ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph Rains?–

Ralph hasn’t become the gale some models were foreseeing, but is a persistent feature at the Pole, and a wrench in the works of the summer thaw.   In essence Ralph creates clouds where I expect sun. This slows the creation of melt-water pools, which are a creation that quickly changes the albedo equation, for the brilliant white of the snows (which reflects light in a highly efficient manner) is changed to the battleship gray of slush (which absorbs more sunlight and accelerates the surface melt.) Once the slush turns into an actual pool particles of soot, volcano ash, and arctic algae often create a black bottom to the pool, which hastens the melt further, and on occasion melt down and create a hole to the sea beneath, weakening the ice and contributing to the break up of floes.

This is a time I sorely miss the floating cameras, for they gave you a visual proof of what otherwise is merely modeled guess-work. The only camera we have is lodged in the ice of Parry Channel, and can’t give us a clear idea of the conditions out in the open sea. However it is better than nothing, and does show the crispness of the drifted snow softening in the thaw.

Obuoy 14 0623 webcam

O-buoy 14 is down around 74° north latitude, and away from the center of Ralph near the Pole. I have an insatiable curiosity about higher latitudes. The DMI graph shows the mean, north of 80°, as being below normal but above freezing.

DMI4 0622 meanT_2017

To look at Dr. Ryan Maue’s maps of modeled temperatures (free week trial available at Weatherbell site) isn’t exactly helpful, because the GFS tends to average it all out to a blandness, while the Canadian differentiates to a degree where it seems to make storms more intense. Which is a curious George to trust? (GFS to left; JEM to right)

 The reason this matters is because in the polar summer snow can change to rain, and this makes an enormous difference. Snow (usually a dusting to an inch, as the arctic is a desert), slows the melt by adding more brilliant white to reflect heat, while rain immediately creates slushy, gray spots and speeds the melt. As is often the case in the arctic, a half degree can make a big difference.

One of my favorite examples was the case of “Lake North Pole”, in 2013. The melt-water pool directly in front of the camera, expanded by summer rains in mid July, generated no end of media hype, complete with stories of Santa drowning and so on.

LNP 1 np-july-26-npeo_cam2_20130726072121 However no sooner had the media gotten everyone looking that way, when the water drained away down through a crack in the ice (as is often the case.)

LNP 2 np-july-28-npeo_cam2_20130728131212

The ice was still gray and capable of absorbing more heat than snow, but, rather than summer rains, summer snows followed.

LNP 5 np-july-29-npeo_cam2_20130729071817

And by August 5 all talk of “Lake North Pole” was muted. It had gone from being an Alarmist talking point on July 26 to being a Skeptic’s talking point.

LNP 3 np-aug-5-npeo_cam2_20130805065710

The camera allowed the curious to compare the August 5 view of 2012 (left) with 2013 (right).

To the dispassionate it simply looked like perhaps 2013 was a colder summer than 2012, but, in terms of getting a political message across, I fear cameras had gone from seeming like an excellent idea on July 26 to seeming like a very bad idea on August 5. This may be one reason funding dried up, and we are without their wonderful visual evidence this summer.

In any case, we now are stuck with what a satellite can see from afar. Ralph’s clouds can then present one with a bit of a problem, though there are usually plenty of interesting views further south, if you are in the mood to ruin your schedule with a wonderful form of procrastination. Here’s a nice, current view of Petermann Glacier and Nares Strait.

The problem is we are too far away to get the intimate feel for conditions the cameras gave us. We can’t see if it snowed or rained, last night. And, in cases where radar attempts to see through clouds, we are not even sure if we are looking at open water or a melt-water pool.

I sure do miss those cameras.

The best I can do is look at Ryan Maue’s “precipitation type” maps, keeping in mind they are models. The GFS seems to suggest Ralph will not rain. Ralph will continue to dust the north with snow (blue). The only rain (green) is towards the Alaska coast.

The maps below represent the GFS forecasts for 6, 72, 120 and 168 hours. Recognizing these are forecasts and not reality, Ralph looks like he will peak in 72 hours, down at 977 mb, but persist for a week. Only then are there signs Byoof (the Beaufort High) will come back.

Ralph B3 gfs_ptype_slp_arctic_2

Ralph B4 gfs_ptype_slp_arctic_13

Ralph B5 gfs_ptype_slp_arctic_21

Ralph B6 gfs_ptype_slp_arctic_29

To me it seems Ralph is being a real spoil sport to the melt-season. Right when the sun is at its highest he is murking up the sky and dusting everything with snow. Of course, most of the melt comes from below, but we won’t be setting any records unless Ralph takes a hike.

I should confess I blew a forecast, for I did not expect Ralph to show up much this summer. My assumption was that the lagged effects of the weak La Nina would reduce the difference in temperatures between the tropics and the arctic, and that it was that difference that fueled the anomaly I call “Ralph”.

This is merely my wondering, and likely should not be dignified with the word “hypothesis”, but the persistence of “Ralph” intrigues me and calls for an explanation, and what I wonder is this:

If the “Quiet Sun” does deliver less energy to the earth in various ways, could it be that less energy warms the Equator while cooling the Pole? At the Equator less energy would produce less wind,  indirectly leading to warming, by stirring up less cold water, and therefore intensifying El Ninos while weakening La Ninas. Meanwhile, up at the Pole, less energy has a more direct effect during the summer, making it colder. During the winter there is no sun so no effect, but the import of warm surges makes the winter’s milder. All year long the tropics are generally warmer (so far) and this fuels a more meridional jet, which is what creates the “feeder bands” that fuel Ralph.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Before Ralph reappeared Byoof did manage to push the ice away from the western entrance to the Northwest Passage, (lower right) but the ice is still fast against the shore at Barrow (top right).

Daytime sea-breeze shifted to a light land-breeze during Barrow’s “night”, and warm inland temperatures wafted over them, lifting them to a balmy 41°F.

Barrow 20170623 05_27_09_508_ABCam_20170623_132400

Here’s the Navy thickness map. (Ice-out starting in Hudson Bay):

Thickness 20170623 Attachment-1

And here’s the “extent” graph everyone likes to watch:

DMI4 0622 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

Stay tuned!

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.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Remaining Calm–

You have to be careful discussing the factors involving this year’s ice-melt up at the Pole, for at times 90% of what is discussed has nothing to do with Sea-ice.

In my view all the furor and hoop-la spoils the serenity of watching the ice melt, so I do my best to avoid it. Unfortunately nothing makes people more irate then speaking these two words, “Calm down.” (If you don’t believe me, try using them on your wife or husband…but strap on a helmet first.)

In actual  fact things do grow more calm to the north this time of year, which is why, (as we remember heroes on this Memorial Day), we remember D-day was planned for June 5, 1944. The North Atlantic was suppose to be at its least stormy in June. But, as is often the case with the weather, things did not proceed as forecast,  and a storm hit. One of the reasons D-day succeeded was because the Germans didn’t think the Allies would invade in a storm, but the Allies only delayed until June 6.

It is perhaps foolish to predict anything, especially anything involving the vast, silly storm called “Global Warming”, but I have done it. I predicted furor and hoop-la, and that part of my forecast has been 100% correct. The rest of my forecast is as follows:

The ice-melt will get off to a fast start, but slow as the summer proceeds, and in the end the minimum ice-extent  will be about what it was last year. I base my  guess on the following:

1.) During the winter the ice was very active, and sea-ice was compressed towards the center of the Arctic Sea. Also there was less cross-polar-flow, with less ice exported from the Siberian side to the Canadian side, so the ice is thicker towards Siberia. This suggests that, when the ice-edge melts back to these areas of thicker ice, the retreat of the ice-edge will slow.

2.) The fact the sea-ice was active involved the opening of many  leads in the Beaufort Sea. The exposure of the water to  cold winter winds likely chilled the water under the ice, and disturbed the stratification of seawater into various levels, with warmer but more saline waters less able to sneak under the ice northwards. Therefore I assume the water under the ice is colder.

3.) The waters south of Bering Strait were two degrees colder than 2015 throughout much of the winter, which suggests any water sneaking north through the strait would be colder, (and therefore less able to melt ice from beneath), than last year’s (very effective) waters.

4.) The export of ice south through Fram Strait was fitful, and at times even reversed, during the winter, which resulted in more sea-ice being left behind up at the Pole. As this export slows in the gentler winds of summer, more and thicker ice will be left behind, slowing the melt on the Atlantic side.

5.) The melt will begin rapidly, not due to the actual melting of ice, but because polynyas formed where the ice was pushed away from shore. This off-shore wind exposes water to cooling, but also results in up-welling of slightly warmer water by the shore.

6.) Even where up-welling doesn’t occur, huge arctic rivers pour snow-melt-floods north into the Arctic Sea, and, even though this water is ice-water, it is warmer (32F) than the ocean’s ice-water (29F), and it is also less saline until it mixes with the sea. This creates a “lens” of milder water along the coasts, speeding the ice-melt. As this “lens” pushes out to sea it becomes more mixed, and loses its effectiveness, in terms of melting.

7.) As the summer proceeds the warming effect of the El Nino will start to fade, and the effect of the “Quiet Sun” will become more apparent.

There you have it. I have already been told, “Caleb, you ignorant slut”, for making my forecast, so no one needs to say that again. In any case, I won’t know if I am right, wrong, or (most likely) partially correct, until August. Therefore I am simply going to stay calm, and sit back, and enjoy the show.

I had a tap on my shoulder and was reminded what really matters on  Friday evening. My wife’s brother was in a bad accident during the last snow of April, when a car came sliding across the road and crushed in his car’s driver’s side door. After an insurance hassle and physical therapy he got things back together, and was driving his brand new truck on Friday when a car came across the center line, smashed the vehicle in front of him, and managed to flip and once again crushed in the driver’s side door of the vehicle he drove.

Craig crash 20160527_165110

There was about a three hour delay between the time the wonders of the internet produced the above picture and the time I heard from the hospital that my brother-in-law was bruised, royally pissed off,  but otherwise OK.  Three hours is long enough to contemplate how much sea-ice really matters, in the scheme of things.

Not one hell of a lot. I wouldn’t even know it was there, if it weren’t for satellites, the internet, and fools who think it matters more than the practical details of ordinary life for ordinary people.

Generations upon generations have  lived their lives without a clue about what was occurring in the arctic, with the ice coming and going. It didn’t matter that sea-ice was at times nearly absent at the Pole, and at other times sea-ice grounded icebergs on the coast of Ireland, unless you lived on the coast of Ireland, or were a whaler seeking rich hunting grounds.Whaler 3 AmericanWhalersCrushedInTheIce

In some cases those whalers were hunting up in waters that people now completely freak out about, when they are open water rather than ice-covered. The history is available for those who bother to look. The whalers were glad the arctic was more ice-free on summers when the ice allowed them to sneak north. They didn’t freak out about open water in the mid 1800’s, so I want to tell people who freak out now, “Calm down”, but, like I said earlier, that doesn’t work. It especially doesn’t work when billions upon billions of dollars are involved, as people attempt to control the weather with hocus-pocus (when a Hopi priest could likely do a dance that would be more effective, far more cheaply).

The people most prone to hysteria are those who’s entire livelihood is based on the hysteria; ranging from honest professors to dishonest professors, from honestly ignorant idealists to snake-oil salesmen, from honest politicians representing deluded constituents to corrupt politicians lusting for power and gold.  The world has gone bonkers, and has forgotten common sense even to the degree where people can’t agree girl’s bathrooms are for girls, and what really matters gets ignored, until you get a tap on your shoulder. Then you remember. And then it seems most sad we are spending billions upon billions on dust in the wind.

In any case, there is little I  can do but take my own advice and “Calm down”.  I can point out that the current uproar about the polynya northeast of Alaska is about a situation we have seen before.

Poly 3 bathurst-and-w-beaufort-polynyas_1975-vs-2015_polarbearscience

I will likely be then told, “Caleb, you ignorant slut, it is much worse this year”.;2015-05-27/6-N75.7439-W143.49899

The above link takes you to a really a cool site, for it lets you slide about the arctic and zoom in and zoom out, noticing things Alarmists don’t mention, such as a bit more ice in the west of Bering Strait this year, and that it was more green inland in Alaska, last year, but it is not worth arguing that there is more ice north of the Mackenzie River delta this year, for there isn’t. And considering you are given the link to focus on that specific thing, it is impolite to focus elsewhere. And it is especially rude to tell a kind person who gives you a link that they are an ignorant slut. Therefore I usually avoid that.

As a general rule I find Alarmist put me in the shoes of defending the indefensible, but find it is best to traipse lightly by that trap, enjoying the wonder of a new spring with unique weather. Nothing irks Alarmists more than embracing the very thing they think will devastate you, and instead rhapsodizing about how wonderful it is.

And it indeed is a genuine wonder how smashed up the Beaufort Sea is, after all the winter storms. I think the El Nino created a very meridienal flow, and its lagging after-effects are keeping the temperatures merely normal, rather than giving us the below-normal cold waves we saw up in the Beaufort Sea last May and early June, (that, with a sheer guess, I think were due to the “Quiet Sun”.)

To compare two years with different weather patterns is a bit like comparing apples with oranges, but pointing out last year had ice increasing when it usually melts makes this year look less alarming, when you compare a 2015 map with a 2016 map.

Then I expect to hear, “Caleb, you ignorant slut, can’t you see how warm the water is north of the Mackenzie Delta?”

SST 0528 arcticsstnowcast

I like to nod and enthusiastically agree. It is really wonderful! Alaska had a mild winter (even as Mongolia had record cold) so the Mackenzie River is pouring out a nice freshwater lens. Also the off-shore winds that created the polynya also created up-welling. How cool! There may even be some sunshine slightly warming the water, though the sun has been dim the past week.

Obuoy 14 0529 webcam

At this point I scratch my jaw and say, “Odd”. Then I wait, until asked, “What? What’s odd?”  Then I shrug and say, “Oh, I just noticed the NRL map above shows -1°C where Obuoy 14 is located, but the buoy itself is reporting -5°C. I suppose the buoy is reporting the air, and NRL is reporting the water under the ice.  But…odd…”

Obuoy 14 0529 temperature-1week

“What? What’s odd?”

“Oh, it’s just that the picture shows the Mass Balance Buoy at that location is trashed. I just wonder how anyone knows what the temperature of the water under the ice is? It’s such a pity the buoys were so poorly placed and badly maintained, because they are so handy to have, when it comes to double-checking satellite data. But maybe they’ll rehire that guy they had last year, who was so good at recontacting buoys that went periods of time without signalling. It would be nice if we could get O-bouys 8b, 13 and 15 back, as well as Mass Balance Buoys 2015G, 2015I, and 2015J. Oh well, at least we have Mass Balance Buoy 2015F, reporting -4.31° C.  But…odd…

“What? What’s odd?”

“Well, its just that it seems cold over the ice…

Arctic 0529 cmc_t2m_arctic_2

…and high pressure seems to be blowing that cold air right towards the Mackenzie Delta…

Arctic 0529 cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_2

…And…well…you’re so concerned that the less-cold water north of the Delta might melt the ice, but wouldn’t those cold winds cool that water? ”

“Caleb, you ignorant slut.”

“Calm down.”


2016 to 2015

 2016 to 2014  

2016 to 2013  

2016 to 2012

 (Aside: In 2012 there was much less fracturing of the Beaufort ice and the water beneath was very stratified, with lots of warmer water available under the ice, which became very apparent during the polar gale that summer, when a great deal of ice melted in a matter of days.)

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Springtime For Alarmists in Hysteria–


It is hard to bear the rejoicing in Alarmist circles, as they see evidence we humans have shot a hole in our boat’s bottom, and our planet is a sinking Titanic. Why exactly they are so joyful that the end of life on earth is nigh, I don’t understand, but the symptoms are undeniable, if you lurk about Alarmist sites. The sea-ice is at record low extent, for early May:

DMI3 0512B icecover_current_new (1)

For Skeptics like myself this is a terrible and tragic situation, for I wish it was true. If the sea ice was really fading away we could get back to growing barley in Greenland, and providing food and unfrozen water on Greenland in January, without relying on imports,  for the 2000 cows and 100,000 sheep and goats the Vikings managed to keep alive. However it is an illusion.

If you draw one of those arrow-straight “trend lines” that Alarmists are so fond of, you can see this year’s rate of decline won’t even match last year’s lows, but Alarmists are already congratulating each other, for they are sure the ice will remain the same distance below-normal it now is, and this year’s minimum extent will beat 2012’s record low minimum. This is tragic to watch, for they are being teased by a tormenting destiny, which rather than ending their delusion with a splash of cold water in their feverish faces, is actually egging them on with incidental evidence they are not crazy, when they are.

For example, ordinarily I can gently nudge them to saner thinking by pointing out something like the yearly drop of arctic temperatures to below-normal in May. But this year, (likely due to the lagged effect of an El Nino already fading away),  for the first time in years, temperatures are not dropping below normal in May.

DMI3 0512B meanT_2016

I don’t see why fate has to be so cruel to Alarmists. It is like encouraging an addict, like telling a person ruined by heroin or crystal meth that they appear normal, and no one suspects they are not quite right, when everyone in town knows they have such a monkey riding their shoulders they can’t even hold an ordinary job.

I really don’t like seeing my fellow man reduced to such a tragic state, but it makes things much harder for me when all the “scientific” evidence just encourages the deluded. Heck, I have to go all the way back to 2010 to find a case where temperatures stayed above normal this late in May, before dipping below normal.

DMI3 meanT_2010

And when I have to go back six whole years Alarmists will accuse me of grasping at straws. And maybe I am, though they are the ones drowning.

It is somewhat embarrassing how unquestioning they are about certain things. For example, the fellows measuring sea-ice have to tweak their devices around this time of year, because of certain problems satellites have recognizing wet ice from open water. They do the best they can, but sometimes as they tweak things, ice abruptly appears or disappears. The funny thing is Alarmists are furious and out to behead people, when ice abruptly appears, but when it abruptly disappears they don’t raise a finger, nor a feather, and remain smooth and unruffled.

Just for an example, check out the waters north of the Mackenzie River Delta in these two maps, from May 9 and May 10. An impossible amount of ice simple vanishes in 24 hours.

Thickness 20160509 ictn2016050818_2016050900_042_arcticictn.001

Thickness 20160510 ictn2016050918_2016051000_042_arcticictn.001

(The best way to compare is to open the two maps to new tabs, and then click back and forth between them.)

I am fairly certain that one to two feet of sea ice did not vanish that swiftly, basically overnight. Most likely it involves a data-gathering-tweak. However I will say this: If one to two feet of sea ice appeared that quickly, Alarmists would be all over it, and some would accuse Big Oil or Big Coal or Republicans or people-who-attend-church. It’s silly they can be in such a panic about one sort of unlikely situation, and heedlessly complacent about another.

As for me, I just note that a large area of ice, vanishing like that, would likely dip the sea-ice extent graph, and I leave it at that. To double-check, if so inclined, one can go to the Canadian Ice Service map:

Canadian Extent 20120512 CMMBCTCA

This map makes the polynya look smaller, and therefore one is driven to use their lying eyes, and to utilize the actual satellite picture of the waters, here:

I think I am going to have to learn how to “save” close-ups from this site in order to make certain points. I don’t know how to do it yet, so you are going to have to trust me that the Polynya is bigger than the Canadian map shows, but the “open water” has more swirls of drifting ice than the NRL map shows.

But what is not obvious is that when open water appears at this time of year it is not because air temperatures are up to the melting point of sea water. It is because the ice has been shifted somewhere else. And this is yet another cruel trick reality has to tease Alarmists, for it drops the extent of the ice without actually melting any.

I get a bit tired of explaining this same dull point over and over, but got drawn into doing again at Steve Goddard’s new site after reading this post:   I stated:

When the light returned to the arctic, and we could use our lying eyes to assess the visible satellite pictures, it was quite obvious a lot of ice in the Beaufort Sea has been shifted towards Siberia all winter. Not only were there the dark cracks of freshly opened leads, but the light grey cracks of leads that opened months ago and have since frozen over, in some cases to a depth of 3 to 6 feet.

A slight amount of the moved ice did get sucked south through Bering Strait and join the parade of sea-ice that moves down the east coast of Asia much like ice moves down the east coasts of Greenland and Labrador. But most of the moved ice stayed up in the arctic, creating numerous pressure ridges in the East Siberian Sea and quite a pile-up along the coast of East Siberia.

This body of thicker ice will not effect the ice-extent graph until later in the melt season. Then we shall see if the East Siberian Sea is slower to melt, because the ice is thicker.

In the winter of 2012-2013 there was a similar movement of ice in Beaufort Sea, causing a great hubbub in the Alarmist community because it seemed to them that, if the ice broke up in the middle of the winter, surely it would fall apart and melt more quickly in the summer. It didn’t happen. One idea I heard was that so much water was exposed in the winter by leads that the water temperature was lowered under the ice, slowing the melt in the summer.

The thing I remember about that summer-of-2013 was the terrible trauma Alarmists went through when the ice failed to melt as they expected. I really don’t like seeing such pain, and I can’t see why, having suffered that way once, they want to do it all over again.

But I suppose that is the thing about an addiction. There is something about the “high” so attractive that one goes-for-it, heedless of the ruin it will bring about.  Pity such people, but do not expect them to admit they have a problem until they are completely ruined.

All an onlooker can do, until the addicts are ruined and plead for help, is to go to work and do your job and record the truth as it happens.

The weak swirl north of Greenland didn’t attack the Pole like the winter ones did. The North Atlantic gale is not stuck over Iceland , but is further north, drifting slowly towards Barents Sea north of Norway. Models were showing it getting up to the Pole a week from now, but now are backing away from that idea.


The models continue to bounce all over the place, concerning whether the North Atlantic low will wander up to the Pole or not. In the short term it looks like the ridge of the high pressure will stand fast, and the weak but sprawling low over the East Siberian Sea will drift across to the Canadian Archipelago while weakening. That low has drawn some Pacific air north through Alaska and then off shore, giving O-Buoy 14 an early thaw, which will give Alarmists more joy. The thaw is already over, and the ice is still much colder than the air only inches below the surface, but a thaw is still a thaw.

Obuoy 14 0513 temperature-1week

This ice is quite far south, having just moved past 77°, compressing north midst the ice that has been generally pushed away from the coasts of Alaska and Canada. Therefore the thaw is not included in the mean-temperatures-north of 80° graph we look at. Hopefully the compression will not build any pressure ridges that take out our only remaining camera.

Obuoy 14 0513 webcam

The snow does look like it softened a little during the thaw.


Here is the wind field that opened up the polynya (also called a “shore lead”) back in April.

Poly 1 2016-05-12101712

(Hat Tip Steve Goddard @   )

And here is a satellite view of the ice starting to crack and leads forming back on April 21. (South, and the coast of Alaska, is to the left in this picture.)

Poly 2 beaufort-gyre-video-screencap_21-april-2016_labelled

(Hat Tip Susan J. Crockford @

She has a good post here:

Beaufort Sea fractured ice due to strong Beaufort Gyre action – not early melt

And last but not least, in case you hear this polynya is “unprecedented”, here  are pictures of similar situations last year and in 1975.

Poly 3 bathurst-and-w-beaufort-polynyas_1975-vs-2015_polarbearscience

This is also from Susan J. Crockford’s research.

Tracking polar bears in the Beaufort Sea in April 2016 and early polynya formation





As the sun beams down for twenty-four hours a day in the arctic, the Pole simply cannot get as cold, and the clash between the arctic and the tropics grows less. Not that the clash can’t still generate notable storms, but they grow less common. In fact spring is kinder than the autumn, because in the fall the abrupt end of all sunlight, and the cold which sunlessness creates, clashes with waters and landscapes that retain and “remember” the summer warmth, and such clashes can be extreme. In the spring the abrupt cessation of darkness cannot create such a clash, for the gradually warming arctic is rubbing against waters and landscapes that still retain and remember winter cold, and at times they are basically the same temperature, and the clashes are nonexistent.

The results are the unexciting maps we are witnessing.  (Dullsville, man, dullsville).

This is as close as we have seen to a textbook “zonal” pattern in a long time. I may have to look about in the shrubbery for that textbook I threw out the window, for having a high pressure sit on the Pole obeys the textbook idea of the “Polar Cell”, with air descending at the Pole, and storms wheeling about the periphery, pumping the air aloft that comes down at the Pole.

Polar Cell cells_mod

An interesting side effect of this kinder and gentler pattern is that currently there are no above-freezing temperatures at the Pole. Dullsville can’t do that, until June. When else can it thaw besides the midsummer? Ironically it took the the coldest temperatures of the entire winter to derange things into a non-zonal and “meridienal” state, and suck a brief plume of above-freezing temperatures north, last Christmas. In fact it took temperatures so cold it was the only time they dipped “below normal” in El Nino winter (north of 80 degrees), to suck the plume of brief “warmth” north. (The extreme cold shows as a couple dips below the “green line”, just before temperatures spiked at the end of the year, in the graph below.)

DMI3 2015 meanT_2015

To witness the nature of the clash, the maps from Christmas are required, but unfortunately I am a sentimental fool. Rather than being disciplined. and saving the maps from Christmas, I was attending to foolish things like family, friends, and plum pudding. Therefore I confess I only saved the maps from the day before and the day after Christmas.


It sure wasn’t Dullsville, back then! Huge storms were roaring perilously close to the Pole! These gales flung Atlantic air right over the Pole, (and you can still see the remnant “warmth” (in fact below freezing by the 26th) to the Pacific side of the Pole, in the second map).

At the time Alarmists were dancing in the streets, because temperatures may have nudged above freezing, if not on the Pole itself, then at a buoy very close to the Pole. It was an event worth Washington Post headlines. More quietly, under the froth of headlines, a scientist named Wendy gathered solid data and shared it with us here:

If the Washington Post was interested in both sides of the story it might report that, despite twenty-four hour sunshine, the Pole can’t get above freezing, now.  But The Washington Post won’t. Why not? Because it is Dullsville.

Let’s face it, the dull stuff, which is what scientists must drudge through most if the time, doesn’t make headlines. The media wants every day to be Christmas, when we can skip the hard work of recording maps, and temperatures, and just be enthusiastic. Yippee! Yahoo! Like a cowboy in town on a bender. Not like the cowboy riding and herding cattle day after day in the driving sleet and parching dust. However if that cowboy didn’t ride the range through all that sleet and dust, we’d have no beef on our table, and he’d have no time on the town going yippie-yahoo. In like manner, scientists could never lift their index fingers and utter their flabbergasting revelations if it were not for long times spent in the tedium and drudgery of Dullsville.

And Dullsville is where we are at, right now, as we attempt to be informed voters, and watch the sea-ice, in order to separate the science from the sensationalism.

Usually this time of year is always fairly dull, but also we get our best views of the sea-ice now, and can use the images to play Sherlock Holmes and deduce what happened when darkness hid all last winter.  We get our pictures from cameras on buoys, and from cameras held by adventurers on the ice, as it is now that adventurers dare go out on the ice because the sun is brightest and the ice is firmest. However something odd has happened the past few years. The cameras on buoys have all vanished, except for O-buoy 14’s. Also the adventurers have quit their adventuring, as few fund them, (and/or fund the air support they require). This makes the dull time waiting for the ice to start thawing even duller, because we don’t even get any pictures, and can’t even argue about what the pictures show.

I confess I have a suspicious side. I would call it a paranoid side, but unfortunately my suspicions have too often proved true.  However, before I go into my suspicions, I should simply report the facts, and show O-buoy 14 shows a dull waste of white, without the thaw starting.

Obuoy 14 0506 webcamObuoy 14 0508 webcam

And that is all I can post. Some unnamed person cut the funding, so I can’t post any pictures for the “North Pole Camera” this year. Nor does it seem that anyone found the funds to place cameras beside Mass balance Buoys, north of Alaska, this spring. Where has all the money gone? It makes me suspicious.

I also find it suspicious we have lost all but one of the Mass Balance Buoys, and also O-buoys 8b, 13 and 15.  Why? Because I think the wiser Arctic-Sea-Ice scientists would not have placed the buoys in foolish places where they would obviously be prone to being destroyed. (In one place the ice broke up only hours after the camera was placed). Whether the buoys were instead placed by a know-nothing political appointment who was too stupid to chose the better places, or were placed by a devious manipulator who intended for them to fail, (perhaps because higher-ups disapprove of eyewitnesses seeing the ice isn’t melting away as expected), the fact remains they are all gone, and rather than having buoys increase our knowledge, we are now left in the dark. (We do have some satellite views, but the buoys often proved “modeled” satellite data was incomplete and inaccurate, and even non-modeled visual satellite pictures were from too far away to capture important details.)

I would rather rely on facts than suspicions, but I am denied the facts. I am reduced to a view not much better than midwinter darkness, and a level not much higher than the media’s, and the media cared more for sensationalism than facts right from the start.

Therefore you must forgive me for creating a media-like sensationalism of my own, without facts. It is tantamount to this suspicion:

Some people are dependent on a sensationalist illusion, which suggests the sea-ice is melting away. They are paid for promoting the hoop-la about a polar “Death Spiral” that hasn’t occurred. They therefore dislike the cameras and buoys and adventurers they formerly funded, for such buoys, cameras, and people are not supporting their sensationalism that the Pole is in a Death Spiral. They see old friends as foes. In fact they may dislike even an Alarmist website like the notorious “Nevin’s”. Why? Because even “Nevin” likes to use actual data and actual pictures from actual cameras as he, with his filter of bias, sees what he wants to see. Why dislike “Nevin”?  Because even as an Alarmist his honesty grates against the sensationalist meme that the ice is melting away, and he is too honest about the fact the ice isn’t gone, even as he assures everyone it will be, it will be, it will be, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow.

Too many tomorrows have come and gone, and the ice is still there.  The sensationalist illusion has been utterly undermined.  The people dependent on a sensationalist illusion may even be starting to understand  their days are numbered. They were the “insiders”, but may be on their way out.

The American voters are seeming to riot as a rabble against the demure assurances of “insiders”, preferring a Trump to the “insider” Bush, and a Sanders to the “insider” Clinton (and even to be pissed off at the current president, because such voters only voted for the president because they “hoped for a change” but instead got an even greater dose of “more of the same”.)

The “consensus” sensationalist illusion can not stand up to the hard Truth of reality, in all areas, including the obscure subject of arctic sea-ice.  The writing is on the wall. The “insiders” think they are the “consensus”, but the Majority know the word “consensus” means “insiders”, and doesn’t include the Majority that is increasingly fed up, to a degree where grumbling is becoming a growl.

My final suspicion is this: Some can see the writing on the wall, and know it is time to take the money and run. If they take the money for themselves and run, then real scientists suffer from a lack of funding, and buoys and satellites break down, which is what we are seeing.

However I confess that is mere suspicion, on my part. I would be glad to see it is paranoia, but I doubt it is.  The blatant hypocrisy of those who have used immortal beauty as a thin veneer over mortal lusts has been so absurdly and clearly obvious for so long it has become laughable, and the practitioners are swiftly becoming jokes. Already their rats are deserting their ships.

On the other hand it may be that the buoys and cameras and satellites are failing for some other, logical reason. I can’t explain the satellites, but the sea-ice is not as smooth as it used to be. Maybe it is getting crumpled up, compressed like an accordion, and destroying Mass Balance Buoys and Cameras as it increasingly buckles and bulges.

If this is the case, the resultant thickening ice is not the same as ice thinning, melting away, and leading to an ice-free Pole and a “Death Spiral”. In such a case both Skeptics like myself and Alarmists like “Nevin” would like to discuss what the evidence of thickening sea-ice means. Yet it is hard to do so when some unnamed person somewhere in Washington fails to maintain (or even fund),  buoys, cameras, and even satellites.

Dullsville may not turn out to be so dull after all.


ARCTIC SEA ICE –Comparison with 2006–

I was listening to some Bach yesterday to mellow out my temper, but unfortunately was on a PBS station which injected a bit of Climate Change hoopla into my brain before I could change the channel, the result being I was anything but mellow. The editorial was so full of incredibly distorted news that I’m surprised the speaker’s nose didn’t grow so long it poked out through the front of the radio.

Just for an example, every El Nino makes the waters warmer around Australia, which allows waters to get hot enough, in the shallowest reef-waters, to “bleach” some coral. The coral dies, and then comes back after the water cools. I’m not sure what percentage gets bleached, but it isn’t all that high. I’m not sure how long it takes for the reef to recover, but it isn’t that long. Like a forest fire in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, “bleaching” is not pretty, leaves a short-term wasteland, but is a part of the natural cycle of things.

I know all this because there was a “coral reef bleaching scare” around ten years ago, and I paid attention to a degree where I actually visited Australian websites. Some fellows at resorts were irritated that they might lose customers because people would assume the reefs were dead, while other fellows thought tourists would come if the guides played on a theme of “see the reef before it is too late.” However I soon understood the reefs were not anywhere close to dying out; bleaching had occurred before, and the reef always recovered. Some websites frequented by scuba divers were downright contemptuous of the media, and how ill-informed the reporters were, and how some scientists were pandering for funding, to study reefs the scuba divers already knew about. The divers joked the scientists were looking for a paid vacation. In the end the scare blew over and the coral recovered.

The PBS editorial I accidentally listened to was replaying all the exaggerations of the old scare, based around this latest El Nino. For example, in an area of sun-baked shallow water up to 99% of the coral can die. That is a true fact. However it is a gross distortion to use the “up to 99%” figure for the entire barrier reef. Yet the editorial said something along the lines of, “A professor and his students were reduced to weeping because up to 99% of the Great Barrier Reef had died.” That may not be an out and out lie, if you parse the sentence with a lawyer, but it gives a false impression, and therefore PBS seemingly is misusing its funding. It is suppose to educate the public, not bleat propaganda. (The (unnamed) professor is suppose to do the same.) (Weeping isn’t scientific, and weeping is known to, in fact, cloud scientific objectivity. A bunch of bawling students is therefore not a sign of a good teacher.)

The editorial went on to do the same with other facts regarding sea-ice. My favorite involved blithely explaining away the cold hitting Europe as “cold displaced by the heat at the Pole.”

Joe Bastardi at Weatherbell site  posted a Dr. Ryan Maue forecast map of snow in Germany this week.

Germany April snow 2 gfs_tot_snow_eur_29(1)

I was curious as to whether the forecast had verified, so I checked back to the Weatherbell site, and Joseph D’Aleo was (as usual) right on the ball. I learned temperatures over Germany were ten degrees below normal.

Germany April snow 3 ncep_cfsv2_4_t2anom_europe(2)

And Pierre Gosselin reported to Joseph,

“Winter transforms Germany’s Thuringia Forest into a winter wonderland today. Massberg webcam photo 11.07 a.m.

Newsite Thuringia Antenne here writes that winter has returned and will stick around for awhile, reporting of icy roads, accidents and cold. Meteorologist Dominik Jung of forecasts 5 to 10 cm of snow across wide regions of Germany, especially Bavaria and Thuringia.

The Rheinbrecke at Rees had to be closed for over an hour and a half early this morning due to accidents from icy conditions, the RP Online reports here.”

Germany April snow. Winter_massberg_April_26_2016

While it is true Europe is smaller than the Arctic Ocean, (3.931 million square miles versus 5.427 million square miles), when you include the area of Atlantic Ocean covered by the cold hitting Europe you wind up with an area larger than the Arctic Ocean. Nor is the entire Arctic Ocean above normal. Slightly less than half of it is, in fact, below normal.

Germany April snow 4 gfs_t2m_anomf_arctic_1

None of this was mentioned in the editorial, of course.  In the end it basically dissolved into a diatribe against people who vote out Alarmists, such as Australians. What was most nauseating to me was its “science-is-settled” attitude, which accepted guff as gospel.

I have my doubts about recent record-keeping, due to some being polluted by  “adjustments”, but, using those records, we are indeed feeling the effects of a large El Nino, and the air temperatures of the world are at “record highs” as the sea-ice-extent is brushing “record-lows.” I don’t find this particularly alarming, as records are set all the time, when the period when the records have been kept is relatively short.  The last El Nino did indeed set a recent record, for the central Pacific, but didn’t for the waters just off Peru. Off Peru the 1998 and 1982 El Ninos were “the worst ever”.  In any case, I’ve been expecting a lot of hubbub to be made about this El Nino’s mildness, and the word “unprecedented” to be used a lot, and the PBS editorial didn’t disappoint me.

What is always interesting to do is to search the historical records we have from the period before modern records were kept.  They are full of surprises, and in fact it was my study of the conditions the Vikings in Greenland lived under that first alerted me to the fact that the word “unprecedented” didn’t include a huge swath of history.

I started poking around in the past, looking at low sea-ice extent, and I didn’t need to go far to find an example that surprised me. It was the year 2006, which most think of as a year with higher ice-extent, because most focus on September and not late April. I found a good site for making such comparisons, where you can erase all the years you don’t want charted, and avoid facing a hopeless tangle of graphed squiggles. I thought it would be interesting to compare 2006 with 2012, (2012 being the year with the lowest extent on record). Here’s the site, so you can do your own comparing:

What is interesting is that 2012 was above normal, while 2006 was at record-setting lows, at the start of May. By September 2006’s extent was barely below 6 million km2, while 2012 was well below 4 million km2. In other words, all the hubbub about how low levels now are might actually mean we are in for a year like 2006, rather than 2012.

At this point one runs into a lot of talk about how much more solid the ice was back in 2006, versus how flimsy it is now. So I did a bit of checking. People have been skiing from 89 degrees north to the Pole for over ten years, so I went and looked at the “final degree” diary for 2006. Temperatures were milder that year than this year, and April  17 had this intriguing headline.


Reading a little discovered this:

We have crossed difficult leads of open water today, where we also had to use our two large sleds as bridge to get across. This we can do on two-three meter wide leads. We lash the two sleds together to make a catamaran, and push them out in the water. This raft floats well and becomes a stable platform; we then crawl across to the other side one after another. This system works on small leads, but on wider leads we need to find a crossing point.

We did 15.5 kilometre on our ten hour long day. It’s now 46 kilometres left to the Pole, and it looks like we will make it with good margin. At the end of the day however, we came to an enormous lead, 3-400 metre wide. We made camp nearby this lead, and Thomas and I went out to look for a crossing point for tomorrow. Pressure ridges and large leads have one thing in common; they don’t last forever. When we meet such leads there is just one thing to do and that is to walk along it until we find a crossing point. They can be several kilometres long but sooner or later the lead will close. The good thing about such leads is that they take up a lot of the movement in the ice and we hope conditions are more stable on the other side.

OK, that is 2006, when the ice was “thicker”.

Now let’s evesdrop on 2016

From April 14

A long and hard day. Lots of snow on the ice, and a lot of rubble. Not extreme, but it’s there all the time…

Final Degree 1 in-the-ice

From April 16

Beautiful day, sunny but cold. Also today heavy walking, but nothing so bad that we have to turn back. The drift has changed direction and has almost stopped up.

Final Degree 2 ice-2

Now, if I was like PBS I would never mention that they later came across open leads. I’ve made my point: The ice was thick and piled up this year. However, because I am in love with truth, I’ll mention the leads.

From April 17

Just slightly some wind, and it was in our back. Temperature probably around minus 30-35.

And drift was almost zero. We got into better ice, less bulky and with hard snow. We followed a new lead that went straight north for almost an hour.

From April 18

We skied 18 Km, same as the day before. Lots of snow in the ice, but good conditions. A lot of large pans.

From April 19

Sunny, a bit wind from the back, warmer aprox 25 under.

We met an open lead right away in the morning. Struggled there for a bit, but came over. After that we had to jump several cracks, and did a couple more leads…

We then meet the mother of all leads just before camp time! Luckily it had one point that was possible to cross. We went over and came into camp at 20:15.

There. That is what real reporting looks like. You report truth, not just what supports your theory.

The “Race Against Time” expedition experienced the same arctic landscape. They started further south, experiencing some leads at the start, but then fought through a great deal of pressure ridging, which they described as “boulder fields”. Later they too came across the leads close to the Pole, and displayed their unabashed bias (apparent throughout the trip) by stating, “Strangely warm day around -10C. 8 hours trekking today. Reached a huge expanse of water, which is bizarre so close to the North Pole.”

They should have read up on 2006, for then they would have seen that the temperatures they experienced were colder than 2006 through much of their trip. Rather than “strangely warm” they should have stated 10ºC  was”temperatures like 2006″. Also if they had researched they would have known that the adventurers in 2006 also found leads near the Pole. Maybe they would have even researched to a point they would have known there were leads near the Pole in 1987.  It’s not so “bizarre” after all.

Barneo 6C 3-subs-north-pole-1987

I always admire the people who ski to the Pole. The oldest has been 69 and the youngest has been, I think, 10. However the “Race Against Time” crew got a bit too maudlin for me.  On one hand they had to promote how “delicate and fragile” the arctic was, but on the other hand they had to make it sound like they were up against hardships only supermen could endure, and this made them describe the pressure ridges they had to haul heavy sleds over as being like the Himalayas. Wrong.  Making pressure ridges sound huge is politically incorrect, if you want to promote the idea all the ice is melting.  They forgot the political cause, in their lust for self-aggrandizement.

Fool Ranulph

All I can say is, “Put on a hat, you fool!”

To return to more mundane matters, the last “whirl” faded away from the Pole, pumping a high behind it. This has cut off the export of cold down into the North Atlantic, but not before the trough mentioned at the start of the post was filled to the brim with cold. That trough will slowly drift across Europe to the east, and some milder temperatures will finally return to Europe from west to east as that trough moves to Russia.

It looks to me like Pacific air may try to generate the next “swirl” at the Pole, but the models suggest that low north of Iceland will be the next low at the Pole, splitting the high pressure in Frem Strait in half. Hmm. I guess we’ll see what we see.

O-buoy 13 has been experiencing dull weather, cloudy but with little snow, and steady temperatures at -10ºC.Obuoy 13 0429 webcam

O-buoy 14 has been producing the better pictures, and reminding me of what originally attracted me to these cameras. (Beauty). Temperatures have been going through a diurnal swing between -7ºC and -15ºC. It’s gradually clouding up.

Obuoy 14 0427 webcam

Obuoy 14 0429 webcam

Things remain fairly dull, usually, until the thaw starts, but perhaps the Alarmists will give me more to write about.


NSIDC Busted!

It is because of Tom-foolery like this that I resort to using my lying eyes. Either the old NSIDC data was wrong, or the current data is wrong. If NSIDC is going to change the data the public has been relying on to this degree, they need to explain themselves. Do they think people didn’t trust them, and use the data they made public? Now those papers or posts or articles that used their old data look, at the very least, inaccurate, and at worst, stupid. An explanation is not something they can blithely disregard offering.

Real Science

Reader Chris71 has discovered the smoking gun on the NSIDC web site. Read on.

A few weeks ago, NSIDC put out this press release, claiming that 5+ year old ice is at its smallest level on record.

ice at least 5 years or older, is at its smallest level in the satellite record, representing only 3 percent of the total ice cover


The press release included the map below. This is a new style map which they just started in week 39 2015. The map below is for week 41 2015. All of their previous  1984-2015 maps have been deleted from their archive.


March ends a most interesting winter | Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis

The good news is that Chris found one of their old style maps which had not been scrubbed from their website, and is annotated with the following text.

This graph is reloaded from${year}_${month}.gif every day and is available…

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