ARCTIC SEA ICE –A Changing Pattern–(Updated Sunday Night)

The DMI maps are available again at long last, and seem to indicate the low pressure over the Pole is filling in, and the cold is starting to rebuild.                          DMI3 0122 mslp_latest.big DMI3 0122 temp_latest.bigDMI3 0122B mslp_latest.bigDMI3 0122B temp_latest.big

Deep low pressure continues to stall between Iceland and Greenland, creating a southerly flow up through the North Atlantic, but the associated fronts and lows aren’t making the same progress past Fram Strait towards the Pole. The UK Met maps show the current storm weakening as it crawls from Denmark Strait up to Fram Strait, as a new Gale replaces it by midday Sunday down in Denmark Strait. Note all the fronts occlude and tangle to the north, failing to progress north. (Click maps to clarify and enlarge.)

UK Met 20160122 31143270 UK Met 20160122 2 day for 31146915

The Atlantic flow is expected to slowly collapse south and east, until it pours across Northern Europe.  (Jospeph D’Aleo has an excellent post about this shift at the Weatherbell Professional Site.) This will squeeze the cold currently over Europe back down over poor, snowbound Turkey (and any Syrian refugees) and then down to the Middle East, as western Europe gets a break from its current cold, and even may get some rain, but eastern Europe and Russia gets yet more snow. This developing spear of milder temperatures shows up especially clearly in Dr. Ryan Maue’s Canadian JEM model map for temperatures next Monday.DMI3 0122B cmc_t2m_asia_11It is not particularly “warming” to increase the Siberian snow-pack, which has been generating a copious supply of cold air this year. It’s to be hoped that the spear of mildness is bent southeast down to Mongolia, which has been suffering bitter cold, as the cold generated over Siberia’s snows escaped south towards China. The excellent researcher and contributor the Ice Age Now site,  Argiris Diamantis, found this press release about Mongolia’s plight, (which I haven’t seen mentioned in the mainstream media):

 Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support Mongolian herders facing severe winter. Published: 19 January 2016
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released 158,000 Swiss francs (157,686 US dollars) from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to assist 1,500 herder families (7,500 people) in Mongolia who are at risk of losing all their livestock to extreme sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall.
Based on the latest assessment report released by the Mongolian Government in early January 2016, 50 soums (districts) in 16 aimags (provinces) are currently categorized as being affected by dzud (the Mongolian term for severe winter conditions), while 120 soums in 20 provinces are facing a winter situation that is very close to dzud.
Snowfall and snowstorms are expected to continue unabated in the coming weeks with average temperatures of below -25 degrees Celsius during the day and around -40 degrees at night. This will potentially affect more than 965,000 people, especially vulnerable herders. The herders, most of whom are now facing difficult weather conditions and shortage of hay and fodder, are expected to start losing their livestock in the coming weeks. In order to obtain cash to buy food, hay and other necessities many herders have started selling their animals before they perish in the severe weather. However, the oversupply of livestock resulted in very low market prices, forcing herders to sell at abnormally unfavourable prices. This situation will have the worst consequences for vulnerable families with smaller herds.

(From http://iceagenow.info/17683-2/#more-17683 )

(This sad situation introduced me to a new word, “dzud”, which is a Mongolian word for the mass death of livestock.)

Besides the cold air escaping south, it is pouring east into the Pacific, giving Korea its bitterest cold of this winter, and speeding the freeze of Pacific coastal waters to the northeast, the Sea of Japan and especially the Sea of Obhotsk further north. These waters, outside the Arctic Ocean, have had below-normal-sea-ice so far this winter, and are one reason the ice extent graphs show “less than normal” ice. (Map from Wikipedia)240px-Sea_of_Okhotsk_mapWhile ice in these waters likely has a part to play in the intricate engineering of the PDO, it is likely wrong to put too much weight to the up-ticks in the extent graphs any increase here might create, (especially as ice on Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay were not included in “sea-ice extent graphs” last winter.) Also, in terms of the reflected sunlight and “albedo” equations that mean so much to some Alarmist theories, the amount of snow over Siberia (and Canada) should be factored in, as it far exceeds this possible increase of ice, but the albedo of snow-pack often isn’t included.

The thing I’m noticing more and more is how Siberia generates cold air masses, and what a huge factor this is all over Eurasia, and even across the Pole in Canada. Siberia is a gigantic region, and even the snow currently blocking the mountain passes in the North African nation of Tunisia can be traced back to the Steppes.

In any case, to return from Africa to the subject of the Arctic Ocean, some of the Siberian cold seems to be pouring north, and I am going to be keenly watching to see if the temperatures up at the Pole take a dive, after being relatively high during the time Atlantic air was flowing up that way. (The DMI has finally posted a new graph, for the mean temperatures north of 80 degrees latitude.)DMI3 0122 meanT_2016While temperatures have been as much as ten degrees above normal at the Pole, it should be noted this is no heatwave, and represents a mean temperature of -20C, at the “mildest”. This is “below zero”, for people like me who use Fahrenheit, and quite obviously no melting has been going on during this “heat wave”, (except for a brief thaw on the Atlantic side, that lasted only a matter of hours.)

I will also be keenly watching to see if a rebuilding of cold at the Pole is accompanied by a break from the cold, a so-called “January Thaw”,  further south. As it is, when milder temperatures push north colder temperatures seem to be pushed south, and, even as I write, a nor’easter is blowing up on the eastern coast of the USA, creating quite a hubbub, as the snows are falling further south than they did last winter, and Washington D.C. is getting clouted.

In a sense it seems to me almost as if the Arctic is breathing. It breathed cold out, and had to breathe warmth north to replace that cold, (or perhaps vice-versa). Now it is breathing the other way. The cold is refilling the Arctic Sea, but likely will be again exhaled, leading to the next outbreak of winter storms.

Spring seems a long way away, but we are currently at the depth of the cold, the bottom of the bottom. The coldest surface temperatures are usually around January 20, down where I live in New Hampshire, and the coldest temperatures aloft occur around February 1. I even saw a true sign of spring today, which was the first advertisement by “Quark Expeditions”, for people like me who would like to travel up to the Russian Barneo Base, a yearly airbase (and military exercise) that exists for roughly 45 days on the sea-ice at the North Pole. (Unfortunately I lack the $15,000.00 needed for a ticket, but surely some good reader will fund my research). (I want to meet and interview the fellows putting up next year’s North Pole Camera.)

http://www.quarkexpeditions.com/en/press-releases/2015/02/north-pole-land-or-sea-barneo-ice-camp-and-icebreaker-expedition-voyage-0

The sea-ice will keep expanding at the edges for another month, and in some areas the ice keeps growing thicker right into the spring, so there is still much to watch. Besides watching to see if there is late growth in below-normal Pacific areas such as the Sea of Okhotsk and Bering Sea, it will be interesting to watch the below-normal parts of Barents Sea on the Atlantic side, especially around Svalbard.Concentration 20160120 arcticicennowcastOf course a lot concerning the ice is very difficult to gauge. Is the ice tortured by storms, and crammed into pressure ridges? Is it thinner, due to greater snows acting as a muffler? The Navy’s thickness map attempts to measure this, but has some shortcomings.Thickness 20160121 arcticictnowcastOne thing I’ve noticed about the thickness map is that it can’t really tell you whether or where the ice will or won’t melt in the summer, as that is partly caused by where the ice moves, and also is dependent on the temperature of the water moving in, under the ice. Water temperatures are important, and it is great fun trying to figure out what the oceans are up to.

One of the most important factors in the flow of the currents involves the antics of the AMO and PDO, so I try to watch what they are up to

The AMO is still staying up in its “warm” phase (whereas last year it was taking a dive, in January). AMO January amo_short

The Pacific, on the other hand, seems likely to become colder, with the El Nino starting to fade, the so-called “Warm Blob” looking less robust, and the PDO starting down.PDO January pdo_short

One thing becoming apparent to me, as I try to fathom something as huge as even one of the oceans, is that the sloshes represented by the AMO and PDO are brought about by some mighty big butts in the bathtubs. Things such as the magnificent moods of the Sun, and the bigger volcano eruptions, can take a nice predictable cycle and knock it all out of whack. As I look back in time I can see all sorts of evidence of a sixty-year-cycle, but also times when a world shaking event, such as the eruption of Tamboro in 1815, threw some cannonballs into the bathtubs, and added sloshes to the sloshes. Considering some of the ocean’s up-wellings contain waters that are over a thousand years old, I wonder if some events occurring now had origins in calamities that occurred to Earth a thousand years ago. My sense of wonder grows and grows, the more I study.

One small comment at the end of a recent post by Joseph D’Aleo really got me thinking. He mentions, in an off-hand manner, “In upcoming winters as the sun goes into its deep slumber including geomagnetic activity which has a cycle that trails the sunspot/flux cycle, expect more persistent cold and the return of record snows further west as the AC/NAC become very negative. High latitude volcanoes seem to get more active in these periods and they help enhance blocking in winter and the cold.” (My bold).

I found this statement a bit disconcerting, because it exposed my own dismissal of the idea the Quiet Sun could have any effect on things such as earthquakes and volcanoes. I just took a practical view that sunshine might effect the temperature of the air and the surface waters of the sea, but sunshine couldn’t cause the continental plates to shift or volcanoes to explode. Sunshine just plain didn’t seem strong enough.

However I dismissed this idea without bothering to investigate the idea or look at data. Considering I’ve spent (and perhaps wasted) ten years investigating whether trace amounts of a trace gas could have earth-shaking consequences, including boiling oceans and the extinction of the human race, it doesn’t seem fair that I dismissed another idea off hand. But I confess: I did exactly that.

My study of the trace gas CO2 has taught me an amazing amount, and I am far more aware of its effects than I formerly was. Formerly I was only aware of CO2 when tried to see how far I could swim under water, and the CO2 levels in my blood told me it was time to come up for O2. Now I know all sorts of fascinating trivia. For example the CO2 levels in my garden spike during the night, when no photosynthesis is occurring, while a lot of fungus is contributing to a lot of CO2-producing rot. Therefore most of the plants in my garden rejoice at dawn, for the CO2 levels are at their peak, and they do most of their growing just after dawn, when the air is rich with CO2. Within a couple hours the CO2 levels plummet to levels so low plants can barely grow, due to the frenzied phtosynthysis of daybreak.

Now I ask you, isn’t that some interesting trivia?

However, in terms of sea-ice, try as I would, I could find no great effect from CO2 levels. Nor was there much effect from even sunshine, though it was obvious sunshine twenty-four hours a day did have a greater thawing effect than CO2.  Yet most of the effects on the amounts of sea-ice were caused by winds, and by currents of water under the ice.

Winds and currents can at least be attributed to the levels of sunshine reaching the earth, and I struggled to see CO2 might be the fausett turning on and turning off those levels of sunshine, but in the end it was too great a stretch to look at CO2, and not look at the sun itself, as the determiner of the levels of sunshine.

However it is one thing to see the sun as influencing winds and currents, and quiet another to see the sun as influencing earthquakes and volcanoes. Therefore I found Joseph D’Aleo’s comment  unnerving, because if anyone has sifted through the available data, it is he. Maybe he couched his language and used the word “seem”, when he said “High latitude volcanoes seem to get more active”, but when he stops to look at something, it gives me pause.

It was especially disturbing because of another thing I’ve been dismissing. That is the idea that undersea vents may contribute to the melt of sea-ice. I’ve seen creatures by those deep sea vents living quite happily in spitting distance from water so hot it only was kept from exploding into steam by enormous pressures, and if heat couldn’t even cross that short distance, I didn’t see how it could get to the surface.

But wouldn’t you just know it? The very day I read Joseph D’Aleo’s remark I came across this map:

Vent melts sea ice fig1_arctic

It was an illustration for this post:  http://www.climatechangedispatch.com/heat-from-deep-ocean-fault-punches-hole-in-arctic-ice-sheet.htm  .

I began to think: If the Quiet Sun could increase high latitude volcano eruptions, could it not increase high latitude undersea eruptions?  And could that not increase the melting of ice from below, even as the Quiet Sun made things colder and increased the ice from the top? And what sort of butt would this stick into the sloshing bathtubs of the PDO and AMO?

What a hideous complication!  But what a wonder to wonder about! (Don’t get me wrong; I am far from arriving at a firm conclusion, but I sure am wondering).

It makes me feel so sorry for the Alarmists who are so insistent upon CO2 being the one and only reason, for absolutely everything, that they never open their minds to the possibility of anything else. What a narrowness they live in. It must be like living in a crack.

UPDATE  —SATURDAY NIGHT—

I should likely note that the Camera Fabootoo is still producing pictures of darkness, and that the co-located Buoy 2015D is reporting another slight thaw, with temperatures of +0.16°, as pressures have plunged to 983.07 mb. Likely the winds are roaring. We are at 72.31° N, 17.03° W, which means we have moved 244.22 miles south-southwest since December 30. We are now closer to Denmark Strait than Fram Strait, and nearly as far south as the small, isolated  Norwegan Island of Jan Mayen, to the east.

The DMI maps show a weakening low crawling up the east coast of Greenland. The cold is building in the Arctic Sea, but an interesting tendril of milder air is extending up over the Pole from Svalbard, causing a noodle of low pressure north of Greenland.

SUNDAY NIGHT UPDATE –Cold To Be Dislodged From Pole Again?–

Today’s DMI Maps continue to show the cold building up over the Arctic Sea.

However it appears this cold will be pushed off the Pole by new invasions of both Atlantic and Pacific air. Look at the Canadian Jem Model’s solution of what the temperatures will look like on Tuesday, up there. You can see the intense cold in East Siberia, and cross-polar flow to Canada getting squeezed by tendrils of milder air from both Oceans.DMI3 0124B cmc_t2m_arctic_9While looking at a NASA video of the blizzard that hit Washington DC my eyes were drawn, (because I’m a true sea-ice fanatic) to the upper right, to watch what was occurring in the North Atlantic. You can see a couple of very impressive surges heading straight for the East Coast of Greenland.

It looks to me as if it will stay “warm” over the Pole, with a meridenal pattern locked in. If it keeps up, it will be interesting to see what the long-term effect on the sea-ice is. I’ll make no predictions.

The effect on the media is more predictable, for those eager to find “evidence” of a melting arctic are bound to notice if it stays above normal in the Arctic Ocean. They will be all the more delighted if there is any sort of dip in the amount of sea-ice, which is something I myself would not be terribly surprised to see. But I will be considering whether it indicates things other than a “melting arctic”.

For one thing, having so much heat rushing to the Pole seems like it might be in response to the El Nino releasing heat and moisture. To have it rushing to the Pole is like warmth from your living-room rushing up your chimney.  It is a waste of home heating, with “home” being planet Earth. It would be far more efficient if the “damper was shut”, and a zonal pattern kept the winds circling around and around the Pole, with the cold locked up in the north, and the warmth hoarded further south.

Another thing to consider, and watch for, is the consequence of warm air rushing up to the Pole, which tends to be the cold getting dislodged and snows getting deep in places where it usually doesn’t, such as Washington DC and Turkey. Even though snows in southern latitudes tend to melt swiftly, and be gone by the end of February, they cannot have a “warming” effect while they last, especially when you consider the “albedo” of freshly fallen snow is huge. In terms of the “energy budget” (that Alarmists like to pretend we understand, and I don’t),  snow over areas that do get sunshine is bound to reflect more sunshine than a lack of sea-ice over areas that are under 24-hour-a-day darkness is liable to fail-to-reflect.

Once the sun starts coming north all these calculations will get more interesting, for then there is at least a chance of open waters absorbing some sunshine. However that won’t be until March.

Everything is likely to change very much by summer, because the El Nino is expected to fade fairly rapidly. Even if you include “lag time”, the very thing that may be fueling the current situation may vanish by next autumn, when a La Nina may be setting in. Just around the time I get things figured out, they are likely to completely change. To use the analogy I used above, a La Nina is like a cannonball plopping in the bathtub. I guess you can see why I am reluctant to venture a prediction.

I prefer to simply watch and wonder, so that is precisely what I intend to do.

ATLANTIC AIR HEADING TO THE POLE AGAIN

We seem to be switching back to the former pattern, so I figure this post about the “new pattern” is already obsolete, and it is time to start another post. For the record I will state that we have seen a break in the flow of arctic air, during the brief time it has been held up at the Pole, but I suspect the new post will watch the arctic wolves again starting south.

 

 

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WHO IS SMARTER? SCIENTISTS OR WHALES?

Here is another fragment cut from a prior “Arctic Sea Ice” post. (Those posts are a notebook full of observations and doodles, and can be too long-winded for some.)

What I have been noticing, but don’t see at the moment, is how cold it has been up at the North Pole this past summer. It is gloomy, as it has been all summer, but the -10°C temperatures we saw a few days ago have vanished, as a recent probe of warm air now spears the Pole.

The summertime cold air doesn’t effect the melt of sea-ice in the short term, because most melt is due to the waters under the ice, but where those waters are exposed to such cold air the waters are chilled, and this does effect the melt of sea-ice in the long run, because the waters under the ice gradually get colder.

You don’t really notice the cold unless you have been a long-term escapist like me, and watched sea-ice for years. It doesn’t show up all that well in the Mean-temperatures-north-of-80°-latitude DMI graph, (though the recent mild invasion shows up).DMI2 0904B meanT_2015

However the unexpected cold air showed up all summer, especially south of 80° over towards O-buoys 10, 11, and 12. Look at my old posts if you don’t believe me. And, as a bumpkin ruled by common sense rather than science, one thing I am highly suspicious of is the simple fact there have been so few sunspots at a time there should be a lot. So forgive me if I blare a headline:

“QUIET SUN” PRODUCES STRING OF FOUR “SPOTLESS” DAYSSunspots 20150902 If you squint at this image you may see some itty-bitty spots at the equator to the left, but they don’t count, because in the old days a small telescope could never get an image this good. They are “sun-specks”, and scientists use them to become confused. The simple fact of the matter is that they would not be seen in the old days, and if you want to compare apples with apples you shouldn’t count them, when comparing the present to the past . And, while you might not agree with the host’s ideas about planets influencing the sun, an excellent “layman’s sunspot count” cam be found here:  http://www.landscheidt.info/?q=node/50

I bring this up because, in the past, when sunspots became few and far between, the earth got cold. Modern science can’t grasp the reason, and some conclude it was therefore “just a coincidence.” This is a bit like saying it is just a coincidence that your thumb hurts when you hammer it, because you can’t scientifically prove how nerves get the message to the brain. Just because you don’t know how a thing happens is not proof it isn’t happening.

Once again lying eyes come in handy. If you stay indoors by a computer, at least visit sites that look out windows. Then maybe you will witness the thawing Beaufort Sea refreezing all summer, when it should be thawing without interruption.

Anyway, here is a graph from the above-mentioned site, comparing our current lack of sunspots with the year 1798.Layman's Comp 20150904 sc5_sc24_1It sure does look like we are seeing, if anything, fewer sunspots than 1798. Is this a hint it may get colder? From scientists all I hear is a lot of, “there is not enough evidence to verify for certain, and therefore…” Then a lot of them use even less evidence to verify that it is getting warmer.

What is a bumpkin to do? Resort to using lying eyes. Are there any signs that it is getting colder? Not if you look where most scientists look. But if you look where Polar Bears look you see them make scientists look like imbeciles on a regular basis. So look to the behavior of other sea creatures, such as whales.

One of the biggest flips from warm to cold (and from cold to warm) involves the Atlantic Ocean, and something called the AMO, (Atlantic Decadal Oscillation). When it flips there is a huge migration of all sorts of sea creatures, and in the past it was primarily noticed by bumpkin fishermen whose livelihood depended upon finding where the fish schooled.  There are great stories of fishermen finding fishing grounds deserted, searching far and wide, and discovering the fish hundreds of miles north or south of where they once were. Only recently have scientists started to become interested in what was a matter of life and death for fishermen, and in a rather snooty manner some of these scientists tend to think they know more than mere fishermen.

Only in my lifetime was it determined that what fishermen knew is factual; the AMO does flip from “cold” to “warm” and back, though why, when and where it happens is still argued about. The AMO has been “warm” for a while, and some say it is likely to turn “cold”, but the data scientists use only show it is wavering on the verge, like a top wobblng at the end of a spin.AMO Sept 4 amo_shortThis is too wishy-washy to be an answer, and therefore a person who resorts to lying eyes must resort to people who actually leave their computers and walk the beaches, and even get in the water to swim and surf. They are the ones likely to see something unusual. (Cue for next sensational headline:)

ARCTIC WHALES SEEN UNUSUALLY FAR SOUTH

For many years the Bowhead whale was just another “Right Whale”,  so named because they were the right whale to hunt, primarily because they didn’t sink when they died. They are now known to be quite different from Right Whales, and a truly arctic species. For one thing, they have heads that can butt through ice two feet thick, and for another thing, when threatened they use ice as a hiding place to flee beneath.(Photo Credit: Dennis Scott/Corbus)

There was good money to be made hunting these whales, and many of our earliest records of sea-ice were from the voyages of daring men who risked their lives in the arctic. Some were my ancestors, and I’m proud of their daring, but less proud of their greed, which reduced the population of these whales from 50,000 to roughly 5,000. In fact, were it not for the discovery of fossil oil in the earth, these beautiful creatures might be extinct, however their population has increased to at least 30,000, if not to their their original levels. Now they are only hunted by Eskimo.

“Bowhead Whale 2002-08-10” by Ansgar Walk – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.5 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bowhead_Whale_2002-08-10.jpg#/media/File:Bowhead_Whale_2002-08-10.jpg

During the recent harvests, only 20-30 per year, of these whales, very old harpoon tips have been found in the blubber. Some are of slate, or basically “stone-age”, and an unexploded exploding harpoon from New Bedford in the 1890’s was also found, suggesting these whales can live up to (and perhaps over) 200 years.

In conclusion, obviously these whales have far more experience than Climate Scientists. When these whales head south, maybe they know something Climate Scientists don’t.

Therefore I sat up in interest when off the coast of Britain, where such whales had never, I repeat, NEVER, been seen before, this picture appeared for lying eyes:Whale bowheadwhale_561024

http://www.sott.net/article/293244-Rare-Arctic-bowhead-whale-seen-for-the-first-time-in-UK-waters

Some may say it was a fluke, a young male Bowhead only 99 years old out gallivanting far from home. But that is not the only whale far from home.

Another arctic species is the Beluga Whale, which are pure white when adult, because it helps them to camouflage themselves with sea ice, when hunted by polar bears who are also camouflaged, and by killer whales. They can only break through 3 inches of ice, but will trail bowhead whales, using the holes bowhead’s break through 2 feet of ice. They are the only white whale besides Moby Dick, and are extremely obvious when away from sea ice.Whale 2 220px-Beluga_premier.gov.ru-3

Once again we turn to not scientists, but the ordinary folk in Britain. Off Northern Ireland on July 30:Whale 3 Beluga_Whale_Dunseverick_1-1024x576 Photo Credit Gordon Watson

http://www.seawatchfoundation.org.uk/beluga-rare-arctic-visitor-to-the-british-isles/

And then at the end of August two more were spotted in the North Sea off Northumberland.

http://www.sott.net/article/301038-Wrong-place-wrong-time-Extremely-rare-Arctic-Beluga-whales-seen-off-cold-beach-in-Northumberland-UK

It should be noted that there are only 17 recorded sightings of Beluga Whales off the coast of Britain, most off the Scottish coast, and none before this summer’s (that I know of) from the coast of Ireland. So, as was the case with the Polar Bears, I wonder if the animals know more than our scientists. And once again it is not scientists who give us the really interesting pictures, despite all their grants and hours spent by computers, but rather it is ordinary people who go outside and use their lying eyes.

(A hat-tip to http://iceagenow.info/ which is a great source of links to gain information such as the above news about whales.)