess I find such spectacles deliciously entertaining.

LOCAL VIEW –The Thaw Before The Thtorm–

I have just past my sixty-fifth birthday, with no hope of retirement, and what used to be a joke isn’t all that funny any more. The joke? “I took my retirement back when I was young and could enjoy it”. Ha ha ha. Not all that funny, when you have heard it for the ninety-seventh time,  but I’m getting to be one of those old men who gets repetitive.

It’s also not all that funny when most of my friends are down in Florida, retired. In the old fable of the Grasshopper and the Ant, they were the ants, and squandered their youth loyally sticking to a tedious job, as I was free as a bird, because I was the grasshopper, making music as they worked. Now they have pensions and I don’t. Serves me right, I suppose, but that doesn’t mean I’m all that happy about the situation. If you detect a trace of bitterness in my words, it is because poets are suppose to die young; the grasshopper is suppose to be cut down by the first frost. I don’t see many grasshoppers around these parts bouncing about through the deep snows, but me? The snow gets me hopping, because the alternative is not pretty.

The motto of New Hampshire is “Live Free Or Die”, but in the winter sometimes it is more like “Get your Walkways Snow-Free or Die”, especially if your business depends on clean walkways, and the State Inspector will close you down if every fire-escape isn’t shoveled. I am not prone to foul language, but I have shocked myself with some of the choice vocabulary escaping my lips as I deal with the drifts, even while getting texts on my cellphone from friends reclining by sunny pools in Florida. Can it be that I am becoming a jealous and bitter old coot?

Temperatures have recently been above normal, but that isn’t really helpful this far north. Seven degrees above normal is still below freezing, and it is more likely to snow in this area, with temperatures up around freezing.

Last weekend just enough cold air slid south between southerly warm-sectors to give us snow, even though the warm-sectors were attached to storms that passed well to our north, which usually gives us rain. Saturday the forecast was for 1-3 inches, but Sunday morning dawned upon a fall of 7 inches. Rather than Sunday being a scripturally-correct (as opposed to politically-correct) “day of rest”, I had to clear up the parking lot and paths of my workplace, to prepare for Monday morning. It is bad enough I don’t get to retire to Florida; I don’t even get to rest on Sundays. (Bring out the violins, please.)

To be honest, the workweek’s forecast was for such nice, mild temperatures that I did the minimum of snow-clearing. I cleared the front entrance and the parking lot, but left the mild temperatures to clear the fire escapes and back stairs. If the dreaded inspector had leapt from bed early on Monday Morning, (unlikely), he would seen a reason to “write me up”, as the seven inches had only wilted to four.

Thtorm 1 FullSizeRender

However I will  confess that a fall of sticky, wet snow does make running a Childcare easier, in terms of “curriculum”. This is especially true because certain youths do not seem to be born to sit in rows as children, to train them to sit in cubicles as adults, but rather are born to shift heavy weights outside.

Thtorm 2 FullSizeRender

However so strong was the thaw that, despite the production of seven large snowballs, within twenty-four hours the warmth (and destructive older children) left little sign of the efforts.

Thtorm 4 FullSizeRender

However it did allow me to send texts back to my pals lounging in Florida, which may be just a little bit mean. Or maybe not. After all, if they expect me to rejoice over how they are escaping winter, lounging by a pool, then they should rejoice over how the winter they thought they were escaping isn’t happening, and how I am not suffering, right? So today I sent them this:

Thtorm 3 FullSizeRender

But you will notice, though the thaw continues tomorrow, there is a suspicious-looking snowflake on Thursday. After all, this is February, and New Hampshire isn’t Florida.

The sad fact of the matter is that old-timers always fretted when there was an especially warm spell in the middle of the winter. In some ways their worry seemed comical, as if they were dour pessimists who couldn’t enjoy good weather, for “it will have to be paid for.” However they had a method behind their glowering madness. Some of the biggest storms in the history of the east of the USA were preceded by delightful weather. The legendary “Blizzard of 1888” gave New York City four feet of snow with gusts of hurricane force hurtling between the tall building and heaping drifts to second-story windows. Such a storm would shut down the New York City even with modern plows. But it occurred between March 11 and March 14. What was the situation in New York City on March 10?

March 10, 1888 was a lovely early-spring day in New York City, with temperatures well up into the fifties. People had no idea of what was coming.

I have lost the link I once kept, but one wonderful discovery I once made, while wandering the web, was the description of the Blizzard of 1888 from the eyes of a fisherman who fished south of Long Island. Back in those days sailors had no GPS, computer forecasts, or even engines. They were called sailors because they sailed.

This sailor had headed out in delightful early-spring weather. Then the storm “blew up”. The fisherman described the sky becoming as purple as concord grapes with amazing speed, with flashes of lightning. Then he described the amazing battle with sails and sheets in screaming wind and blinding snow he endured just to get to shore alive, without a single fish to sell. Many other sailors didn’t make it. People paid a high price for fish in 1888, especially the fishermen’s wives.


So I actually should be thankful to even make it to age sixty-five. One-hundred-thirty years ago not all that many made it. Still, I do manage to grouse a fair amount. There are days when sinking at sea seems like heaven to me, when I compare it dealing with a pack of small hellions at a Childcare.

And, in case you wonder, I have been at sea in a small boat in a big storm, and I do know the desperation involved. It is a hugely humbling experience, and little dignity is involved, for a roaring storm cares little about our mortal concept of “dignity”. Yet there is more dignity in that desperate situation than in being a sixty-five year old man dealing with a bunch of little whiny brats children experiencing challenges  to their sense of well-being and self-esteem.  Do modern children respect their elders? I think not.

Often I derive great joy from small children, but Lord Jesus didn’t say “derive great joy” from the little children. He said “suffer the little children”.

And at age sixty-five I confess there are days I roll my eyes to the sky and ask questions that are less than grateful. Is this the culmination of my life? To be a fucking babysitter childcare professional?

There is a story which likely isn’t true, but which makes many smile, involving a children’s-show radio personality called “Uncle Bob” or some such thing, who muttered at the end of a show, when he thought the microphone  was turned off and he was off the air, “That ought to keep the little bastards quiet for another week.” Even if the story is an urban myth, the fact it makes people chuckle (rather than look indignant) seems to suggest children are not all goodness and light, and are things we must “suffer”.

At age sixty-five I’d rather sit by a pool in Florida and study scripture. The fact I chose to take my retirement when I was young and could enjoy it seems like a bad choice to me now. However the choice of fisherman to go out fishing on March 10, 1888 likely seemed like a bad choice to them, on March 11. No matter how we chose to direct the course of our lives, we are bound to sail headlong into storms.

In New Hampshire this happens every cotton-picking year, and is called “winter”. Many retire here, but many don’t last long. Norman Rockwell be damned; pristine snowscapes get old after Christmas, and by February winter gets so old that they shortened the month to 28 days, just to speed up the progress to spring. As March arrives the last thing anyone wants is a huge storm.

However the future does not look tranquil to me. I had hopes that the so-called “arctic vortex” would keep the cold air trapped in a tight circle, whirling at the Pole, but instead that vortex moved south into Canada, and has been making the Canadian Archipelago so cold that even the Eskimos have been staying indoors.

Arctic chill at 85F below zero – So cold, Eskimos advised to stay inside!

My hope was that the cold would wobble back up to the Pole, where it belongs, but that would involve a positive NAO. Instead the exact opposite seems to be developing.

Bananas 2 gefs_nao_00(22)

If the NOA crashes (and I am deeply hoping this forecast is utterly wrong) then the so-called “arctic vortex” becomes deranged, and in layman’s terms this means the cold doesn’t stay north where it belongs. Instead it comes south to bump into the nice, juicy air of our thaw, and all hell can break loose. 1888 can reoccur.

When I look north I can see the amazing cold sitting there up in Canada, in maps Dr Ryan Maue’s hard work makes available at the Weatherbell site.

Thtorm 5 gfs_t2m_noram_1

The pink in the above map, up in Canada, represents the one temperature where Fahrenheit and Celsius actually agree, -40°. However I wonder to myself, “Is that normal, up there?” Fortunately Dr. Maue also has produced an “anomaly map”, which tells us if temperatures are above-normal or below-normal.

Thtorm 6 gfs_t2m_anomf_noram_1

The second map shows that the temperatures are thirty-degrees-below-normal, even by Canadian standards. To have that air come south and mingle with air that is thirty-degrees-above-normal by the standards of Chicago seems unwise to me. It is like mixing gasoline with a fire.

But it hasn’t happened yet. It is an amazingly mild night for February in New Hampshire, with temperatures above 50°F (10°C). Tomorrow it might touch 70°F (21°C).

Alfed E Neuman what-me-worry


In the warm thaw before the storm I bask
My old bones, like a sailboat sliding
Through slack seas, and try not to glumly ask
What the clouds on high foretell, for deciding
The word on high speaks of a hurricane
Spoils the brief joy of a midwinter day
Which smells like a rose midst the jabbing pain
Of thorns. Roses are brief, but thorns stay
All year. I’ll take flowers when they come,
Well aware that soon enough my loose belt
Will need to be hitched. For a time I’ll strum
My harp; not drum my fingers. I have felt
Cruel sleet before, and know it is best
To face a fierce storm after getting some rest.



Thursday’s text to friends in Florida:

Thtorm 7 FullSizeRender

And a map to remember:

20180221 satsfc

They call it an anal ysis? Hmm…

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Going Bananas–

This will be a brief post, discussing the fact a surge of relatively mild air up to the Pole often occurs in concert with arctic outbreaks at lower latitudes.

Unfortunately the media tends to focus on the warming events and ignore the colder events. Therefore I advise people to visit the “Ice Age Now” site, which has a wonderful group of contributors who submit reports of below-average temperatures from all over the world.

I advise people to keep an eye on that site for the next month, as Joseph D’Aleo, at the Weatherbell site, sees signs of a situation developing that very well could bring arctic outbreaks to both eastern North America and much of northern Eurasia. (The Weatherbell site offers a week “free trial”, and it might be worth the reader’s time to take advantage now, in order to read Mr. D’Aleo’s reasoning.)

One ingredient to his forecast involves the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) which is especially handy to have, as an indicator (IE: “teleconnection”) which is especially reliable in the late winter.  It is forecast to plunge off the chart:

Bananas 2 gefs_nao_00(22)

To me, this seems a sort of a response to the surges of relatively mild (but sub-freezing) air we’ve watched rush up to the Pole:

DMI5 0219 meanT_2018

However the surges up to the Pole may be in response to the surges of cold we saw pour south, in North America in late December and early January, and in eastern Asia in mid January. (I posted pictures of an attractive Russian woman’s frosted eyelashes back then, if you recall.) The wobbles of a loopy jet stream seems a sort of chicken-or-the-egg situation; and it is hard to be sure which event is causing the other to occur.

Way back in early January, as a Blizzard hit Boston, I pointed out that the cold front associated with that arctic outbreak didn’t merely reach the Gulf coast and Florida, but crossed the entire Gulf of Mexico. It didn’t bring frosts that far south, but did bring cold rains and cool temperatures that stunted the growth of tropical crops, such as bananas.

One thing I admire about Joseph D’Aleo is that his quick mind is keenly observant of things in everyday life that pertain to Global Weather Patterns, and I have to tip my hat in a bowing sweep for his observation of the notice on the bananas at his local market:

Bananas 1 Screen_Shot_2018_02_19_at_4_16_40_AM

I also noticed that the Ice Age Now site noted a similar stunting of a warmth-loving crop, (rice), due to cooler-than-normal temperatures in Brazil’s southern-hemisphere summer.

This all goes to show you that a loopy (meridional) pattern tends to mess things up. However such a loopy pattern actually seems more of a sign of a cooling pattern than a warming pattern. It seems more in line with a “Little Ice Age” than a “Medieval Warm Period”. It seems to affirm some hunches I have about the complicated effects of the “Quiet Sun.”  A warming earth would seemingly cause the polar boundary to retreat north, as it does in the summer time, and allow fewer incursions of cold air far to the south.

To me there seems to be no shortage of bananas, when it comes to attempts on the part of Alarmists to portray the south-diving jet stream as a sign of Global Warming. When it recently became apparent that the south-diving jet has cooled the southeast USA, in the fifty years since the sun was “noisy”, Alarmists did not describe the southeast as a “colder area”, but rather as a “warming hole.”

Unfortunately this has led to all sorts of rude jokes involving who the “holes” are, and where they are located. Though I will confess to chuckling in an undignified manner at some of the rude jokes, I don’t think it helps the debate much if we all go bananas.

Instead we should try to lift ourselves above the muck of the downright silly politics, and instead attempt to grasp what in the world is actually going on. Sift through all of the data, not merely half of it. For example, glaciers in New Zealand are growing, not shrinking as the media likes to suggest, and what is more they are not growing because warming causes increased precipitation, but rather because of colder temperatures.

Stay tuned and keep studying.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –The Unexpected Surge–UPDATED

I am going to have to eat a lot of humble pie with this post, as things have not gone as expected. My forecast has come face to face with Truth, which is any meteorologist’s bane, whether they be professional or a rank amateur like myself. However, before I launch into a confession of how I have bungled, I would like to state that being wrong is a way to learn. Truth has the power to correct us. Though it may wound our egos and feel like a rebuke, we are the better for correction. It is better to stand corrected than to cling to pride that goes before the fall.

Also, because Alarmists delight in disparaging Skeptics like myself even when we are correct, and delight even more when they can point out an actual error we have made, I would like to begin this confessional by confessing an error the Alarmists made.

A year ago Alarmists, who insist arctic sea-ice is in a “Death Spiral”, despite all the evidence I offer to the contrary, hit upon a new way of demonstrating their forecast was true. At this site a  kindly troll I nicknamed “Sty” took the time to go into how mistaken I was, in great detail, which I actually thank him for. He went to great lengths to explain all the things Alarmists said were important in the past were not as important as a new thing, which proved sea-ice was in decline. Whereas in the past, because “albedo” and the amount of sunshine reflected from polar waters was deemed crucial, “sea-ice extent” and “sea-ice area” were all-important, now “sea-ice volume” was all-important. Why? Because the (unreliable and highly modeled) graphs showed “volume” at very low, and indeed at “unprecedented” (in the recent past) levels.

But now? What a difference a year makes! Check out the DMI graph of sea-ice volume below. The lowest, light blue line is last year, and you can see it indeed was very low in mid-February. But look at the black line, which is this year, and you can see the “volume” has experienced what is called a “recovery”.

Volume 20180215 FullSizeRender

Now, as a year ago certain Alarmists were not predicting a “recovery” but rather a “Death Spiral”, what we see is tantamount to a blown forecast. It is time for Alarmists to eat humble pie. However what my experience has been, in the past,  is that they display a certain lack in this regard. They prefer to change the subject.

Therefore I suppose it is up to me to show them what they are missing. Humble pie is actually rather delicious, for you learn when you admit your mistakes. You have the uncanny joy of having light-bulbs go off in your head, and say “Eureka!” Few things are quite as enjoyable.

My own blown-forecast involved the assumption that the super-El-Nino of 2015 would have one effect on the Pole, and therefore the modest La-Nina of 2017-2018 should have a sort of equal and opposite effect. Where the 2015 El-Nino resulted in a very loopy (meridional) jet-stream, and so much mild air transported to the Pole that it created an anomalous area of low pressure I dubbed “Ralph”, I figured a La Nina would create a flat (zonal) jet stream, with much cold air trapped up at the Pole.  I wildly guessed at the lag-time involved, and stated the La Nina’s effect should wait until now to manifest. But guess what? I was wrong.

Instead of a zonal flow developing, we have again seen surges of mild air heading up to the Pole, (with arctic outbreaks occurring at lower latitudes). Rather than the DMI mean-temperatures-above-eighty-degrees-north-latitude graph sinking down to the green line (normal) as I expected, we are seeing surges as spectacular as last year’s. (2017 to right; 2018 to left.)

To me this represents a huge amount of our planet’s warmth being sucked north to be squandered to outer space, during the darkest of polar nights. To me the question then becomes, “Why?” There is no super-El-Nino producing extra heat to be squandered. What is going on?

I don’t know. However I don’t pretend it isn’t happening. I don’t change the subject. Instead I focus in.

One idea that popped into my head was that the “polar background” (I just made that up) is made colder by the Quiet Sun.  After all, dust devils are more likely when a cool air-mass lies over a surface heated by the sun. Perhaps the appearance of “Ralph” at the Pole is a larger version of the same.

“Ralph” has indeed reappeared, just when I expected to be writing his obituary and expected high pressure at the Pole. Not only Atlantic, but Pacific streams of relatively “mild” (but subfreezing) air have speared to the Pole. The planet is losing heat like crazy.

However this has not led to thinner ice in the Central Arctic. It is obviously thicker than last year.  (2017 to left; 2018 to right.)

However the inflow of milder air has pushed the thin sea-ice at the edges north, reducing the sea-ice’s area and extent. Therefore, rather than “volume”, I suppose we can now expect “extent” and “area” to be the focus of certain Alarmists.

DMI5 0215 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

(If I have time I’ll add the recent DMI maps I found time to save, to this post. But, until my money from Big Oil for being a Skeptic arrives, (never), I am busy with other responsibilities, and must confess I did a very poor job of saving DMI maps during a very fascinating period.)


UPDATE:  Here are the maps I managed to save during a busy time in my life:

When I last looked on January 27 the relatively mild air imported north by the first surge was cooling in the arctic darkness, and I was thinking a cross polar flow might be developing from Siberia to Canada.

Instead some Pacific air leached north through Bering Strait and a weak “Hula Ralph” appeared north of Eastern Siberia, and weakened the high pressure on the Pacific side moving towards Canada.  Cold was building over the Central Arctic, and I was expecting high pressure to build over the Pole and verify my forecast for a zonal flow. (Ha ha).

Here is where it started to get interesting, as a gale moved up to southern Greenland and started to do the peculiar things I call “morphistication”. In transiting the 10,000 foot tall ice-cap the low pressure dumps a lot of snow, and also sometimes seems to create some sort of Chinook at the top of Baffin Bay, which fuels an independent low. (Of course, I wasn’t paying much attention, and was focused on high pressure building at the Pole.) (Ha ha)

Here is where I missed some important maps, as low pressure dominated Greenland and a huge Atlantic surge rushed up from Iceland past Svalbard and over the Pole.

I expected the milder air to generate a “Ralph” at the Pole, and lo and behold it did.

Like last winter, a secondary “Ralph” drifted north over Svalbard rather than taking the more usual North Atlantic route east to Norway. A cross-polar Siberia-to Canada flow was developing between the low pressure on the Atlantic side and the high pressure on the Pacific side.

And, again like last winter, a tertiary “Ralph” took a wrong-way route up through Fram Strait, but by this point the amazing surge was starting to weaken and fade.

A more usual North Atlantic gale then whirled by Iceland, and the flow was back into Greenland north of it, east-to-west rather than south-to-north. I was thinking maybe, just maybe, high pressure would build at the Pole and verify my forecast of a zonal flow developing. (Ha ha). Instead a flow from the Pacific began leaking north through Bering Strait.

Even as high pressure ridged at the Pole it failed to pool cold air up there, as a very interesting twin flow developed, with one feed from the Pacific and another from the Atlantic.

This twin-feed is interesting, and deserves some sort of name. It might be interesting to diagram what is occurring at various levels of the atmosphere. Even though there is no “Ralph” at the Pole, the high pressure has two “feeder-bands.”

Currently the Icelandic and Aleutian gales are weakening, and I’m not even going to guess what will happen next. (There is some talk of “blocking high pressure” becoming established over Greenland.)

Like last winter, the surges did increase the snows over Greenland, right when it looked like a drier winter might make the snows less-than-normal, which likely would have become an Alarmist talking-point, with those more prone to sensationalism wailing that Greenland is melting, melting, melting away. As it is the snows are a hair above normal, and the thaws won’t even start in most inland places until May.

Greenland MB 20180217 accumulatedsmb

Greenland MB 20180217 todaysmb

Stay Tuned.

LOCAL VIEW –Depressing Dirty Desk Distress–

Mess FullSizeRender

I am never happier than when I am merely musing. However this has certain side effects. Some say I am not facing reality. There are various ways people have of telling me this. Some say my head is in the sand. Some say my head is up a physically impossible place. However I prefer hearing that my head is in the clouds, because many clouds are bright and beautiful, and what makes me happiest is contemplating bright and beautiful stuff.  And what is most beautiful? Truth. And don’t tell me Truth isn’t reality.

My wife is sensitive to my moods, and when I become lost in thought she intercepts me at the door, as I head out. She checks to see that my shirt is right side out and buttoned correctly, that my fly is zipped up, and that my hair is not too crazy and that my nose is clean. She also at times makes sure I know where I am going. (There is nothing quite so embarrassing as arriving at the local market without any idea why I drove there.)

I’ll leave it up to you as to whether these are signs of senility or genius. The fact of the matter is that, unless I get the money Alarmists say Skeptics receive from Big Oil, (which I have never received), I can’t get away with being happy all the time. Sooner or later I have to face the music, and the music is the violins of self pity. Rather than wandering about happily making a mess, I have to clean up the mess.

Every poet always wishes
That his muses did the dishes.

I am never more miserable than when I have to clean up my desk. It is such a bummer, though I do confess I am far happier when it is done. Organization is a good thing. But for me becoming organized is sheer hell, and I am downright devious when it comes to putting the job off.

I read somewhere that when we are depressed our brain shrinks in size. This must mean that when we are inspired our brain expands. Likely it alternates, and I think you can judge whether my brain is shrinking or expanding by the size of the piles of disorder on my desk. Inspiration creates a mountain of disorder, while depression shrinks the disorder until you can see the top of the desk again.

I likely will need to be depressed for a time, and I may not be able to post for a week or two, due to a few piffling details like the tax collector and bill collector and the fact I can’t find my car keys. Some people just don’t appreciate high thought, and prefer money paid when money is due.

But I’ll tell you one thing. When I finally get my fat check from Big Oil, one of the first things I am going to do is to hire a secretary.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Arctic Africa–

One thing I have learned from Alarmists is the effectiveness of distraction. When you have completely blown a forecast, it is helpful to point at something happening far, far away.

Therefore you will not notice that I am six days away from the date I assigned for the jet stream to stop being loopy. You will forget I stated the polar flow would become zonal on February 13, due to the lagged effect of the La Nina. You will forget….  You will forget… You are getting sleepy… Very sleepy…

What the heck? It’s not working on you! Oh, I forgot. That only works on Alarmists.

In any case, a second mild surge as good as last winter’s second surge has made it to the Pole.

DMI5 0207 meanT_2018

I haven’t time to go into all the details. In a nutshell it is a surge “madoki” (Japanese for “the-same-but-different”), because (so far) it took a less direct route than last year. Rather than, like last year, roaring straight north from the Atlantic, the surge dented east over Norway and only turned north over the Kara Sea. Consequently the temperatures, on a whole, have been colder than last year’s. But that is basically straining at gnats and quibbling over piffling details. The fact of the matter is that precisely where I thought high pressure should build and form the core of a nice zonal flow (which may be wish-casting, for it would give me, down in New Hampshire, a milder winter), what to my wondering eyes should appear, but “Ralph”! (An anomalous area of low pressure at the Pole.)



To have “Ralph” reappear, when I have been putting the finishing touches to his obituary, is a sign I’m having a bad week. (It was bad enough that the hero quarterback got strip-sacked at the crucial moment, and the home team lost the Superbowl.) (Furthermore, New Hampshire is not getting the sort of mild weather I wanted.)

The problem with mild air heading up to the Pole is that it displaces the cold, which comes south one way or another and gives arctic conditions to people not prepared for such nonsense. Because this post is suppose to be about sea-ice, I’ll mention the fish-farmers on the coast of China.

But I also need to mention the Sahara, because there is something that just tickles my sense of humor about bringing Africa into a sea-ice post.

But mentioning Africa is a bit odd, as I have noticed that the phrase “one every fifty years” doesn’t sound quite right, when you use it twice in three years. I noted that oddity, when writing about the January snows along the Algeria-Morocco border three weeks ago. But now we are talking about snows along that border twice the same winter.

There are some high north-African mountains, the “Atlas”, that get snow every winter, and send precious melt-waters down to the Sahara from the north, but ordinarily these snows stay up by the clouds. It makes news when these snows spread down to lower altitudes. (The translation of the first video is, “After more than fifty years…The snows in Zagora”).

The translation for the second, longer video is, “Today: After more than 50 years…The snow in Zagora and the south-east of the Kingdom.”

At this point I need to bring up the magic word “Albedo”, which Alarmists feel is very important in discussions of sea-ice. Basically it involves sunshine that could warm our planet being bounced away by the whiteness of snow. Alarmists have suggested that less sea-ice at the Pole could allow “run away warming”. But what about snow on the northern fringes of the Sahara? The sun shines brightly there in February, while it will not shine at the Pole until the Equinox. Is there any chance all the heat lost in the Sahara could cause some sort of “run away cooling”?


(In any case, such a focus on the Sahara is an excellent deflection away from my forecast for a zonal arctic-flow by February 13.)

One of the most annoying aspects of a loopy (or “meridional”) flow occurs when you happen to find yourself at the place where the warm air looping north battles with the cold air looping south. In some ways it is better to endure the cold, for cold tends to be dry. When you sit on the border you can get excessive amounts of snow. For example, the core of the cold sank down in Eurasia at the end of January, and Moscow, well to the west of the worst cold, has been afflicted by Atlantic air streaming east past Norway even as arctic air streams west further south. They have had amazing amounts of snow. During the first week of February they broke their snowfall records for the entire month of February.

This clashing between colder and milder air has been annoying on my side of the planet as well, for even with the core of the cold elsewhere we can get unfair amounts of glop. I’d prefer pure, Siberian cold, for powder snow is easy to shift, and when the cold gets really cruel the old timers say, “It’s too cold to snow.”

In New Hampshire, this winter has been pleasing to Alarmists, I suppose, for the arctic retreated after the first week in January, and since then temperatures have been around seven degrees above normal. This doesn’t really thaw us, for our average temperature is 20°F (-7°C), and “mild” only lifts us to 27°F (-3°C). However an average of 27°F does allow for daily highs to creep above freezing, and does allow snow to turn to sleet, freezing rain, and brief episodes of all-out rain, which creates slush as heavy as mud.  You must shift this heavy glop from walkways and drives, or it swiftly freezes harder than iron. (I’ll take shoveling powder snow any day.)

Nor does all the glop make lake-ice thinner. Wet, heavy snow on ice pushes the ice down, and water oozes up through cracks and turns the snow to slush. It takes little (just a cold, starry night), to turn that slush to solid ice, as, being ice-water, it is right at the freezing point. Then, besides the original two feet of ice that the bitter cold of early January created, you have an additional two feet of ice created by “milder” temperatures, and frozen slush.

The ice is now so thick on lakes that crazy young men are having races with vehicles and motor cycles that have scary wheels with steel teeth. The churning, spinning wheels chip away a foot of the ice on the corners of the tracks, but nobody seems very nervous about chewing through to water.

I know that lake-ice is not the same as sea-ice, but I thought it interesting that “milder” weather brought snow that turned to slush that turned to ice, and therefore “milder” made the ice a foot or two thicker than it might be if it stayed cold and dry.

Of course, some people never get out of their offices, and don’t understand such counter-intuitive things. There is much to learn from simply hiking about lakes, especially reservoirs that rise with rains and thaws and sink when the dry cold returns. I have young Climate-scientists studying local lake-ice, and am eagerly awaiting my government grants and money from Big Oil.

Lake ice 1 FullSizeRender

Lake ice 2 FullSizeRender

Lake ice 3 FullSizeRender

Of course, insurance companies, in their warm offices, do not approve of such research. They fear “risk”. They want everyone to stay indoors. However they must allow a few out, called “adjusters”. A parent of a child I cared for was such an “adjuster”, and told me a tale that I think typifies the difference between the “indoors” and the “outdoors” mentality.

Today was a typical “glop” day, starting with a quick dump of six inches of snow, which makes things look like a Norman Rockwell painting.

Lake ice 4 FullSizeRender

However then the rot set in. The snow sped up, falling faster, and abruptly turned to rain, though temperatures were still well below freezing. Because Moms driving home from work do not have scary wheels with steel teeth, insurance adjusters get called out a lot when the driving stinks.

Now this should give you an inkling of the office mindset, in this corner of the insurance world: If you had to send a fellow out into abysmal driving conditions, what would you reduce your profit by paying for? Snow tires? Or a tattle-tale gadget that keeps track of your adjuster’s GPS and road-speed. If you answered “snow tires”, you are sane, and don’t work in this particular front office.

On a day like today an adjuster received an irate phone-call from his boss. “What in blue blazes are you up to?” the boss inquired.

“What are you going on about?” replied the adjuster.

“You’ve been going 110 mph! Are you crazy!”

The adjuster stayed calm. “Did you check the GPS?”


“Check it.”

After a pause the boss muttered, “Oh.  Um…you’re in your driveway?”

“Yes, and do you think I can get the company van going 110 mph (177 kph) in my driveway?”

“Hmm.  Probably not. So…..were your tires spinning?”

“Of course they were spinning! And will you puh-leeze requisition snow tires for the company vans?”

“Oh, no! The stock-holders demand a profit! And we expect our adjusters to know how to drive in the snow.”

Case closed.