A blip on the “extent” graph has separated the decline of sea-ice this year from past years, making it look like there is more sea-ice this year. Is this true, or an illusion?
The melt is far from over, and the amount of the end-of-summer melt can vary considerably. Just in recent years it can be seen, in the above graph, that roughly twice as much “extent” vanished in 2020 as did in 2021. (The x-axis gradations in the above graph represent 2 million km2. Therefore 2020 saw a loss of 2 million km2 and 2021 saw a mere million km2 melt.) As our extent is currently roughly 0.8 million km2 above what it was in 2020, we’d have to lose that much more to reach a level approaching the 2020 minimum.
The most amazing reduction of “extent” was in 2012, due to a big summer gale that formed over the Pole and caused some major stirring of the Arctic Sea. That year there was a thick, cold “freshwater lens” over slightly milder and saltier water, and when the stirring brought up the milder water the sea-ice vanished with startling rapidity. Or at least I was startled. That April I was expecting the sea-ice to make a comeback, for it was nowhere near the lowest that records had seen; in fact, it was 27th lowest. Yet by August it was lowest ever seen. I was so amazed I confess I actually suspected fraud was involved.
But one nice thing about that time, (only ten years ago but now seemingly a different universe), was that you could write a polite email to scientists and get a polite reply, and I contacted scientists who were actually up in the Arctic at that time, and I got a wonderful reply from a gentleman who had actually been on flights over the Arctic Sea, and he described how amazed he was that so much ice had vanished so swiftly.
Also, scientists back then were not so swift the blame Global Warming and leave it at that. I recall discussions about how a shift in the AO had caused a shift in where the outflow of the Lena River wound up, and how this caused a thickening of the “freshwater lens” towards Canada. While such articles tended to have an obligatory genuflection towards Global Warming in the final paragraph, the body of the paper was full of fascinating wonders. Here is one about that shift, from January 2012, (if I’d been more on-the-ball, I’d have suspected the “freshwater lens” might affect the melt the following summer.)
After that amazing melt in the summer of 2012 everyone seemed made more aware of the effect a summer gale might have, and therefore Alarmists were expecting great things (in terms of melting) when an equally impressive gale developed the summer of 2013. To the surprise of many (including myself) far less sea-ice melted. In fact, the sea-ice seemed to slosh around and hardly melt at all.
I never saw a paper explaining why the sea-ice failed to melt; perhaps it was given a good leaving-alone because it did not support the narrative concerning Global Warming. However, it seems apparent the water under the sea-ice must have been altered. Perhaps the 2012 gale demolished the “freshwater lens”, and also “used up” the heat and salinity stored in the stratified water beneath.
It seems apparent that there are variations in the layering and makeup of the waters of the Arctic Sea which may rival the changing makeup and layers in our atmosphere. Perhaps there are the equivalent of warm fronts and cold fronts, and even watery “jet streams” at various levels.
Last summer I spent some time attempting to envision what changes might be brought about by a major eruption of lava on the Gamal Ridge. (Basically, it would screw up preconceptions and mess up carefully crafted maps of existing currents, by creating a plume of ascending water where water ordinarily should be descending.) This subject is another which seems to have been given a good leaving alone, at least since 2008.
To return to the subject of the “extent” of the sea-ice this summer, I think we cannot have a good idea of how the extent will diminish without a clear map of the sub-ice currents. We need a clear idea how the stratification of the water has proceeded. How thick is the “freshwater lens” and how has it shifted? How stratified is the water, and what is the temperature and salinity at various levels. We need more buoys. Lots and lots of buoys! Send much more money, please. (It is a far more worthwhile investment than the Clinton Foundation).
In the meantime, we have little to go on. I have noticed an abundance of small storms (“Ralphs”) over the Pole this summer, though so far none rival the gales of 2012 and 2013. Their cloudiness perhaps explains why temperatures have largely been below normal. (The lone spike above normal occurred as a high pressure’s sunny spell drifted over the top of the earth.)
The current dip in temperatures occurred as yet another small low drifted past the Pole.
This is occurring just as the temperature map shows the reappearance of the sub-freezing isotherm at the Pole; the surface thaw is ending.
Back when we had buoys with cameras up there, we could see the meltwater pools atop the sea-ice start to freeze over, but also we witnessed that the melt continued from below the sea-ice, and often saw areas of ice crumble even as temperatures above the ice dropped below freezing. Typically, more sea-ice melts than freezes until mid-September. So, where should we be looking? We should look where the sea-ice is most thin, and for this I like the NRL (Naval Research Lab) maps.
The lilac, especially the light lilac and white, represents the thinnest and most-likely-to-melt ice.
For comparison I’ll include a NRL map for the same day in 2020
One increase that jumps out at me is the increase in sea-ice in the East Siberian Sea, between Wrangles Island and the New Siberian Islands. This seems to happen when the PDO is colder and during La Ninas, though I can’t claim to understand the dynamics. In 2020 this area was largely ice-free by September, but I doubt it will happen this year. First, because the ice is thicker to begin with, and second, because that water was ice-free in 2020 it was exposed to cold air during the refreeze, which seems to “shock the system” and disturb any warm and salty layer beneath any freshwater lens. (I say “seems” because I haven’t seen any actual study.) Therefore it “seems” that, even if there was a big gale, the effects would be more like 2013’s rather than 2012’s.
A comparison of the two maps also shows an increase of thicker ice north of Greenland. While this makes no difference in terms of “extent” graphs, it does make a difference in terms of “volume” graphs.
The “volume” graphs involve many variables and the difficulties of modeling, so I tend to be a little leery of their accuracy, but they have given Alarmists a problem in recent years by refusing to show the expected decreases. The PIOMAS graph does show a sharp decrease between 1997 and 2010, but the curve has seemingly bottomed out since 2010.
Despite a mysterious subtraction of 2,000 km3 of sea-ice (see previous posts) the DMI model shows a recovery of volume to levels near 2018’s.
In conclusion, it seems highly unlikely that this year will see the long trumpeted ice-free Arctic Ocean we’ve been promised. But this is not to say the researchers don’t deserve more funding. They do. Much that influences weather further south occurs up there and is worthy of our wonder.
A fascinating change in the pattern at the Pole is occurring, involving the winds in Fram Strait switching from south winds, which prevent the sea-ice from exiting the Arctic Sea, to north winds, which flush the sea-ice down into the Atlantic.
One interesting example of the bias of Alarmists is that both south winds and north winds are a sign of Global Warming. South winds bring milder air north, which is proof the Pole is warming, while north winds flush sea-ice south and reduce the amount of sea-ice in the Central Arctic, which is proof the Pole is warming.
In any case I’ll start with a bunch of maps, which will show the switch. We’ll begin back on March 18, when high pressure over Norway and low pressure north of Greenland had south winds in Fram Strait, and a clear “feeder band” of milder air probing up towards the Pole.
The “feeder band” fed the weak low north of Greenland, and it took an unusual route over Svalbard, strengthening and switching the winds from south to north in Fram Strait.
The storm became quite strong, but notice how the “feeder band” fades. Despite the sunrise at the Pole, the warmer air is still lost to outer space, and the temperatures at the Pole remain close to thirty below.
The storm fades into western Russia, but a small low follows over Svalbard, keeping the flow of cold air south through Fram Strait.
At this point I am noticing the low down by Iceland, and wondering if it will disrupt the pattern by taking a more traditional route. High pressure is being pumped behind the prior storm, over Scandinavia.
In the above map I am already noting that the Icelandic gale will not behave as I expect, as the prior low has pumped a ridge over Scandinavia, blocking the Icelandic gale. It will be deflected towards Fram Strait. This could get interesting.
Another big low moves up from Cape Farewell at the southern tip of Greenland to Iceland, and runs up against the blocking high over Scandinavia. That high is expanding south and west, growing into what would be a northern positioning of the Azores High, if it was warmer, but it is not a balmy high pressure.
The gale has managed to squeeze over the top of the high pressure, weakening a lot, and the flow in Fram Strait is now east to west, flushing out less ice. The blocking high has forsed the next gale up the west side of Greenland, into Baffin Bay.
As the Baffin Bay low transits the high icefields of Greenland it sucks a new “feeder band” up through Fram Strait, fueling a “Ralph” (Anomolous area of low pressure) over the Pole, as the old Atlantic gale sags into Russia. At this point I am sitting back and quite confident the flow down through Fram Strait is over. The blocking high pressure is bulging north south of Iceland, forsing a second Gale west up into Baffin Bay.
Only a day later and I am scratching my head, for again there are north winds in Fram Strait, despite the Baffin Bay low approaching from the west, which I thought would create south winds. However I figure the north winds will soon shift south, and my attention is diverted to the speed at which the “feeder band” is cooled, as it fuels the “Ralph.”
The Baffin Bay low fights its way over the blocking high and the 10,000 foot high icefields of Greenland, and is in Fram Strait, where winds are nearly calm. High pressure builds in its wake. I pay little attention. I am thinking of writing a post on how the “feeder band” cooled despite the fact the sun has risen, which shows the Pole is still losing heat to outer space. I am watching “Ralph”. Fram Strait is not a focus of my attention.
Yowza! What the heck happened!? Crossing the northernmost north Atlantic the Baffin Bay low totally exploded, and the high behind it became totally pumped, and the winds are screaming south in Fram Strait. Who the heck cares about the dwindling “Ralph”, or about “feeder bands” you can barely see any more?
The Baffin Bay low, (which now perhaps qualifies as a “Barents Sea Blaster”) never sunk down into Russia, but rather wobbled about southeast of Svalbard, helped by a Fujiwara dance with another Atlantic low which managed to squeak over the blocking high. The maps below basically demonstrate we have seen six days of roaring north winds in Fram Strait. (And many other things as well, but one needs to limit ones focus, at times.)
At this point we perhaps can sit back and attempt to see what the effect of six days of Fram Flushing has been. One rather cool effect is that the sea-ice, formerly crushed west into the east coast of Greenland, has been spread out, forming polynyas of open water or very thin baby-ice along Greenland’s coast, but actually crossing the Denmark Strait and touching the north coast of Iceland in two places.
However, before you plan to saunter from Iceland to Greenland, it is important to be aware “thickness” maps exist in a dream-world of “averages” and the average of a few big bergs and much open water is six inches. There is in fact no six inch thick ice to stroll upon, and you’d better be prepared to hop like a super-kangaroo to get from big berg to big berg. A satelite few of the ice-edge between Greenland and Iceland will give you a good idea of the conditions we are dealing with.
Of course, with ice being flushed south in Fram Strait, one looks north to see where the sea-ice is coming from. And indeed some big leads have opened north of Greenland. (Greenland coast at lowest right corner.)
If you look at these leads you will notice they are dark on their left sides and more milky to the right, which shows you how rapidly sea-ice forms with temperatures still down close to thirty below. In some ways leads may increase the production of sea-ice, especially in April. (In July it is totally different, with air temperatures above freezing.) To be honest, I am uncertain if exporting sea-ice through Fram Strait decreases the amount of sea-ice, or increases it.
In the short term the more sea-ice you flush down into the Atlantic, the less your total will be, because the Atlantic swiftly melts the bergs. However there are long-term consequences as well. What happens if you chill the Atlantic?
In the winter of 1816-1817 there was apparently such an amazing Fram Strait flushing that it seems pure hyperbole. The sea-ice didn’t just reach the north coast of Iceland; it reached Ireland.(Never seen since). So much ice was flushed south the waters north of Greenland were wide open. Coastlines never mapped before were mapped, and one whaler claimed he sailed up through Fram Strait, westward over the top of Greenland, and down through Baffin Bay. The English Navy was galvanized, for it seemed a Northwest Passage might be opening up. But the same time saw a “year with no summer” in western Europe, because the Atlantic had been so chilled by the discharge of sea-ice. (Meanwhile Eastern Europe was warm; apparently the chilled Atlantic caused the summer jet stream to dig unusually far south over Western Europe, but to loop north in the East.)
In any case, the current flushing (so far) is small potatoes compared to 1817. But it is interesting to think about the factors involved.
One factor is that if you greatly cool the Atlantic you also cool the water that ordinarily melts a lot of sea ice, when it enters the arctic as the northernmost tendrils of the warm Gulf Stream. If you cool those tendrils they can melt less ice, which leads to more ice and colder temperatures which leads to even more ice. In fact the very low sea-ice of 1817 sent the 600 ship British Navy, (recently unemployed with Napoleon defeated and the conflict with the United States ended), exploring open Arctic waters which they then saw become increasingly ice covered. In 1819 William Parry was able to sail far west in the sound which now bears his name, yet the Franklin expedition perished, trapped by ice in the same waters thirty years later. It might be that a discharge of sea-ice through Fram Strait is a sort of “tipping point” or “trigger”, which sets off cooling. Or maybe not. But it should at least be considered.
Fram Strait is important because it is the only deep connection the Arctic Sea has with the rest of the world’s oceans. The arctic cools vasts amounts of water, and cold water sinks, drawing warm water north to replace it. As the warm water comes north the colder water must exit south, but has difficulty doing so in shallow waters of the continental shelf, such as Bering Strait or the waters east of Svalbard. Only west of Svalbard is there a deep channel for cold waters that have sunk deep. Even so, some cold water spills over the shallow waters of the continental shelf on the Greenland side of Fram Strait, but, as soon as that water has a chance, it plunges downwards. South of Fram Strait, where the continental shelf draws closer to Greenland, there is a sort of underwater Niagara Falls, where huge amounts of cold water plunges down over the edge of the continental shelf.
As this cold water plunges down it is removed from the influences that control weather at the surface, and, though part of the thermohaline circulation, it cannot effect temperatures at the surface for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years, when it reappears as an upwelling at some other place on the planet. However if that water comes south with a bunch of sea-ice, the sea-ice cannot sink down to the abysmal deeps, but merrily continues to bob south at the surface, and consequently continues to be able to greatly alter weather at the surface. Those who sail northern fogs state you can feel the chill of an iceberg long before you can see it.
Despite six days of frigid north winds, current anomaly maps do not show much cooling of the north Atlantic.
I think ice-water causes problems for the models that produce such maps. Technically ice-water is as cold as water can get, for it is where ice and water coexist. Therefore, because water any colder would not be water but rather ice, ice-water cannot be “above normal”, because that would suggest a “normal” where water was fluid below freezing. However I have often seen such models describe ice-water as a degree, (and in one case three), above “normal”. Impossible. But in any case I am expecting to see the models catch on later in the season, and to see the North Atlantic cooled. Currently the cooling is only apparent east of Iceland.
Another effect the north winds have is to slow the flow of warmer waters to the arctic. The major warm tendril of the Gulf Stream in Fram Strait is the WSC (West Spitsbergen Current), which bounces off the coast of Norway and travels north roughly along the line of ten degrees longitude. This mild current is responsible for ice-free water on the east side of Fram Strait, and ice-free waters north and northwest of Svalbard, sometimes even in the dead of winter. However this water is only held at the surface because it is warmer than than surrounding water; in terms of salinity it wants to sink, because evaporation down in the tropics makes it saltier than surrounding water, and salty water wants to sink below fresher water. Therefore when the WSC chills to a certain point it sinks below the surface, and can melt sea-ice no longer. Six straight days of being blasted by northern winds likely has chilled the WSC more than usual. It may dive beneath the surface prematurely, and allow sea-ice to persist north of Svalbard.
Interestingly, the WSC remains recognizable even after it dives under the surface, due to its salt content and temperature, and hard working scientists have traced it as it describes a complete circuit of the Pole and exits, still different from colder water, on the west side of Fram Strait as part of the ice-clogged, southbound EGC. (East Greenland Current.)
I am somewhat amazed by the hard work done, getting beneath the sea-ice to measure these currents, especially as such study discovers no gold and isn’t profitable in any immediate worldly sense. I’ve noticed the discoveries don’t always jive with prior discoveries. I don’t think this is due to one scientist being “right” and another “wrong”, but rather because the currents wander. After all, like the jet stream high overhead, currents have no restraining banks like a river has, and are free to meander whither they will. What I imagine is needed is a salesman to sell the idea of under-ice sensors as numerous as weather balloons are above the ice, to trace the meanderings. Hmm. Good luck with that job.
Another effect of the north winds howling south through Fram Strait for six straight days would likely be to slow the speed of the WSC northward, while increasing the speed of the EGC southward. This creates interesting pneumatic problems, for water doesn’t compress and cannot stretch. Initially I would think that slowing the speed of the WSC by a tenth of a mile per hour would only delay the arrival of the water in Fram Strait slightly, but the effect upstream might in some ways be immediate. When you press a brake pedal the pneumatic effect takes no time to reach your brakes. The only give in the Arctic Sea pneumatic system is the level of the sea, and if the WSC is importing less water north as the EGC is exporting more water south, the level of the Arctic Sea should theoretically drop. And if it is then lower than surrounding seas, would that not increase the tendency of water to pour into the arctic in other places?
Lastly, the tundra and taiga are just starting to see days longer than nights, and snows are just starting to melt, which means arctic rivers, frozen to a mere trickle by the bitter winter cold, are just beginning to rise. The increases are astounding. For example, the largest river, the Lena, can rise sixty feet in spring floods. The import of fresh water into the Arctic Sea goes from near zero to vast amounts. This fresh water tends to form a “lens” atop the saltier water, and freezes more easily than salt water. Therefore the import of water to the Arctic Sea switches from largely being saltier water from the tropics in early April, to fresh water from rivers in June. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, (or put it in your climate model and watch the computer smoke and melt down).
The more you study sea-ice the more you become aware the variables are multitudinous, and perhaps chaotic to all minds but the Creator’s. Every year 20 thousand cubic kilometers of sea-ice are created, only to melt away every summer down to around 5 cubic kilometers that remain. By the end of summer the sea-ice is splotched with meltwater pools, and in places broken into slabs.
The satellites tend to see meltwater pools as open water, but the scientists slogging about collecting data (and rescuing equipment before it sinks) know such pools are usually but puddles on firm ice (though a few can reach down through the ice, holes down to an open sea a mile deep.)
It is a beautiful landscape. I wish we still had the Barneo polar tourist-trap and jetport, the floating buoys with cameras, and the intrepid adventurers skiing past polar bears, but pictures are getting harder and harder to find. Right now we’d be seeing the floating bergs were now firmly fixed in the winter’s new baby-ice.
We could examine where leads had opened, frozen swiftly over with baby-ice, and then clapped shut, stacking the baby-ice like plates.
All these images strike me as beautiful, and inspire no dread of a “Death Spiral”, nor of a planet broiling and boiling. A quick glance at the “volume” graph shows we have more ice than last year, and indeed more than in 2017, so it’s hard to fear it is all melting away.
In fact, rather than inspiring fear, the sea-ice inspires a sense of wonder. It is amazing how our Creator designed our planet to work, with its seasons and its ebbing and flowing. My mind is more inclined towards awe than towards dread, which makes the pseudo-scientists hired by politicians seem all the more like purveyors of panic porn. They make it their business to inspire fear, rather than appreciation of how well the world is made. They want to sell vaccines, rather than appreciate the excellent antibodies made by immune systems we already possess, so they downplay wonder and stir up dread.
God’s beauty currently does not manifest in Washington D.C., but it does manifest at the Pole. If you want to feel uplifted, shut off the Fake News, and study the clouds, or sunsets, or sea-ice.
As a final aside and wonder, I’ll point out that the current flushing of Fram Strait has drained the Pole of a lot of its cold air, exporting the cold all the way south to April snows in England. Yet despite the export of all this cold air, temperatures at the Pole are not all that far above normal, and indeed are closer to normal than they were at this time last year.
It will be interesting to watch the arctic for further developments. Stay tuned.
I’m preoccupied working on my “Manifesto”, and am currently involved studying the madness of the French Terror, and Stalin’s purge of all Russia’s successful farmers, and Mao’s “Cultural Revolution”, because the way some people fanatically insist Global Warming is real despite all evidence presented to them reminds me a little of the Red Guard.
Trying to argue with the Red Guard was a bit like arguing with a Freudian, only rather than seeing everything as sexual they saw everything as political. (Don’t the above gals look lovely? But they couldn’t wear make-up, for either it was evil because it was “traditional’ or was evil because it was western and “imperialistic.”)
Who the heck needs all that? I’m in the mood to run away to the North Pole and just watch sea-ice for a bit.
For a while now there has been high Pressure towards North America and Greenland, and Low pressure towards Eurasia, which sets up a cross-polar-flow from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
This has pulled a feeder-band of milder and moister air from the Pacific up over the Pole.
This is not as dramatic as the surging feeder-bands that came north from the Atlantic last winter, but it has caused a spike in the temperatures north of 80 degrees latitude.
And I suppose this has the Alarmists very excited:
I hate to mention to them that these surges push the colder air from the Pole south, and we in North America are going to be freezing our tootsies off for the next two weeks. So I won’t. Instead I’ll point out some interesting effects this has on the sea-ice. It is moving differently from last year. The south winds have pushed a lot of sea-ice from Bering Sea through Bering Strait and built a wall of thicker ice to the north, towards the Pole:
On the far side of the Pole the south winds become north winds, and push the sea ice south where it was getting pushed north last winter. Last winter there was great excitement among Alarmists when the open water of a polynya opened north of Greenland as the ice was pushed north, and also because there was less ice in Fram Strait and around Svalbard, but this year the ice has come crushing south, flushing through Fram Strait and crunching up against the north coast of Greenland and Svalbard.
The movement of the sea-ice gets me wondering about a couple of things. The first is how open the Northwest Passage will be this summer. It looks like there won’t be much ice in Bering Strait, but I’m a little worried about that wall of ice north of the Strait. It is liable to be chunky and contain piled-up pressure ridges and be slower to break up than usual, and any north wind could bring it to the northwest coast and create an impediment as yachts turn the corner to head east to Barrow.
Once east of Barrow the sea-ice ought break up fairly swiftly, as south winds much of the winter have pushed the thicker ice far out to sea. (The light blue sea-ice is over six feet thick. the vivid blue sea-ice is roughly 3 feet thick, and once the sea-ice gets lilac-purple it is less than three feet.) Down by the Mackenzie Delta it is only around a foot thick, not due to spring floods (as they don’t get going until April) but due to offshore winds. It would take a major shift in the weather patterns to crunch the ice back south to the coast.
As one heads further east next summer there will likely be problems, as the passage east of the Makenzie Delta and south of Parry Channel is very jammed with ice.
Further east, the eastern part of Parry Channel has been surprisingly mobile for the depth of winter, and over the past 45 days a lot of the ice flushed east into Baffin Bay and joined the parade of sea-ice heading south towards Newfoundland, along with a few far larger icebergs that have calved off glaciers. In a sense it seems a reflection of the Pacific-to-Atlantic press. Once again the Canadian Ice Service is noting many icebergs off Newfoundland. In fact this is the fourth winter out of the last six that the “extent” of sea-ice flushing out of Baffin Bay and down past Newfoundland (blue bar) has crept above normal (green line).
Last winter, when Newfoundlander fishing boats became trapped, a young “climate scientist” theorized the increase in ice was due to ice which had formerly been “fast ice” to the north being melted free by Global Warming. The problem with his theory was that the increased levels of ice were getting back to former levels, after ten years of reduced ice (which some had claimed was itself a sign of Global Warming, before the levels recently increased.) Also, way back between 1871 and 1873, the ill-fated Polaris expedition sailed up to the very top of Baffin Bay, and a group of survivors drifted on an ice floe from Nares Strait clear down to Newfoundland in the dead of winter. The sea-ice has always been very mobile.
This brings me to the second thing I’ve been wondering about, which involves the effects of an increased export of sea-ice into the Atlantic. This difference between last winter, which saw sea-ice prevented from surging south by “wrong-way-winds” in Fram Strait, (or at least slowed), and this year, when the flow has been assisted by a Pacific-to-Atlantic flow, might assist the study of such effects.
I wonder about this because back around 1816-1817 there was an amazing export of sea-ice south, with whalers noting open water north of Greenland yet icebergs grounding on the coast of Ireland. Some think this may have so chilled the water of the North Atlantic that it lead to “The year Without A Summer” in Western Europe in 1817.
The Arctic Sea must always be exporting sea-ice and very cold water, because it imports water four ways, and can lose little due to evaporation. Even though the Pole receives little precipitation and is sometimes described as a “desert”, air heading north is nearly always moister than the air heading south, which means moisture is left up there. Second, the northern tendrils of the Gulf Stream reach the Arctic Sea, ramming water north. Third, some of the largest rivers in the world pour into the Arctic Sea. (The Lena River is described as “tenth largest”, but I think it may be second or third largest when it is in full flood in August; its water-levels can rise sixty feet.) Lastly, the north-facing glaciers of Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago calve huge bergs.
The export of water occurs in cold currents down the east coasts of Asia, Greenland and Baffin Bay, and the Atlantic receives far more than the Pacific. The water heading south in a liquid form is more dense than warmer water, and at a certain point dives beneath the warmer water. In fact between Iceland and Greenland in Denmark Strait, where the bottom gets dramatically deeper, the cold current plunges down in a manner I have heard described as an “underwater Niagara Falls.” However the sea-ice, (whether the thinner chips of frozen ocean, or huger bergs calved off from glaciers), cannot sink beneath the warmer waters, and instead sails right into the warmer waters, significantly chilling it. Therefore I’ll be watching to see if the Atlantic becomes colder, perhaps influencing the weather in Western Europe.
The ambiguity of the situation is that it is opposite of what some Alarmists suggest. Less ice left up in the Arctic makes it colder, not warmer, to the south. If it chills the Gulf Stream heading north, then, after a lag, it can make it colder in the Arctic Sea as well. I wonder if this fluctuation could play a part in the roughly sixty year oscillation of the AMO.
I’ll be watching to see if there is any decrease in the “volume” graph. Last year, when sea-ice was prevented from coming south, there was an unexpected increase in “volume” that surprised many Alarmists, beginning in February. This year, so far, the “volume” remains above last year, but I’ll be keeping a sharp eye on it.
In terms of “extent” (which means little this time of year, as there still is little or no sunshine to reflect, and “albedo” is not much of a consideration), we may have already passed our winter “maximum”. Alarmists will be dismayed it already beat last year’s (by a hair). Once again the “Death Spiral” is debunked. Not that the facts ever penetrate certain thick skulls.
Above is a NASA loop showing the flood waters pouring out from the Gusinaya River over the five day period of June 4-8. (The problem is figuring out which Gusinaya River. I don’t think it is the one out on Wrangle Island, but rather one in East Siberia).
The thing to be aware if is that this is happening all around the Arctic Sea, as huge north-flowing rivers turn from winter trickles to summer floods. For example, the Lena River is nearly frozen to the bottom in February, with only 3% of its yearly flow occurring that month, but then rises over sixty feet by summer. The influx of all this fresh water along the arctic coasts greatly changes the nature of the sea-ice along the shores, tending to swiftly make it more slushy. At first the fresh water is very cold, as it is from melting snow, but later in the summer it can create relatively mild areas of open water by the deltas. The fresh water tends to form a “lens” over the more saline waters.
There can be relatively rapid melts close to the deltas, but the water’s heat is quickly used up by the transformation into latent heat which occurs during the melting process. There tends to be a lot of arguing about what happens next, as the water sometimes stratifies and can be identified over time and distance, and sometimes gets churned and mixed by storms.
In any case I thought the picture of the flood was interesting. I used to be baffled by how quickly coastal ice could vanish in places, such as the Mackenzie River delta in Northern Canada, before I became aware of the colossal yearly floods. What is fascinating me now is how the floods vary, due to droughts to the south, and how this can effect sea-ice. Also I ponder the differences in the timing of floods; some years they are earlier and some years they are later.
Currently there is a very meredional flow, with a stream of unusually mild air streaming north from the middle of Asia all the way to “Ralph” up at the Pole. Alarmist are quite excited, as there are records being set for warmth on the coast of the Laptev Sea.
Of course, on the other side of that cold front, cold air is streaming south into western Russia, where records are being set for cold temperatures.