ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Early Beaufort Freeze–(Or, Orchestrated Imbalance)

The Beaufort Sea is nearly completely skimmed with ice, at a date it was barely half ice-covered two years ago, and only three quarters ice-covered last year.  This is a handy bit of sea-ice trivia I park in a holster, to use when nit-picking with Alarmists. If they insist upon cherry-picking certain data from certain warmer parts of the arctic, I am perfectly capable of counter-cherry-picking right back at them. Anyway, in my book cherry fights are far better than knife fights, (though about as red).

In Alarmist circles, nearly all eyes are focused on surges of Atlantic air, with occasional injections of Pacific air, rushing up to the Pole, and fueling anomalous low pressure I have nicknamed “Ralph”. This creates a definite warm anomaly in the DMI temperature-north-of-80°-latitude graph.

DMI6 1020 meanT_2018

This suggests to some Alarmists that the Pole is warming,  but there are some glitches in their gladness. For one thing, these warm surges have been going on for about as long as I’ve been talking about “Ralph”, and may be due to the “Quiet Sun” being at rock bottom minimum.  The autumns showed above-normal anomalies in both 2016 (left) and 2017 (right).

If warm air surging to the Pole truly resulted in “less ice”, we should see a decrease of ice over the past three years, but we have not seen it, at the sea-ice minimum.  Therefore Alarmists focus at the period after the minimum, where indeed extents are at low levels.

DMI6 1020 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

One should immediately be curious how the extent can be below normal, since we began this post mentioning how there was more ice than in recent years in the Beaufort Sea. The answer is that there is less ice on the Eurasian Side of the Pole. This actually remains a good year for making the Northeast Passage, even as it was a bad year for making the Northwest Passage. The arctic coasts of Eurasia remain ice-free, as the arctic coasts of North America are ice-bound.World Wide Daily Snow and Ice Cover Map

Indeed things seem a bit lopsided in the Arctic, with things for Alarmists to cherry-pick on the Russian side, with counter-cherry-picking available on the Canadian side.  This even includes the yearly increase of snow cover, which is ahead of schedule on the Canadian side but behind schedule on the Siberian side (although there is snow well inland from the Siberian  coast in the above map, it should extend farther south towards China by now.)

There are certain short-term possibilities the current pattern might bring about, that we should be watching for. For example Hudson Bay is completely surrounded by snow, which may hurry its yearly freeze. The fact the Kara and Laptev Seas look like they may remain open later than usual may attract storms to track along the Siberian coast, and also cool the water (which would ordinarily be protected by ice, and allowed to stratify, with colder but fresher floodwaters from rivers like the Lena  over warmer but saltier (thus dencer) sea-water sliding beneath.)

Lastly, if the Atlantic pumps heat north, dislodged northern cold must exit somewhere else, and so far it seems to be exiting east of Alaska, heading straight south through the Canadian Archipelago, across flat prairies and continuing south all the way to Texas.  The “Ice Age Now” site has reported grain farmers in the Great Plains having problems harvesting due to early snows.

Though I live far from the arctic, people in these parts do become alarmed to some degree when our food is threatened, depending on our level of awareness. Also worry about potentially cold winters can be upsetting to those poor (and often elderly) who may have to chose between food or fuel. It is little concern to such people if the arctic is “only” -10°C, which is +10° of normal, when the displaced cold air drops temperatures to -20° of normal in Arizona.

It may well be that the increased sea-ice in the Beaufort Sea is indicative of the sort of nasty winter where a ridge builds up the Pacific coast of North America, bringing south winds to Alaska and pleasing Alarmists up there, but bringing the arctic plunging south, east of the Rocky Mountains.

It is interesting that both NOAA and Weatherbell see the sort of winter that plunges the Southeast USA into cooler weather, but NOAA sees merely “normal” cold in the Southeast, whereas Weatherbell sees nasty cold. (NOAA left, Weatherbell right:)

The above predictions will be a good test of the skill-level between the public sector and the private sector. (I could go off onto a rave at this point, but will save it until after Weatherbell triumphs.  I expect they will, as they do not exist due to the beneficence of moronic socialists like Al Gore, but exist purely due to being better at forecasting than the public sector.) (Sorry. That was a rave, after all, but at least I kept it within parenthesis.)

The above also shows that both socialists and meteorologists are seeing the same thing. They both see the current pattern is heading the same way, and both know that a “current-pattern” has a sort of momentum that extends into the future. However I have seen patterns change, and I’m staying on my toes, watching for signs of an unexpected change. (I find that is the best policy to have, regarding the weather, for only God knows the future with absolute certainty, and is proved correct.) (Alarmists know the future with absolute certainty, but stated the arctic would be ice-free by by 2014.)

What is being seen is a “loopy” pattern,  where warm air  is brought north, dislodging cold air which comes south.  Largely it all balances out. It is a case of six of one or a half dozen of the other. The planet’s temperature is currently less than two tenths of a degree “above normal”,  and Al Gore looks foolish for stating “The planet has a fever!” The average healthy human’s temperature varies more than that, during an average day, without thinking any sort of “fever” is involved.

However I don’t deny things look different than a decade ago. I think we are seeing some changes, (or should be), because of the “Quiet Sun.”

In the short term, it may look like the quieter the sun gets, the warmer it gets:

Unfortunately the above chart fails to show sunspot cycle 19 was much bigger than 21 or 22, (and 18 was also big; bigger than 22 but not 21).  So the start of the above graph is showing a hidden effect. But what is the effect?

We have actually measured an increase in cosmic rays bombarding the earth, as the sun goes quiet, which may increase the cloud cover. However I also noticed there were more La Ninas back when the sun was “noisy”, and more El Ninos now that the sun has gone “quiet”.  It could be coincidence, but I have a hunch the energy of the sun may effect trade winds, making them ever so slightly faster when the sun is “noisy”, and ever so slightly slower when the sun goes quiet.

These very slight differences, immeasurable by our clumsy instruments, have big consequences. (Don’t roll your eyes. I’ve put up with years of Alarmists telling me a tiny change in the amount of a trace gas can have giant consequences, and I’ve been respectful, as I know a small pebble can cause a big avalanche. But, though I have been patient, we have seen no “avalanche”, connected with CO2.  So now it is my turn to suggest a different tiny change can be the “pebble that starts an avalanche”. I expect Alarmists to be as respectful to me as I was to them.) (Unlikely.)

The thing of it is this: The best and most brilliant scientists may look a bit like morons, when it comes to predicting when a La Nina will shift to an El Nino, and vice versa. Whatever brings about the change is a force too small and too subtle to measure with our currently crude computers and currently too-clumsy instruments.  Therefore I fall back on what we do know. And what we do know is that increased trade winds effect the up-welling of cold water that occurs hand-in-hand with La Ninas, and decreased trade winds decrease the upwelling, which goes hand-in-hand with El Ninos’ warmer surface waters.

We also know both El Ninos and La Ninas feed upon themselves up to a certain point, and then become authors of their own demise. La Ninas involve clear skies, which eventually allows the sun to warm waters, which encourages El Ninos.  El Ninos, on the other hand, encourage cloudy skies, which cool waters, which encourages La Ninas.  In other words, it is an oscillation. But why were there more La Ninos when the sun was noisy?  And why are their fewer now the sun is quiet?

I don’t know why. But it seems it happened. I’d like to throw out this idea, which involves counter intuitive thought.

When the sun gets “noisy” the trade winds increase in some slight manner that effects the tipping-point between El Nino and La Nina.  There is more up-welling of cold water, so the planet appears colder even as the sun is hotter. Cooler weather causes the tropical sky to be clearer, and consequently the tropical oceans are absorbing more heat even as the planet appears colder.

Currently the opposite is the case. There is less up-welling of cold water, so the planet appears warmer even as the sun is colder. More warmth increases the clouds in the tropics, so those seas are actually cooling even as they release more heat to make the planet warmer, for they are no longer absorbing so much sunshine.

These contradictions can’t go on forever. The contrary thought involved is too contrary.  Eventually the colder sun will result in a colder planet. A new tipping-point will be reached, and a new swing of a new oscillation will dramatically change things. The oceans will run out of extra heat supplied by the noisy sun of cycles 18 and 19, and some new pattern will appear, and likely blow our minds.

I hope I live long enough to see it happen, because I love to see our Creator surprise us with his Majestic stuff. But in the meantime I’m happy watching the counter intuitive reality which includes the sun getting quiet, but the planet getting warmer.

There is one place where it has gotten colder when the sun is “quiet”. It has been the Pole, when the sun is shining. Summers have been colder at the Pole as the sun has gone quiet.  It is a slight difference, less than a degree Celsius, but quite obvious in the DMI graphs going back to 1958.   It is a cherry Alarmists refuse to pick, preferring to look at the above-normal temperatures apparent at the Pole when the sun doesn’t shine. I suppose you could call cooler-summer-temperatures a choke-cherry, for Alarmists find it distasteful when I pick it as a sort of counter-cherry-picking.

However it is also very significant, I think, outside of the silliness of cherry fights. Because the Arctic Sea is far from the Trade Winds, and, because it remains ice-covered through much of the summer and “upwellings” can’t effect air temperatures until patches of open water are seen in August, it is a sort of labratory where the effects of noisy and quiet suns can be seen without the intrusions of other, busy-body variables. And what do we see? We see the quiet sun is, in fact, cooler.

However this coolness is, in and of itself, a pebble that can trigger another avalanche, involving a different oscillation, different from the oscillation between La Ninas and El Nino’s.  This different oscillation is the switching between a “Zonal” pattern and a “Meridional” (loopy) pattern.

My guess is that when the “quiet sun” makes the Pole colder even as it makes the tropics warmer, it creates an imbalance, and the way the planet ends this imbalance is to shift from a  Zonal pattern to a Meridional (loopy) pattern. The excess warmth in the tropics finds a faster route to the Pole, where it is radiated to outer space. Because this milder air is displaced northward, the cold air that ordinarily resides over the Pole is bumped southward, bringing snow further south and somewhat “accidentally” further cooling the planet, as the albedo of southern snows reflects a lot of sunshine.

At this point my jaw starts to drop, and I stand in awe of the Creator. After all, these two oscillation are but two out of many “variables.”  It is like we are trying to gauge the music of a Beethoven Symphony by watching an oboe and third violin. People who focus on CO2 are trying to measure a symphony by watching a little old man over to the side whose sole job in the majesty of the swelling crescendo is to ding a triangle, once in a while.

Meteorology is a awesome and majestic subject, but I fear we puny mortals are reducing it to complete absurdity, and missing much that is wonderful in the process. It reminds me of a hilarious scene in the French farce, “The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe”.

The entire movie is well worth watching, but you will have to scroll ahead to 41:00 to see the scene that I feel resembles the farce we have made of meteorology.

In a particular French orchestra, a male kettle-drum-player is married to a female harpist, but she is having an affair with the first violinist. If this disharmony wasn’t a bad enough wrench in the works of a group of people supposedly dedicated to making harmony, the first violinist has been mistaken as a foreign spy, because he wore one black shoe and one tan shoe at an airport. (An added disharmony is that the second-in-command of the the French spies is attempting to replace his boss.) In any case, the music which this situation produces is nothing like Mozart intended.


I like to think that the reason God doesn’t just sizzle us with a lightning bolt, for our foolishness, is that he is helpless with laughter, because to Him we look like the orchestra in the above movie. We, of course, take ourselves far more seriously, though not even I can match the seriousness of Alarmists.

Meanwhile the symphony of God’s creation is quite capable of proceeding without us. It does not require our understanding to manifest. Currently warm air streams up toward the Pole through the North Atlantic, fueling incarnations of “Ralph” around and over the Pole.

Yet in only 36 hours the transport of all this warmth into the North Atlantic can trigger a North Atlantic gale far larger than hurricane, (but largely unnoticed, as no one lives where  they are centered.)

Even though these huge gales are caused by warm air, they have a completely opposite effect on Europe, as they drag cold air from Fram Strait past Iceland and east across Europe, creating yet another counter-intuitive situation: Warm air coming north can make Europe cold. (Credit to Weatherbell Models, for map seen below.)

Eur5ope 20181020 gfs_t2m_eur_1

Considering weather so often proceeds in a manner that is counter-intuitive, you might wonder why I find any delight in it. I suppose the reason I find delight in it is the same reason I find delight in the music of a master like Bach, Beethoven or Mozart. I think I am following the thread of their music, and can predict where it will go next, but they surprise me by taking off into a rhapsody I never expected. Although they prove me wrong, I delight in what they reveal.

In like manner, weather is constantly taking off into a rhapsody meteorologists didn’t expect. Good meteorologists are grateful for the chance to see something new and learn more. Bad meteorologists take offence.

Most absurd are non-meteorologist Alarmists who not only take offence when the weather proves them wrong, but think they themselves can control the weather. Maybe they don’t throw virgins (or Skeptics) into volcanoes, but they do buy curly light bulbs.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not deny the possibility men can to some degree control the weather, but if it occurred it would likely be more probable to occur if one respected the Creator than if one denied there was any such thing as a Creator.  In other words, if there was such a thing as an Author of the amazing creation we live within, and people failed to see how amazing and how like a miracle ordinary days are, and had the nerve to suggest the everyday miracle could be bettered, the Author might be inclined to favor those who prayed over those who refused to do anything so silly as pray, and instead thought it was wiser to virtue-signal their political correctness by buying curly light-bulbs.

In other words, though I have no scientific proof, I think the person more likely to control the weather might be a small child praying for a white Christmas, whereas an atheist buying curly light bulbs would have no effect whatsoever.

Be that as it may, the weather largely proceeds in a miraculous manner, displaying harmony we but dimly comprehend, obeying laws we have yet to discover. Appreciate it.

Sea-ice thickness, October 19. Last year to left, this year to right:


It is interesting to note that last year the Laptev Sea had completely flash-frozen, while this year it is wide open. It is an area to watch, to see if it flash freezes shortly, or remains open. Hudson Bay is another area to watch for a flash freeze.  (Flash freezes are interesting, as the freeze actually releases a lot of heat that was held as latent heat in liquid water.)

The increase in sea-ice along the coast of Alaska does not make up for the missing ice in the Laptev Sea, and this largely explains why the “volume” graph is back to low levels.

Volume 20181019 FullSizeRender

One thing to watch for, in terms of the “volume” of sea-ice, is how often the flow goes the “wrong way” in Fram Strait, as opposed to how often sea-ice is flushed out of the Arctic and down the east coast of Greenland. Last year a “wrong way” flow in late February led to open water north of Greenland as sea-ice was shifted north, but also to increased “volume” as the sea-ice piled up in the Central Arctic.  (Alarmists picked the cherry of open water, and I counter-picked the increased volume, which was typical for cherry fights.) Currently the sea-ice is surging south in Fram Strait due to the enormous Atlantic gale, but this is common in the autumn.

Drift 20181020 FullSizeRender

The sea-ice totals vary greatly, depending on how much is exported south through Fram Strait. 2007 had a low extent due to a large export. Last year had much less export. One thing which affects the export is the positioning of the enormous Atlantic gales. When they are shifted over towards Europe there is more export. Last year the gales tended to slam into Greenland. (So Alarmists picked the cherry of less sea-ice in the Greenland sea, as I counter-picked the increased snows and consequently an increased mass-balance of  ice on Greenland itself.)

Two things I can confidently predict.

First, the cherry fights will continue. Have fun, and don’t let them escalate to knives.

Second, the symphony arctic orchestra will play on, displaying a divine harmony.

Stay tuned.





11 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Early Beaufort Freeze–(Or, Orchestrated Imbalance)

  1. I really like your analogy of the triangle player in the symphony orchestra. I also “love to see our Creator surprise us with his majestic stuff…”

  2. “Whatever brings about the change is a force too small and too subtle to measure with our currently crude computers and currently too-clumsy instruments.”

    Or maybe it’s so large that we can’t see or comprehend its scope, nor measure it, thus we disregard it.

    [My cynical little voice inquires, “Like the sun??”]

    • I think you are right on target. It is the sun, but the sun is effecting not merely one, but all of the variables. I likely misspoke when I described it as “small.” But not when I described it as “subtle.”

      Thanks for the input.

  3. Interesting you note that the northeast passage is open whereas the northwest passage isn’t. In thinking on that, do you suppose it might be possible that the Russians ramming 10 or 11 larger icebreakers through the ice year round while the US/Canada really don’t have large icebreakers to speak of, and since there is no financially driven reason to be ramming through the ice to start with, are only running the route when there is a need? I know, long sentence, comma splices, but I feel lazy today. But icebreaking activity might well make a difference in how the ice along the continental boundaries forms, how long it stays ice free, and how soon it refreezes. The cold can take the honors when it comes to why it is getting thicker.

    • I do wonder about the effect of the icebreakers. Judging from observations I made of the break-up of sea-ice on the coast of Maine, cracking up the ice does speed the melt. However in the Arctic the “melt” is only around sixty days. The rest of the year it might have a different effect, because it exposes more water to freezing.

      Exposing more water would disrupt the insulating effect of a layer of “baby-ice”. It would allow the water to be churned more, stirring the so-called “lens” of fresh water atop the saltier water down with the saltier water. This might slow the freeze (because saltier water is harder to freeze), but also chill the water under the ice which might slow the melt the following spring.

      Once it gets colder the opening of channels might actually create more pressure ridges, when the channels crush closed.

      It would be interesting to talk with a Russian and hear what they have observed. They have years of actual experience. In a sense they have been conducting tests.

      • Thanks for the link.

        Often there are bitter cold winds from the south, out over the relatively less-cold waters, the equivalent of a night-time land-breeze further south. It can be -80 over the land and only -20 or m-30 over the Arctic Sea, so the winds can be gales and push the sea-ice out to sea and form polynyas of open water along the coast. But should the winds shift to the north all the sea-ice comes crushing back to the coast, which is what I think happened last winter. I imagine the Russians are fairly good at knowing when to stop. and when they can make a run for it.

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