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