ARCTIC SEA ICE –The 2023 Maximum and the Ilk of Al–

I thought I’d begin with a picture of actual sea-ice, looking out to sea from the top of a bank building in Barrow, Alaska. Barrow is located north of the Arctic Circle, and, while they still experience night, they already experience a sliver of twilight even in the darkest hours, as they move towards the midsummer days when the sun never sets.

The Barrow webcam is an interesting site to visit, for the sea-ice usually breaks up in the summer, and boats attempting the Northwest Passage stop there. At the moment, however, the sea-ice is “fast ice”, which means it is fixed to the shore and motionless. This is not always the case. Some years you can watch it go grinding by, westbound some days and eastbound others, and even move away from shore, exposing open water, before crashing back, heaping ice on the beach. Back in the day, when we actually discussed such matters, Alarmists and Skeptics would cherry-pick which images to copy and use. Alarmists would sensationalize pictures of the open water as Skeptics countered with pictures of the ice piling up on the beach. It was good fun, and between the two sides you glimpsed an accurate picture of what was actually going on. I miss those days.

I especially miss the pictures of the sea-ice. That was what attracted me in the first place. In a heat wave in New Hampshire in July it is good to contemplate sea-ice. Only later do you start to realize the stuff rivals clouds, in terms of sheer beauty. And back in those days there were pictures from the two “North Pole Cameras”, and various drifting “O-buoys”, and from the websites of crazy dudes attempting to ski to the Pole, or paddle to the Pole, or traverse the Northwest Passage on a rubber duck. Then the pictures oddly all vanished. I miss them.

The maximum “extent” was on the low side this year. It did display a reluctance to fall and now is higher than recent years.

However, during the moment of the maximum, the sea-ice extent was nearly “the lowest ever”, yet there was a disappointing lack of fuss among Alarmists. I miss that as well. Why the lack of hoop-la?

I wondered if any Alarmists had awoken to the fact that cancel-culture cuts both ways, and they too are getting the ax. Like the loyal teachers who taught Mao’s “Great Leap Forward”, perhaps even some of the most faithful Alarmists are getting purged by the following “Cultural Revolution” of “Cancel Culture”.

Sea-ice Alarmists were very important ten years ago, and were flattered for their opinions, but now nobody cares, (in the same manner that formerly-newsworthy lesbians now get media’s cold shoulder, for daring to say there is a difference between women and men.) It is hard to have been popular, but to fall into disdain and disgrace. Everyone cared, but now nobody cares.

But I care. I believe in the two-party-system. Without the left eye the right eye has no depth perception. I miss those annoying Alarmist trolls.

I suppose one reason they have been hushed is because their forecasts have failed.

The above article was after the low-sea-ice summer of 2007. 2007 set a record, but the “history” the “record” was based upon only went back to 1979. If you went back to even 1976, 2007 might not have been a “record”. This led to wonderful debates between Alarmists and Skeptics. I miss them.

My own Skeptic path has been to go further and further into the past, and to see that, while we may not have always had satellites, we do have some early data about when the arctic sea-ice was extensive and when it was not. And we even have some very interesting early Nimbus satellite data showing gaping areas of open water north of Bering Strait, way back in September, 1969.

I used such early satellite data, along with the non-satellite data gathered by the Polaris debacle in 1871 and not gathered by the Franklin debacle in 1845 (because they all perished) and wonderfully gathered by the Parry expedition in 1819 and even by Barantsz in 1596, as ammunition in my debates with Alarmists. But I also enjoyed peering into the wonders of what men did in the past. The more I studied history the more I was amazed.

However the odd thing about cancel culture is that it goes the other way. It allows less and less history. Just as Stalin purged his closest confederates

And just as Mao sent the loyal teachers, who taught his way, to reeducation camps far from schools, using their own students, (the “Red Guard”, whom Mao later also sent to reeducation camps,) as enforcers, many Alarmists are now discovering they too are unwelcome midst those they taught. They have been around too long and know too much. About what? About Arctic Sea-ice.

What do we know? Well, we know it will not be gone by the summer of 2008, to begin with.

Dire warnings get old. It is like the tale of the boy who cried wolf. Even if the wolf comes, no one listens any more. And I did notice a lone voice stating that this year’s low sea-ice maximum meant the wolf had finally come. His theory was that the arctic had a sort of “reserve” of cold, but the “reserve” had been used up, and now, at long last, we’d see the sea-ice vanish this summer.

Sigh. One more dire warning, when all other prior dire warnings have busted. All I can say is that this wolf-crier better have a darn good reason behind his Chicken Little hysteria. But…when I probed I saw nothing…..behind the vague idea of a “reserve.”

To be vague in this manner is a bit of an insult to those true scientists who have suffered hardship gathering actual, specific data in the Arctic, and know about all the nuances involved. They know how the sea gets layered in terms of temperature and also salinity, and also what disturbs such layering. They know how currents flow at various depths when things are “normal”, but they also know nature has a sumptuous variety which makes “being normal” downright rare.

We are always attempting to reduce chaos into a predictable pattern, and it is a noble endeavor, but for every rule there is an exception. We do our best to figure things out, but reality throws a wrench into the mechanics of our theories. A true scientist actually delights in seeing his theory destroyed by chaos. It is like coming up with the theory no man can walk on water, and then meeting a Man who can do so. Is your theory so important to your ego that you do not want to meet such a Man?

Cancel culture does not want to meet even the most ordinary and boring and stultified scientist. In fact, cancel culture makes even the stultified look alert. Cancel culture is a broom that sweeps the stage clean of all actors, and asks us to gaze at a stage with a spotlight with nothing in it, like a big, bright zero.

I would far rather look at a Chaos that can walk on water, than gaze at a big, bright zero.

Chaos is a reality that constantly tests you and keeps you on your toes. The big, bright zero states the tests do not exist and there is no reason to stay on your toes; there is no such thing as the reality of such testing.

Such tests cannot exist? Why? Because “the science is settled”, and nothing is allowed to challenge it. There is nothing new to be discovered. Progress has reached the finish line, and is over. Oddly, the people who believe they know it all, and further learning is unnecessary, and progress is “done with”, call themselves “progressive.”

Progress is not “done with”. Life is an advancing stream. Yet some attempt stagnation. They tend to be people who “have it made” in some mundane manner, who cling to their brief moment “at the top”, which is an absurd thing to attempt. The very word “top” is dependent on a “non-top” to attain its importance. It requires a “non-top” before it is attained, and the assumption would be that such a mountain peak would involve a “non-top” afterwards. To stay forever “on top” is like climbing Mount Everest and then making the peak a plateau. True, you might not have to come down, but what a horrible plateau that would be! People do not climb mountains to stay there. At 29,000 feet nothing grows, and you can’t breathe for long without an oxygen bottle. And nothing is green. After reaching the top of Mount Everest sane people want to climb down

To ridicule the idea of staying “at the top” further, forgive me for being crude and physical, and for simply bringing up the fact that the one physical event many call the “best” of all physical events is sexual orgasm. It tends to be brief, but…..suppose you could stay there.

How long would you endure those convulsions of the physical body before you started to say, “OK, enough is enough.” ???

I will leave the answer to that question for others to contemplate and discuss, simply suggesting that it may be worth climbing certain mountains without intending to stay on top.

(There is a highly unromantic assertion that a man’s first thought after orgasm is, “Now, how do I get out of here.”)

However the entire premise behind cancel-culture, and “settled science”, and all the balderdash which society is currently being bombarded by, is that certain boobs in high places have “arrived at the answer.” And their smug certainty is so firm that they are set in cement, and they deem themselves beyond all reproach. They think they are beyond improvement. They think they are at the pinnacle of progress, beyond which is no more progress.

Now, if such leaders actually had achieved such a God-like status you would think their ideas would stand the tests of time, and the tests of skeptical critics. The fact is, they haven’t and they don’t. With each passing year the Malthusian premises much of their grim prognosis is built upon is rendered laughable and blown to smithereens, but they have invested too deeply and cannot give it up; they refuse to come down from their positions of power.

With each passing year the sensationalism which made Ehrlich’s, “The Population Bomb” such a good read when I was a teen in 1969 looks dumber and more stupid. Ehrlich thought humanity was too ignorant to solve its problems, and shortages were inevitable, but it was he who was the dumb and stupid person, and the shortages involved his brains, his inability to think up solutions, and his lack of faith that others would be gifted with inspiration even if he himself refused to open his mind.

Every problem Ehrlich stated could not be solved has been solved. His pessimism was unfounded. We didn’t run out of food. The “Green Revolution” made India an exporter of food, and obesity more of a problem than starvation. We didn’t run out of copper wire; fiber optics was invented. We didn’t choke with the smoke from burning coal; smokestack “scrubbers” were invented, and coal became “clean”. And on and on it goes.

To me this suggests that, for every problem mankind is faced with, God provides an answer, often using a small group of people or even a single individual to serve as His conduit. In some cases the answers are spectacular; for example, in the case of the Green Revolution it has been suggested that the work of Norman Borlaug saved a billion people from starvation. But in most cases the answers are quiet and often unnoticed. God’s conduits are all around us, for every person is born with a gift.

To me this also suggests that the pessimistic ideas Ehrlich preached were not “of God”. At best they may have been warnings or concerns about possible dangers, but worry can be a danger in and of itself, especially if the solutions you propose as an “answer” are as drastic as Ehrlich’s were. He basically proposed the castration of the male populations of India and Pakistan. That was his solution to a worry that wasn’t real. No starvation occurred, and both nations soon were exporting grain. Where some people accuse little old ladies of being prone to excessive worry, I think this historic example proves intellectually smug men like Ehrlich (and Al Gore) are the true culprits.

This moves us on to the subject of the “Club of Rome”, who were a group of wealthy men operating in the same intellectual gloom Ehrlich operated in. While I remember 1969 as the “Summer of Love” there were some extraordinarily cynical types active back then, with much more money and free time than was good for them, planning out a brutal future for humanity, for “humanity didn’t know what was good for it”. However these fat-cats in their comfortable club thought they had “arrived at the answer”. They had no faith God could, and would, provide a less drastic answer, a more loving answer.

What amazes me most is that even when reality proved their premises were incorrect, they stuck to their guns. Even when humanity solved problem after problem without their help, their egotism crowed that their help was crucial. If humanity would not starve as they predicted, they would damn well create starvation, just to show ignorant slobs who was boss. And why? Because only a starving humanity would be desperate enough to accept the dunderhead, medieval social-order they proposed.

What has this to do with sea-ice? Very little, and the truth of the matter is that I originally fled to the North Pole to get away from what struck me as pessimistic and cynical and ungodly. I was an escapist. I had no desire to argue about religion or politics with anyone, and assumed weather was a safe subject.

But so all-pervasive is the poison of cancel culture that even a basically withdrawn person like myself can’t duck their tentacles. They pick a fight with you, and when you cheerfully agree to beat their brains out with Truth, they cancel you. You get shadow banned:

Believe me, none of this was what I wanted when I began discussing the wonderful world of sea-ice. In many ways it is all a side track and off the subject. What do I care about the Club of Rome and their silly idea they can make life better by making it worse? Why can’t they just stay in Rome and do what Romans do, and leave the North Pole alone? I have no interest in such boobs. But apparently they are interested in me. (Why else would they cancel me?)

It reminds me of a situation one might see at a nightclub. A person might arrive because he or she is very interested in the music, and especially the saxophone’s. They are not as interested in the player as a person, as they are interested in the saxophone, and they sit down to study the nuances of the songs. Then a second person thrusts themself into the first person’s field of vision and asks them to dance. The first person politely declines but the second person persists. Eventually the first person is bound to become annoyed, but the second person is a pest and even insists they are in love with the first person. When whining and groveling don’t work, they threaten.

In this situation the second person’s desire is not love, for if they loved they would at least pretend some interest in saxophones. Rather their desire is infatuation, disconnected from reality and divorced from Truth. It is is a preconception that exists without regard to the first person’s attributes and interests, a sort of hypothesis without foundation, a selfishness demanding to be the center of attention, wanting to be a boss but actually enslaved, captivated by a preconceived desire that isn’t even real.

Such infatuation is sheer imagination. It’s like a worry that doesn’t happen, like Ehrlich’s insistence India was going to see widespread starvation in the 1970’s, or Alarmist’s insistence all sea-ice would melt by the summer of 2008. And the joke of such witless infatuation is that the more the infatuated insist they are the boss the more they prove they are enslaved.

I am like the person who went to the nightclub to study the saxophone, only I want to study the sea-ice. I have no desire to be captivating; I wear no make-up and dress like a slob; I don’t want to be the center of attention, and want the sea-ice to be the center of attention, but these cancel-culture idiots get in my face and insist that I dance with them.

The last twenty paragraphs have been my form of dancing. Sorry if it resembles judo and karate chops. Now hopefully we can work towards getting back to looking at sea-ice. Unfortunately this involves dealing with the stumbling block put in place by Al Gore.

I’ve quoted the premise that the sea-ice would be gone during the summer of 2008. This premise has been proven incorrect, and as it went down in flames some of the Global Warming theory that spliced into it has also gone down in flames. But not all. Some good ideas sprung from the discussions, as is usually the case when people have a civil meeting of minds. But first I’ll go over what went down in flames.

What went down in flames was the idea that the consequences would be “catastrophic” if sea-ice melted. This idea suggested a “feedback loop” would get going once a “tipping point” was passed. Less ice would result in warmer water which would melt more ice, resulting in more warm water and even less ice, until there was no ice at all to cool the planet, which would allow warming to get out of hand. This did not occur. There was no acceleration of how much ice melted. In fact the exact opposite occurred. Rather than more ice melting more ice formed. This in itself was a total repudiation of the “Death Spiral Theory”, and caused sensible people to look for other causes for the warming. The warming was real and could be documented, and must have some cause. Unfortunately some in power were not sensible people.

Chief among those who were not sensible was Al Gore, whose interest in science was genuine, but superficial. At Harvard he majored in government, not science. However he did take a class taught by Roger Revelle in 1968-1969 which excited Gore by introducing him to the idea of Global Warming. He also heard ideas about the future of computers and the internet that excited him. Therefore, when he first ran for Congress, Gore was seen as a breath of fresh air, an innovator. And he may very well have had the best of intentions, but his focus was on government and not science, which led into the swamp of power, rather than up to the highlands of Truth.

The thing about science is that it is never completed. One may indeed reach a point where elements are identified, and hydrogen is identified as the smallest and most simple atom, but that only opens the doors to what atoms are made of, and to the whole world of sub-atomic particles. (The closest thing to an absolute I know off is “absolute zero”, which turns out to be a temperature which can never be entirely achieved.) Scientists never really feel science is “settled”, and this is is especially true of science that is not simple and which involves multiple variables, such as Meteorology.

As “the grandfather of Global Warming”, Gore’s guru Roger Revelle does not strike me as a man who had the slightest desire to “cancel” in the way Gore has advocated. Quite the opposite. He wanted to increase research in all areas, and Global Warming was actually a minor focus, compared to the geology, oceanography, and meteorology he enthusiastically pushed. And by “pushed” I mean to say he himself couldn’t always do the research himself, but he wanted to put others in a position where they could do the research.

For example, as a scientist working with the navy during the A bomb tests on Pacific islands he looked beyond the immediate effects, and arranged study of the longer term effects on atolls, right from the start. Not only that, but he saw that such violent explosions would allow geologists to better understand the earths crust through “seismic studies”. One can only imagine him explaining to men of a hawkish, military mindset they should delay an A-bomb test even a day, so geologists on the far side of the planet could ready their seismographs, but he did such things.

Then he moved from those events of the 1940’s to being very involved in the buildup to a beautiful moment in human history, the “Geophysical Year” in 1957. What was beautiful was that scientists stated politics could be damned; the Cold War could be disregarded; the increase in human knowledge mattered more than petty fights between Capitalists and Communists, and to an amazing degree scientists used all the technological advancements progress put at their fingertips to discover things without caring at all about politics.

Perhaps the most notable discovery was that “drifting continents” was not some hare-brained theory of a glassy-eyed geologist, but an actual reality proved by “sea-floor spreading” along a mountain range that ran along the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean called the “Mid-Atlantic Rift.” Yet no one got all that rich from this huge scientific advancement, (and no politician tried to use the discovery to panic the public and sell curly light-bulbs and electric cars). Those were more innocent times.

Riding the crest of this wave, Roger Revelle next set out to create an entire institute of further discovery in California, and there he perhaps first saw the rot setting in, for after working so hard to create the institute, he assumed he would be its head, but (perhaps due to antisemitism) the petty politics of academic creeps bumped him out of the picture. He did not run the institute he created. Which coincidentally placed him across the continent, and in a position to influence Al Gore, at Harvard.

However, though by then Roger Revelle surely was made aware of the petty politics of academic creeps, he apparently saw such bad behavior as the lower side of human nature, which had no effect on the higher side of scientific discovery. He continued to support a wide variety of research, involving many curiosities, only one of which was the increase of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere. Although he is called “The grandfather of Global Warming” he in fact simply wanted further research to be done. He found the idea of CO2’s effect on climate interesting, but only months before he died in 1991 he stated, “The scientific base for a greenhouse warming is too uncertain to justify drastic action at this time.”

By this time Al Gore was already running for vice president. Part of his personal platform was that he cared about the environment. To some degree he had bought-into the Malthusian mentality of Ehrlich and others. He was apparently convinced we were destroying our planet, and he wanted to save it. Very noble. However it is at this point Gore veered sharply from the sanity of Revelle, for Gore did justify “drastic action”.

This actually came up in the 1992 vice-presidential debates, along with Revelle’s quote, “The scientific base for a greenhouse warming is too uncertain to justify drastic action at this time,” and Gore’s response was to say the quote was “taken out of context.”

I’m sorry, but there was very little “context” involved. Either you have “scientific base” or you don’t. Yet where Revelle was very involved with the “scientific base” Gore was only interested in a “political platform.”

That occurred over 30 years ago, in 1992, just after Revelle himself died, and in those thirty years I don’t think Gore has done a thing to build the actual “scientific base” for “greenhouse warming.” How could he? True science, with true research, would have undermined his political “platform”. Once you adopt an, “If you are not for me you are against me” attitude, you have abandoned science.

Even back 1992 there were major truths which lessened the status of CO2 from a “major” to a “minor” contributor to climate change. For example, even then it was known that historical increases in CO2 didn’t precede historical examples of warming, but rather followed the warming, which would suggest warming increased CO2, and not vice versa. This was a full ten years before Gore was involved with the movie, “The Inconvenient Truth,” where Gore insists that CO2 caused the warming. Gore cannot plead he “didn’t know.” In essence, Gore lied.

The actual inconvenient truth is that Gore had a great teacher, and Gore knew damn well that Revelle believed research should involve a wide splay of topics, but Gore had shifted to a political mindset that grotesquely narrowed the focus. Basically it was narrowed to, “Are you for the environment, or against it?” It took a vast, and multifaceted, reality and reduced it to, “Are you good and on my side, or evil and my foe.” What Gore apparently didn’t understand is that such an attitude, in such a situation, is evil in and of itself.

In a sense Gore enacted, or at least supported, what amounts to the exact opposite of the International Geophysical Year which Revelle supported in 1957. Rather than increasing the funding of many topics, Gore sought to cut the funding of any and all who were not “on his side.” Considering his side was “wrong” (sea-ice didn’t vanish in 2008) he was cutting the funding of any and all who were “right”.

One example involved the study of geology in Northern Greenland. The area is fascinating because, due to isostatic rebound, the land has risen faster than the seas have risen. In most other places the shorelines of past times have been hidden by seas which rose hundreds of feet when ice-age glaciers melted, however in Northern Greenland the ancient shoreline was lifted above the current shore. I personally was fascinated because along this ancient shoreline were traces of charcoal from the fires of ancient people. Why not fund further study? There were things to be learned!

It can be expensive to conduct research in a place where there are no airports or towns within hundreds of miles, but someone funded the beginning. The results were amazing. Surely further funding was due. But Gore and his ilk quashed the research. Why? Because apparently an ice-free Arctic Ocean creates a shoreline geologically eroded very differently from an ice-filled Arctic Ocean, and this study suggested the Arctic Ocean 5000 years ago was ice-free and yet the world didn’t suffer any dire consequences. That didn’t fit the “platform” (or “agenda” or “narrative”) that Al Gore wanted called “truth” even if it wasn’t true. So, because he had the power of the purse-strings, he cut the funding of that wonderful research.

Perhaps the most shocking display of Al Gore’s nasty funding-cutting meanness involved the brilliant scientist Dr. William Gray, a contemporary of Revelle’s who might be called, “the Grandfather of modern hurricane forecasting”. He had been doing excellent research as head of a university department in Colorado since 1984, and in 1992-1993 Al Gore, as the new Vice-president, sought his support concerning drastic action to combat Global Warming, and Bill Gray was open and honest and stated what Revelle had stated, basically that CO2 was a minor and not a major influence on climate. Al Gore promptly cut his funding, not merely for a year or two, but for the rest of his long life.

What was Bill Gray’s crime? It was to seek for a reason for the warming seen in the seas by studying the seas, rather than studying the effects of a trace gas in the upper atmosphere. Where Gore claimed he already had the answer, (banning fossil fuels). Gray was more humble and wanted to seek an answer. He wanted to study “thermohaline circulation”, and was scornfully advised, “Stick to hurricanes, Bill.”

So here we are thirty years later, and we still can’t explain the warming of the oceans. There are some good theories, involving things such as the sun and volcanic activity, but there has been a dearth of actual research, because Al Gore preferred a “platform” to preferring actual study and hard work. To be brutal, Al Gore prefers to stay stupid.

This is fine, if it just involves depriving himself. People have the right to believe whatever they want. However, at first through the power of the purse strings, and now through actual censorship, Al wants to keep everyone stupid.

This demonstrates the evil of seeking power without being grounded by Truth. It is like the effect the “ring of power” had on innocent Hobbits, in Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”. And in a sense Al Gore, who once began so idealistically concerned about the environment, has been reduced to a Gollum, killing whooping cranes and right whales with his wind turbines, enslaving children in lithium mines and shredding the Freedom of Speech, becoming a horrible parody of his own idealism. (And here we could go on a long sidetrack about the insidious effects of power, and how we should pity men so unmanned, and of antidotes to the addictive poisons they’ve ingested, but it all boils down to sticking to the Truth, which returns me to the subject of sea-ice.)

Sea-ice, as a focus, has actually backfired on true believers in Global Warming, for any who focus honestly upon the topic soon (or, in some cases, gradually) become aware sunlight and air are not the greatest factors, when it comes to melting the sea-ice. This cuts the legs right out from under the “Death Spiral Theory”.

How so? Well, what melts ice is heat, which either comes from sunlight or from warmer molecules bumping against colder molecules.

Sunlight only has a significant effect for around sixty days when the arctic sun is at its highest, and during this time the melting at the top of the ice is significant. In June more heat beats down at the Pole, during the 24 hour day, than beats down at the equator, during a 12 hour day. However soon that time passes, and by late August the sun is so low at the Pole that, even though it still shines 24 hours a day, it arrives at such a shallow angel, with the sun down towards the horizon, that most of its heat is bounced back to outer space, and the meltwater pools at the surface of the ice start to freeze over. However the sea-ice continues to melt, from the bottom up, usually past the middle of September. Some of the biggest areas of open water appear after the sun has ceased to have an effect.

This blows a big hole in the idea that the melting comes from above. CO2 can do whatever it wants in the upper atmosphere, and it has little effect at the surface where sea-ice actually melts. In fact, air temperatures at the Pole during the summer have gone down as CO2 levels in the atmosphere have gone up. Air temperature, and radiance from above, (whether it is sunlight or the bounce-back of greenhouse gasses) are not the boss, and are in fact minor players, when it comes to melting the ice.

This makes sense, when you consider that air is so thin, compared to water. Air at 33 degrees only has scattered molecules to bump against ice and lose heat, whereas water at 33 has a whole army. Air temperature is swiftly changed by passing over water, as the water is only slowly changed by even the coldest air passing over it.

It is a matter of numbers. If a law of thermodynamics states that “heat cannot pass from one body to a hotter body”, heat must be passed from warm molecules to colder molecules, and who has the most molecules? The air or the water? The water utterly overwhelms the air. Therefore we should study the water, not a trace gas in the upper atmosphere. Which is what Dr. William Gray suggested we do, all those years ago, and is what Non-doctor Al Gore demanded we avoid.

I would like to suggest we listen to the late Dr. William Gray, and study what he wanted studied, rather than listen to a Gollum named Gore.

Alarmists like to say the sun doesn’t matter and volcanoes don’t matter; only CO2 matters. Yet there are far more curious correlations involving the sun and volcanoes than there are involving trace gases.

One correlation (which I originally thought was stupid), suggests that a gentle sunbeam could cause an earth-shaking volcano. Ridiculous. However, as the sun passes through various sunspot cycles it sometimes passes through times described as a “Quiet Sun”, and during such times the Earth’s geology is not quiet at all. Call it coincidence if you will, (and it is true “correlation is not causation”), but when the sun gets quiet the lava starts to flow.

Roughly fifteen years into the period of Quiet Sun called the “Dalton Minimum” layers of volcanic ash in ice-cores in both Greenland and Antarctica show tremendous volcanic eruptions occurred only five years apart. One layer we can identify as Tambora’s in 1815, but the second is a mystery. The eruptions apparently had a huge effect on the climate and the sea-ice in the first half of the 1800’s. I posted an article on WUWT which stimulated a wonderful discussion in the comments, back in 2013:

The suggestion is that solar forces effect the earth in some way that links a decrease in sunspots on the sun with an increase in volcanic activity on earth. Obviously more research is needed. But the eruptions I mentioned are obvious because they throw ash into the air for all to see, yet they only amount to around a quarter of all eruptions on earth.

Deep sea eruptions are different, and less obvious. If the oceans warm or sea-ice decreases, would it not make as much sense to look down as it does to look up? I briefly discussed such a possible eruption two years ago:

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Volcano Under The Ice?–

I was hoping to stimulate a lively discussion, and was somewhat surprised at the silence that ensued, which may have influenced the (somewhat caustic) tone of a second post I wrote regarding the effect of undersea volcanoes on sea-ice eight months later:

While I did receive some good geological information from the commenter “Stewartpid” after this post, it was also at this time I became aware that “shadow banning” was seriously effecting my “visibility”, as a blogger. I suppose I should have been flattered by the attention, but I was also dealing with what we all were dealing with, (basically a highly unscientific and political over-reaction to the China Virus), and like many small businesses my livelihood was on the line. Survival took both brains and brawn, and I had little left over for sea-ice posts, and for wondering about the effects of deep sea volcanoes on the thermohaline circulation.

Yet there is something about wonder that cannot be denied. I’ve read that even in Hitler’s death camps the doomed somehow formed orchestras and played Beethoven. And my own small mind, in its small way, keeps playing with ideas involving geology and oceanology and meteorology, even when I’m under the kitchen sink because I can’t afford a plumber. This may explain the jet of water squirting into my face, but never forget Newton was foolish to sit under an apple tree without a helmet, but good came out of that apple bonking his brain.

I got bonked this past spring by an observation which refuted my earlier tentative hypothesis. Unlike Al Gore, I am not threatened when proven wrong, but rather am interested in what is being revealed.

While I no longer am able to jot down all my observations here in my posts, I continue to make them in a hasty way, swiftly glancing at maps and graphs when I find time.

There were a number of things I observed this past winter that fit in with what I expected. For example the increase of sea-ice in the East Siberian Sea, including some multi-year ice, fits in with what I’d expect when a La-Nina reinforces a “cold” PDO for three years, (though perhaps the sea-ice increase was less than I expected.)

Also, at the start of the winter the sea-ice was not heading down through Fram Strait, but that changed and there was a lot flushed south the second half of the winter, at times crowding the north coast of Iceland. This interests me due to the fact fishermen of the pre-satellite era portrayed the waters north of Iceland as too dangerous to venture into, but it is unclear how thick the sea-ice actually was. This past winter seemed to demonstrate the ice can be less than 15%, and appear as “open water” on some modern maps, but still be enough to make fishermen leery of sailing such waters. After all, if you are a fisherman sailing in the gloom of winter and thick fog, you don’t dismiss sea-ice for being bergs far smaller than the glacial monster that sunk the Titanic, nor do you pis-tush waters only 1% ice-covered. You don’t want to slam into even one, lone berg, unless it is small enough to fit in a cooler. Fishing is a gamble in the Atlantic winter even without bergs. I put this awareness into my understanding when I look at pre-satelite maps concerning sea-ice coverage, such as this one from 1923.

The above map was produced without satellite data or even airplane data. It utilized the wisdom of a fisherman with “fifty years experience.” The fact he survived is proof he was more cautious than other fishermen, yet even in his caution he would risk sailing places he would not risk sailing at an earlier date, because sea-ice had retreated in 1923. However you should note that in both situation “A” and situation “B” he would not call the north coast of Iceland ice-free and safe to fish in.

Those same waters would not have been safe to fish in this past winter, though modern boats likely have harder hulls. But the amusing thing was how the sea-ice came and went, on modern maps, because it flirted with arbitrary guidance invented by virtual reality’s mapmakers. For example, if 15% was a dividing line, and the sea-ice shifted from 16% to 14%, the ice would vanish, as if it melted away in its entirety. Other maps tend to average things out, so a single monster berg a hundred feet thick averages out to an area, much bigger than the berg is, averaging one foot thick, but even in such averaging maps sea-ice can be there one day, gone the next, and return the third. You need to take all such things into account, assessing the actual state of the sea-ice, whether you are a fisherman risking the North Atlantic, or me working under my kitchen sink. And one thing which was apparent was that sea-ice was surging south more than usual, even along the north coast of Iceland. (A NRL map showed sea-ice along Iceland’s north coast, albeit briefly, and I’ve never seen that before.)

As the ice came down the east coast of Greenland in large amounts it did what cold water cannot do. Ice stayed at the surface whereas cold water sinks. Therefore it could move above warmer waters, even creating mini-“freshwater lenses” that, due to salinity, could move over warmer waters. So I watched to see if the Atlantic showed any signs of cooling. At first it did not. This made me wonder what was keeping the Atlantic warm, and my mind wandered to sea-floor volcanoes. There has been an increase in sea-floor seismic activity which matches the increase in sea-surface-temperatures, and is a better match than CO2 is, when looking for a reason for recent temperature-rises world-wide. But of course there have been too few studies done. All we have is the seismic records, and coincidental increases in SST.

One aspect of the past winter was that my area was largely spared big storms, as each low pressure area tended to stay small as it passed over us and to only blow up when it was well out to sea. It was a wonderful year for bombogenesis and the super-storms that boggle the mind, though they all occurred out where only men on ships notice. A few lashed Iceland heading north, and then tended to pass between Norway and Svalgard, and the powerful north winds behind them was one reason sea-ice was pulled south through Fram Strait. Also, when they first developed, these same north winds almost never reached back to my area, but did bring very cold air down into the Atlantic through Baffin Bay, down the west side of Greenland. As blast after blast of frigid air hurtled south “heavy freezing spray” warnings were over and over posted for fishermen south of Greenland (too much freezing spray can capsize a boat) and I expected the sea-surface temperatures to eventually reflect the constant blasting. To my surprise the water seemed unaffected. Instead it was the air that was affected.

This returns me to what I mentioned earlier. Air has few molecules while water has a whole army. Water easily warms air, while air has a harder time chilling water.

I’ve often noticed this, as arctic blasts head towards my area in the autumn. They often must pass over Hudson Bay, and it is amazing how swiftly below-zero air is lifted past the freezing point, passing over the waters. In effect, as long as Hudson Bay remains unfrozen, we in New England enjoy a maritime climate like Ireland’s. However Hudson Bay is shallow, and in late November or early December the entire bay freezes over with astonishing speed, and suddenly the blow zero air is not warmed as it bears down on my area. Our climate snaps from Maritime to Arctic.

This has led me to wonder about the kinder and warmer periods of the past. They are called “optimums” because optimism was ruling. People didn’t fear Global Warming. They rejoiced. And one element must have been that even shallow seas such as Hudson Bay were so warmed by summer that it took longer for them to freeze over, and peoples downwind enjoyed a maritime climate longer into the early winter.

One can see this occurring even now, in the marginal seas around the edge of the Arctic Sea. As long as there is sea-ice, the water must be ice-water, and by definition at the freezing point. But as soon as the ice is gone the shallow, coastal waters can warm remarkably. Then, when winter descends, for a time these summer-warmed waters can create a local maritime climate. However as soon as the sea-ice flash-freezes across the surface, the local climate switches from maritime to arctic.

To me it seems fairly obvious that what made Greenland far more hospitable, to the first Vikings settling there, was that Baffin Bay, and perhaps waters to their north in the Arctic Sea, were warmer. The maritime climate persisted deep into their winter, lasting so long that the soil didn’t freeze deeply enough to be called permafrost, and melted early enough the following spring for graves to be hand-dug in places that now would require a jackhammer.

This suggests that water has more influence than CO2, and causes high dudgeon in Al Gore, and among his ilk. How dare I suggest such a thing!

Well, I dare, because it is obvious, even to a bumpkin working under his kitchen sink. However other things are not so obvious, and need an occurrence to bop me on the head like Newton’s apple.

One thing, (among the many things that Al Gore and his ilk would never fund, though they deserve study), is the simple fact climate “optimums” do not last. Mankind’s history sees Golden Ages give way to Dark Ages, and often the darkness is colder. What causes the merciful climate to have no mercy? What causes the land that allowed us to be fat to suddenly beget famine?

If one truly cares how harmonious mankind is, as he dances with his environment, one should study the environment. One should have the common sense to know we do not boss about the weather, but rather are more or less victims of the weather. Therefore the best way to avoid being a victim is to study what the weather may be about to hit us with. The idea we can control the weather through prayer meetings or rain dances does honor God, who may compassionately respond, and the idea we can control the weather through carbon credits and electric cars and curly light-bulbs does honor Al Gore, who has lost his hold on compassion. (I assume he once knew of it). However it is better to accept the weather than to control it. If we could control it we’d likely screw it up. (It is said (by me) that Atlantis sunk because a lazy wizard wanted to sail his ship over a mountain, rather than take the long way around it.)

If environmentalists really cared about the environment they would not shadow ban and censor the very people who most want to study the environment. And that can include boobs, such as myself. And I want to know why the oceans have gotten so much warmer the past thirty years.

This seems important because the temperature of the air has not risen in a steady manner, matching the steady rise of CO2, but rather has closely matched the ups and downs of sea-surface temperatures, (which for the past thirty years has mostly involved ups). Despite much tweaking of data, it is basically impossible to demonstrate any connection to the warming of massive amounts of sea-water to a slight variation, one molecule in ten thousand, in the upper atmosphere. Try as proponents of Global Warming will, they can’t get around the fact water itself is a greenhouse gas when it becomes water vapor, warmer oceans create more water vapor, and the greenhouse-effects of water vapor mask and basically negate the greenhouse-effects of CO2. In other words, the oceans control the atmosphere to a far greater degree than the atmosphere effects the oceans.

I was thinking about this last winter as I watched the amazing sequence of super-storms blow up in the middle of the Atlantic. Each storm was preceded by a blast of arctic air over warmer waters. Initially the cold air was sinking, and acting as a lid pressing down on a growing layer of warm and humid air created right at the surface of the sea. But warm air wants to rise like a hot air balloon, and if the water vapor in that air condenses it goes from taking up a square foot to taking up the space of a droplet, which creates low pressure, which makes the rising air lighter and rise faster, and bombogenesis occurs with shocking speed. In other words, rather than the air effecting the water the water enormously alters the air, turning a clear, cool, sunny day into a raging storm. Joseph D’Aleo explained this process eloquently in a paper years ago.

This demonstrates that rather than the atmosphere warming the oceans, with one molecule out of ten thousand in the upper atmosphere, it is the uncountable army of molecules in the ocean that are stupendously altering the atmosphere, uplifting gargantuan amounts of heat and greenhouse gases (IE water vapor). And where are these super-storms headed? Towards the pole.

So, as best I can, I watch the storms head north. I observe.

As the storms head north they move over colder waters and become colder themselves, and one very obvious effect is that the chilling makes the water vapor condense. Enormous snows fall from such storms onto the icecap of Greenland or the peaks of Svalbard and Norway, feeding huge glaciers, or are dumped into the sea, but this also means there is less and less moisture left in the storms themselves. When one of these storms penetrate the Arctic Circle I have dubbed them (in an attempt at humor) a “Ralph”. But one thing I’ve noticed is that all the Ralphs tend to be dry. They may look large in terms of isobars, but they only drop a dust of snow. The arctic regions are basically a desert.

This makes sense, when you consider how little moisture cold air can hold. In fact I’ve heard the old-timers around here comment, “It’s too cold for snow”, which seems to suggest even laymen appreciate that cold air tends to be dry and hold little moisture. However, when a Ralph invades the Central Arctic, very cold air at minus ten is clashing with even colder air and being chilled to minus twenty, which causes tiny remnants of moisture to be wrung out as a dust of snow. As this vapor goes through the phase change from vapor to liquid, and the second phase change from liquid to solid, it releases latent heat as actual heat that can be measured with a thermometer. This causes spikes in the DMI polar temperature graph, which nicely document the passage of Ralph after Ralph.

Some of these spikes can thrust up fifteen degrees, but that turns out to be far less grand that it sounds. First, it is still far below freezing and can’t melt any ice. Second, the heat is swiftly lost in the dark winter night to outer space. Third, fifteen degrees at the Pole is a weakling compared to even a half a degree at the equator, which baffles many people who don’t take the time to think.

Think of it this way: If you drop the temperature 15 degrees at the Pole you can only precipitate a dust of snow, but if you tried the same stunt at the equator, dropping the temperature 15 degrees, you’d be washed away by many feet of rain. Furthermore, that vastly larger amount of water in the air would free up a vastly larger amount of latent heat. In conclusion, a degree at the Pole is simply not the same as a degree at the equator. It is like comparing apples with oranges. Yet polar temperatures are given the same weight as tropical temperatures in Global Warming calculations. Big mistake. But people pretend it isn’t glaring.

It takes a while for a bumpkin like myself to comprehend a degree at the equator is utterly different from a degree at the Pole, but I can do it. How? I assume it is because when you work with a misconception it is like turning a wrench the wrong way while working under a sink. Water squirts into your face and informs you that you are mistaken. So you reverse your direction.

Al Gore should reverse his direction. His ilk should reverse their direction. However they believe they are loyal and steadfast to a “platform”. They believe they are steering by a star, but it is a flickering candle’s flame and they are moths. I watch them and fear this will not end well.

When things fail to add up, using your old preconceptions, doors open in your thinking which allow new ideas, which may also be preconceptions and also prove wrong, but you are covering a lot more ground than people who haven’t had a new idea since 1969.

Watching all the bombogenesis in the mid Atlantic last winter made me wonder if the increased seismic activity beneath the seas was causing the mid-Atlantic rift to release more lava, which might warm the water above, generating more storms. Not that I had any time to research such an idea. Like I said, I barely have time to make my kitchen sink work, in the stress of these times. Nor do I expect any help from Al Gore. If he will not fund even brilliant scientists, and his ilk somehow find the time to shadow-ban even an obscure blogger like myself, hindrance is what I expect. But still I wonder, even while battling the hindrance.

And here is where I got blind-sided by a thought that never would have occurred to me without help from outside.

The outside help occurred because I seek the best guess on what the future holds in terms of running my Childcare business, which involves exposing small children to the outdoors, walks in the woods, planting in the dirt, and other things, all of which involves exposure to the weather. So I have need of good long-range weather forecasting, and find Weatherbell to be worth paying for. They are not always “right”, but have a way of presenting their forecast that allows for the possibility they might be “wrong”, and do so in a way that allows me to also take the “wrong” into account. It is utterly different from Al Gore, who can never be “wrong”.

In any case, while for the most part they stick to basics, occasionally they venture an aside of a more theoretical nature that perks up my ears. One time Joseph D’Aleo wondered about a warm area of sea-surface-temperatures appearing east of New Zealand, and whether deep-sea lava might be involved. Another time Joe Bastardi pointed out that the warm sea-surface-temperatures in the North Pacific matched the seismic region of earthquakes and volcanoes called the “ring of fire.” So I know they contemplate such things, but it is not a center of their forecasts. What blind-sided me was an aside by Joe Bastardi that went completely against what I expected. And what was the aside? It was that, rather than seismic activity increasing, to match the increase in mid-Atlantic storms, seismic activity had dropped off dramatically. It had plunged.

When Joe Bastardi posted the above graph my immediate response was denial. It had to be a mistake. Some glitch in the data. (And for all I know maybe it was.)

It was painful to have my pet theory challenged. However I have lived a long time and seen a lot of my pet theories go down in flames, and have discovered it is not good to be stuck in your ways, and is better to be knocked free of the ooze. Otherwise the swamp’s quicksand may suck you down. Standing your ground may be glorious in certain situations, but often it is better to roll with the punches, as chaos hits stagnation with ever-newness.

Once I got over my shock, the above graph’s dramatic fall in seismic activity did make sense in a way, because the sunspot cycle was at a maximum. Even though the maximum was low, befitting a “Quiet Sun”, the sun was far more “noisy” than it had been. If a quiet sun did make lava flow, the noise of a sunspot maximum should stop the lava, at least for the short term. And then, with less lava down in the depths, there should be some sort of cooling, in the short term, in the oceans.

This seemed highly unlikely, for after three years of La Nina’s chilling the pendulum seemed bound to sway the other way towards warming, and there were indications of a warming El Nino brewing. However it was just then the North Atlantic south of Greenland, smack dab over the warm Gulf Stream, abruptly chilled.

This was a second shock. After all, I’d been watching this water all winter as cold wave after cold wave charged over it, never seeming to chill it a bit, and super-storm after super-storm sucked up colossal amounts of warmth and moisture to transport north, also never seeming to chill the water a bit (despite subtracting warmth). Yet now, with hardly any excuse, the water was chilled more than a bit?

To make matters all the more inexplicable, this cooling was not occurring over the mid-Atlantic rift where lava might flow, nor downstream of the rift, but rather seemingly upstream. Of course, there might be some deep current going the opposite direction of the Gulf Stream at that locale, but, (also of course), the ilk of Al don’t want to spend any money on such study. They would rather spend trillions on unfeasible alternatives to fossil fuels.

What has this to do with sea-ice? Well, if such an area of cooling appears smack dab in the middle of the Gulf Stream, then it is on its way across the Atlantic to effect Europe, and eventually to follow tendrils of the Gulf Stream right up into Fram Strait, where a slightly cooler current can be the difference in sea-ice melting or growing.

And what will the effect be? What is my forecast?

Fortunately (for me) forecasting is not a gift God has blessed me with. I’m off the hook, in that respect. My gift seems to be in my powers of observation. I note the oddities others may not have noticed, and hand them information they may find useful, or may disregard. In the real world of how the clouds move and how the waters swirl, I am like a foreign correspondent sending information back to the capital, for the wiser men to sift through.

However the ilk of Al have no use for such information. They apparently had some sort of wonderful revelation while smoking pot back in the Summer of Love in 1969, and haven’t entertained a new idea since. They distinctly dislike new ideas. How dare you!?

However the most disturbing, and also most beautiful, aspect of chaos is its ever-newness. Life tires us out, and we go to bed weary, yet when we wake ever-newness is in the sunrise and draws us on. Or perhaps the China-virus clobbers us, and we go to bed coughing and shivering with fever, yet when healing hits us with ever-newness we arise and breathe deep. Or perhaps winter grinds us down to despair and hopelessness, and then the ever-newness of April has dead trees budding, silent ponds shrill with frogs, skies creased by honking geese and day-breaks melodious with thrushes. Ever-newness is only disturbing if you want to stay stuck in your ways.

Truth is merciful, and constantly offering answers, but if you are of the ilk of Al, you refuse them.


For over two decades there has been talk about how “CO2” is the “driver” of the climate. The theory was debunked immediately, when Al Gore’s lectures first hit the national stage in 2006, as portrayed by the film maker Davis Guggenheim in the film “Inconvenient Truth”. Immediately debunked? How so?

In his lectures Al Gore used a graph showing that when CO2 spiked, temperatures spiked, and suggested this proved CO2 caused temperatures to spike. However those who looked at the data that went into the graph carefully immediately saw the cause-and-effect was backwards. CO2 did not spike first, with temperatures responding. Rather temperatures spiked first. This relegated CO2 to a “response”, and it lost its prestige, and could not be called a “driver.”

At that point anyone with a lick of intelligence would have turned their attention to searching for the actual “driver”. If CO2 was not the real power, what was? Unfortunately some people lacked such intelligence, because they themselves wanted to be the “driver”. They lusted after power, and felt that they could gain power by promoting a fallacy: CO2 was the “driver”. How so? Apparently they imagined that by creating an “emergency” they could declare a sort of “marshal law”, and disrespect ordinary checks and balances which make civilization civil. They were not civil people.

Considering the truth became apparent twenty years ago, the last two decades have been painful for those who honor civilization and civil procedure. Barbarians have stormed the gates. Madmen are attempting to turn beautiful places into asylums they rule.

This will not end well. The lust and greed for power stimulates a hate towards those who advice against lust and greed, and low impulses become the “driver”, which is stupid to do. High impulses are smart and low impulses are stupid, because high impulses are built upon spiritual truth, while lust, greed and hate spring from ignorance, and can reduce us to the level of beasts. Even the most selfish person can be made to understand a world based on greed is not good, because they only have two hands to grab with, as hundreds of hands come grabbing back.

The ignorance also bites the ignorant because, if they say an untrue thing is true, they may suffer from a mistake. They may miss seeing a danger. They may wind up in the wrong place at the wrong time, when truth might have avoided that disaster. If it is untrue that CO2 is a “driver”, stating it is the “driver” (and is a danger you must rescue others from) makes you ignorant of what the true “driver” is, and the true “driver” may be a true danger, even to a degree where your ignorance costs you your life.

So what is the true driver? I don’t know. I want to find out. But we don’t really know how heat, which warms our Equator, makes its way to our Pole where it can escape and cool our planet. What is especially aggravating is that scientists like the late Bill Gray, who wanted funding to study the part the oceans play in this transfer of heat, were denied funding by Al Gore.

Furthermore, if you try to talk sensibly about this subject you wind up censored and shadow-banned on social media.

Meanwhile the planet is trying to send us messages. For example, Al Gore seemingly is exaggerating when he states, “The planet has a fever” and, “The oceans are boiling”, because the January figures from UAH show the temperatures last month were as cold (ignoring the trend-line) as they were in May 1980.

You can accuse me of cherry-picking all you want, but if you trace your finger from the far right to the far left of the graph, 42 years has not raised temperatures from May 1980 to now. CO2 is not the driver.

If you want to overwhelm you mind with the complexity of our climate systems, I suggest reading the following post from the WUWT website, (or watching the video), where an honest man tries to get to the bottom of how heat arrives and departs from our planet.

One thing Dr. Javier Vinós does, that Al Gore never does, is to say, “We don’t know how the driver works.”

That is the beginning of knowledge, and the start of the ending of ignorance.


The area above the arctic circle without sunlight starts as a dot at the Pole on the Autumnal Equinox and expands with surprising rapidity at first, before slowing and coming to a crawl and finally stopping at the Arctic Circle on the solstice, at which point 4% of earth sees no sunshine. North of that circle one might as well be living on Pluto, for all the warmth one receives from the stars.

Of course, the Pole does not get as cold as Pluto because on Pluto the night is endless; our sun is just another star in the night sky, albeit a bright one. (The “moon” in the picture below is Pluto’s companion planet Charon.)

The attempt may be doomed to failure, but for a time in the depth of winter 4% of our planet is making an effort to become as cold as Pluto, losing amazing amounts of heat non-stop. Resisting this effort is 96% of the planet, which still does experience the kind luxury of sunshine, and sends reinforcements of heat and moisture north, as air-masses and as currents in the seas.

In the short time (relatively speaking) we’ve been able to measure sea-surface temperatures with satellites, there has been a definite warm-up of the surface skin of our seas. It averages out to roughly a degree, and the air above that water has consequently risen a degree as well, and (importantly) also been enabled to hold more humidity.

The chicken-or-the-egg question some fret over is: Did the air heat the water or did the water heat the air? This can be resolved simply. Get a pot of water at 50 degrees and blow 51 degree air at it. How long does it take the water to rise to 51? (And make sure the air you blow isn’t too dry, as evaporation may cause the water to cool to 49, and you’ll be stuck there all day.) Then get a pot of water heated to 51 and put 50 degree air over it. In fact put 30 degree air over it. It does not take the water long to heat (and moisten) the air. So, if the air isn’t heating the water, what is heating the water?

Good question. But it likely isn’t a tiny, tiny component of the air, if a gale of 100% air has troubles warming water. I’d say the best suspects are sunshine, or undersea volcanoes, or both, but that debate can wait.

In any case, the water’s surface is roughly a degree warmer, for whatever reason. That is most definitely not enough to bring the oceans to a boil. I don’t know what in the world Al Gore is raving about. But he’s been at it how long? “The Inconvenient Truth” came out in 2006.

Maybe it simply has become habitual for him.

I actually think less sea-ice would be a good thing, and allow us to farm places on Greenland that the Vikings farmed. (I’ll get to that some other time.)

As the darkness sets in on the Pole, and outer space attempts to suck up all the heat and make it cold as Pluto, I like to watch the plumes of warmth head north and spike the temperatures, as much by bringing north moisture as by the actual temperature of the air.

This winter began that way. In the end-of-2022 graph below the green line shows the average mean temperatures settling down towards -30 Celsius, while the red line shows the actual temperatures spiking upwards four times.

Each of these spikes occurs well below the freezing point of salt water, (the spikes alternate between -25 and -15, roughly), and it can be seen how swiftly the heat is lost after each spike and how temperatures plunge. One then needs to think hard and be very observant, to determine if “less sea-ice” is actually a result of these spikes.

On one hand, milder temperatures, and a little extra insulating snow-cover on the desert-like Pole, would suggest a result of less sea-ice, but on the other hand any increase in storminess piles up pressure ridges and exposes water in leads, which suggests the creation of more sea-ice. Lastly, the jet stream that meanders north with moist, mild air tends to nudge the cold air off the Pole, and can create snows further south. For example, the Polar temperature map of New Year’s Day shows both a Pacific and Atlantic plume making the Pole “milder”, but at the same time cold waves were making the news further south.

What the cold waves may do is actually cool the planet, for not only is heat lost at the Pole by being transported up where the sun doesn’t shine, but snow-cover further south creates “albedo” that bounces away solar radiation where the sun does shine. And the records show that the extent of snow-cover was above-normal through much of the autumn.

However that didn’t last. Not that it didn’t have its effect at the time, but December’s snow extent was closer to normal. The Post-Christmas cold waves stopped making headlines, and many places in Europe, China, and Eastern North America saw the delight of a growing January thaw. Interestingly, the spikes stopped appearing in the Polar temperature graph.

This hints that the cold is staying up there. So I check the temperature map:

While there does seem to be some Atlantic mildness pressing north, that is a cold map overall. The bluest colors, striping from East Siberia to the Canadian Archipelago, is all air below -30 Celsius, which is quite an achievement for air passing over water at -1.7 Celsius, and indicates the sea-ice must be thick enough to provide insulation. I check the isobars to see if I can get a hint of what is going on:

Right off the bat I notice the very high pressure, indicative of very cold air pressing down this time of year, south of the Laptev Sea. This brings to mind my last Post, about the very cold air in Siberia.

However it is at this point my lack of skill at meteorology starts to leave me with far more questions than answers. But I’ll share some observations.

On thing I see is that the isobars suggest a flow from Siberia just west of Moscow north through the Kara Sea, and then around and back through the Laptev Sea into East Siberia. This recycling of cold air may explain why the cold is becoming so intense. It is being retained up there. But it also explains a couple of differences I’ve noticed in the movement of sea-ice.

First, usually the Laptev Sea is the biggest exporter of sea-ice of all the marginal seas. But this year it has been very selfish, and instead its the Kara Sea that has seen polynyas and ice moving away from its shores to supply the Central Arctic. This could make the Northeast Passage along the Russian north coast more ice-choked next summer.

Second, the sea-ice departing the Laptev Sea usually takes the route of Nansen’s Fram, towards Fram Strait, depleteing the amount of sea-ice by flushing it into the Atlantic, but Laptev exports can take a less common alternative route, which Nansen would have perhaps preferred, across the North Pole and into the “Beaufort Gyre” of the Central Arctic. This year Laptev sea-ice generally stays home, and the Kara ice can’t make up it’s mind, and there is a divergence northeast of Fram Strait, where some sea-ice heads south and some heads west. The divergance has created wide leads at times. A lot of thick, multiyear ice has been flushed down the east coast of Greenland, and I expect the “volume” graph to show less sea-ice in the arctic, yet, at the same time, the amount of sea-ice in the Central Arctic has been added to, and generally is looking more stout.

One reason it is looking stout is that it hasn’t been spun around by the Beufort Gyre and depleted, filling in the area north of Bering Strait, but has held back. Therefore I expected the area north of Bering Strait to be nothing but baby-ice. To my surprise a very speedy movement of sea-ice close to the shores of Alaska has pushed a lot of freshly-created sea-ice right across Bering Strait, clotting the Russian side of the strait and around Wrangles Island. Some, but not much, of this new ice has taken a right turn down through Bering Strait.

A lot of cold air rushed into the Pacific to fuel the California storms that made the news, and as they rushed out to sea the Sea of Oshkosh created new ice far faster than I’ve usually seen. It is a reason for much of the increases we see in the unimpressive “extent” graph:

However at this time of year I can’t claim I care so much about “extent” as about how much cold air is up there, and whether or not it is coming down here. I do watch how the sea-ice grows, and how it shifts, but it is more as an entertainment that distracts me from foolishly fretting about cold waves I can’t control.

The only mortal who seemly controls weather is Al Gore. Wherever he goes to speak on Global Warming seems to have record low temperatures, if not a blizzard. Surely it is not good that he is speaking of the oceans boiling. No sooner had he made that raging speech than I saw long-range maps that showed the cold dislodged from the Pole, perhaps making less sea-ice up north, but making China, making Europe, and making North America all extremely miserable.

But I’ve noticed something else. Even as I like snow and cold less and less and less, (which seems to be a commonly seen phenomenon, as people ski less, and skate less, and become codgers), there is one childlike glee that seemingly can’t be quenched. It is this: Even when the weather truly sucks, people find a way to laugh about it.

Gallows humor?

Stay tuned.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Vikings and Volcanoes–


I was perhaps ahead of the curve, when it came to distrusting what is now dubbed, “Fake News.” In fact I can’t remember when I was not a skeptic of some sort. True, my skepticism tended to go into abeyance, when I was young and was prone to idealistic extremes. Like most small boys I felt my Dad was a super-hero, the best; my Mom was my super-heroine, the best; but then they divorced, and then neither said the other was the best any more…Houston, we have a problem. In like manner I was wildly patriotic, when a boy, and every time Lyndon Johnson said we’d defeat the North Vietnamese by sending 10,000 more troops, I nodded fiercely. But there too…Houston, we have a problem. Also, in like manner, when I was a bit older the girl I had just met was perfect in every way, but all too soon…Houston, we have a problem. But such disillusionments were acceptable, (if not agreeable), for back then I was trained, even in grade school, to see that every coin has two sides, and that I should seek to see both sides of every issue. All things have pros and cons. But…they don’t seem to teach that anymore.

At some point a sort of “my way or the highway” mentality set in, where only one view was allowed. Because I had been trained differently, the slightest whiff of such thought set off alarms in my thinking. It struck me as the mentality of a cult.

My generation knew a thing or two about cults, because of communes we joined; and Yogis we investigated; and psychologies we paid-for. They all tended to trespass across, or at least infringe upon, the boundary between healthy thought and cultism.

I suppose this occurred because there are some concepts which are indivisible. For examples: God, Truth, Love, Infinity.  What is half of infinity? It is still infinity. Infinity is indivisible. And (please don’t argue) because this is true, a clever con-artist can state that, because there are not two sides to infinity, and because there is no pro and con involved in the case of infinity, this same principle can be applied in other areas, where there very much are two sides, (for example, a divorce.)  Con-artists apply infinity to other areas by suggesting only their side is infinite, only their side is politically correct, while the “other” side is worthy of purging, utilizing a cancel-culture’s ostracism. For example, some psychiatrists insist they must be obeyed, and any objections you may have are just manifestations of your infantile unwillingness to face reality; your best objections are but your denial and resistance to facts your psychiatrist sees, because he paid a fortune to be schooled in nonsense, whereas you were too smart to fall for such a scam, and therefore you are deemed uneducated. (Those who see like a cyclops insist on absolute obedience). The most extreme case states the communist overlord must be kowtowed to, or you are on the next train to a Siberian Gulag to be reeducated, Buster. (Such myopic thinking is so far from God, Truth, Love and Infinity that it would be a hilarious joke, if not for the fact so many don’t get the joke).

In any case, I tended to be attracted to healthy thought and repelled from cultish myopia, which led me to a love of real science, where people are willing to see the pros and cons of an idea, and delight in seeing both sides. Among the best thinkers even the most harebrained idea is not banned, but is considered, and, even if in some respects the harebrained idea is wrong, one still hears, “But he does make a point…”

One thing we all tend to do is to see what is possible in terms we ourselves have seen. This manifested among academics, who often have little experience out in the battlefields of commerce, as a definition of humanity which sees humans as timid, and unlikely to venture far from safety. This may be true of academics, but it cannot be used as a rule for mankind as a whole. At this point enters, from stage right, Thor Heyerdahl, who, to scientifically “prove” his point, sailed a balsa wood raft he dubbed the “Kon Tiki” from Peru to Polynesia.

Many parts of Thor Heyerdahl’s theories may have been incorrect, but honorable scientists of his time did confess, “He does make a point.” He proved men can make incredible journeys which academics, safely ensconced in their Ivory Towers, would never venture to undertake.

What has this to do with arctic sea-ice? Glad you asked.

As a youth I was not at all attracted to classrooms, but was very much attracted to sailing rafts across the Pacific Ocean. Not that I wasn’t attracted to Ivory Towers, but my Ivory Towers were not classrooms choked with chalk dust under the flickering light of migraine-inducing fluorescent bulbs. What’s so ivory about that? My Ivory Tower was at the winner’s end of a fishing rod, playing hooky from school; or standing, dangling a hitchhiker’s thumb, five hundred miles from home; or at the above-water-end of a tiller in an Atlantic gale.

I was quite academic about being anti-academic. Maybe I’d offend a teacher by handing in a term-report only a paragraph long, but I’d write my best buddy a “note” twenty pages long. I also kept a detailed diary, when I played hooky, which would have amazed teachers, who were convinced I paid no attention to details. I still own the yellowing pages of diaries describing when I hitchhiked from Boston to Florida, just after my sixteenth birthday, and when I sailed from Boston to the Bahamas in a “borrowed” yacht, at age eighteen. I collected data Thor Heyerdahl might appreciate, but which academics tend to discount, as they don’t like admitting some outrageous behavior constitutes “things” outside their ken.

Next I underwent reformation and went to India to seek God, but I likely have offended academics enough already, so I won’t go there, in this essay. Let me only go so far as stating I had a deep respect for, and fascination about, Vikings.

This fascination was likely due to the fact Norumbega Tower was two miles from my childhood home, and way back in the 1950’s I, (still basically a rug-rat), during a picnic by that tower, stood transfixed as the grown-ups debated whether or not the Greenland Vikings came as far south as Massachusetts. The debate conceded that Eben Horseford, (the wealthy Harvard professor who had the tower erected as a monument to his own personal [and perhaps anti-Catholic] theories), was largely wrong, but that “he did have his points.”

For some reason, this fascination took hold of me. Even as a boy, any discussion of Vikings, in any conversation or in any book, riveted my attention. Although my town had long been in the process of being transformed from a farming town with a few water-powered mills and a few lavish mansions owned by wealthy Bostonians as “summer houses”, into a smug suburb which basically banned farmers, (especially pig farmers), I was born into this total transformation of my hometown during the period when you could still hear the grousing of the farmers and mill workers, and their children; families who had cared for a land 250 years but now were being displaced. I wasn’t as interested in their resentment as I was in the history they knew about. It was odd stuff, and would take a long post to do justice to, and historians would call it “lore”. But the locals would call historians worse things, and often displayed disrespect towards Eban Horseford, or anyone else from Harvard.

Perhaps I should explain the contempt.

My town had a certain selectman who was locally cursed and remembered as “Bloody Alphonzo”, for he had sold the town’s water rights back in the 1800’s. The city of Cambridge, (where Harvard Collage is located), dammed a stream and flooded a valley and passed ordinances to keep their water clean. Mills were closed, manure piles called illegal, and local farmers and their children abruptly were not supposed to even fish and swim in the brooks that ran through lands their families had farmed since it was ruled by the King of England. Legally the farmers had no power, so what did they do? They snuck. It was said even the police chief fished in the reservoir. Also, to express their contempt, they would urinate into the brooks, laughing at the idea Harvard professors would soon drink their byproduct. Contempt had sadly become a two-way-street.

Due to this ill-will, the very people who lived on the land Eban Horseford claimed had been a Viking colony were less than forthcoming concerning objects they had found, or which their ancestors had found. A few odd objects remained, but much existed only as family traditions. For example, if they plowed up a strange, corroded copper kettle, they might melt it down. Copper was valuable stuff. Consequentially, they knew about copper kettles Harvard never saw.

One thing they knew about (which I can find no record of Harvard ever seeing) was petrographs. They were in a 300-foot-tall knob of made of the hardest granite, yet fractured and holding a cavern. The knob had a name like “Devil’s Den”, or some such thing. It was a hideout for smugglers and robbers, and when President George Washington rode by that looming knob on his way to Boston along the Post Road, his bodyguard was especially vigilant. If it still existed it would be a protected monument, but instead it became a quarry over 400 feet deep, supplying the best granite gravel for highways, including causeways built across the reservoirs supplying faucets in Cambridge. In essence the valley Eban Horseford claimed held a Viking colony is now buried beneath both a reservoir and an interstate highway.  So all Harvard knows is that there used to be caves that purportedly held petrographs. But as a boy I knew gruff old locals who had seen the petrographs, or their fathers had. They were a vanishing people, and by the time I was a high school senior they’d vanished, but they taught a history much more interesting than the history in school, which seemed to be merely the memorization of dates and places, and seemingly didn’t involve actual people with actual stories.

To conclude this sidetrack, I’ll mention a local historian who was perhaps the last pig farmer to flee my rapidly ossifying suburb. Back in those days (1950’s) you recycled your trash into three piles: Stuff for the incinerator: stuff for the dump; and stuff for pigs; and this particular fellow collected the stuff for pigs. He was our “garbage man”, radiant and nearly completely bald and seemingly always cheerful, but no one you would suspect was an authority. However, an occasion arose where no one knew how to turn on an old, neighborhood fountain. Plumbers were useless. Engineers were useless. But the garbage man knew the history. How he happened to chance by that day is a bit of a mystery, (for there was no garbage to collect), but he listened from the periphery, and then silently strode forward and took a shovel from a man standing by,  pried up a flagstone you could barely see, (it was so covered with sod), and beneath was a subterranean box, also made of flagstone, and at the bottom of the box was a pipe with a handle. He turned the handle, and the fountain came to life. Lesson learned? Garbagemen may be smarter than plumbers and engineers and even Harvard historians. Why?

I’m not going to give you the answer. Figure it out for yourself. How could a pig farmer and garbage man know more than plumbers, engineers and Harvard?

In any case, although I was a spoiled child, my childhood involved wonderful servants. Not that the relatively rich, suburban fathers were not wonderful, but they left at dawn and often did not return until after dark. Back when I was small they didn’t even need to own cars to desert; they left by a local train called a “Budliner,” which wasn’t a trolley but might be as small as a single train-carriage. And therefore the men who were my substitute “father-figures” through the daylight hours were the local fellows who delivered coal down rattling chutes, or oil from trucks with long, snaking, smelly pipes, or who mowed lawns or gardened, or who painted clapboards or shingled roofs, or who delivered the milk, or who delivered the groceries,  or who tarred the street, or who brought grain for rich folk’s horses, or who brought the mail up your drive and put it through a slot in your front door, and so on and so forth. I hope you catch my drift. But, in case you don’t, I’ll just state that, as a child who was hungry for good stories, these local characters were far more interesting than school was. In fact school seemed to go out of its way to make interesting subjects dull. For example, find yourself a “Dick and Jane” book. I challenge anyone to look at an actual “Dick and Jane” book and see it as anything other than boring. It is a baby-talk that likely would cause even a baby to roll their eyes. Rather than teaching first graders to read, they likely turned many away from reading. I was turned away from school, but not from reading. I read everything I could find about Vikings.

I had no idea my interest would be anything besides a hobby. To be honest, it seemed obscure trivia, but I was an enthusiast. I would bore you to death at a cocktail party, if you made the mistake of bringing up Vikings, and especially the Vikings of Greenland. Even at my most destitute, entering a warm public library because it was winter and I was cold and homeless, I’d sometimes make a beeline towards the card catalogs, (the old search engines), to see what that library held concerning Greenland Vikings. Because I wandered coast to coast, I saw some odd, out-of-print books, ensconced in remote libraries. When it came to trivia concerning Greenland Vikings, I accidentally became, if not an authority, then far more knowledgeable than you’d expect a bum sleeping in his car to be. However this was nothing I did for profit. I was like a fellow who knows the batting averages of baseball players of the 1800’s. I studied for the gratification of my own curiosity, and not for any gain other than the pleasure of knowing the amazing, vanished Greenland Vikings a little bit better.

How amazing was this population of several thousand? Glad you asked. They survived, without welfare supplementing their income, yet paying Popes, Kings of Sweden, and perhaps even the Hanseatic League, a chunk of their income, for over four hundred years, in a brutal and unforgiving environment. They lived at the edge. When the climate cooled only a little, their crops failed and their herds perished. Yet they survived many such disasters, and then, all of a sudden, several thousand people vanished, leaving no bones picked by seagulls and scattered by arctic foxes and polar bears. In fact they left only a single frozen individual, dressed in the fashions of Europe. What happened to the rest of them?

There are any number of theories, many which may be correct in part, in a “he makes a good point” manner, while not being entirely true. My mind is a repository for such theories, some of which take a single true fact and use it as a springboard for unfounded conjecture.

Academics tend to frown at unfounded conjecture, even while indulging in what they frown at. For example, I have read one of these “experts” opine that the Vikings “failed to adapt”, and “refused to adopt Eskimo ways”. (Likely the expert used either the word “Indigenous” or “Inuit”). (But the Vikings were there earlier [but were not “first”] and it was the non-Dorset Eskimos, the “Inuit”, [whom the Vikings called “Skraeling’s”], who were the “illegal aliens” of that time).

Besides being an amateur archeologist, I also am an amateur psychologist, and I can recognize “projection” when I see it.  What I saw the academic writer doing was using a single frozen corpse as a springboard for a projection reflecting what he (or she) himself (or herself) was: An ingrown inhabitant of a stultifying university clothed in non-adaptive fashions, who noticed the lone frozen corpse people found (when they returned to the Greenland colony in the late 1400’s), wore European fashions. The academic then projected his (or her) own problems onto the Greenland Vikings who vanished nearly six hundred years earlier: “They failed to adapt”.

I responded differently, when I learned the frozen corpse was wearing European fashions. My inquisitive mind immediately wanted to know, “Which European fashion?” Fashions change, and the frozen corpse might reveal a lot, if it wore a fashion worn after the date the last Greenlander freighter (knorr), (such Viking craft had a design and name all their own), arrived in Europe, and then headed back to Greenland, never to be seen again. (Decades past before any ship was sent to see why no taxes were paid, and the motive for returning to Greenland was seemingly not to help Greenlanders, but because some worried Greenlanders might be following the wrong branch of Christianity, and placing their tithes in the wrong offering-plate.) In any case, I wondered if the frozen corpse was even a Greenlander. He might have been a pirate marooned there by irate crewmates, who were irate because that poor man suggested Greenland might be a good place to raid, but when the pirates arrived, they only found abandoned ruins.

One theory about what happened to the last Greenlanders is that pirates swooped in to grab them to sell as slaves. There were a million white slaves, along the coasts of the Mediterranean, back in those times. And being enslaved might have been preferable to freezing and starving in Greenland; there was at least a chance to get fat, as a slave in warm Italy. And one odd coincidence is that, just when the Greenlanders vanished, there was suddenly talk in sea-side taverns in Italy and in Venetian colonies about lands across the Atlantic, and a couple of fast-talking Italian adventurers talked non-Italian kings into funding their adventures to cross the Atlantic. (The Italian in Spain was Christopher Columbus, and the Italian in England was John Cabot, both of whom who set sail for America in the late 1400’s, just after the Greenland Vikings became officially “vanished”).

This just demonstrates what a bore I can be at a cocktail party, if you make the mistake of bringing up the subject of Greenland Vikings. And I have only scratched the surface. I am the repository of all sorts of trivia you likely don’t want to know about

For example, did you know that for every woman’s grave in Greenland there are two men’s graves? Can you even imagine what a springboard that is, for conjecture?

I’d better stop there, or we will never get back to the subject of sea-ice. But…I cannot resist. Here’s one more springboard:

In 1898 a farmer in Minnesota claimed his son found Viking runes (writing) carved into a stone, (“The Kennington Stone”), in among the roots of a tree, as he cleared land. The runes were later translated. The runes hastily describe Vikings in a desperate situation, with ten of their party of 30 slaughtered by some sort of attack on their camp as the others were fishing. They are 14 days from where ten other men guard their ship. They sign off stating the year is 1362.

This discovery was immediately sent to Swedish linguistic experts of that time, who discredited the runes as a forgery, (perhaps a reason for the brusque dismissal might have included the fact the farmer who found the runes happened to be from Norway, and Swedes and Norwegians were getting along so poorly at that time that soon afterwards Norway declared its independence from Sweden. But ironically, the Vikings described by the runes included both Swedes and Norwegians, who lived and died together.)

That should have been that. The runes were discredited by academics and should have been put into the archives where the Piltdown Skull is kept, in the museum of clever frauds. But for some reason the stone could not be so easily dismissed.  It couldn’t rest in peace, and over and over kept being exhumed from its grave. Over and over linguistic experts kept shooting it dead, but it refused to die.

I found it interesting to peruse this unending quibble. After all, it has been going on and on and on for 123 years, and there are many opinions. What I found interesting was that most of the “experts” had neither farmed nor sailed small ships at sea. They were academics and ate fish and chips without ever having to deal with nets or potato-forks.

Certain things struck me as not making sense, concerning this fraud. One thing is that I know a small farmer’s life is not easy today, and was harder in 1898, and the idea of a fellow finding the spare time to learn about runes, carve them on a stone, bury the stone by an alder and patiently wait for the roots to entwine the stone, and only then dig the stone up and embark upon a hoax, didn’t jive with my idea of how much free time a hardscrabble farmer usually has. (zero).

Secondly, linguistic experts judged the way people talked in 1362 from how academics talked in 1362, for most written words that have survived from so long ago are the writings of professors of that time. Yet we all know that the way sailors talk down by the docks is different from how people talk up in universities, and we also know the universities are the last to change, as language changes. People in universities still can speak dead languages such as Greek and Latin, while utterly incapable of making sense of current slang on the street. To me at seemed obvious that a Viking far from home and in a desperate situation might not chisel stone using the correct vernacular for 1364, and might use many expressions that seem unfit for such a time.

One thing in the runes that made no sense (to me), using ordinary definitions of words, was that, even while stating they were 14 days from their boat, they speak of where they were as an “island.” They were far from any coast. To me this suggests “island” may have been defined differently among such adventurers. It may have been what we would define as a “portage”: As the dry area between going up one river and down another. After all, the Vikings were amazing when it came to portages. The Vikings who were called the “Rus” (which Russia is named after) stunned early inhabitants of Russia by coming down the Volga River, from upstream. They had to carry their longboats over a sort of continental divide to enact such a feat. And the place in Minnesota where the runes were carved was at the point where you must leave rivers that flow north to Hudson Bay, to get to rivers that flow south to the Gulf of Mexico. It was a sort of “island” between waters flowing north and waters flowing south. But such a definition of “island” might only be used by Vikings who underwent long journeys, and never be used by linguistic experts who never leave home.

For the most part, the experts dismissed the runes as a fraud and forgery, until in 2005 a couple of academics noticed an odd detail a farmer in 1898 should not have known about. It was an abbreviation midst an abbreviation, which was in use in 1364. Where the desperate runes state a sort of Hail Mary, with the abbreviation, AVM, for “Ave Maria,” the letter “V” has a little notch at the top, which turns the singular “Ave” into a plural plethora of “Aves”, which might be expected of a man writing in fear for his life. However, this little notch at the top of a rune was a so-called “scribal abbreviation” which was used in 1364, but which a farmer in Minnesota in 1898 should not have known about, while composing a fraud. So maybe the fraud was not a fraud, after all.

This meant little to the people of that time. The so-called “forger” was dead and couldn’t celebrate his vindication, and many who scorned him were also dead and couldn’t blush in shame, but it meant a lot to my greedy desire for trivia concerning Greenland Vikings. I could add this trivia to my vast treasure trove. Then I could talk your ear off at a cocktail party.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, I met a beautiful woman with three small children, married her, and had to get busy with more mundane stuff, and this did not include Greenland Vikings. But it did include eventually getting a gadget I had little use for, called a computer. (A pen and notebook was good enough for me, but I would use a clacking typewriter if it was demanded.) The only reason we got a computer was because schools seemed to demand my children use them, and the only reason I liked them was because they corrected my atrocious spelling. However, I did venture into a place called the “web”, and of course immediately went to the card catalog, (which I call “search engines”, but never call “Google”), to learn more about Greenland Vikings. I was almost immediately horrified.

Much I had learned about the Greenland Vikings was being ignored. Why? For what reason was the hard work of so many scientists being disregarded? This drew me into the “chat” sections of the Web, where I swiftly learned some became quite indignant, if I even asked a question. “Global Warming” was what they called “settled science”, and if you asked questions, you were a “denier”.

This was my first awareness of what is now called “cancel culture” and was (and is) a cancer that has spread, at first slowly, but now with alarming speed, throughout our society. It is something alien to the way I was brought up to think. It is a “my way or the highway” sort of narrowness which involves denial far greater than the “denial” which the virtue-signaling accuse others of, for they deny themselves exposure to fresh ideas, to springtides of new thought, and to the vigor of fresh growth. Worst, (in my view), by wearing such blinders and earmuffs they miss seeing and hearing really cool tales, including Viking sagas.

I felt a sense of outrage right from the start, and was even banned from some anti-Alarmist, anti-Global-Warming sites, for being too inflammatory. Many (such as Steve McIntyre), preached patience, tolerance, and advised that we teach the truth with dedicated persistence. But I felt the Alarmist fact-fudgers should be strung up by their thumbs.

I did try to moderate my indignation, but in some ways I feel like I have wasted a lot of my free time trying to explain things to Alarmist imbeciles. If I could have the 21st century back to do over again I might be even less patient than I already was. I was arguing with an intelligence less moved than a brick wall is, by logic. The Alarmists had their plan and they stuck to their plan, and only pretended to be reasonable. In some ways they were like a rapist who only pretends to be interested in the woman he intends to violate, and who smiles and nods and is apparently agreeable, until he maneuvers the innocent maid into an out-of-sight place, where he slams her into a wall and is extremely disagreeable. (There is a reason a cyclops is called a monster).

But good came out of my frustration, for, in my attempts to be calm and reasonable, I had a chance to indulge in my hobby, and to research all sorts of trivia concerning Greenland Vikings. Yippie! Not that I had as much time as I would have liked. Raising three, then four, then five children keeps you busy. But, when the weather was bad and I couldn’t work I enjoyed what the Alarmist’s call “denial”, which in fact is: Sifting through vast amounts of evidence collected by scientists who study things such as the pollen at the bottom of lakes. And if you wonder of what earthly use such a study can be, I will say that when your infant is teething and you aren’t getting much sleep, the subject of pollen on the bottom of lakes is a glorious escapism. There are times denial of reality is a good thing, for reality has you on the verge of strangling your own, infant son.

One escapism I found involved an obscure subject called “isostatic rebound”, (and its antithesis, which I suppose would be called “isostatic depression”.) This idea stated that the burden of glaciers and icecaps pressed the continental plate they rested upon down, and when the ice melted the continental plate would arise, relieved of its burden. What this meant was that, when the glaciers melted at the end of the last ice-age, and the seas rose hundreds of feet, in certain places the land rose even faster. For this reason there are places in the north where ancient shorelines are not hundreds of feet below the current sea-level, but are above the current sea-level. There are beaches which isostatic rebound has lifted high and dry, on the coast of the Arctic Sea, holding bits of driftwood ten thousand years old, sometimes charred by the Eskimos that burned driftwood before even the Dorset Eskimos roamed up there.

Certain scientists wanted to go study those uplifted beaches, and braved ferocious clouds of mosquitoes to do so. (Not to mention risked the chance of running into a polar bear which weighed more than half a ton.) Among things they discovered was the geological fact that an ice-covered Arctic Sea forms a very different beach from an ice-free Arctic Sea. They noticed uplifted beaches were of two types. This suggested the Arctic Sea might have been ice-covered long ago, but also ice-free at other times, in the past, which annoyed Alarmists. Alarmists did not want to hear the Arctic Sea has been ice-free in the past, as it made the prospect of an ice-free Arctic Sea in the future appear less ominous. So what did the Alarmists do? They cut the funding of such scientists, and suppressed their findings, but…I still could find the findings. They are there if you look hard enough.

What does this have to do with Vikings? Well, it turns out isostatic rebound can happen far faster than you’d think. As a glacier advances down a valley the entire valley sinks, and when the same glacier retreats the entire valley is uplifted. This can be measured by modern GPS gadgets down to millimeters, even on a daily basis, but the Vikings inhabited Greenland over four hundred years. They arrived during the Medieval Warm Period when the shorelines were lifting, and then they saw the climate change and the glaciers start back down the valleys as the Little Ice Age came on, and saw the shorelines submerge. How far? Should we be looking for the beaches and docks that Viking longboats landed at underwater? If we hired scuba divers, might we find a goldmine of information?

Don’t ask Alarmists. They are in denial, and don’t want to know. Anything that questions their narrative is, in their view, “denial”. The entire reality of the Medieval Warm Period makes them queasy. In fact there is evidence certain academics stated, “We have to erase the Medieval Warm Period.” Why? Because it did not support their narrative. (And you can watch the Medieval Warm Period actually be “disappeared”, if you look at old IPCC reports, and compare them with newer IPCC reports.)

The IPCC should be ashamed of itself. Such “disappearing” belongs in the dark disgrace of communist dictatorships, and not in the hallowed hallways of science. The IPCC has in fact been rejected by some brilliant scientists, who joined in good faith but who later became aware the IPCC was more focused on politics than on science.

It was handy to “disappear” the Medieval Warm Period, for it made it easier to say current warming was “unprecedented” and that we should all freak out, but the Greenland Vikings were hard to “disappear”. If it was colder back then, how could they hand-dig graves where we now need jackhammers or flamethrowers to get through the permafrost? If it was colder back then, how could they build barns and stables which suggest that, in the best of times, the several thousand people herded over 100,000 sheep and goats, and roughly 2000 cattle? How could they do it, even in the summers, let alone gather the fodder to feed such herds during the long winters? And what about water? 2000 cows cannot drink ice. How could their cattle drink during winter? In the face of such evidence the Alarmists had to come up with an explanation, and it was this: “Greenland’s warmth was a local effect.”

Wow. It must have been amazing. The entire earth was (according to Alarmists) colder than it is now, but this one spot up the west coast of Greenland was dramatically warmer. The problem then becomes explaining such a bizarre anomaly. Of course, Alarmists don’t have to explain their bizarre beliefs. They don’t want you to explain, either. You are just supposed to swallow. However, science demands an explanation. What could make the west coast of Greenland so much warmer, when all the rest of the earth was colder?

I have tried to be fair and have striven to come up with excuses for such a bizarre anomaly. (I am good at excuses, having had to invent many for undone homework as a boy), but not even I can excuse this anomaly, (if it was a local anomaly, and not worldwide.)

One good excuse was lava. Unfortunately, geologists tell me there is little lava pouring out on the west coast of Greenland. Vast amounts can pour out in Iceland, but Iceland is far away.

How about shifts of the Gulf Stream or the Jetstream? These indeed can cause very cold areas to become much warmer than usual, but when a stream deviates far from normal it tends to be like an oxbow on a river, which eventually becomes cut off, as the river choses a straighter course, and then it becomes an oxbow lake, or a whirl beside the Gulf Stream, or cut-off-low beside the jet stream. As soon as such loops become separated from the stream that created them, they lose power; the oxbow lake silts up: the whirl beside the Gulf Stream fades and slows and vanishes; the cut-off low melts from meteorological maps in a matter of days, as the jet stream goes right on flowing. Therefore, even the most fantastic quirks in the Gulf Stream or jet stream you can invent, which might explain how the west coast of Greenland could be very much warmer even as the rest of the earth was colder, could never last very long. They could certainly not explain Greenland Vikings surviving where we could not survive, for 400 years.

In fact the only real reason that coast could be so much warmer, that I can think of, is that the north winds were significantly warmer, because the Arctic Ocean was significantly warmer, and far freer of sea-ice.

I told you we’d get back to sea-ice! Congratulations, if you have put up with me so long!

But I must again digress and describe the “maritime effect.” I’ll attempt to be brief.

The south coast of Hudson Bay and north coast of Ireland are at roughly the same latitude, but the coast of Hudson Bay sees the saltwater freeze solid every winter, while the north coast of Ireland has only seen icebergs on its beaches once (that I can find) in recorded history (in 1817). The south coast of Hudson Bay is a landscape of Tundra and Taiga, of lichens and stunted spruces, while Northern Ireland is green and hears the lowing of cows. In fact, in a way, Hudson Bay is like the west coast of Greenland now is, while northern Ireland is emerald pastures like Greenland once was, when the Vikings raised 100,000 sheep and goats and 2000 cows. What makes such a huge difference? The “maritime effect” of the warm Gulf Stream, which flows by Ireland but not into Hudson Bay.

The problem then becomes making the Arctic Ocean a body of water as warm and benign as the Gulf Stream. Surprisingly, this is not as hard to do as you might think. How? Well, at this point we at long last return to the subject of sea-ice, and the gigantic meltdown which occurs every summer.

To be honest, I must confess I initially felt that reports of the yearly meltdown were Alarmist bull and Fake News, but I swiftly learned the amazing meltdown was very real. I think what clued me in was a yellowing army document as old as I was: A request from the soldiers at the American base on T-3 (Fletchers Ice Island) back in the 1950’s for hip-waders, because the slush was so deep in places.

As I investigated further I became aware of an astounding fact. It is a perfectly natural fact, and due to sensible forces, but so is the Grand Canyon, yet when we stand on the verge of the Grand Canyon we do not say, “Oh, how normal and natural.” Instead our jaw drops.  In like manner, our jaws should drop over an astounding thing occurring at the North Pole right now.

And what is this astounding thing? It is that the North Pole is getting more sunshine than the equator.

Yes. Allow the thought to sink in.  When we think of the equator we think of palm trees, and when we think of the North Pole we think of an ocean clogged with sea-ice, yet the Pole is subjected to more heat.

How is this possible? Well, at the equator the sun rises to its zenith, and at that point “only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.” But noontime is brief, and a few hours later the sun plunges down to a level where the sun is at the Pole, and then it plummets to the horizon and vanishes from sight for twelve hours. Meanwhile the polar sun simply stays at its zenith, circling around and around and around and never setting. In terms of how much heat the ground beneath gets, it is a bit like the fable of the tortoise and the hare. The equator is like the hare, and races ahead at noon, but then it gets lazy and takes a twelve-hour nap, and as it naps the tortoise keeps plodding, and wins the race, for at the end of the day the North Pole gets more sunshine than even the equator gets.

This melts a fabulous amount of sea-ice. However, until the sea-ice is all melted, temperatures cannot arise far above the freezing point. This is important to understand.

Consider boiling water on your stove. The fire beneath the water is far hotter than the boiling point of water, but the water in the pot does not become hotter than the boiling point of water. In like manner, until all the sea-ice is melted, temperatures of the water cannot become warmer than the melting point of ice.

…Except in places, along the shores of the Arctic Sea, where all the sea-ice does vanish. Almost immediately the temperatures of the seawater in such places jumps upwards. Micro-climates are created, hinting at factors which might have contributed to the Arctic Sea having a “maritime effect” and making the west coast of Greenland like Ireland.

It wouldn’t take much, to melt all the ice in the Arctic Sea (except perhaps along the north coast of the Canadian Archipelago and Greenland) and to have temperatures of the entire ocean jump upwards dramatically. Alarmists suggest this is an end-of-the-world scenario, but in fact it is greatly to be desired. Even though the Arctic Sea would likely refreeze every winter, for a time in the autumn, before it refroze, it would have a kindly, maritime effect on lands to the south. This made a world of difference (I believe) to the Greenland Vikings, and I base my belief on real-life experience.

Where I live in New Hampshire we are protected from the cruelty of the Arctic by the “maritime influence” of Hudson Bay to the north, and the Great Lakes to our west. Hudson Bay never freezes until December, and until it freezes north winds are never all that bad, but as soon as it freezes north winds become cruel and are dubbed “The Montreal Express.” The Great Lakes seldom completely freeze, and west winds are seldom as cruel, but on the rare years the Great Lakes do freeze solid and even Niagara Falls stops flowing, we are cruelly attacked from both west and north, and sea-ice fills our own harbors and sometimes even extends miles out into our bays.

Considering I can see the effects of Hudson Bay and the Great Lakes, looking out my own back door for the past sixty years, it is easy to extrapolate the same phenomenon to the west coast of Greenland, and to Vikings looking out their own back doors. To such a people, a warmer Arctic Sea to their north would not be what Alarmists dread, a so-called “Death Spiral”, but rather a “Climate Optimum”.

So let us look with kindlier eyes at the amazing meltdown occurring to the north. It may be true Alarmists would use an ice-free Pole to tax the begeezes out of us, while padding their own pockets, but a kindly climate might make it possible for us to pay such exorbitant taxes. We should be rooting for an ice-free Pole (as should those leeches).

How could such a melt be possible? Well, in fact we come quite close every summer. The blazing sun melts roughly 20,000 cubic kilometers every year. Only roughly 5,000 cubic kilometers remain when the refreeze begins.

Pause a moment, and consider the heat required to melt a single cubic kilometer. Imagine a single gigantic icecube, one kilometer by one kilometer by one kilometer, was plopped in your back yard, (preferably with a corner atop the neighbor-you-least-like’s house), and you watched it melt. Do you think even the heat of your summer could melt such a gigantic object away, before winter returned? But the frying heat of the arctic’s summer sun melts 20,000 such cubes every year. In fact, so powerful is the meltdown that most of this melting occurs in only sixty days, as is shown by the yearly “volume” graphs. (The upper line of the graph is 25,000 cubic kilometeres, and the lower line 5000 cubic kilometers.)

Meltdown 1

In a sense this is like a pot on your stove boiling 80% of its water, before you put more water in. The pot never boils dry, and the smoke alarm never goes off, because the pot never exceeds the boiling point of water. But, if the water boils away, the pot abruptly is able to exceed the boiling point of water, and we hear the smoke alarm go off. In like manner, if we could only melt away the dratted remnant of sea-ice, temperatures of the surface of the Arctic Sea could leap upwards, and we could get rich quick by investing in farms on the west coast of Greenland. (Alarmists would try to get rich quick by freaking out, saying the world was ending, and taxing everyone in sight.)

Sadly, there is little sign we can quite make it to the kindly state created by an ice-free Pole. We need warm cycles, but they have gone cold on us. The frenetic sun of the 1950’s has become a “Quiet Sun.” I was especially dismayed to see signs, posted by Joseph D’Aleo at his Weatherbell site, which suggest that both the AMO and PDO may be drifting from their “warm” (and sea-ice melting) phases to their “cold” (and sea-ice increasing) phases.  It is not so much seen in the current sea-surface temperatures, but in the way those temperatures are trending. The changes hint at a cold, backwards letter “C” in the Pacific, and also the Atlantic, and those cold, backwards “C’s” are indicative of a situation which increases sea-ice.

Here are the changes over the past year Joe D’Aleo shows in the Atlantic, with the blue backwards “C” extending from Baffin Bay east to Spain and then south and back west to Cuba):

Meltdown 2

And here are the changes in the Pacific, (with the backwards “C” extending from Bearing Strait east to California and then curving back west past  Hawaii towards Japan:

Meltdown 3

To further bad news, the “extent” of sea-ice has refused to behave like a “Death Spiral”, and actually spent May higher than recent years. Not that current levels matter much, when 80% is going to melt. But sometimes, when dealing with Alarmists, cherry-picking data can be fun.

Rather than decreasing, the month-of-May sea-ice extent is turning upwards. The “trend” from 1979 (a very cold year with lots of sea-ice) may indeed still be down:

Meltdown 4

But when you begin the graph in 1998 it is nearly flat:

Meltdown 5

And when you begin in 2004 the “trend” is actually turning up.

Meltdown 6

All you need to do is compare the NRL “thickness” maps of this date last year to this year to see that rather than being flushed south, much sea-ice was first compressed towards Canada, while later-on sea-ice built up more thickly on the Alaskan and Siberian coasts, and the east side of the Kara Sea, making sea-ice measurably thicker in such places, this year. (This is important for it is just such places which are not of the 80% which melt every year, but are of the 20% where ice lasts, and if sea-ice is increasing in such places, it is hard to see how we can get to an ice-free Pole.) (2020 to left; 2021 to right).

Lastly, to assist the summer meltdown, it would be nice to see warmer temperatures, but instead they are below normal, due to clouds and storms up there. (This would have been a good summer to study “Ralphs”, (anomalous areas of low pressure), but I haven’t had time.) Clouds chill the effect of 24-hour sunshine. The DMI temperatures-above-80-degrees-north graph shows one of the coolest and slowest starts to the melt season on record (going back to 1958). (Blue line is freezing point; green line is the usual summer thaw during the meltdown, and the red line shows our summer has seen a cooler thaw, consistently below normal.)

Meltdown 9

All of this tends to refute the Alarmist “Death-spiral”, (and also to put my plans to farm the west coast of Greenland on hold). However, it also turns my mind to a baffling subject, involving how such swings of climate are physically engineered by nature.


Learning about such engineering has importance. It is not merely some esoteric topic for scientific geeks. Why? Because the engineering of swings from “warm” to “cold” AMO and PDO leads to flabbergasting swings in where fishing grounds are located, and in the numbers of fish inhabiting those fishing grounds. Therefore, even if we tilt our noses high and deem fishermen crude and uneducated “bitter clingers”, we are affected by such currents if we ever eat fish. Or use items of leather from tanneries which use fish oil. Or take fish-oil supplements to our diet to avoid heart attacks. Or wear old-fashioned mother-of-pearl buttons on our clothing. Or eat a vegan diet grown in soil utilizing organic fish-meal fertilizer.

The engineering of Atlantic Currents can lead to astounding population-explosions. In the late 1400’s the cod were so thick off Cape Cod that men may have sailed all the way from northern Spain to fish the Grand Banks, and rather than using nets they actually scooped the cod up in big baskets. Now it seems impossible to even “sustain” the population of cod, despite (and perhaps because-of) more than a half century of bureaucratic rules and regulations. Yet a reengineering of currents by Nature can change things in a flash.

I myself have seen a few population explosions, when I’ve lived by the sea, and they always strike me a sort of miracle. For years there are no clams; then suddenly the mud has more holes than Swiss cheese; for years there are no squid; then suddenly squid are a nuisance; for years you have to dig a half hour to find enough sea-worms for bait; then suddenly you get enough with a single scoop of your clam-hoe. For years the voracious “Big Blues” never swim north of Cape Cod into the Gulf of Maine, and then suddenly, at midnight, the roar of panicking Menhaden in the harbor wakes you from sleep. Out of the blue, the sterile seas and seashores produce a bonanza. Understanding the engineering of Atlantic currents might be helpful in preparing for such bonanzas. If you are not ready, the bonanzas can pass in a flash, and you may miss a chance to make a quick fortune.

Funding such research isn’t easy. For this reason the researchers long were the fishermen themselves, and the funding was provided by the fish they caught. Secondary funding might come from bankers who invested in ships, but it was the sailors themselves who had the real knowledge, and they were often illiterate and didn’t mix well in academic circles. They also didn’t always get along well with bureaucrats and tax-collectors, and often felt no shame for ignoring rules and being called “a smuggler”, or even “a pirate” (who would be called “a privateer” if he worked for you and not against you).

One reason the Greenland Vikings stopped sending ships to Europe may well have been they grew fed up with paying taxes to the Pope, King of Norway, and Hanseatic League, and chose to be less than honest when they did sail east to trade with Europe. Also they may have chosen to not-report their other trade with lands to their south. (Unreported income is not merely a modern problem faced by the modern IRS). Government may call a failure-to-report-income unpatriotic, and churches may frown at donating less than a tenth of your income as a tithe, but the Greenlanders were a people who received little for their taxes and tithes. Failures by the people in high places to serve the people they are supposed to serve inevitably has consequences. It tends to result in the underlings forming an “underground” and dealing on black markets. A Bishop of Iceland, writing a history of the northern peoples in 1637, suggested the Vikings of Greenland “turned away from Christianity” in 1342.  In actual fact they may not have turned away from Christ, but rather have turned away from taxes and greed.

It also should also be noted that at the same time, in North America,  unidentified people crossed the boundaries which separated tribes and clans, following long-established “Indian Trails” (which some modern highways follow to this day), and apparently these people were not murdered for trespassing. We know nothing about these nomads, but if the wandering cultures called “Gypsies” and “Tinkers” in Europe could coexist with other, more-settled Europeans, there is no reason to deny the possibility of similar peoples living by their wits, as traders in North America. We only know someone was responsible for copper from Michigan winding up far from Michigan, and seashells from the Gulf of Mexico winding up far from the Gulf of Mexico, and a silver Norse penny from Europe winding up in a heap of clam shells on the coast of Maine. Might not these traders have been Vikings, greatly altered by centuries of divorce from Europe? There is no firm proof, but I see no reason to exclude, from the range of possibilities, the idea a certain percentage of Greenlanders did not emigrate back to Europe willingly (some did) or return to Europe unwillingly as slaves, or die in Greenland, but rather left Greenland to become traders to the south.

Academic types who never leave Ivory Towers may not like the idea of people leaving all behind, for a future with no government pension. They also may not like it that the Vikings sent no reports back to European Universities and left no paper trail to follow. But men who risk the dangers of going to sea cannot be expected to report what they know, when they receive no funding for what they report, and instead are taxed for what they report. Academics should be well aware of this dynamic, for cancel-culture is not an entirely new phenomenon. (Galileo got in trouble for stating Jupiter has moons). We cannot expect even academics to report the truth, if they receive no funding for truth, and instead are taxed by blackballing, if they tell the truth. Instead we should expect universities to produce modern pirates, who turn away from the norm of civil procedure, (in an academic way).

I bring this up to demonstrate one problem we face in understanding the engineering which goes into the shifting of warm and cold currents. Such shifts need to occur to turn a “warm” AMO into a “cold” AMO. Understanding is crucial, but I imagine a problem lies in the way. The problem involves the fact that the people who know the most often do not get the respect they deserve. One good thing I got out of my experiences on the coast of Maine was that I learned to respect the so-called “illiterate.”

I arrived on the coast of Maine in December 1974, and lived on the water until 1982. I was 21 when I arrived, and in many ways naïve, but not so ignorant as other tourists from the south, for I had actually been to sea as a marijuana smuggler and had experienced Atlantic gales in a small craft. But I was fresh from a reformative trip to India, and was starry-eyed with ideas that few fishermen would call pragmatic. Yet, because I couldn’t convince anyone to buy my starry-eyed ideas (which I called “poetry”) I had to be down to earth, working in smelly places like canneries, and wading mud to dig clams. As I eked out a living providing for myself (with a few embarrassing loans from my mother) I hopefully also provided (at the very least) some comic relief for those who worked very hard to earn an everyday living from the ocean, (and who couldn’t get loans from their mother because they were providing for her in her old age).

Quite by accident I learned about sea-ice, because I happened to be in Maine during the cruel winters of 1976-1977, 1977-1978, and 1978-1979. Don’t get me started on my adventures upon sea-ice. In short, with a younger brother, I once walked (under the light of the full moon) from the mouth of the Harraseeket River past Crab Island and over Casco Bay to Harpswell. On another occasion I skated with my sister from the same Harraseeket River along the coast down to the Royal River in Yarmouth. Lastly, one time I saw the Harraseeket harbor flash-freeze and not become the more ordinary white, jumbled sea-ice, but rather black-ice as smooth as any freshwater pond’s, and over that ice drifted powdered salt. So, quite accidentally, I could learn how low temperatures extract salt from salt water, without requiring a penny of funding, or needing to travel to the Arctic Sea. Nor did I require funding to learn from fishermen, nor to see how hard it is to earn a living from the sea, especially when the sea is frozen rock-solid. They were hard men living hard lives, yet had surprisingly soft hearts, and the proof is that they put up with the likes of me. I adored the sea, but was not too smart, and they were swift to tow me out of trouble. Initially I felt I was more literate than they because I had studied Shakespeare, but they soon convinced me I was illiterate when it came to reading the waters.

I became especially aware of this one time when it was impossible to read the waters. The fog was too thick. The fog was so thick that the wealthy friend I was with (I was penniless) couldn’t drive his Jaguar XKE fast enough, and we missed the ferry to Mohegan Island. By ruffling some money my wealthy friend persuaded a lobsterman to take us out there. We heaved our suitcases aboard his old boat, and off we chugged into the pea-soup fog. This was long before GPS was available, and our captain used a compass and a wristwatch. As the minutes passed, I grew increasingly nervous, gazing into a wall of deep gray, until I could hear an unseen buoy ringing off to the left, and felt slightly less lost. All too soon that bell faded astern, and I again felt uncomfortably disconnected from any sense we had any idea where we were. The lobsterman seemed unperturbed, until he looked at his watch, squinted forwards, and then briefly seemed anxious, turning and asking us if we had metal in our suitcases, before looking ahead and relaxing, as looming through the thick fog a massive boulder appeared, with brown, sloshing sea-weed below and white guano up high. We were at the entrance to Mohegan Harbor.

I was impressed. He had made the journey look easy, but I knew I would have had a hard time making such a trip in the still waters of a lake. The coast of Maine has strong and reversing tidal currents. This man never consulted a tide table nor chart. He simply was knowledgeable where I was ignorant. He was literate where I was illiterate.

(This contributed to a schizophrenic side which I fear my generation will be remembered for. On one hand we disrespected our elders while on the other we worshiped them. On one hand we rejected the status quo and called ourselves “progressive”, while on the other we were anti-progress and “back-to-nature”. You can’t have it both ways, but we hadn’t ironed out the discrepancies. Perhaps our hypocrisy was a sort of cataract to our vision which has taken a half century to ripen, and only now is at long last manifesting in the schizophrenia of modern politics,) (which symbolically is a ripened cataract demanding removal.)

In any case, my life blundered into a blessing, in that I learned illiterate fishermen might know more than anyone else about certain nuances concerning North Atlantic currents which effect sea-ice. Not that I ever intended to learn about such things. My major was poetry, with a minors in psychology, history and economics. Vikings and sea-ice and North Atlantic Currents were nothing I tried to learn about, as subjects more serious than a hobby’s.

This brings me to a final autobiographical aside, (on our way to the subject of North Atlantic currents), for there was one time I did actually take a class on something that had nothing to do with Poetry, Vikings, History or Economics.

I had quit a minimum-wage job making big sails for rich men’s sailboats, and then had also given up on avoiding a Real Job altogether by “living off the land” [because man does not live on clams alone] and was humbly working as a clerk in a small, local market.  The owner was alcoholic and had fallen off the wagon and hadn’t shown up for days, so I was basically running the joint, wondering if I’d ever be paid. Just then a person walked in and asked permission to put up a small poster. It advertised a class the government was funding. Reading the poster, I surmised the government was using our tax dollars to hire a student from a university to come and tell the public to stop being so damn stupid. The course had a name like, “The ecology of shoreline ecosystems, and why coastal development is inadvisable”.

Everyone already knew it was unwise to build on shifting sand. Jesus had said as much 2000 years earlier. But if some hurricane came and swept all the houses away, it would be good for the construction industry, for they would have to build new houses back on the sand. Why? Because people loved to live by the sea, and to wake with the sound of surf and seagulls coming through an open window along with salty scents. The economy of Maine depended upon this irrational love.  (Personally, I was a hypocrite. I preferred beaches without houses but also knew the mosquitoes could be murder when I camped there. It was far more comfortable when a wealthy friend invited a penniless bum like myself to their cottage, and I slept in a room with a real bed, with open windows with real screens, although I might not have a Real Job.

I may have intuitively known beforehand that the class was a perfect recipe for disaster: “Let’s have a college intellectual come and tell people on the coast of Maine that they know nothing about the sea.” However, intuition may remain subconscious, and I only consciously noticed the class was free. I decided to attend.

At that time I firmly held some erroneous beliefs; for example: That the United States would run out of oil by 1990. I was appalled by the general public’s refusal to panic. Couldn’t they see that we’d be back to horse-drawn carriages by the year 2000? The public was blissfully ignorant and needed to be taught. Therefore, I was on the side of the teacher as I entered the class, and hung on his every word, vigorously nodding as he made his points. And I actually did learn interesting things about the formation of sand-dunes and off-shore sandbars, and how it was unwise to build on sand or to try to prevent sand from washing away from beaches. However, what I remember most vividly was something I did not expect to learn.

Attending the class was a person I deemed an old, grizzled fisherman. (Actually, he was far younger than I now am, but his hair was starting to gray at his temples, which made him “old”, back when I was 22.) He was polite and eager to learn, but for some reason he irked the young teacher. I think the teacher intuitively knew the fisherman held more knowledge about the ocean in his little finger than the teacher had gleaned from four years of indoor classrooms and labs, (with a few jaunts to the sea to “gather data.”) The fisherman had been on the water since boyhood, beginning on his Dad’s boat, and every question he asked was permeated with knowledge. Quite accidentally and innocently he made the young teacher look less knowledgeable than the young man desired to look, and I think it may have punctured the teacher’s young ego. Rather than humble, the young teacher became scornful, and behaved as if what the fisherman asked about was mere superstitious poppycock. Something about the young man’s snooty attitude chilled the atmosphere of the classroom; people were too polite to say anything, back in those days, but the teacher won no respect. The more he attempted to belittle the fisherman the more he belittled himself.

The fisherman came across as affable and nearly incapable of taking offence. Looking back with the wisdom of age, I think the man may have been slyer than he looked, and was seeking to pluck the young teacher’s brains, but he did so in an unassuming way, and laughed when the teacher attempted to shrink him with withering irony. Yet the fisherman persisted with his friendly questions, and constantly seemed to derail the subject from what the teacher wanted to focus on to what he himself was interested in learning.

Judging from my notes on now-yellowing-paper, the young teacher felt that what men should do, if they appreciated beaches, was to move fifty miles inland. If we liked beaches, we should never set foot on them. He cared more for the habitat of plovers than the Maine Tourism Industry. He cared more for the roots of dune-grasses than the bare feet of romping children. He was scornful of any attempts by engineers to control dunes and sandbars with seawalls, groins and breakwaters, and his mantra was, “Erosion is not a problem, but a process”. Nature should be left alone, to do her stuff. Nothing men did was any good.

You have to admit this is depressing news for a people who have lived for centuries interacting with the capricious sea. But despite the shortcoming such an anti-mankind attitude suggests, the young teacher taught a lot, about how nature works. Everyone in the class learned a lot about how amazing grasses grow tough roots that hold dunes in place better than manmade chicken wire and snow-fences, and how the combers of winter storms build offshore sandbars that protect beaches for free, more effectively (in most locales) than expensive breakwaters, and how these impressive offshore bars are naturally reduced by the lapping of gentle summer waves, and how sand is naturally moved back inshore to widen summer beaches. There was nothing depressing about such knowledge. What was depressing was the idea mankind cannot interact with the beauty of nature, and the young teacher seemed prone towards just such a defeatist belief.

The fisherman in the class was a perfect foil. He already knew offshore bars get bigger after autumnal gales pound the dunes, for it was everyday knowledge to him. It was one of those things we so take-for-granted that we don’t bother think about them, like the fact the sun rises after dawn, or the fact trees grow leaves when winter ends. He was already acquainted with what the teacher was teaching the rest of us about, and the subject bored him, so he asked questions which derailed the class.

Oddly, the fisherman wasn’t so much interested in what he didn’t know, but in gizmos and gadgets that could help him more clearly see what he already knew. For example, where his grandfather had sailed without even a barometer or wristwatch, his father had learned such gadgets could be helpful. In like manner, the fisherman in our class assumed the college-educated must be aware of newer gadgets. He wanted to learn what gadgets our young teacher utilized, to see if he could afford having such a gadget aboard his boat. He was not a backwards fisherman and was very interested in modernizing. For example, the price of sonar had dropped to a level where he could afford a depth finder, quite primitive by 2021 standards but state-of-the-art for 1975, but he wanted to know more about sonar; he thought he had noticed that besides seeing the bottom he once dimly glimpsed a thick school of herring; could sonar be converted into a fish-finder? Of course, this was not the direction the teacher wanted the class to proceed in; the teacher wanted to talk about the habitat of endangered plovers.

The fisherman thought forward into the world of gizmos and gadgets. But my mind was reeling backwards to the time of the Vikings.

I’ve explained how amazed I was by the ability of fishermen and lobstermen to find their way through pea-soup fog with only a compass and wristwatch, but as the fisherman chattered away I abruptly understood his grandfather didn’t even have the wristwatch, and Vikings didn’t even have the compass. What in the world did they do in a fog? Travel in circles until they bumped into something? Their only depth-finder was a hunk of lead attached to a long rope they hurled ahead of the boat to see how deep it sank, and their only gauge of direction in a fog was the direction the wind blew from; what did they do when the wind shifted?

If the teacher found the fisherman a distraction, he likely found me more so, for Vikings have little to do with the subject of endangered plovers. To be honest, I found it fairly difficult to twist the conversation in the direction I desired, especially as the fisherman wanted to wrench the same conversation in the direction of gizmos and gadgets. But somehow, to the dismay of the teacher, I did manage to bring into the discussion of coastal sandbars and dunes, and about the plovers who skitter midst sandbars and dunes, the totally off-topic topic of the Tarrantine.

The Tarrantine’s were a coastal Maine clan of the Micmac tribe who developed and then jealously guarded a monopoly of trade with the French in the late 1500’s. They had firearms (“thunder sticks”) before other tribes. They also gained great power because the pandemic of 1617 (which William Snow estimated reduced the Abenaki of New Hampshire from a population of 10,000 to 250) did not affect them severely at all. They abruptly greatly outnumbered their foes and became very powerful.  But why did the pandemic spare them? Why should they have an immunity to European diseases others lacked? Perhaps they were, at least in part, European descendants of Vikings?  (The Puritans of that time called the Tarrantine, “Red Vikings”).

Another odd attribute which the Tarrentine displayed manifested in what they coveted. What did they want to obtain from the French? Where other tribes coveted copper kettles and iron axes (and, later, “thunder sticks”), the Tarrentine desired sailing ships. This always struck me as odd. While the coastal Indians of New England did hunt whales, they apparently used enormous dugout canoes made of the trunks of tall white pines. How would natives even know how to handle the ropes and rigging of a sailing ship? Yet old French records show the Tarranteen did purchase (with furs) at least one sailing craft. (The Tarrentine themselves kept no records we can find, and their power faded as the 1600’s passed).

Besides showing what a pain I can be at a cocktail party, this demonstrates what a pain I can be if you are a teacher who wants to alert the public to the dangers faced by plovers skittering between sand dunes and beaches. (But the fisherman was interested.) Meanwhile the fisherman was asking the teacher whether he had viewed the coast from above.

The tool the fisherman used, back then, to view the sea from above was free and highly useful. He used seagulls. The way gulls were acting three miles away, or the direction they were flying overhead, could alter the course of the fisherman’s boat. But seagulls didn’t fly where he wanted. The gadget he wanted was a fish-finding drone, but this was long before drones were invented. Therefore, he pestered the teacher for information about research done from airplanes, and about the new Satellites that NASA was launching. As he asked, he talked about what he called “big whorls”. He claimed that, if you fished far from land, you might come across warm “big whorls” and cold “big whorls”, and the fishing was best (as I recall) on the boundaries of the “big whorls”.

Around this time the teacher was looking like he was ready to start ripping out his hair. He had managed a painful smile at me as I yammered about the Tarrentine, but the digression into “big whorls” was apparently the straw that broke the camel’s back, and he snapped a dismissive comment that placed “big whorls” on a level with Bigfoot and the Lock Ness Monster. The fisherman’s smile vanished, and he looked very hurt. The class became quiet, and cold, and we meekly discussed plovers. However, I never forgot the information about “big whorls”, partly because I didn’t have time to forget. It was only a year or two later that NASA released the first, marvelous infrared pictures of the Gulf Stream, revealing it was not straight, but undulated into oxbows and, yes, into “big whorls”. This highlighted the incident between the teacher and the fisherman, and made it stand out in my memory.

In some ways the incident was a sort of seed crystal for further thought, and, in other ways, marks the start of my conversion from a liberal to a conservative. I saw how blind the teacher was. Here he had an opportunity, in the form of the fisherman, to learn about “big whorls”, and to be ahead-of-the-curve and smarter than his peers, but he missed his chance. I wondered if he ever remembered the fisherman, years later, perhaps while he sat in an armchair and looked at an infrared picture of the Gulf Stream in a National Geographic. (I know I sure did. As I looked at the amazing picture, I think I murmured, “big whorls”, out loud).

The incident seems a perfect example of how our bias can blind us. We become too caught-up in a certain agenda involving plovers and dune grass and groins, and miss seeing truths, which patiently await the scales to fall from our eyes. Truth is not discovered; it is there all along.

The dynamics which switch the AMO from its “warm” to its “cold” phase are currently just sitting there, waiting for us to see what is glaring at us in the face. At times I feel a frustration that I may not live long enough to see the revelation occur. But maybe I’m too greedy. I did live through the awakening caused by the “Geophysical Year” in 1959, when “continental drift” abruptly made sense to geologists. (Not that some hadn’t ventured the idea earlier, but they were scorned.) How obvious continental drift seems to us today! But what a revelation the “discovery” was, as it happened! If I got to see that enlightenment, perhaps I should not be greedy for more. But I am. Truth is wonderful, and there’s always room for more.

At this point we should turn to North Atlantic Currents, and the truth we know so far. I will provide you with my layman’s view. Forgive my simplicity, and simply see this as a Sunday Newspaper’s puzzle. As I bring up what we don’t understand, see it as a crossword puzzle. It is good fun to try to figure out the answers. But most crossword puzzles only go up and down and side to side. This one, from the start, is three dimensional, and may become more complex than that, although at that point I usually find an excuse to bail from wherever it is my mind is leading me. Truth can fry your brains, it is so wonderful, and a layman like myself needs to know his limits, and when to back off.

In any case let us begin with the simple fact warm water rises and cold water sinks. Water at the equator wants to rise while water at the Pole wants to sink. Water at the equator can only rise so far before it reaches the surface, and water at the Pole can only sink so far before it hits the bottom. Water cannot compress, so such water needs a place to go. The warm water heads north to replace the sinking water, as to the north the cold-water heads south to replace the rising water. This makes a nice circle. Ah! If only things were so simple!

A problem occurs because our planet is spinning, which creates a dratted inconvenience called “The Coriolis Effect”. Rather than heading due north things get curved west, and rather than heading south things get curved east. Bother. Our neat circle is ruined. Rather than heading to the Pole the warm water curves west and slams into North America, and down deep water that should head south is curved east towards North Africa. Yet it is fortunate continents get in the way, for otherwise the circulation would never get to the Pole, and we would resemble Jupiter, striped east to west. But, because continents get in the way, the curved currents forget the “Coriolis Effect” and recall their true destination, and rush north as the amazing Gulf Stream. (A similar thing may occur with cold water in the deeps of the sea by North Africa, be we lack research. Send money.)

It would make matters simple if the Gulf Stream was polite, and headed to the Pole as a unified stream, and promptly sank to join waters heading back to the equator. But no. The stream breaks into all sorts of tributaries and tendrils. Towards the Pole, where the Coriolis Effect fades, currents are freer to wander wherever they wish. In some ways they misbehave, because they hideously complicate the nice, neat circle.

In some cases currents are so rude as to continue north while diving slightly below the surface. If water was polite, warm water would stay at the surface until it was time to plunge to the bottom and reverse course back to the equator. But impolite, slightly-submerged currents slide north like a card sliding into a deck of cards, not at the top and not at the bottom.

This rude behavior is due the fact water does not only rise because it is warm and sink because it is cold. Water also rises because it is fresh and sinks because it is salty. Big Problem. Tropical water is basically salty, because evaporation removes lots of water and leaves salt behind, and polar water is basically fresh (or fresher), for (even during the sixty day meltdown of summer) the pole’s evaporation cannot match the equator’s. In fact, if you only thought in terms of the salinity of water, the Pole should send less-salty water south at the surface as the equator sent more-salty water north down deep. But temperature largely trumps salinity, most of the time. However, I confess it is around this point I tend to bail from discussions; they are too complex and annoying to be fun, and fun is what I expect from my hobby.

Oddly I find that, once I recover from my annoyance, I am drawn back to the very complexity which annoyed and repelled me. Perhaps this is due to another thing I expect from a hobby: A sense of wonderment. Therefore, once I get over the blow to my ego which seeing I-can’t-fathom-something delivers, I return to what-I-can’t-fathom, because it tends to be awesome. (Sailors don’t mind being out over their heads.)

Allow me to share some complexities which seem very awesome to me, from my layman’ perspective.

First, as the equator makes water more salty through the process of evaporation, the pole makes water more salty through the process of freezing. There is something about ice which does not love salt, and salt tends to be exuded from saltwater as it freezes. Very roughly speaking, a small amount of salt is exuded upwards and blows around as dust above the ice, a small amount remains in the ice, (which made arctic explorers avoid melting “baby ice” for drinking water, and seek “multi-year-ice”), but most salt remains attached to water, becoming brine which does not freeze even as the rest of the water freezes, and instead drills down through the ice, creating channels of trickling water. This briny water is far colder than the freezing point of fresh water and even of salty ocean water. In fact, there is splendid video from Antarctica of such trickles forming “brinecicles” as the very cold trickles of brine bore through the sea-ice and reach the ordinary seawater beneath. In the video the brinecicles, hollow tubes of trickling supercooled brine, extend to the bottom in a shallow area and freeze starfish in their tracks. But the point is that, in the arctic, the entire time sea-ice is forming and thickening, (which is most of the year), it is exuding supercooled brine which is very dense, compared to water which is both warmer and less salty. The sea-ice is literally raining supercooled brine. Likely this rain loses saltiness and gains heat, as it descends through warmer and less salty water, (and likely makes those waters colder and saltier), but its descent represents a sizable subtraction of water from the surface, and requires other water to replace it, which explains warmer waters coming north. Yet, and here’s the wonder, this process comes to a screeching halt during the summer meltdown, which leads us to our second wonder.

During the summer absolutely no brine is produced by freezing seawater. Instead 80% of the ice is melted, and, because that ice exuded most of its salt as it froze, sea-ice melt-water is fresher than the water it sits upon, and once melted it continues to float above the water it formerly sat upon as ice, but now as a so-called “freshwater lens” (though it does contain some salt and should be called  a “brackish-water lens.”) What does this suggest? It suggests, to my foolish layman’s intellect, that, without brine descending, there is no longer a reason for cold water to descend, and for cold water to exit the Pole down deep. This takes away the reason for warm currents to enter, at the surface. Currents should screech to a halt. We should see a yearly sixty-day “pause”. Do we? Nope.

This brings me to a third wonder, which occurs during the sixty-day meltdown. This involves the fact the sea level at the Pole stays roughly the same, because withdrawals from the deep sea are matched by deposits at the surface. These deposits don’t only include oceanic currents entering the arctic, but all other contributions. For example, precipitation. But the arctic is basically a desert and summer rains are scant. The real non-oceanic contributors are rivers, and rivers are amazing in the north.

Consider an arctic river, and wonder. During half of the year the landscape is frozen, and the only water entering rivers come from artesian springs. Therefore, rivers barely trickle. Meanwhile, in the landscapes they flow through, the snows get deeper and deeper. By April you have half a year’s precipitation as a sort of backlog, waiting for warm weather before it can flow to the sea. And then the meltdown occurs. Every bit of that backlog melts and rushes in rivers towards the Arctic (except for the Volga’s).

The arctic freshets are hard for southerners to comprehend. Only 1% of the Lena’s yearly flow reaches the sea in January, but in June the river rises sixty feet. And this colossal flow of fresh water pours out onto the Arctic Sea, and contributes to the “Freshwater Lens.” So…does the sea-level of the Arctic Sea rise a couple inches? No. Obviously the water must leave somewhere. But where? The currents entering the arctic should reverse for sixty days, but they don’t. So I become very annoyed and stomp off flinging my hands into the air in despair. Then I get over it. I come back and face the wonder.

My best guess, as an ignorant layman, is that the waters continue to leave the arctic down deep, despite the fact no cold brine is added to it’s supply from above. It is pushed out through the lone exit, (deep channels in Fram Strait), by a sort of CPR enacted by arctic rivers. The floods of arctic rivers adds to the weight of the “Freshwater Lens,” which pushes down and causes cold water to continuing exiting via Fram Strait’s deep channel.

You want proof? Don’t come to me. I confessed from the start I’m a layman. I create my theories out of whole cloth fully aware they may be shot down in flames by keener minds. In fact I appreciate being shot down in flames for it shows me where I’m mistaken, and makes me smarter. And this seems to be part of having an active mind stay healthy.

An aid once described Winston Churchhill’s very active mind in this way: “Winnie had a hundred ideas a day, and three were good ones.” In other words, Churchhill had 97 ideas a day be shot down in flames. But he didn’t sulk about it. He rushed on seeking an idea that worked.

This is science as I most enjoy it. It is people bouncing ideas about in a friendly manner, utterly unafraid of being wrong or even of looking stupid. If you look stupid you just laugh about it; you say, “How stupid of me! I should have thought of that: thank you for pointing that out.” This happy atmosphere is possible because you know you are among friends. It is joy to be midst such thinkers, and it is utterly and completely different from the atmosphere created by “cancel culture.”  It is as different as love is from hate.

I want to move on to a fourth wonder. But I feel dragged into a final digression, before I describe a layman’s fourth wonder. The digression involves a situation like the one I described between the fisherman and the young teacher. It involves a situation which developed years ago between Dr. William Gray (the wise fisherman) and Vice President Al Gore (the young teacher.)

Dr. William Gray preferred to be called just “Bill”.  He was superior to a layman like me. Just as I was illiterate among lobstermen, when it came reading seas in a thick fog, I’d surely be illiterate compared to Bill, when it came to his understanding of North Atlantic currents. Just as lobstermen spend their entire lives on seas I was merely an avid visitor to, Bill had spent his entire adulthood among meteorology and climatology I was merely an avid visitor to.

It seems to me that the better scientists like Bill are not so focused on what they already know, but on what they don’t know.  There is something humble about this attitude, and Bill seemed to epitomize such an awed curiosity.

In my layman’s manner I have hopefully transmitted to you a rough idea how complex the engineering of arctic currents is. There seem to be more questions than answers, and one wonders where we should begin, if we want to increase our understanding. Bill had a better idea than I of what needed to be researched first. He had a grasp I lack, and, if he didn’t actually coin the words “thermohaline circulation”, he certainly did a lot to bring it to others attention. But back when he researched the government didn’t just print money when it was needed, and Bill had to spend his funds wisely.

Back in those days you couldn’t spend extra money without cutting your budget elsewhere, and Bill lived through an agonizing time when, to fund the newfangled Doppler Radar, the government stopped funding hundreds of people who had faithfully taken weather observations at sites all over the nation. In some ways cutting their funding was a mistake, but at the time it was felt Doppler Radar could replace such invaluable observers. But that was what life was like, back when the government was slightly sane and didn’t print money flippantly (so they could spend the money like water, bribing fools). Bill had to be careful to spend on only the research that would produce invaluable knowledge. He had such a deep overview of multitudinous aspects of currents in both the atmosphere and oceans that he was just the person you wanted, who could ask the right questions and focus funding on what we needed to learn next.

At this point there entered a politician named Al Gore, whom I initially liked. He was young and clean-cut and projected a fresh and idealistic vision. He was against pollution and for the environment, which I felt was important. Also, his marriage was a sort of fairy tale love-story, which made him superior to me. (I won’t digress into the deplorable state of my own love life, at that time.) But at some point I feel Al took a wrong turn. At some point “image” trumped “actuality”. He assumed an image, and stood as an authority on the environment, yet his stance lacked the necessary humbleness of confessing you don’t know, and instead Al pretended he did know, and even that the science was “settled science”, which science never is, (and which the science of arctic currents most especially isn’t).

I had great expectations of Al, and personally felt sad, watching him change in a way I unsympathetically called “decay”. He seemed to become lost in the “image” a politician feels it is important to project, and to feel the “image” was more than a mirage, and even to assume he was smarter than he was. In terms of science, he was too busy with politics to really get down to the nitty-gritty of nuts-and-bolts research. He was, like me, an interested layman. When he found time, he likely was, like me, an avid reader. But he should not have tried to project the “image” of a full-time researcher. (True researchers are too busy researching to waste time running for office.) Yet in the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” Al projected the image of being an authority: A researcher and professor and even a prophet. Then much in that movie was shot down in flames. (A British judge mentioned “The Nine Errors”).

In the Bible it mentions that when a prophet is incorrect, he is a “false prophet”, and what the Law stated you must do is take the false prophet to the edge of town and stone him to death. This seemed a bit extreme to me. We’d soon run out of weathermen if we stoned them to death for incorrect forecasts. But then, I suppose most weathermen don’t claim to be prophets. They tend to be like Bill Gray, and more focused on what they don’t know than what they know. They don’t claim to be 100% correct or that the science they know is “settled science”.

To me, being incorrect is no big deal. I am used to being shot down in flames, and if only 96 out of every 100 ideas I have are shot down in flames, I like to point out I’m doing better than Winston Churchill did. But Al Gore did not like being shot down one bit. Not even once. He was very unlike Winston Churchill.

Al had political clout, and I don’t. When I see how Al responded to pricks to his ego, I’m glad I don’t have political clout. If I had clout I might have embarrassed myself, in the manner I was embarrassed, witnessing Al’s behavior over the following two decades.

None of us like seeing our ideas have flaws. We love the golden sensation of having a lightbulb go off in our heads, and it is a downer to see the bulb burn out, (which is another way of saying “go down in flames”). But this is just part of the process; life is full of ups and downs. We are spiritually wisest to just go with the flow, and not get too hung up on staying “up” and never being “down.” We can’t forever be “up” on earth. Sometimes our desks get messy in the fury of our inspiration, to a degree where sometimes we can’t get work done unless we stop and clean up our desk. Personally, I dislike cleaning my desk, but I recognize it is a “down” which is part of the process, wherein, once I clean my desk, I’ll get to mess it up again.

When Al’s ideas had flaws, I am not all that sure he was even able to see the flaws. He seemed to take a different view than I take, concerning what an idea is. He seemed unable to see that, in a healthy discussion, all are friends, working together to see the same Indivisible Truth. Instead, he saw you as an enemy. He had an agenda, a political policy, which would brook no amendments. If you were not for him, you were against him.

We are supposed to love our enemies, and part of the reason for this digression is an attempt to see what in the world got into Al. Why should he be the first to enact what we now call “cancel culture”, and make a foe out of a friendly fellow like me? (Or like Bill Gray?) I had nothing against him and examined his ideas respectfully. When I saw mistakes, I did my best to point them out in a civil manner. Why was Al so uncivil in reply?

It seemed to me, a mere layman, that even if Al honestly believed the world was about to end due to Global Warming, he should have been hugely relieved to hear evidence the world was not going to end. But he did not behave relieved. What was his problem? Because I am an amateur psychologist, (among other things), Al becomes a most fascinating study.

Sometimes what we possess becomes a power that possesses. We don’t possess possessions; they possess us; they turn us into slaves. I imagine the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” allowed Al to possess fame and awards and piles of money. Then certain ideas in the movie were shot down in flames. To me this would be just the evolution of my idea, but to Al it apparently was a threat to fame and awards and piles of money, and even to political power. So perhaps he over-reacted.

Early on in this process Al wanted to hold a “summit” of VIS (very important scientists) to address what Al saw as the VII (very important issue) of “Global Warming”, and he invited Dr. William Gray. Bill sent a friendly and polite note thanking Al for the invitation, and stating he would be glad to attend, but also stating that, in all honesty, man to man, he saw no evidence Global Warming was as severe a threat as Al stated it was.

Al took offence, and after the meeting he used his political clout. Abruptly Bill Gray got no funding for research into thermohaline circulation. Nor did Al relent. Bill got no research funding for the rest of his life. Bill couldn’t be fired, as his brilliance was too obvious, but Bill was told, “Stick to hurricanes, Bill,” as if that was the only subject Bill had any expertise in. In fact it was Bill’s all-encompassing overview which enabled him to surprise people by doing what was deemed impossible.

Sidenote: In the 1950’s hurricanes were only given women’s names because (supposedly like women) they were mysterious….and unpredictable. Then Bill predicted them. So then hurricanes were allowed to have male names. Why? Are men so predictable? (The demons of cancel-culture will need to work on this [and likely name hurricanes for things too absurd to think about.])

But Bill could care less what a hurricane was named. What he cared about was the big picture. His skill involving hurricanes was not his focus but more like a sideline. He was the sort of adviser Al should have wanted at his side, but for some weird reason Al felt it was wise to defund him, and to marginalize him, and to ostracize.

I fail to see any good came of Al’s action. The irony is that Al, who liked to think he preserved the environment, poisoned the environment of scientific thought. The happy and healthy environment where men are free to compare thoughts among friends was polluted by a political policy which didn’t allow certain thoughts and even didn’t allow certain people. Your funding, your job, your seniority, your ability to publish, all were in a sense determined by whether or not you kowtowed to Al. It was cancel-culture in its infancy.

This power might have puffed Al’s ego, but did it do any good? It did not defend Al’s movie, for with each passing year the prophesies in the movie look more and more incorrect. The polar bear population increased, which make the tear-jerking part of Al’s movie look asinine. As do other events, such as the failure of rising seas to swamp south sea islands. The movie does not improve like wine with time, but instead looks stupider and stupider.

So what good did Al achieve by marginalizing those who pointed out his errors, and by promoting those sycophants who told him his errors weren’t errors? It only delayed the inevitable. Even if Al had absolute control over people, it wouldn’t improve his movie. It isn’t people, but is time itself, that shoots Al down in flames. No person need be involved. Truth keeps its power, even if not a mortal on earth has the guts to stand up for it.

So what good did Al’s cruel defunding of Bill achieve? What good is it that we know so much less about thermohaline circulation than we would have known, had Al been curious? What did we gain by defunding Bill? I see no gain.

Al might think he preserved his own status, and his dignity, but increasingly it seems the opposite is true. Rather than furthering truth he opposed truth. There is no dignity in that. In fact Al, like me, seems to have often been stupid, but I doubt he will delight me by being human, and saying, “How stupid of me! I should have seen that! Thank you for pointing that out.” Instead I fear he will be possessed by his possessions, and cling to them until he must let go of them, as he does what we all must do, and dies.

And then? Well, I doubt Al thinks much about, “and then?” One perk of Atheism is that one can avoid a side of Truth which states every action has a reaction, and our lives have consequences.

I bring this digression up to demonstrate cancel-culture is not a new thing, appearing out of the blue. It is an old, bad habit, and Dr. William Gray experienced it, as did Galileo.

I also bring this digression up because cancel-culture has become THE issue, more important than sea-ice. My digression is not actually a digression, but rather is facing-facts-that-demand-attention.

Not that I really want to study the psychology of politicians like Al Gore.  I want to escape reality, and dream at clouds the way I once did out the window during Algebra Class. Sea-ice is pristine, and beautiful, and sea-ice behaves as it behaves obeying laws which don’t give a —- about politics in “The Swamp”, or about who gets “funding.”

To be blunt and perhaps unsympathetic, all “The Swamp’s” claptrap reminds me of a group of teenybopper girls in my long-ago Algebra Class. They too were uninterested in Algebra, but rather than clouds out the window they cared about who was “in” and who was “out”.  I was definitely “out”, but I didn’t care what they thought, because clouds out the window were better looking than those gossiping wenches, (with the possible exception of one wench who looked at me like I might not be definitely “out.”) But even those immature females never stood between immature me and the window to beauty. They were never as in-my-face as cancel-culture is. Cancel-culture is like an Algebra teacher clashing shut the blinds, to deny me a view of clouds, and taping teenyboppers mouths shut, to halt their gossip, and then demanding all focus on the equation on the blackboard, which states X + 1 = 2, (and then bloviating that X must equal something other than 1).

And I end this digression with a simple statement. Cancel-culture is wrong. (Could go on, but it is best to keep conclusions short and sweet.) So, what is right?

What is right is to discuss science in the manner I already described, where we are friends among friends, awed about the majesty of stuff beyond our ken. We need not pretend we are on top of stuff we do not fathom. We don’t. We don’t fathom the weather, nor control the weather, nor fathom viruses, nor control viruses. But we are free to seek to increase our understanding of such subjects. And understanding grows best in an environment fertilized by kindness and friendliness. Such beautiful growth is stunted and clipped by cancel-culture. We need to quit the crap.


Now that I have dealt with the gigantic social crisis facing our nation, I can return to the far more pleasant and fascinating subject of arctic currents. This involves the “thermohaline circulation” which Dr. William Gray deeply wanted to study, and which Al Gore zealously prevented from being studied.

At this point I get to bring up my fourth wonder, which was a hole that first faintly appeared in the sea-ice at the end of March, long before the meltdown began. In my last post I wondered what could melt such a hole, and cause such a hole to persist despite the shifting of the sea-ice. And I dared venture an idea, which I could venture despite seeing many reasons to shoot it down in flames.

Why shoot it down? Because I wasn’t entirely sure “the hole” was truly there. It only appeared in NRL (Naval Research Laboratory) “thickness” maps. How those maps are created is outside my layman’s paygrade. But I did attempt, as daylight returned to the Pole, to use satellite imagery to verify the “hole” was there. Oddly, that part of the Arctic Sea seemed to attract storms which stalled on or close to the “hole”, and it was very hard to see through the constant clouds. But the few dim glimpses I got showed no “hole”. So perhaps the NRL maps are experiencing some glitch, and there is no “hole”.

However, because I am free of cancel-culture, I am allowed to wonder. I am allowed to admit the Navy may have access to data, perhaps from submarines, which shows ice is greatly thinned in places, but not utterly removed, so satellites cannot see “the hole”. And that leads me to the next wondering, which is about what could thin the ice in such a manner. And this lead to a subject near and dear to the boy in me. And what is near and dear to the boy in me? Big Bangs: Explosions and catastrophes, earthquakes and avalanches, and other unsettling stuff which cause all sorts of problems to “settled science.” One such event is volcanoes.

Volcanoes cause all sorts of problems to our attempts to understand the subtle engineering of the ebb and flow and give and take of other meteorological balances. As we carefully measure iotas, volcanoes fart hugely.  They are impolite and ruin our attempts at careful measurement. As we attempt to be discreet, they belch. Just when we think we might have the AMO and PDO predictable, a single volcano vomits ash into the stratosphere, and our predictions go haywire.

This seems a good time to fling my hands into the air and walk off exasperated, but I am again drawn back to the wonder, by the sheer spectacle of crimson lava shooting a thousand feet into the arctic sky. And this drags me back to dots that are difficult to connect.

It is difficult to connect anything as violent as a volcanic eruption with anything so gentle as sunbeam, and I long held that attempting to connect volcanoes with sunshine was absurd. But there does seem to be a mysterious correlation between the sun going “quiet” and volcanoes becoming “noisy”. It doesn’t make a lick of sense to a layman like me. How can a sunbeam quench a volcano? How can a lack of a sunbeam allow volcanoes to shatter the skies? I have no idea, so don’t ask me. But it seemingly happens. More research is needed. Send money.

The last major “quiet” of the sun was called the “Dalton Minimum”, and at first not much that was volcanic happened. But, after a decade, volcanoes began popping. Evidence exists of, among many other eruptions, two enormous explosions, in 1810 and 1815. They are the two biggest explosions in a millennium, only five years apart. We find proof of these eruptions in ash that we can note in cores taken from the icecaps of both Greenland and Antarctica. But here is the weird part. We know the 1815 eruption was at Tambora in Indonesia, which cost thousands of lives immediately, and millions if you include the derangement of the climate and horrible pandemics of cholera (caused by fouled drinking water) which followed. But the 1815 eruption was only an addition to the effects caused by the 1810 eruption. And where did the 1810 eruption, which left ash at both poles, occur? We don’t know. I’d say we haven’t a clue, but surely there are clues. We’re just too blind to see them.

In like manner we are too blind to see how a lack of sunbeams might cause super-volcanoes to explode.  Sunbeams are gentle, and volcanoes are not. (As a poet, I might suggest that when people fail to be gentle and pamper me, I tend to explode, but that is not scientific.) In the end we are left with a vague and unverified suggestion that, ten to twenty years into a solar minimum, volcanoes go haywire. And we are now ten to twenty years into our current “Quiet Sun”. Are volcanoes going haywire?

Not in an explosive, sooty manner. (Yet). But volcanoes can go berserk, and not produce ash that can be measured at both Poles. Volcanoes can, with hardly noticeable earthquakes, fountain lava 1500 feet into the air. We have recently seen that in both Hawaii and Iceland.

But also volcanos pour out lava in the depths of the sea, where nobody sees. Roughly 80% of the volcanoes on earth are underwater, yet are blissfully disregarded by the very people who are deeply worried by the flatulence of cows. But I don’t disregard, and do allow myself to wonder.

Allow me to wonder a bit about the amazing geology of continental drift. Data gathered during the “Geophysical Year” of 1959, (when scientists were allowed to be scientists) produced data which determined North America was drifting away from Europe and Africa at a measurable rate. With GPS we can actually measure it, down to the milometer, on a daily basis. But back then it was a flabbergasting concept. Continents can move? They bob around like corks? You must be trying to pull the wool over my eyes! No? You are serious? Gosh! This is incredible.

If North America was heading west as Europe and Africa headed east, there must be a crack between them. And sure enough, the data gathered in 1959 showed a rupture in the Atlantic seafloor, oozing lava, called the Mid Atlantic Ridge. The rock at the ridge was brand new, but as you moved east and west it got older and older, which was taken as a verification that the seafloor was spreading.

As a layman, I tend to think vast amounts of deep-sea oozing lava should be included in models that attempt to predict how Atlantic currents wander. But I don’t think such we understand such oozing well enough.  Send money.

This north-to-south crack in the Atlantic produces excessive lava in “hotspots” which cause so much lava to pour out that it causes the sea-bottom to rise above the surface, creating Iceland and the Azores. (I theorize that these “hotspots” are located where they are because Europe sinks to the north under glaciers during ice ages, and then sinks to the south during climate optimums. The Azores and Iceland are at pivot points. But this idea of mine may well be an idea much like 97 of Churchill’s 100 ideas).

In any case, for a long time this stuff was happening down where we couldn’t see, but finally some scientist persuaded somebody with money we should go take a look, and gizmos and gadgets were devised to descend to depths with crushing pressure. Amazing wonders were seen.

No actual volcanoes were watched, but the sheer heat of the crack produced “smokers” which gushed hot water rich with nutrients, and rather than killing everything in sight the “smokers” fed a sort of oasis, rich with clams, seaworms and crustaceans. It was an ecosystem far from the light of the sun, independent of what was happening miles above, and heedless of what academics formerly stated was possible.

One thing I found fascinating (because of course I found viewing videos from miles down in the sea to be a splendid way to avoid cleaning my desk, buried in miles of paper), was how the smokers produced CO2, and how they handled the CO2.

At the pressure of the surface CO2 only exists as a solid (dry ice) which sublimates immediately to its gaseous form, but CO2 exists as liquid under pressure, for example inside our fire extinguishers. And over a mile down pressures are so great that CO2 exists as a liquid. There are actual videos of little trickles of CO2 oozing away from the “smokers”, heading downhill as other nutrients rush upwards. What a springboard for thought! For example, If we are so worried about CO2, why not plunge it to the depths of the sea, where it liquifies and sinks?) (The answer to this question involves a post of its own, so please don’t go there,) (unless in friendship and joy.)

But the robots crawling a mile down never seemed to view lava. And that was what I wanted. I wanted the bombast, the sensationalism, the calamity, the collapse of twin towers, the train plunging off the exploding “Bridge Over The River Kwai”, the ruin and destruction that schoolboys relish, and which volcanoes epitomize.

Sadly, I learned through a bit of layman research that experts had concluded deep-sea-volcanoes were not explosive. Experts stated that pressures were so great miles down that gases remained liquefied, and couldn’t create the necessary pressure for explosions. Rather, the experts stated, the lava only oozed, creating “shield volcanoes” with shallow slopes, which might eventually rise several miles above the ocean, as in the case of Hawaii, but could never explode like Krakatoa. I bowed to their authority, conceding lava could only ooze, but still, even if volcanoes only oozed, I yearned to see the oozing lava.

It irked me that the deep-sea robots saw no lava. After all, if the crack between continents was just a crack, we would speak of the Mid Atlantic Dent. It is called the Mid Atlantic Ridge because colossal amounts of lava are oozed and make the sea-bottom much higher than the abysmal depths to the east and west. Yet the robots never focused on lava. The focus was on “smokers”, which were mere hot springs. In a sense it was like focusing on Old Faithful and ignoring the enormous caldera of the super volcano that formed Yellowstone. But I supposed it was the fascinating deep-sea ecosystems that generated the grant money. In some ways all the fuss over clams, seaworms and crustaceans reminded me of the young teacher focused on plovers, ignoring the fisherman’s information about “big whorls”.

Then in 1999 a swarm of earthquakes was noted in a northern extension of the Mid Atlantic Ridge. The swarms were so far north they weren’t in the Atlantic, but up in the Arctic. The quakes occurred on the Gakkel Ridge, which is a sort of continuation of the Mid Atlantic Ridge which extends north of Iceland until it fades northeast of Severnya Zenyla, (though traces continue on to the Siberian coast). This swarm of anomalies was associated with other aberrations from the norm, such as increase of dissolved methane and even helium in the general area, and scientists were exited and hungered to take a look. Finally, in 2007, some persuasive scientist managed to convince someone with money to send a robot down under the sea-ice to the location of the 1999 earthquake swarm.

What they discovered was theoretically impossible. Volcanoes had exploded more than two miles down, where they are not allowed to explode. These outlaw volcanoes made actual craters, and covered areas miles away with shards of volcanic glass. As is the case with good scientists, the fact the old theory was proven wrong didn’t make everyone sulk, but instead true scientists became happily excited, as they attempted to figure out how the heck the impossible happened.

I assume that, although extreme pressure can turn gas to liquid, extreme heat can vaporize such pressurized liquid. In any case, the scientists determined some rough calculations about how high the heat must have been, how such heat would affect certain gasses, how high the explosion’s plume must have gone for the glass shards to fall so far from the crater, but then a wet blanket fell on the research. I think I know why.

I don’t know if Al Gore was involved, but to me it seems that any talk of extreme heat at the bottom of the Arctic Sea would lead thinking minds to wonder if that heat went upwards and had any effect on the thickness of the sea-ice above. This might cause problems. Why? Well, if the thinning of sea-ice above had any connection or correlation to swarms of earthquakes beneath, then the political narrative, and Al Gore’s movie, might go  down in flames. Why? Because they had stated the thinning of such sea-ice was entirely due to CO2. And, if you go back and read the papers and articles written in 2007, it is a bit embarrassing to see how the writers walk on eggs, seeking to assure readers the undersea explosions did not “cause” Global Warming but would “worsen” Global Warming. The written evidence of fearfulness is circumstantial,  but creates the impression writers did not want to rock the boat (or boatloads) of their funding.

For Alarmists 2007 was a wonderful year, for a great deal of sea-ice was flushed south through Fram Strait and sea-ice “extent” hit a modern-day record low; (IE: Since satellite views made regular viewing possible from above, in 1979). To Alarmists this seemed a proof Global Warming was real, and that the arctic would soon be ice-free. We were supposedly witnessing a so-called “Death Spiral”, and once the arctic became ice-free all hell would break lose. This was their story, and they were sticking to it.

Well, it is now 2021, and the arctic is not ice-free. In fact, judging from the increase in thick sea-ice along the Siberian coast since last year, by next September we likely will see an increase in sea-ice since 2007. Once again, even if every scientist is made spineless by the blustering threats of cancel-culture politicians, Truth, in the form of time, has spoken. Yet sadly we once again have seen the wet blanket of discouragement slow and stifle research. There has been little study of heat from volcanoes on the floor of the Arctic Sea, since 2007.

I have attempted to show my layman’s idea of the engineering of arctic currents by creating a theoretically elegant concept where waters are warmed and arise at the Equator and are chilled and sink at the Pole. But volcanoes utterly screw my theory up. Why? Because if an undersea volcano vomits a vast lake of lava, guess what? The seawater next to that lava is no longer cold. Warm, sea-bottom water destroys my nice, neat theory where waters sink at the Pole, for warm water rises.

The lava pouring out, at rates which can involve millions of gallons an hour, is at a temperature of around 1500 degrees, and it meets saline deep-sea water close to 32 degrees. What a clash! What then happens?

Judging from lava flows from Hawaii entering the Pacific, very little comes of the 1500 degree difference between lava and water. The lava forms a slight crust, but keeps advancing, as the seawater boils at the very interface between water and lava, but such bubbles of boiling almost immediately vanish, as they arise into waters below the boiling point. On the Hawaiian coast some steam (and pulverized glass) does rise from the lava flow entering the water but is not enough to greatly change the climate. On Hawaii the 1500-degree difference is actually a ho hum affair, merely new land arising above the Pacific. However such clashes may not be such a ho hum affair, when the 1500 degree difference occurs at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean, along the Gakkel Ridge.

Why? Because our nice, neat theory has cold water descending at the Pole, and now we abruptly have a 1500 degree frying pan right where waters are supposed to sink. At the deep interface of 1500 degree lava and water with a boiling point of 212 (F), the water can never pass the boiling point of water, but it can reach 211 degrees. Whoopsie daisy! I forgot to include 211 degree water at the sea-floor, when I concluded I had things figured out, with waters rising at the equator and sinking at the Pole. Instead we have a plume of warm water rising, and even thinning the sea-ice as it reaches the surface, possibly creating the “hole”.

When you glance back to the Alarmist reaction to the 2007 “discovery” of craters on the arctic seafloor (I put “discovery” in quotes because the British, Russian and American submarine captains likely knew they were there) it seems evident Alarmists did what they do. What do they do? Alarmists become alarmed. And they instinctually created a counter-theory, not as an friendly idea which might be shot down in flames by friendly flak, but as a wet blanket to smother further inquiry. It was much like the dismissal of medieval warmth in Greenland as a “local effect”, only this time it was the dismissal of rising warmth in the Arctic Sea as an impossibility due to a “lid”. It was proposed that the stratification of waters in the Arctic Sea created a barrier like the tropopause, and that warm waters rising above volcanoes would hit an impenetrable wall and develop flattened tops like thunderstorms, too far down to melt sea-ice. Further discussion seemingly was discouraged. That was their story and they were sticking to it. If ice thinned over a swarm of earthquakes, or a “hole” appeared, curiosity was discouraged. “Nothing to see here, people; move right along.”

If the current “hole” eventually reduces the extent of sea-ice next September, Alarmists will give the credit to CO2. There will be no mention of an undersea volcano stimulated by a quiet sun, or, for that matter, of 96 other possibilities.  Alarmists seem so involved with protecting the precious egos involved in their biases and vanities that they miss happy discussions, and amazing wonders.

I don’t like to miss wonders. I pity Alarmists, for they are too busy defending where they once were, and they fail to go forward to where they could be. They sit in their cabins, insisting their Titanic is unsinkable, as I head for the lifeboats. Like Churchill I confess most of my ideas will be shot down in flames, or sink like the unsinkable Titanic. One such idea apparently is that waters always sink in the arctic.

I cannot express what a mess it makes of my layman preconceptions to surmise that the “hole” in the NRL thickness-maps is caused by a plume of warmer water rising from an undersea lava flow (perhaps provoked by the quiet sun.) It makes me look stupid. It makes me look wrong. But I’m used to that and am more interested in corrections.

Simply wonder for a bit. Simply think about how the North Atlantic currents would be deranged if, rather than sinking, currents arose at the Pole. It is a matter of engineering. It should be possible for us to figure it out, if we are sensible engineers. It requires a little tweaking of our concepts. And, because Alarmists seem to be very good at making adjustments to the temperature records, perhaps they can someday make adjustments to their computer models.

As a simple layman, one thing I would expect, if currents arose rather than descended at the Pole, would be that there would be less of a reason for currents to flow north.  After all, currents theoretically flow north to replace the water that sinks. If water does not sink, and instead arises, southern waters should lose their reason to flow north. So, has this happened?

Well, it may just be a coincidence, but one northern tendril of the Gulf Stream took a holiday, just as the “Hole” appeared. It is the tendril which bounces off Norway and swings up into the arctic around the west side of Svalbard.  Usually it can be depended upon to melt amazing amounts of sea-ice. (I have seen satellite views show this current melt away impressive amounts of thick sea-ice shoved south by north winds, in only three days.) But this year that current got weak and allowed sea ice to come south and crunch against the north coast of Svalbard. Why?

It cannot be a sign of Global Warming for sea-ice to crunch so far south. Even back in 1596, Willem Barentsz, (who Barents Sea is named after) found it easy to sail a wooden Dutch sailboat, utterly lacking the ironclad exteriors of modern icebreakers, right around the northwest corner of Svalbard, to discover Raudfjorden on the north coast on June 20. This June 20 sea-ice crunched against the same coast. How can we fret about Global Warming when waters which were ice-free in 1596 are now clotted with ice?

But that is a reply for Alarmists, and has little to do with the reality of what actually is occurring in the Arctic. It Is my reply to Al Gore, and not to Bill Gray, or any other honest scientist.

I wish I knew more honest scientists, for they get excited when you bring up an exception-to-the-rule. Al Gore would defund you, if you disobeyed his rule, and cancel culture will attempt to destroy you, if you don’t conform, but honest scientists delight when you discover a nonconformity.

Therefore I dare bring up the nonconformity of the “hole” in the arctic. It should not exist, and breaks rules to even appear, and has the further audacity to, even when fresh sea ice attempts to side over it and erace it, burn right through that new ice and persist as a “hole”, in the NRL maps.

The best way to view the lifetime of this “hole” is now the 365-day-animation of the NRL “thickness” maps at their site (and indeed this is the best way of seeing how mobile the sea-ice is, and also of comparing how thin the sea-ice was along the Siberian coast 365 days ago to how much thicker it is this summer.) But I will conclude with a few close-ups.

Here is the “hole” first faintly appearing on March 31. Of course, I didn’t notice it.

NRL 331

Here is the “hole” becoming slightly more apparent on April 6, though I still  hadn’t noticed it

NRL 406

Around April 18 it became vivid enough for me to notice, in the upper left quadrant.

NRL 418

By April 28  the “hole” definitely had my attention, partly because other examples I’ve noticed seldom lasted so long, yet this one was expanding. Also,  though the flow was towards Svalbard, to the far right (notice how the polinya by Svalbard in the first map has become filled in, and in places the ice is piling up), the “hole” has cut through the ice to the left.

NRL 428

By May 10 I was getting very interested.  As a storm reversed the flow of sea-ice back to the left, the brightest (thinnest) part of the hole shifted to the right side.

NRL 510

By May 31 the “hole” had melted an irregular shape, as the sea-ice shifted downwards. (Notice the polynya forming towards the top, on the shores of Severnya  Zemlya). But it seemed the upwelling was peaking. There was no bright center to the “hole”. I noted the thinning of sea-ice towards Franz Josef Land, and wondered if the entire surface towards Kara Sea had been warmed; the thinning seemed more abrupt than usual, but perhaps it can be explained by storms pushing the ice up against the Franz Josef Land coast.  I simply noticed the thinning seemed extreme to me, so early in the meltdown.

NRL 531

By June 14 the “hole” had drifted into the upper right quadrant, but still seemed to melt ice on the upstream side to some degree. I wondered if the plume of warmed water could tilt, like smoke from a chimney in a wind.

NRL 614

Here is the “hole” starting to fade on June 29 . (After all, no eruption is forever).

NRL 629 IMG_2996

And here are the fading remnants of the “hole” as I now write, on July 12.

NRL 712 IMG_2997

Now I simply ask happy and genuine scientists to think about this “hole”, and to come up with 100 brilliant ideas, and to laugh as 97 are shot down in flames. Let’s have some fun. Where cancel-culture forbids thought, let’s be thoughtful. Rather than mindless lets be mindful, for the best way to cancel cancel-culture is to cancel cancelling.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Point Barrow’s Ice–

With many eyes focused on the the Northabout, as it tries to battle through the ice at the western entrance of the Laptev Sea, some are missing a wonderful chance to study the ice at the far side of the Pole. Skies have been clear, and north winds brought ice ashore at Barrow, which I missed because I was too engrossed in the Northabout’s travails. I only managed to save a picture of the final bits of ice before they washed away.

Barrow Webcam 0805 05_22_23_24_ABCam_20160805_132000

For a few more days you will be able to see the sea-ice on the shore and further out to sea in the ten-day-animation of the Barrow Webcam here:

What fascinated me was how substantial the bergs appeared. From outer space no individual bergs could be seen, and the water looked like it had milky swirls, but some of the bergs looked as tall as a man, when they grounded.

Then, when the bergs were blown west and out to sea by southeast winds, I wondered where they had gone. Temperatures can get quite hot over the Tundra, and though they cool towards the coast, during some summers Barrow has seen temperatures in the 70’s in late July and early August. Sea-ice is liable to melt swiftly when it gets close to shore. Had this ice melted?

This is where the Explorer comes in handy, for it allows you to zoom in from outer space. It can be found here:

Zooming in on Point Barrow, the ice can still be seen, lurking not far off shore:

The problem then becomes telling the ice from the clouds. In the above shot there are a few wisps of cirrus over the sandbars along the coast, and a triangle of high cloud to the bottom right, but all the other milky wisps are ice. They look slushy and even ephemeral from afar, but face to face they become far more meaningful and substantial. From outer space the sea barely seems to have any ice, but down on the surface in a small craft the seas seem far more “ice covered.”

This leads to all sorts of bickering about what constitutes an ice-covered sea. 15% ice-extent seems to be the accepted line between ice-covered and ice-free, though I would not like to try to cross water with 10% ice coverage. For one thing, as the above picture shows, the ice is not evenly dispersed but, just as the sand forms sandbars along the coast, the ice seems to form ice-bars out to sea, and they could definitely bar a small boat’s way.

Another subject often debated is how much sunshine the open water is absorbing. The water looks nice and black in the above picture, and as if it would suck up sunshine, but when the sun gets low on the horizon water, especially when it is glassy, reflects sunshine even more efficiently than white snow. Then, when the sun dips below the horizon, as it is starting to do each day in Barrow, open water loses heat more efficiently than water sheltered by an igloo-roof of sea-ice. In other words, the “abedo” equation is more complex than Al Gore described, with open water gaining heat when the sun is highest and never sets, and then losing heat as the sun sinks lower and sets.

Right now we are finishing a time when the North Pole actually gains more heat than it loses. We are beginning to lose more heat than we gain. From now until the sun sets in September the thaws grow shorter, fewer, and more far-between. Most of the melt comes from below.

This “basal melt” is tricky, and I am constantly being fooled by it. It has to do with the temperature of the water under the ice, but we have too few sensors under the ice to have a good idea of when, how and why it varies. And it obviously does vary, because sometimes the “ice-bars” visible in the  picture above can vanish with startling rapidity, while on other occasions they just persist until they refreeze.

So far this summer we have seen the latter more than the former. Last April the Alaskan coast got off to such a speedy start, in terms of becoming ice-free, that those who root for an ice-free Pole were gloating and chortling. Even when temperatures were still well below freezing off-shore winds had created huge Polynyas of open water both to the west and to the east of Barrow, and if the sea-ice had melted in the manner it did in 2012…but it didn’t. Instead it just floated about refusing to melt, and even came back to the ice-free coast and littered the beaches. The nerve!

The last variable involves how cloudy the Pole has been. Not that Barrow ever gets much sun, tending to be cloudy more than half the time, but further out towards the Pole it is usually sunnier, but this past year a meridional pattern has brought storm after storm to the Pole, basically smashing the ice to smithereens.

The weather patterns up over the Pole deserve more study, for they seem to break laws obeyed by patterns further south. Often I’m baffled by their behavior. In fact the triangle of cloud at the bottom of the above shot is worthy an hour of wonder all its own, as it is part of a puzzling cloud formation best seen by taking a few steps back, and viewing Barrow from deeper out in space:

At this distance some of the thinner ice-bars are all but invisible, but we also see bigger bergs, looking like chips from outer space, but the size of several Manhattans, further out to sea. Then, when we step out even further, Barrow becomes tiny as we see a bigger picture:

At this point the discussions can become a bit silly, for if you are rooting for an ice-free Pole you spot that area of open water well out into the pack-ice, and that becomes your focus:

However if you are like me you simply shift the focus, and win the argument. You point out the subject under discussion was not a ice-free area in the Arctic Sea, but rather that the entire sea would be ice-free. You point at an area further south, back towards Barrow, and in a somewhat impolite tone state, “That does not look very ice-free to me.”

In the end I can’t help but think this will be another summer that frustrates everyone. There is still a lot of basal melt to go, so there may be some surprises, but I think we will wind up with too much ice to make the Alarmists happy, but too little to make the Skeptics happy.

And in our preoccupation with area and extent, we may totally miss something wonderful. We could be using the wrong metric, and attempting to smell a rose with a microphone. For, when I look at the ice, it seems wonderfully smashed up. The real news could be hidden in the change in the storm tracks, and in the meridional pattern, and we might be completely missing it.

RIP Dr. Bill Gray

“They’ve been brainwashing us for 20 years,” Gray says. “Starting with the nuclear winter and now with the global warming.This scare will also run its course. In 15-20 years, we’ll look back and see what a hoax this was.”  Dr. Bill Gray, as quoted in Denver Post, June 5, 2006.

Bill Gray 1 gray-thumb

In 2006 Dr. Gray was a strapping young man of 76, but when he spoke of “15 to 20 years” he was speaking of a day he knew he’d be lucky to live long enough to see, as he would need to live to an age of 91 to 96. When he died this April 16th he was only 86, however it wasn’t because he was unlucky.  He was blessed with a thing called “integrity”, which sometimes is a thing you can feel it is unlucky to have, when the corrupted get mad at you for refusing to be corrupted. However we all must die, and on that day we may be asked to account for our actions, and be faced with our honesty, or our lack of it.

Dr. Gray likely was seen by Beltway Insiders as naive, for he had the belief that honesty was an American trait. When he was young children were told that George Washington, when questioned by his father, confessed,  “Father, I cannot tell a lie. I did chop down your cherry tree with my little hatchet.” Nowadays Beltway Insiders laugh at this fable, but scientists understand the Truth behind it, (if not other fables).

If there is any Truth involved in the theory of Global Warming, it is hidden under the shame of what amounts to a grotesque fraud perpetuated upon the trusting. Why? Because, for the sake of sleazy political concepts that treat Truth like a second class citizen,  (such as “might makes right” and “the ends justify the means”), good scientists like Dr. Gray saw their funding cut, as scurrilous knaves landed prestigious positions.

It must have been with a sense of shock, and mystery, that Dr. Gray saw the funding cease and the awards stop. How could it be wrong to tell the truth? But, in the so called “slyness” of power politics, the Truth is stood upside down. Dr. Gray was “out” for being honest, while Dr. James Hansen made a career of wasting millions “adjusting” the actual temperatures taken by reputable citizens and instead creating fudged data, and also by alarming people in 1986 by suggesting “science” would “prove” New York City would be flooded by now, and Earth might become as hot as Venus. As years past his absurd science became a joke, and he increasingly became a sort of cartoon, often equated with Homer Simpson.

H H 1 magesH H 2 roy-spencer-homer-simpson-climate-scientist

Bill Gray will be vindicated, as it increasingly becomes obvious that some of the characters held up as paragons of modern science were but paid shills. Mann’s “hockey sticky” has been exposed as a farce based on the rings of a lone tree. The sea-ice “Death Spiral” of Serreze suffers yearly embarrassments. Cook’s “97 per cent of all scientists agree” has been exposed as mangled data that can’t even prove “97 of all shills agree”, so that anyone who quotes it, (even the president of the United States),  looks like a complete imbecile if they refers to “97%” as an actual fact. And last but not least, (as he held the power that could cut Bill Gray’s funding), Al Gore and his movie “Inconvenient Truth” has been exposed as being far from science, and very close to being the most cynical of propaganda.

Although Bill Gray will be vindicated, I think it is a bit of a drag to be vindicated after you are dead. I wish he could have lived to be a hundred, so he could see the shills get what they deserve. However perhaps it is best he be spared that. For, when the shills get what they have earned, and reap what they sow, it will include much of the USA, for “power politics” have put fools in control. Many innocent bystanders will be swept up in the ruinous fall of a fraud, and I wouldn’t have wanted Dr. Gray to suffer even a stray shard of shrapnel.

What I most admire is how resilient his spirit proved to be, after he discovered he was politically ostracized. Surely he must have gone through some sullen moods and some black nights, and in fact he had every reason to drown his sorrows and become a bitter, ruined man. He did not do so, though some say there were times his temper flared.

Dr. Bill Gray was my age, 63, when his funding was cut by Al Gore in 1993. I can’t imagine what it feels like, after a lifetime of hard work, and on the verge of great research,  to have the culmination be to be relegated to the back rooms of hurricane research. However perhaps Al Gore would have wished even worse to befall the good man, but Dr. Gray was too brilliant to completely trash. His hurricane research was superb.

The fact Al Gore could make this mistake makes me strangely ashamed of my generation. All the talk of Peace and Love and Understanding, and all the hoopla about caring for the environment, was perverted into cruelty, by the Tolkien “ring of power.” (Perhaps I was lucky to never gain power, and always be excommunicated, like Dr. Gray.)

But Dr. Gray did one thing that really makes him shine. He never completely dissolved into rage and frustration, but trained up a new generation of scientists to love Truth more than politics. Right to the end he was a mentor.

Dr Gray 2 grayklotzbach_2014

I doubt that, at 63, I have the 23 years left to live that Dr. Gray had. I’m not sure I’d like it, in a world as corrupted as ours has become. However, even if I only have a year left, I hope to follow Dr. Gray’s footsteps, and be the sort of man who inspires hope rather than cynicism, and encourages belief in Truth rather than reliance on corruption.

Once I was that pert student, eager to please:
That annoying one nodding as teachers spoke,
But that time’s warmth felt drafts of deep freeze
And I came to regard such pupils as a joke.

I then slouched by the window. My hope
Was in clouds. Teachers clashed Venetian blinds
Closed, and called me “class clown” and “the dope”,
But they couldn’t sell the poisoning of minds.

The blinds had imperfections. I still saw
A slice of sky, and clouds, and hope, and then
A teacher noticed, walked over…to my awe
He opened the window, and spoke man to men,

“Blinds hide the clouds. To hide is to lie.
Truth loves the air, and the vast views of sky.”

Rest in Peace, Dr. Bill Gray.


This is the latest of a long string of posts, the last of which was:

A good friend advised me not to launch into these posts assuming visitors had read all the prior posts, so, at the risk of being redundant, I’ll give a quick synopsis of what has come before.

Last summer I did what I have done for many years, which was to escape the heat and humidity by visiting the North Pole Camera.  Mostly I do this because I find views of the arctic to be beautiful, however also I did it to become better educated on the subject of arctic ice.

I was brought up to believe the right to vote was an honor not to be taken lightly, and that I should research before I voted, and that it was good to be an “educated voter.”  Because “Global Warming” was a political subject, I felt I should educate myself on the subject. Much to my surprise I was told that asking any questions made me some sort of a bad person.  This happened many years ago, and happened many times.

Way back in 2006 I had already decided that, even though the science was supposedly “settled,” it most definitely wasn’t settled.  I was a bit amazed, at first, by the anger some expressed towards me for simply questioning.  After a while I got used to it, and went on questioning.  I got answers, slowly, surely, and sometimes painfully.  I became convinced certain aspects of the “settled science” were, to be blunt, complete bunkum.

One aspect involved the assertion the North Pole was melting away, and that with the ice gone the “albedo” would be irrevocably altered, and a runaway positive feedback would ensue, and Global Warming would result in a planetary meltdown.

This struck me as bunkum because, even as a boy, I likely knew more about the Vikings in Greenland than most adults, and in the half century since I have learned more and more.  It was obvious to me it had to be much warmer back then than it is now.  (They could grow barley in land that now is permafrost in mid-summer.) My view was reaffirmed by more than a century’s worth of papers by scientists of all sorts, including “climatologists,” and the only dissenting view was held by a modern, elite cluster of individuals who were especially suspect because they refused to show their data.

In any case, that is largely water under the bridge.  I took my stand, had my say, and that was that.  I wasn’t really starting this post on “Views from the North Pole Camera” to make any sort of political point.  To be honest, I was getting sick of the complete stupidity of Al Gore.  I wanted nothing more to do with him or his crowd.  I wanted to get away from people who call me names for asking simple questions.  One way, I had discovered, to get away from civilization, and insults, was to enjoy the view of the North Pole Camera.

Of course, after you have spent several summers viewing the ice, the suggestion that the ice is vanishing becomes absurd.  You have seen with your own eyes how it gets slushy and then refreezes.  You know how melt-water pools form and drain down, how the ice cracks and leads form, and then clamp together and form pressure ridges.  You learn of the Transpolar Drift and Beaufort Gyre, and landscapes like Svalbard and Wrangle Island become familiar to you.  You learn of the life cycle of seals, polar bears, plankton, arctic cod, walruses, whales and krill almost by mistake. Such learning is engrossing and beautiful, and a wonderful escape from civilization and hot weather, and a good subject for an obscure blog where you get perhaps ten visitors on a good day.

Abruptly, last summer, this obscure blog had hundreds of viewers.  It was due to a melt-water puddle that formed in front of the camera and some called “Lake North Pole.”  It was supposedly proof the North Pole was melting, in some circles, but I was in the position to say I’d seen it before and that it would drain away.  When it did drain away, I suppose I became a sort of authority, though I am not. In any case, I figured the visitors would go away, but they didn’t.  Even to this day roughly a thousand people drop by each week to hear me ramble away about a wide variety of subjects orbiting about the subject of the North Pole.

Admittedly some subjects orbit farther afield than Pluto,  however I figure I’ll keep on rambling away as long as people keep coming.



NOVEMBER 4   —DMI MORNING MAPS—  The dance begins

DMI Nov 4 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 4 temp_latest.big (1)

Newcomers to this series of posts will have to get used to the fact I name storms, high-pressure systems,  and blobs of isotherms.  It helps me keep track of things, however at times I get a bit whimsical.

Two lows are dancing around the Pole.  “Hype” is over towards the Bering Straits, circling east off the Alaskan coast, as Hypson is northeast of Svalbard, also cycling east,  off the Siberian coast.  They both are carrying invasions of warm (by arctic standards) air, and between them is the coldest air of the autumn, pooling about pole.

Further south “Payatson” is running into Norway, with his father “Payat” a weak tongue of low pressure extending north.  South of Greenland Fitz is a 968 mb gale, but has kicked an occluded front with a leading “zipper” clear across the Atlantic, and that small low, off our map, is entering and moving up the English Channel as “Fitzip.”  Crossing west Asia and about to move out into the Pacific is “Chin.”

The general area of high pressure over Siberian snows will be called “Igor” all winter, and any time that Siberian high  bulges up into the arctic and precipitates a cross-polar-flow the flow will be called “The Snout of Igor.”


Our Forkasite is continuing south, from 80.706°N to 80.531°N, and west from 3.402°W to 3.755°W, for a total movement of 12.78 miles. Temperatures have risen irregularly from a low of -21.6°C at 1800z yesterday to a high of -15.9°C at 1500z today. The wind has been steadily northeast, rising to around 11 mph at the end of the period. Barometric pressure has been falling, now down to 997 mb.


DMI Nov 4B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 4B temp_latest.big (1)

It is always amazing to see weather, which is basically chaos, produce something symmetrical, such as the swirls of a hurricane. I can see it on the Pole in these maps, where both Hype and Hypson are weaker in unison as they pirouette around the Pole, and both have a low growing stronger to their southwest. Who would imagine chaos obeyed choreographic rules?

In the case of the low developing beside Svalbard, I’d have to call it a revived “Payat.” I notice these revivals a lot up there. Hypeson himself was a low that died and was resurrected. I never have understood how it happens, but in this case it almost seems Hypeson dangled a front southwest, and Payat redeveloped as a secondary.  The same seem thing seems to be occurring on the oppose side of the Pole, with Hype and his tail, who I will dub “Hypetail.”

Further south Scandinavia is in a triad of lows, with Payatson stalled on the Coast of Norway, Fitzip entering the Baltic, and an unnamed low on the far side of the Baltic. None are ferocious giants, but I don’t imagine blonds are getting blonder.

Fitz is negotiating Greenland, which is a perplexing thing to watch and always full of surprises, as some storms drop dead while some do just fine, (and some turn to twin storms on either side of Greenland.)  I imagine Hype will stay strong, as his occlusion is totally loaded. It, by my estimate, holds about half the air that was bringing humid warmth to the east of the USA last week.  It’s not likely to run out of gas right away.

I don’t have time to study Asia, but it looks like Chin is sliding towards the Pacific.

The battered snout of Igor in east Siberia has managed to snort a glob of cold out into the arctic, but is pretty much cringing out of sight, however the rest of Igor looks fairly strong and is bulging into our map with yellowish isobars and blue isothems into the coastal Kara Sea.  This makes me a little nervous, as it is north of the Caspian.  Joe Bastardi teaches to be wary of arctic high pressure north of the Caspian, calling it something like  “Cahir’s Connection.”  (In fact, even though I said I was too busy to study Asian maps, I quickly checked, and was relieved to see a very weak low of 1002 mb just north of the Caspian, southwest of the lobe of Igor appearing on our map. Igor is centered well northeast of the Caspian.)

The center of our map holds impressive cold.  Minus-thirty is midwinter cold at the Pole, where it seldom gets as cold as the tundra of Siberia or Canada, due to the simple fact the water under the ice is a radiator running at minus-one.  While the ice is a fairly good insulator, midwinter lows tend to run in the minus-thirty to minus-forty range.  And we are still 50 days from the first day of winter!


I’ll have to keep this short, as most of my mental energy got spent tonight considering some wonderful questions asked by Michael Bertsch. See the comments-section below if you are curious about what I’m talking about.

The local view has been a cold one.  Although Fitz is off the map the arctic shot he hurled behind as he departed hit us squarely between the eyes.  My back porch thermometer stated, as I limped out into the cold this morning, that I was facing a low of twenty, and the warmest it got all day was 36.  (In Celsius, that is -7 to 2.)  These are temperatures that belong in December, around here. Fortunately the map shows no reinforcements from Igor coming down our way. (click to enlarge.)

Fitz Nov 4 satsfc (3)

I noticed they neglected to mark the boundary of the arctic air on that map, so I’ll do it.  The ghost front comes ashore as a stationary front in southern Virginia,  continues west to the eastern tip of Kentucky, becoming a warm front which curves sharply north and doubles back east and….Well! Will you look at that!  They have an orange dashed line to mark an upper air trough for just a bit!  The ghost has a life, after all!….but then becomes a ghost warm front again,  curving back to the north over Lake Ontario and then northeast to Bliz, who now is a modest blizzard over Manitoba.  You can see the arctic blast digging in behind Bliz, and then curving around and back north up the Canadian Rockies to Northwest Territories.

If this was 1976-77, the belly of Bliz’s arctic blast would hold another high from Igor, which would depress the boundary of arctic air southeast, as Bliz moved south of us, however please notice this map holds no such high-pressure gift from Igor.  The high to reckon with is the high over us, which will, as it slips east, create such a surge of west-side south-winds the arctic will be driven back north, where it darn well belongs.

I do note a new mountain low brewing, in the above map, with slight centers over north Texas and Gallup, New Mexico.  That low will get bigger, and I dub it “Blizson.”  It likely will follow Bliz up to Hudson Bay, but will drag more cold air into the west, and shove the arctic boundary east across the Mississippi River. However it will take its sweet time bringing the cold air all the way east to New Hampshire,  and I say “Hip HIp Hooray!” After one more frosty night we’ll get some nice, southerly winds.

I’ll close with an incredibly annoying incident which you may find amusing.  (It is sort of like seeing someone else slip and fall in the mud: Wonderful to witness, not so fun to undergo.)

My goats didn’t believe me that this was just a brief cold shot, and not the start of winter.  Over and over I drove them back to the yellowing pasture, (wondering where the heck the electric fence was grounding out.)  Undeterred, they kept up their onslaught on the last green things in sight, my Brussels sprouts and my kale.  Persistence paid, and they were victorious.

Laugh all you want.  I am seriously considering how good goat-chops, ribs and roasts might taste. A lot better than Brussels sprouts, I should think.


DMI Nov 5 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 5 temp_latest.big (1)

The symmetry at the Pole is starting to get a bit lopsided.  As sometimes happens on dance-floors, Payat is becoming as bit of a stage-hog, and may move north of Svalbard and become one of the biggest storms the ice has seen in a while, with a central pressure eventually dipping down towards 970 mb.  Our Forkasite could see some excitement.

In fact the entire Atlantic side is getting a bit fiesty, with Hype pretty large southeast of Iceland and Payatson over Norway with a party in the Baltic.

In comparison the Pacific side is quiet, demure, polite, but that is but a facade.  I’m not sure whether you call it “teleconnections,” or envy and a bad temper, but one side of the earth does not like being upstaged by the other.  Although Chin may look like a mild-mannered low of only  992 mb, he has already completely lost it and is swinging a mean uppercut:  A storm that is exploding east of Kamchatka. Already its pressure has dropped below Fitz’s 968 mb, so it already the biggest storm in the northern hemisphere.

Yet our DMI arctic map gives no hint of this.  Let that be a lesson to you, next time you see a face that appears quiet, demure, and polite.

This new pacific storm will gobble up Chin, but, as it is happening out of sight, I’ll just go on calling it Chin.  Purists may object, but this is my blog and I call the shots.  Expect it appear on the top of our DMI maps in a day  or two.

The counter-clockwise spin of the Pacific “Chin” will need some sort of clockwise whorl between it and the counter-clockwise spin of the Atlantic “Payat,” or sparks will fly.  Time to purchase some popcorn, and watch, wait, and whistle.


Northeast winds have increased rapidly at our Forkasite today, peaking at a steady 42 mph shortly after noon, and only slowly diminishing to 35 mph at last report at 1800z. We moved steady south from  80.556°N to 80.134°N, and moving west from 3.703°W to  4.340°W at 1500z, before rebounding east to 4.303°W at 1800z, which suggests winds may be veering northwest at times.  Our movement has been an amazing 30 miles south-southwest, and one can imagine the ice must be creaking and groaning in the wind.

I expect a temperature upsurge, but so far they have been remarkably stable, starting at  -16.9°C at 1500z yesterday, bouncing to dual highs of -14.1°C at midnight and -14.3°C at 0600z, before sinking to -17.4°C at noon and rising only slightly to -16.9°C by 1800z.

That’s a nasty wind chill.


DMI Nov 5B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 5B temp_latest.big (1)


DMI Nov 6 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 6 temp_latest.big (1)

Now is when I most hunger for a camera, or a clear and cloudless satellite picture, however our camera is gone, and the satellite view is mostly of an expanding black hole of 24-hour-darkness.  The black  hole has swallowed up Svalbard, and is just touching the north-most coast of Norway.  The entire north half of Greenland is in twenty-four hour darkness. So we are in the dark.

Even if we had a camera, the lens would likely be frozen over. These northern gales are shy and don’t like us gawking at them.  It is one of those situations where you have to use your imagination to see what is hidden, (and hope you don’t get slapped for doing so.) A true scientist would stick to the facts, facts, facts.

Judging from isobars, the northward progression of “Payat” just to the west of Svalbard is giving our Forkasite strong winds. At first those winds would have an eastern componant which would crunch all the ice to the west and mash it up against the coast of Greenland.  However the winds would gradually back to the north as the storm moved north, grinding the ice south along the coast. What gets interesting is what happens when the storm starts giving us northwest winds, and we get pushed away from the coast.  Does the ice fall apart into  broken bits of berg at the dreaded end-of-the-world edge of the ice?  Or is our berg glued to other bergs by howling gales that have a fifty-below windchill, and is it a huge plate of ice that moves out? (In Antarctica the entire plate of ice moves out, and there is a stretch of open water along the shore.)

I checked the army data, and the temperature at our Forkasite is still down at  -17.33 C. I aslo checked the port of Svalbard on the island of Svalbard, at their temperature is -7.77 C, so it is not like the storm is melting ice with warming winds.  However the seas must be high, and the ice away from the edge must be lifting and falling on big swells, making strange groaning and squealing and moaning and muttering noises.  I wish you were there, standing in that starkness, listening, and could report back to me, as I put more wood on my warm fire.

The isobars on the east side of Payat are more open and the winds are not as strong.  A long curve of general low pressure extends to Fitzip over Finland and then back to Fitz south of Iceland, which is weaker overall but still down at 968 mb.  Chin is a gigantic Pacific storm just starting to appear on our map south of the Bering Strait.

The faint remains of Hyeson continues his waltz around the pole with his father’s faint remain mirroring his moves, but they are like ghosts and no one is paying them much attention, with Payat now tied for second-strongest-storm in the Northern Hemisphere at 968 mb.

I’ll have to check up on how big Chin is getting later, but have to run to work.


Here’s a look at a map made of the “intial data,” used for the GFS models, from the 0600z run. Ryan Maue takes the data and produces these wonderful maps over at WeatherBELL.  I’d tell you to go over and sign up for a free trial, but it is like heroin: The first bag is always free. Click the map once to enlarge, and click again to get a good view.

Chin Nov 6 gfs_mslp_uv10m_npac_1

Pressures are down to 953 mb in Chin.  The typhoon getting all the press, (Halyan,) approaching the Phillipines just off the bottom left of this map, may have its pressure fall lower, (at the time of this map they are only down to 990 mb,) and its winds may be twice as high in a narrow ring around the eye, but these northern gales are bigger, and have hurricane winds roaring far from the center.  This is the sort of storm that fishermen in “The Most Dangerous Catch” like to avoid, and is one reason the fishing grounds up there aren’t yet depleted.

To any purists who insist that this storm is different from Chin, and in fact consumed Chin, I simply state this developed as a remote frontal feature, and therefore is a much part of Chin as an uppercut was part of Mammy Yokum

WWI US 817th Bomb Squadron 483rd Bomb Group 15th Chin AF Leather Patch with Al Capp's Mammy Yokum Decal

NOVEMBER 6  —LOCAL VIEW—   The Arctic Relents

Yesterday morning the arctic was still upon us, with temperatures down to 25, (-4 Celsius,) but the cold didn’t feel as cruel, likely because the air was breathlessly calm.  I didn’t trust the forecast, as computer models are often too fast with the return of warmth up here in New Hampshire, for some reason.  All it would take is a flattening of the 500 mb map isobars to the north, and the arctic air could nudge across the north and dip just enough to catch up with the arctic air already over us, and then, even if the rest of the USA enjoyed a southerly flow, we’d stay stuck in a pocket of cold.

This morning’s map shows such a cross-country charge of arctic air along the border looking less likely: (Click to enlarge.)

Fitz Nov 6 satsfc (3)

First, I notice Bliz is no super-storm, up over Hudson Bay, with his central pressure a weeny 1002 mb. His trailer Blizson is no giant either, at 1005 mb over the Great Lakes.  Of course, as we saw last week with Fitz, those Great Lakes lows can blow up fast, but Blizson doesn’t have the same supply of arctic air funneling in behind, and it will be a case of too little too late, if he tries to grow.  Lastly, the arctic high behind the two has lollygagged around in the west, and I have a hard time calling an arctic high “arctic” when it comes my way via Arizona.

I’ll keep an eye on Blizson, becomes sometimes even if such mild-seeming storms retreat off towards Labrador to the north of the Great lakes, with a seemingly benign Arizona-arctic high in their lee, the arctic high sneaks a strand of nasty cold in a fringe on its northeast flank.

If you look at the above map you can just a hint of such a sneaker in northwest Montana.  You can see the boundary between Pacific and Arctic air is collapsing east as a warm front all the way south through Canada, but ends with a innocuous-seeming hook of a cold front.  If that hook were to get sucked into the flow between a growing Blizson, and the cool side of a Arizona-arctic high, every one else in the USA might be walking about all smiles a midst balmy breezes, but in this northeast nook of the northeast folk would be cussing their choice of a homeland, in a brief blast of bone-chilling bad-luck. That’s why we are such grouches, up here.

Yesterday banks, government, insurance and bureaucracy added to the chill. When I was young a youth could buy a fifty dollar clunker, and it was no big deal.  Now a days it is much harder on modern youth.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the EPA passed a law banning anyone under thirty from even owning a car, but that may just be my mood talking. In any case, I got sucked into helping my middle son get a car at age twenty-one, and the time it took and the paperwork involved sunk my voice to a low growl.  I’ve got enough problems with my goats, and don’t need the government horning in as well.

I took the goats out for a walk, to keep them out of the garden. They are much better than my dog, for they stay close and never chase squirrels or attack old lady’s toy poodles. They are also interesting to observe. I study what they eat. This time of year they get a bit urgent, as they sense food is growing short.

One thing they like is acorns, which have been late falling this year due to the late flowering in the late spring.  I took them to a patch of woods where I noticed a lot had fallen, around five days ago, and was surprised to see the fallen nuts were nearly all gone, and the entire leafy floor of that patch of woods was scuffed up.  It would take a hundred squirrels to scuff that much, so I suspected a group of white tailed deer had beaten us to the harvest, but then noticed the goats sniffing and glancing about anxiously, and decided a black bear had joined in for a brief before-bedtime snack.  (It’s amazing what you can see when there’s nothing to see.)

We headed out to the dam to find some green stuff on the south slope, and I saw something lovely happen in the sky.  There is a time in the early-to-mid morning when the air up five thousand feet or so is all warmed and all uplifts, and an entire deck of altocumulus can appear and then dissolve in the course of an hour.  It was a very pretty thing to watch, and made it hard to be a grouch.  Also I noticed the clouds were not moving, and figured the center of the high pressure was over us, and the cold would soon relent.

The cold hung around long enough yesterday to keep me suspiciously scanning the maps, but by this morning it was milder, and there was no frost on my windshield.  The farm thermometer read 40, (4 Celsius,) at sunup. Even the goats relaxed, and I saw them laying in the pasture, basking in the softer sunshine, as I returned from dropping off some boys at kindergarten.  Of course, that doesn’t mean I can relax.  I need to hustle, before the next cold blast bears down on us.


Our Forkasite is getting blasted.  The wind, which seemingly backed slightly west of due north, veered back to the northeast. It was blowing a steady 42 mph at 1500z yesterday, but slacked off to around a steady 22 mph at 0300z today, (which is still a higher wind than we usually see,) and then the wind again increased, gradually at first but then more rapidly, to the highest winds we’ve yet seen. At the final report at 1800z  steady winds of nearly 45 mph were reported. (Who knows what the gusts are?)

The pressure bottomed out at 972.7mb during the “lull” of the gale, and the temperatures, which had risen steady since yesterday’s noontime low of -17.4°C, hit their high of -10.9°C, still well below the freezing point of salt water.  Since then they have fallen to -14.5°C, as the pressures slowly rose and the gales resumed.

Our Forkasite has continued south, from 80.134°N to 79.705°N, and west from 4.303°W to 4.513°W, which is another whopping 29.87 miles nearly due south.  The westward movement intrigues me, for the coast of Greenland does not move west this far north, and at some point the ice simply runs out of room, and the only way it can move further west is by crunching and heaping up in piles.


DMI Nov 6B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 6B temp_latest.big (1)

I’m too tired to delve much into details. I’ll just quickly note Payat has two centers, and I face a problem with the fact they have only one name.  Also, though Hype is weakening on the coast of Siberia, the blub of very cold Siberian air brought north by his south winds has formed a very impressive, snout-of-Igor-like pool of nearly thirty-below air out over the Arctic Sea on the Bering Strait side of the Pole.


Last October 17 in a prior post I wrote about the interesting journey of Buoy 2013C: from a fixed location attached to a firm ice shelf on the north side of Ellesmere Island, facing the North Pole, to a floating wanderer on a berg that broke off.  It had travelled down through Nares Strait and the northwest corner of Baffin Bay and entered Parry Sound, and was headed west, seemingly determined to visit the most northerly town in the world, Resolute.

Apparently there has been a change of plans. After wheeling and dealing its way through around five circles in Parry Sound, Buoy 2013C: has decided the heck with that, and headed back into Baffin Bay, and is now steaming south.  (Click to enlarge, and click again for further enlargement.)

2013C Nov 6 2013C_track

It would be intersting to figure out the total distance this buoy has traveled, if you took all the bends, loops and circles and made them be a straight line.  I assume the reporting station is on a chunk of ice, and isn’t a buoy just floating between bergs, because most of the time it has spent traveling has been in sub-zero cold, and even sub-zero waters.  However it does make you reconsider how mobile 100% ice-coverage is.  For example, when you look at the upper reaches of Baffin bay in the following map, you get the feeling Baffin Bay’s upper reaches are locked in. (Click to enlarge.)

Concentration of ice. Nov 6 arcticicennowcast (1)

This is a good lesson in how mobile sea ice can be.  A camera facing south on Monday can be facing north by Friday.  Even in a dead calm the ice is rising and falling with the tides, shifted by under-ice currents, and shoved about by other ice responding to winds which may be blowing hundreds of miles away.

I prefer the above map to the Cryosphere Today map, even though the above “Navy” map does have a habit of showing slight concentrations of ice on cold coasts where it hasn’t formed yet. (The Cryosphere Today maps, on the other hand, show areas that are a quarter covered with bergs as open water, for some reason.) In either case the value of a camera becomes apparent.  Sometimes our own eyes work better than satellites, though they cost far less.

I was glad to see the above Navy map showed less than 100% coverage right along the northernmost coast in Alaska, because David Sims, down in the comments, sent us the following link:

This webcam, located atop a bank in Barrow, allows us to watch the shore of the Arctic Sea with our own eyes, and see the exact moment the ice arrives.

NOVEMBER 7   —DMI MORNING MAPS—  Oh Oh. Arctic aims at me

DMI Nov 7 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 7 temp_latest.big (1)

In terms of art and choreography, all is harmony and pleasing.  Hype merges into Chin on the Pacific side as Hypeson merges into Payat on the Atlantic side.  Very pretty, until you consider the fact we are talking about thirty-below air between the two merges.

Cold air has been massing its power over the Pole.  Think of it as the ball of a turkey-basting syringe inhaling a lot of juice.  Now think of Payat as fingers pressing that ball on one side, and Chin as a thumb pressing from another. The “juice” has got to squirt out somewhere.  It even shows in the graph of polar temperatures; as the cold builds the graph sinks below normal; as it departs the temperatures start to perk up towards normal:

DMI Nov 7 meanT_2013 (1)

Warm air pressing up into the arctic may be encouraging to those with a vested, political interest in seeing the arctic at least appear to be warming.  The surges from Atlantic and Pacific sides may  make them happy by temporarily slowing the growth of ice in the Barents, Kara and Chukchi Seas.  However the “warm” air is largely below the freezing point of salt water, and rather than much melting the southerly flow will likely pile the ice up at its edges, making it thicker there, while keeping waters south of the edge open and more prone to deep cooling.  In other words, blips in graphs don;t matter a hill of beans in the long run. And, in the short run, we should be focused on where the reservoir of cold air is draining.

A ridge of high pressure has appeared between the Pacific and Atlantic wheels of low pressure.  (You can’t have two counter-clockwise gears next to each other without grinding teeth; a clockwise gear must exist between the two.)  This ridge creates two cross-polar flows, one from Alaska to East Siberia north of the Bering Strait, and one from West Siberia across to the northern reaches of Canada.

The flow on the Pacific side seemingly should transport lots of reletively mild air into Siberia, however I have noticed Siberian high-pressure often defies the flow, as if some sort of front develops between Pacific and Arctic air and the highs roll the “wrong” way north of the front. Anyway, I don’t live in Siberia yet, so I’m not heeding this flow so much.

It is the other flow that concerns me.  While it is bringing some warm air north at its entrance region, you can also see the temperature map showing cold temperatures on the Siberian coast of the Kara Sea, indicative of frigid West Siberian air being sucked north as well.  However it is over at the exit region that my eyebrows rise, seeing some minus-thirty air is heading my way.

Lest Europeans smile, thinking they are off the hook, I should point out a secondary exit region hooks down the east coast of Greenland (over our Forkasite) and then bends sharply across the Atlantic towards Scandinavia.  While this air may be warmed at the surface by its Atlantic passage, not all that far up it is likely to remember its Arctic roots. The people of Norway and Sweden and Finland  will not be getting Atlantic air originating in the Azores, that’s for sure. (It would be great to get an observant comment from someone who actually lives over there.)

In any case, it will be interesting to watch the news from southern Canada and northern USA around five days from now, as I expect the cold Snout of Igor will press them like a friendly wolf. (Hopefully it sniffs out Arizona before visiting me.)


I’m up way before the sun with a case of late-night insomnia, noting it is nice and mild, with winds from the south. The temperature is 52 (11 Celsius) and there are some showers to our west, but the air behind the slowly approaching front isn’t all that cold. (Click to enlarge)

First storm Nov 7 satsfc (3)

That is a nice, bengn map.  Blizson finally did develop a bit, way up in Quebec, but his central pressure is only 993, rather weak.  The sneaky front my sharp eyes have been watching is still stalled up in eastern North Dakota, but I do notice some arctic reinfosements just bulging into the top of the prairie provences from Northwest Territories.  That is the very tip of the Snout of Igor, like a dog peeking into your kitchen.

If you run the computer models forward that snout grows into a very big and cold arctic high, which presses south into the USA next week, and various models have various versions of snow storms to the south of that cold air.  Most clobber the center of the USA, with the snow only clipping northern New Hampshire, but a few have a secondary storm clobbering me.

I’ll have to avoid the weather blogs as much as possible, because I know my fellow weather-geeks will be all a tither, and if I’m not careful I could waste hours chatting rather than getting stuff done.  Once we have a snow cover everything becomes three times as hard to do, around here.

Forgive me if my postings become brief and terse over the next week.


Our Forkasite moved south from 79.705°N to 79.396°N and west from 4.513°W to 4.883°W at 1200z, whereupon the winds turned northwest and the Forkasite rebounded back to 4.761°W. I’m a little surprised by the size of the rebound, considering winds had dropped to roughly 5 mph. It is almost as if, when the winds relented, a storm surge up against Greenland’s east coast turned into a backwash heading off shore. In any case we moved a healthy 21.66 miles further south before the winds slacked off.

Temperatures fell steadily from -14.5°C at 1800z yesterday to -20.3°C at 1800z today. This frigid air seems to stick close to the coast of Greenland and only turns east towards Europe on a trajectory that takes it south of Iceland.

Note:  Formerly our data was released in segments covering 24 hours from 1500z one day to 1500z the next day.  Now it covers a period from 1800z to 1800z. Perhaps it is due to the end of Daylight Savings Time.


DMI Nov 7B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 7B temp_latest.big (1)

There are only two dancers now, “Payat” on the Atlantic side and “Chin” on  the Pacific side, both positioned to throw warm winds towards the Eurasian side of the Pole, which can only squeeze the cold towards the Canadian side.

It’s hard to talk much about the weather anywhere but the Philippines tonight, so I’ll pop on a Pacific map and talk about “Chin,” allowing us to glance south and think about Typhoon Haiyan. (Click to enlarge.)

Chin Nov 7 gfs_mslp_uv10m_npac_1

Haiyan is down on the lower left corner of this map, and due to latitude distortions and also computer grid-problems, doesn’t look like the tight dot of horribly fierce winds it is.  Central pressure is estimated to be around 903 mb at landfall, and with isobars so tight winds are screaming, with gusts to 200 mph, which is faster than many tornadoes.  The storm surge is likely to taller than a two story building, and one can only hope they got the people away from the coast.  Just about the only good thing about such storms is they are at their worst in a tight band around the center, and a hundred miles north and south the winds may only be gales.  However for the people directly in the path it is hell, especially if they are poor and without sturdy shelters.

Pray for them.

To the north a gale such as Chin is far larger, and its strongest winds can reach vast swaths far from the center, and even though they are not as strong, perhaps “only” up around 80 mph as the gale peaks, they stretch out across such a long fetch of ocean they can generate monster seas.

Chin himself has filled in slightly, yet still reaches from Siberia to Alaska, and is pumping reletively mild air north and then east along the Siberian coast. (Also note the air being pulled off the west Alaska mainland is colder.)  These winds will reduce the ice extent slightly with warmth in a very narrow band, but will reduce the extent far more by driving the thin “baby ice” north from the coasts and crushing it up against the thicker ice. (Click temperature map below to enlarge.)

Chin Nov 7 gfs_t2m_npac_1

While the above map does show how incredibly cold the air over Eastern Siberia is, that air is largely stagnant and incubating colder cold.  If anything is is seeping south towards China and Korea. The “Snout of Igor” you see poking north is largely a residue of damage that has already been done, for the cold was already delivered north.

A glance at the UK Met map on the Atlantic side of the Pole shows Fitz, (to the south of Payat on our DMI map,) has filled in, and only has a pressure of 978 mb.  However, though it has suffered the fate all gales face, it still is enormous.  If you follow the line of the 992 mb isobar, you see it encompasses eastern Norway, northern Scotland, a vast area of the Atlantic, the southernmost tip of Greenland, and most of Iceland.  It is an area roughly the size of the east coast of the USA, holding all the warm air that was over the East Coast of the USA last week, but holding it as a wallowing occlusion, up several thousand feet where no one can enjoy it.  Sorry about that, Europe.  I told that warm air to stay here, but it wouldn’t listen to me.

Until some new gale explodes and kicks this mess in the butt, things look fairly stagnant in Europe, with a few ripples moving into the Mediterranean but most fronts and systems basically stalled.  That makes Payat the big frog in a small pond, and an influential feature, in his wafting of warmer air north of Scandinavia and Westernmost Siberia.

The DMI map does a poor job of showing inland cold, so I’ll show Ryan Maue’s version of GFS data that I get via WeatherBELL. (Click to enlarge.)

Fitz Nov 7 gfs_t2m_arctic_1

In this map (looking straight down at the North Pole) you can see that, just as Chin drove warmth west along the coast of East Siberia, Payat is driving warmth east along the coast of West Siberia.  You can also see that big glob of cold getting squished to the Canadian side, where the North American defenses against cold are putting a last stand.

These defenses are areas of open water, and this map is interesting because you can see the warm (and likely very thin) surface temperatures they create.

One area of open water is just inside the west entrance of the Northwest Passage, which tends to stay open because is it is protected from sea-ice being blown south, (and also owns the reletively warm outflow of the Mackenzie River.)  Other areas are two of the world’s largest and deepest lakes, Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake.  All these waters tend to freeze over in November, but before they do they protect people to the south from the full wrath of the north.

But it is coming, even if it isn’t altogether apparent on today’s maps. Wait, watch, and you will see Canada abruptly fill with a big blob of arctic high pressure, in the next few days.


When I was young I yearned for clouds of deep purple, flashing lightning, but now that I’ve grown grey I think I prefer grey.  I’ve decided “boring” is another word for, “peace.”  Furthermore, peace is not an empty thing, but holds a richness all its own.

Today’s map shows that a gentle cold front passed over us. The hint of a secondary low off shore would have caused me grief when I was young, as I would have seen it as a lost chance for a storm to “bomb out,” off shore.  I hungered for typhoons and tornadoes, little understanding what ruin is like. Now I’ve already been there and done that, and today noted the sprinkles grew to showers as that secondary rippled by, and was glad when it turned back to sprinkles, and then gladder to see the west grew ruddy at sunset, with the end of the rain.

The sneak-attack arctic front I worried about yesterday is merely an orange dashed line on today’s map, from Illinois to most northeastern Texas, and that is fine with me.  I don’t need any sneak attacks around here.

The low “Fritz” is a mere memory, a lone isobar in the upper right corner of the map, but that is enough to deflect “Blizson” south, moving toward exit-stage-right, a mere 989 mb weakling low.

Of course, all the mild air the frontal passage is shunting off shore will stream north, and may well combine with the ripple of Blizson and turn into some howling North Atlantic storm.  If that happens, I hope some young man in Iceland who hankers for Typhoons and Tornadoes appreciate a 950 mb low.  He wants life crashing and pounding like a Beethoven symphony. But do I want that? or do I prefer things dull and grey?

So, how was my day?

It was a dull, grey day, mild but turning colder as a front moved through. I drove to work noting no chimney’s smoked. None were burning their hoarded wood. (I guess frugal folk shirk from cheerfulness at times.) The trees, leafless, swung black claws against grey scud, and I thought to myself, “How Novembery!”

Depress? Or promote poetry? Really, how ought a fellow respond to a wet, grey day?

As my truck’s tires hissed across the wet tar I considered the fact I must buy some hay, get goats bred, shovel shit, and saw things are grey, grey, grey. I’ve a job, and must get on it, and haven’t the time to ink a sonnet.


DMI Nov 8 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 8 temp_latest.big (1)

Pretty much everything is still proceding as discussed last night.  The surges of warmth towards the Pole now have created an above average peak in the DMI graph of temperatures-above-80-degrees latitude.  It is important to remember that graph doesn’t measure the very cold air pushed south of 80 degrees towards Canada.  It is also interesting to note that, looking at the green line which shows the average of the past 55 years, you notice an odd uptick right on this date occurs even in the averages.

DMI Nov 8 meanT_2013 (1)

The surge is also causing a down-tick on ice extent graphs.  I hope to find time to think about this later.  The problem is that such graphs don’t measure how much latent heat is lost to space in the dark upper reaches of such storms, nor how much snow adds to the bulk of sea ice, and so on and so forth. Lots to mull over. (Click to enlarge)

DMI Nov 8 icecover_current_new


That boundary between arctic and balmy air that was demoted from a front to an orange, dashed  “trough” from Illonois to Texas on yesterday’s map has been further demoted and now only exists as a “ghost front,” but you sure could feel it sneaking in, early this morning.  There wasn’t much to see, just some scattered mid-level clouds to make the sunrise pretty, but the northwest wind, merely cool after the official front passed through yesterday, became bitter before dawn, a thin wind with a sting, as temperatures sank to 28 (-2 Celsius.)  Nor are they in any hurry to rise above freezing.  It’s a far cry from yesterday when temperatures bounded up to 58 (14 Celsius) by mid-morning.

The build-up of the cold in Canada is sneaky as well.  The map shows no giant high pressure surging south, but you’ll notice the next low, currently in the Canadian Rockies, doesn’t move off to the northeast, but rather takes more of a Alberta Clipper route to the southeast, along the edge of the building cold.

Note meek 991 mb Blizson slipping off this map’s upper right side.  He’s likely to appear in our DMI polar maps as an roaring Atlantic gale, to replace Fitz, in a couple days. Sneaky.

A Sneak Attack satsfc (3)

Last but not least, I snuck a sonnet into my “Local View” last night, even while stating I was too busy to write sonnets.

It’s not so hard to sneak sonnets into prose.  All you need to do is make sure your thirtieth syllable rhymes with your tenth, and your fortieth rhymes with your twentieth. After repeating that three times you end with a couplet, such as “I’ve a job, and must get on it, and haven’t the time to ink a sonnet.”

I learned to to this because, years ago, I discovered that raising an index finger and saying “I have written a poem” was a good way to get large numbers of people to evacuate the premises.  (The only way a modern man can get away with poetry is to be sneaky about it.)


Our Forkasite decelerated south as northwest winds fade to a calm and the barometer rose, moving south from 79.396°N to 79.308°N, and moving east, west, east, west and east again, from  4.761°W to 4.746°W. Our movement slowed to 6.11 miles south.

Temperatures yoyoed downwards, reaching a high of -19.3°C at 2100z yesterday, (The single reading above minus twenty,)  but ending up at -23.3°C at 1800z today.

I sure wish we could view the landscape after that storm, but don’t suppose we’ll ever know what it looks like.


DMI Nov 8B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 8B temp_latest.big (1)

With the low I dubbed “Payat” (short for “Pay attention,” because I didn’t, and missed the genesis of this storm,) conquering the Pole, you might think we could sit back and watch a nice, simple zonal pattern develop, however no such effect.  With “Chin” moving north and east from the Aleutians, we are liable to see a splendid example of the Fujiwhara effect, where two storms orbit each other in a counterclockwise fashion, with one storm eventually gobbling up the other.  Such so-called “binary interaction” usually involves a couple of hurricanes out of the reach of jet streams, however I think the Pole is also, in a manner of speaking, out of the reach of jet streams.  So we may see the same thing.

It looks like Chin will gobble up Payat, in the long run, as Chin rolls along the arctic coast of Alaska and then Canada.  However what I am attempting to focus on is how this will warp, distort, and alter the cross polar flow.  Considering the flow currently exists between the two storms, if one absorbs the other it obvious the flow will be maimed.  So where will the next flow develop? My best guess is that it will occur in the lee of Chin.  Chin will basically slam the door on any air coming north through the Bering Strait, and instead the air will blow from Siberia to Alaska across the Bering Strait.

Another thing to watch is the cooling of the influx of warm air in the arctic.  The air has no business being so “mild,” and is in a sense like a cup of hot tea set out on a winter porch railing.  It might be warm to begin with, but its temperature has nowhere to go but down.

Watch all that warm air north of Bering Strait and north of Scandinavia and West Siberia over the next few days.  Without reinforcements, (which do not exist at this point) it can only get colder.  We are seeing a sort of high tide.

Lastly, all the cold air which formerly was lodged over the Pole has gone some place.  Where?  Look south, young man. Look South. (Both into Canada and into Siberia.)


Ha!  I’ve been talking like a madman for two days about ridiculous things like “sneaky cold” and “ghost fronts,” and now it turns out I’m not quite as dumb as I look!

Look back to this morning’s map, where I pointed out there was no note of the “ghost front” I’d been tracking.  Now check out this evening’s map, and please note the orange-dashed-line, indicating a trough which has passed over New England and is now just off shore.  (click to enlarge.)

A sneak satsfc (3)

Of course, one could say the orange-dashed-line did not exist on the morning map because it developed off shore during the course of the day.  I won’t argue with that, because I have to deal with a pack of children on my farm, and I’m too busy dealing with the outlandish arguments children dream up.

I also have to deal with the unintended consequences of well-meaning beaurocrats who say teachers ought skip school, to have “workshops.”  This means the tax-paying parents are faced with going to work on a day when the kids don’t go to school.  Who is to care for the kids?  You got it: little old me must care, though I’m a guy who would rather be herding goats and planting radishes and writing sonnets, but who somehow wound up a “Child Care Professional.”

I also have to deal with a “fire code” written by someone who thinks a farmer is too stupid to know when he ought burn leaves or a field of weeds, and instead ought pay a fee to get a “permit.” Never mind that I don’t even know the guy and he never had the decency to come talk to me.  I just can’t farm as I’ve always farmed, and that is that: I can’t burn a single leaf on my farm without paying him.

So I dealt with it, and entertained kids with a nice, very-safe campfire that warmed us as we cooked and got fat all day.  We even fried some shrimp.  How many Childcare centers offer fried shrimp, by a campfire?

I knew the fire was safe because of yesterday’s grey-day rain, which drenched everything, and also knew a fire was important, (unless you prefer children huddled indoors,) because I knew a ghost-front was coming through. ( I mentioned the thin, cruel wind this morning, and it didn’t gentle much as the day went by.)

It was a day of purple, rolling cumulus, mostly cloudy but allowing flashes of brief sunshine. The most purple cumulous threw down smatterings of neat stuff, not quite as strange as Dr. Seuss’s “Oobleck,” but so outlandish it seemed a bit like Dr. Seuss all the same.  It is fluffy white pompoms that pelt from the sky, called “graupel.”

When an ordinary snowflake falls through air loaded with super-cooled water, every edge gets frosty, just as stuff in an old fashioned freezer got frosty, (before they added the frost-free gizmos.)  The growing frost makes the snowflake get larger and rounder and fall faster.  Even as it falls, the super-cooled water continues to build frost on its outer edges, until it it is as round as a hailstone, but far softer.  Some can grow as large as a kernel of corn.

In any case, small children seem to think it is rather cool when all these frosty pompoms start pelting them from the sky, and run about gleeful.  I thought it was rather cool myself, and was glad I was expecting a ghost front.  If I was attending to the forecast on the radio I might not have been as prepared.  I might not have bothered face the legal rigmarole of lighting a fire and making a warm place where children could eat shrimp, french fries, hot dogs, and steak tips, and run around in a cold and swirling wind getting pelted by graupel.

How many Childcare facilities offer the experience of graupel?

Think of it it this way:  I was only dealing with seventeen kids, but they got to laugh and play and enjoy childhood.  In my humble opinion, many other children grow up deprived. And is a child who is deprived all that different from a child who is abused?

Some other child care facilities are like small prisons. They are boxes with fenced-in postage-stamp playgrounds of hygienic concrete, where children are allowed to slouch about like convicts for an allotted time and then called back to their cells.   They never get to run about a pasture laughing, getting pelted by pompoms of graupel.

Why?  Is it not at least partially because the owners of other Childcare facilities never question the GFS computer generated forecast, or the GFS maps, or the bureaucrats, or the fire codes, and, in their obedience to inferior authority, they have basically abdicated from the obligation inherent in having a mind, which is to think for yourself?


DMI Nov 9 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 9 temp_latest.big (1)

Payat over the Pole, Fitz off the coast of Norway, and Chin over the Siberian side of Bering Strait are all 982 mb lows, and the dance at the Pole seems well choreographed and nicely balanced, however computer models are still suggesting Chin will rudely gobble up Payat by noon tomorrow.

The isotherms show the Atlantic flow curving north of Scandivania  and the hooking back up to the Pole.  In a sense the Pole is stealing our milder air and chilling it. I think I would prefer a nice, zonal flow, with the cold air staying up where it belongs, and the milder air staying down here.  We have little enough mild air as it is, and for the Pole to take any is highway robbery.


South 79.308°N to 79.203°N, and west from 4.746°W to 4.816°W. We drifted 7.34 miles with no wind.  There must be a current down here.

Temperatures rise from -23.3°C at 1800z yesterday to -15.9°C at 1200z today, and then fell back down to -22.7°C at 1800z.  With no wind, changes that large make me imagine a wide lead of open water opening up, black water in deep purple darkness, and warming the air before crunching shut.

With no pictures or even satellite shots, I can imagine all sorts of stuff.  Maybe there is no wind reported because the wind vane and anemometer toppled over into a crack.


DMI Nov 9B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 9B temp_latest.big (1)


DMI Nov 10 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 10 temp_latest.big (1)

“Payat” is being absorbed by “Chin.”  This will disrupt polar flow and disrupt the import of cold into Canada.  In fact Canada may briefly export cold north out over the Pole.  That is good news for me, because we have enough heading down our way already.  The USA will get a big arctic high, and then will get a break, as the arctic “recharges.”

(I love that word “recharges,” which I first heard used by Joseph D’Aleo of WeatherBELL.  It does a great job of describing.)

Watch how the air cools over the Pole.  Already the isotherms have changed from green to green-blue, indicating a five degree drop in the air sitting there.

Fitz looks like it will stay relatively weak, as it moves past Norway and drifts towards the Pole.  Chin will prowl the coast of Alaska, heading east to the Canadian arctic coast.  The next big storm to effect our Forkasite, (and perhaps sink it,) is likely to be Blizson, which was a weakling as it passed north of USA.  It is likely to explode south of Greenland, and head up between Greenland and Iceland.

LOCAL VIEW   —another sneak—

Sorry I can’t write much.  I’m suffering a cold and have a lot of low IQ work to do, like shovel stables.  My hope is the dust in the stables holds bacteria that kills the common cold.

Blizson is off the map, with some isobars denting our upper right corner.  A clipper-like low has dipped down from Canada to the Great Lakes and now is curving up the St. Lawrence Seaway.  We are in a “warm sector” which hardly counts as a warm sector. You can see the fellow who drew the map didn’t even include a warm front.  Behind this storm, which I’ll dub “Sneak,” is a reinforcement of cold northwest winds.  Further upstream is further reinforcements, with the front just dipping down into Montana from Canada.  This is the major cold I’ve been expecting. (click map to enlarge.)

A sneak 2 satsfc (3)

It was interesting that a couple runs of the European computer model showed a storm blowing up off the east coast next Wednesday, with snow as far south as Atlanta, and that model run went “viral.”  There was chatter all over the place about “the storm.”  Now the storm doesn’t appear on any models, and the chatter is starting to shift towards scorning forecasts.

I had no  idea people in the blogasphere were so educated about computer model runs.


Our faithful Forkasite continued south, from 79.203°N to 79.075°N, and west from 4.816°W to 4.900°W, for a day’s travel of 8.95 miles.  Temperatures remained low, sinking from -22.7°C at 1800z yesterday to -26.6°C at 0600z today, before bouncing up to -19.0°C for a hot noontime luncheon, and then falling back to -23.0°C at 1800z.

Winds were reported as calm until they abruptly jumped to 18 mph during the hot noontime luncheon, and then slacking back to 10 mph.  That sounds slightly suspicious to me.  Perhaps the anemometer was frozen, and then broke free.

Despite the cold temperatures, we are getting to a point where we are far enough south for accidents to occur.  Should our Forkasite abruptly go silent, I expect you all to be big about it.  No wailing and sobbing, please.


DMI Nov 10B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 10B temp_latest.big (1)

Chin is absorbing Payat as it drifts east along the north coast of Alaska. Fitz is weakening north of Scandinavia, perhaps giving eastern parts some north winds, but it looks likely Scandivavia will be raked by southwest winds in the near future, as storms pass to the north.  The weakling Blizson has grown to a 952 mb bully south of Greenland, and now is no longer forecast to head up to our Forkasite, but rather to take aim at the waters just northwest of Norway. Even though he will weaken as he gets there he is setting the trend, and the following storm, (which I suppose will be “Sneak,”) is forcast to be an absurdly deep monster as it passes north of Norway, with a pressure getting down near 930 mb.  I’ll have to see that to believe it.  It likely is one of those fantastic storms that only exist in the virtual world  of computer models.  However the fact it even appears likely means Sweden won’t get any east winds from Siberia in the near future.  A southwest flow seems likely.

The air over the pole  continued to cool, and already the DMI graph of temperatures up there is starting a dive:

DMI Nov 10 meanT_2013 (1)


DMI Nov 11 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 11 temp_latest.big (1)

The features that stand out this morning are 550 mb Blizson just west of Iceland, and the west winds closing down both entrance and exit to the Pole from western Siberia clear around to Canada.  For the time being, the door has slammed shut, in terms of air coming up through Bering Strait, or pouring down through Canada, and the primary entrance region will be the southwest flow under Blizson as he moves northeast up towards the north coast of Norway.

The air off the north coast of Alaska is relatively mild, but the very cold air that moved south there last week, combined with the west winds now, have filled up the entrance of the Northwest Passage with ice around a half foot thick.

There is a low inland and south of the central Siberian coast.  It is moving into  very cold, thirty-below air in Eastern Siberia.  We’ll have to watch to see if that low has the strength to use its east-side south-winds to budge the cold north up into the Arctic Sea, and the Snout of Igor reappears.  In the mean time all the air over the arctic will be home-growing its own cold.

The blob of air that moved south from the arctic last week is currently giving the west coast of Hudson Bay sub zero (sub -17.77 Celsius) north winds, and for the first time this year the Canadian ice-cover map is showing ice on the small bays and inlets of Hudson Bay’s west shore.

That air is headed down towards me.  I’d like to duck the cold by flying south, but I’m not a duck.


(click to enlarge)

A sneak 3 satsfc (3)

About the only good thing about having a cough and cold is that I get to meditate on maps.  Of course, I also am in a sour mood, and the maps can irritate the heck out of me at times.  If they aren’t irking me by not behaving the way I want them to, then the models are irking me by malfunctioning, or perhaps the manner the map was drawn irks me.

For example, the man or computer who drew the above map again wiped out the cold front that passed through here yesterday, only including a snippet of a cold front east of Florida, though that front obviously continues northeast and then north to the low “Sneak” just east of Nova Scotia.  Furthermore, it continues west as a stationary front and then northwest as a warm front where they have that orange dashed line from north Texas up to Nebraska. Or so think I.  I like my air masses in nice capsules made by frontal boundaries.

(Likely I should take some more aspirin.  I shouldn’t let these little things get to me.)

In any case, the air mass after that is the one that means business.  On his blog at WeatherBELL Joe D’Aleo pointed out the below zero air (Fahrenheit) is right down to the towns just above the Dakota-Canada border, this morning.  It has taken a sly trajectory from the Queen Elizabeth Islands straight south, skirting the warm waters of Hudson Bay by coming south to the west of it, and avoiding the Canadian arctic lakes, (though I suppose Lake Winnipeg is having an effect.)  So it is actually colder “down south” in the Dakotas than the arctic coast of Alaska and Canada, where west winds are bringing temperatures up around 20 to 25 (Fahrenheit) east.  Though these temperatures are “mild” they are still below the freezing point of salt water and will likely get colder, so I’m not expecting any break-up of the ice as occurred on the European side.  However I do expect this flow, south of “Chin” and north of the big high pressure bearing down on us here, to nip the cross polar flow for around three days, before the north wind on the back side of Chin resumes the flow with a vengeance.

I’ve been thinking about a sort of whip-lash that must be created when arctic winds pour south into Alaska, and then abruptly are sucked out, and then come roaring back again.  Into my mind’s eye come various images:  Water moving in and out of tidal pools at the beach;  waves made by small girls whipping their jump rope up and down when it lies slack on the playground turf….and then I think maybe I ought to take my temperature.

In any case, with a ridge developing in the west and a trough in the east, for a few days we again we will see the pattern we got stuck in, back in 1976-77.  What will be interesting to watch is whether or not it becomes more established, or whether the western ridge keeps coming east.

Also it will be interesting to watch “Sneak” as it moves away.  It was only a 1000 mb low in the above map, but already down to 993 mb last time I checked.  It is likely to bomb out big time.

NOVEMBER 11  —DAILY DATA— Past 79 degrees north latitude, southbound.

Our Forkasite continued south, from 79.075°N to 78.966°N, and began drifting back to the east, from  4.900°W to 4.788°W, due to light winds (5 mph) backing to the Northwest.  Movement was 7.71 miles. We have passed 79 degrees north latitude.

Temperatures remained steadily cold. We reached our 24-hour-period’s low of -25.2°C at midnight, and reached the day’s high of  -22.2°C at 0600z, and were at -22.5°C at 1800z.

The Navy drift maps show a great arc of ice, stretching from Severnya Zemyla, curving north of Frans Josef Land and  Svalbard, pouring down into Fram Strait, all moving at two thirds of a mile a hour, (which is fast for arctic ice.) While this does not include the major body of arctic ice, it is increasing the ice in Fram Strait a lot, and the ice now extends down past Scoresbysund (which has some new Inuit name I haven’t learned to spell) which is the part of Greenland poking east into Denmark Strait, northwest of Iceland.  To me it seems a remarkable increase of ice from early September, when it was below average.


DMI Nov 11B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 11B temp_latest.big (1)

“Chin” is starting to fade slightly, cut off from Pacific moisture.  Watch the air north of Alaska get colder. Fitz has enough Altlantic moisture to survive, and will dance the Fujiwhara around the Pole with Chin, as his air cools as well.  The monster gale Blizson will cross north of Iceland and elgongate and weaken, bringing the next pocket of Atlantic warmth and moisture north to Norway.  Scandinavia will be the primary entrance region, and likely will be milder than normal, though this does not mean they will escape snow, especially in the north.  A long,curving fetch from Finland along the coast of Siberia to Alaska is the beginning of a new flow that will again make Canada an exit region.

A quick look at the UK Met map shows an interesting feature over Italy, making Mount Etna a strange mix of exploding red lava and swirling snow.  As this low fills in a faint reflection will head along the southern route across the steppes, a Chinthree to follow Chin and Chintwo (now in central Siberia.) But I think I want Etna in the name, so I’ll dubb it Chninthreeetna, but that’s too long, so I’ll shorten it to “Chet.”

A sneak 3 Etna 9975209

Blizson is still a 956 mb gale in this map, but occluded with much energy moving east as a zipper.  In the lower left Sneak is just sneaking into view, already deepening to 988 mb low from the 1000mb low it was this morning.

Dr. Ryan Maue’s version of the GFS map, available at WeatherBELL, is a better view of the North Atlantic: (Double click for full enlargement)

Chin 3 Nov 11 gfs_mslp_uv10m_natl_1

In this map, from six hours later, Blizson is stretched out from one side of the Atlantic to the other, with a long fetch of easterly gales to the north and a long fetch of westerly gales to the south.  The westerly gales won’t be all that warm, as the source region is the southern tip of Greenland, however Sneak is already showing signs of sneaking some warmth north, as it’s east-side south-winds dig further south.  Each storm that charges across the Atlantic towards Scandinavia will be different, as we remain in this pattern, and each will need to be judged on its own merits.


The arctic storms have cleverly formed a question-mark, as they dance about the Pole.  “Chin” is approaching the Canadian arctic islands, with the ghost of Payat curving around the Pole and south to Fritz and the stem of the the question-mark is formed by the elongated Blizson stretching down to Iceland.  In a very general sense these lows form a spiral of winds entering the the Arctic Ocean north of Scadinavia, cooling and curling around the Pole while ingesting some additives from Siberia, and then pooling north of Canada, and perhaps bulging south as a new arctic high for the USA.

But what is the question?

The question is, “Is this just a transient autumnal pattern, as we move towards the winter’s pattern?  Or is it a sign of things to come this winter?”

Both Joe Bastardi and Joseph D’Aleo, over at WeatherBELL, have been pointing out past winters that had a set up similar to this one.  One important thing to notice is that the Pacific is not in either an extreme El Nino nor La Nina, both of which seem to generate energetic Pacific winds that cross the USA and blunt the arctic’s southward thrusts.  Also the warmth in the ENSO is away from Peru,  in something of an El Nino Modoki pattern. Mr. Bastardi also pointed out a warmth anomaly in the northeast pacific, while Mr. D’Aleo has pointed out interesting patterns involving solar cycles.  To skip all the intricate details, it boils down to a pattern like the one I’ve been talking about, that occurred during the winter of 1976-77.

While this would be very cold for the eastern USA, I think it tends to be more of a back-and-forth winter for western Europe.  A quick search didn’t turn up much, regarding that winter in Europe, except for the fact it was hard on the spruce plantations of Norway, due to warm-ups followed by freezes killing the tender tips of spruce branches.


Here is a very simplified chart of the four main ENSO patterns. (Click to enlarge.)

El Nino Modoki 461481a-f2.2

I think this is over-simplified, and likely the fellows who deeply study the ENSO would roll their eyes.  As we grow wiser there may turn out to be more variations, and in a few years the chart will have eight different ENSO states.  However it is a great improvement from the situation when I was a small boy, when there were basically zero states that anyone but Peruvian fishermen and a few wild-eyed meteorologists knew about.  I still remember the excitement that surrounded the emergence of the El Nino into public consciousness back in the 1960’s. For a while there was no talk of the La Nina, but eventually it also filtered into public awareness, though mostly the focus remained on the El Nino.  However I can recall being baffled by the fact an El Nino did not always have the same effect.

In my careless and haphazard way I had noted, though not a scientist and basically a bum, that some El Nino’s had given us snowy winters. (As a bum I had discovered a warm place to hide from winter cold was a public library.  I may have been a bum, but I was a very literate bum.)  Using a boyish logic, I figured if some weak El Ninos had given us a cold and snowy winter, a really big one would give us blizzards. FAIL.

The 1998 El Nino was an extreme event, with the above average temperatures piled up against the coast of Peru.  It lead to a mild winter across much of the USA, with Pacific air flooding coast to coast at times.  This was so different from other, less intence El Nino’s that it led not only bums like me, but genuine scientists to a more careful examination of the idea that some El Ninos were “the same, but different,” (and the Japanese word for that is “Modoki.”)

It turns out it makes a difference where the heat is centered.  (I can imagine some meteorologists smacking their foreheads and saying, “Duh!!!”)  If you center the heat several thousand miles west of Peru, it will create a different pattern than when the heat anomaly is right on the coast.

One aspect of this different pattern is the tendency for a ridge to be encouraged in the west of the USA.  Today’s 500 mb map has some of the qualities of a Modoki pattern. (This is Dr. Ryan Maue’s map from the WeatherBELL site. Click to enlarge, and click again to expand further.)

El Nino Modoki gfs_z500_sig_noram_1

Often these waves and ridges ripple their merry way around the planet, giving us our typical spells of sunny weather followed by spells of acclimate weather.  However what I look for is for the ridge and trough to get stuck in a certain position.  In some ways it is like a standing wave, but exactly how it happens is very intersting to watch.  For example, the GFS model shows that strong ridge on the west coast coming east, but dramatically weakening even as the ridge on the west coast reestablishes itself, giving us a 500 mb map in three days like this:

El Nino Modoki gfs_z500_sig_noram_13

In this map it can be seen that even though the ridge came east, it is so much weaker it will not generate as great a southwest flow, or as much of a warm spell. Meanwhile the next cold spell is already pouring down from Alaska, to the west.

In the heart of winter such a pattern gives you nasty cold snaps, and then a slightly warmer time where nothing even thaws.  This is what I yearned for, when young, but now dread.


I awoke feeling hopeful that my cold wasn’t going to kill me after all, and pottered about getting coffee as as the blackness out the window gave way to grey.  It was my wife who first looked out, and muttered, “It’s snowing.”  I glanced out at the whirl, and immediately thought of things such as salting the front walk of our Childcare, and where the heck did I put the snow-shovel last April?  Also I clicked the weather radar on my computer:

Dusting rad_ne_640x480 (1)

The radar reassured me the cold front was pressing south with no bulges made by ripples on the front that might blow up into storms, and the snow would swiftly end with no more than a dusting.  Then I checked the map:

Dusting satsfc (3)

The map reassured me as well, as it shows no ripples on the passing front.  However the high pressure is building, now up to 1047 mb, and it looks very cold.  I looked north, wondering if “Chin” truly had cut the flow from Siberia, or whether the flow was going to be reestablished more swiftly than I expected.  To see this I need Ryan Maue’s superior WeatherBELL map of the same GFS data.  (While the above map shows isobars and clouds, Ryan’s map shows wind speed 10 meters up; (you can select other maps as well, that show other things.))  (Double click to fully enlarge.)

Dusting gfs_mslp_uv10m_noram_1

One reason I like this map is that it includes a larger area. You can see “Sneak,” heading off Labrador , now down to 984 mb, but more importantly sucking up much more southerly Atlantic warmth for Scandinavia and eventually the Pole, and our Forkasite.

However more important to me down in my neck of the woods is “Chin,” smack dab in the center of the top margin.  His west-side north winds are now pouring air into Alaska, and if you follow the 1014 mb isobar you’ll see that flow curves down to Hudson Bay and then down to New Hampshire, passing between my back door and the chicken coop.

Hmm. Next I’ll check Ryan’s temperature map, to see if the air is all that cold.  After all, Chin dragged some Pacific air up with him.  Maybe the air coming south isn’t that cold:

Dusting gfs_t2m_noram_1

(As always, click and then click again to fully enlarge.)  One thing I immediately notice is how the current cold high has warmed.  It held below zero air yesterday, but now the lowest I note is a ten degree reading in Iowa. (That is -12 Celsius.) So the land is still warming these highs as they come south.  In fact you can see how “warm” not only Hudson Bay is, but also Lake Winnepeg, Great Slave Lake, Lesser Slave Lake, and Great Bear Lake.  There is also some bare ground absorbing weak sunlight.  Once all the lakes freeze and the ground is snow covered, the arctic highs won’t be in such a hurry to warm, and can even cool, in the dark depths of December.

However I can look all the way up the pipeline to the Arctic Sea, and see no sub zero readings (Fahrenheit.)  (The sub-zero readings in Alaska are high up in mountains.) In fact it is colder in Iowa than on the north coast of Canada.

So perhaps we will get a bit of a break, after this current arctic shot passes through, but then I look out my window and see the dusting of snow isn’t melting, and temperatures are not rising.  Also I remind myself the snow was falling this morning when temperatures hadn’t fallen below freezing.  So I can’t use the excuse, “The weather will be better in a couple days” as an excuse to loaf, (though I confess it is one of my favorites.)


Our Forkasite continues south towards its eventual doom, death, destruction and downright indignity. In fact it is getting hard to write this section of this post, because I’ve gotten rather fond of this chunk of ice.  It is a bit like a grandparent: You know they have to go but hope they hang around a bit longer.

In any case, we moved south from 78.966°N to 78.834°N, and east from 4.788°W to 4.710°W at 0900z, where-after we retrograded back to 4.723°W, because the light northwest winds veered to just a hair east of due north. Our total movement for the day was 9.2 miles, barely east of due south.  (These small distances may not seem like much, but they add up. Since we finally succeeded in crossing 84 degrees north latitude for the final time last September we have traveled over 350 miles south.)

Temperatures remained fiercely cold, staying stubbornly below minus-twenty despite the proximity of milder air.  We were at -22.5°C at 1800z yesterday and are at -22.2°C at 1800z today, in the interim achieving a low of -23.6°C at 2100z yesterday and a high of -20.7°C at noon today.

At these temperatures is is absurd to talk about melting.  Every bit of exposed water cracked open by stress forms a swift skim of ice, and the bergs themselves grow so cold they not only grow ice outwards at every edge but also grow ice down from their bottoms and become thicker.  The “volume” of the ice, (which some make a big deal about,) is most definitely growing, (in this specific time and place.)  However it is not slowing the southward progress of our Forkasite in the slightest. We are headed for warmer waters, and just as your favorite grandmother, (the one who bakes the best cookies,)  must some day kick the bucket, so our favorite Forkasite must someday dissolve.

When our Forkasite melts like a sandcastle before a rising tide, some will state it is a proof of Global Warming and a reason to institute bizarre taxes.  Therefore I hope for weather events as bizarre as those taxes.  Three spring to mind.  One is a historical example where the sea ice expanded to the north coast of Iceland, creating a sort of ice-jam and bringing the flow of ice through Fram Strait to a screaming halt.  The second was a huge discharge of ice through Fram Strait, which so filled the north Atlantic with icebergs that some were washing ashore on the Western beaches of Ireland like peculiar, white driftwood. (It would be very cool if our Forkasite was still reporting from a beach in Ireland.) And Third, most boring, but not least, is that there have been years that the flow of ice down the east coast of Greenland has been so thick it froze to the shore, even on occasion down to Greenland’s southern tip, and remained stuck there well into the next summer’s melt, and even, in more northern areas, remained stuck right through a summer’s melt and had to wait for the following summer to be freed.

In all three cases the main effect will be to make bizarre carbon taxes look utterly dunderheaded.  (They already are dunderheaded, but crafty salesmen can sell some fools a Brooklyn Bridge.)

In actual fact, weather will likely be more normal.  Our Forkasite will go to its ordinary demise, a bit later than usual, which is like a grandfather or grandmother going to their ordinary demise, at age ninety.  And, just as the passing of your grandparent is no reason to raise taxes, so is the passing of out Forkasite further south and later than normal a reason to raise taxes.

NOVEMBER 12  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS— The question remains

DMI Nov 12B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 12B temp_latest.big (1)

Looking at the map of isobars, one sees the question-mark persisting, and one must ask the question, “Is this a hint of a pattern we shall see endure during the winter?”

The southwest flow would be nice for Europe, which deserves a break after the nasty winters they have had to endure.  However the moistness of the flow might make the warmth produce deep snows in northern and eastern areas.

I’m unsure about Asia.  I lack experience. Merely guessing from the actions of “Chin,” the storms moving west across the Steppes would be minor and dry,  only exploding when they reached the Pacific, and Asia would have less snow but possibly very cold temperatures.

However the way the isobars now direct air straight from Siberia to Canada is much like 1976-77, and does not bode well for advocates of Global Warming in Washington DC. In January 1977 they had some mornings in the American capital that were close to forty degrees below normal.  Even if they attempt to be crafty, and forebear using the words “Global Warming” and switch to “Climate Change,”  the net result of all their reptilian slithering is likely to be an outraged public whipping a snowball into their snoots.

However I am just a grumpy old man, and my main concern is staying warm.  That was darn hard to do, even as a young man, and how I will do it as an old man I just don’t know.

The question-mark even shows in the isotherms of the DMI temperature map, however there is an appendage of cold back towards Siberia, as if the question-mark has a “Mohawk” haircut in a strong headwind. Those isotherms bounding blue-cold are indicative of the very cold temperatures the cross-polar-flow is once again threatening to drag from Siberia to Canada. However when you look at the hodgepodge of isotherms over Siberia it is hard to make sense in the way you can make sense of the nice, neat isotherms over Greenland.

Therefore let us once again resort to one of Ryan Maue’s amazing maps from WeatherBell, showing us both the cold over Greenland, at altitudes above 10,000 feet, and Siberia, at far lower altitudes: (Click twice for full enlargement.)

Cross Polar Nov 12 gfs_t2m_arctic_1

Greenland is at the top right and Siberia at the bottom left of this map, and at first Greenland looks far colder.  However if you drop minus-forty air from ten thousand feet to one thousand feet, can it match Siberia’s minus-twenty air?  No, because air warms as it sinks.  (I’ll let you do the calculations.)

Another thing to consider is that Siberia is gigantic, compared to Greenland.  What you want, if you want a nice, warm winter, is for the snows to be late falling on Siberia.  Then, at least, Greenland has an advantage of being snow-covered while Siberia is brown.  However this year the snows fell early on Siberia, and they have expanded.  Now consider, if you will, the vast area of white Siberia has, compared to the somewhat small area of Greenland, on the snow-cover map below:

Cross Polar Nov 12 ims2013316

Currently Siberia is a short-term icecap.  It generates cold the same way long-term icecaps such as Greenland do.  Greenland can get all haughty and say, “I have been here hundreds of thousands of years, and you will be gone next July,” but it doesn’t change the “Now.”  And, without sitting cross-legged and chanting, “Aummm,” I can tell you the “Now” is that Siberia is four times the size of Greenland, and far more worth my attention.

(I digress, but you have to be careful with how maps warp areas on the edges.  Many maps make high latitudes appear bigger than they are, so that Greenland looks larger than South America.  You should always check the actual areas, in terms of square miles. Unfortunately an Alarmist neglected to do this, and produced a comparison of Greenland and Africa which suggested they were the same size, in their zeal to stress the hugeness of Greenland’s icecap and the dangers of having it melt.  The above map errs in the opposite direction, making Africa appear huge and Greenland appear piddly.  If I was in a tit-for-tat mood, I could use the above map to produce a comparison showing Greenland was the size of Sudan, and debate Alarmists with that.  But that would be stupid. It is better to always check the actual square miles you are dealing with.

If you bother do that, I think you’ll see Siberia is enormous.  It may lack a voting majority, but it has a meteorological majority.  The last thing I want to see is that huge, cold-generation-monster Igor looking my way.

Best would be if he discharged all his cold southeast into the Pacific, generating enormous gales, but hurting few.

Best for me, but not for my brothers, would be if Igor discharged his cold east into Scandinavia and Western Europe, or south into China. However right now Igor seems to be looking across the Pole, right at me.

The silver lining is: At least this is good for my brothers.

NOVEMBER 13  —DMI MORNING MAPS— The question remains

DMI Nov 13 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 13 temp_latest.big (1)

Despite the influx of Atlantic mildness and moisture northeast over Scandinavia and along the Siberian coast, the Pole as a whole continues to get colder. The storm “Sneak” is just appearing at seven o’clock in the lower left, as a spot punctuating our question mark.  Computer models continue to see Sneak tracking up north of Norway, but no longer turn him into a enormous 930 mb gale up there, but rather see a more minor 984 mb low.  The more interesting feature to watch will be the southwest flow beneath Sneak, associated with high pressure both in Sneak’s warm sector and also behind Sneak.  Guess we should take a quick peak at the UK Met map:  (click to enlarge)

Sneak Nov 13 10008280

The biggest difference I can see between Sneak and Blizson (who is up above Norway, where Sneak is heading,) is that Blizson’s “warm sector” held air from south of Greenland, while Sneak has brought warmer air up from warmer waters.  I wonder if they notice any difference up in Scotland.

It continues to look like the building cold will exit south over Canada.  My main hope is that it thrusts southwest into the Pacific, or thrusts southeast over Hudson Bay and into the Atlantic over Newfoundland, rather than heading straight south for the USA.



A TASTE satsfc (3)

I am going to pretend I know nothing of the arctic as I look at this map.  I’m just a boy of twelve, back in 1965, hungrily scanning the map for signs of winter, of snow storms, of something that would cancel school and free me to roam the outdoors.

The most obvious feature is the huge high pressure plowing all the way down to Oklahoma,  with its arctic front all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico.  My eyes would implore the Gulf to brew up a storm and fling it up the cold front as a nor’easter, and I’d urge the front to slow down, so that storm wouldn’t run out to sea.  I was ever hopeful for calamity.  However perhaps I’d be in a bitter mood, with hope punctured by some boyhood trauma, and I’d face the reality: No storm was brewing, and the front was sliding far out to sea.

Next I’d look north for “clippers,” or even mere impulses swung south from a low parked up in Newfoundland.  I’d see slight dents in isobars, (better marked on modern maps, as the orange-dashed line swinging down across the St Lawrence Valley, and the other one moving from Lake Superior to Lake Huron,) as straws my hope could cling to.  I’d beg the impulses to suck up moisture from the Great Lakes, develop tiny warm fronts and cold fronts, and then to impossibly stall just south of Cape Cod, and explode into giant storms.  Anything! Anything to get me out of Algebra class!

Of course I was setting myself up for heart break, for 99% of the time the storms I longed for didn’t develop. The silver lining was that I became aware of other patterns that did develop, and that sunny days were not all that bad, and that Algebra could be endured.

One boyish rule I had was that a big surge of cold weather was often followed by a surge of warmer weather.  A cold wave was like a wave rushing up onto a beach, and the further the wave came up the beach the bigger the undertow was, going back the other way.  If you look at the above map, you can already see a surge of west winds developing, that will rush east over the top of the arctic high as it warms and weakens.

As a boy I’d urge the cold weather to  stand up the the warmth invading from the Pacific.  I was starved for skating, sledding, ice-fishing, and all the joys of winter.  I would have frowned if anyone stated I was like a cheerleader in pompoms, rah-rah-ing for the cold, but I practically was that.  Deep gloom would descend on my soul when my side lost and the warmth won, and west winds came rushing through.

However I discovered, at some point, that if I climbed a tall hemlock atop a hill in such a wind,  and clung to the top as it swayed, and gazed into the wind, I could pretend I was up the masts of a clipper ship, sailing into the golden west, and leaving Algebra far, far behind.

This sport was so cool that soon I converted other boys to clinging to the tops of hemlocks with me, rather than doing homework right after school. I had decided warm west winds were not so bad after all, as neighborhood mothers concluded I might not be a good influence.

I also unconsciously came to expect that, a few days after cold northwest gales, there would milder southwest gales.  However that was one thing that made the winter of 1976-77 so unique.  The high pressure cells came rolling down from Alaska one after another, and the winds remained fairly steadily to the north side of west.

Looking at the above map, I see no immediate reinforcements to the huge cell that has come swooping down upon us, and therefore expect a break before the next arctic high gets organized.  I can see that development without knowing that “Chin” interrupted the cross-polar flow by rolling in across the Bering Strait and down the arctic north-coast of Alaska.


Our Forkasite moved south from 78.834°N to 78.757°N, and east 4.723°W to 4.690°W, for a movement of 5.36 miles in the past 24 hours.  The slow-down in our southward progress is likely due to light winds, and also the fact the winds have seemingly backed all the way around to a little south of west.  This is the first wind with a southerly componant we’ve seen in a while, and may explain the uptick in temperatures in the final 1800z reading. Temperatures, which began at -22.2°C at 1800z yesterday, were still at the day’s low of -24.0°C at noon today, but then rose to -19.7°C by 1800z.

The shifting light winds are due to a very weak ridge of high pressure between the departing Blizson and the nearing Sneak.


DMI Nov 13B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 13B temp_latest.big (1)

Had to go to a class tonight and am too tired to analyse maps.  Note new low up in Bering Strait. Will this one sever cross polar flow like last one did?


DMI Nov 14 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 14 temp_latest.big (1)

Our polar lows are running out of gas, as the warm air that fuels them is exhausted and becomes cold.  Chin is much weaker, and I think a dim memory of Payat is just north of the New Siberian Islands. Fitz has revived a little North of Severnya Zemyla, and Blizson is north of Finland.  All four will weaken and drift back across the Pole towards Canada, as Sneak approaches, bringing a full tank of gas, and also a new storm in his wake, which I will dub “Combo” because it is made of a weak low that came across cental Canada, and also a piece of Chin that slide down through the Queen Elizabeth Islands and to the west of Baffin Island.

(I suppose you could call these weak storms Chinson and Sneakson, but one brought minus-twenty air south as the other brought Atlantic moisture and mildness up, and they created an abrupt storm when they combined, so I’m calling them Combo)

Combo will attempt to squirt around the southern tip of Greenland and pursue Sneak, eventually combining with Sneak into a bigger Combo.  Models now have a big, sub-940 mb storm north of Norway, just southeast of Svalbard, again, by tomorrow night.  It’s funny how the models had that storm there a week ago, but then vanished it a couple of days ago, but now have it back.

The low coming through Bering Strait I’ll dub Chintoo, and it will cut the cross polar flow briefly before that flow really gets going next week.  So I’d saw that down here we’ll see a break in the cold, another cold shot, another break, and then a more serious and lasting cold blast.

Our Forkasite will get some calm and perhaps even some south wind, before Combo blasts it with north winds.


It was 17, (-8 Celsius,) yesterday morning, and temperatures hovered around freezing all day as the arctic high crested over us, but as night fell very high clouds made the bright moon milky, and though temperatures dropped to 24, (-4 Celsius,) by bedtime, when I awoke this morning they had risen back to freezing, and the winds were southwest.  So the huge high packed a single punch, and now retires,  Temperatures are up to 45, (+7 Celsius,) and it is sunny, with the winds west and light. So I’ve got to stay outside while the good weather lasts, but thought I’d quickly insert yesterday evenings and this mornings maps, to show how swiftly a bitter cold blast can turn to a westerly blessing.

A TASTE 2 satsfc (3)A TASTE 3 satsfc (3)


We moved south from 78.757°N to 78.707°N, and east from 4.690°W to 4.648°W, for a total movement of 3.52 miles.  Winds were light and variable, mostly from the west, and the pressure was just starting to fall.  Temperatures hit their high of -17.9°C at 2100z yesterday, but had fallen to -20.8°C by midnight, hit their low of -24.1°C at 0900z today, and had only risen back to -23.7°C by 1800z.

With temperatures so low and motion only a tenth of what it was the last gale, one might be tempted to imagine everything is being frozen to a solid block of ice, however I think the lack of movement is largely due to the light winds, and the fact the wind backed slightly south of west at times.

It will be interesting to see what happens if “Sneak-Combo” hits our Forkasite with a gale.


DMI Nov 14B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 14B temp_latest.big (1)

Heading off to a Bible Study, and hopefully will return spiritually enlightened, for I’m not feeling particularly spiritual at the moment.  I have a toothache.  Few things make me quite as un-saintly as a good old-fashioned toothache.

Interesting how “Combo” is like a log split in two by the blade of Greenland.  It also looks a little like a lot of the arctic air moving into northern Canada is heading east rather than south. Hope to comment more later.


DMI Nov 15 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Nov 15 temp_latest.big (1)

Although the east half of Combo is pursuing Sneak, and seems intent on repeating the old pattern, the west half is brewing up some new and intersting pattern over Baffin bay and northeast Canada.  The cross-polar flow is steered east in northern Canada Building a reservoir of cold which is starting the freeze of Hudson Bay.

Cold, west-Siberian air can be seen moving off shore, chilling the coastal parts of the Laptev and Kara seas. Moving up under Sneak is the closest thing you’ll see to a summery Azores high, in November.  It is getting dark in England, but the UK Met map makes it look like it will be a relatively warm dark, for a while.  I wonder if it will get as far north as Sweden, or even the Arctic sea.

UK Met Nov 15 FSXX00T_00


With the pattern seemingly in transition, I figure it may be time to end this post, which is getting unwieldy, and start another.  It seems good to end on a high note, with a warm west wind. (Click to enlarge.)

A sunset satsfc (3)

This map only hints at the repressed cold penned up north of Hudson Bay, as the high which once was so cold, arctic and bitter rolls off our east coast and shows a kinder side.

Last night there was a spectacular sunset which, due to a toothache, I wasn’t really seeing.  It was one of those sunsets that flares up after the sun dips below the horizon, where it seems to get brighter even as you expect it to get darker.  One member of our staff annoyed me slightly by taking all the kids the wrong direction just moments before a group of parents usually show up.  She apparently sensed the sunset was going to be a good one, and felt the kids shouldn’t miss it, even if it meant the parents had to wait a bit.  I had gobbled some aspirin, but it hadn’t kicked in yet, so I felt like spitting snakes at the back of my employee, as she vanished through the distant trees, for I was the one left behind and I was the one who was going to have to deal with the parents.

The parents actually didn’t mind walking out with me to get the kids, who we could hear shouting and laughing in the distance.  We walked through a mild evening, through the black silhouettes of a grove of pines towards a blazing crimson sky, to where the woods ended and a field opened out towards the flood control reservoir dam, and the sky was open, huge and spectacular.  The aspirin must have kicked in, for I forgot my toothache, and watched the daily mother-and-child-reunion occur in scenery more beautiful than even Hollywood could dream up. To the west the pumpkin cirrus spread out like two giant wings of an angel, and in the middle was a crimson face with a headdress of ruby and purple feathers, topped by a streaming halo of stretching sunbeams of gold.  Watching the children play, or join up with their parents, who seemed in no hurry to go home, simply made me grin, and I decided I wasn’t so mad at my employee after  all. Then I felt the mild wind, and thought about the angel I was looking at, seeming to remember seeing the same thing many years ago, when a boy.

Not as big as God, but huge and standing spreading scarlet wings of warmth o’er the west, an old friend of childhood’s understanding smiled east at me, making sunset blessed.

Angels never age as I’ve slowly aged. A warm west wind simply never gets old. A prisoner to time, I have lived caged, longing through bars at landscapes that aren’t cold, aren’t cruel, aren’t never-ending discipline, but instead are how life’s suppose to be, where the gift’s given: Not something we win, caught by our clutching, clinging cruelty.

The angel shines with God’s will: The snapped fetter. (A life without night sure would be better.)

There.  I figured I’d end with one of my cryptic hidden-sonnets, just to keep onlookers mystified.

These observations on arctic sea ice will continue at






            We are amidst a tiresome spell of dreary winter weather, here in New Hampshire.  A “blocking pattern” has us stuck in a spell of persistent cold.  It would be easy to get depressed.  I often look about our frozen wasteland and think how far we have fallen from the Garden of Eden, and also think that anyone who isn’t depressed is denying reality and has serious problems.

            The trick to surviving in Northern lands involves using the second greatest gift God gave to man.  The greatest gift is Love, without which people wither and die on a regular basis, but the next best gift is humor. Just as Love is a mystery, it is a mystery to me how people can laugh when winter gets old, and its novelty is long gone.

            Every wintery morning, at my Childcare, I do my best to be cheerful amidst the break-up of a family. The mother or father must go onwards to slave at a job, leaving the loved one behind.

Goodbyes are seldom happy, but the parting of a parent and child are particularly anguishing to witness, because there is something very unnatural about it. It is very Un-American, when you think of how the Family Farm built America, and of how, on a Family Farm, neither the mother nor father ever went away to work.  However, for the time being, we are stuck with our “modern” situation, (until we can figure out how to allow mothers and fathers to work at home more.)  So my days start with a grievous situation, with children who are not ashamed to express their grief, and with parents who always look guilty.  (When the parents do a great job, and help the child adjust so well that the child rushes off to play without tears, then it is the parents who look a bit forlorn, and forgotten.)

In other words, a morning, which should be the optimistic springboard to a new day, becomes mourning.

Fortunately the sun is peeking over the hill a little earlier, with each passing day, and a ray of hope is just starting to beam upon our gloomy scene, or that was the case until some idiot in Washington decided to snuff out the sunbeam, and plunge the scene back into midwinter darkness. 

I am referring, of course, to the idiot who decided clocks should “spring ahead” not in April, but in March. 

The entire idea of “Daylight Savings Time” was stupid to begin with, because the chickens lay eggs, and the rooster crows, and the goats expect to be milked, and the dog and cat want to be fed, all at “Standard Time,” and, in fact, the only creatures in all of creation expected to be deranged by Washington’s dumb idea are: Humans.

It is the worst possible time to stress people, and rob them of an hour of sleep. By March, in the north, creatures are at their weakest.  The coyote lopes lean and savage, and now dares desperate deeds in the centers of towns.  The deer are gaunt.  Even the hibernating bear and woodchuck are growing thin and fat-free, in their dark dens.  In the warm stables the barnyard animals are tired and crabby and are far more prone to fall ill. And people are living creatures as well. By March they need any break they can get.

I have listened to the rational for Daylight Savings Time, pretending to smile, and nodding as if interested, but to me the time-change just seems a typical bit of Washington humbug.  They are always going on about how helpful it is to rob people, but they don’t dare do it when people are strong and hale.  It is only when people are at their weakest, after surviving a long winter, that they dare rob people of an hour of sleep, with Daylight Savings Time, (and also rob people of the little money they have left, with taxes.)

Washington just adds to the misery that is March. Their insensitivity is especially annoying because people are a bit broker this year, because some Washington fool decided fossil fuel was evil and we’d all be better off if it cost us more, because…because…um…well, it has something to do with the world getting nice and warm, if we use fossil fuels.

Global Warming sounds very comfy, in March in New Hampshire, especially when people can’t turn up the heat because heating costs are up. Therefore, when the blocking pattern sets in, and the wind will not budge from the cold north, the last thing people want to hear is that the planet is getting colder.

Well, it is.  The entire idea of Global Warming was and is bunkum, and an amazing fraud.  It was nothing more than an attempt on the part of fat cats in Washington to rob you, so they might have more money to play with, and even more amazing is the fact they (so far) have succeeded. They are, in essence, now taxing people for the warmth in their homes, at the very time the planet chills.

The first graph above shows that the average temperature, at the surface of the earth, dropped from a half degree above “normal” to two tenths of a degree above “normal,” between last January and last February.

If you have a shred of common sense, you should be inclined to respond to that news by muttering, “Big deal.”  After all, what is three tenths of a degree?  If your normal temperature is 98.6, and you take your temperature and see it is 98.9, are you hugely alarmed?

It is not the weather-wise farmers like me who are getting hysterical about a few tenths of a degree.  Rather it is those who want to sell Carbon Credits, which is why they are called “Alarmists.”  Their entire livelihood depends on you buying into the idea “The planet has a fever.”  In the movie, “The Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore had to use the prop of a wicked big erector-machine to lift him and his pointing stick, beside a huge, blown-up version of Michael Mann’s (debunked) “Hockey Stick” graph, in order to make a big deal about…. a few tenths of a degree.

Well, if they are going to play by those rules, an old farmer like me can play along, and point out the planet cooled by three tenths of a degree in only thirty days.  Horrors! The sky is falling! 

Next I should draw a scientific-seeming “trend line,” extending the three-tenths-of-a-degree-per-month drop, month after month into the future, and then screech the imaginary line I have drawn proves we’ll all be frozen solid at “the end of this century.” I mean, if Alarmists can panic about a forecast for a day in the year 2099 which even my grandchildren are unlikely to live long enough to see, then so can I.

However I only play along because I have a sense of humor.  In actual fact, when we first awake in the morning, and feel sluggish, our body temperature can be as low as 97.0, and then, when we are worn out at day’s end, and require sleep because our thinking is all hot and bothered, our body temperature can be around 99.0. (Try testing your own body, with a thermometer, if you don’t believe me.)  In other words, our own body varies as much as twenty tenths of a degree in a given day, when we are perfectly healthy.  Yet we are suppose to get all worried because the heavenly body called “Earth” varies a few tenths of a degree over decades?

I include the second graph, (which Ryan Maue of WeatherBELL produced, using government data from spreadsheets which are unintelligible to most of us,) to show how the temperature of our home planet varies on a daily and even hourly basis, just as our own bodies do.  For example, last month temperatures crashed from four tenths of a degree above “normal” to nearly four tenths of a degree below “normal,” but have since rebounded to two tenths of a degree above “normal.” 

If you want to get political about such normal, natural, and absurdly trivial data, then you can behave like some Alarmists I’ve had contact with.  When the temperature spikes they adopt a peacock strut and told-you-so attitude, assuming they have proof Global Warming is real, and that we’re all doomed and our world is going to broil, however when the temperature plummets their pet theory goes down in flames, their shoulders slump, and they adopt a garlic face. (I can never figure out why they are so unhappy to see we’re not doomed and won’t broil.)

 The fact of the matter is that tenths of a degree don’t matter one hill of beans, (unless, of course, you are greedy for other people’s money, and hunger to invent a new “Carbon Tax” to pick their pockets with.) 

What matters much more than temperatures rising and falling a tiny amount, (an amount you can’t even notice on your back porch thermometer,) is: Real people living real lives.

This morning the forecast was for “a 20% chance of scattered snow showers,” but flakes fell thickly, riding cruel, cutting gusts from the northeast. In an hour the northeast side of every tree, fencepost, and structure was plastered with vivid white glue, as the other sides looked dark and thawed.  The whipping wind and sticky snow added insult to injury.  This time of year is hard enough to get through, without extras.

I had to hurry out to sweep and salt the front walk, so swiftly did the “snow shower” paint the world white, and I expected the parents and children arriving at my Childcare to be especially sour, however quite the opposite was true. 

Sometimes, when you add insult to injury, people laugh.  At times the absurdity of life causes people to stop taking things so seriously.

Or so I concluded, when parent after parent and child after child came down the walkway, through rotten weather, and entered my Childcare glowing, smiling, and making me laugh with their jokes.

I simply had to shake my head.  Spring may come late, in terms of statistics, and in terms of the white world I see out my window, but I have been warmed already by a Spring within the human spirit which I failed to forecast.


Film Title: An Inconvenient Truth.


I am suppose to be getting ready for a big storm, and also facing a horrible load of reciepts on my diningroom table I have to sift through, to do my taxes, but this story got me going.

A fellow named Bora Zivkovic, who is the Blog Editor at “The Scientific American“, decided he should weed out certain opinions from the opinions on his site, and confessed this astounding thing, “I am gradually teaching my spam filter to automatically send to spam any and every comment that contains the words “warmist”, “alarmist”, “Al Gore” or a link to Watts.”

I wonder what Al Gore thinks of that.

And “alarmist” is actually a word in the dictionary: “Alarmist n. A person who needlessly alarms or attempts to alarm others, as by inventing or spreading false or exaggerated rumors of impending danger.”

I immediately went to the site Zivkovic apparently feels ought be ignored, and submitted the following comment:

“Regarding being “snipped,” this site at least admits you exist, and has your name there as a person who has had the honor of being deemed out of line.  Often this site explains why you have been snipped.
Before WUWT existed Accuweather had a wonderfully rowdy “Global Warming” site.  I especially remember two fellows who called themselves “Patrick Henry” and “Brookline Tom” used to go at it, day after day, week after week, month after month.  They both supplied links, and it was a wonderful education. The moderation at the site was so poor that the people posting had to moderate themselves, and, for a time, it actually worked. (One moderating factor was the wait between posting and seeing your words on the site; it could be eight hours, which gave people time to sober up, and even on occasion submit an apology.)
It was sad to see the moderation of that site become restrictive, and to watch the site change into an echo chamber.  All the learning stopped.
The reason we have two eyes is because we need two views.  A Cyclops has no depth perception. 
I have been snipped at Climate Audit, but knew it was because I was not being calm, cool and collected, and was only contributing passion.  I didn’t mind it, because I valued the steady objectivity I could find there.  I wrote briefly about it:
I confess to being hot headed and making mistakes. I like WUWT because I can depend on other posters to correct me. 
If you have the guts to stand up for your beliefs then there will be times you stand corrected.  That is far better than falling uncorrected.”
Now I have to get back to my blasted taxes.
Link to Willis Eschenbach’s artical at WUWT: