ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Beaufort Gale Endangers Sailors– (Updated)

The anomalous area of low pressure I dubbed “Ralph” has strengthened into a gale, placing our on-the-scene reporters in danger.

When we last checked in on August 23 the high pressure “Sven” ruled the Beaufort Sea as a weakening “Ralph” ruled the Pole.


As both Sven and Ralph weakened winds slackened over the Beaufort Sea, but Ralph was recieving reinforcements, arriving from Barents Sea and bringing Atlantic moisture to feed Ralph. By August 26 our sailors knew they were in for a blow.


The past two days have seen winds increase over the Beaufort Sea, and I suspect our sailors are too busy to report. Prayers are in order.




As they made their way south they reported conditions similar to what the O-buoys showed us, which are not what some Climate Scientists portray. Sitting in warm offices the “experts” describe the areas of open water as places “absorbing heat”, and pontificate about the high albedo of unmelted sea-ice being replaced by the low albedo of open water, stating this will lead to Global Warming. People on the scene describe a situation that is anything but warm. Sebastien described the splashes of salt water freezing to his dry suit and the deck becoming very slippery.  Also the reflectivity of sea water rapidly increases as the sun lowers to the horizon, surpassing the reflectivity of dirty snow.

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The open water experienced, in reality, is not a warm place, by the end of August, and the man at the helm likes his hot soup.

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They seem to depend on flat bergs of ice to haul up on, in order to rest.

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However at this time of year the bergs are still melting from below, and rest can be disturbed. (Notice the snow is not slushy, but has a crust.)

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A flat expanse of ice they pushed the boat over can crack up in a matter of hours. (Notice the twin trails made by the catamaran hulls do not match up.)

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As the ice breaks up what appears as 100% ice on a sea-ice map is no longer stuff you can pull a boat up upon to ride out a storm. In fact it becomes a churning, grinding mess you don’t want your boat to be in, in a storm.  (Notice the slush seems to be refreezing.)

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At last report they were skirting the edge of this ice, heading east-southeast, looking for a larger and more solid berg to haul up on and ride out the storm on. If they find one, there is a chance it will break up under the duress of oceanic swells moving under the ice. If they can’t find one I doubt they will stay midst the grinding. They will have to face the storm on the open water, either hove-to behind a protective berg, or running downwind under a storm jib.

I don’t know what they expected to do, if they had actually crossed the Pole, and reached the Atlantic north of Svalbard.  The North Atlantic is not for sissies, yet they do not seem to have faith in their craft, in open waters in a storm. But sometimes you have to have faith in your boat even when you entertain doubts, and it is amazing what a small boat and stout men can get through. I hope this is not the last picture they send.

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In their warm offices, sea-ice experts are likely hoping this storm churns the sea-ice and reduced the wiggly line on “extent”, “area”, and “volume” graphs, for they are worried they may lose funding if the so-called “Death Spiral” fails to manifest.

They have no idea what real life worries are.


They reached the edge of more solid ice, which is drifting east. They have decided to not risk the water, and instead to haul the boat over the ice to Sachs Harbor, 183 miles to the east. Fortunately the sea-ice is drifting that way, and if O-buoy 14’s history is anything to go by, they will continue to drift that way at this time of year (which is not the direction the Beaufort Gyre drifts; perhaps Bank’s Island forms an eddy.)

The drift, nearly a mile an hour, will slow as “Ralph” weakens, but today they will drift twenty miles the way they desire. Not bad.

Sachs Harbor has a population of 900, but does have an airport. They inhabitants will likely be delighted to see three Frenchmen appear out of the frozen sea, providing a Polar Bear  doesn’t find them first.

They’ll likely fly out, parking the boat there. Then the question will be, will they return and try again next summer?

But first they have to get there.

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NOT LOCAL –A Bumpkin In Brooklyn–

Some mornings I feel like Washington at Valley Forge.NYC 8 IMG_7303

The propaganda of the Deep State is relentless. What a misnomer it is to call it “The Resistance.” It is obvious some big money is involved, when it blares from posters in glass cases in public places in New York City. It is not the voice of the sweltering poor. It is insidious, and is seen virtue-signaling from the plot of a Broadway play, when you head out to “take in a show.” However a truer “Resistance” shines from the efforts of the individual actors, striving not to be “the masses”, but the best of the best.

Liberal means “generous”, and there is nothing wrong with being generous. Jesus was generous. But it is not generous to tax the crap out of people to enrich your own greedy life. That is gross hypocrisy. It is far better to be an individual seeking to be superlative, the best ball player or the best actor. Then you are giving all you’ve got.

It is individuals giving all they’ve got that makes America great. It is seen in the boss, and in the boss visiting an obscure corner of his factory where a sort of family of workers do one step of a process better than it has ever been done before. The genius of the Founding Fathers was to tame the despotic tendencies of leaders and allow individuals to have rights, and it is the poison of the Deep State to remove those rights.

The distinction is obvious to me, but sometimes I despair I’ll make it clear. The Big Lie of the Deep State blares on and on.  The true debate is between greed and generosity, but no one really talks about the real debate, and instead many blather about empty issues like Global Warming, which is an exercise in witlessness.  If you ask an Alarmist what an “isobar” is, they think it is where Santa drinks whisky. They haven’t a clue, but still manage to virtue-signal down their noses and call me a “denier”. I fight against depression and defeat.


My faith is too tested, and I wonder
What purpose can be served by bruising me.
Have I not proved faith, singing in thunder?
Have I not been so crushed I crawled, bowed free
Of all hope, yet looked to Your kind beauty
Like an innocent man on the gallows
Looks past this cruel, dark world, and can see
Spring’s dawn lies ahead? This lipsticked earth shows
No allure to me; I see the rank sores
On powdered skin. Why not show me Your smile?
You’re kind to the sickly; You walk with whores
As their friend. Please walk with me a mile
As the Dead Sea thumps surf on sighing shores.
Add Your flashing smile to my poetry.
What purpose is served by misery?

Yet I will trust there is a lesson hidden
In these scorched days: Some wrong wish for worldly
Fame or Wealth’s lodged like a splinter, and when
It is removed I will once again see
The Surgeon is my friend, despite His knife.
But for now I don’t see, and faith is blind
As the best faith always is; for the strife
We think matters has no weight, we will find,
On the true scales. For Justice, too, is blind
To the allurements that prompt bribery
And cause all corruption. A calm, clear mind
Wears a blindfold to be able to see.
I know it makes no sense, and so I must
Endure my scorched passages mustering trust.

Blind lady-justice-blindfolded_55d3389af74020f6

My mood was not at its best Sunday morning, for I’d been up long past midnight and also my youngest son drinks no coffee, whereas I am an addict. I was astonished a kitchen could even exist without coffee. Perhaps a caffeine-free  morning contributed to my gloom. However to my surprise I discovered I didn’t die, and in fact as I stepped out Brooklyn’s bricks astonished me with their orange brilliance,  and the green surprised me as well, as I was unaware a tree grew in Brooklyn.

It is bragged that 600 languages are spoken in New York City’s Burroughs,  by those who see it as being a sign of liberal diversity and multiculturalism.   I’m not so sure it is a good thing, because I cannot help but think that somewhere else 600 communities have been lessened, and perhaps even destroyed. A community is a sign of God’s creativity, but ignorance loves to destroy.  Some people think Satan will manifest as a sort of Godzilla tearing down skyscrapers, but it seems to me he has no problem with material things; he won’t bother bash skyscrapers; what he dislikes is Love, and in my time I have witnessed the destruction of families, neighborhoods, clans, tribes, and communities world-wide.

Liberals once decried the idea of a neutron bomb, which would kill people without the damage to material objects an atomic bomb manifests, yet they have said little as families and neighborhoods have been evaporated.  Some even clap their hands, deeming the small-scale patriotism of a tight family a type of racism, as if even a mother’s love is evil and opposed to a faceless ideal of one vast McCulture. How much of the world has been destroyed the past sixty years? With hardly a whimper.

Yet as I trudged the sweltering street, desperately seeking my first coffee, I had the strong feeling God cannot be denied. I might be only one language of six hundred, and my skin might be only one hue of six hundred, but there was no way this swirling I was midst was going to become a melting pot, creating a drab smear of a single, muddied hue. Already new clustering was occurring, as the will to excel individually combined and created new marriages, new families, new neighborhoods, on its way to the recreation of 600 springtimes, if not 601.

Having proven optimism does not require coffee, I did find a coffee shop. Then my optimism soared, helped out still further by finding a church.

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Red Brooklyn brick in Sunday morning sunshine
Spreads awakening to the blue horizon
As if brick has no end, but green that’s mine
Lies over Earth’s curve, all made by the One
Who has no end; and now all gather
To sing of Love, of sweet brotherhood
With many voices; and though I’d rather
Be over Earth’s slow curve, this neighborhood
Enchants with the same beauty shimmering
Like symbols by snare drum; a song so good
That it will follow me like angels on wing
And dance when I’m back home in my green wood.
Why my surprise? It’s not unexpected
That One Light is in all eyes reflected.

NOT LOCAL –Eden’s Apple–

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I’m nervous I’m going to have to deal
With that Big Apple. I prefer to avoid
The fruit that felled Adam. I want to heal,
And for me that involves forests destroyed
By expanding cities: The rural green
Where a bumpkin like me can just be a bump.
You see, I don’t want what I’ve seen
Is a deserter: Fame and Wealth are a dump
Where rats scuttle. I far prefer what lasts
And that is Love…I know many will scorn
That statement, for they wear concrete casts.
Love broke them so bad…But pain’s just the thorn
Of a rose, and the rose tells us this:
“Thorns never stopped heroes from seeking sweet bliss.”

Arrived in NYC for my youngest son’s birthday and we strolled around town (9.1 miles, 31 staircases) talking about (among other things) the impossible job “city planners” face.  It’s unlikely anyone can herd 8.5 million cats.

I don’t think the Founding Fathers really wanted to herd the cats. They were more concerned with herding the cat-herders.  When Washington was inaugurated as the first president of a new experiment in government in 1789, New York’s population was only around 33,000.

NYC 6 IMG_7301  At that point the concept of laying out the streets of New York in an orderly manner was a quarter century away, (The “gridiron” Commissioners’ Plan was not published until 1811.) There was no socialist zeal to force order upon people, but this did not mean people disliked the idea of order. New York was only the national capital until 1795, as people dreamed of laying out a new capital to the south. But who was the dictator? How could order be, without a despot? Who would rule? Who could trust a dim silhouette in the distance?

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Some distrust the idea of allowing people to be free. They cannot believe anything but chaos will result without a committee. Yet individuals with liberty, seeking to improve upon a set design, created beauty, whether building boats or bridges.

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Which is not to say things don’t become chaotic, and confused,

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However humanity’s hubbub is the true builder of cities, while those who think they control are just a facade.

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One generation’s power struts and builds skyscrapers, but the glut is fleeting, and a generation later is faded, leaving a building as a historical site as final issues are printed from a warehouse.

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As we headed home at midnight the subway shuddered to a halt on the bridge over to Brooklyn, and we saw how the best system cannot plan for all screw ups.  Somehow a metal trashcan wound up on the rails, and then crunched under the train. Midnight on a Saturday night, and tired people just want to get home, some after work and some after drinking,  but the trolley is stuck and blocking a major bridge. How’d you like to be the bureaucrat in charge? (You can bet the boss was home in bed.) Some of the herded cats squeezed out between cars and vanished into the dark walking, with the officials wailing it was illegal, as the rest more obediently trooped car to car to the rear of the train, and then into a “rescue train”, which then slowly backed over the bridge to a station some had left an hour before. At which point we turned to transportation none saw coming even a decade ago: Uber.

Leave it to Liberty and answers will come.

NOT LOCAL –Bussed–

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Miles and years slide by like green scenery
Outside the windows of a southbound bus
Travelling five hours. I look to see
What the entrance ramps are holding for us,
And who is departing on exit ramps,
But then I pay no attention, engrossed
In thumb-twiddling until my mind’s lamps
Are re-lit. I start, and see what’s missed most
Is not so much in the rear-view mirror
As it is within an empty seat.
Briefly my thought sharpens, flashing clearer
As ahead blue lights arrest and defeat
A speeder, and all other traffic slows
Pretending to be modest, as on it goes.

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ARCTIC SEA ICE –Trapped Ships–

Whalers 2 1871_Whaling_Disaster

One great source for pre-satellite-era records of sea-ice is the logs of whaling ships. Alarmists of the sea-ice-breed are made very uncomfortable by the fact that greed, and daring, and desire-to-support-families, led whalers to seek the whales at the very edge of the sea-ice, which happened to be where plankton was prolific and life was lushest and whales tended to congregate.

When sea-ice Alarmists estimate the state of sea-ice in pre-satellite times they make some assumptions which likely are audacious and incorrect, such as that the extreme extent of 1979 was the “norm”.  The data we have, as a basis for old maps, is sparse, and sea-ice Alarmists infill areas that we have no data for with solid ice. Then they have big trouble explaining how it was sailing vessels were hunting in areas they claim were solid ice, considering a wooden whaling ship, powered by flapping sails, had none of the powers of a modern metal-prowed  icebreaker, powered by diesel or even uranium.

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The simple yet driving motivation was that back then whale-oil was a superior form of lighting a home. It was cleaner and brighter than tallow candles. Tallow was basically sheep-fat, and few purified it to lanolin. The poor burned tallow and the wealthy paid much more for whale oil. For a young man whaling was a more exciting and lucrative way to earn a living, than herding sheep.  Consequently men went to sea for whales, and the wealthy had whale oil lamps. Somewhat accidentally, in records of whaling clear back to the 1100’s, we have records of the edge of the sea-ice back to the 1500’s as whalers sought the northern seas where whales congregated, and from the old records we’ve gleaned sea-ice trivia, such as that there was open water by Svalbard in the early 1600’s.

Whale 6 1024px-Walvisvangst_bij_de_kust_van_Spitsbergen_-_Dutch_whalers_near_Spitsbergen_(Abraham_Storck,_1690)

The failure of sea-ice Alarmists to study history often gets a bit embarrassing.  They speak with supposed authority, and make asses of themselves. This has happened again, with the past summer’s Atlantic-to-Pacific flow pushing the sea ice away from the North coast of Greenland, and the media, with the help of discredited “experts” such as Peter Waldhams, blazing headlines about the open water north of Greenland being something that has never been seen before.

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Peter Waldhams has garnered a lot of free publicity by, year after year, stating, in April. that the Pole would be ice free the following summer. Year after year he is proven incorrect. As people pay less and less attention to him he gets more and more desperate to attract attention, and this year he employed the emotional topic of cuddly polar bear cubs,  stating the polar bears cubs would starve, due to the ice shifting away from Greenland, (though he knows less than I do about polar bears).

Dr. Susan Crockford, who likely has scrutinized every published paper written about polar bears in English, as well as many in other languages,  promptly took him to task. Apparently polar bears simply do not live in northern Greenland, (nor do seals, nor, for that matter, do Eskimos).

Sea ice silly season: Wadhams spouts fake facts about polar bears of northern Greenland

I would like to add, to Susan’s excellent rebuttal, a few comments concerning other times the sea ice was absent on the north coast of Greenland, as was noted by Whalers of the past. (It gets a bit tiresome belaboring these old points, but the Waldhams of the world never listen, and my hammering-away never penetrates their thick skulls, so I have to be repetitive to counter their repetitive guff.)

Back around 2004 the late John Daly noted on his site that the British admiralty records of November, 1817, contain a statement that begins:

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

I found this statement odd, for this disappearance of sea-ice occurred at the same time as very cold conditions occurred in Western Europe (though not in Eastern Europe) called “The Year Without A Summer”. I sought help in my quest for answers with this Post on “Watts Up With That” in 2013.

The comments from that post were wonderful and of great help to my continuing education. In a nutshell, what I have learned is:

Sea-ice usually piles up against northern Greenland due to the Transpolar Drift, and then either crunches west along the coast of the Canadian Archipelago or else east, where it is ordinarily flushed south through Fran Strait and down the east coast of Greenland. However this flow is by no means steady. O-buoy 9 taught us the sea-ice not only surges and retreats with every storm, but also with every tide.  In Fram Strait the  progress south is anything but regular, with “wrong-way” flows possible if the ordinary high pressure over Greenland’s icecap is replaced by low pressure. And, last but not least, there can be a major derangement of the ordinary flow, brought on (apparently) by volcanic eruptions and the onset of a “Quiet Sun”.

A highly unusual situation was created in 1816 by the onset of the Dalton Minimum coinciding with two of the millennium’s largest volcanic eruptions, in 1810 and 1815. The atmospheric flow, usually around the planet, was so perturbed it came right over the top and flushed a very large amount of the Pole’s sea-ice down into the Atlantic, so cooling the Atlantic’s water that Western Europe had a cold summer (sort of the opposite of this summer, when the water by Britain was warm.) Meanwhile the whalers, heading up into Fram Strait, were astonished by the lack of ice. Many parts of the North Greenland coast were first seen, explored, mapped and named, at that time. One whaler commented that, if his job was exploration and not hunting whales, he could have sailed to the Pole. Another apparently circumnavigated Greenland,  heading north through Fram Strait and then west and then south through Nare’s Strait into Baffin Bay.

In other words, two hundred years ago the sea-ice wasn’t merely nudged north from the north coast of Greenland. It was completely gone.

These reports greatly excited the British Admiralty, which had high hopes the climate was changing and a new trade route could be established over Canada to China. With the great war with Napoleon finished, they had a 600-ship-Navy sitting about doing very little, and therefore it was possible to embark upon a great 30-year period of exploration, seeking to find a Northwest Passage. Besides leading to the Franklin tragedy, it gave (and gives) us many other sea-ice observations, (which the likes of Peter Waldhams steadfastly and obstinately ignore).

Meanwhile it was getting harder and harder to find whales. One of the last places where whales were common was the North Pacific, up in Bering Strait. In 1846 the North Pacific fleet of whalers numbered 292 ships, but couldn’t supply enough oil. Prices were very high, and whaling was worth it. But so was seeking other sources of oil. Then, in 1858, a new supply became available in Pennsylvania.

Whaler 3 1862 Earlyoilfield

By 1871 the North Pacific Whaling fleet had shrunk to around 40 ships. Prices had crashed, and it simply wasn’t worth spending two years at sea getting oil, when railways had been built to Pennsylvania, and the new supply was just hours away.

In 1871 the final fleet, perhaps desperate for profits, was pressing it’s luck, north of Alaska in late August, and, on September 2, 33 of the ships were trapped by a wind shift that brought ice south against the shore of Alaska to their west, and then pressed more sea-ice in on them. A ship was crushed and a few others developed leaks, and the captains met to make a decision on whether to wait for the wind to shift, or to abandon their ships. On September 12 they chose to abandon their ships and travel 70 miles by longboat to the seven ships safe in open water, on the other side of where the ice was jammed against the Alaskan shore. (If they had waited two weeks a wind-shift would have opened a channel along the shore, but with the open water already starting to skim over with ice they were not willing to gamble.) They then enacted an amazing escape, with over a thousand people (including the wives and children of some captains), escaping to the seven surviving ships, which dumped their cargoes to make room for the people, and brought everyone safely to Hawaii in October. Not a life was lost, though whaling was basically finished, as a profitable business.

Besides being a good story, this history tells us there was open water north of Alaska in 1871, and makes sea-ice Alarmists look a little foolish when they suggest such open water on that coast is a new thing. How could it be a new thing, considering the Eskimos themselves were whalers, and went out whaling to the east of where commercial whalers dared to go? And also considering that the whales themselves need air to breathe and do not travel under solid ice? (Larger whales can break through ice that is a foot or two thick, but don’t like to trap themselves in such a predicament. When trapped by swift movements of sea-ice they remain trapped in areas of open water rather than diving under the thicker ice, even when attacked by polar bears at the edge.) (How whales know how thick the ice is, I can’t say.[sonar?])

My personal guess, judging from all I’ve read, is that the sea-ice is currently somewhat further from the coast of Alaska than “normal”, considering the PDO has been in it’s warm phase and we are still in the lagged-period after a “super El Nino” and a “noisy sun”.

People use the odd word “recovery” for the increase in sea-ice, when more sea-ice is usually related to periods of hardship for humanity. I think true “recovery” is less ice, and that we have been in a long-term “recovery” from the Little Ice Age, but I worry that the decrease in sea-ice that we have benefited from may be coming to an end, with the sun going “quiet.” The PDO has recently sunk back from its “warm” phase.

PDO June pdo_short

Also there are more obstructions to those seeking to complete the Northwest Passage this year than last year. Forgive me if I sound like a Global Cooling Alarmist, but there is thick sea-ice against the coast east of Barrow, thinner ice along the coast by the Mackenzie Delta, and a major plug of ice in Franklin Channel, preventing the use of a favorite shortcut.


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At this point we turn to our on-the-scene reporters, such as the family aboard the “Dogbark” (Hat tip to Nigel for supplying the link.) They found mostly ice-free water as far as Barrow. (Notice fresh snow on the roof, and ice on the distant horizon.) (Note: I  was unaware when posting that this picture automatically updates.)

Barrow Webcam

However east of Barrow they started to see more ice.

And then they received news Franklin Strait was starting to refreeze already, and also that a small boat, further east than they, was trapped.  So they chose to head back. They had discovered the arctic was not as “ice-free” as they supposed.

Meanwhile the three adventurers in the iceboat-catamaran we’ve been following are making excellent time, now that they chose to head back. The wind that opposed them is now with them. They are also moving into an area with scattered ice and much open water. They actually don’t want too much open water, as that allows seas to build and their craft is small. But the ice is drifting the right direction now, and they made nearly ten miles of progress one night, hauled up onto ice and sleeping. However the nights are swiftly getting longer and the cross-polar-flow puts them on the cold side of the Pole. They still face the danger old whalers faced, of being frozen to a standstill, and faced with a long hike.

This brings up an interesting point about the “extended summer” at the Pole, as seen by the DMI temperature graph.

This mildness at the Pole is largely due to the Atlantic air flowing that way, displacing the colder air towards Alaska and south of 80º north latitude (which is south of what the DMI graph measures.) The map below shows the sub-freezing temperatures displaced towards Bering Strait. (You should remember warm “noon” is up, in the map below, and cold “midnight” is down, towards Svalbard.)

The above shifting-of-cold-off-the-Pole made me wonder if a warmer Pole might be a sign of a colder autumn and winter, in places further south, because cold air wasn’t hanging around up at the Pole, and instead was exiting south. So I decided to compare the DMI gtraphs for one of the warmest autumns I recall, when there was no frost (in my garden) until mid-November (on the coast of Maine), to the following year, when it was so cold there was already sea-smoke in late November. The two autumns were 1975 (left) and 1976 (right).



In this example, when it was colder at the Pole it was a warm autumn on the coast of Maine, while, when it was warmer at the Pole, Maine experienced an early onset to winter.

While this is admittedly a single example, it does suggest (to me at least) that we are better off further south when the cold stays up at the Pole. However this August the cross-polar-flow is continuing on, past the Pole and past Alaska, all the way south through Montana to Texas, which creates a reactionary flow up the east coast of the USA, and makes it amazingly wet and muggy here in New Hampshire, in the summer, (but suggests coastal snowstorms for our winter). For summertime, when the storm-tracks usually stay quietly demure to the north, the current storm-track seems loopy and winter-like,

Of course this pattern can change. I should leave the long-range stuff to the masters like D’Aleo and Bastardi.  In fact there already seems to be a shift in the cross polar flow, from Atlantic-to-Pacific to Siberia-to-Alaska. Not that we haven’t seen some Siberia-to-Alaska stuff all summer, in the form of weak versions of “Ralph” (low pressure) swinging across in a fight with the Siberian”Igor” (high pressure), for domination of the Pole.  What has been most striking (to me) is that things don’t travel around the Pole, and the flows seem far more meridional (loopy) than zonal.

Most recently we saw a shift. Rather than high pressure from Siberia we saw a Scandinavian high “Sven” head north behind the last Siberia-to-Alaska”Ralph”. Incidentally Sven’s appearance was what convinced our three adventurers that headwinds would defeat their effort to reach the Pole.  However Sven was followed by an Atlantic version of Ralph, and this sneak-attack-from-the-rear bumped Sven off the Pole into the Beaufort Sea, right over our sailors.

Let’s look at the maps.

On August 17 Sven expanded north as the last Siberian “Ralph” retreated down into Canada. (Ironically, Sven’s expansion briefly gave our sailors southern headwinds just when they turned south to escape northerly headwinds.)

Then, by August 20, Sven had shifted across the Pole and was scooting the sailors swiftly down towards Alaska. An Atlantic low was deciding not to do the normal thing, which would be to prefer the warm waters and updrafts over the Siberian coast, but instead to counter-intuitively head north for the  downdraft-inducing cold sea-ice of the Pole. Why? Perhaps Sven deflected it, or perhaps the old remnants of the Siberian “Ralph” across Baffin Bay attracted it, (or perhaps both), but in any case a new “Ralph” was born.



By August 22 the clash between Sven and Ralph was creating a new cross-polar flow from Siberia to Canada. Ice was being pushed back towards Greenland, rather than away. (Media crickets).  Our sailors were still getting north winds that help them. Less Atlantic moisture was being drawn north.

Noon is up, in the map above, whereas noon is down, in the map below. Notice how much colder the Pacific side is, in the map below. Night is having an increasing effect in the north, as it swings around the Pole like the hand of a clock, or like a spoon stirring a pot.


This morning Ralph has conquered the Pole. (I would appreciate it very much if people forgot the forecast I made last spring, stating that we would not see Ralph reappear, due to what I thought the lagged effects of the La Nina would be, for, “Thar He blows!”) (And models suggest he will stay a while.)

For those interested, here is the sea-ice “extent” graph. (Yawn.) Due to the thickness of the remaining ice at the Pole, I think the future graph is more likely to copy the navy-blue 2014 line, than the green 2016 line, as we approach the yearly minimum.

And here is the comparison of thickness between last year (left) and this year (right):


Generally speaking, the ice has been pushed from the Atlantic side to the Pacific side. If you are a sea-ice Alarmist I suggest you focus on the Atlantic side, and how the sea-ice has been pushed north from Franz Josef Land, Svalbard and Greenland.  Pay no attention to how this push has compressed and thickened the sea-ice in the Central Arctic, nor to how the sea-ice off Eastern Siberia and Alaska has increased, where there was open water last year.

Me? I am intrigued by the cross-polar-flows, and how they feed the creation of “Ralph” at the Pole. I am mulling it over, and comparing it with the amazing cross-polar-flow of around 1816, which dumped so much ice down into the Atlantic, to a point sea-ice even was drifting up on the beaches of Ireland.  Hmm. If that happened again it would likely involve me in all sorts of squabbles, because I’d be suggesting the Quiet Sun, and not CO2, was the boss.

I think these squabbles occur because I attend to the study of the past, whereas the Waldhams of the world have no clue what happened, and are largely inventing things out of whole cloth, because it “sounds right” and “feels right”.

But at least there is one thing we can all agree upon.  It is this: Al Gore was wrong, and the arctic will not be ice-free by 2014.

Stay tuned.

LOCAL VIEW –How humid was it? Sequel

I have to add a sequel to my humidity-grousing, for we had an event too good to avoid being grumpy about.

A  front was at long last pushing west to east, and there was high anxiety about whether it would push out to sea in time for a local church fair, and a very big local fireworks display.

I tried not to care about the church fair, for I left that church. But then it seemed wrong not to care, so I did pray and the sun did come out. But it only bloomed up big billows of cloud and the fair got poured on. I suppose I didn’t pray hard enough, or perhaps my grumpy side snuck into those prayers. In any case, as it poured I tried not to smile. But it’s an effort being spiritual, at times.

Then it cleared off at the end of the day and we headed off to the fireworks. I brought my raincoat. My wife shook her head at me and rolled her eyes.  There was not any sign of rain on the radar.

The fireworks are a big deal, set off by Atlas, the second biggest fireworks-maker in the world. (The biggest is in China, of course.) It is a demonstration of their latest creations for potential customers at the airstrip in Jaffrey, New Hampshire,  and over the years greater and greater crowds have come to watch, and they now make quite a bit of money charging people who want to park right on the runway to get a nearby view. Now around twenty-five thousand people show up, at $50.00/car. It was amazing how many were packing into a car, but they created a limit, which ended that part of the circus.

The circus, (and it is a bit of a circus), tends to be wonderful assortment of people who seldom rub elbows, ranging from Mennonites in gingham to Bikers in leather, all showing up starting at around 3:00 in the afternoon for fireworks that don’t start until 9:00.

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There are places selling hot-dogs and burgers and chicken and fry-bread, and some of the old-fashioned carnival attractions to prove your strength, which I tend to avoid, due to fear of wounding my ego.

(I got talked into trying one last year.  It was some sort of Army-recruitment gadget where you slug a cushion and it measures the power of your punch, using some scale of one to a hundred. The little kids were reaching five to ten, and the young fellows fifty to seventy, and their girlfriends forty to fifty. One grandson reached seventy, so my eldest son had to hit seventy-five and then other, smaller grandson popped the pad for thirty. Then I walked up, in a hurry to get the humiliation over with, and threw a quick cross-body punch you could never throw in real life, unless the fellow hung his jaw a foot off your right shoulder. I got my whole body into it and the dial shot right to a hundred. Everyone looked a bit startled, and I was utterly gratified, and decided then and there to retire undefeated.  And no, the Army didn’t ask me to enlist,)

Mostly I like to stroll back and forth with my wife, up and down the runway, people-watching. They have a very good system of speakers, and a couple of disc-jockeys who prattle and play four generation’s worth of music. The weather looked decent and my wife teased me about my raincoat. The disc-jockeys said we should look up at the sky-divers, and we looked up, and the second disc-jockey said, “You idiot; that’s a commercial airliner!” But then we heard a faint engine and saw the small plane high above, and tiny black dots spill from it, and come down to land precisely on their target (with a man dashing beneath them to keep the flag from touching the ground).

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The wait always seems like it will take forever, and I was a bit nervous about how the lower clouds still hit top of Mount Manadnock as they passed. As it grew dark it felt damper and damper. But at long last the display began. It is a solid half hour of non-stop fireworks choreographed to music, and there is a collective sigh from the crowd as the first flower bursts in the sky.

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However I immediately noticed each bright spark seemed to leave a tiny contrail. The air was so saturated we were doing a sort of cloud-seeding experiment.

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The growing fog bank was especially obvious near the ground.

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As the display increased in intensity, so did the fog bank, and by the time of the thunderous finalé you couldn’t see a cotton-picking thing. There was just a lit-up smudge of fog shifting from one dirty mix of messed-up colors to another, accompanied by thunderous noise that you could feel on your chest. Then it stopped. There was not the usual wild roar of appreciative applause. There was just a strange sound, not quite silence, that 20,000 people make when they have waited three to five hours for a smudge: The sound of mass dejection. To top it off a thick drizzle began to fall. I pulled up my hood with emphasis, when my wife looked my way.

People watching from a hill to the north saw all the fireworks emerging from the fog bank, and said it was spectacular, lighting clouds both above and below. But the wind was just perfect to shower us all with ashes and bits of the clay that they use as a packing material in the shells, (which is also apparently good nuclei for cloud droplets.)

The next morning dawned foggy, but the sun soon broke out.  I walked out and noticed my wife’s white car looked like a Dalmatian, and added “go to the carwash” to the day’s list.

Anyway, that is another answer to the question, “How humid was it?”