I was going to headline this post “Polar Temperatures Plunge”, but that would too obviously be “click-bait”. Also, despite “the plunge”, temperatures are still above normal at the Pole, and therefore such hype would be misleading.
Alarmists resort to such hype all the time, so I suppose I could say, “they started it”, like schoolboys after a brawl. And some, for example Tony Heller at the Real Climate Science Site, can be forgiven if at times they simply make factual statements that perhaps are incomplete, and leave it up to Alarmists to complete the picture.
As an example (of my own invention), in the graph below the “spike” ends with a plunge back towards normal. One might measure that plunge (I haven’t), and might discover it was the biggest fall in temperatures between February 26 and February 28 on record. Then one could call it an “unprecedented” fall in temperatures in the headline, and only mention in paragraph twenty-two (if at all) that there have been greater plunges on other dates, and that temperatures are still above normal, and also that there may have been greater plunges back before records were started in 1958. In this manner one would tell no lies, but serve the ball back into the Alarmist’s court, and force them to run around digging all up the data that would counter the impression created by your headline. Alarmists certainly deserve such treatment, because they have been forcing Skeptics to play this sort of ball since 1986.
Today I am not in the mood to play ball with Alarmists, for the weather phenomenon we have just witnessed is more interesting than they are. I’m sorry if this hurts their feelings. I know how they love attention. I will mention some of their hype in passing, but largely focus on the pattern, and all the things it suggests to my over-active imagination.
For those in a hurry, the pattern first developed a cross-polar-flow from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and then went through an amazing flip that turned it right around to a cross-polar-flow from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Big deal. You are dismissed.
For those in less of a hurry, here are the details:
When I last posted the play-by-play maps, we wound up with a fascinating double-inflow to the Pole.
WARNING: POPPYCOCK AND BALDERDASH ALERT
Those who follow my posts know I suffer from an over-active imagination. Many scientists do not suffer from this problem. They have no imagination at all.
I freely recognize my abundance of imagination may see things that are not actual fact. For example, once when I was far at sea, very hungry, and a long, long way from a good meal, I looked up at afternoon cumulus tainted a Rembrandt yellow-orange, and I’ll be danged if the clouds didn’t look like something. They didn’t look like a lamb or a fluffy puppy, or anything simple like that, but rather like an elaborate Rembrandt painting of a Christmas dinner, complete with a plump mother bringing in the roast goose. Doubt me if you will, but I could even smell the food. My mouth watered. I shrugged it off as a hallucination; for sailors suffer a sort of partial sensory-deprivation (hand in hand with a sensory-over-stimulation), and see differently than lubbers do, and they have to be on guard lest “sirens” tempt them to jump overboard. In any case, even if I had taken a picture of those clouds you would be unlikely to see what I saw. (Nor would I today, sad to say.) The incredible, beautiful scene was, as they say, a “figment”. It was a figment of my imagination.
Many scientists avoid figments like the plague. Poor fellows. They do not know what they are missing. The reason I turned away from science to art was that I far prefer figments to drab and dreary facts. In fact the divorce between art and science would be complete and terminal, were it not for a few scientists who astounded me by having imaginations, and liking figments. It amazed me that a scientist actually could have a mind.
This happened at an early age, in grade school, during a class I don’t think they teach any more, called “Geography”. A lot of the class was very boring, involving endless factoids regarding what city was capital of what nation, (many of the nations don’t even exist any more, so my memorization was somewhat in vain). However Geography also involved some basic Geology, which caught my imagination. I liked the sea, and mountains, and volcanoes. (Especially volcanoes). Therefore, during the more boring part of the class, my eyes would wander to the maps on the wall. I (along with roughly 200,000 other bored schoolboys) noticed South America was a puzzle piece that fit nicely against Africa. Of course, doing that fitting was a “figment”, but, boys being boys, it happened a lot. And, if you do it a lot, some of the fits of puzzle pieces are extraordinary. For example, the two coasts of the Red Sea fit together like hands to a glove. Still, the idea of land moving, and spreading that far apart, seemed preposterous. Yet, boys being boys, imagination went beyond the books.
Teachers, at that time, mostly taught by the book. If the book said up was down, (or Global Warming was a fact), they would go by the book. And the book, at that time, had an interesting explanation for the erection of mountain ranges. (I remember it because I got an “A” on that test.)
Mountains were erected, “scientists stated”, because the planet was cooling. Once the entire planet was molten lava, “scientists stated”, but it had gradually cooled. As it cooled the surface skimmed over with a crust of cooled lava. Then, as the planet continued to cool, the crust not only got thicker, but it obeyed a scientific law. As things cool they get smaller. (Every engineer knows this, and allows for expansion due to heating and for contraction due to cooling). However the skin of crust on the surface of the earth did not allow for contraction, and didn’t put in the “spacers” good engineers put in concrete sidewalks and highways. Therefore, as the earth shrank, the crust crumpled “like the skin of a shriveled apple,” and mountains arose.
I loved this idea as a boy. The logic seemed majestic to me. But there was a small problem. Back in those days children still knew what a shriveled apple looked like, (because we didn’t import apples from the southern hemisphere, and had to depend on the local supply), and when, towards spring, I took a shriveled apple from my brown, paper bag, (lunch boxes were for snobs), I noted the wrinkles were evenly distributed. On the skin of earth, (I noted when daydreaming at maps in Geography class), mountains were not so evenly distributed. I was especially struck by how mountains were a spine only to the west, in South America.
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t figure out the theory of Continental Drift by myself, in Grade school. However my over-active imagination was seeing things that didn’t add up. I was in second grade, and Eisenhower was still president, before scientists began the research that, in only a few years, blew the minds of geologists.
What a great time to be a geologist! They were allowed to have imagination.
In only six years I was entering eighth grade, feeling the first dangerous effects of adolescent hormones, and Johnson was president and was confident he could make poverty a thing of the past. I knew all about the new discoveries concerning Continental Drift, for there were Scientific American articles about the subject, and an enthusiastic relative kept me informed. And it was just then I came face to face with an elderly science teacher who was still teaching by the book.
Oh what a glory it was, (considering I was slow to grow and was the most stunted boy in my class), to stand up to this know-it-all teacher and tell her she was wrong. And I have to admit she did respond in a wonderful way. When I slapped the evidence, (Scientific American articles, because it was worth reading back then,) down in front of her, she did not shame me by calling me a “skeptic”. She actually read what I showed her, and actually changed her mind. How I wish Alarmists of today had the elasticity-of-mind which that old lady, close to retirement, displayed. (How many Alarmists actually read Skeptic writings?)
But I blame that glorious moment of my youth for causing me to drift towards being overly imaginative. It is not pragmatic to put too much weight on our imaginations. Even sailors know this, and refrain from jumping into the sea though alluring “sirens” beckon. But I thought “figments” had power, when I mastered my eighth grade teacher, at a height of four foot eleven. It gave me the “figment” (also called the “false impression”) that when I grew to be six feet tall I could master bankers, and they would give me good money to write the “figments” called bad poetry. I was wrong.
So here it is, fifty years later. I am a little wiser. For example, I know President Johnson didn’t eradicate poverty, (first hand), and also think I may understand a little about what Jesus meant when he stated “Blessèd are the poor”. (IE: If you eradicate poverty you eradicate blessings; [take that, Karl Marx]). The most beautiful music and poetry and wisdom springs from suffering. (IE: “You gotta pay the dues if you want to sing the blues”). However this wisdom I’ve gleaned doesn’t matter a hill of beans in the unimaginative landscape of dullard scientists.
I actually like science, for it is a study of Truth, and I apologize to all good scientists for stating scientists lack imagination, but they do. They remind me of myself when I have to do my taxes (which I’m now doing). When doing taxes you have to stop living life in order to sift through receipts, because the nosy government insists on knowing, and gives the IRS great power. And life grinds to a halt. And you can’t help but ask yourself, “Wouldn’t life be easier without receipts? Wouldn’t we get more done without all this paperwork?” In like manner, in terms of imagination, certain scientists are like the IRS. They care more for receipts than for life, in that they care more for data than for discovery.
Me? I am a mad poet, and therefore care more for discovery than data. After all, how are we to know Truth that is not known, if we rely on what is already known, and do not bother discover?
In the world of orthodox science discovery is a laborious process, involving six thousand facts for a single utterance. It’s a long run for a slide so short it amounts to a jolt to a halt. To poets Truth is a heck of a lot easier. Poets just describe what they see. In the world of science this is called “observation”. But poets take it a step farther. How can I explain?
Let me put it this way: In a courtroom a witness is constrained. He can only state what he saw. If he states what he thought, a lawyer will holler, “Objection!” This is in one way being a stickler for the Truth, but it can approach absurdity. For example, if you saw a man jump from the seventh story window, ran downstairs, and saw him dead on the pavement, you’d conclude the man jumped to his death, but the lawyer would object, “But did you see the man hit the pavement?” What a waste of time! Do scientists really insist on wasting time in this manner?
Poets are lucky, for they can tell lawyers to go f— themselves. Scientists can’t, for science is governed by tedious, worldly laws poets don’t need to care a fig about. Who needs figs when you have figments?
However there is a tangent point between the world of poets and the world of science. It exists because both study Truth.
Both study Beauty. A poet who agonized between science (becoming a surgeon) and becoming unscientific (becoming a poet) was John Keats, and one of his most famous poems states, “Beauty is Truth.”
Unfortunately science has yet to come up with a thermometer or barometer that can measure beauty. Karl Marx be damned; beauty is beyond the measure of money and all economists.
Therefore, when I tell you what I have observed about arctic sea-ice, you need to know the observations spring from beyond the measure of bankers and money. It is beyond the measure of data from scientists and thermometers. It is just stuff that is simply, as we say in New Hampshire, “wicked beautiful”. (By the way, the misuse of the word “wicked” originated in New Hampshire. Boston copied us.)
But, to be beautiful, beauty must stand out against that which is ugly (or at least plain). Beauty calls the plain inferior. It seems hurtful to call another’s ideas plain, (or at least inadequate), but some ideas failed to explain what was occurring at the Pole.
I’ve explained in past posts how elegant ideas such as the interaction between the Ferrel and Polar Cell, and the positive and negative AO, failed to describe what Truth showed us was occurring at the Pole. It was a bit like saying mountains arose because the earth shrank like a withered apple. It was an idea that didn’t work, and begged for a new idea. A figment was required.
Because the elegant ideas of hard-working scientists were failing to see what my over-active imagination was seeing, I decided to share what I see in the clouds. Lord knows, I lack data. I’m not funded, and do this for the joy of it.
That is why I issue a “Poppycock and Balderdash Warning”. I’m a witness defying the lawyers by going a little bit farther than actual observations, and suggesting a thing or two (which is what makes poetry different from science).
Those of you who have put up with me for five years, with me tediously prattling while looking at DMI maps of isobars and isotherms in the Arctic, have seen me slowly start to suggest that some ideas which are missed by conventional concepts may be involved. Likely my ideas are comical and unscientific errors, but they are errors based upon fact, and as my ideas are ridiculed and debunked the process will force conventional concepts to be adjusted.
Here are my past ideas in a nutshell:
The above is not a highfalutin theory submitted to a scientific journal for peer review, but rather figments ( more formally called “a preliminary sketch of ideas from a witness’s notebook of observations”). While I respect the elegant and traditional ideas of positive and negative AO and Ferrel and Polar Cells, the recent past has been an exception to their rule, and has in fact made a shambles of their rule. Therefore I’m trying to come up with something that explains the exception to their rule. I don’t mean disrespect, but all rules have exceptions.
The circles represent views down at the North Pole. The upper section holds ideas I had about the anomalous area of polar low pressure that kept reappearing last year, which I dubbed “Ralph.” I concocted an idea the north Pole was like a chimney, and the “draft” had increased through some unknown process, (though I’ll venture some ideas about what controls the “damper” later). I felt the process was aided by the extra heat made available by the “super” El Nino of 2015. As that heat faded I felt the “draft” would lessen, Ralph would vanish, and instead we’d return to the traditional “zonal” flow sketched at the lower left. To my delight I was utterly wrong, and something new and interesting developed. Rather than a single “feeder-band” feeding into a counterclockwise swirl, there were two “feeder-bands” feeding into a clockwise swirl. It was draining off the earth’s heat through the “chimney”, but in an opposite way, like a Ying to Ralph’s Yang. I decided it needed a name, so I dubbed it Ralpheena, and sketched it out to the lower left.
None of this seemed to give me any ability to predict. I was mostly looking backwards and puzzling over what I saw. My lone prediction, (of a “zonal” pattern), had gone down in flames, and I didn’t feel inclined to embarrass myself further. (I knew my forecast was in trouble way back in October, when D’Aleo and Bastardi predicted a negative NAO at the end of the winter, which tends to be very loopy and not zonal.) Instead I decided to simply watch.
For the moment I’ll just post the maps. One thing I found fascinating is how the high pressure swung around to be exactly where Bastardi and D’Aleo said it would be. Those fellows amaze me.
I’ll add comments later. But duty calls.
We begin back on the 18th of February. The isotherms in the DMI temperature maps clearly showed the two mild feeds of “Ralpheena”, one from the Pacific and one from the Atlantic. This persisted into the 21st, at which point low pressure on the Pacific side interfered with the Pacific inflow.
The inflows always create low pressure, because the milder air has to rise in the colder environment it enters. But what goes up must come down, and therefore the inflow will also pump nearby high pressure (though I never am sure where). In the case of “Ralpheena” the high pressure seemed to be atop the Pole.
The Atlantic feed included a big gale that crashed into the southeast coast of Greenland on the 20th. Very cold temperatures in the Canadian Archipelago made headlines up there, but nowhere else (except the “Ice Age Now” site). Milder than normal temperatures in Svalbard did make the mainstream news.
The high pressure started to get nudged off the Pole towards Eurasia by the 21st. The low pressure created by the Pacific feed directed the inflow of Pacific air away from the Pole even as the Atlantic feed was pulled closer to the Pole. The mechanics seemed to involve the Atlantic feed clashing with cold air over the Archipelago, and generating low pressure on the Canadian side, contributing to the nudging of the high pressure towards Europe. The weak low northwest of Greenland could be called a weak “Ralph”. Another gale approached Greenland from the southeast.
By the 23rd the high pressure towards Eurasia was pumped up, and the contrast between it and the Ralph-like low pressure towards Greenland were generating a surge of Atlantic air up over the Pole. The south side of the high was creating east winds over Europe, and a major outbreak of Siberian air was moving from east to west towards and into Europe. Yet another major gale approached southeast Greenland, riding the southerly surge from the Atlantic.
By the 24th the gale hitting Greenland was a monster, with pressures down near 940 mb. Tremendous amounts of snow were increasing Greenland’s icecap. This generates no headlines. The air transited Greenland, releasing much latent heat as it snowed itself out, and descended to the north from over 10,000 feet as a Chinook (or Foehn) wind. Temperatures on the north coast were above freezing for a day, and the strong winds pushed the ice off the coast and created a polynya of open water. This did generate headlines, though the polynya was swiftly freezing over. (Note the temperature maps at no point are above freezing at the Pole).
At this point the hoopla about the “warm” Pole reached a cresendo, I think to counter the news of “The Beast From The East”. (A Dutch commenter noted he could find no Headlines in Dutch newspapers about their canals freezing and people skating, but instead gathered the news from a Turkish newspaper.)
The Hoopla spoke of temperatures thirty degrees above normal at the Pole, open water by Greenland’s coast, a brief time of above-freezing temperatures on Greenland’s north coast, and created the impression that melting was extreme and ongoing. There still was not yet much mention in the media of temperatures thirty degrees below normal roaring from Siberia into southeast Europe, as what came to be known as “The Beast From The East” gathered steam and became blatantly apparent.
Note the “Ralph-like” low forming north of Greenland, where warm Atlantic and Chinook air clashes with the cold air over the Archipelago. (Also note that at this point Bastardi and D’Aleo’s forecast of a blocking high forming over Greenland and Canada looks dubious.)
By the 26th the Atlantic flow is streaming as a cross-polar-flow all the way to the Pacific. Sea-ice is pushed north in Fram Strait and from Svalbard (making headlines) and, for one of the few times this winter, sea-ice is spread south through Bering Strait (making no headlines). Svalbard does experience a thaw, but note that above-freezing temperatures never reach the Pole. Much of the mild air must have risen, which likely, when it decended, was what pumped the high pressure as it started to slide down over Scandinavia. The “Beast From The East” clobbered Europe, south of these maps.
By the 27th the cross-polar-flow startws to be bent and repressed to the Eurasian side of the Pole. A good map from the “Tropical Tidbits” site showed the milder (but below freezing) stream extending all the way to the Pacific, and also showed howslender it was, compared to the bulk of bitterly cold arctic air it penetrated.
What shows less well is how this flow was pinched off, down at its source in the Atlantic. (This is because surface air temperatures immediately look warmer, once over water, even though that air retains much of its chill only a hundred feet above the water.) A west-to-east flow came under the big storms crashing into Greenland even as the high pressure over Europe brought a east-to-west flow (the “Beast From The East”) from the other direction. The winds, meeting and curving up to the north, made the southerly flow increasingly arctic in origin, (though moderated by their passage over the Atlantic). Also the “pinch” formed a gale much further south than the Greenland gales, and this gale, unable to head north due to the high pressure, rolled steadily east towards Spain, driving moisture into the cold air over Europe and creating deep snows.
By 12z on the 27th the cross-polar-flow was disintergrating, and the Ralph-like feature, (complete with the Ralph-like counterclockwise hook in the isotherm map), was forming between the Pole and the Kara Sea. The high pressure had decended over Scandinavia, (with some record lows set over
Greenland Norway), and was spreading across the Atlantic to Greenland, which had in 48 hours switched from being attractive to gales to attracting high pressure.
24 hours later high pressure is building strongly over Greenland, and the negative NAO promised by Bastardi and D’Aleo has appeared, as it were, out of the blue. One has to have great respect for the analogues they use, considering they foresaw the development in October, whereas the computer models only started to see the development ten days beforehand (and I couldn’t see how it was going to happen only four days beforehand.)
The high pressure over Greenland pushed the Ralph-like feature down towards Russia, and with remarkable speed (to me at least) we had the situation completely reversed from when there were gales over Greenland and high Pressure over Russia. The Atlantic-to-Pacific flow was flipped around to Pacific-to-Atlantic, with the process completed by March 2.
At this point the cold was building back at the Pole, (ignored by the media) and something interesting occurred. As part of the blocking high settled down into Canada, part was left behind at the Pole. With a plume of milder air feeding north through Bering Strait, I wondered if the pattern was trying to revert to a “Ralpheena” situation, or to become a more “traditional” zonal pattern. The Pacific feed had faded by March 6, so now I watch and wonder. My forecast? “Continued wonder”.
I should mention that the sea-ice blown north from Svalbard hasn’t blown back, but the north winds have grown a fresh skin of “baby ice” over those waters. The sea-ice blown south in Bering Strait is starting to be blown north again. The polynya north of Greenland that the media made such a fuss about is skimmed over. One interesting thing (which I’ll likely write about later) is that the Laptev Sea’s export of sea-ice to the north is less this year; the polynyas that usually form along its coast as the sea-ice is pushed north have been rare. This should decrease the ice in the Central Arctic, but in fact the ice in the Central Arctic is thicker than last year.
I also want to play around with the idea of the Pole as a “chimney”, whose “draw” is controlled by a “damper”, but this post is getting too long.
I’ll close by mentioning that once the high pressure arrived in Greenland it created a classic “blocking pattern”, and we saw a magnificent gale explode off the east coast of the USA:
To the lower left in the above picture you can see the shallow, light-turquoise waters of the Bahamas, with the deeper, darker-blue “Tongue Of The Ocean” penetrating those reefs from the north. Nassau, sheltered at the north of the Tongue Of The Ocean, is protected from all directions except due north. The huge gale was to the due north, over a thousand miles away. Joe Bastardi shared this picture he received from a friend of the breakwater at the mouth of Nassau Harbor yesterday.
I recall sailing into that harbor in far more tranquil conditions. I can’t imagine being down there in a sailboat now. The sky is blue and the sun is warm, but the waves just start getting bigger…and bigger….and bigger….
Up here in New England the huge breakers ate away at the beach by the shore, but all the sand sucked away from the dunes builds an off-shore bar that breaks waves further out, and tends to protect the beach from the next big storm (scheduled to arrive tomorrow.)
I’m thinking I’ll take time off from taxes and bring my grandchildren to the scoured shoreline this coming weekend, to see what the sea has uncovered. (Hopefully a small chest of gold coins). Already the old timbers of a 250-year-old ship appeared from under the washed-away sands, up in Wells, Maine.