ARCTIC SEA ICE –Beaufort Buildup Bedlam–

Way back in the year 1247 some goodhearted monks created a place for deeply troubled individuals called “Hospital of Saint Mary of Bethlehem”. Over the years the local folk shortened the name of the place to various versions of the word “Bethleham”, and finally wound up with the word “Bedlam.”

I have decided we need a similar place for people deeply troubled by sea-ice. After all, sea-ice is a sort of Rorschach test. Look at this and pretend it is sea-ice, and tell me what you see.

Rorschach test InkblotTest

If you see “the end of human existence as we know it”, there are various Bedlams I can suggest you be committed to. If course, you do not want to go into an asylum run by a madman, and therefore I suggest you avoid sites run by people who enjoy  dressing up in Nazi uniforms.

Skeptical Science Nazi Herr Cook

It is better to commit yourself to a Bedlam run by a compassionate monk, and the best Bedlam I have found is “The Sea Ice Forum”, run by the good monk Brother Neven.

Mind you, just as the original Bedlam back in 1247 was stilted towards Catholic ideas, you need to expect a modern Bedlam to be stilted towards the modern religion of Global Warmingism. Just as, concerning a subject we don’t scientifically know about, such as life-after-death, a Catholic will speak with great authority, so too will an Alarmist speak with authority about sea-ice before the satellite era, though we truly know next to nothing about it.

The little evidence we have needs to be ignored by certain inhabitants of Bedlam, in order to continue to see “the end of human existence as we know it”. What is kept behind blinders are geological studies of shorelines, certain core studies of the sea-bottom, and, most interesting to me, the places where whalers and explorers found open water. For example, the doomed Franklin expedition found open water one year (1845) and not the following two years.

Franklin Map Franklin's-Lost-Expedition

To me it seems a certain suspension of cynicism must be involved, to believe the situation at the Pole is dramatically different this year (as some Alarmists believe it is).  It is sort of like, when you read “Lord of the Rings”, you suspend your doubt that trees can walk around and talk to you. Such belief may be fine in a fantasy, but it is not so good when it involves spending billions of tax dollars. Yet somehow I can’t seem to penetrate an Alarmist resistance to seeing there may have been times of open water in the Arctic Sea in the past. Even photographic evidence fails to get behind the blinders. I can show them that even in the spring, when sea-ice is thick and only starting to fall from its maximum, submarines apparently found open water at the Pole on March 17, 1959

Sub at Pole 1959 download

And on May 18, 1987.

Sub at Pole 1987 3-subs-north-pole-1987

And yet this year we have jets landing up there on April 16, 2017.

Barneo E5 17952888_1341818589228569_6926960017063686340_n

Of course, when I speak about such things I really do come across as a wet blanket and something of a party-poop. If you are going to participate in Bedlam you are suppose to get hugely exited about every little crack in the ice, as if it a “sign.”  You say, “It’s a sign” and make your eyes very round, and nod. That is the way to gain acceptance.  Also you can gain a lot of status if you monkey around with data and make a graph (unless you are a party-poop and point out the data is upside down, as Michael Mann’s graph was.).

Therefore, when you visit Bedlam, my recommendation is that you keep your lips buttoned. Be a so-called “lurker”.  It is well worth the visit to a good site, partly because ( I confess) there is something fascinating about weirdos,  and no one can see you are gawking, when you silently lurk.

One thing that is fascinating is how they constantly stroke each other for reassurance. It is downright touching. (Pun). However keep your tongue firmly planted in your cheek when they pull out their graphs. The graphs will always draw a line showing how much sea-ice there was in the past, as if they knew. In fact it is what they believe, and they arrive at their belief  via dubious means. I tend to roll my eyes when presented with a graph like this:

Extent Polyak et al 2010 fig2a

The problem I have with such graphs is that, before the satellite era, there is only airplane data, and, before the airplane era, there is only data from the edges. The Nimbus 5 satellite only began collecting pictures in 1972, and the Nimbus 2 pictures only reach to 1966. Long distance aircraft were not developed until World War 2, and had little reason to fly over the Pole at first. A few zeppelin flights explored the arctic, (for example the Norge in 1926 and the Italia crash in 1928), but they had no idea our bedlam would require specific details about the exact area of open water versus solid ice. Before that we have only scattered reports from brave and sometimes doomed men. For example, from the diaries of the failed Arctic Balloon expedition of 1897 we know the sea-ice north of Svalbard was not solid,  “Andrée called it ‘dreadful terrain’, with channels separating the ice floes, high ridges, and partially iced-over ice-ponds”.

Andre 1897 image

Nor did Nansen, traveling over the ice in 1895, neglect to bring along the kayaks that in the end saved his life. Considering we have so little data, and the data we do have does show that the ice had leads of open water, all calculations which assume the Arctic Sea was shore-to-shore ice are highly suspect. If we instead estimate and subtracted the unseen areas of open summer-water from the total extent, (as we now do), the extent of some years would obviously be lower.

(The belief the Pole was sheeted with solid ice before 1979 is a belief that is ironically diametrically opposite to a prior incorrect belief from the early 1800’s, which suggested that the center of the Arctic Sea was open water.)

But zip your lip about all such uncertainty, in Bedlam. If you yap you will only spoil their awe over standing, in real time, this very moment, as wonder-struck witnesses to “the end of human existence as we know it”.

And actually the inhabitants of Bedlam are quite good, when it comes to noticing the smallest patch of open water, now. This keenness of eyesight makes them useful, even if what they conclude may be the wildest of speculations.

For example, high pressure can stall over the Beaufort Sea, in which case it is called the Beaufort High, and if it is properly located it will create polynyas of open water called the West Beaufort  and Bathurst polynyas. If you spot this happening now you are welcome in Bedlam, but if you point out it happened in 1975….not so much.

Beaufort Polynyas poly-3-bathurst-and-w-beaufort-polynyas_1975-vs-2015_polarbearscience

However, if, rather than the Beaufort High, a low pressure called “Ralph” stalls, then rather than a clockwise gyre you get a counter-clockwise eryg, as I described here:

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/arctic-sea-ice-demise-of-the-beaufort-eryg/

And the result will be that, rather than the ice being pushed away to form a polynya by the shore, the ice will reverse and be piled up against the shore. This will create a very different deployment of sea ice, as can be seen by comparing the ice of late March in 2016 (left) with 2017 (right):

It does not make people in Bedlam happy when ice is crunched up against the coast like that, but they have seemingly inexhaustible hope. As I mentioned in an earlier post, there was a chance the eryg was turning back into a gyre, and indeed a Beaufort High has formed and the ice has moved away from the shore. It is nothing like last year, but gives cause for bedlam in Bedlam. (One funny thing is that some begin their observations with, “Ugh Oh!”  Actually they are celebrating the fact they have a sign of imminent doom, but it would be danged improper to go “Whoopie” about “the end of human existence as we know it”.) In any case, they save some wonderful satellite shots of the polynyas starting to form, which is a very real reason to visit the Sea Ice Forum site. The image below was offered by Brother Neven himself:

Bering Strait is to the upper left. Notice that the West Beaufort Polynya forming up there is larger than the Bathurst Polynya, to the lower left, and the Bathurst Polynya is nowhere close to the size of last year’s.

Hopefully below you will see some lovely satellite views of the West Beaufort Polynya forming, submitted to the forum by the blogger “JayW”. Superb submission! This is why it is so worth visiting the Sea Ice Forum. (Bering Strait is at the bottom.)

The question that arises in my mind is, “Is this open water evident from shore?” So I turn to the Barrow webcam, looking north from a place higher than men could stand, back in the old days.

Barrow 20170418 07_27_39_65_ABCam_20170418_152400

And the answer is a simple “No”. The only movement that can be seen out to sea is the movement of shadows as the sun swings around in the arctic sky. (Temperature is -2° [-16°C])

My next question is, “When they say the ice was wall-to-wall in a long-ago-year, such as 1912, are they merely guessing? Are they assuming because it was stuck fast to the shore in Alaska that it extended as a solid sheet clear across to Russia? How do they know what was occurring out of view?”

The humble answer is, “They, and we, don’t know”. Graphs that use proxies are largely guess-work, and are at risk when the grafters are more liable to get grants if their guess-work is in a certain direction. However the graphs are gospel in Bedlam.

Me? Oh, you know me. I’m as gentle as a lamb and never raise a ruckus, and only confide my private views in the confines of this obscure blog, and even then I’m astonishingly spiritual and modest, if you want my opinion. I just sit back and watch, and, if I chuckle, well, sometimes you just can’t help it.

Below are the sequence of recent DMI maps. They basically show the Beaufort High forming and stalling. It is interesting to see that the high fails to really develop the southeast gales last year’s did, and is displaced to the west more, so that the region where the Bathurst Polynya might be expected to form may even get north winds, bringing the ice back in to shore. This would be bad news for those hoping the entrance to the Northwest Passage clears out.

The temperature maps are interesting for they, at first, show cold builds at the Pole even though the sun never sets. The sun is simply still too low to warm the arctic, and the arctic continues to lose more heat than it receives. Later the temperature maps show the Pole warming, but this seems to be because the stalled Beaufort High is bringing a steady flow of Pacific air north through Bering Strait.

If possible I’ll update later. If not,  I’ll make up a good excuse.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Demise of the Beaufort Eryg–

The strong El Nino that faded last year left the planet with some excess heat to get rid of, and we’ve watched as a meridional pattern sent surges of warmth to the Pole, where it fueled a persistent area of low pressure I dubbed “Ralph.” Because Ralph’s winds were counter-clockwise, it resisted and at times reversed the ordinarily clockwise flow of ice on the Pacific side of the pole, called the “Beaufort Gyre”.

This presented me with a problem, because you cannot call a gyre a gyre when it is not clockwise. (It would be like calling a sunny day a storm, which is why we have the words “highs” and “lows”, to differentiate.) Therefore I spelled the word “gyre” backwards, and came up with the word “eryg”. An eryg is a counter-clockwise spin of ice at the Pole. So now you know.

Having an eryg rather than a gyre has consequences, especially on the north coasts of Alaska and Canada. Last year’s gyre tore the ice away from the coast, creating polynyas of open water  at the mouth of the Northwest Channel in the dead of winter. (March 13) (Light lilac is less than a foot thick).

Coast March 13 IMG_4608

Although the open water refroze, the baby-ice was thin and less protected by snow, and was swift to melt as the sun rose higher. Also the ice in the western south-entrance to the Northwest Passage was flushed out, (notice the streamer of ice moving out.) (May 5)

Coast May 5 IMG_4609

To the north a large crack opened up the northern entrance on May 12.

Coast May 12 IMG_4610

All of this was great news for people attempting the passage. Besides there being less ice to melt out of the way, open water warms more easily than ice-covered water, and the warmed water contributed to the melt.

However during the summer the gyre began to shift into a eryg. There was little ice to the south, but the northern approach to the Channel began to see ice jamming into it. Most crushed up against the south side of the channel, leaving an area of clear water to the north by Melville Island, (which may have replicated the conditions William Parry found in 1819 when he sailed from the east past 110° west up there). Yet so much ice was pouring into the north, and then taking a right and heading south, that the luxury liner Crystal Serenity hesitated, before dashing through.  All in all there was only around a ten day window-of-opportunity to make the passage before things swiftly refroze. Here’s the map for September 3:

Coast Sept 3 IMG_4611

This year the ice has been pushed backwards by the eryg, right into the entrance of the channel.  Rather than baby-ice six inches thick, in late March the ice was six and even nine feet thick. (March 31).

Coast March 31 Current IMG_4612

To make comparison easier, lets put 2016 and 2017 side by side.

The immediate thought might be that it has been much warmer to the north, to make the ice thinner up there, and much colder to the south, to make it so much thicker, but in actual fact what we see is the difference between a gyre and a eryg. In 2016 the ice was shifted northwest and piled up thicker to the north, and in 2017 the ice has been shifted southeast and piled up to the southeast, smack dab in the entrance  of the Northwest Passage.

However things look like they may be about to change. The lagged effect of the El Nino is fading and the lagged effect of last year’s weak La Nina may be about to shift the eryg back to a gyre.  The west winds at Barrow have shifted, and are currently blowing from the east at 20 mph. The ice isn’t budging yet, fozen fast to shore with temperares at 5° (-15°C).

Barrow 20170405 08_37_37_12_ABCam_20170405_163400

O-buoy 14 did warm nearly to -10°C on April 2, but has since sunk back to -25°C. It too remains frozen fast and isn’t budging, southeast of Melville Island in Parry Channel.

Obuoy 14 0405 webcam

If I can sneak away from doing my taxes I’ll update the maps below later. If I can’t, the two major features to note is the slow growth of high pressure towards Canada, and that even as “Ralph” fades, (or perhaps sinks towards Siberia), his “signature” persists as a swirl of warmer air curling towards the Pole in the temperature maps, currently coming via the Siberian coast. The maps start on March 26.

FIRST AN-74 LANDS AT BARNEO 2017 NORTH-POLE CAMP (Sea-ice looks less tortured than last year.)

Barneo C1 17629654_1328019120608516_5315072609218632257_n

Barneo C2 17634638_1328019370608491_806326817366810694_n

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Point Barrow’s Ice–

With many eyes focused on the the Northabout, as it tries to battle through the ice at the western entrance of the Laptev Sea, some are missing a wonderful chance to study the ice at the far side of the Pole. Skies have been clear, and north winds brought ice ashore at Barrow, which I missed because I was too engrossed in the Northabout’s travails. I only managed to save a picture of the final bits of ice before they washed away.

Barrow Webcam 0805 05_22_23_24_ABCam_20160805_132000

For a few more days you will be able to see the sea-ice on the shore and further out to sea in the ten-day-animation of the Barrow Webcam here:

http://seaice.alaska.edu/gi/observatories/barrow_webcam

What fascinated me was how substantial the bergs appeared. From outer space no individual bergs could be seen, and the water looked like it had milky swirls, but some of the bergs looked as tall as a man, when they grounded.

Then, when the bergs were blown west and out to sea by southeast winds, I wondered where they had gone. Temperatures can get quite hot over the Tundra, and though they cool towards the coast, during some summers Barrow has seen temperatures in the 70’s in late July and early August. Sea-ice is liable to melt swiftly when it gets close to shore. Had this ice melted?

This is where the Arctic.io Explorer comes in handy, for it allows you to zoom in from outer space. It can be found here:

http://www.arctic.io/explorer/4Xa5A//4-N90-E0

Zooming in on Point Barrow, the ice can still be seen, lurking not far off shore:

The problem then becomes telling the ice from the clouds. In the above shot there are a few wisps of cirrus over the sandbars along the coast, and a triangle of high cloud to the bottom right, but all the other milky wisps are ice. They look slushy and even ephemeral from afar, but face to face they become far more meaningful and substantial. From outer space the sea barely seems to have any ice, but down on the surface in a small craft the seas seem far more “ice covered.”

This leads to all sorts of bickering about what constitutes an ice-covered sea. 15% ice-extent seems to be the accepted line between ice-covered and ice-free, though I would not like to try to cross water with 10% ice coverage. For one thing, as the above picture shows, the ice is not evenly dispersed but, just as the sand forms sandbars along the coast, the ice seems to form ice-bars out to sea, and they could definitely bar a small boat’s way.

Another subject often debated is how much sunshine the open water is absorbing. The water looks nice and black in the above picture, and as if it would suck up sunshine, but when the sun gets low on the horizon water, especially when it is glassy, reflects sunshine even more efficiently than white snow. Then, when the sun dips below the horizon, as it is starting to do each day in Barrow, open water loses heat more efficiently than water sheltered by an igloo-roof of sea-ice. In other words, the “abedo” equation is more complex than Al Gore described, with open water gaining heat when the sun is highest and never sets, and then losing heat as the sun sinks lower and sets.

Right now we are finishing a time when the North Pole actually gains more heat than it loses. We are beginning to lose more heat than we gain. From now until the sun sets in September the thaws grow shorter, fewer, and more far-between. Most of the melt comes from below.

This “basal melt” is tricky, and I am constantly being fooled by it. It has to do with the temperature of the water under the ice, but we have too few sensors under the ice to have a good idea of when, how and why it varies. And it obviously does vary, because sometimes the “ice-bars” visible in the  picture above can vanish with startling rapidity, while on other occasions they just persist until they refreeze.

So far this summer we have seen the latter more than the former. Last April the Alaskan coast got off to such a speedy start, in terms of becoming ice-free, that those who root for an ice-free Pole were gloating and chortling. Even when temperatures were still well below freezing off-shore winds had created huge Polynyas of open water both to the west and to the east of Barrow, and if the sea-ice had melted in the manner it did in 2012…but it didn’t. Instead it just floated about refusing to melt, and even came back to the ice-free coast and littered the beaches. The nerve!

The last variable involves how cloudy the Pole has been. Not that Barrow ever gets much sun, tending to be cloudy more than half the time, but further out towards the Pole it is usually sunnier, but this past year a meridional pattern has brought storm after storm to the Pole, basically smashing the ice to smithereens.

The weather patterns up over the Pole deserve more study, for they seem to break laws obeyed by patterns further south. Often I’m baffled by their behavior. In fact the triangle of cloud at the bottom of the above shot is worthy an hour of wonder all its own, as it is part of a puzzling cloud formation best seen by taking a few steps back, and viewing Barrow from deeper out in space:

At this distance some of the thinner ice-bars are all but invisible, but we also see bigger bergs, looking like chips from outer space, but the size of several Manhattans, further out to sea. Then, when we step out even further, Barrow becomes tiny as we see a bigger picture:

At this point the discussions can become a bit silly, for if you are rooting for an ice-free Pole you spot that area of open water well out into the pack-ice, and that becomes your focus:

However if you are like me you simply shift the focus, and win the argument. You point out the subject under discussion was not a ice-free area in the Arctic Sea, but rather that the entire sea would be ice-free. You point at an area further south, back towards Barrow, and in a somewhat impolite tone state, “That does not look very ice-free to me.”

In the end I can’t help but think this will be another summer that frustrates everyone. There is still a lot of basal melt to go, so there may be some surprises, but I think we will wind up with too much ice to make the Alarmists happy, but too little to make the Skeptics happy.

And in our preoccupation with area and extent, we may totally miss something wonderful. We could be using the wrong metric, and attempting to smell a rose with a microphone. For, when I look at the ice, it seems wonderfully smashed up. The real news could be hidden in the change in the storm tracks, and in the meridional pattern, and we might be completely missing it.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Reinforcing Ralph–

I don’t have the time to name the individual lows and highs that ramble about the Pole this summer, let alone name the pockets of cold and warm that show up on the temperature maps, like I did three summers ago. But I do pamper my mischievous side enough to name the general area of low pressure that has been sprawling over the Pole, “Ralph.”

Ralph keeps looking like he will fill and fade away, and I’ve been expecting high pressure to regain a dominate position, as the high pressure “Igor” did a few summers ago. To my surprise Ralph keeps calling for reinforcements, and boyishly keeps his position as king-of-the-mountain atop the planet. When we last looked on June 28 he had absorbed a blurb of low pressure from east Siberia (R3, which stands for third reinforcement), and was north of the Canadian Archipelago.

Then June 30 saw R4  swing across Bering Strait from East Siberia to the Beaufort Sea, to lend Ralph a hand.

Then June 30 saw R5 move north from central Siberia to help out. There was a bit of a hubbub about this low being an ice-eater, but it wasn’t.

Some might suggest the July 1 map showed Ralph gone, and R4 in the the Canadian Archipelago with R5 north of East Siberia, but I’ve grown fond of Ralph, and I rule. I saw Ralph stand bravely in the middle, on the Pole, and fiercely prevent high pressure from ridging over the Pole. Some models impudently snubbed Ralph and kept suggesting the high pressure would reestablish itself in the long range, but when the long range became the present tense it never happened. This maps show the high pressure coming as close as it ever came to regaining the Pole.

 

Then July 2 showed Ralph draw R5 north, and keep control of the Pole. The high pressures were wimps, and were squeezed south in Canada and Siberia.

(Missing July 2 12Z Map)

On July 3 R6 nudges north over Norway, as Ralph remains victoriously king of the mountain.  Ralph sees no reason reinforcements shouldn’t come from the Atlantic.

On July 4 R6 slides north over Svalbard and Ralph welcomes him up at the Pole.

On July 5 they celebrate as a decent summer storm.

(12 Z July 5 map missing)

Lastly, on July 6 we see Ralph is still rocking. A low is loop-de-looping over Finland, but prevented from coming north by a high pressure ridge being pumped up between it and Ralph. Models have been suggesting this ridge would at long last regain the Pole as Ralph finally faded south into Asia, but more recent runs are starting to suggest that Ralph will not be be so meek, and instead will swing around across Bering Strait and come right back up to the Pole via the Beaufort Sea.

At the risk of being a bore, I’d like to return to something I keep harping upon, which is that in theory Ralph shouldn’t exist.  The three dimensional idea of a Polar Cell existing north of Fellel Cells envisions descending air at the Pole, but Ralph, as a low pressure system, would involve ascending air.

Polar Cell cells_mod

This involves attempting to get your mind around a three dimensional image of what exactly is going on up there.  Does the polar jet develop a branch that spirals in to the center? Is there a Fourth Cell, which should be called some yet-to-be-determined name such as “Extrapolar Cell” or (I modestly suggest) “Caleb Cell”? Or is it chaos? (Even if it was chaos, there would still be a changing chart of inflows and outflows and places air rose and air fell.)

In the end I tend to simply wonder, without answers. Even the above chart sees the Pole as a sort of doughnut, with a hole of descending air at the center.  What seems to occur is the doughnut becomes a cinnamon roll, with a spiral towards the center, and then a low moves up the spiral and becomes a low lodged at the center of the High, (a doughnut within the doughnut), at which point we  would have a short lived “Fourth Cell”, named Ralph.

If Ralph involves rising air then there would be outflow at the top, and inflow towards the bottom, and with that lower inflow at the surface one would surmise that the sea-ice would be crunched towards the Pole. This leads me to an interesting DMI chart of volume, which is attached to their thickness map.

DMI 00706 FullSize_CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20160705

What is interesting is that the volume has moved away from being at the same level as 2012, and now is at the mean for the period 2004-2013. Meanwhile, in terms of extent, we continue at 2012 levels.

DMI3 0706 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

What one would tend to conclude is that, though the extent may be the same as 2012, the ice must be thicker, to have the volume be greater.

It is also interesting to to compare the extent with the area. Remember that the area is always less than the extent, for extent calls an area “ice-covered” even if there is open water. In fact extent can call an area ice-covered when it is 85% open water. Area graphs, on the other hand, attempt to exclude the open water, (to only include the pixels that are white).  For this comparison I use the NANSEN graphs.

EXTENTNansen extent 0706 ssmi_ice_ext

AREANansen area 0706 ssmi_ice_area

Here again we see that, while extent is as low as 2012, area is greater now than in 2012. This would suggest 2012 involved more leads of open water, and the sea-ice is packed more tightly this year. Conclusion? The ice has more volume and is packed more tightly. One would surmise this would cause it to melt more slowly, but, as always, all depends on the water swooshing beneath the ice.

My guess is that the water beneath the ice began colder than last year, because the storms of last winter broke up the ice a lot and exposed a lot of the water to bitter cold winds before it could refreeze. Now I am wondering whether Ralph may be bringing any milder waters north, by sucking inflow at the surface. (It is a pity the SST maps up at the Pole are so unreliable.)

The NRL maps show a quicker melt of Beaufort Sea this year, but the major melt of last year occurred over along the Siberian coast, and the ice is thicker and hanging tough there, this year. 2016 is to the left and 2015 to the right.

 

I would think that the inflow into Ralph would make the Pole warmer than normal, but, perhaps due to Ralph’s clouds, they have been slightly colder than usual.

DMI3 0706 meanT_2016

Our lone camera, O-buoy 14, is down close to the melt of the Beaufort Sea, so I would not be surprised to see the ice break up this month. It did see a bit of sun during a cold snap a day ago, after a long spell of gray clouds.

Obuoy 14 0705 webcamObuoy 14 0705 temperature-1week

Temperatures have since recovered, as have the dreary grays of a cloudy summer. It looks like wet snow and perhaps rain may be falling.

Obuoy 14 0706 webcam

Obuoy 14 0706 temperature-1week

O-buoy 14 has been drifting back to the east, which suggests Ralph has also reversed the movement of the Beaufort Gyre from clockwise to counterclockwise. (What a troublemaker.) Once again we see that the motion of Sea-ice is greatly influenced by the air above, even as the melt of Sea-ice is greatly influenced by the water below. The influence of CO2 is a runt in comparison, and may even be so small it is invisible.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Remaining Calm–

You have to be careful discussing the factors involving this year’s ice-melt up at the Pole, for at times 90% of what is discussed has nothing to do with Sea-ice.

In my view all the furor and hoop-la spoils the serenity of watching the ice melt, so I do my best to avoid it. Unfortunately nothing makes people more irate then speaking these two words, “Calm down.” (If you don’t believe me, try using them on your wife or husband…but strap on a helmet first.)

In actual  fact things do grow more calm to the north this time of year, which is why, (as we remember heroes on this Memorial Day), we remember D-day was planned for June 5, 1944. The North Atlantic was suppose to be at its least stormy in June. But, as is often the case with the weather, things did not proceed as forecast,  and a storm hit. One of the reasons D-day succeeded was because the Germans didn’t think the Allies would invade in a storm, but the Allies only delayed until June 6.

It is perhaps foolish to predict anything, especially anything involving the vast, silly storm called “Global Warming”, but I have done it. I predicted furor and hoop-la, and that part of my forecast has been 100% correct. The rest of my forecast is as follows:

The ice-melt will get off to a fast start, but slow as the summer proceeds, and in the end the minimum ice-extent  will be about what it was last year. I base my  guess on the following:

1.) During the winter the ice was very active, and sea-ice was compressed towards the center of the Arctic Sea. Also there was less cross-polar-flow, with less ice exported from the Siberian side to the Canadian side, so the ice is thicker towards Siberia. This suggests that, when the ice-edge melts back to these areas of thicker ice, the retreat of the ice-edge will slow.

2.) The fact the sea-ice was active involved the opening of many  leads in the Beaufort Sea. The exposure of the water to  cold winter winds likely chilled the water under the ice, and disturbed the stratification of seawater into various levels, with warmer but more saline waters less able to sneak under the ice northwards. Therefore I assume the water under the ice is colder.

3.) The waters south of Bering Strait were two degrees colder than 2015 throughout much of the winter, which suggests any water sneaking north through the strait would be colder, (and therefore less able to melt ice from beneath), than last year’s (very effective) waters.

4.) The export of ice south through Fram Strait was fitful, and at times even reversed, during the winter, which resulted in more sea-ice being left behind up at the Pole. As this export slows in the gentler winds of summer, more and thicker ice will be left behind, slowing the melt on the Atlantic side.

5.) The melt will begin rapidly, not due to the actual melting of ice, but because polynyas formed where the ice was pushed away from shore. This off-shore wind exposes water to cooling, but also results in up-welling of slightly warmer water by the shore.

6.) Even where up-welling doesn’t occur, huge arctic rivers pour snow-melt-floods north into the Arctic Sea, and, even though this water is ice-water, it is warmer (32F) than the ocean’s ice-water (29F), and it is also less saline until it mixes with the sea. This creates a “lens” of milder water along the coasts, speeding the ice-melt. As this “lens” pushes out to sea it becomes more mixed, and loses its effectiveness, in terms of melting.

7.) As the summer proceeds the warming effect of the El Nino will start to fade, and the effect of the “Quiet Sun” will become more apparent.

There you have it. I have already been told, “Caleb, you ignorant slut”, for making my forecast, so no one needs to say that again. In any case, I won’t know if I am right, wrong, or (most likely) partially correct, until August. Therefore I am simply going to stay calm, and sit back, and enjoy the show.

I had a tap on my shoulder and was reminded what really matters on  Friday evening. My wife’s brother was in a bad accident during the last snow of April, when a car came sliding across the road and crushed in his car’s driver’s side door. After an insurance hassle and physical therapy he got things back together, and was driving his brand new truck on Friday when a car came across the center line, smashed the vehicle in front of him, and managed to flip and once again crushed in the driver’s side door of the vehicle he drove.

Craig crash 20160527_165110

There was about a three hour delay between the time the wonders of the internet produced the above picture and the time I heard from the hospital that my brother-in-law was bruised, royally pissed off,  but otherwise OK.  Three hours is long enough to contemplate how much sea-ice really matters, in the scheme of things.

Not one hell of a lot. I wouldn’t even know it was there, if it weren’t for satellites, the internet, and fools who think it matters more than the practical details of ordinary life for ordinary people.

Generations upon generations have  lived their lives without a clue about what was occurring in the arctic, with the ice coming and going. It didn’t matter that sea-ice was at times nearly absent at the Pole, and at other times sea-ice grounded icebergs on the coast of Ireland, unless you lived on the coast of Ireland, or were a whaler seeking rich hunting grounds.Whaler 3 AmericanWhalersCrushedInTheIce

In some cases those whalers were hunting up in waters that people now completely freak out about, when they are open water rather than ice-covered. The history is available for those who bother to look. The whalers were glad the arctic was more ice-free on summers when the ice allowed them to sneak north. They didn’t freak out about open water in the mid 1800’s, so I want to tell people who freak out now, “Calm down”, but, like I said earlier, that doesn’t work. It especially doesn’t work when billions upon billions of dollars are involved, as people attempt to control the weather with hocus-pocus (when a Hopi priest could likely do a dance that would be more effective, far more cheaply).

The people most prone to hysteria are those who’s entire livelihood is based on the hysteria; ranging from honest professors to dishonest professors, from honestly ignorant idealists to snake-oil salesmen, from honest politicians representing deluded constituents to corrupt politicians lusting for power and gold.  The world has gone bonkers, and has forgotten common sense even to the degree where people can’t agree girl’s bathrooms are for girls, and what really matters gets ignored, until you get a tap on your shoulder. Then you remember. And then it seems most sad we are spending billions upon billions on dust in the wind.

In any case, there is little I  can do but take my own advice and “Calm down”.  I can point out that the current uproar about the polynya northeast of Alaska is about a situation we have seen before.

Poly 3 bathurst-and-w-beaufort-polynyas_1975-vs-2015_polarbearscience

I will likely be then told, “Caleb, you ignorant slut, it is much worse this year”.

http://www.arctic.io/explorer/8-8/2016-05-27;2015-05-27/6-N75.7439-W143.49899

The above link takes you to a really a cool site, for it lets you slide about the arctic and zoom in and zoom out, noticing things Alarmists don’t mention, such as a bit more ice in the west of Bering Strait this year, and that it was more green inland in Alaska, last year, but it is not worth arguing that there is more ice north of the Mackenzie River delta this year, for there isn’t. And considering you are given the link to focus on that specific thing, it is impolite to focus elsewhere. And it is especially rude to tell a kind person who gives you a link that they are an ignorant slut. Therefore I usually avoid that.

As a general rule I find Alarmist put me in the shoes of defending the indefensible, but find it is best to traipse lightly by that trap, enjoying the wonder of a new spring with unique weather. Nothing irks Alarmists more than embracing the very thing they think will devastate you, and instead rhapsodizing about how wonderful it is.

And it indeed is a genuine wonder how smashed up the Beaufort Sea is, after all the winter storms. I think the El Nino created a very meridienal flow, and its lagging after-effects are keeping the temperatures merely normal, rather than giving us the below-normal cold waves we saw up in the Beaufort Sea last May and early June, (that, with a sheer guess, I think were due to the “Quiet Sun”.)

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/05/31/arctic-sea-ice-the-beaufort-switcheroo/

To compare two years with different weather patterns is a bit like comparing apples with oranges, but pointing out last year had ice increasing when it usually melts makes this year look less alarming, when you compare a 2015 map with a 2016 map.

Then I expect to hear, “Caleb, you ignorant slut, can’t you see how warm the water is north of the Mackenzie Delta?”

SST 0528 arcticsstnowcast

I like to nod and enthusiastically agree. It is really wonderful! Alaska had a mild winter (even as Mongolia had record cold) so the Mackenzie River is pouring out a nice freshwater lens. Also the off-shore winds that created the polynya also created up-welling. How cool! There may even be some sunshine slightly warming the water, though the sun has been dim the past week.

Obuoy 14 0529 webcam

At this point I scratch my jaw and say, “Odd”. Then I wait, until asked, “What? What’s odd?”  Then I shrug and say, “Oh, I just noticed the NRL map above shows -1°C where Obuoy 14 is located, but the buoy itself is reporting -5°C. I suppose the buoy is reporting the air, and NRL is reporting the water under the ice.  But…odd…”

Obuoy 14 0529 temperature-1week

“What? What’s odd?”

“Oh, it’s just that the picture shows the Mass Balance Buoy at that location is trashed. I just wonder how anyone knows what the temperature of the water under the ice is? It’s such a pity the buoys were so poorly placed and badly maintained, because they are so handy to have, when it comes to double-checking satellite data. But maybe they’ll rehire that guy they had last year, who was so good at recontacting buoys that went periods of time without signalling. It would be nice if we could get O-bouys 8b, 13 and 15 back, as well as Mass Balance Buoys 2015G, 2015I, and 2015J. Oh well, at least we have Mass Balance Buoy 2015F, reporting -4.31° C.  But…odd…

“What? What’s odd?”

“Well, its just that it seems cold over the ice…

Arctic 0529 cmc_t2m_arctic_2

…and high pressure seems to be blowing that cold air right towards the Mackenzie Delta…

Arctic 0529 cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_2

…And…well…you’re so concerned that the less-cold water north of the Delta might melt the ice, but wouldn’t those cold winds cool that water? ”

“Caleb, you ignorant slut.”

“Calm down.”

FOOTNOTES: COMPARISON OF 2016 THICKNESS WITH RECENT YEARS

2016 to 2015

 2016 to 2014  

2016 to 2013  

2016 to 2012

 (Aside: In 2012 there was much less fracturing of the Beaufort ice and the water beneath was very stratified, with lots of warmer water available under the ice, which became very apparent during the polar gale that summer, when a great deal of ice melted in a matter of days.)

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Springtime For Alarmists in Hysteria–

 

It is hard to bear the rejoicing in Alarmist circles, as they see evidence we humans have shot a hole in our boat’s bottom, and our planet is a sinking Titanic. Why exactly they are so joyful that the end of life on earth is nigh, I don’t understand, but the symptoms are undeniable, if you lurk about Alarmist sites. The sea-ice is at record low extent, for early May:

DMI3 0512B icecover_current_new (1)

For Skeptics like myself this is a terrible and tragic situation, for I wish it was true. If the sea ice was really fading away we could get back to growing barley in Greenland, and providing food and unfrozen water on Greenland in January, without relying on imports,  for the 2000 cows and 100,000 sheep and goats the Vikings managed to keep alive. However it is an illusion.

If you draw one of those arrow-straight “trend lines” that Alarmists are so fond of, you can see this year’s rate of decline won’t even match last year’s lows, but Alarmists are already congratulating each other, for they are sure the ice will remain the same distance below-normal it now is, and this year’s minimum extent will beat 2012’s record low minimum. This is tragic to watch, for they are being teased by a tormenting destiny, which rather than ending their delusion with a splash of cold water in their feverish faces, is actually egging them on with incidental evidence they are not crazy, when they are.

For example, ordinarily I can gently nudge them to saner thinking by pointing out something like the yearly drop of arctic temperatures to below-normal in May. But this year, (likely due to the lagged effect of an El Nino already fading away),  for the first time in years, temperatures are not dropping below normal in May.

DMI3 0512B meanT_2016

I don’t see why fate has to be so cruel to Alarmists. It is like encouraging an addict, like telling a person ruined by heroin or crystal meth that they appear normal, and no one suspects they are not quite right, when everyone in town knows they have such a monkey riding their shoulders they can’t even hold an ordinary job.

I really don’t like seeing my fellow man reduced to such a tragic state, but it makes things much harder for me when all the “scientific” evidence just encourages the deluded. Heck, I have to go all the way back to 2010 to find a case where temperatures stayed above normal this late in May, before dipping below normal.

DMI3 meanT_2010

And when I have to go back six whole years Alarmists will accuse me of grasping at straws. And maybe I am, though they are the ones drowning.

It is somewhat embarrassing how unquestioning they are about certain things. For example, the fellows measuring sea-ice have to tweak their devices around this time of year, because of certain problems satellites have recognizing wet ice from open water. They do the best they can, but sometimes as they tweak things, ice abruptly appears or disappears. The funny thing is Alarmists are furious and out to behead people, when ice abruptly appears, but when it abruptly disappears they don’t raise a finger, nor a feather, and remain smooth and unruffled.

Just for an example, check out the waters north of the Mackenzie River Delta in these two maps, from May 9 and May 10. An impossible amount of ice simple vanishes in 24 hours.

Thickness 20160509 ictn2016050818_2016050900_042_arcticictn.001

Thickness 20160510 ictn2016050918_2016051000_042_arcticictn.001

(The best way to compare is to open the two maps to new tabs, and then click back and forth between them.)

I am fairly certain that one to two feet of sea ice did not vanish that swiftly, basically overnight. Most likely it involves a data-gathering-tweak. However I will say this: If one to two feet of sea ice appeared that quickly, Alarmists would be all over it, and some would accuse Big Oil or Big Coal or Republicans or people-who-attend-church. It’s silly they can be in such a panic about one sort of unlikely situation, and heedlessly complacent about another.

As for me, I just note that a large area of ice, vanishing like that, would likely dip the sea-ice extent graph, and I leave it at that. To double-check, if so inclined, one can go to the Canadian Ice Service map:

Canadian Extent 20120512 CMMBCTCA

This map makes the polynya look smaller, and therefore one is driven to use their lying eyes, and to utilize the actual satellite picture of the waters, here:

http://www.arctic.io/explorer/

I think I am going to have to learn how to “save” close-ups from this site in order to make certain points. I don’t know how to do it yet, so you are going to have to trust me that the Polynya is bigger than the Canadian map shows, but the “open water” has more swirls of drifting ice than the NRL map shows.

But what is not obvious is that when open water appears at this time of year it is not because air temperatures are up to the melting point of sea water. It is because the ice has been shifted somewhere else. And this is yet another cruel trick reality has to tease Alarmists, for it drops the extent of the ice without actually melting any.

I get a bit tired of explaining this same dull point over and over, but got drawn into doing again at Steve Goddard’s new site after reading this post:

http://realclimatescience.com/2016/05/we-are-all-doomed/   I stated:

When the light returned to the arctic, and we could use our lying eyes to assess the visible satellite pictures, it was quite obvious a lot of ice in the Beaufort Sea has been shifted towards Siberia all winter. Not only were there the dark cracks of freshly opened leads, but the light grey cracks of leads that opened months ago and have since frozen over, in some cases to a depth of 3 to 6 feet.

A slight amount of the moved ice did get sucked south through Bering Strait and join the parade of sea-ice that moves down the east coast of Asia much like ice moves down the east coasts of Greenland and Labrador. But most of the moved ice stayed up in the arctic, creating numerous pressure ridges in the East Siberian Sea and quite a pile-up along the coast of East Siberia.

This body of thicker ice will not effect the ice-extent graph until later in the melt season. Then we shall see if the East Siberian Sea is slower to melt, because the ice is thicker.

In the winter of 2012-2013 there was a similar movement of ice in Beaufort Sea, causing a great hubbub in the Alarmist community because it seemed to them that, if the ice broke up in the middle of the winter, surely it would fall apart and melt more quickly in the summer. It didn’t happen. One idea I heard was that so much water was exposed in the winter by leads that the water temperature was lowered under the ice, slowing the melt in the summer.

The thing I remember about that summer-of-2013 was the terrible trauma Alarmists went through when the ice failed to melt as they expected. I really don’t like seeing such pain, and I can’t see why, having suffered that way once, they want to do it all over again.

But I suppose that is the thing about an addiction. There is something about the “high” so attractive that one goes-for-it, heedless of the ruin it will bring about.  Pity such people, but do not expect them to admit they have a problem until they are completely ruined.

All an onlooker can do, until the addicts are ruined and plead for help, is to go to work and do your job and record the truth as it happens.

The weak swirl north of Greenland didn’t attack the Pole like the winter ones did. The North Atlantic gale is not stuck over Iceland , but is further north, drifting slowly towards Barents Sea north of Norway. Models were showing it getting up to the Pole a week from now, but now are backing away from that idea.

FRIDAY MID-MORNING UPDATE

The models continue to bounce all over the place, concerning whether the North Atlantic low will wander up to the Pole or not. In the short term it looks like the ridge of the high pressure will stand fast, and the weak but sprawling low over the East Siberian Sea will drift across to the Canadian Archipelago while weakening. That low has drawn some Pacific air north through Alaska and then off shore, giving O-Buoy 14 an early thaw, which will give Alarmists more joy. The thaw is already over, and the ice is still much colder than the air only inches below the surface, but a thaw is still a thaw.

Obuoy 14 0513 temperature-1week

This ice is quite far south, having just moved past 77°, compressing north midst the ice that has been generally pushed away from the coasts of Alaska and Canada. Therefore the thaw is not included in the mean-temperatures-north of 80° graph we look at. Hopefully the compression will not build any pressure ridges that take out our only remaining camera.

Obuoy 14 0513 webcam

The snow does look like it softened a little during the thaw.

SOME ADDITIONAL STUFF.

Here is the wind field that opened up the polynya (also called a “shore lead”) back in April.

Poly 1 2016-05-12101712

(Hat Tip Steve Goddard @ http://realclimatescience.com/   )

And here is a satellite view of the ice starting to crack and leads forming back on April 21. (South, and the coast of Alaska, is to the left in this picture.)

Poly 2 beaufort-gyre-video-screencap_21-april-2016_labelled

(Hat Tip Susan J. Crockford @   https://polarbearscience.com/

She has a good post here:

Beaufort Sea fractured ice due to strong Beaufort Gyre action – not early melt

And last but not least, in case you hear this polynya is “unprecedented”, here  are pictures of similar situations last year and in 1975.

Poly 3 bathurst-and-w-beaufort-polynyas_1975-vs-2015_polarbearscience

This is also from Susan J. Crockford’s research.

Tracking polar bears in the Beaufort Sea in April 2016 and early polynya formation

 

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Barneo Politics–

After a silence we have a report from Barneo, which suggests the Norwegians made it impossible to use Svalbard as base of operations. The key sentences are these:  “Then on April, 7 we got further problems from the Norwegian authorities. Trude Petterson, The Independent Barents Observer reporter, found a threat to national security in our conventional activities.

As best as I can tell, the Russians have had to shift to Franz Josef Land as a alternative, and will likely do so in the future, if they continue the Barneo bases. It will be rough on the economy of Svalbard to lose the tourists, I imagine. I’m not sure what has happened with the tourists this year, or heard anything about the planting of this year’s North Pole Camera.

The ice appears to be sound, though there are a lot of pressure ridges.

Barneo 8A 13083366_1023415584402206_7795010859968768566_n

Barneo 8B 13051705_1023415624402202_4868506117936992761_n

The Barneo site continues to drift south towards Fram Strait.

Barneo 8C 13087629_1023415681068863_8066820128088290364_n

The red line at the top is the “Race Against Time” expedition, which originally was planned to travel from the Pole to Canada. Likely all the delays caused them to back out of that plan, and take an easier route. I find their site a little amusing, for they are stressing how warm the Arctic has been this winter, but describing how the ice is thicker than it was when Mark Wood crossed the same area two years ago. There are many more pressure ridges, which they describe as “boulder fields”. It is no joke hauling sleds over such barriers.

It is worthwhile to compare this years ice with last year’s. (If you open each map (link)  to a new tab you can then switch back and forth to better see the comparison.) (2015 is to the left; 2016 is to the right.)

 

It is clear that the ice is thinner in Barents and Kara seas, but largely because that ice has been exported, and crunched over to the Pole. Ordinarily a pressure ridge is too small to be seen in these satellite-derived thickness-maps, as a pressure ridge gets averaged-out, however in the above 2016 map a long curving “mountain range” of ice averaging nine feet thick curves directly over the Pole. In order for this to not be averaged-out, it must consist of  numerous smaller pressure ridges, some which obviously would be more than nine feet thick. So far I have been unable to get a good view of this feature from satellite pictures, due to clouds. It curves all the way down to the area north of Greenland’s northeast corner, and is likely bound for Fram Strait. Ice is pushed closer to the northwest corner of Svalbard this year, and likely is chilling the tendril of the Gulf Stream that enters the arctic there, as it is melted.

The Polynya northwest of Alaska is larger this year, as are the polynyas along the North Slope coasts of Alaska and Canada. The ice missing from these areas has largely been swept over towards East Siberia, which has thick ice piled up on its coasts, and thicker-than-last-year ice out to sea. This area will likely be slower to melt this summer, especially as the Pacific seems colder. It will be interesting to watch the Laptev Sea in August, when the freshwater floods from the Lena River reach their peak, as the floods will likely be greater (and perhaps colder) this year due to deep snows inland in Siberia. These surges of fresh water have a big effect on that coast of the Arctic.

One feature I watched last summer I dubbed “The Slot”, north of Alaska. A feature-of-this-feature was “The Reef”, which formed The Slot’s southern edge. This never completely melted away, as it originally consisted of some huge pressure ridges, and I’ve watched it all winter as it was swept around all the way to 160 degrees east longitude. It likely forms a considerable pile of ice-chunks over there. The ice north of Siberia is by no means flat “baby ice”. It is a pity we lost our two O-buoy cameras that were over that way.

In order to have all the ice piled up towards Russia it needed to be exported from the Beaufort Sea, which the satellite views show as being crisscrossed by a web of leads and frozen leads, some quite wide, and some frozen-over quite thickly. That sea’s water has been losing heat all winter through these leads.

O-buoy 13 continues to be swept east north of Alaska, and pictures a cold and windswept scene, with temperatures showing a diurnal swing between -10°C and -15°C.

Obuoy 13 0423 webcamObuoy 13 0424 webcam

O-buoy 14 is further east, has finally melted its lens free. We were lucky to not lose this buoy over the winter, as a small pressure ridge grew right at its feet. Note the Mass Balance buoy tipped  (and likely not reporting) to the lower right.

Obuoy 14 0423 webcamObuoy 14 0424 webcam

This buoy’s thermometer seems more effected by sunlight, and over the past few days has shown a diurnal swing between -22°C and -7°C, with the high temperatures less high when the wind picks up. (Judging from shadows, there are some decent pressure ridges off-camera to the left and behind our left shoulder.)

This should be a very interesting summer, as the El Nino is rapidly fading, and cracks of blue, below-normal water are already showing up off the coast of South America, indicative of a La Nina coming on. The North Atlantic is cooler,  and “The Warm Blob” is largely gone from the North Pacific, (though some residual heat from the El Nino may be heading north past Japan).

SST Anomaly 20160421 2016anomnight_4_21_2016

There will be a “lag time” before any La Nina coolness effects the Pole, but the Scripps model is showing an absolute whopper of a La Nina. Likely it is overboard, and things will not be this extreme (for it would set records) but usually Scripps is a fairly decent model, and the situation does bear watching.

Scripps 0423 Screen_Shot_2016_04_23_at_4_17_56_AM