ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Super Surge Alert! (Look Out Below!) (This means you, Europe)

An extraordinary plume of above-normal (but still sub-freezing) air is pouring up to the Pole from the Atlantic. The spike in the mean-temperatures-above-eighty-degrees-latitude graph, if not “unprecedented”, is highly unusual.

DMI5 0223 meanT_2018

This is caused by high pressure towards Eurasia and low pressure towards Canada and Greenland creating a roaring south-to-north flow from the North Atlantic over the Pole.

 

However, as I have pointed out to the point of sounding like a broken record, (IE “repetitive”, (for those of you too young to have experienced a record skipping on a record-player, and who think a “broken record” involves record temperatures), ) we do not get these milder-than-normal temperatures at the Pole without the displaced cold air freezing the socks off people in more southern latitudes.

The big high-pressure over the Eurasian side of Arctic Sea has a southern side, which creates the east winds of Mordor, bringing Siberian bitterness west into Europe. Here is a map from an Italian Site, worried about what is looming.

Super Surge 1 Gelo-21Feb18

I’ve been watching the UK Met maps, and must comment that they do a bad job of showing the east winds from Mordor. They never show a cold front progressing from Siberia to England. The isobars hint at the deepening chill, and at daffodils ducking back down into the dirt, but the fronts they draw on their maps give no clue. Here is their map for this coming Sunday.

Super Surge 2 65134687

The BBC is reporting the Met Office is issuing “amber alerts”. (Hat tip to https://www.iceagenow.info/ ).

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-43167583

Parts of Germany may see a fortnight pass before temperatures get back above freezing. Expect headlines.

North America will also likely see the displaced arctic air swooping south, though it may take longer to develop. It is already cold in the west, but, if the pattern develops as the veteran forecasters D’Aleo and Bastardi are forecasting at the Weatherbell site, the east of the USA may make headlines in early March, as a classic negative NOA builds high pressure over Canada and Greenland and low pressure off the east coast.

Super Surge 3 gfs_z500a_5d_noram_65(3)

The thing which I think may be a fly in the ointment is that nothing is truly “classic” in the current situation. Why not? Because the sun has gone “quiet”. All our hard-gleaned wisdom, that goes into what we define as “classic”, is based around much that is dependent on the sun being “noisy”. But the sun’s face has gone blank. (After a couple spots rotated across its face, and gave the earth a small blast in passing, the sun’s face is again spotless.)

Sunspots 20180223 latest

In fact the current sunspot cycle (#24) resembles the sunspot cycle at the start of the Dalton Minimum in 1798 (#5).

Sunspots Layman's January sc5_sc24_1

Much that we describe as a “classic” weather pattern is therefore subject to a degree of doubt. Patterns may not behave as they behaved in the recent past, but rather as they behaved in 1798.  And we have poor records from that long ago.

This does not render old-school forecasters obsolete.  Some rules do not change. The freezing point of water remains the same, and so on and so forth. However I think we should expect the unexpected. Forecasters should stay on their toes, and as soon as they become aware a pattern is not behaving in a “classic” manner, they should use all their wisdom to gather an idea (called “a forecast”) of what the pattern actually is up to.

The thing to watch for in the current situation is the building of the “classic” blocking-high-pressure of a negative NAO over Canada and Greenland. If it fails to form, expect the unexpected.

There is another thing fun to watch for, in the current situation. There are certain Alarmists who will note the milder-than-normal temperatures over the Pole, and will make a great big media event over announcing the planet is facing Global Warming, and they will stage this event in some locale roughly a half hour before the winds from Mordor arrive from the east, and a howling blizzard ensues.  People leaving the press conference will get stuck in the snow.

If this classic scenario fails to form, I will be deeply disappointed, for I confess I find such spectacles deliciously entertaining.

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ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Going Bananas–

This will be a brief post, discussing the fact a surge of relatively mild air up to the Pole often occurs in concert with arctic outbreaks at lower latitudes.

Unfortunately the media tends to focus on the warming events and ignore the colder events. Therefore I advise people to visit the “Ice Age Now” site, which has a wonderful group of contributors who submit reports of below-average temperatures from all over the world.

https://www.iceagenow.info/

I advise people to keep an eye on that site for the next month, as Joseph D’Aleo, at the Weatherbell site, sees signs of a situation developing that very well could bring arctic outbreaks to both eastern North America and much of northern Eurasia. (The Weatherbell site offers a week “free trial”, and it might be worth the reader’s time to take advantage now, in order to read Mr. D’Aleo’s reasoning.)

https://www.weatherbell.com/premium/joe-daleo/vanishing-act-to-make-march-lion-roar

One ingredient to his forecast involves the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation) which is especially handy to have, as an indicator (IE: “teleconnection”) which is especially reliable in the late winter.  It is forecast to plunge off the chart:

Bananas 2 gefs_nao_00(22)

To me, this seems a sort of a response to the surges of relatively mild (but sub-freezing) air we’ve watched rush up to the Pole:

DMI5 0219 meanT_2018

However the surges up to the Pole may be in response to the surges of cold we saw pour south, in North America in late December and early January, and in eastern Asia in mid January. (I posted pictures of an attractive Russian woman’s frosted eyelashes back then, if you recall.) The wobbles of a loopy jet stream seems a sort of chicken-or-the-egg situation; and it is hard to be sure which event is causing the other to occur.

Way back in early January, as a Blizzard hit Boston, I pointed out that the cold front associated with that arctic outbreak didn’t merely reach the Gulf coast and Florida, but crossed the entire Gulf of Mexico. It didn’t bring frosts that far south, but did bring cold rains and cool temperatures that stunted the growth of tropical crops, such as bananas.

One thing I admire about Joseph D’Aleo is that his quick mind is keenly observant of things in everyday life that pertain to Global Weather Patterns, and I have to tip my hat in a bowing sweep for his observation of the notice on the bananas at his local market:

Bananas 1 Screen_Shot_2018_02_19_at_4_16_40_AM

I also noticed that the Ice Age Now site noted a similar stunting of a warmth-loving crop, (rice), due to cooler-than-normal temperatures in Brazil’s southern-hemisphere summer.

https://www.iceagenow.info/exceptional-cold-brazil-large-rice-plantation-losses-feared/

This all goes to show you that a loopy (meridional) pattern tends to mess things up. However such a loopy pattern actually seems more of a sign of a cooling pattern than a warming pattern. It seems more in line with a “Little Ice Age” than a “Medieval Warm Period”. It seems to affirm some hunches I have about the complicated effects of the “Quiet Sun.”  A warming earth would seemingly cause the polar boundary to retreat north, as it does in the summer time, and allow fewer incursions of cold air far to the south.

To me there seems to be no shortage of bananas, when it comes to attempts on the part of Alarmists to portray the south-diving jet stream as a sign of Global Warming. When it recently became apparent that the south-diving jet has cooled the southeast USA, in the fifty years since the sun was “noisy”, Alarmists did not describe the southeast as a “colder area”, but rather as a “warming hole.”

https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-blogs/climatechange/so-called-warming-hole-leading-to-cooler-winters-in-the-southeastern-united-states/70004150

Unfortunately this has led to all sorts of rude jokes involving who the “holes” are, and where they are located. Though I will confess to chuckling in an undignified manner at some of the rude jokes, I don’t think it helps the debate much if we all go bananas.

Instead we should try to lift ourselves above the muck of the downright silly politics, and instead attempt to grasp what in the world is actually going on. Sift through all of the data, not merely half of it. For example, glaciers in New Zealand are growing, not shrinking as the media likes to suggest, and what is more they are not growing because warming causes increased precipitation, but rather because of colder temperatures.

https://www.iceagenow.info/trying-explain-new-zealands-unusual-growing-glaciers/

Stay tuned and keep studying.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Arctic Africa–

One thing I have learned from Alarmists is the effectiveness of distraction. When you have completely blown a forecast, it is helpful to point at something happening far, far away.

Therefore you will not notice that I am six days away from the date I assigned for the jet stream to stop being loopy. You will forget I stated the polar flow would become zonal on February 13, due to the lagged effect of the La Nina. You will forget….  You will forget… You are getting sleepy… Very sleepy…

What the heck? It’s not working on you! Oh, I forgot. That only works on Alarmists.

In any case, a second mild surge as good as last winter’s second surge has made it to the Pole.

DMI5 0207 meanT_2018

I haven’t time to go into all the details. In a nutshell it is a surge “madoki” (Japanese for “the-same-but-different”), because (so far) it took a less direct route than last year. Rather than, like last year, roaring straight north from the Atlantic, the surge dented east over Norway and only turned north over the Kara Sea. Consequently the temperatures, on a whole, have been colder than last year’s. But that is basically straining at gnats and quibbling over piffling details. The fact of the matter is that precisely where I thought high pressure should build and form the core of a nice zonal flow (which may be wish-casting, for it would give me, down in New Hampshire, a milder winter), what to my wondering eyes should appear, but “Ralph”! (An anomalous area of low pressure at the Pole.)

 

 

To have “Ralph” reappear, when I have been putting the finishing touches to his obituary, is a sign I’m having a bad week. (It was bad enough that the hero quarterback got strip-sacked at the crucial moment, and the home team lost the Superbowl.) (Furthermore, New Hampshire is not getting the sort of mild weather I wanted.)

The problem with mild air heading up to the Pole is that it displaces the cold, which comes south one way or another and gives arctic conditions to people not prepared for such nonsense. Because this post is suppose to be about sea-ice, I’ll mention the fish-farmers on the coast of China.

But I also need to mention the Sahara, because there is something that just tickles my sense of humor about bringing Africa into a sea-ice post.

But mentioning Africa is a bit odd, as I have noticed that the phrase “one every fifty years” doesn’t sound quite right, when you use it twice in three years. I noted that oddity, when writing about the January snows along the Algeria-Morocco border three weeks ago. But now we are talking about snows along that border twice the same winter.

There are some high north-African mountains, the “Atlas”, that get snow every winter, and send precious melt-waters down to the Sahara from the north, but ordinarily these snows stay up by the clouds. It makes news when these snows spread down to lower altitudes. (The translation of the first video is, “After more than fifty years…The snows in Zagora”).

The translation for the second, longer video is, “Today: After more than 50 years…The snow in Zagora and the south-east of the Kingdom.”

At this point I need to bring up the magic word “Albedo”, which Alarmists feel is very important in discussions of sea-ice. Basically it involves sunshine that could warm our planet being bounced away by the whiteness of snow. Alarmists have suggested that less sea-ice at the Pole could allow “run away warming”. But what about snow on the northern fringes of the Sahara? The sun shines brightly there in February, while it will not shine at the Pole until the Equinox. Is there any chance all the heat lost in the Sahara could cause some sort of “run away cooling”?

Crickets.

(In any case, such a focus on the Sahara is an excellent deflection away from my forecast for a zonal arctic-flow by February 13.)

One of the most annoying aspects of a loopy (or “meridional”) flow occurs when you happen to find yourself at the place where the warm air looping north battles with the cold air looping south. In some ways it is better to endure the cold, for cold tends to be dry. When you sit on the border you can get excessive amounts of snow. For example, the core of the cold sank down in Eurasia at the end of January, and Moscow, well to the west of the worst cold, has been afflicted by Atlantic air streaming east past Norway even as arctic air streams west further south. They have had amazing amounts of snow. During the first week of February they broke their snowfall records for the entire month of February.

This clashing between colder and milder air has been annoying on my side of the planet as well, for even with the core of the cold elsewhere we can get unfair amounts of glop. I’d prefer pure, Siberian cold, for powder snow is easy to shift, and when the cold gets really cruel the old timers say, “It’s too cold to snow.”

In New Hampshire, this winter has been pleasing to Alarmists, I suppose, for the arctic retreated after the first week in January, and since then temperatures have been around seven degrees above normal. This doesn’t really thaw us, for our average temperature is 20°F (-7°C), and “mild” only lifts us to 27°F (-3°C). However an average of 27°F does allow for daily highs to creep above freezing, and does allow snow to turn to sleet, freezing rain, and brief episodes of all-out rain, which creates slush as heavy as mud.  You must shift this heavy glop from walkways and drives, or it swiftly freezes harder than iron. (I’ll take shoveling powder snow any day.)

Nor does all the glop make lake-ice thinner. Wet, heavy snow on ice pushes the ice down, and water oozes up through cracks and turns the snow to slush. It takes little (just a cold, starry night), to turn that slush to solid ice, as, being ice-water, it is right at the freezing point. Then, besides the original two feet of ice that the bitter cold of early January created, you have an additional two feet of ice created by “milder” temperatures, and frozen slush.

The ice is now so thick on lakes that crazy young men are having races with vehicles and motor cycles that have scary wheels with steel teeth. The churning, spinning wheels chip away a foot of the ice on the corners of the tracks, but nobody seems very nervous about chewing through to water.

I know that lake-ice is not the same as sea-ice, but I thought it interesting that “milder” weather brought snow that turned to slush that turned to ice, and therefore “milder” made the ice a foot or two thicker than it might be if it stayed cold and dry.

Of course, some people never get out of their offices, and don’t understand such counter-intuitive things. There is much to learn from simply hiking about lakes, especially reservoirs that rise with rains and thaws and sink when the dry cold returns. I have young Climate-scientists studying local lake-ice, and am eagerly awaiting my government grants and money from Big Oil.

Lake ice 1 FullSizeRender

Lake ice 2 FullSizeRender

Lake ice 3 FullSizeRender

Of course, insurance companies, in their warm offices, do not approve of such research. They fear “risk”. They want everyone to stay indoors. However they must allow a few out, called “adjusters”. A parent of a child I cared for was such an “adjuster”, and told me a tale that I think typifies the difference between the “indoors” and the “outdoors” mentality.

Today was a typical “glop” day, starting with a quick dump of six inches of snow, which makes things look like a Norman Rockwell painting.

Lake ice 4 FullSizeRender

However then the rot set in. The snow sped up, falling faster, and abruptly turned to rain, though temperatures were still well below freezing. Because Moms driving home from work do not have scary wheels with steel teeth, insurance adjusters get called out a lot when the driving stinks.

Now this should give you an inkling of the office mindset, in this corner of the insurance world: If you had to send a fellow out into abysmal driving conditions, what would you reduce your profit by paying for? Snow tires? Or a tattle-tale gadget that keeps track of your adjuster’s GPS and road-speed. If you answered “snow tires”, you are sane, and don’t work in this particular front office.

On a day like today an adjuster received an irate phone-call from his boss. “What in blue blazes are you up to?” the boss inquired.

“What are you going on about?” replied the adjuster.

“You’ve been going 110 mph! Are you crazy!”

The adjuster stayed calm. “Did you check the GPS?”

“Um…no…”

“Check it.”

After a pause the boss muttered, “Oh.  Um…you’re in your driveway?”

“Yes, and do you think I can get the company van going 110 mph (177 kph) in my driveway?”

“Hmm.  Probably not. So…..were your tires spinning?”

“Of course they were spinning! And will you puh-leeze requisition snow tires for the company vans?”

“Oh, no! The stock-holders demand a profit! And we expect our adjusters to know how to drive in the snow.”

Case closed.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Vortex Hubbub–

My favorite long-range forecasters, Josrph D’Aleo, Joe Bastardi and Tom Downs over at Weatherbell, forecast a sort of sandwich winter back in October. That is: Two slices of bitter cold with a thaw in the middle. They have gotten the first two parts, and now I’m adopting a wait-and-see attitude about the third, but I must admit it increasingly looks like they have hit the nail on the head. If the long term forecasts prove true, that team deserves confetti and a parade, or at least some kudos (whatever those are), because predicting a winter the October before it occurs is danged hard.

I don’t usually pay much attention to upper atmosphere stuff, as it is over my head, but I do note the high clouds on days I can see up that far, and know a few old-timer rules concerning the various types of cloud, how fast they are moving, and the direction they are moving in relation to the winds down here on earth. So far I have seen nothing all that alarming, but did order an extra load of firewood, due to this couplet:

The longer and stronger the January thaw
The more that February’s snowstorms will awe.

I figure this is largely common sense. Weather is seldom “normal” or “average”, but rather tends to swing back and forth between warm spells and cold spells, so it is quite pragmatic to expect a colder February after a warmer January. Also, because spring starts in February way down south on the Gulf of Mexico coast, storms can access some warm, juicy air in February, which can feed storms like gasoline into a fire, and brings us people to the north some amazing February and March falls of snow.

But what has this to do with arctic sea-ice?

Largely it is due to the fact the Arctic Ocean is the source of our coldest air. The way winds howl up there influence us, as well as the movement of sea-ice. Also, though it has less influence on sea-ice than winds do, if the arctic is robbed of its coldest air sea-ice will form more slowly and less thickly. (For this reason biased Alarmists tend to focus on times the arctic is above normal, utterly ignoring the not-inconsequential fact we bumpkins down south in New Hampshire are freezing our socks off.)

In any case, one phenomenon that influences both sea-ice and New Hampshire is a strong cross-polar-flow from Siberia across into Canada, and then down to New Hampshire. These winds create polynyas of open water along the Siberian coast, as ice is shifted across the Pole via the Transpolar Drift to smash as impressive pressure ridges against Canada.  At first this lessens the area of sea-ice, but then the polynyas freeze over, and the sea-ice recovers back to what it was, in terms of “area”. But in terms of “volume”, no sea-ice has melted, and the total amount has increased. (You have to pay attention to such details when in discussions with biased Alarmists, due to their tendency to pick and chose only the data that supports their bias.)

So far the winds down at the level of the sea-ice have been mostly gentle, but I do notice when the winds aloft are more vigorous. This is not to say I understand what is going on up that high, but just as old-timers around here notice the antics of high clouds, I’m sure savvy old Eskimos are noticing the high clouds streaming south, and coming to conclusions. Therefore I perked up when Ryan Maue  tweeted about a “vortex”, way, way up at the tropopause, getting whipped across from Siberia all the way down to another “vortex” located over Hudson Bay. I have yet to see any sign of this cross-polar-bullwhip translating down to the surface, but it does make me pause and scratch my jaw a bit.

Also the meteorologist Judah Cohen produced a comparison of the “Vortex” as models forecast it to be on February 3 with how the situation looked during a very cold period back in 2014. (2014 to left, with North America at six o’clock. 2018 forecast to right, with North America displaced to eight o’clock.)

 

Judging from all this above-my-head stuff, history could repeat itself, and we could see a return to bitter winter. However so far our down-to-earth maps don’t show it.

20180130 satsfc

Though we are currently getting some north winds from the low developing out to sea, they are nothing like the blasts we got after Christmas. Our current “cold spell” will get down to 17°F (-8° C), but you would be surprised at how kindly such temperatures feel, after your body has acclimatized to windchill of -30°F (-34°C). Not that I don’t hunch my shoulders a bit against the chill, but I have noticed fellows younger and more hotblooded than I sauntering about with their jackets unzipped. And this is a cold spell? If you look west in the map you can see plenty of Pacific air leaking into the flow, diluting and moderating the winter. West winds are so different from north winds, in New England, that I can see why Indians felt different angels in the spiritual hierarchy, (wherein God [or the Great Spirit] is the only One worthy of worship),  were in charge of the west wind. After bitter blasts from the north, west winds, even when not a true Chinook, are downright kindly.

Therefore there is no real short-term reason for alarm. True, the meteorologists who focus on the upper atmosphere have a better record for correct forcasts, but sometimes even they are wrong. In fact I hope they are wrong. I don’t like bitter cold. However when they agree with old-timer’s maxims, I am especially inclined to take heed. And I remember,

The longer and stronger the January thaw
The more that February’s snowstorms will awe.

And for this reason I have made a complete mess of the side lawn of the Childcare.

Woodpile FullSizeRender

The wise old Indians used to say, “if you want to know how bad the winter will be, look at the white man’s woodpile.”

In terms of arctic sea-ice, having the “vortex” move down to Hudson Bay should lead to above-normal temperatures over the Pole as a whole, but we will have wait and see how the cross-polar-flow translates down to the surface. Having very cold air blast from Siberia to Canada will please Alarmists with polynyas along the Siberian coast, but that coastal ice is far thicker than last year, and shifting it across the arctic could lead to far thicker ice in the Central Arctic.

Stay tuned.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Cross-polar Draining–

It has been hard to report on the sea-ice situation at the Pole, as all sorts of pettifogging details from real life have intruded on what is of paramount importance, namely: what is occurring in the long darkness of the polar night.

For example, I knew I should check the air pressure of my tires when the temperatures sank to -10°F, because the air contracts and the pressure in the tires gets so low the tires can get flat. But who can bother with things like that when one has sea-ice to think about? So I neglected it, and started the New Year by driving off with tire going ker-slam, ker-slam, ker-slam on the street. Not only was it flat, but it was frozen into that shape of flatness. I immediately returned to my parking space, but it doesn’t take many ker-slams to utterly ruin the wall of the tire.

Flat tire FullSizeRender

Oh Great. And what are the odds that the old 2003 Subaru Outback I just bought will actually have a jack in it? To my astonishment it did have a jack, but not a lug-nut wrench. Therefore, rather than focusing on sea-ice, I had to focus how to find a lug-nut wrench I could borrow, on a day with wind-chills of -30°F.

Multiply this annoyance by twenty-five others and you have an idea of why I haven’t posted on sea-ice.  Between blizzards and my staff catching some ‘flu the ‘flu-shot didn’t make people immune to, I’ve had to run around doing a great deal of dithering details a person of my intelligence shouldn’t have to deal with.

I blame Donald Trump. By now he should have redirected all the six-figure salaries from pseudo-scientists like Mann and Hansen to honest airheads like myself. Sigh. Hasn’t happened.

In any case, we have a patch of mild weather, so I am going to seize the opportunity to catch up.

When I last posted just after Christmas the flow of bitter cold air from Siberia to Canada had been interrupted by a ridge of high pressure that was funneling the cold air down into the Atlantic.

 

I keep an eye on such funneling, for it seems to be reflected in the weather down where I live in New England a week later. When the arctic leans into Canada we see cold come bulging south over us, but when it leans into the Atlantic we can get a break in our cold, and warm air can come north, perhaps fueling a storm for us. Thus even people who are not interested in sea ice should pay attention to where the cross-polar-flows are directed.

 

By December 28, though some cold still was funneled in the Atlantic, the Siberia to Canada flow was reestablish itself.

 

Two days later, despite a low moving up into Alaska, the ridge on the Pacific side was persisting, and the delivery of cold air into Canada continued.

 

As the low pressure on the Atlantic side persisted there were some feeder-bands that aimed to the Pole, and very weak versions of “Ralph” ineffectually tried to become established at the Pole. (Nothing like last year.)

 

 

 

 

 

By January 3 the ridge of high pressure across the Pacific side of the Pole, and the flow of cold air into Canada, started to weaken, (which gave me dim hopes of future thaw, far to the south, though all Canada was still loaded with cold.)

 

 

As the high pressure shifted east into the Canadian Archipelago, its western side began to actually draw air out of Canada and back up to the Pole.

 

 

By January 7 the high pressure slid up to the Pole, briefly giving us a “zonal” situation, which traps the cold at the Pole. Not that the tundra of Siberia and Canada doesn’t create its own cold, but their cold doesn’t receive reinforcements.

 

By January 8 the high had pumped-up, down towards Canada, while ridging towards Siberia, and again a Siberia-to-Canada flow existed. My take was that the thaw that developed far to the south in my neighborhood would be interrupted.

 

By January 9 the flow had already broken down, as weak feeder-bands from both the Atlantic and Pacific side fueled a weak “Ralph” at the Pole. An amazing storm between Greenland and Iceland got no news coverage, as no one lives there.

 

 

Today it looks like the “Ralph” is being pressed off the Pole by high pressure towards Canada, even as that big low that has been smashing Greenland transits the Greenland ice cap and comes north as a decent storm north of Svalbard. Quite a southerly flow will develop in the Atlantic between that low and the high pressure over Scandinavia. The high over Scandinavia may pull Siberian air west over Europe on its underside, even while tugging at milder air way down over the Azores on its western side. I haven’t a clue how much mild air could be fed up to the Pole, and will zip my lip and simply watch.

 

No sea-ice post in January can be complete without a mention of Africa and the Sahara  Desert. Last year a dusting of snow fell in Ain El Safra in northern Algeria, and it was reported as “The first snow in nearly forty years.” Rather than waiting forty years to happen again, it only waited thirteen months, and rather than a mere dusting they received as much as ten inches.

Sahara 1 sahara-snow2-2018

Cold Snap Brings Snowfall to the Sahara Desert – for the second winter in a row

In case you are wondering what this has to do with sea-ice, it is because during our discussions we’ve been drawn into excruciating calculations of “albedo”, yet there seems to be a neglect to calculate “albedo” when it is off the surface of the Arctic Sea. For example, the sun went down at the Pole at the September equinox and clear down to the Arctic Circle at the solstice, which renders albedo a mute point in those northern reaches. However the Sahara, at latitude 32°45′ N, is another matter. Even if the snow all melts away in three or four days, more sunlight is bounced back to outer space by the one white blot in the Sahara on the map below than at the entire Pole in December. (Gibraltar hidden by clouds to upper left.)

Sahara 2 sahara-snow

It would be interesting to come up with a number for the heat-loss of such freak events, and compare the number to heat-loss amounts at the Pole in late August. As it is, Alarmists tend to simply say some heat-loss matters and some doesn’t. The actual fact may be that the freak events add up, and are indicative of climate moving towards a cooler state (perhaps due to the “Quiet Sun”).

Currently our Polar temperatures, though still above normal, are roughly five degrees colder than last year’s. It will be interesting to watch the oncoming surge of south winds in the Atlantic, and see if we come close to matching last year’s. (2017 left; 2018 right.)

 

The total sea-ice extent is quite low, as calculated by the DMI:

DMI5 0110 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

I expect this to now become the Alarmist focus, though most of the “missing” sea-ice is on the Pacific side outside the Arctic Ocean. They tend to have a focus that is highly selective. The problem is that last year at this time, when “extent” didn’t support their narrative, they tended to pish-tush “extent”, and to say “volume” was important, because the 2017 volume was lower than 2916’s. This year you hear less about “volume” because 2018 is above both 2016 and 2017, (black line at far left of graph).

DMI5 0110 Volume FullSizeRender

To me it seems the “Quiet Sun” chill may be starting to have its effect, despite its counter-intuitive ability to increase warm El Ninos and decrease cool La Ninas. The main thing is that there is no apparent “Death Spiral”. Although sea-ice is at low levels there is no crash in its levels as was predicted. In fact Tony Heller produced a comparison with the thickness of ice on New Year’s 2008 with this New Year’s, and if anything the ice now looks more substantial.

DMI5 0111 Heller Attachment-1

Stay tuned.

*******

 

I thought that, with that huge gale crashing into southern Greenland, it would be interesting to check the Greenland mass-balance gathered by DMI. It has been relatively cold and dry over the west of Greenland after big storms early in the season, and the mass-balance was trending back towards average, which filled me with dread. Why? Because the moment the mass-balance slips below average the selective focus of Alarmists seizes on the news as verification of their narrative. And this in a way twists my arm and forces me to counter,  explaining the nuances of a loopy jet stream, bringing up things like snows in the Sahara, even though there is little chance they’ll heed. (Mostly I debate for the onlookers on-the-fence.) Any delay in such futile debate is a great relief, and this big gale provided such a delay by dumping a huge amount of snow in southeast Greenland. (Current to left; average to right.)

Greenland MB 20180110 todaysmb

The morphistication (transit) of this storm over Greenland is liable to dump more snow, before it reforms between Greenland and Svalbard and the dry northern winds resume down Greenland’s east coast. This will create a blip in the mass-balance graph, and delay the inevitable hoopla a while.

Greeenland MB 20180110 accumulatedsmb

I count my blessings.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –In honor of O-buoys–

The blogger “Nigel” (AKA “Jasbond007”) (I assume) has done me a great favor by sharing pictures he captured from O-buoy 14, in the “comments” of my posts. In case you missed his offerings, I think it is well worth repeating the links he gave me to batches of pictures at”Flikr”.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/161602435@N07/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jasbond007/galleries/72157667628714069/with/39184834041/?rb=1#photo_39184834041

Nigel has the selective eye of a good observer, and it shows in other pictures he shares here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jasbond007/

I have asserted elsewhere that a good observer may not have any degrees in Arctic-Sea-Ice-Science, but still have value because they may catch something others overlooked. They may not be a “professional witness” in a court of law, but they still have value and even power, as a “just plain witness.” To be a witness is enough, and older scientists of the better sort have learned to cock an ear when someone who knows next to nothing about the science they study shares an insight. Einstein was said to question children, when adults utterly bored him.

In my case I am just too busy with boring stuff of little consequence, like the IRS of the government, and various inspectors who make life unsafe claiming they are all for insurance, when they are after insurance payments, and are bleeping gangsters resorting to extortion. Such imbeciles have no idea what they miss by ignoring the subject of sea-ice far away. But (sigh) I have to deal with them,  and this leaves me with too little time to study sea-ice around the clock. There are terrible gaps in my watchfulness. For this reason I am hugely grateful that other observers are watching, and see what I have missed. For example, I completely missed what Nigel saw, when O-buoy 14’s unprejudiced eye glimpsed Melville Island in the distance.

20161003

Furthermore, other witnesses take things one step further, and notice what I fail to notice even when I look at the same pictures they do. For example, Nigel notices how high up the camera is, as O-buoy 14 is prepared for operation back in 2015. It is at the very top of the buoy.

Buoy 1 39184837531_bf372689f4_z

And then consider that same camera, well over the heads of those two mortals, was too low to picture a polar bear’s head, and only caught his shoulder:

Buoy 2 39184834041_4d6620d84f_z

Even if you assume, (as I assume), that the yellow part of the buoy in the first picture has melted down to the level of the ice, the bear still must be far taller than the two men deploying the buoy. It gives me pause. Those fellows had guts to do the job they did, and should be named, in recognition of their courage: (Mike Dempsey and John (Wes) Halfacre).

This consideration just shows you what a witness can come up with, just being an observer and saying what may seem obvious, but what others may overlook. This is one thing that made the O-Buoy project so invaluable. (And made the other “North Pole Camera” project invaluable as well.)

If you return to the first picture you must note the solar panels are black. Besides absorbing sunlight for energy they absorb heat, and on calm days this creates a pocket of warmer air around the buoy. It is a sort of microcosm of a UHI (Urban Heat Island). (I call it a BHI [Buoy Heat Island]). The thermometers attached to a buoy may be recording an elevated temperature, especially when winds are calm. This elevated temperature is then fed into a computer which obeys the principle of GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out)  and then produces a map of polar temperatures. A lot of hard-working scientists worked overtime to produce the map, and they do not take kindly to some bumpkin like me coming along and stating, “Sorry, but your map is wrong.”

How dare I be so audacious? Well, blame the cameras. They show me the buoy is sitting in a pool of its own making, when no other ice around it is melting. Furthermore, the cameras show melt-water pools skimming over with ice, when the map states temperatures are above freezing. And on and on it goes. The map states the water is ice-free but the camera shows a local clot of ice. Or the map suggests sunshine when the camera shows clouds, or rain where the camera shows snow.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to abolish thermometers or satellites or any nonsense like that. I just feel cameras are a wonderful way of double-checking. They are an invaluable addition to other instruments. The fellows who undertook the visual aspect of buoys deserve great praise. (The name Todd Valentic appears as a credit to the development of the O-buoys.)

Sadly, I am afraid the fellows who developed the cameras don’t get the credit, or the funding, that they deserve. Alarmists don’t like them because cameras did not show the political idea of vanishing ice that Alarmists desired. Skeptics don’t like them because billions have been spent on the Alarmist agenda, and they are sick of the misappropriation of funds. However I believe cameras are worth every penny they eked from the squandering.

Why? Because the eye-witness has value. In our court of law you can have an IQ of sixty, and your testimony still has value. The polar cameras have been a wonderful check-and-balance to those who spend too much time at computers, and never stick their noses out of doors.

For this reason I feel the cameras should be funded, even as the other silly wasting of money is trimmed. Fire the do-nothing people with six-figure salaries, and fund the cameras. Cancel the conventions of blathering political correctness in Paris and Bali, and fund the cameras.

For seeing is believing.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Dumping Cold Into Canada–

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I had a good time, with all sorts of family visiting, and between ten and twenty for dinner day after day, and wonderful food.

The only problem is that I have little time to study sea-ice. When I edge towards to the computer my wife gives me a certain look, and I pretend I was only getting a pen and some scotch tape from the shelf above the computer. I have to be downright sneaky, when it comes to saving maps, and I was so sneaky that I fooled even myself, and three days passed when I thought I was saving maps, but wasn’t. Therefore you are going to have to take my word for it, when I say some neat stuff has happened at the Pole.

When I last posted the high pressure I dubbed the “anti-Ralph” was stubbornly ensconced on the Pacific side of the Arctic Sea, keeping a large amount of arctic air swirling around and around at the Pole, and only allowing a little to escape southwards. This may have thickened the sea-ice, but it failed to deliver the extra arctic air that fuels super-arctic-outbreaks. Not that the tundra of Canada and Siberia are not able to create cold air of their own, with the sun so low. In fact tundra tends to be colder,  as it doesn’t have the relatively “mild” waters of the Arctic Sea (29° F, -1°C) constantly  radiating “heat” upwards into air far colder.  Canadian Tundra can generate temperatures of -50°F  and Siberia generates -70°F, while the Arctic Sea seldom sees temperatures below -30°F, especially early in the winter when the sea-ice is still thin. However both Siberia and Canada can generate larger amounts of bitter air when they are supplied by -30°C air from the Arctic Sea, than when supplied by air that started out at +15°C over the Atlantic or Pacific.

When I last posted I hinted that the selfishness of the anti-Ralph might be about to end, as models suggested a big Hudson Bay gale was going to crash into Greenland, undergo “morfistication” (IE disappear from maps on the west coast, be unapparent, and then reappear on the east coast as a gale abruptly popping “out of nowhere”.) This first step would be followed by the big gale heading north over Svalbard into the Arctic Sea and becoming the first “Ralph” we’ve seen in a while. The models got the first part correct, as the gale did reappear and make it as far as Svalbard, as the anti-Ralph weakened.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By December 18th you can see the Hudson Bay gale entangled with the +10,000 foot icecap of Greenland, suffering the same way Pacific gales suffer hitting the Rocky Mountains in North America, or North Atlantic gales suffer hitting the high mountains of Norway.  How systems transit such obstacles is fascinating and poorly understood, and models have problems with the process. However I did notice some milder air starting to spike toward the Pole from the Atlantic side. What the models didn’t pay enough attention to was the Aleutian Gale slamming up into Bering Strait from the Pacific side.

 

 

 

 

Once “morpistication” is complete gales can explode with stunning speed in the North Atlantic, and December 20th is a fine example. Svalbard saw pressures fall from over 1000 mb to down around 950 mb (lower than many hurricanes) in 24 hours.

 

 

 

And it was at this point that the rot set in, in terms of the models, and in terms of my expectations. I thought the channel of milder air from the Atlantic towards the Pole would serve as a path for the gale, but instead the gale was deflected east, despite the fact the anti-Ralph was weaker. The inflow of milder air from the Atlantic simply chilled and dwindled away in the 24-hour darkness. Meanwhile a flow from the Pacific I never saw coming was starting.

 

 

And it was at this point the relatives arrived. They are not interested is Pacific air clashing with arctic air, preferring other topics. And my wife thinks it is impolite if I don’t talk about other clashes. Not that she practices what she preaches. Do you think my wife has the slightest idea what clashing is going on here?

Steelers steelerspatriotsgrades

In any case, I was a good host and did talk about football. And about fouled carburetors in snow-blowers. (My wife knows next to nothing about carburetors either.) And about tracking deer in snowy woods and shooting them. (ditto). And so on and so forth, with my wife doing what she is amazing at, which is making everyone comfortable and fat. For her “comfort” also involves being a conservation-facilitator, (which is to notice a quiet person at the edge of a conservation and, in a mysterious manner and often to the person’s surprise, to “draw them in” and make them downright gabby.)

Meanwhile I also had to face our local weather, as the arctic began draining south

Christmas snow FullSizeRender

This involved the snow removal necessary for running a Childcare business, at the same time I needed to shop and wrap presents.  ‘Tis the season to be hectic.  Sometimes it is hard to find time for sea-ice. I did sneak peeks, and thought I saved the maps. but apparently failed. You are just going to trust me on this.

Low pressure overwhelmed the Eurasian side of the Pole, moving east from the Atlantic and west from the Pacific, and the entire anti-Ralph got squeezed to Canada, along with much of the Pole’s cold air.  To replace that cold air an inflow of Pacific air striped across the Pole. This Pacific-to-Atlantic flow effectively cut the inflow of Arctic air into Canada, but the damage was already done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been expecting Alarmists to raise the usual hue and cry about temperatures +15°F of normal at the Pole, perhaps with the maudlin spin about Santa Claus seeing his house sink in thawing sea-ice, but for some reason they’ve been strangely quiet. Perhaps they know that, when the “polar vortex” gets nudged south, we are going to see temperatures -15°F of normal down in the USA, and they will look like idiots if they preach of how warm it is. I must admit we look like we are in for it, the next week, with even big cities seeing temperatures down near zero. (-17°C). Here is the current anomaly map for North America (Produced by Dr. Ryan Maue and available at the Weatherbell site (week free trial available.))

North America 20171226 gfs_t2m_anom_noram_1

A week of such bitter cold should start to form sea-ice on the east coast of the USA. If this event occurs I’ll post about how such ice is never included in the “extent” graph, but has a big effect in terms of “albedo”. (Stay tuned.) But for the moment we are basically cringing, awaiting the arrival of the arctic.

At the top of the above map you can see the “white heat” in the Arctic Sea, where temperatures are +15° of normal. That sounds mild but in actual fact these temperatures are below freezing. But they do suggest the cold will relent in the future, down where I live, as the supply from the Pole starts to include milder air. Or will it? It is somewhat disconcerting to see how swiftly that heat is lost up there, in these darkest of days. Air that was close to freezing (32°F, 0°C) drops to zero (-17°C) in a few days. Compare the area of above zero air (red and lavender) now, with 72 hours from now, in the arctic north of Bering Strait. (Now to left, 72 hours from now to right.)

 

 

To me the above maps suggest the only place warming will be East Siberia. The models seem to suggest all the cold over Siberia is hopping aboard cross-polar-flow, and will be dumped into Canada. In the eastern USA we may be too busy staying warm to worry about sea-ice much.

The rush of milder air north through Bering Strait did seem to slow the growth of sea-ice in the “extent” graph.

DMI5 1225 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

It also produced the “Christmas spike” in the temperature graph I was expecting.

 

DMI5 1225 meanT_2017

However notice this year’s highs are at the level of last year’s lows. (2016 left; 2017 right)

 

 

In fact, we haven’t reached the high of the 2015 “Christmas spike”, which generated all the media hype about Santa weeping and Rudolph drowning. (2015 left. 2017 right.)

 

 

2015 was when I first began to observe “Ralph”, but now Ralph is no longer apparent. I expected to see him linger, dwindling, and to see less of an anti-Ralph at first, as I forecast we would see the effect of last summer’s failed El Nino the first part of this winter, before the effect of the current La Nina manifested (which I forecast to occur exactly on February 13, as I recall.) The Pole should then become colder and more zonal, with the anti-Ralph again apparent, and the cold corralled up there and few arctic outbreaks coming south. I’ll smile, for by that time I expect to be sick (hopefully not to death) of cold, down here in New Hampshire.

Currently the sea-ice has reached the point where most growth occurs outside the Arctic Sea.  The ice briefly connected Iceland to Greenland, but the last gale shoved all that ice west against the Greenland coast. Hudson Bay is completely frozen.

Thickness 20171226 Attachment-1

 

The main difference from last year is that this year the sea-ice is shoved north by south winds in Bering Strait, while last year sea-ice was blown north on the Atlantic side. (2016 left; 2017 right)

 

 

Stay tuned.