I have been posting less about sea-ice because my main reason for posting was that I derived great pleasure from the cameras on buoys in the Arctic Sea. First and foremost, the views were beautiful. Secondly the views supplied a way of double-checking on the maps produced from satellite data, which often were simply incorrect. (For example, the maps might state the sea-water was three degrees above normal, when the cameras showed the water was choked with ice, and therefore had to be right at freezing.) Once the cameras went unfunded and the views vanished I found the topic far less enchanting.
In any case, after watching the sea-ice since the low-ice summer of 2007 it became obvious there was no “Death Spiral” occurring. The extent is basically the same, year after year, with slight variations. Due to the warm AMO and warm PDO, ice is at lower levels than when the AMO and PDO are cold, but there is no long-term “trend” towards less ice. In essence, watching sea-ice is about as exciting as watching moss grow on a rock. There is nothing wrong with such witnessing, if one can see the beauty of moss, but without the cameras I decided I could find better use for my eyes. I’d rather watch the pumpkins grow in my own garden.
For some time my old posts about sea-ice continued to gather “views”, (some have been viewed by several thousand people, numbers that uplifted their status on “search engines.”) Then such visits ceased. I discovered Google has “disappeared” me on its search-engine. I imagine Google in some manner recognized me as a “Skeptic” and “Global Warming Denier”. I now have a hard time finding my own website, using Google. While this does seem foolish, (as they are making a fine search-engine malfunction), it does not really discourage me. Writers have a craving for attention, and being “disappeared” makes me feel recognized. Also it makes me want to write about sea-ice, when, if they hadn’t tried to silence me, I would have moved on from writing about sea-ice to writing poetry about pumpkins.
I continue to scan the DMI charts and graphs, and to glance over the arctic weather using Weatherbell maps. I just don’t devote time to jotting down observations. There have been no drastic changes this summer, but a few things do interest me.
One thing of interest was a push of sea-ice south towards the Atlantic. In 2007 such flushing of sea-ice south through Fram Strait led to low sea-ice-extent totals. However what I noted this year was ice crushed up against the shores of Svalbard, not merely on the cold east coast but at times even on the west coast, often kept open even in the winter by a northern tendril of the Gulf Stream.
In fact there was more sea-ice this June around Svalbard than in 1596. How do I know this? Because I love history and know Willem Barentsz discovered Svalbard in June, 1596, and that he saw less ice in the same waters.
This sort of trivia does make it hard to get excited about any sort of “Death Spiral”. Of course you will never see a headline, “More Arctic Ice Than 400 Years Ago”, because that doesn’t fit the “narrative”.
There is something so disingenuous about the media’s coverage that it is increasingly becoming just plain silly. It also seems increasingly useless to attempt to have a sane conversation. If you bring up a perfectly true and interesting bit of trivia about the three amazing voyages of Willem Barentsz some people get bug-eyed and purple-faced. You can’t tell them to calm down, for the words “calm down” always seem to have a completely opposite effect.
In any case, if they knew what they were talking about, they would point out a lot of sea-ice around Svalbard may indicated the sea-ice is being flushed south to melt in the Atlantic, and could lead to a low extent like in 2007. Unfortunately they seldom know what they are talking about.
A perfect example was the recent fuss about the “heat wave” in Greenland. Yes, more melted than most years, but the prior two years were cold and stormy and far less melted. But the “narrative” is to beat the drum about melting ice-caps and rising seas, so big numbers were thrown about, such as “11 billion tons melted in a single day” and “217 billion tons melted in July”. These numbers are tossed about without any reference to increases the prior two years, nor any attempt to compare the numbers to the total bulk of Greenland’s huge icecap. They fail to mention that, at that rate, it would take 25,000 years to melt the entire icecap. They also fail to mention there was greater melting the last warm summer, in 2011. Instead they attempt to generate brainless hysteria about “the worst ever.”
Delingpole uses sarcasm to attempt to defuse the panic, and does a fairly good job here:
In any case, there was a big hubbub about the shores of Svalbard being ice-free a few years back, for people feared Polar Bears would have no place to raise cubs, but now that subject has been dropped. The ice is back. But now the winds have shifted to the south, and the ice may be blown north, and the hubbub may reoccur. I am expecting it any day, for the “wrong way” winds in Fram Strait have shifted the sea-ice away from the north coast of Greenland. It is (I think) the third time this has happened in two years. (Twice in the summers and once in February.) I expect hoopla about how Polar Bears will drown without ice, although Susan Crockford at “Polar Bear Science” gently pointed out, during the last hoop-la, that Polar Bears are rare along the north coast of Greenland, because they need open water, and open water is too uncommon up there for them to rely on.
Here again study of history is helpful. In 1817 a whaling ship apparently circumnavigated Greenland after a huge amount of sea-ice was flushed through Fram Strait, leaving the Arctic Sea amazingly open. More recently, the original 1950 U.S. military studies (regarding the creation of a base at St. Nord on the northeast tip of Greenland) mention St. Nord likely could only be supplied by sea once every five years. In other words, open water was uncommon, but certainly not unheard of. However such history does not fit the “narrative”, so the press has to be silly, and hysterical, and disingenuous.
In fact, if you are rooting for a decline in sea-ice, you want the ice pouring south through Fram Strait. “Wrong way” flows keep the ice in the arctic and increase the volume. You want the sea-ice crashing into northern Greenland and then being swept into Fram Strait, following the route of O-buoy 9:
Temperatures this summer have been a little below normal at the Pole, north of 80º latitude.
I personally feel the slightly-lower-than-normal temperatures we’ve seen at the Pole during recent years is caused by the “Quiet Sun”, but Joe Bastardi, who I greatly respect, suggested it may simply be caused by melting ice “sucking up heat”. I wonder. While it is true the phase-change from solid to liquid does result in available heat becoming latent heat, melting occurs ever summer at the Pole. Any who have ventured on the ice in the summer, back through history, have commented on the slush and melt-water pools. But Bastardi may have a point about this summer, because this summer was especially sunny at the Pole. High pressure has dominated, and only in the past few days have I seen anything approaching a “Ralph”. (Anomalous low pressure at the Pole.) I keep an eye on such lows, because in August they can become gales (I think due to the building contrast between summer warmth and autumnal cold) and in 2012 a gale resulted in record low sea-ice extent.
Even though there is a weak “Ralph” at the Pole, you can still see the high pressure extending from Greenland to Alaska. I have already mentioned the melting on Greenland, but Alaska has seen drought and some big forest fires. Meanwhile low pressure systems, rather than hooking up to the Pole as a “Ralph”, have tended to progress east along the coast of Siberia. The current low over west Siberia is drawing south chronic cold to the Moscow area (not mentioned by the media) and the low over central Siberia is drawing summer heat north on its east side, (likely to be soon mentioned by the media.) During the past weeks I noticed two things about these Siberian coastal lows.
First, they often involved below-freezing temperatures, even as the Pole baked in sunshine. Often these temperatures occurred south of 80º north, and so were not included in the above graph. (I likely should have saved those isotherm maps, but my pumpkins required weeding.) The current map has a hint of what I’m talking about:
(I should note that in early July there are almost no below freezing temperatures on isotherm maps, yet we are now already seeing the advance of autumn on the ice. (I’ve been told by men who worked up there that even in early August one starts to see a skim of ice on the water pail in the morning.) Explorers and adventures up there all seem intoxicated by the heady warmth of July, and then get suddenly serious in August.
In the above map the below-freezing pockets of temperature, seen extending from Fram Strait east to East Siberia, have been seen before, though earlier this neckless was more displaced south of 80º. The below-freezing temperatures in Beaufort Sea, however, are new. The chill is building, and from now on most of the melt of sea-ice will come from the sea below, and not the air above. The sun is sinking lower, and has less power, even when it is up 24 hours a day.
The second thing I noticed about the low-pressure-systems moving along the Siberian Coast was that they often were offshore, which resulted in west winds to the south of them along the coasts. This at times shifted the sea-ice east, which is a “wrong way” flow, as the Beaufort Gyre ordinarily pushes ice west. This likely has resulted in a pile-up of sea-ice in the East Siberian Sea, perhaps like the situation that sunk the Jeannette in the same area in June, 1881.
In other words, there are two areas of “wrong way” flow and “piled up sea-ice”, one north of Greenland and one in the East Siberian Sea. My guess is that these areas will be difficult to melt, and may result in a flattening of the decline of the “extent” graph, such as we saw last year. I don’t expect a new record low, despite hoopla in certain circles about some days recently where we have been “Lower than 2012” on the extent graph. (Remember, 2012 involved a big storm in August.)
I could go on, but my pumpkins are calling. I just posted this to annoy certain people at Google.
I came across an interesting article about a glacier down towards the southeast tip of Greenland called the Jakobshavn Glacier. This huge glacier, which dumps enormous amounts of ice into Disco Bay, was long a sort of Poster Child for Global Warming, for it had experienced substantial retreat. Then in 2016 it disgraced itself, and has been banned from the news ever since. Its sin was to advance. Some attempts were made to explain the advance as being due to “warming” speeding up the already speedy glacier, whereupon the leading edge of the contrary ice screeched to a halt, but continued to thicken. This thickening has continued for three years. and, because the glacier is enormous, the thickening is also enormous, and amounts to an increase roughly matching that of a thirty-story-tall building. Yikes.
What was particularly interesting to me was that the thickening seemed to have little to due with air temperatures, but rather was due to the temperature of the waters of Disco Bay that the ice rode out over. The Bay was a little colder, and little less effective at melting the bottom of the glacier, and the result was the glacier got thirty stories thicker.
I think this observation can be extrapolated out to include sea-ice in general. I feel there is too much emphasis on sunshine and albedo and air-temperatures, and not enough on the water under the ice. I strongly suspect that, as our knowledge increases, we will learn of oscillations in currents, perhaps as measurable as El Ninos and La Ninas, that play a predominate role in whether ice increases or diminishes. It certainly seems to me, looking back at the history of explorers, whalers, sealers, and fishermen in the arctic, that the ice goes through year to year changes too dramatic to be explained from above. As nine tenths of an iceberg is underwater, the real drama happens out of sight.
I also found it quite refreshing that the NASA scientists involved dared even mention that the waters of Disco Bay were colder. Anything anywhere getting colder does not support the “narrative”, and perhaps the NASA scientists paid the price and were “disappeared” from Google. Yet I entertain a slim hope that the so-called “swamp” is being drained, and some good fellows at NASA are getting back to the business of honest science. In any case the post is here:
It is interesting how the weak “Ralph” at the Pole has created the first below-freezing temperatures of the late summer, at the Pole.
This morning Ralph hadn’t yet had this chilling effect. The only below-freezing temperatures were a necklace arrayed around Ralph’s periphery.