LOCAL VIEW –200,000 Views–

Yesterday was my wife’s birthday, and for some reason extraordinary stuff always seems to happen on her birthday, no matter how much we try to keep it quiet. One year we chose to have a quiet take-out dinner on a beach on the shore of a lake, and as we ate there was not only a spectacular sunset with a thunderhead shooting forks of amazing lightning, but the obligatory double rainbow to boot, vivid against deep purple clouds.

Another year we were just about to leave for the beach, when a pipe burst in the cellar. (Not a usual thing in June). The miracle was that we found a plumber who showed up within minutes and had the pipe fixed so fast we still left for the beach before noon.

This year the problem was again in the cellar, and began the night before my wife’s birthday. The hot and humid weather had condensed water on cold pipes, which drizzled down into the pressure switch of the water pump, causing a shorting that filled the cellar with smoke, and melted the switch into the “on” position. Usually the switch clicks off when the pressure reaches 40 psi. Now it was increasing past 40 psi, past 45 psi, past 50 psi, past 55 psi…

I was oblivious, typing at this word processor.  I have developed this ability, because I have a granddaughter in the house, and if I don’t develop extraordinary powers of concentration I’ll never get a word written on this blog. This is especially true because any time my granddaughter demands attention my dog Elsie gets jealous, and Elsie has this weird response where she barks frantically and chases her tail. I can’t tell you how often this stuff is going on in the background, as I write the words you read.

Night before last my wife and daughter were attempting to convince my granddaughter to get into the bathtub, which my granddaughter was vehemently objecting to. The dog was chasing its tail and barking. The water was shooting into the bathtub with extraordinary power from the faucet, and a strange smell was arising from somewhere. And I was completely oblivious, concentrated as I was on details on a computer screen pertaining to sea-ice, and a critical comment made by a troll on my website.

My wife sweetly managed to get my attention by evacuating the house, including a naked three-year-old. As she departed she noticed I was looking down a cellar staircase filled with smoke, and inquired “Should I call 911?” I said, “No,” and headed down into the smoke, whereupon her advice was, “Hold your breath.”

In the cellar I could find nothing burning, and in fact after I opened the windows the smoke seemed to be dispersing. My daughter came down and helped me look for something burned, but we could find nothing. Then she mentioned the water coming out of the faucett more vigorously than usual, as she was filling the bath, which seemed odd, so I went upstairs and turned on the water in the kitchen sink. It shot out with amazing ferocity. So I went back down and looked at the water-pressure gauge, and saw it going from 110 psi to 115 psi to 120 psi…

It then occurred to me that maybe I should check the pressure switch, but it was in a dark area and I couldn’t see very well. so, with the cover removed, I gave it a nudge with the plastic handle of a tool. This produced a vivid blue ball of electrical arcing about the size of a turnip, followed by a smaller tongue of orange flame, at which point it occurred to me I should turn off the circuit breaker labeled “pump.”

Problem solved. I could get back to what I was writing. I mention this only because some young writers say they cannot write without a grant. And they are not even married, and run no business, and have no problems worth mentioning, (except maybe a bad choice for a girlfriend). I doubt they could stand five minutes in my shoes, dealing with the distractions I deal with, yet I do write, (and sometimes write too much, according to my wife).

Let this be a lesson to you young poets. You have no excuse for not writing. If you are going to whine, make a music of your blues. You can do it if you really want to write. If you want money, well, that is a different matter, and you probably should seek some other occupation.

Less artistic and more pragmatic readers will have noticed that, while I solved the problem of smoke in the basement, a new problem, involving no water in the house, had raised its head. This was no way to be beginning my wife’s birthday.

I planned to head off for a new pressure switch as soon as the closest hardware store, twenty miles away, opened in the morning. However company arrived early, to wish my wife happy birthday, and I had to smile and nod. As soon as I could enact a diplomatic escape I drove twenty miles, bought a $16.00 pressure switch, drove twenty miles back,  and went down into the cellar and replaced the fried switch myself. A plumber would have charged $300.00.

There was a lurid red warning on the pressure switch instructions that stated the switch should be rewired by a qualified electrician. Pish tush! What plumber heeds that warning? And if they don’t, why should I?

Not that either an electrician or plumber could figure out the wiring of a 250-year-old house, where electricity was an afterthought. In a modern house the wiring for the pump is right next to the pressure switch, and four wires are involved, but in my house the wiring for the pump is far across the room, and only two wires are involved at the pressure switch. It’s no big deal; just a different way of achieving the same end. But small-minded people and government regulators likely would freak out, because they insist there is only one way to skin a cat. They would likely tear the whole house down and rebuild it to “specs.” Me? I just put the switch in, adjusting for only two wires.

The pump worked and my wife got to shower before noon on her birthday. We saved $270.00, and I figured we could go out to some semi-classy joint and buy ourselves a fine meal with expensive drinks for $270.00, but instead we were invited to a special birthday late-lunch by friends who don’t drink. So we saved $270.00 twice.

I was slightly annoyed, because the way things were turning out I had no time for my art.  I’m not referring to this blog, for I did sneak in a few replies to comments here, but rather to another form of self-expression, which is my wood carving. You see, I am a small-town version of Michelangelo. Much smaller. More like a Mike. And I did want to find the time to finish a birthday present for my wife. I didn’t.

Now here is another lesson for young poets. You don’t need to despair when you don’t have time to finish a poem, and you don’t need to whine for a government grant that might allow you to finish. Just call your unfinished work “a fragment.” People who really love you will see where you were aiming.  They will give you the leeway to fulfill your promise.

For example, one year my wife gave me a scarf she was knitting me, though she had only the time to knit a third of it. The next year she gave me the same scarf, only two thirds completed. And the following year I got the finished scarf, and it means more than any other scarf to me. I still have it to this day, and still use it though it is tattered. In like manner, my wife was surprisingly pleased by the carving I hadn’t completed.

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I will admit it bugs me to have a carving uncompleted. (Not that Michelangelo didn’t leave some amazingly cool stuff only partly carved.) However the reason it bugs me is a reason that may scare the socks off some young poets. And the reason is this:  The only way a carving can get better is to lose more.

In any case, we headed off to our late lunch, and lingered long, and just as we were leaving that lunch at sunset we received a text from a neighbor stating our smoke detector had gone off. We texted back we were on our way home, and that the smoke detector could go off in humid weather, and they shouldn’t worry. But then my wife remembered the pressure switch I had put in, and we decided we’d drive a bit faster.

As we passed the fire station we noticed all the trucks were gone, but the place was lit up and around thirty people were happily milling about. When we arrived home we couldn’t see the house, because three firetrucks were in the way. There was also a police cruiser, adding blue lights to all the red lights.

I have to admit I was thinking about the pressure switch I’d replaced. Had I crossed wires?  Was my home, beyond the looming firetrucks obstructing the view, a pile of ashes?

Nope. That morning my daughter had set off the kitchen alarm, burning the toast, so she removed the alarm from the ceiling and put it on the window-sill, whereupon it went quiet. Why it chose a later time to blare out, I don’t know, but it was basically a false alarm.

The odd thing was, no one was annoyed. Life must get boring in my little town, for all these volunteer firemen had showed up, dressed in sixty pounds of fireman clothing, and they all seemed positively delighted they’d found an excuse to get out of the house on a warm summer night. Rather than anyone angry about a false alarm, it was a happy social event. We all laughed about smoke alarms, (apparently they’d been called out the night before because someone threw a smoke alarm away, and it went off in a dumpster,) It was the typically unusual event that always seems to happen, on my wife’s birthday.

Eventually everyone went home, and I entered the house, to meet a very guilty dog. Apparently Elsie felt she was to blame. Usually she barks her fool head off when anyone knocks at the door, (and I’d wondered why she was so silent with three firetrucks outside).

When I first entered I couldn’t even find her.  The poor cur was cowering in the bathroom. She barely poked her nose out when I walked in the neighboring room, and when I said, “Hey there, old dog, come here”, she didn’t rush out for reassurance, but rather slowly backed from sight. Why? You figure it out. Apparently dogs take responsibility for things we cannot comprehend.

The same is true for young poets, but I haven’t time to elaborate much on this idea.

Instead I chose to point out that I, at long last, without any government grants to free me from worldly distractions,  did sit down here at my computer to blog. The first thing I did was to check the WordPress “stats” page, which shows me how many people have visited, and what nations they have visited from. Also I can see how many “views” I’ve had since I started this blog in December, 2012. It said I’d been “viewed” 200,006 times.

I sat back to think about that number. Not that any particular view means more than another, but it was a bit like when your odometer rolls over in a car. It gives you pause.

My mind went back to when I was a young poet, and very much wanted to be noticed, but no one seemed to want to do it. In fact I had the ability to help people remember appointments they were late to, simply by clearing my throat, lifting my index finger, and mentioning I’d written a poem. The only people who would stay and listen required that I listen to their poems in return, and that was a pretty steep price to pay. In the end I became discouraged and decided the world could go to hell. If they refused to be lectured to, about a way to end all wars and make everything nice, they could just go get stuffed.  I became a hermit of sorts.

That got old. Not that I didn’t have some mystical experiences born of deep thought, but they were few and far between, and mostly I was lonely and felt like my brains were shriveling up. No man’s an island, and we need the input of others. Also if you never go out you wind up broke. Eventually I hit the road.

A while back I came across a folder of my letters that my mother had saved from my days as a drifter. She had a tendency to worry too much, so the letters were always upbeat, even when written from difficult periods in my life. One letter in particular made me laugh.

My mother was worried I was too isolated and too much a loner. I told her I thought God agreed, and therefore God had arranged for me to make 10,000 people smile, on an individual basis, one after another. It then listed the series of jobs I’d had in the prior six months, pumping gas, serving burgers, serving donuts and running the register at small markets, and explained how I took it upon myself to get customers to smile. (I didn’t mention the failures.) At the bottom of the list was the number 10, 242. I figured this would ease my mother’s worry about me being a loner. Also I added that I’d decided I wasn’t a poet; I was the American sort of writer called a “humorist”, a sort of modern Will Rogers, defying depression with a “I never met a man I didn’t like” attitude.

I then concluded that while some gain acclaim by making a crowd of 10,242 laugh, it is also great to create the same number of smiles by dribs and drabs, unnoticed by the crazy media, but perhaps smiled at by God.

I’m not sure this convinced my mother; she did seem to like to worry; but the important thing is that it convinced myself. Furthermore I became aware I was not alone. As I drifted through the heartland of America I became aware there was a vast body of people making smiles, even when it was raining. It was something I failed to notice when I was a hermit, and down on humanity, and, if I saw anything in society, it was the mentality of a mob. Not that such bad things don’t happen, but it is more than countered by the fact God is in everyone, and shines out from faces if you make the effort to cheer people up.

And this is my final bit of advice to young poets. Don’t be fooled by fame. It isn’t necessary, and judging from people afflicted, is actually a hazard. Also, for every singer who makes the big time, like the Beatles, there are thousands in small places, singing in remote church choirs or to children or with friends, and they make an enormous difference. Without them life would be stark.

Not that it isn’t nice to get 200,006 views. It was especially nice that it happened on my wife’s birthday.  She’s the one who has to put up with me when I get a far away look, and don’t notice the cellar is on fire. And when there isn’t a fire, she sometimes has to light a fire under me to get me moving. I wouldn’t blame her for wondering, at times, if I am wasting my time at this computer. 200,006 views is therefore a sort of reassurance.

And you never really see the effects of small and random acts of kindness. It only takes a grain of sand to start an avalanche, and our influences go onward even after we have left the scene.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LOCAL VIEW –Gloomy June–

This is just a quick post to explain why I haven’t posted in so long.

A.) When I find time to write, I have felt attracted to a longer post, which is taking its sweet time to reach a publishable state.

B.) Considering my wife puts up with me, I figured I should put up a screen-house she has wanted for years, (and not the cheap and flimsy version I’ve bought her, from stores, that blows down in a thunderstorms. I thought it would take me only a couple days, but hammers seem to have gotten a lot heavier, and miss the nails a lot more than they used to, but….the project is done, (except for a lot of trim work and painting.)

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Once I clean up my stuff , we can actually sit outside and not be swarmed by mosquitoes and black-flies.

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But there is one small problem. The weather is horrible. The high temperature today was 47° (8° C) with a thick, cold mist driving in from the northeast. Below 50 degrees mosquitoes and black-flies aren’t even active. So my new porch is useless, and a miserable place to sit.

3.) It has been a remarkably wet and cold spring here. The leaves have finally come out, and we have had a few sunny spells and even a single hot day, but then things revert to early April’s weather.  I know it is June because the day gets light at five, but three hours later cars still have their headlights on.

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But teachers haven’t had to deal with unruly children in sweltering classrooms, which is a problem, because they had planned for unruly children in sweltering classrooms, and thought it clever to schedule outside activities.

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At our Childcare we went outside anyway. Something about a boy’s biorhythms simply know it’s June, and they were wild. I had a hard time keeping up with them on a hike. (It was interesting to watch a eight-year-old who had flown up from Texas heat, romping with the rest; I thought he’d be cold, and eventually he was, but mostly he amazed me by joining right in with the laughter and the rambling through wet underbrush.)

Considering how high the sun is, it is uncanny the noon didn’t warm at all today. It’s worth saving a map of the June nor’easter for future reference (and for arguments with Global Warming Alarmists.)

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4.) This sort of weather always makes me introspective. It was actually good therapy to be building a screen house, keeping from withdrawing too deeply, especially because June 6 always makes me introspective as well, thinking of the man I knew who was on Omaha Beach and took a bullet to his heart, but amazingly survived, and of the many who didn’t.  Last year I worked two weeks on my introspections:

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2016/06/05/local-view-remembering-d-day/

This year is no different. Before plunging into summer I withdraw into the past, and walk corridors of history. Hopefully a good post will come from it. Or perhaps at least a half-decent sonnet:

Few things are more dismal than drizzle in June
With the wind from the cold North Atlantic.
The music is dripping; no bird sings a tune;
And wet leaves whip silhouettes frantic.
It’s a cold day, yet I strive to thank it.
A driving mist drenches; nothing is dry.
I put wood in my wood stove, and crank it,
And count my blessings, or at least try
But it is distressing a purple sky’s
Pressing the uplift of June into mud.
Water is stinging my upturning eyes.
This weather’s not stirring my blood
But I’ll sing a sonnet. Old men are wise;
They know black but highlights brightening skies.

Indeed the future looks brighter. Next week I may gripe about the heat!

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LOCAL VIEW –Cutting Back Blogging–

I’ve been having a blast just wandering about the web. I never know what I’ll find or where I’ll wind up. Yesterday was a good example. I started off to research sea-ice and wound up posting about a famous British actress getting sprayed by manure as she cooked muffins out in a pasture. It seemed like the subject of a dream, but was real.

However enough is enough. I’m turning into some sort of webaholic. May is a very busy time at my Farm-childcare, with all sorts of things to plant, and I need to simply turn the computer off.

Therefore I am going to shorten my posts. I’ll post things like the prior post about frost in Brazil, that I can write in between the time insomnia boots me from bed, and the sun comes up. After that the computer screen will be dark and silent.

This feels like fasting. It seems like it may turn out to be harder than I imagine. I may have withdrawal symptoms. Who would have ever imagined, twenty years ago, such an web-addiction was even possible?

But, although new beginnings can be sweet when they are springtime, they are grim when they are Mondays, and a man must be a man. Enough is enough.

Like some snowflake bragging of its bangled
Originality before the beaming sun,
Some strutting cock whose doodle is strangled
Because he saw no fox nor need to run,
I face the dawn. Lord let me please shut up.
I’m sick of my brain’s wit, wit, wit, wit, wit.
For once let me be silent, for the cup
Cannot be sipped when talking about it.
If I talk while swallowing I will choke
Or else I’m a ventriloquist’s dummy,
But my brain keeps making joke after joke
Before the King. A jester too chummy
For his own good may wind up beheaded
Which will make my silence be the sort I’ve dreaded.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Beaufort Sea Crack Up–

Beaufort Crack Up 6a0133f03a1e37970b01b8d1ba3a52970c-800wi

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Transpolar Drift 360px-BrnBld_ArcticCurrents.svg

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

ARCTIC SEA ICE —The Shadows Lengthen—Updated 5 times—

I saw a child on a playground troubled
By his shadow. He cried and he backed off
But the shadow, unrelenting, doubled
The child’s alarm, for it never slacked off
And hounded the child’s feet, until the child backed
To the ladder of a slide. The shadow
Couldn’t follow up the ladder, and blacked
The ground below, as the child felt joy grow,
And jeered down, and looked up, and forgot the dark.

In the same way, I’m an old man troubled
By lengthening shadows, and seek a spark
Like the child’s ladder, though odds seemed doubled.

Faith is a ladder towards lights that strengthen
As winter comes closer and shadows all lengthen.

You’ll have to forgive me for waxing poetic to start this post, but I got off into an interesting tangent of thought during the sermon at church last Sunday. This often happens to me. Just as I forgot to pay attention to my teachers at school, and my mind went sailing out windows to clouds blooming in the sky, in church some idea in a sermon sends my eyes to the windows, which are stained glass lit by morning sunshine.

(I think that, if they really expected people to heed the entire sermon, the windows would be painted black. The fact they are stained glass encourages independent thought.)

Among other things, the sermon suggested a “saint” isn’t some person with a long white beard and a halo of shimmering gold, but is just an ordinary person who happens to believe that Truth is a good thing. I sort of like this idea, because it suggests that even a cantankerous anachronism like me could be a “saint”. However I didn’t like the next part of the sermon, which suggested being honest invited persecution. I have enough troubles without “inviting” any.

However, as my mind went drifting off from the sermon into the colors of the stained glass, I had to admit that simply stating the truth about arctic sea-ice has earned me a lot of grief. People I greatly respect, members of my own family and church, have used that silly word “denier” on me, when I simply state a mundane fact about banal stuff called “sea-ice”.  It seems more like a knee-jerk reaction on their part, than a deed involving one iota of actual thought.

As I gazed off into the colors of the stained glass it occurred to me that perhaps civilization has made some progress over the last two or three thousand years. Back in the day, the authorities, and especially the Romans, physically tortured people who spoke Truth. Now the authorities only psychologically torture people who speak the Truth.

Hey, it may not be pretty, but it is progress.

If you study Roman times, the brutality of Roman authority stands out. When the Romans marched in, there was no talk about political correctness, it was a case of, “My way or the highway.” They thought nothing of slaughtering all the elders of a town, or all the professors of an university, or all the leaders of a government. In fact they made their slaughter a spectator sport, feeding people to lions at the Colosseum. Physical cruelty was everyday, and Jesus Christ on the cross was no exception.

Nowadays the cruelty is psychological. A modern Christ would be crucified on some sort of  psychological cross. Or so I found my mind thinking, as my thinking wandered through the lights of stained glass lit by Sunday morning sunshine. However the next question is, “What would a psychological cross look like?”

The answer that leaped into my my head was, “To begin with, rather than throwing you to the lions, they throw you to the morons.” That made me chuckle aloud, at which point I figured I had better stop daydreaming, and pay attention to the sermon.

Later, however, the thought came back to me, and I found myself wondering what makes a person a moron. I’m not talking about the fellow with an IQ of 60, who maybe drools a little. I’m talking about an otherwise intelligent person, with an IQ well over 100, who feels they somehow deserve the right to be indignant about a subject they have never studied and know nothing about.

As a boy I was a moron, concerning the subject of New York, because I was a Red Sox fan after Ted Williams retired in 1960 and before Carl Yastremski led the Impossible Dream Team in 1967. Every year New York won the pennant and every year the Red Sox came in next-to-last, (which was ninth place back then), and I developed a foaming hatred towards New York. If anyone said anything good about New York I became quite indignant. I was actually surprised I wasn’t immediately mugged when I first visited the city, and astonished that I actually met kind and helpful people.  The scales fell from my eyes, and I stopped being such a moron.  I also dropped the right to be indignant, which was no great loss, for when I thought about it, being indignant doesn’t feel all that good.

However it seems to me some people really like the feeling. They must, for why else would they spend so much time being indignant about this and indignant about that?  And most especially, why would they bother to feel indignant about things they know nothing about? I mean, as a boy I might feel indignant of anyone who said anything nice about New York, though I had never visited the city and my knowledge of New York (beyond the Yankees) was nil, but I was just a boy and didn’t know any better. As you grow up you are suppose to know better.

Some don’t know any better. They simply like to feel offended, I suppose, and I do my best to steer clear of them, the same way I steer clear of my rooster when his neck feathers stick out and he looks at me in an indignant manner.

Fortunately, at this site, we don’t deal with big issues, such as the definition of marriage, or the point at which aborting life becomes murder. All we are concerned with is whether we are moving towards the next Little Ice Age, or the next Medieval Warm Period. Furthermore we have retreated far from the maddening crowd, to a landscape devoid of mankind, or even signs of mankind, except for a stray contrail in the sky, and perhaps a buoy, every five hundred miles.

However I am sad to inform newcomers that, even when you retreat to a point this far from civilization, you may still find yourself a “saint”  for simply stating what you see, and may even suffer a sort of psychological crucifixion for being accurate.  All you need to do is state a Truth; for example: “The so-called ‘Death Spiral’ did not manifest during the summer of 2015”, and people may become extremely indignant.

They remind me of my rooster, who always is extremely indignant when I come into the stables to get buckets of grain for my pigs and goats. It doesn’t seem to matter that the rooster has a record of 0-524, in his battles with me. He is a bird-brain, which is like a moron. He comes up to strike at me with his spurs, and I have to lower the lid of the grain barrel as a round shield, and there is a loud “plink” as he strikes the metal, and then he gets shoved backwards by the shield, and loses the battle. (In case you are wondering, if a rooster ever successfully strikes you with his spurs it feels like a solid tap on your shin, and you bleed a little trickle, but the next day you are hobbled, as he has penetrated right to the bone and given you a bone bruise. Needless to say, I don’t allow this particular rooster to ever succeed.)

I don’t know why this particular rooster gets so indignant when I enter the stable, especially when you consider the fact I’m the guy who gives him grain and water. However I forgive him because, after all, he has a brain about the size of an aspirin.

It is very painful to me to see my fellow mankind behave as if they have brains the size of aspirins, and to watch them become absurdly indignant about subjects they know next to nothing about. Even worse is the fact many get such a strange joy out of being indignant that they don’t want to learn more about the subject they know next to nothing about. When you attempt to patiently explain things, they sort of go, “La-la-la I’m not listening.” And that is the modern, psychological crucifixion of people who simply speak the Truth. They get thrown to the morons.

I’m sorry to spend so much time explaining this phenomenon, on a site which for the most part is dedicated to simply watching ice melt, and then watching water freeze. However, if we are going to study the state of affairs, concerning sea-ice, it is important to know you will meet maddening, indignant roosters, for they are included in the state of affairs, concerning sea-ice, and they are also one of the shadows lengthening across our social landscape.

In other matters, the shadows are lengthening, as are the nights, across the Pole. The times of daylight are shorter, and also farther and farther from the Pole, as the Pole itself has already started its six-month-long night (though some always insist on calling it “twilight”). (Some even insist on calculating the microscopic amount of heat that comes from twilight, after the sun has set.)

It remains worth watching, even as the views become fewer and farther between, because you can occationally see some interesting events. One thing I have discussed is how leads can open up and expose open water even when temperatures are well below the melting point of salt water. We saw this happen at O-buoy 8-b. I mentioned that such open leads can also slam shut, and rather than an open lead you see a pressure-ridge. We saw this happen at O-buoy 8-b over the weekend, giving us a picture of how an area of open water or thin ice can become extra-thick ice (as we remember 9/10th of a pressure ridge is under water, as is the case with all bergs.) In a sense we have been privileged to see what usually is hidden by winter darkness, and have a sequence of pictures that would teach well on a textbook.Obuoy 8 0923B webcamObuoy 8 0924 webcamObuoy 8 0924C webcamObuoy 8 0925B webcamObuoy 8 0927 webcam

Of course, having such splendid leads and pressure ridges so close to the camera is a bit like living right next to the San Andreas fault. The camera is at risk.

Today’s picture from O-buoy 8-b indicates some milder air is moving in, but is lifted by the cold air at the surface. Wet, sticky snow is falling, though temperatures remain low, down at -10°C.Obuoy 8 0928C temperature-1weekObuoy 8 0928 webcam

The invasion of mild air is much more dramatic over at O-buoy 9 at the north entrance of Fram Strait. Obuoy 9 0928 temperature-1weekHere we are seeing winds of 25-30 mph bringing a flood of Atlantic moisture and mildness north. Also the sea-ice is being pushed back north in Fram Strait, which is unusual this late in the season. Fram Strait is the major exporter of sea-ice from the Arctic Sea, and such export is a major part of low levels of sea-ice.

Now, if you are an Alarmist, and have a major emotional investment in seeing there be less arctic sea-ice, it is hard to know whether the current southerly gales in Fram Strait are good news or bad news. The ice being pushed back to the north is bad news, as it keeps the Arctic Sea loaded with last year’s ice. However the mild temperatures must be good news…or are they? Mildness and moisture makes more snow fall, on the ice, which would be “good” if conditions were calm, for the snow would insulate the ice and keep the ice from freezing. However, as conditions are not likely to be calm, the snow is likely to be blown from the ice into wind-created leads, forming slush which increases the amounts of ice, which is “bad”.

I find it wiser to avoid the value-judgement of calling what happens “good” or “bad”.  Whatever will be will be. Furthermore, it is the Truth, and Truth is a good teacher.

They say history repeats itself, but I can never recall seeing such a wrong-way gale in Fram Strait after the solstice. This is a new one, for me, and I think it is wise to sit back and learn.

Someone said that Harry Truman once stated, “The only thing new under the sun is the history you haven’t read.”  However we don’t have all that much history to read, concerning the arctic. We are newcomers. And when you have no  history book to read, you need to sit back and watch the present tense make history.

Also I doubt Harry Truman ever said that, because he had to handle the atomic bomb, and there was no history book about that topic. When I researched the above quote, it seemed some reporter was putting those words in Harry’s mouth, when Harry might have been talking about Mark Twain, who had a more cynical view about how we are revisionists, concerning history, and may have said something along the lines of, ” The only new thing mew under the sun is the history you haven’t invented.”

While I do believe history repeats itself, and that meteorologists who search the past for analogs can do wonders, I also believe no two snowflakes or fingerprints are alike, and there is something eternally fresh and new in every sunrise and in every weather map. Therefore I watch the current surge in Fram Strait with great interest, fully expecting to see something I’ve never seen before. The view from O-buoy 9, at the moment, is rather dull, gray, and even slushy.Obuoy 9 0928 webcam

Further north, at Faboo (my name for the North Pole Camera), the surge of mild air has arrived, and melted the hoarfrost off the lens after days of blindness. They haven’t figured out the problems they’ve been having transmitting the official data, so I have had to rely on unofficial data from a co-located Mass Balance Buoy (which lacks a time stamp). The surge was rather dramatic, as we saw temperatures shift from -16.98°C to -0.76°C. We also saw Faboo get as far south as 84.69° latitude, and then be jolted back north to 84.84° latitude. Somewhere the ice must be buckling, but no buckling is apparent in our views (which I am very glad to again have.)NP3 1 0928 2015cam1_3 NP3 1 0928B 2015cam1_2 NP3 1 0928C 2015cam1_1

I notice “Lake Faboo” is buried under the new snow, but as is usually the case in the arctic, the snows are not all that deep. In the few places where records are kept, I notice now is the most snowy time of year, but the snow amounts are only an inch or two. At other times the monthly amount is barely a half inch, or even less. The arctic is a desert, in terms of precipitation. When you talk of a half inch of snow per month it is like talking about five hundredth of an inch of rain in an entire month.

You will hear a lot of talk, from various people, about how snow insulates the ice and the water under the ice. It is important to remember we are not talking about snow that you wade hip-deep through, but rather ankle-deep stuff. When the winds howl, often the ice is blown clear of snow.

In order for winds to howl what is called a “meridional flow” is needed. What is called a “zonal flow” is more neat and tidy, and more according to textbooks. Textbooks like to talk about the “Polar Cell”, and place a high pressure at the Pole, with well-behaved lows rotating around it, with the air rising in the lows and sinking in the high pressure centered on the Pole.

Polar Cell atmospherecirculation

This is elegant and tidy, but a meridional flow makes a total mess of it. Floods of warm air surge right up to the Pole, and fuel low pressure right where the textbook states we should have high pressure, and air rises right where the textbook states it should be descending. We are likely to see a splendid example of this, the next week.

When a zonal flow places high pressure over the Pole, conditions tend to be quiet, as calm often occurs under a center of high pressure. However a meridional flow creates storms, and winds smash and crash the sea-ice. Rather than ice and snow sheltering the water, ice splits and leads, sometimes ten or twenty miles across, open up, and the sea is exposed to bitter winds. Not only is the water chilled more, but more ice forms on that open water than would be formed if the water was protected by a yard or two of ice. Air temperatures may be higher, as the open water loses heat to the air, but that heat can only be lost to outer space in 24-hour nighttime. All in all, IMHO, a meridional flow is far more conducive to building the volume of sea-ice.

So let us sit back and watch as the atmosphere does its dance.

In the maps below we see the feature ESib1 has been flung from Bering Strait across northern Alaska to the east side of Hudson Bay, as its Fujiwhara-dance partner FG4 got left behind and whirls north of East Siberia.  I should be paying more attention to that, but only have so many brain cells.

What grabs my attention is the ridge of high pressure sliding east across the Atlantic and the low forming off northeast Greenland, which I’ll call “FG5”.  Between them is the remarkable “wrong way” flow in Fram Strait, and the warm flood toward the Pole. As that warm air hits the cold air it is bound to fuel a frammerjammer, and the flow in Fram Strait could swing right around for a while. “FG5” looks like it might be an interesting storm, and briefly be king of the mountain, riding high atop the entire planet Earth.

DMI2 0927B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0927B temp_latest.bigDMI2 0928 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0928 temp_latest.bigDMI2 0928B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0928B temp_latest.big

TUESDAY MORNING DMI MAPS

DMI2 0929 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0929 temp_latest.big

TUESDAY MORNING PICTURE FROM O-BUOY 9 IN FRAM STRAIT

Obuoy 9 0929 webcam

O-BUOY 13 DEPLOYED 

The buoiy is roughly  at 78.5° N, 141° W, which is south and west of O-buoy 9 in the Arctic Basin. (I’ll call it a Beaufort Buoy because that so obviously irks nitpickers.) Temperatures are around -5°C and winds fairly strong around 25-23 mph. Obuoy 13 0929B webcam

TUESDAY NIGHT DMI MAPS  -A surprise-

The gale exploding south of Svalbard isn’t suppose to be there. Of course, I haven’t been paying proper attention to maps, (as I have to attend to six-year-olds), but the last I knew the development was suppose to occur around that weak low north of Greenland. I did notice it got abruptly colder at O-buoy 9, suggesting that weak low had a cold front, and apparently the gale blew up along that front. It is more like a true North Atlantic gale than a frammerjammer, but I’ll call it “FG5son.”

DMI2 0929B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0929B temp_latest.big

Considering there was little sign of that gale this morning, the above example is a fine example of what happens when you mix warm and juicy south winds from the Atlantic with bitter cold from the arctic. The isobats suggest the winds are really howling off the coast of Norway, but haven’t picked up in Fram Strait.  However this map is actually from noon, and by afternoon the north-moving ice was lurching back to the south, which is more normal for this time of year.

Across the Pole ESib1 is a decent low, adding to the fact that uplift is occurring over much of the arctic, which sure makes a mess of the textbook defination of “The Polar Cell”, as an area of decending air. Yet all this uplift must go somewhere, and the powers-that-be can’t send the air further north as a Ferrel Cell does, as there is no such thing as further north at the North Pole.  It is a test to our ordinary thinking, which tends to be zonal, and see weather systems parading around the globe from west to east. At the Pole, I sometimes think, the weather simply goes up and down like a yoyo. When all the uplift has no place to go it just comes crashing back down, turning low pressure into high pressure. And before you laugh at this idea, check out the computer models, and notice that where FG5son is a sub-960 mb low tomorrow the maps show it swiftly  fading, and being replaced by a 1040 mb high pressure system. It will be interesting to watch, as will be what happens to the temperatures.  Currently it is much milder than it has been. DMI2 0929B meanT_2015

O-BUOY 9’S FRAM STRAIT REPORT

O-buoy 9 saw the mild temperatures abruptly crash, as the winds slacked off, veered 180°, and increased to the 25-33 mph range of a true gale, which makes for a nasty wind-chill and a swift halt to any thawing that might have been going on.Obuoy 9 0929 temperature-1weekThe buoy stopped the wrong-way movement north and lurched south.Obuoy 9 0929 latitude-1weekThere is little to see, as the nights are getting long up there, but so far the ice hasn’t broken up despite the strong and shifting winds. (Remember that a month ago O-buoy 9 often drifted in seas relatively free of ice, and much of the ice we look at is new “baby ice” between thicker bergs. It doesn’t take all that much to smash up such baby ice.)Obuoy 9 0929C webcam

FABOO REPORTS IN

On September 25 Faboo drifted 4.35 miles south east in very light winds to 84.728°N, 8.772°W and saw temperatures fall steadily, crashing to the low of -17.4°C at 1800Z, before rebounding to the period’s high of -10.8°C at 2100Z.

On September 26 Faboo sped up as winds picked to around 10 mph, covering 6.93 miles southeast to 84.683°N, 7.798°W. Temperatures rose to the high of -7.2°C at 1500Z, before falling back to -13.3°C at 2100Z,

On September 27 Faboo reached its most southerly point at 0300Z, at 84.678°N, and its most easterly point at noon, at 7.510°W, before deversing back to the north and west and finishing the day at 84.752°N, 7.542°W, which was 5.03 miles the “wrong way”.  Temperatures fell to a low of -18.2°C at 0600Z before recovering to -9.4°C at the end of the period. The breezes grew stronger, up to 15-20 mph range.

On September 28 Faboo again returned to moving east, but continued north to finish at 84.876°N, 6.452°W, which was another 15.76 miles the “wrong way”. Temperatures rose from -9.3°C at midnight to a balmy +1.0°C at 0900Z. After dipping to -1.8°C at 1500Z, a second thaw was experienced at the end of the period, with temperatures at +0.5°C. Winds peaked early, with a steady blow of 27 mph, before slacking off to 15 mph.

Unofficial reports showed we continued north for a while today, but then headed south, as temperatures fell. Unfortunately freezing rain was involved. It is my experience that this stuff is hard to melt from the camera’s lens.NP3 1 0929 2015cam1_2

O-BUOY 8   WIDE LEAD OPENS ON DISTANT HORIZON TO THE LEFTObuoy 8 0929C webcam

NEW O-BUOY 13   –COLD WITH DRIFTING SNOW—

Obuoy 13 0929D webcam

O-BUOY 15  —WINS PICTURES-OF-THE-DAY AWARD FOR BEAUTY—

Obuoy 15 0929 webcam Obuoy 15 0929B webcam Obuoy 15 0929C webcam Obuoy 15 0929D webcam

WEDNESDAY MORNING DMI MAPS

DMI2 0930 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0930 temp_latest.big

WEDNESDAY EVENING MAPS

DMI2 0930B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0930B temp_latest.big

THURSDAY EVENING MAPS

DMI2 1001B mslp_latest.big DMI2 1001B temp_latest.big

I’ll try to play catch-up later. It is hard to run a decent blog when pulling double shifts.

*******

It is also hard to focus on sea-ice when a hurricane is milling about to your south.

FABOO’S WHIPLASH

On September 29 Faboo  continued northeast as far as 84.904°N at 0600Z before a 180° wind shrift hit, dropping temperatures from +0.5°C to -7.0°C at the next report at 0900Z. Winds picked up from 11 to 17 mph as temperatures fell to -13.2°C as Faboo moved 3.49 miles southeast to finish the period at 84.826°N, 6.363°W.

Yesterday temperatures slowly rose from -13.2°C to -10.2°C as winds climbed to a steady gale-force blasting of 36 mph, grinding the ice 17.6 miles SSE to 84.574°N, 5.923°W.

It is difficult to get your mind around tons upon tons upon tons of ice, covering hundreds of square miles, all moving north twenty miles and then all being snapped back south twenty miles, especially as the shift from north-movement to south-movement does not effect all areas equally at the same time, but rather is a radical change along a front. Somewhere the ice has to buckle and build pressure ridges, while somewhere else it must crack open and expose leads of open water. The frustrating thing is the camera’s lens if frozen over, and we are unlikely to see much more than this:NP3 1 1001 2015cam1_2

FRIDAY MORNING DMI MAPS

DMI2 1002 mslp_latest.big DMI2 1002 temp_latest.big

Quite a mild stream of air has been pulled east over the Siberian Side, as the cold is reduced to a pool north of Canada and Greenland. I expect the cold to expand as the gale weakens and fills.

O-BOUY 9 SHOWS COLD AND WEAKENING WINDS

Temperatures are at -10°C and winds at 4-7 mph. If the recent gale didn’t smash this ice up, nothing will, until it gets further south.

Obuoy 9 1002 webcam

DMI FRIDAY AFTERNOON MAPS

DMI2 1002B mslp_latest.big DMI2 1002B temp_latest.big

SATURDAY’S DMI MAPS (To be repeated to start the next post)

.DMI2 1003 mslp_latest.big DMI2 1003 temp_latest.big

DMI2 1003B mslp_latest.big DMI2 1003B temp_latest.big

I apologize for being unable to properly withdraw from life and enjoy the pleasures of escape to the arctic. Sometimes life won’t let you escape.

Time and tide and arctic sea-ice wait for no man, and a lots been going on I haven’t had time to talk about. A veritable flood of milder air came north with low pressure and made the Pole an area of uplift, which drew more air north at the surface.  A lot of this “air” was water vapor, which went from taking up a lot of space as vapor to taking up very little space as a drop of water or an ice crystal.  Therefore there does not need to be as much outflow aloft as one might expect, with all the inflow.

The vapor also released a lot of heat as it went through the phase changes of gas to liquid and liquid to solid. (There is a phase change the other way when precipitation evaporates of sublimates when falling, but for the most part the recent storm has been releasing more heat than it has been sucking up.)

They say what goes up must come down, but this is not true of the Pole. Water vapor goes up there and does not return, and heat goes up there and is lost to outer space. Once the sun sets the Pole is like a chimney for the planet, and what we have just  seen is stuff heading up the chimney.

That being said, when a mild surge heads north for the Pole I often look for an south-bound arctic outbreak somewhere else,  and indeed  there were two decend surges of cold into eastern and western Siberia, as well as a snowy spell in Alaska that drew notice.

Even as milder air floods the Pole, snow-cover is building on the tundra in Siberia, Alaska and Canada.  This will assist the creation of cold air through radiational cooling, and result in the Arctic ocean being frozen by south winds from the tundra.

Snowcover Oct 3 ims2015276_alaska

However one interesting feature is that swath of snow northwest of Hudson Bay, as much of it is well south of the actual coast of the Arctic Sea. This tendency also shows up in a Dr. Ryan Maue map posted on Joseph D’Aleo’s excellent blog, of the the deepening snow in Western Siberia. Much of the snow is well south of the actual coast.Snowcover Oct 3 ecmwf_snowdepth_russia_41(1)

This of course makes one wonder about the maps which show the arctic coasts as well above normal, in terms of water temperature:  

(I point out elsewhere that these maps can show water as red even when it is full of floating ice, as was the case in Hudson Bay last summer, which does make one suspect they are estimating on the warm side.)

In conclusion, we have a situation where we have a cold circle of ice atop the globe, surrounded by a larger circle of milder coastal waters, surrounded by an even larger circle of cold tundra. Until the coastal water freezes, the situation is wonderfully unstable.

The current temperature graph for areas north of 80° shows the current surge of mild air past its peak, and about to begin what I suspect will be a steep plunge.DMI2 1003B meanT_2015

The ice “extent” graph shows the mild surge did slow the refreeze, but couldn’t halt it.DMI2 1003B icecover_current_new

Most of our surviving buoys did show the milder air reaching across the Pole to Beaufort and Chukchi Seas, and the pacific side of the Central Arctic Basin, as the Atlantic and Siberian side haven’t experience the early season cold as much, and continue fairly mild. Yet the temperatures only briefly could thaw, in only a few places, and rather than thawing there was falling snow and freezing rain. Most of the slow-down in the refreeze was due to bottom-melt having a chance to occur without much upper-freezing,  and also gale force winds smashing up the new baby-ice.

It is unfortunate that O-buoy 10 got crushed (or perhaps retrieved by an icebreaker) as we have no eye down in the Beaufort Sea “Slot”. The NRL concentration map suggests the southern “reef” of the “lagoon” got dispersed by the gales, though we cannot tell if the water still has ice and slush in it once everything gets wet, as it doesn’t show up well to satellite sensors.  If the reef reappears during the refreeze we will know it wasn’t fully dispersed.Concentration  20151003 arcticicennowcast

I’ll download some pictures from cameras, and catch up on Faboo’s doings, in the morning.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –SLAPSTICK SCIENCE–(Or, “Why should I cry over you.) (August 16-19, 2015)

This is a continuation of observations of the sea-ice melt of the summer of 2015, with as little reference to Climate Science as possible, for I figure I can make a fool of myself quite well without help from experts.

I’ve been watching ice melt for years, as a form of escape, much the same way I once watched clouds out the window during Math classes. It was by sheer accident that I discovered that, rather than the faceless rejection slips I received for my other writing, all I needed to do was share my honest observations about the shrinking and growing of sea-ice, and I could get paragraphs upon paragraphs of detailed response. This was so much better than rejection slips that I didn’t mind it a bit that a lot of the paragraphs were unflattering.

Originally these discussions began at the Accuweather “Global Warming” site, beginning around 2005, for the site wasn’t well moderated, and in some ways resembled a glorious barroom brawl. Unfortunately it became more strictly moderated in 2007 and turned into a sort of echo chamber of parrots, and I became a refugee. I tended to lurk at sites such as Climate Audit, well aware most of my comments would be too rude to be acceptable. Fortunately a new site called “Watts Up With That” appeared at that time, and allowed ruder conversations, and became not only a place where I could comment, but a place that published a few of my writings. Finally in December 2012 I started this site, mostly as a place to talk about things other than the weather and climate. I’d average 10 to 20 views a day, which was fine with me, because that is better than a rejection slip. Then, in July 2013, I wrote a single post about sea-ice, and abruptly received 500 views.

I suppose a sort of law of supply and demand kicked in. Also some very nice people asked me to continue to post about sea ice. I have done so, and am now well into my third summer. (I still post other stuff, which tends to get 20-40 views).

I do not claim to be any sort of authority. I am merely a witness, and these posts are a sort of notebook, holding my observations and some doodles. Of course, if you carefully observe sea-ice for years you can tell when a person who has not observed it much is talking through their hat, but that doesn’t make me an expert.

The North Pole Camera was my original window to a new world, and continues to be my favorite, because it starts so close to the Pole and is often the only camera that can be called a “Central Arctic” camera, as most of the others wander about the perifery of the sea-ice. I’ve nicknamed this year’s camera “Faboo”, and the secondary camera is nicknamed “Fabootwo”.

This camera has always drifted south to Fram Strait, summer after summer. Last summer might have been an exception, for the ice the camera was on took off to the southeast as if it might pass around the east side of Svalbard, but unfortunately the camera was crushed by a pressure ridge before its destination could be determined.

This year the camera has been far more hesitant to come south. We nearly crossed 86° latitude two weeks ago, but then retreated north, and are now giving heading south another try. (We get our official data a day late, so I will always be reporting yesterday’s movement and temperatures, unless I report the data from the co-located Mass Balance Buoy 2015D, which I call “unofficial data” because it has no time stamp.)

Yesterday Faboo drifted south and west in slackening winds 3.89 miles to 86.112°N, 6.987°W. Temperatures were quite cold, considering we are still officially in the period of the summer thaw. Our low was -2.1°C at 0300Z, and we were only up to -0.7°C at noon. A spike followed that I distrust a little, as the buoys are micro “Urban Heat Islands” and sit in small pools of melt-water of their own making, and spikes in temperature are often seen when winds become calm, but officially we did hit a high of +0.2°C at 1800Z in calm conditions. By the next (and final) report  at 2100Z a gentle breeze of 5 mph was blowing, and temperatures were back down to -0.9°C.

Today’s unofficial reports show Faboo’s drift is to the west and temperatures are still below freezing at -0.36°. despite the fact the camera has shown moisture moving in.NP3 1 0815C 2015cam1_3NP3 1 0814C 2015cam1_2NP3 1 0814F 2015cam1_1South of Faboo, at the northern entrance of Fram Strait, O-buoy 9 has run into a slushy situation, heading southeast to 4° longitude, and finally getting down to 80° latitude. Winds are 7 mph and the temperature is a hair above freezing.Obuoy 9 0815B webcam

Across the Pole, down in Beaufort Sea, O-Bouy 10 is not transmitting data, and O-buoy 11 reports s slight thaw and light winds, and transmits this foggy pictureObuoy 11 0815B webcamTo the west O-buoy 12 is experiencing sub-freezing temperatures and more breezy conditions of 12 mph. The slush forming on the salt water now appears gone.Obuoy 12 0815C webcamI’ll likely post some maps and pictures tomorrow but won’t have time to comment, as my youngest son is graduating from college. Here are today’s DMI maps. The area of subfreezing temperatures in the arctic is expanding.

DMI2 0815B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0815B temp_latest.big

SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE

DMI2 0816 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0816 temp_latest.big

NP3 1 0816 2015cam1_1Obuoy 09 0816 webcamObuoy 10 0816 webcamObuoy 11 0816 webcamObuoy 12 0816 webcam

SUNDAY NIGHT REPORT

Yesterday Faboo headed south to 86.106°N, and then once again turned tail and retreated north, winding up the day 2.5 miles WNW of where we began, with our final position at 86.116°N, 7.519°W. The north winds pushing us south were colder than the south winds pushing us north, so the temperatures bounded about as well, reaching yesterday’s low of -1.7°C at 0300Z, and then yo-yoing upwards until we finally achieved thaw, with the day’s high of +0.2°C reached at 1800Z and held to the end of the reporting period.

Today’s unofficial reports make it look like we are continuing to retreat the “wrong way,”  in south winds that continue the thaw. The clash between the cold north winds, likely associated with the weak low “Beaucat”, and the south winds, likely associated with west side of the weak “Pohi” ridge, have made it cloudy and gloomy. It’s hard to take advantage of a thaw and melt ice like mad, when there is no sunshine. Our new melt-water pools are but puddles on the frozen surfaces of July’s more robust pools.NP3 1 0816B 2015cam1_1

Last year a freeze in the middle of slush season was followed by a thaw, and a slighter version seems to be replaying this year, for our other buoys are, if not thawing, less cold.

Obuoy has made it past 3.5° longitude and south of 80° latitude. Because it heads south as Faboo heads north, open water appears between the two, without a bit of melt being necessary. Temperatures have been thawing for a day now, and the breeze has been gusty, between 5 and 15 mph.Obuoy 9 0816B webcam

I’ll comment on the other buoys and the DMI maps in the morning.

Obuoy 10 0816B webcamObuoy 11 0816B webcamObuoy 12 0816B webcamDMI2 0816B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0816B temp_latest.big

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE

DMI2 0817 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0817 temp_latest.big

This morning’s maps show “Pohi’s” high pressure being warped into a dumbbell shape as it ridges across the Pole, as the remains of “Beaucat” on the Eurasian side and “Chuck” in the Canadian Archipelago act like pincers in the middle. Beaucat is cut off from its original energy, but is being infused by energy from central Asia related to the old storm “Verge.” Even though the new incarnation is largely of Asian origin, I’m going to keep the name “Beaucat” for the resultant storm, because this is my blog and one of the few places I  get to be boss. In like manner, the weak impulse moving east along the north coast of Greenland will be “Chuck”, even though it has dubious origins. The new incarnation of “Pohi” is splitting like an Amoeba, and the part over Scandinavia will be “Hiska” (for High Pressure Scandinavian) while the one on the Pacific side will become “Hichuk” (for “High Pressure Chukchi Sea)”. In conclusion the current ridge over the Pole looks unstable and likely to transition into a new scheme. Although you can trace the 1016mb isobar from the Azores to the Pacific side of the Pole, there’s no way air from the Azores is going to get that far. The milder air seems to to be home-grown over Europe rather than imported, and seems to have trouble staying down at the surface once it gets to Svalbard. However it does seem this is the last hurrah of slush season. It remains to be seen  how strong it is, and whether it has the ability to endure beyond the official end of slush season. We are reaching the point where the average temperatures at the Pole dip below zero.  DMI2 0816B meanT_2015However this is not to say we couldn’t have a year like 1964, and see slush season extended more than a week. DMI2 1964 meanT_1964Faboo is seeing a slight thaw, and gloom as the milder air brings moisture and clouds. It is moving northwest, the “wrong way.”NP3 1 0817 2015cam1_1Considering the ice stopped spreading south and was compressed back north I found it difficult to explain the uptick in yesterday’s extent graph. Perhaps it spread south somewhere else, but I couldn’t locate it.DMI2 0816B icecover_current_new

MIDDAY MONDAY UPDATE

It is scorching hot here in New Hampshire, so I’m escaping north to look at some ice.  Down at the north entrance of Fram Strait O-buoy 9 has been experiencing breezy conditions, with winds up to 18 mph  though currently down to 10 mph. I was expecting that we’d be blown back north, judging from the isobars, but saw no sign of any northward progress. Obuoy 9 0817 latitude-1week However we sure are heading east.Obuoy 9 0817 longitude-1weekI suppose I should give up hope of more pictures of the coast of Greenland, and look east to Svalbard. (Which it is highly unlikely we’d reach, as we’d have to cross 13 degrees of longitude without moving south.) However I’m always on the lookout for exciting possibilities.

I did check back at Station Nort in Greenland, and saw the winds were south there, and at three stations in Svalbard, and saw winds were fairly light because they are still at the center of the Pohi ridge, but are forecast to become south. Therefore it seems peculiar our buoy is not heading north. A strong southerly current? A local front or micro-system? A large whale has become attached to our buoy?

Its in the 40’s (F) (+7 Celsius) both back at Station Nort and ahead on Svalbard, but has been right at freezing at our buoy, and even looks a bit like wet snow is falling.Obuoy 9 0817 webcamObuoy 9 0817B webcam

Over the top of the Globe and down south of 80° our Beaufort Buoys are seeing more normal and slushy conditions, if I judge with my eyes, though temperatures are still a bit cold. O-buoy 10 was showing melt-puddles atop frozen metlwater pools for a while, but now it looks more like the entire pools are melting at least at the top. Winds are around 10 mph and temperatures around -1.0°, and we continue to drift south towards an area the ice can spread out, but the ice hasn’t yet broken up.Obuoy 10 0817 webcamO-buoy 11 is in the area where the ice can spread out, which has become such a notable feature I’ll give it a name and call it “The Slot.”  It is causing a bit of a buzz among sea-ice nerds because extent maps with low resolution show it as open water in the Beaufort Sea. Slot Aug 15 cryo_latestThe Canadian Ice Service map, with a grid of higher resolution, shows it as well, but suggests it is not completely ice-free, but holds as little as 1/10th ice and as much as 7/10th ice.  (Upper left of map below.)Slot Aug 17 CMMBCTCAWhat our lying eyes have been witnessing through O-buoy 11 tends to agree with the Canadian map. We’ve seen water that looks practically ice free, and then suddenly are midst a traffic jam. During the recent cold wave the ice looked fairly solid, but now it’s more broken up again. The water had an oily look earlier, despite a 9 mph breeze, which might suggest the drop in temperatures at that time to around -2.5°C had the water thinking of freezing, but temperatures have since perked up towards freezing, and above the freezing point of salt water, so the slick look is a style forgotten. Obuoy 11 0817 webcamObuoy 11 0817B webcam“The Slot” extends all the way west to O-buoy 12, which also has been showing open water some times and then traffic jams of ice other times.  It has been heading south to 77.5° latitude and consistently experiencing subfreezing temperatures above the freezing point of water, around 1° currently, and the breeze has been fairly brisk at 10-15 mph. Unfortunately the lens is obscured, I think by fog but perhaps by wet snow.Obuoy 12 0817 webcamObuoy12 0817B webcam

Yesterday’s report from Faboo has come in, and shows we drifted 4.01 miles northwest. The breeze ranged from 11 to 18 moh, and temperatures hit a low of -0.2°C at 0300Z and achieved the high of +0.9°C at the final report at 2100Z.

The fact this ice is moving northwest while O-buoy 9 has headed southeast should theoretically create a second “Slot” of opening water, in theory at least.

*******

Ron Clutz runs an excellent site at https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/arctic-ice-stays-the-course-august-15-summary/

I snipped this chart to show the August 15 comparison between 2014 and 2015. If you have the time you can compare the numbers on this chart with earlier charts on his site, and see exactly where the ice grows and where it shrinks (usually growth where the ice  “spreads out”, at this time of year.)

Breakdown for day 227 of ice extent in the various NH seas.

Day 227 Comparison 2014 2015 2015-2014 % of 2014
yyyyddd 2014227 2015227
% of NH Maximum 0.405 0.418
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 6282898 6080352 -202546 -3.2%
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 771986 750624 -21362 -2.8%
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 489766 394176 -95590 -19.5%
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 651085 458960 -192125 -29.5%
 (4) Laptev_Sea 52095 235646 183551 352.3%
 (5) Kara_Sea 201661 60965 -140696 -69.8%
 (6) Barents_Sea 111609 23510 -88099 -78.9%
 (7) Greenland_Sea 280844 252593 -28252 -10.1%
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._L 13947 211146 197199 1413.9%
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 538858 431954 -106904 -19.8%
 (10) Hudson_Bay 88865 176683 87818 98.8%
 (11) Central_Arctic 3081039 3083153 2114 0.1%
 (12) Bering_Sea 0 0 0 NA
 (13) Baltic_Sea 0 0 0 NA
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 0 0 0 NA
 (15) Yellow_Sea 0 0 0 NA
 (16) Cook_Inlet 0 0 0 NA

DMI2 0817BDMI2 0817B temp_latest.big

TUESDAY MORNING REPORT

DMI2 0818 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0818 temp_latest.big

Pohi has split into Hiska, which is warming Barents Sea, and Hichuk which is warming the Laptev Sea. Chuck has reformed north of Greenland, though its original trough drapes back to Beaufort Sea, and it’s southerly east side winds are bringing thaw up to Faboo, and continuing to shove the ice Faboo is upon north and west. Faboo is seeing sprinkles of rain and an unofficial temperature of +1.21°, which is slush-season stuff. NP3 1 0818 2015cam1_1Hope to get to O-buoys at lunch time. Busy, hot day ahead.

TUESDAY EVENING UPDATE

Yesterday fairly strong and steady southeast winds shoved the ice Faboo is on 6.63 miles to the northwest, winding us up at 86.239°N, 9.213°W. The breezes are mild, and we are seeing a decent thaw without sunshine. Yesterday’s low was +0.7°C at midnight, and the high was +1.0°C at noon, until we had a spike at the final report at 2100Z to +1.5°.

Today’s unofficial Mass Balance reports suggest this movement has continued, backing to the west as the winds became more easterly and temperatures fell slightly. Faboo shows a return to July slush-season conditions without the benefit of sunshine. The level of Lake Faboo to the right has increased, and there are even some hints a slushy estuary that extended to the lower, left corner of our image in July might reappear.  (My view was that the estuary drained when the level of Lake Faboo was lowered by a outflow channel out of view, or by percolation downwards through cracks or “rotton ice”, but perhaps the recent cold snap froze up those outlets.)NP3 1 0818B 2015cam1_2

I’ve seen such late-season thaws before, but I need to keep in mind those cameras were far further south, and in some cases already entering Fram Strait. Faboo is far further from the Atlantic’s relative warmth, so I need to be a little more impressed by thaw than I’d be further south.

However I’m far more impressed by the “wrong way” movement of nearly 7 miles. I’ve seen triple the daily movement in the other direction, to the south, especially once the North Pole Camera is in heading down the east coast of Greenland, however in such cases there is open water both to the south and east, and all the ice is moving the same way like cars on a freeway. When you are heading north it is as if you are in bumper to bumper traffic.

In fact that might be a good way to comprehend the power displayed by Faboo today: Imagine you were in bumper to bumper traffic that was at a standstill, and were seven miles from home, and got very impatient. Then imagine you crept forward until your bumper touched the car in front of you, and then you stamped on the gas and started pushing that car forward against its will, until it pushed the car in front of it, and so on and so forth, until you were pushing seven miles of traffic like a train pushing a lot of boxcars.  (Before you try this out, next time you are in a hurry to get home, you should think about the phenomenon of pressure ridges. A pressure ridge of rush-hour traffic is not something you want to see, especially because the other drivers can be less than understanding about your fascination with sea-ice. Or at least that has been my experience.)

The amazing thing about Faboo is that this small buoy is not merely pushing seven miles of traffic, but hundreds of miles of traffic. The entire stylish beret of white worn by our planet is shifting from last years style (tilted down on Svalbard) to this years style (to be determined).  Who would believe such a small pebble could create such an avalanche of change in the world of polar fashion?

Of course the beret does not shift from tilting left to tilting right in a straight line. Ice hardly ever moves in a straight line. If you study aerial views of glaciers you’ll see they are all curves and only rarely straight. Straight lines are reserved for slapstick scientists, who call them “trend lines.”  However today’s NRL map of ice-speed-and-drift shows Faboo part of an unnaturally straight beeline of ice from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

DMI2 0818B arcticicespddrfnowcast

You can see how this flow differs from the textbook by comparing it to the image below.Beaufort Gyre 360px-BrnBld_ArcticCurrents.svg

The difference this year seems to be that the Beaufort Gyre has taken over, and the Transpolar drift is AWOL. However in both examples there is a nice, textbook clockwise flow around the polar high pressure centered on the Pacific side of the Pole, which is a nice textbook pattern the Pole laughs at when it creates summer gales, as it did in both the summers of 2012 and 2013. Those gales turned the Polar high into a doughnut, with a hole in the middle.

In any case, I like to simplify, and to think in a crude manner well beneath the dignity of reality, though not quite as simple and straight-line as slapstick science. (I take a straight-line approach, but expect to be wrong.) My simpleton approach wonders if, when we see Faboo shift 7 miles north on the Atlantic side, we should expect to see our Beaufort O-buoys shift 7 miles south in the Pacific side. And, well, there is some sort of correlation, but surely nothing could be that simple.

And surely it isn’t. If you look at the above NRL Spreed-and-drift map you’ll notice that while Faboo might be in a nice, neat straight-line drift, that drift begins in chaos in Fram Srait and ends in chaos in Beaufort Sea.  Furthermore, both areas have witnessed “slots” of open water this summer.

These sort of “slots” were important to the crazy guys who used to sail up their hunting whales. It is hard for us to comprehend, but they saw all the hardship they endured as “easy money.” I guess it shows you how hard life was back home on the farm.

The guys who became rich enough stayed home, but they commanded the captains of the whaling ships to keep accurate records of where the “slots” were. When the various captains came home the ship-owners would pour through the logs of their various ships, plotting the following years voyages.  And they likely were as puzzled by the antics of sea-ice back then, as we are today.

However they did not make the mistake slap-stick science now makes, and assume ice close to Alaska meant solid ice lay between that point and the Pole.  How could they? They would read the log one captain who found it hard to sail along the coast of Alaska, due to sea-ice, yet another captain far to the north sailed in open waters, as he had found a “slot”.

Sometimes, as I look at the views of the O-buoy cameras, I like to pretend I am the captain of a whaler, and trying to decide if I should sail on or turn back. Is this a slot that will persist? Or is this the jaws of a bear trap about to slam shut?

If I was down in Fram Strait by O-buoy 9 I think I’d take my money and run south. The calm conditions and patches of open water we used to see seem to be filling in, and winds were pretty high, even if they are now dying down. In theory, with Faboo heading away and the ice here not heading north, there should be more and more open water, but I just don’t trust the look of the sea and the sky.Obuoy 9 0818B webcam Obuoy 9 0818C webcam

Because the ice at O-buoy 10 hasn’t yet broken up, it isn’t ice a whaling captain would sail midst, so I wouldn’t need to worry about it.  It’s below freezing with light winds at O-buoy 10.Obuoy 10 0818 webcam Obuoy 10 0818C webcamA captain might sneak into the slot O-buoy 11 jostles about in. After the freeze of last week he’d likely be busting his butt to get out now, while the going was good, though he might be tempted to pause to grab a whale or two, if they got too close.Obuoy 11 0818B webcam Obuoy 11 0818C webcam

However I-buoy 12 shows the real challenge such captains faced. Looking at the first picture, would you guess picture two lay to your south?  Obuoy 12 0818 webcam Obuoy 12 0818B webcamObuoy 12 0818C webcam

If I can, I hope to locate, for you,  a fabulous collection of reports from the logs of old whaling ships, and also the ships that resupplied the Hudson Bay fur-trader trading-posts. I will be doing so at great risk to myself, because I’ll be very tempted to lose hours upon hours rereading the work. However the thing that flabberghasts me is that slap-stick science refuses to accept the painstaking observations kept by these old captains, when they map past conditions.

If you look at modern renditions of what the past looked like, you will notice that if the edge of the sea-ice budges down towards Barrow, then all the area between that edge and the north pole is solid ice. There is never a “slot”. In fact, the slot we are seeing this year is the first slot that ever occurred since the beginning of time (or so you might think). And the best picture of the Beaufort Slot (and even, to a small degree, the Greenland Slot), is provided by the NSIDC map below:Slot N_bm_extent_hires

The possible reasons for such slots are many, but I personally think it merely is a reflection of the fact that systems in the Ferrel Cells have been progressive while the Polar cell has been stable and even stagnant. (Call it a “zone of discordance”, of you will.)

The interesting (and frightening, if you were captain of a sailing ship), thing about a “slot” is that it can slam shut in a hurry, like the jaws of a bear trap. I’m watching this situation with interest.

DMI2 0818B mslp_latest.big DMI2 0818B temp_latest.big

WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE

DMI2 0819 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0819 temp_latest.big

For the time being I am seeing “Hichuk” as the Polar High, with all the weather of the world rotating about it, to the south in all directions. This makes “Hiska” a high-pressure feature of the Ferrel Cell. Both “Beaucat”, reinvigorated in the Laptev Sea, and “Chuck”, weak in the Greenland Sea, are lows rolling along the line of demarcation between the Polar Cell and the Ferrel Cell.  This handy, textbook way of looking at things works when it works, and the rest of the time you need to toss the textbook out the window.polar-cell-atmospherecirculation

A quick glance at Faboo shows it is continuing its wrong-way cruise to the northwest, but the thaw is chilling back  down towards freezing.  Lake Faboo looks like it may hold slush, in this morning’s gray and gloomy picture, and it’s level seems lower, as if its outlet has reopened. NP3 1 0819 2015cam1_1

South of there O-buoy 9 has seen a calm descend, and its drift has slowed to a near standstill around 79.9° N and 2.5° W. With the sea-ice to the north heading away, it should be in a slot of increasing open water. Air temperatures are a hair below freezing, likely because that is the temperature of the salt water. Rather than a urban-heat-island effect it is a sort of polar-seawater-cold-island effect, when winds get calm.Obuoy 9 0819 webcam

O-buoy 10 is seeing temperatures a degree below freezing and light winds, and continues to head south upon ice that stubbornly refuse to break up. Obuoy 10 0819 webcamO-buoy 11 also is heading south on winds decreasing towards calm, with temperatures dipping towards -2°C, which is past the freezing point of salt water.Obuoy 11 0819 webcamO-buoy 12 also heads south, and also sees temperatures dipping to -2°C, but breezes have been stronger for the past 3 days, in the range of 10-15 mph. Unfortunately all we can see is a smear. The Polar Smear-monster has apparently migrated west.Obuoy 12 0819 webcam

Another hot and humid day is forecast for us here in New Hampshire, so when I come dragging in after work today I’m not sure whether I’ll want to write. Sometimes I don’t want to do more than look at the ice.

WEDNESDAY EVENING UPDATE

Yesterday’s official data confirms what we suspected: that Faboo crunched another 8.71 miles northwest, winding us up at 86.302°N, 10.896°W, which puts us back where we were in early July. This movement was assisted by a strong breeze of 15-20 mph, with temperatures declining from a day’s high of +1.5°C at midnight to a low of +0.5°C at noon, and also for our final reading at 2100Z.

I’m not sure I can believe today’s unofficial reports, which show we stopped heading north but continued west, and also that our thaw ended with a thump as temperatures fell to -4.19° C. We’ll have to see if that stunning plunge verifies in tomorrow’s official report.  In the gray and gloomy pictures Lake Faboo does look like it may have again frozen over.NP3 1 0819B 2015cam1_1

Temperatures crashing to -4° is worthy of a new post, so I will conclude this one with the following profound thought:

Slapstick science attempts to slap ideas against a wall and hope they stick, but when the wall is melting ice it is too slippery and no known glue works. Only when the melting ice freezes do things stick to it, and what sticks to slapstick scientists, when temperatures drop to -4° in mid-August, is that the concept of an ice-free Pole is slapstick comedy.

MASSIVE MONSTER TROPICAL STORM BILL TWELVE TIMES STRONGER!

Bill 1 Screen_shot_2015_06_17_at_7_15_36_AM Forgive me. I’m just practicing distorting truth, just in case I want to try to get a job in the mainstream media.

The above picture is actually a graphic created by Joseph D’Aleo at his excellent Weatherbell Blog to show how small tropical storm Bill was, as it came ashore; IE: Twelve Bills could fit in the state of Texas.  One of the larger Pacific super typhoons could cover the entire state. I’ve seen complexes of summer thunderstorms bigger than Bill.

Of course, a small storm doesn’t sell papers, or get you hits on your blog, and therefore some feel it is acceptable to hurl around superlatives like children whipping pillows about a bedroom. Perhaps too many young reporters watched too many commercials when young, and feel dishonesty is the American way.

It isn’t. Falsehood leads to confusion, and bad engineering. Just as an engineer would not want to build a bridge with false figures, any sort of “social engineer” should understand that “social engineering” will fall down in a heap if it is built upon falsehood, (especially the falsehood “the ends justify the means”).

For this reason reporters are under an unwritten obligation to sift through falsehood and seek truth. They are not suppose to be the dispensers of bogus news, mere sock puppets of editors who are themselves puppets. When even an infallible Pope comes out with a statement about Global Warming, reporters are suppose to do some fact-checking.

Reporters, and also scientists, need to have some pride. Truth is is worth the battle.

Nor is reality boring, if you do the work and leave the virtual world of your computer to gather facts. Even a small tropical storm like Bill will have an area of heavy rain, and ten inches of rain is a royal pain for those upon whom it falls. There is a story there, if you go and dig for it, (or slosh about for it). It is sheer laziness when reporters can’t be bothered, or only drive to a local beach and pretend to struggle against a howling wind on camera, when it is in fact merely a breeze. (One of my favorite bloopers shows a reporter reporting from a “flooded parking lot”, and as he exclaims with hyperbolic eyebrows an elderly lady calmly strolls across the parking lot behind him, and the water isn’t even up to her ankles.)

In any case, perhaps I am no one to talk, considering I used such an absurd headline to get your attention. And perhaps that is what the Pope is doing today: Getting some attention.

In truth, Bill is merely a tropical rainstorm this morning, moving up through Oklahoma, heading towards Ohio, where they can use the rain.

Bill 2 rad_c_640x480 This is not to say Bill isn’t still very dangerous

darth-sidious-bill-belichick