ARCTIC SEA ICE –Polar Wobbles–

Sometimes it seems important to sit back and stop the business of trying to figure everything out. Just watch.  But then, of course, watching leads to wonder. And, as soon as you start wondering, you start trying to figure things out. But one needs to hold fast to a sort of humbleness, and to be aware you are witnessing the work of the Creator. Do you honestly think you can figure Him out?

The answer is “No”, (in case you are young and think you have enough time to connect all the loose ends.)

A beautiful bit of ancient poetry is the Book of Job, and one of the twists of the plot is when Job gets switched around from demanding answers from God to having God demand answers from him. In terms of this post, it would be as if the Creator abruptly spoke, in a deep, booming voice,  and his first question was, “Where were you when I created the North Pole?”

Not that we shouldn’t wonder. However there is an attribute of wonder that is simple admiration. I don’t think we get in trouble for admiring the work of the Creator. And, just as knowing how difficult it is to play the piano increases your admiration of pianists who can handle what you can’t, knowing even a little about how the atmosphere works increases your admiration of the Creator’s workings you witness.

One thing that dazzles me is the appearance and disappearance of arctic high pressure. In the most simplest sense, cold air is heavier than warm air, so it sinks, and presses down on the surface. That creates high pressure. If it should become less cold it becomes less heavy, and the high pressure associated with that cold air grows less and less the more that air becomes warmer and warmer. But that is too simple, because the high pressure refuses to stay in the same place. First, the Coriolis Effect causes the high pressure to spin clockwise (in the Northern Hemisphere) and second, because the cold air is heavier than the warmer air to the south, it tends to press south beneath the warmer and lighter air.

In essence this amounts to a suicidal impulse on the part of high pressure systems.  They move towards the very warming that will cause their air to stop pressing down and even begin to rise. Also, because they have a clockwise spin, they tend to draw milder air in from milder source regions. Usually the west side draws mild air up from the south as the high sinks south, but in certain situations the milder air can be drawn in from other directions. In many cases the high will completely destroy itself with amazing speed.

One thing I enjoy watching is a high pressure come down from Canada over the USA and then swing towards the east coast. The system is warming and weakening all the while. At first the west side vanishes, as the south winds feed moist warm air north and breed rising air and a trough of low pressure. The east side, getting milder and more moist as it moves across southern lands, then reaches a tipping point, where it can become two quite opposite things.

If the high pressure slides off the coast intact, then suddenly it is over cooler water, and is mild and moist air that is now cooling and sinking, in which case it’s pressure stops decreasing and starts increasing, and it contributes to an extension of the Azores High called the “Bermuda High”. In this case the building of high pressure to the southwest can give New Hampshire dry, mild weather. However if that same high pressure is just a bit slower, it gets so warm and moist that I call it a “sog”. In a twinkling it can turn from a ridge of high pressure into a trough of low pressure. Sinking becomes rising (like a yo-yo). Then, rather than fueling and intensifying the “Bermuda High”, the system becomes an alley for a ferocious storm. I confess that as I watch such high pressure systems start down from Canada (most especially in late October and early November) I have no idea which side of the “tipping point” they will take. You couldn’t ask for more opposite forecasts, however. It is the difference between a balmy spell of “Indian Summer” or a howling “Nor’easter”.  And at times it seems to involve nearly identical high pressure systems. The only difference is that one is off the coast twelve hours earlier, and the other lags twelve hours behind.

I confess that more learnéd meteorologists are better able to tell whether the Bermuda High will strengthen, or a Nor’easter will roar up the coast, through their study of the upper atmosphere. However I am a down to earth fellow, and such wisdom is above my head. Also I have noticed, (most recently just last week), that computer models are pretty bad about seeing the bottom 500 feet of the atmosphere. They correctly predicted temperatures would rise well above freezing, but it only happened 500 feet above our heads. We don’t live up there, and down where we lived the temperatures were well below freezing, and cars were skidding and crashing all over the place, and the learnéd meteorologists looked foolish, while I got to be smug, for I’m just a down to earth fellow who has lived long enough to know cold comes creeping south under even the most impressive southerly flows.

Not that I can forecast as well as learnéd meteorologists. If you compared our forecasts learnèd meteorologists would come out well ahead. However none of us are true masters. Great mystery still surrounds the art of the Creator.

For the most part I watch and wonder. And it has been fun to watch the wobbling of high pressure up at the Pole, for the past fortnight.

When I last posted high pressure was right on top of the Pole, which tends to keep the cold air swirling in a clockwise flow up there, rather than the cold being hurled south upon poor, old mortals like myself. The position of this high, in contrast with a low over towards Bering Strait, arranged isobars into a cross-polar-flow that bled cold air north from Canada in a transfusion to Siberia, which was becoming amazingly cold. However a lot of my attention was grabbed by an amazing gale which had roared between Greenland and Iceland, where no one lives, and therefore got no headlines.

A lot of the energy involved with this gale slammed into Greenland, and my focus was on a spike in the amount of snow Greenland got. However another part of my curiosity knows “what goes up must come down”. A huge gale like that is launching all sorts of air upwards, and when that air comes down it tends to create high pressure (unless it comes down as a Chinook, in which case its warmth may generate a low, which is another “tipping point”, and a discussion for some other time.)

I remember back around 2006 watching the late forecaster Ken Reeves point out various places a “digging” tough might “pump a ridge”, and how each place a ridge might be “pumped” would “teleconnect with” (IE “result in”) a different place a new “trough would dig.” The sheer number of variables he was holding in his head as he scowled at the map sat me backwards in awe, and I conceded I simply didn’t have the time to focus to that degree. I would simply be patient, when a low pressure exploded into a Gale and shot massive amounts of air upwards. I would sit back and look around and wonder where it was going to come down, and when it would come down.

Most recently it seemed to come down over Siberia, as the huge gale by Iceland faded between January 16 and January 19.

During these four days the slow bleeding of air from Canada persisted, until Alaska began to supply some milder air from the north Pacific. But by this point the cold over Siberia was making headlines.

AA14 cmc_t2m_asia_5

AA15 download

However at this point the Canada-to-Siberia supply broke down, partly because the Pacific air crossing Alaska rose over the arctic and created a weak Ralph-like low to the Pacific side of the Pole. Although a Canada-to-Siberia flow persisted on the side of that low towards the Pole, on the Pacific side a sort of backwash began to develop, with cold air heading back from Siberia to Alaska.

At this point the amazing cold over Siberia had created an amazing high pressure system, with pressures up around 1070 mb. Bone chilling temperatures poured into China down the west east side, and the south side cycled cold all the way west to Turkey, but the  east west and north side were the “mild side”, and though temperatures were below freezing they were well above-normal as they poured up towards the Pole. Meanwhile the sneaky backwash continued to cross into Alaska from the most eastern parts of Siberia.

Of course Alarmists do not focus on the mind-boggling cold pressing down into Asia, but rather in the air rushing up to the Pole to replace the cold heading south. And it did create an impressive spike in temperatures.

DMI5 0127 meanT_2018

Though this spike is nearly as high as last winter’s two spikes, it has failed to generate a “Ralph” at the Pole,  nor to shove sea-ice north with the same gales over Barents Sea. And what troubled me, with my selfish focus on my backyard in New Hampshire, was that even though the main body of the high pressure sank down into Asia, new high pressure was getting pumped over towards Bering Strait. As a result Alaska and Canada, rather than being drained of arctic air by cross-polar-flow, looked like they were being replenished and reloaded.  I far prefer to see the arctic aiming at China than aiming at me.

 

The North Atlantic had been quiet, but finally a new gale approached Iceland on January 22, and it did not behave like last year’s, which moved straight north to become “Ralph” at the Pole. In the following maps you’ll notice the Atlantic low follows a far more usual route, across the top of Norway and into the Kara Sea.  Meanwhile high pressure wobbles over to the Pacific side. The contrast between high pressure towards Bering Strait and low pressure towards the Atlantic creates the worst sort of layout of isobars, if you want cold air to stay out of Canada.

My fear is that the blob of high pressure over Canada will move south in the same manner  the blob of high pressure over Siberia moved south. Rather than reading of records set in Russia, we’ll read of records for cold set where I live. Who needs that?

Of course, one odd thing about focusing on sea-ice is that data about how severe winter may be to the south doesn’t matter. Yes, this is a bit narrow minded, especially when it involves ignoring the sea-ice we actually have in New England. Our sea-ice has actually decreased, during the recent thaw caused by all the cold air draining down to China on the far side of the Pole, but we still have some. And our ice reflects sunshine just the same as ice in the Arctic Sea does. But somehow our sea-ice is never included in the “albedo” calculations, even though we do have sunshine in January, when most of the arctic gets zilch. Be that as it may be, our focus is suppose to be on the arctic and the arctic alone.

Not that the people who care about sea-ice “extent” focus on the arctic, and the arctic alone.

There is less ice, outside the arctic, in the places they bother measure. (Not all bother measure the Baltic Sea. Not all bother measure the Yellow Sea. None measure the east coast of the USA.) In fact it looks like there is significantly less sea-ice, according to the DMI chart, which oddly ceased reporting back on January 23.

DMI5 0123 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

When I try to compare current NRL maps with last year’s maps, I am annoyed to find no record of maps for this date last year. The best I can find is a “forecast” for this date, run on January 13, 2017. But we use what we can get. (2017 to left; 2018 to right.)

The “forecast”map for this date last year likely fails to account for the unexpected “Ralph”-fueling surges we saw roaring north in the Atlantic last January, but even using the “forecast map” it looks like, in the Central Arctic, the ice is thicker this year, both at the Pole and also towards the boundary between the Laptev Sea and East Siberian Sea. Also, the area where ice was formerly below-normal in Bering Strait has seen a swift growth of thin ice, which makes me wonder why the DMI map is not updated to show this swift regrowth (associated with the bleeding of cold air in a sort of backwash that has replenished and reloaded Canada with cold.)

Most of the “missing” ice in the DMI “extent” graph may actually be located in the Sea of Okhotsk, down the east coast of Siberia towards Japan. Not exactly “arctic sea-ice”.  And if you are going to count that “missing” ice, from such a southern locale, you should surely include the sea-ice in the Gulf of Maine, which is above-normal despite our thaw.

The ice out in the fringes likely matters less than the sea-ice in the Central Arctic. The ice in the fringes is melted by July. The ice in the Central Arctic is far more stubborn, and there is simply no getting around the fact it is thicker this January than last year. It is moving in the wrong direction, for Alarmists to achieve their dream of an “ice-free Pole.”

Stay tuned.

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Arctic Sea Ice —North Pole Marathon at the North Pole Jetport—

 

As reported by Reuters:

Wrapped warmly against the cold, a group of runners set off for the barren white landscape for one very cool race – the North Pole Marathon.

Some 50 running enthusiasts from around the world braved harsh conditions for Saturday’s 42.2-km (26.2 miles) race on the frozen ice of the Arctic Ocean, staged at the Barneo Ice Camp.

Wearing balaclavas, goggles, gloves and layers of thermal clothing, participants had to complete 12 laps of a course lined with markers. A refreshment tent was on hand for those needing hot drinks, snacks and to warm up.

As well as the cold, runners were also faced with soft snow and small ice pressure ridges.

Polish runner Piotr Suchenia crossed the line first with a time of 4 hours 6 minutes 34 seconds, while for the women’s race Frederique Laurent from France triumphed with a time of 6 hours 21 minutes 3 seconds.

“It was probably mentally the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, physically it wasn’t the worst, I just couldn’t get a rhythm on the soft snow,” runner Gareth Evans said.

“(I) wouldn’t change it for the world, it’s a very unique place and delighted to be a part of it but a beach in Miami sounds good right now.”

(Writing by Reuters Television and Marie-Louise Gumuchian, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Things seem to be proceeding more smoothly at the Barneo Base than they did last year.  So far the slab of ice they have chosen to build their blue-ice jetport upon has held together, whereas last year the ice was more tortured and they had problems with leads appearing right on the airstrip. Temperatures have been down around -30°C, and reportedly dipped to -40° at the time of the marathon, which was held during the “night” when the sun dips just a bit lower, up north of 89° north latitude.

So far they haven’t been hit by the gales that plagued the base other years,  and the amazing operation has unfolded like clockwork.  I always wonder what explorers of the past would have thought, had they been able to to look into the future, and witnessed the galley and cafeteria. (I like the doubly-quilted ceiling.)

Barneo D1 17634651_1332856986791396_1752661396841256060_n

Barneo D2 17796764_1332856690124759_1208947486483310498_n

Barneo D3 17799074_1332856823458079_5077287031729865110_n

I also wonder if the chit-chat around the tables is politically correct, and about how the sea-ice at the Pole is vanishing, even as jets land on it.  I have heard that one sales-point is to tell people they may be the last to ski on the icecap, as it is vanishing.  (Hey, if it gets people to spend $30,000 for a three day junket, who can blame the salesmen?)

This year the ice looks surprisingly flat, considering the storminess of the winter. I expected more pressure ridges.

Barneo D6 17626128_1320388111371617_3345921013952026014_n

Barneo D5 17800250_1328019477275147_2218578663724973526_n

The blue object is, I think, a portable bathroom, which is another item the original explorers lacked. (I think I will avoid dwelling on the sufferings of the past, regarding this subject.)

The Barneo base continues to drift south-southeast, though its rate of drift has slowed.

Barneo D4 17800015_1332856476791447_4457869314423734205_n

One interesting tidbit is that they are reporting temperatures some ten degrees colder than the DMI temperature maps show.

The DMI thickness map (modeled) shows the ice to be around ten feet thick at the base:

DMI4 0410 FullSize_CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20170410

The Navy thickness map sees ice only around 6-7 feet thick.

Thickness 20170411 Attachment-1

Of course these maps tend to generalize, and average away the local variations. The Russians likely chose a thicker slab of ice for their blue-ice jetport. Now is when we need an actual field worker taking a core, but I haven’t heard whether our crew that sets up the North Pole Camera got enough funding this year. (Last year they didn’t.) (The year before they reported they were hitting salt water after only drilling down four feet, but I was unsure if they chose a frozen-over lead where the ice was thinner.) In any case I have the general impression the Barneo base is on thicker ice this year.

(This is slightly off topic, but note how all the sea-ice along the coast of Russia has been shoved to the west sides of the marginal seas, while the east sides have the thin ice of frozen-over polynyas. The west winds were unusually persistent this past winter, creating a different set-up for the summer melt.)

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Disappointing Sunshine–

For those-who-hope-for-an-ice-free-Pole, the sun has become a traitor to the cause. They are all but shaking their fingers at it. They have wished for certain events, and all they have wished for has happened. They may even be starting to think they can control the weather, so many of their wishes have come true. But…I probably shouldn’t say that. Only very simple people believe they can control the weather by throwing virgins into a volcano or purchasing curly light bulbs. Surely educated people do not indulge in such preposterous claims. I apologize.

In any case, it sure has been a year to remember, when it comes to afflicting the icecap on the Arctic Sea. To begin with, there was a lovely, warm “super” El-Nino that set records (at least in the central Pacific, if not in the east), and it exploded umpteen Hiroshima’s worth of energy into the atmosphere, (in the form of non-radioactive cumulus in the middle of a pristine ocean). There is no way for this huge energy to dissipate into outer space by normal means, so, after the allotted amount is lost upwards, the remainder of the heat must head north for the Pole (if not south to the other Pole) to be dissipated up (or down) there.

It is important to knock it through my thick skull how huge this northward-bound energy is. You, who are thin-headed, probably already understand this, but a layman like myself tends to have these silly ideas, and thinks a degree of temperature is the same in the tropics as it is up at the Pole.  Not. In the tropics the warm air is loaded with water, and to raise it a degree involves warming all the attached water, while at the Pole the air is bone dry, and warming the air ten degrees can involve less energy.

How to explain it to a layman?  Well, to imagine all the energy pent-up in tropical air, imagine a juicy air-mass of 90° bumping against a cooler air-mass of 80°. Only cooling the air ten degrees can result in stupendous thunderstorms. But then imagine a Siberian air-mass of -70° bumping north into a Polar air-mass of -40°. In this case the air is cooled thirty degrees, but there isn’t even a cloud in the sky as the air-masses clash, because both air-masses are bone dry to begin with. Conclusion? Water matters. Second conclusion? Air- made-two-degrees-warmer by an El Nino is loaded with energy which air-made-seven-degrees-warmer at the Pole utterly lacks.

Third conclusion? Temperatures should be “weighted” in some way, to show the energy they hold. Otherwise you might behave like a silly layman, and just average all the temperatures together, giving the dry air at the Pole the same weight as the juicy air at the tropics. Ha ha ha ha ha! Who could be so stupid!?

In any case, all that juicy air from the tropics headed north to the Pole, and cold air from the Pole headed south, and there were wonderful collisions and confusions last winter, and record warmth north and record cold south, the first recorded snow in Kuwait and thin ice in Norway, which all seems to be an attempt on the part of the atmosphere to achieve a state of boring blandness. The atmosphere wants peace, and is in a constant state of war to get there. It is almost human.

The Pole did not escape this confusion, and a series of storms, (which my peculiar sense of humor made generic and called “Ralph”), tore at the sea-ice. Leads opened, and in cases grew to be many miles wide. When this happened the winter atmosphere, rather than touching an  ice-surface chilled to -31°, was touching open water chilled to +29°.  This is a sixty degree difference, and so of course the water warmed the arctic air further.

So how much warmer was the arctic air?  With exposed water heating it from below and El Nino air-masses surging north from the south?  Thirty degrees above normal? No? Twenty degrees? No? What the heck!!?? Ten degrees!?  No?  What are you saying? With all this assistance it could only manage 5-7 degrees above normal?

And that 5-7 degrees of slightly less-frigid,  slightly less bone-dry air called “Ralph”  was what made the entire planet be above normal in a “warmest evah” manner?

Oh well, never mind that. The important thing is that the ice was bashed and crashed and lots of open water appeared all through the winter, and increased through the summer, reaching near record levels by September. Right? After all, once the deep blue of open water is exposed it will absorb the sun much better than the white of sea-ice will. Right?

Wrong. And this is where the sun is a traitor to the cause. Everyone has worked really, really hard to expose that open water, but all the work is in vain, because the sun gets coy and insists upon bouncing off the water, despite the fact the water is deep blue, and sea-ice is white.

Actually, this late in the summer, the sea-ice isn’t so white any more. All sorts of crud dirties it, ranging from soot from coal-fired plants in China, to volcano dust from Iceland and the far east of Russia, to algae that grows on the bottom of bergs that see the light of day when bergs are flipped like pancakes. In actual fact the bergs are so dirty that they can absorb more sun than the deep blue water, and utterly screw up the calculations of overly-simple “albedo” modeling.  Why?  It is all because of this dumb graph:

water-albedo-800px-water_reflectivity

The above graph shows how much sunlight penetrates water, as the angle at which the sun strikes the water increases. (It has an idea of “normal” as being when the sun is directly overhead. This is only at noon, south of the Tropic of Cancer, on certain days of the year, but never happens north of there. Odd sort of “normal”, if you ask me.)

What you should notice is that, when the sun gets down close to the horizon, the water does an increasingly  bad job of absorbing the sunlight.  Around now, even though the sun is still up 24 hours a day at the Pole, it is down so low on the horizon that all it does is make the open water spangle and glitter, as nearly all the sunshine is repelled from the sea into our poor eyes. It is not warming the open water in the proper manner, to the proper degree.

In fact, despite the fact the sun is still up 24 hours a day, temperatures are rapidly plunging at the Pole.

dmi3-0911-meant_2016

These temperatures are so low salt water will start to refreeze. Not only has the -5°C  isotherm reappeared, but the -10°C isotherm is rearing its head.

dmi3-0911b-temp_latest-big

What this means is that the open water we have worked so long and hard to create is not making the Pole warmer, as some suggested, but is losing heat. It may even be losing heat at an “unprecedented” rate. Why? Because not only does open water have a higher “albedo” than dirty ice, once the sun gets down to 5° of the horizon, (85° from zenith, in the above graph), but also open water loses much, much more heat from the Arctic Ocean than ice-covered water does, and that heat is not returned to the equator in a manner that can warm the earth, but is largely lost to outer space.

In other words, all the wishing people did for open water, (perhaps using uncanny powers of wish-fulfillment,)  may have an opposite effect than the effect they envisioned. The bad people who refused to buy curly light-bulbs may have made the arctic ice-free, but open water may be cooling the planet, rather than leading to “runaway warming”.

You want proof?  If I give you proof you’ll call it circumstantial evidence, but take a gander at the open water O-buoy 14 saw on September 4.

Obuoy 14 0903C webcam

And then take a gander at the scene on September 7.

obuoy-14-0907-webcam

(I apologize for not saving the view from September 9, at 02:31:24, when the sea was surging slush.) Now look at the view from tonight, (early on September 12, camera time).

Ask yourself, “How much heat did the open water absorb?”

obuoy-14-0911-webcam

Forgive me for using my lying eyes, but the open water didn’t seem to absorb diddlesquat of heat. In fact, the entire idea of a “Death Spiral” seems even more idiotic than ever.

I know the above is circumstantial evidence, but at least it is evidence. The “Death Spiral” crowd has “some ‘splainin’ t’do”. They can blather all they want about a “consensus”, but the above makes the “consensus” look like the flat-earthers  who said Columbus was wrong.

The “Death Spiral” crowd has had everything they could have possibly wanted, to make the arctic Ice-free, this year. When the cards were dealt they got ace after ace.  El Nino, PDO, AMO, storms to smash the ice. What more could they ask for? (Likely more sunspots.) Yet, even with nearly all going for them, they couldn’t set a record, in terms of there being less ice than 2012.

They assured us that it was an escalating situation. Less ice would make waters warmer, which would lead to less ice. Even with conditions most favorable, it ain’t happening.

extent-20160911-sea_ice_extent_n_v2

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not down on the “Death Spiral” people because they proposed a hypothesis that isn’t working out. That is actually a sign of science at its best. You have the guts to stick your neck out. You walk out on a limb. And (hopefully in a merciful manner) your peers test your ideas, expose your perfectly human weaknesses, and you see your theory fall flaming to earth. This is how progress occurs. Imperfect idea after imperfect idea, increment after increment.

However I am very down on the “Death Spiral” crowd when they insist they are perfect. They are part of “settled science”. They are of the “consensus”. Worst of, some of them even  start saying anyone (like me) who dares suggest they aren’t more perfect than God should be punished, for I am one of the no-good “deniers.” Me? Punished? For pointing out what I’ve pointed out?

I am very, very down on any Death Spiral person who resorts to that sort of defensive behavior. They have been paid lots of money to propose an incorrect hypothesis, while I have never earned a red cent for attempting to help them improve their science. They make ten times as much money as I do, being politically correct (and scientifically incorrect), yet they have the nerve to say I am a lackey of “Big Oil” or “Big Coal” or “Big Something-or-another”. Balderdash. Let me repeat myself. I have never earned a red cent for attempting to help them improve their science.

I am sorry if I inadvertently attack their livelihood, and threaten to deprive their children of the luxury of a father with a six figure income. But I just have this idea science isn’t about money. It is suppose to be about Truth. Once filthy lucre gets involved, people sniff a stink, and rather than seeing the scientist as wearing a white coat they see a scientist with a red cloak, as a “junk-scientist”, as “post normal”,  and lastly, rather than as “inquiring”, instead as part of a cruel, red-cloaked “Inquisition”.

I am down on this sort of response to criticism because it is not merely arrogant, but it is a thing few dare say:  It is evil.

 

 

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Brouhaha–

Ordinarily this is a fairly quiet time of the year, in the world of ice-watchers, which is a world far less stressful than the world of bird-watchers, if you can avoid the politics. The temperatures tend to slowly edge up towards freezing, with only an occasional thawing spike that barely softens the crisper drifts of snow, despite 24-hour sunshine.

Obuoy 14 0517 temperature-1week

Obuoy 14 0517 webcam

Even though the snow at the very top of the ice warms (at this point to around -4°C) it is still colder than the sea-water under the ice, which is around -1.8°C.  What is even more interesting is that the ice between the top and the bottom “remembers” the cold of winter, and in places is around -20°C. Though this colder ice is being warmed from both above and below, it supplies a sort of drag or delay to the warming. It also makes sure that, rather than the ice melting and thinning, sea-ice in the Central Arctic keeps right on getting thicker, despite the fact temperatures are warming, and despite the fact ice way down south at the periphery of the sea-ice is melting away. This thickening can be seen in Mass Balance Buoy 2015F.

2015F 0517 thickness 2015F_thick

It came as a surprise to me, years and years ago, when I was still wet behind the ears as a ice-watcher, that the ice was still getting thicker in May. After all, the ice-extent graph is plunging, and there tends to be a certain degree of hoopla about ice melting away. Who would ever dream it was thickening?

Scientists would, for they are the ones who, through considerable effort and some degree of risk, installed the buoys that gave us the actual data, including the above chart.

Now that I am an older and wiser ice-watcher, I have learned a thing or two from the genuine scientists who actually study the ice, and know this is a pretty boring time of year. The really important melt, in terms of theories such as the “Ice Free Pole” and the “Death Spiral”, involves the Central Arctic, and that melt hasn’t even started yet. I even feel a little embarrassed about how excited I used to get about the melting away at the edges, in April and May.

People who do get excited tend to be rookies, like I once was, or the sensationalist media (who sadly are too often more interested in titillating readers, and too often know diddlysquat about science,)   and politicians who are, too often, even worse than the media, and (with blessed exceptions) primarily out for themselves.

Not that I don’t pay attention to the retreat of the ice at the edges, as it can tell you things about the sea-surface temperatures. In the end, the ice at the edges will all be gone by September, and is gone every year, but how it retreats can be interesting. This year I have been watching Bering Strait, because earlier the seawater was a full two degrees colder than 2015, and even though the sea-surface temperatures have now equalized I am watching to see if the earlier, colder waters had an effect. (This may or may not have an effect later in the melt-season, as those waters move under the ice and melt from below.)

I like to compare the NRL “thickness” maps from the same dates in 2015 and 2016, and to see what changes the passage of a year has brought about.

 

The best way to compare these maps is to hope the blogger Max™ drops by and does it right in the comments, but in the meantime what I do is open the two maps in two new tabs and then click back and forth between them.

2016 has been different from 2015. In 2015 a cross-polar-flow brought Siberia to Canada and later to Boston, and lots of ice was exported from the Siberian side of the Pole and crunched up against Canada. In 2016 the cross-polar-flow was far less and actually reversed at times, and as a consequence there is less ice towards Canada but much more towards Siberia. I doubt very much the melt along the Siberian coast will be as swift and extensive as it was last year, especially if any of the two-degrees-colder water got sucked north through Bering Strait.

I think that is what serious ice-watchers are focused on and are debating, but I am increasingly concerned that the media and politicians are screwing everything up. How? Well, because they are so concerned about how they look, rather than how things are down deep, they are more interested in superficial things rather than the deeper truths scientists are after. Scientists often are so focused on their study they forget to comb their hair and are a bit disheveled, while politicians have every hair in place.

You really don’t want politicians pressuring scientists, threatening to withhold funding if scientists don’t promote some superficial political policy. No wise king would ask that either of his wizards or of his jesters. A wise king wants the Truth, but a fool tells his wizards and jesters what to say. This is foolish because kings cannot control the powers of nature, King Canute could not control the tides. You want honest scientists who report what is actually happening, not rump swabs who tell you what you want.

There is an old saying that “fish rots (or stinks) from the head down”, which insinuates a bad leader will make those beneath him bad, or at least less good. Hopefully those good scientists beneath a bad leader will push back, and resist the corruption. Increasingly there are signs there is trouble in paradise, and all is not well in the back corridors of academia, especially in the world of sea-ice. Cameras are poorly placed, the “North Pole Camera” wasn’t even funded this year, only a single O-buoy camera still works, only a single Mass Balance Buoy still functions, and the satellites that determine sea-ice-extent are all out of whack.

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/arctic.sea.ice.interactive.html

Brouhaha 1 seaice.anomaly.arctic

Things simply are not as well-run as they once were. The site,

http://realclimatescience.com/2016/05/more-arctic-monkey-business/     pointed out a seemingly glaring discrepancy today, basically showing that, to quasi-quote Shakespeare, “Something stinks in Denmark”, because things don’t add up. The DMI extent graph shows ice-extent plunging like this:

Brouhaha 2 2016-05-17-02-17-51

But the host of that Realclimatescience site, well aware of all the problems going on with satellites malfunctioning and so forth, decided to use the DMI maps to do a simple thing. Compare the map from May 12 with May 16, show where sea-ice increased as green  and where ice decreased with red, and he came up with this:

Brouhaha 3 2016-05-17-02-14-03

When some eyeball this DMI-extent-map, it does not look like it matches the DMI-extent-graph. I myself don’t want to join this argument, for, as I said earlier, the ice-loss at the edges in May doesn’t really matter that much, as ice-gain at the center is still going on. However, considering this time of year is usually dull for ice-watchers, I must confess the bickering makes for an interesting scientific sit-com.

In the theater in France back in the 1500’s the audience liked it to be made plain who the good-guys were and who the bad-guys were. Therefore, when a member of the clergy was actually doing the work of Satan, he made a sound that let the audience know he was crooked to the core. The noise was, “Brouhaha.” (In my mind’s eye I see an officious and pompous person, clearing their throat.)

That seems to be the noise we are getting from sea-ice-scientists. A brouhaha is going on, behind the scenes, even to the point where the equipment is not properly maintained and is breaking down. In their meek and inhibited way, scientists are having some sort of full fledged brawl.

Meanwhile, up at the Pole, the weather is indifferent to our human Perils Of Pauline. Truth is what Truth does.

High Pressure over the Pole weakened to a ridge and then finally collapsed over to the Canadian side, as Siberian and North Atlantic lows joined forces. Now we have a Pacific-to Atlantic cross-polar-flow, with temperatures close to normal.

Besides the fact the flow at the Pole looks more meridienal than zonal, things look fairly dull. But when the media has no news to report, it, in a seeming desperation, makes itself the news. And when politicians join this foolishness, things can become exciting.

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –DULLSVILLE’S SUSPICIONS–

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:

http://iabp.apl.washington.edu/Dec2015_Event/ArcticAir_12-30-2015.html

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 —Let the nonsense begin—

After yet another crack shortened yet another runway, the Russians cleverly extended the far end of the runway and are back in business up at Borneo. Care to spend $20,000 to run in a race?

Barneo 6B 12985391_985486534853829_8800052741671977950_n425

I have to admit I do enjoy the shenanigans of people up there. It does seem a bit outrageous that some have such extraordinary amounts of money to burn, but it also seems like a form of reverse-snobbery for me to get too high and mighty, and to disapprove of it. One needs to be careful, because it might be jealousy one is feeling. Often our lower side likes to pose as a virtue, like a coward posing as a pacifist.

Suppose it was playful otters I was watching, sliding in the snow. Would I fume and fret about them making better use of their time?

Is it nonsense when people have fun? Express joy? Dance? Sing?

No, that isn’t as much of a nonsense as it is to put on a garlic face and see evil in innocence. And therefore the real nonsense is perhaps in those who are already commenting on how “warm” and “thin” and  “weak” this ice is. Once again the “Death Spiral” crowd is in full chorus, like the spring peepers in a nearby pond shrilling as I type. Once again Alarmists are determined to see doom and gloom and the end of the world, and setting themselves up as petty judges with their petty gavels, hammering the bench and pronouncing others “Guilty! guilty! guilty!”

I know a fair amount about this mindset because, back when I was in my early twenties, I tended to have big dreams that crashed and burned with dependable regularity, and then would spend time getting my act back together in my Mom’s basement. There was something humiliating about “living with Mommy”, even when I paid my share, and even when nobody mocked me I felt defensive and prone to counter-attacking. Some of my worst writing dates from those periods, and it is because I wrote like  a petty judge with a petty gavel.

There is something nonsensical about offering wisdom when you are unwise.  It seems adolescent, and perhaps explains why protesters are so often students. This is not to say food riots are not justified when you are starving, but too often the people protesting and judging and sentencing others to punishments have no real reason to complain. They are just spoiled, and feeling vaguely guilty about “living with Mommy”.  Even if they aren’t living with their biological mother there is something about their lives that makes them feel ashamed, so they counter attack.

Or that is my take, and my best effort to play the psychologist, in order to explain how on earth some Alarmists can look at this ice and call it “warm” and “weak.”

Barneo 6A 12718046_955455544523595_7535793996447659035_n-2512

Barneo 6D 13001059_984272628308553_6249309421780325228_n342

(The picture above is of some cross-country skiers out for a jaunt in a new place, called the Pole.)

The oddest thing is to lurk at Alarmist sites and see how they seize upon the slightest things to justify their belief we are seeing the “Death Spiral.”  Some of the things they dig up are so obscure they are actually fascinating. For example, one fellow was going on at length about how “warm” ice is less strong than “cold” ice. Not that he listed temperatures taken of the ice a foot down this year, as opposed to other years, but the strength of ice at various temperatures did make for an interesting topic. The only problem is that we have pictures like this one, from 1987.

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

Please note the above picture is not from late August or early September, when ice is at its yearly minimum, but rather from May 18th, a mere month from now, when our more recent North Pole Cameras have never seen a melt-water pool, (though they have seen distant leads.)

Can you imagine the trouble the Russians would have had building an airstrip in 1987?  Not that they wouldn’t have been able to find a pan of more solid ice, somewhere away from this site, but this picture does make much of the current fuss made by certain Alarmists look silly. Why? Because, in order to make this year look like “the worst ever” and part of a deteriorating “Death Spiral”, they have to see conditions this year as being “worse than” 1987.

In essence they have to ignore melting where it is, in 1987, and see it where it isn’t, in 2016. To me this seems nonsense. In some ways this nonsense is more interesting to watch than a North Pole Marathon, but it seems to be much less fun, for the people doing it. At times they seem so miserable I fear they may be contemplating suicide.

Unfortunately the ice-melt should be fairly decent this summer, due to the after effects of the El Nino. This will only encourage Alarmists to fret and worry more. What they need is what will likely follow, as a strong La Nina sets in.

The only thing that will end their nonsensical pain is such a growth of sea-ice that their worry seems absolutely impossible. That will be like the bullet that puts a horse out of its misery. Expanding sea-ice will then end the nonsense and be an example of nature’s kindness. It’s the only merciful thing to do.

 

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Beaufort Sea Crack Up–

Beaufort Crack Up 6a0133f03a1e37970b01b8d1ba3a52970c-800wi

Most of my attention has been focused on Barneo, due to my interest in the North Pole Camera, and up there the ice has been converging much of the winter, and building pressure ridges, due to what I called “The Swirl” in my last post. In this post I’ll look at a place where ice often diverges.

My reason for doing this is not because I am fair and balanced. God forbid! I must be honest with you and state my honest intention to oppose the dishonest. Some, and Mark Serreze in particular, have been so incredibly unfair and incredibly unbalanced that the only way to respond seems, in a sense, to be as unbalanced in an equal and opposite fashion.

Of course this is neither spiritual nor scientific. However I pretend to be neither a saint nor a scientist. What I desire to be is an American thing called “a humorist”, and my chief weapon is to reduce my opponent’s arguments to absurdity.

This is not very hard with Mark Serreze, considering he is on record as saying the Arctic would be ice free by now. He is a person who  has reduced his own arguments to absurdity, and the fact he is still paid a six figure salary is proof the government cares little about Truth. In fact it seems an exercise in futility, and also absurdity, to continue arguing.

We already had the argument about Beufort Sea ice crack-ups back in February of 2013, when this splendid crack-up occurred:

 

I described all the hoopla that occurred back then about midway through my post “Fun With Sea Ice” (which was eventually printed over at “Watts Up With That” in January, 2014),  so if you are interested in all the details they can be found here:

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/a-retrospective-fun-with-sea-ice/

But we have already been through that, and I think the more serious Alarmists know it looks a bit silly to get too excited about a Beaufort Sea crack-up. These things are bound to happen, due to the motion of the Beufort Gyre.

Transpolar Drift 360px-BrnBld_ArcticCurrents.svg

It is the flow of the Beaufort Gyre that tends to crunch ice up against the north coast of the Canadian Archipelgeo, and rip ice away from its west coast, creating massive leads and polynyas.  It also rips ice away from the Mackenzie Delta and north coast of Alaska, and piles it against the north coast of East Siberia.  To get a true feeling of this ocean in motion the current NRL animation (past thirty days) is helpful.  (Bering Strait in lower left corner; MacKenzie River in lower right corner.)

 

This animation shows high pressure north of Alaska swirling the ice around, and creating large polynyas northwest of Alaska and north-northwest of the McKenzie Delta.

It is interesting to debate how thickly theses open areas will be skimmed with ice, whether that ice will be black ice that allows sunlight to penetrate, or snow-dusted ice that reflects sunlight, and how much these areas might speed the summer melt. (It should be noted that if a low pressure replaces the high pressure, all the ice could turn right around and come crunching back to the coast.)

I myself am looking further south, into the Pacific, as I wonder about this coming summer’s melt. What was called the “Warm Blob” seems to have been largely replaced by a “Cold Blob.”

anomnight.4.7.2016

To me it looks like the waters south of Bering Strait are a full two degrees colder than last spring. I should hasten to add that these anomaly maps can change as spring shifts to summer, but if this “Cold Blob” persists, it can and will slow the ice melt north of Bering Strait.

Just something to chew upon, as we ponder the situation.