LOCAL VIEW –Fresh Start–

My resolutions are not a solution
So this year I will not make even one,
For in my solutions are a pollution
That make all the salmon turn tail and run
Back up the river to pools of their birth;
They don’t reach the sea and enjoy the sweet mirth
Of billowing blue that covers the earth
And pounds stones to sand, and gives life it’s worth.

So please do not tell me to get into shape.
I resolved to be square, but got pounded.
Like a pebble that waves will not let escape
My God has made me a man well-rounded.

Your sharp points are blunted; I will not vow
For I already am, and will live in the Now.

One of the many reasons it is better to be sixty than twenty is that you get to skip the business of always feeling you should be being better than you were the year before. Instead the process of biological deterioration is setting in, and you are lucky to even be the same as you were the year before.

Don’t get me wrong. Spiritually we should always be striving to correct our mistakes and improve, but, since when has spirituality mattered a hill of beans, in this material world?  And, in material terms, a man can not run as fast at age sixty as he could at age thirty. Therefore, if you value material things and gauge value with a stop watch, a man grows less and less valuable as he ages.  In material terms, there is no reason to honor elders. They belong in the dumpster.

Fortunately the complete banality that rules the minds of communists and economists and many psychiatrists does not rule the work-place, and there are still  some employers who prefer a spy old man of 80 to a young galoot of 25. Why?  Well, for one thing, the old geezer shows up at work on time, whereas lots of young galoots find that very difficult. And so and so forth. Until, despite all materialistic logic, you arrive at a mass of evidence that demonstrates a geezer of 80 is a better worker than a galoot of 25.

How can this be? It defies physical science.

The answer lies outside what most call materialism, and matter, and what matters to the mindless. It involves a thing beyond the brain, called “The Mind.”

A pure materialist will not accept that we are anything other than brains, but we are more than that. We are minds, and when our brains quit and rot we will continue on as minds.

If my brain fails before the rest of my body does, I’ll be afflicted with various forms of senility that make me look stupid, but my spiritual progress will not stop. My mind will still be working, even if it can’t communicate through normal physical channels. It will continue to grow, even if my brain becomes so hapless I only drool.

But, if my brain remains sharp even as the rest of my body fails, I’ll be better able to communicate. Even if I hobble into work at age 80 with a cane, my employer will note I am on time, and do fifty other incidental things better than the young galoot who comes bounding in two hours late, and does fifty other things worse. Therefore, if push comes to shove at that workplace, guess who the employer will lay off?

I am not just talking through my hat. I have seen many examples of old geezers being desired, while young galoots are not, at workplaces.

The point I wish to make is that, in terms of materialism, this is utterly illogical.

The irony is that many think “employers” are the epitome of materialism.  They think employers think of nothing but money.

Maybe some employers are like that, but the simple fact of the matter is that, if employers prefer a physically inferior 80-year-old to a physically superior 25-year-old,  the employer cares about something that isn’t physical and isn’t material.

The conclusion I wish to draw is that, if you are the sort of person inclined to make New Year’s Resolutions, perhaps you should see it is foolish do push-ups and eat kale so you might better resemble a young galoot.

Instead maybe you should vow to do what it takes to resemble a spry old man of 80.

 

 

LOCAL VIEW –Liberalism Redefined–

Beggar 220px-Twis-05

“Liberal” originally meant “generous”.

Generosity is fine, as long as you are generous with your own money. It is when one starts being generous with my money that I start to steam. And it is when one is generous with my money, and gives it to people I think could be better served by swift kick in the pants, that the steam starts to whistle.

I don’t recommend this, but the best test (of how Liberal a person is) is to yourself be down and out. All your fair-weather-friends flee. Funny thing is: They were so, so Liberal, back when you were buying the beers.

I thank God for the real Liberals, who have really helped me out and who are scarce as hen’s teeth, and almost never advertise how truly Liberal they are, (and who, at times, are Liberal not with money, but with tough love.)

I should confess that I often have been in need of generosity, because money hasn’t been a big priority in my life. I took my retirement early, when I was in my teens and twenties, and now must keep on working, as I witness my more pragmatic friends retire with fat  pensions. True, I lived a life far more interesting life than they did, but now the early and middle parts are over, and what do I have to show for it? (Wisdom, I suppose, but definitely no savings or pension.)

When I was young I justified my sloth by saying I was an artist, and I think I actually was, (though apparently not a very good one).  I worked as little as possible and scribbled as much as I could, and managed this by, (to use a less-than-flattering word), mooching. However I discovered two things. First, when you don’t pay rent you still wind up paying a sort of rent that doesn’t involve money. Second, even the kindest people get fed up with even the nicest moochers. Eventually their generosity shifts from mushy love to tough love. People get tired of a poet looking at clouds and nibbling his pencil’s eraser. Either they show you the unwashed dishes and laundry (which amounts to the non-monetary rent I was talking about), or they show you the door.

I could relate a bunch of episodes describing when I faced this shift in a host’s attitude, but that would become a sidetrack, (though a very funny one.) One of the most amusing aspects of such episodes was how offended I felt, when my hosts revealed they didn’t think much of my art, and preferred that I focus on more more worldly pursuits, such as washing dishes. I was so offended that they almost never needed to throw me out; I’d storm off indignantly seeking someone who appreciated my great art. (In other words, someone new to mooch off.)

Perhaps the most touching (and embarrassing) episode involved a person so kind and so meek they couldn’t throw me out, so they themselves moved out. Abruptly, at age thirty-one, I was responsible for something I amazingly had never faced: “The next month’s rent.”  I had occasionally faced “the next week’s rent” or “my contribution to part of the commune’s rent”, but had never paid a month’s rent in its entirety.

Talk about a crisis!  It was bad enough that I had driven my kind host from his own apartment, but I now had to work a Real Job. I couldn’t drive off and sleep in my tiny car, for it wasn’t functioning just then.

It was right around this time a fellow moocher told me how much money one could make off the generosity of others, simply by asking people for spare change. This was against my psychological make-up. In fact one of the reasons I was in the mess I was in was because I was incredibly shy, and unable to ask for any sort of help, whether it be with getting my “great art” published, or whether it involved asking how to fix my car.

You might think that by age thirty-one I would have learned to be more forceful, but I had a very strange Karma. The times I had steeled my nerve, and huffed and puffed, and dared ask for help, I always seemed to ask the worst people. (That is ten tales for another evening). Rather than learning how to be outgoing, I became not only shy, but very discouraged.

However my situation was so dire that I felt I should once again muster my nerve, and once again huff and puff, and dare ask in a new way I had never tried before:  “Do you have any spare change?”

I headed out onto the streets, and found it was, for me, like asking a very beautiful woman to dance. I just couldn’t do it. I stood on the sidewalk, looking at passing people in a way that likely made them very uncomfortable, and never dared say a word.

How pathetic can a man get? Fortunately I was addicted to cigarettes, and addiction (or ordinary hunger) can supply motivation which pep-talks and self-psychiatry can’t. By the second day I was gasping for a cigarette, making people even more uncomfortable, as they walked by, and I still wasn’t daring to ask them for spare change, but I was getting close to it.

I was telling myself to be a man, and have some guts, and that it was actually spiritual to beg because Sadhus in India had begging bowls. Then I suddenly saw this gruff-looking guy walking, and he looked a lot like an old, gruff friend from my past, and I blurted, “Spare change?”

The fellow wheeled and absolutely exploded. As I recall his words were something along the lines of, “I am so fucking sick of you fucking, lazy assholes who haven’t got the fucking brains to fucking get a job! I can’t fucking walk down the fucking street without your fucking wheedling! I work fucking hard for my fucking spare change! What fucking gives you the fucking right to fucking ask for it? Huh? What gives you the fucking right?”

I wish I’d had the guts to answer honestly, and tell the guy, “I am desperate for cigarettes, so I can go back to looking at clouds and nibbling my eraser,  and avoid getting a Real Job.”  Instead I just backed away and out of the man’s gale of spittle, and whimpered something lamer, and less honest, such as, “I’m just hungry.”

The truth of the matter is that the fellow’s gale of spittle was a great dose of tough love, for I never, ever dared ask anyone for spare change ever again. If he had given me even a penny he would have encouraged me the wrong way. As it was I was forced, (against my will, I’ll admit), to leave off looking at clouds and to get a Real Job. Things didn’t exactly go uphill after that, for the job I got utterly sucked, but my downhill slant was less perpendicular.

I had a lot of work to do and a lot of suffering to experience, before I had any real sense I was heading uphill. Yet I felt strangely cared for by God. After all, what are the odds of getting such a gale of spittle the very first time you ask for spare change? It was fairly obvious to me that I wasn’t suppose to be a spiritual Sadhu with a begging bowl. And, because I had a spiritual steak, and was insanely optimistic, I figured I must be being guided by God to some better place.

I needed to think up some poetic symbol for the uncomfortable situation I was in, and recall remembering my father telling me about his days as a flight surgeon for test pilots. He’d told me that pilots pulling an airplane out of a dive experienced many “G’s”. The “G’s” increased the more they went from perpendicular to horizontal, and and continued even as the nose of the airplane pulled up; the “G’s” only started to decrease as the airplane started to move perpendicularly upwards.

This seemed a good analogy. If you dislike suffering, you can continue to experience weightlessness as you continue your nosedive to certain death. But if you want to pull out of your nosedive, you have to experience the “G’s” of, first, ordinary gravity, and then worse-than-ordinary gravity, and in the end you avoid not only certain death, but get to soar up to the sky. However the important part of the analogy was that the “G’s” continue even after you have started to pull out of the dive and are headed up. This allowed me to walk cheerfully whistling, and to think I must be heading up, even after my one-and-only attempt at pan-handling was a complete failure that left me misted by spittle.

Whoever that fellow was who cussed me out, over thirty years ago, happened to be, I’d like to thank him for his tough love. He probably is an old man now, feeling guilty about how he lost it and cussed out a poor beggar, back when he was much younger. He likely has no idea of what a good thing he did for me, nor that he may even have been a tool of God.

If he had been liberal with mushy love rather than tough love, he just would have encouraged me to be a pan handler. As it was, he encouraged me to be self-reliant, and eventually the father of five.

Now the five kids have grown up to five fine adults, and I’m facing the fact I’m getting older and weaker, and did not do a very good job of squirreling nuts away for the winter of my life. In the old fable of the grasshopper and the ant, I’ve been the happy grasshopper, bounding from job to job, and sometimes to no job at all. I did have to become more serious while raising five kids, but even then I did things, (such as homeschooling), that were irregular. I simply couldn’t bear the drudgery ants endure, going to the same hole day after day to get a stupid pension. Now they vacation in the warmth of Florida, and I face the winter I’ve earned.

As I sit down to do my taxes this year things look fairly bad. I didn’t budget for having a kidney removed. I absolutely hated doing taxes, even when I knew I’d get a refund back, but this year I’ll probably owe money I don’t have, so I absolutely loathe the paperwork even more than usual. In some ways I feel I’m right back where I was at age thirty-one, in a situation where I may have to ask for help.

I noticed some other websites have “tip jars” at the side, and was thinking of putting one on this site. This goes against my nature, and wounds my fat ego, for one thing I’m proud of is that I’ve never “sold out.”  In fact this is just a way of saying my writing has never made me a cent, but I figured it was better to be proud about my lack of success, than to be ashamed.

Also a “tip jar” is a bit like a “begging bowl.” In fact that is what I will call my “tip jar”, if I ever have the guts to institute one over in the margin of this page. But I likely will lack the guts. After all, that fellow who responded to my first attempt at pan-handling might still be around.

Instead I think I’ll avoid looking at my own problems, (and avoid starting my taxes), by sneering at people who have problems even worse than mine. Isn’t that what we usually do?

Because my taxes are due, I think I’ll start with the politicians in Washington DC.

When they just print the money they don’t actually have, to pay their rent, they are like beggars who don’t even have to pan handle, because they can just print what they crave. Will this pull them out of their nose-dive? No. They need some tough love. They need to stand in a gale of spittle, so let me supply some.

What they need is a dose of common sense. We need a Thomas Paine to write a modern “Common Sense,” for the beggars in Washington. To some degree it is happening on the  web, but we need a Thomas Paine to really slam the point home to those poor, begging imbeciles. Otherwise, because they can print money they don’t have, they think they are rich. We need to nudge them with the reality that they are worse than bankrupt.

I can tell you from personal experience that it is no fun to stand in a gale of spittle, but I also tell you it does you good. Ask any recruit who came out of boot camp a better man, and he will tell you that the sergeant’s gale of spittle did him good. It is a side of Liberalism most liberals now deny, thinking it is better to stay in a nose dive and experience no “G’s” at all. In fact to produce a gale of spittle is deemed “politically incorrect”.

Wrong.

There are times love is not mushy and gushy and sweet. There are times we have to be tough. I happen to dislike such times, especially when I have to be tough on myself, but they are a Truth. Liberals need to be generous with Truth. If they deny tough Truth, then they are no longer generous, and are actually no longer Liberals.

The idiots in Washington think they are Liberals because they can print money they do not have. This is not generosity. It is insanity.  Even I eventually figured out you need to face the music. I had to do it at age thirty-one, and I now have to do it again, at age sixty-three.

This brings me back to my own problems  Berating Washington DC didn’t help a bit, but it does feel good to blow off some steam. Likely it would be more constructive to go out and split some wood. Then face the taxes. And after that, face the finances.

In any case, there may be fewer posts on this blog, as I won’t have time to look at clouds and nibble my eraser. I’ll have to dust off that tiresome old mantra, “When the going gets tough the tough get going,” though I never really figured it applied to me. In fact I think my soul was accidentally put in the wrong body, when I was born, and that I was suppose to be a cat.

TAX-TIME CAT SONNET

Now I need no distractions, and yet now
Is when my old, snarled cat comes complaining.
Once again I don’t punch her. I think how
Small is my patience and restraining
Compared to God’s. To Him we’re all mewing cats
With no regard for the ten trillion tasks
That He must do. That’s His concern, and that’s
His crucifixion.

                            My cat only asks
Me,a power which could swiftly stomp her dead,
With faith that I won’t…..so I feed the damn thing
Hoping God doesn’t feel, when I’m the mewer fed,
How I hate that cat. “I’ll work on loving
Later”, I say, but feel my heart stirring,
And when I look down on my cat, she’s purring.

Begging Cat 3525859742_bd86e015c22

(Photo credit: http://fgacc.com/2014/02/18/send-in-your-pictures/3525859742_bd86e015c22/ )

LOCAL VIEW –THE BALLET OF A BROOK–

It is Friday night, and after the week I’ve been through I’m ready to tell responsibility to go to hell. I figure that is OK, if I have done “responsibility” all week. It is Monday morning that winds you up in trouble, if you tell responsibility to go to hell..

Last week some of my excellent employees were unavailable for work, so I had to step in and cover for them. Considering they had recently covered for me, as I had a kidney removed, I am not about to whine much. But I will whine just a little bit, because being post-operative reminded me of something I’d nearly forgotten: This world doesn’t need me. I can kick back, and everything doesn’t collapse in a heap. I sort of liked kicking back, but last week I abruptly had to stop it.  My first real vacation in fifteen years was over.

Most people seem to need a vacation to recover from a vacation. They have no desire to return to the rat race, because they have fleetingly seen life can be much, much better. The revelation is downright traumatic, which is why they need another vacation. They need to reassess. They need to reevaluate what the hell they are suffering for.

It was different for me, because I was craving to get back to work. When the vacation is enforced, due to an operation, you are itching to get back in the saddle. Then, when you are allowed to again do the most simple things, such as sweep a powder of snow from steps, the joy you feel is all out of proportion to the magnitude of the task. Sweeping of the snow is no earth-shaking deed, yet you feel like singing the Hallelujah Chorus.

Yet I too had no desire to return to the rat race. There is something about calling our labor a “rat race” that demeans life. We are missing the point. We are missing the majesty.

When my wife and I started our Farm-childcare nearly a decade ago we hadn’t read “Last Child In The Woods” by Richard Louv or “Simplicity Parenting” by Kim John Payne. But we knew what they knew. Our society is missing the majesty.

It is bad enough when we turn our own lives into a rat race, but when we turn little children’s lives into rat races it is a bridge too far. It violates the sanctity of of an obvious and simple church called “Childhood.” Yet the most loving people do it.  Childhood is suppose to be a sanctuary, but parents and schoolmarms disturb the peace.

Six hundred toys is not peace; it is hectic. It isn’t loving, nor are ballet lessons after organized sports after classes after classes after classes before yoga sessions about serenity. Yet both parents work two jobs, and send innocents to Farm-childcares like mine from 7:00 AM until 6:00 PM, (most of a child’s waking hours), and suffer all this rat-race toil out of a love for those they abuse.

It is a love that is misguided. I am old, and if I am any sort of guide I need to say, “You should put my Farm-childcare out of business. Do you have any idea how much money you could save if you worked less, drove less, prepared your own food, and raised your own kids?”

My wife is usually the one who deals with our customers. I lack tact. But the fact I stay silent sometimes makes me feel like a Caspar Milquetoast.Boss census

Fortunately my wife is as radical as I am, and agrees children are better off being allowed the freedom to be young. If a child wants to spend time by a brook, rather than listening to the insipid prattling of elders about ballet, they may very well learn more about ballet from a brook, and more about beauty from a brook, and certainly receive more healing from a brook than all the king’s doctors and all the king’s psychologists can ever provide.

Brook IMG_1771

You complain God is silent, but heed you
The sweet music of a burbling brook?
Maybe you buy the video, and do
Your best to cure insomnia, and look
To screens to see blue waters play, and guide
Your children to bleak deserts waterless:
Sessions and sessions, all puffing your pride
When in fact you are deaf, or even less.

I tell you God’s not silent, but you must go
To an actual brook, and do a thing
Called “sit still”, unwax your ears, and then know
What children know. Dare you try listening?
Who made this rat-race, so sure to depress?
The silence of God gives you more, asking less.

LOCAL VIEW —An Igloo’s Demise—

I haven’t had to document “The worst winter ever” for the past few days, as we’ve had a wonderful spell of spring-like weather. I know better than to be fooled by it, for we get snows into April this far north, and only in May do we call snows (which do occasionally happen) “freakish”.  However just because I am not fooled by it has been no reason to frown. Frowns have been few and far between, on the winter-weary faces I’ve seen.

Smiles are a good thing to see, as this has always been a time of toughness, in New England. One reason for having Lent when it is, is because, back in the day,  food supplies were getting short. One reason for corn beef and cabbage being a traditional Saint Patrick’s Day meal was that corn beef was the only meat left, and cabbage, carrots and potatoes was all that was left in your root cellar.  Then, midst this general poverty, towns would hold their Town Meeting.

It was a smart time to talk about budgets. People were bound to be more frugal and practical when they were basically broke, then they would be midst the bounty of harvest. Also, during harvest, everyone was busy harvesting. In March there tends to be little to do, as the fields are all slush and muck, if they are not snow covered. Planting began in April.

Town Meetings were also a time to meet people you hadn’t seen during the cold, snowy days when it was hard to get out much. Unfortunately we are are more mobile now, and this makes it even less likely to see neighbors, for everyone tends to work miles from their homes and neighbors. It also makes it hard for people to attend Town Meetings, and sadly our town abandoned that wonderful example of democracy in favor of elections, which allow people to rush in and cast votes on topics they know next to nothing about, and haven’t heard discussed from both the Yea and Nay sides.

A major issue our little town faced was whether or not to slash the school budget. Such discussions can get ugly, because on one hand there are the “it’s for the children” arguments, and on the other hand the economy is bad, and people are on the verge of losing their homes, and one may hear “it’s for the senior citizens” arguments, because soaring taxes hit those on fixed incomes especially hard. I agonized over the choice, but in the end voted against slashing the budget, however my vote was in the minority.

Considering how serious the implications are, and how many work at the local schools, it was hard to walk into the voting place without feeling guilty as you passed school children with pickets reading, “Save our drama club” and such things. It didn’t matter that I was voting the way they wanted, for there were other signs taking the other view. It is a sort of gauntlet you have to get through, and even though the ballot is secret I always feel as guilty as hell.

But there were nothing but smiles to be seen, in the sunshine, this year. Fifty degrees!  Do you have any idea how long it has been?

There are times our common sense and intellectual nature is overwhelmed. It doesn’t make a lick of sense, but it happens, like when a very attractive person smiles at you.

Then you see, out in the Childcare’s playground, that the igloo the children delight in has collapsed into a pile of slushy snow, and you look at the weather map, and you realize that the pile of slushy snow will turn into rock-like ice tomorrow. What sort of playground is that?

There are times our common sense returns with a rush, as it does when an attractive and smiling person walks away, and we realize our wallet is missing.

I need to give myself a good slap in the face, and repeat over and over, “It isn’t May yet. It isn’t May yet.”

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LOCAL VIEW —Powder’s End—(Updated twice, with summery)

There is the word “rain” in the forecast. True, the forecast is for 4-6 inches of snow, ending as a glaze of freezing rain before we are clobbered by another cold wave, but it seems I haven’t heard that word “rain” for the longest time. It seems impossible, after the shot of cold we just took.

The core of the cold came in around dawn Friday. Temperatures had been plunging all night with squalls of snow, with the the final flakes flying after midnight and preventing Friday from being a “snow free” day, but by the dawn’s twilight the final clouds were hurrying away, purple buffalo galloping against the stripe of orange on the eastern horizon. Temperatures had dropped to around 5°. and were down to 2° when the brilliant sun peeked over the frozen landscape, and then, despite the brilliant sun, continued down. When I dropped the gang-of-six off at the kindergarten the dashboard thermometer read zero. (My thermometer at home, and a few others on my area, read higher, because a big drift covered the bulb.)

We didn’t even try to get the children outside at our farm-daycare.  Our focus may be the outdoors, but there comes a time to surrender to reality, and with the vicious wind whipping snow like stinging sand, surrender seemed wise. The best the thermometer could achieve, despite sunshine that made you squint, was 14° (-10° Celsius).

Meanwhile all eyes turned to the next storm, to our west.

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I had to shovel out the back of my pick-up and hustle off through the cold to pick up some grain and do a few other out of town chores. One involved a visit to a bank I don’t usually use.

I saw a funny incident at that bank. A very old man came doddering in, and a young lady started to hit him with some sort of bureaucratic crap, saying that they had changed their policy and now both he and his wife had to sign a certain check for him to deposit it. It was 9° out with a howling wind and drifting snow, and the old man’s nose was blue despite his extensive scarves, a collar that engulfed his chin, and a furry hat that looked several sizes too large. The young lady was basically telling him to go home through the vicious wind and then come back through the rotten weather a second time. Though the old man’s voice was very reedy and quavering, his eyes got very regal and piercing, and the young lady stopped talking in the middle of a sentence. After looking her up and down, he picked up a pen and wrote his own signature with one hand, and then switched hands and forged his wife’s signature with the other hand. Then he handed her the check, as if daring her to say something. She didn’t dare.

The bank also had a group of young men with checks they’d gotten from people for shoveling roofs. Briefly unemployment  as dipped in this area. One topic I heard discussed was how homeowners have ripped shingles from their roofs, attempting to remove snow with long ice rakes.

I stopped at several places looking for the pucks of calcium chloride you can toss up onto roofs to melt ice-dams. The problem people are having with ice-dams is so serious that everyone was sold out, however an old-timer at a hardware store told me it is cheaper to just buy a big 50 pound bag of calcium chloride, and then, when your wife isn’t looking, you take her nylons and make a tube of calcium chloride, and lay it over the ice-dam at the edge of your roof.

The worst of this arctic shot actually headed south well west of us. Places in Kentucky smashed their all time records, which is all the more noteworthy as it is nearly March. Joe Bastardi, at his blog over at Weatherbell (and some other sites as well), are pointing out that the National Weather Bureau is displaying their political bias, and their eagerness to promote a Global Warming agenda, because they have no problem trumpeting record highs when they occur, but when an all-time-record-low is set they question the thermometers. They disallowed an all-time-record set in Illinois last winter despite the fact the thermometer seemed to work correctly, but couldn’t disallow the new record of -50° set in Maine, when that thermometer was compared to five other thermometers and proved accurate. It will be difficult to ignore the records set in Kentucky because the old records were not broken by a mere degree. They were smashed.

Not that it means the world is getting colder. It means the core of an arctic air-mass was flung south with such speed it didn’t have time to warm up.

Our temperatures dropped below zero again soon after sunset, but by then the core of the cold was past, and winds were already starting to swing around to the southwest. Temperatures dipped to -1.1° ( -18.4° Celsius) before midnight,  but now have crept up to +0.3° as I suffer my usual insomnia at 3:40 AM.

The storm is gathering to our west, with more snow in the current radar shot than appeared in the shot at the start of this post.

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I have lots to do to be ready for the next storm, but have to waste half a day taking one of those adult-education courses the State insists Child-care-professionals take. This seems a perfect example of bureaucracy run amuck .  Rather than doing what common sense would have you do, you must fulfill some requirement they dreamed up, because what else have they got to do with their time?

I’ll make the best of it, even though I often know more than my teachers. There is something to be learned from every person you meet, even if it isn’t always what they are teaching. Also I’ve been working so hard, physically, that it may do me some good to just sit for a while.

Unloading feed for my goats in that wind yesterday did make sitting sound awful attractive, especially as the snow is so deep I can’t back my truck very close to the barn.  I’m the one who should be sitting around and dreaming stuff up. I need to write a novel, and make enough money to hire a young fellow to lug grain for me. Of course, I’ve been saying that for nearly fifty years. The whole point of becoming a writer in the first place was to avoid working a real job. However I’m glad that didn’t work out, for what would I have had to write about?

I’ll update about this storms as it happens.

CLASSY CLASS

I was not very happy about having my Saturday stolen, especially having to hurry in the brittle chill of -3.5° daybreak to feed animals and be on the road to the western side of Southern New Hampshire. I like to potter about unhurried on a Saturday. Instead I was being tossed about in a van with my wife and three staff members, because even the more civilized State Highways are starting to be buckled by frost heaves. Furthermore it only got colder. It was below -10° in the low, flat former-farmland that cradles the large town of Keene. As the women in the van cheerfully  chattered I glowered across a landscape that was a queer mix of brilliant blue and brass, as the arctic air gave way to the advance of southern storminess.  The sky was a confusion of high clouds, speaking of warmth far away as the world beneath was frozen solid.

The class was about introducing children to the outdoors. Considering this was the entire premise behind opening our Childcare nearly a decade ago, and considering the crap the State put us through for daring to step outside of the box of institutionalized childcare where children are basically incarcerated in a jail, there is a certain irony in the fact the State now requires I be “educated” about the subject. It was one of those situations where I could say a great deal, however my wife shoots me a certain look that implores that I button my fat lips.

The class was in two parts. We had a class in October where the idea was introduced, and now we were suppose to relay our observations and results, after trying out the amazing idea of allowing children to escape the suffocation of the indoors, and run where the air is fresh and free. I was a bit cynical about what people would say, seeing as how we have had just about the worst weather on record, and childcare-providers were given just about every reason there is to stay indoors.

I was glad I kept my big mouth closed, for it turned out to be very interesting to listen to how amazed the childcare providers were about how positive the experience of allowing the children to play outside was. Duh. But I did not even feel the urge to say “Duh”, because there is something better about people discovering things for themselves than you doing the discovery for them and ramming it down their throats.

One thing I have often seen is that, when a new child comes to our Childcare, they stand around and watch the other children for a bit, before getting drawn into the play. I’d always assumed this was due to shyness, and never considered the fact they might not be used to the outdoors. However as I listened to other childcare providers I heard that the entire group of children stood about, when first faced with the outdoors. In some cases even the staff stood about. It was as if they were all asking, “Now what?” It took a day or two before they even began to run about and enjoy the outdoors. That is how alienated modern society has become from fresh air. However, after only a day or two, a sort of enthusiasm bloomed, and soon parents were remarking that all children would talk about when they got home was how much fun the outdoors was.

This is something my wife and I accepted as a basic premise. Not that we deserve a medal for anything so blatantly obvious, but it nice to see some sort of affirmation: We didn’t invent the Truth; the mystery is why others don’t see it.

Originally the class was suppose to be held outdoors, but the instructor decided against that when she saw the dawn temperature was -15° (-26.1° Celsius) in Keene. However by 10:30 AM temperatures had risen thirty degrees to +15° (-9.4° Celsius). This is still “too cold” for children to be allowed outside at State-run schools, and it was refreshing to hear many state how stupid that ruke was, in a windless calm, for +15° felt warm.

They have had less snow in western New Hampshire, only 30 inches lay in the playground as opposed to 60 inches towards the coast. However the snow was deep enough to limit the children at that particular Childcare, when they went out to play. As I watched, the 30 or so women attending the class (I was the lone male) all got busy making paths and building various shapes, as a “surprise” for the children when they came in on Monday. (My favorite was a circle with an inward-facing bench, built of packed powder, which got dubbed “the hot tub”.

I carefully avoided being helpful. My body is so achy from a week’s worth of work making my own playground child-friendly that I figured I needed a break. Instead I just watched, and was glad I kept my big mouth closed.

YAHOO SNOWFALL

Temperatures rose to 21.7° (-5.7° Celsius) as the day dulled to gray. I was Home by 1:30 PM, ate lunch, and snoozed, and the snow was beginning at 3:00 when I finally got myself going. Temperatures promptly dropped to 21.0°, and then stayed within a degree of that as the day slowly darkened and the snow grew heavier.

I had to drive about a bit taking care of minor bits of business before winding up at the farm removing snow from roofs, and couldn’t help but notice the insanity of the young men. They were fishtailing about the roads recklessly, as I crept along carefully in my old truck. The snow fell in bursts, with a half inch in ten minutes, and then a spell of light snow before the next burst. I passed one field where young men were going wild in snow mobiles, and then at the farm, as I worked in the deepening darkness, I could hear the snowmobiles whining like deranged mosquitoes off in the distance.

I used to really hate the noise, the disruption of the peace, caused by snowmobiles. I prefered the quiet where you can hear the sound flakes make as they land.  Oddly, I found my feelings had changed.

The economy has been so bad I heard few snow mobiles, up until a week ago. Then young men were able to find work shoveling off roofs. Apparently, rather than being wise and putting their money in a jar and saving it, they bought gas for their snow mobiles, and are being foolish.  Why does that make me smile?

The radar showed snow decreasing in a more westerly band, and increasing in a band closer to the coast.

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INSOMNIA REPORT

Temperatures have remained level all night, and are at 21.2° at 2:30 AM. The snow seems to be slackening off, and the western edge os approaching. We seem likely to escape with only three inches. Boston continues to have its odd karma, and snow still looks heavy down there.

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The extreme cold looks to be hanging back behind a temporarily stationary front back over the Great Lakes. That front will charge south and have us back below zero on Monday night, but it looks like we’ll get a day of rest this Sunday. It might even get above freezing, which will feel like fifty to the frost-bitten populace of New England. Weekend after weekend we’ve had storms, but it looks like this Sunday we’ll at least manage a church service.

The Great Lakes are freezing up, despite the fact the cold has been centered over us and not them, this winter. Last winter they got the extreme cold, yet we are seeing as much ice as last year, (perhaps because the water was colder to begin with.) This is especially noticeable on Lake Ontario, which is closer to the center of this year’s cold, and which has more ice than last year.  Storms and strong winds have torn at the ice and led to decreases, but still the ice cover increases. This does not bode well for a balmy spring.

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ANOTHER INSOMNIA REPORT

A very weak wave rippled along the front as it pushed by yesterday morning, giving us a final flurry of snow, before the clouds broke and we got a kindly Sunday.

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Even though Boston got heavier snow, it was mixed with enough sleet and freezing rain to reduce amounts to something like an inch and a half. Nonetheless they are nearing an all-time-record for snow-in-a-single-winter, and have completely smashed their record for snow-in-a-single-month, despite the fact February has fewer days. (These records only go back to around 1870, and also I think they didn’t fuss so much measuring a half inch of snow, back in the old days. However they have broken the snow-in-a-single-month record by more than a foot.) Boston Harbor is choked with sea-ice.

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There is sea-ice all the way down to inlets in Virginia. I wonder if they include it in the “sea-ice totals”. Maybe not, as I suppose it doesn’t count as “arctic” and they are measuring arctic sea-ice.” But we certainly have been included in the arctic, the past month.

However yesterday was different. It was a brief break. We managed a church service, and I greatly enjoyed getting out of my grubby farmer clothes, even if I was back in them three hours later and back warring with the snow. To some it may seem quaint, rustic and even primitive to congregate and sing 200-year-old songs praising a Creator some doubt exists, but speaking for myself, it was a relief, and a joy.

Then it was back to the battle. I’d say we had 3-4 inches of fluff, very unusual as it came on a south wind, and drifted places (such as porches) that are usually protected from snow. As I cleaned such a porch I had a vivid memory of being a small boy back in the 1950’s, and hearing my mother remark, “This is very unusual. We don’t usually get snow on a south wind.” It gave me the sense we were back to a place we were sixty years ago, in a sixty-year-cycle.

My up-the-hill neighbors are getting a bit desperate, as the oil-delivery-man is a bit of a weeny and will not zoom up their drive like his predecessor did, and turn around in a vast flat area at the top, and instead insists upon creeping up the hill backwards. To be blunt, I am better at backing up than this fellow is, and I am not all that good at it. He veers into snowbanks, and churns the wheels a little, and then gives up in trepidation over the prospect of “getting stuck.” He insisted they widen the drive, so they fought back the snowbanks. Then he insisted they sand the driveway so they sanded it.  Now he apparently is saying the packed powder is too deep, and they must scrape down to the pavement.  (I doubt it will do any good, for even if the pavement was bare and dry, the fellow is pathetic, when it comes to backing-up.) In any case they have now spread hundreds of pounds of salt, which had no effect at first, because salt will not melt snow when temperatures dip below 20 degrees. Then, yesterday, temperatures rose above twenty, and the driveway, which had been paved with a half-foot of packed, squeaky snow it was easy to drive over, turned into six inches of a sort of dry slush, which they were attempting to shovel away. I took off my Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes, put on my grubby-farmer-clothes,  and went out to join them. I likely violated commandments involving Sunday being a day-of-rest, but gleaned a few points for loving-my-neighbor.

Having already broken the commandment about resting on Sunday, I headed over to our farm-childcare to snow-blow the entrances and exits and parking area. The roads were wet, for the salt which formerly had no effect was starting to work all over town, and it gave one the sense we were experiencing a thaw. No such luck. Even in the brightest and sunniest part of the afternoon we couldn’t quite break freezing, only achieving 31.6°. (-0.2 Celsius). However the slush that was created needed to be dealt with, as, if you don’t take care of it, it turns to rock when the cold returns. (I think the salt actually drains away as a sort of brine, leaving a slush behind that is salt-free.)

No one seemed to be taking a day-of-rest. Everyone seemed determined to avoid letting the snow get ahead of them. I saw no signs of the April-attitude, which doesn’t bother with clearing up snow because everyone knows the sun will melt it in a day or two. We are not there yet, and there seems to be an unspoken understanding that everyone needs to keep fighting. We can handle 3-4 inches of snow, but it is like treading water. Everyone knows we cannot handle a big storm. There is simply no place to put the snow.

However it does no good to worry about what might not happen. You deal with the cards you are dealt. As I finished snow-blowing, and sudden silence descended, I looked west to where the orange twilight was draining into the sky, and listened, and heard not even the sound of snowflakes falling. There were no snowmobiles roaring weekend joys, for the weekend was over, and mine was the last snow-blower to quit. All I could hear was the silence of a world smothered by snow.

There was no roaring of oncoming arctic air, though that is in the forecast. In fact even now, as I write this insomnia report, temperatures have only dipped to 21.7°. We are still in the lull before the next onslaught of winter.

The map and radar shows a line of light snow, as the arctic air closes in, but the night is still still, and the stillness suggests a song.

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This sort of arctic front can bring us unexpected snow, as the sun is high enough to add uplift and turn a flurry into a squall, but it isn’t here yet, and I am content to simply listen to the silence, before the pines again begin roaring.

The moonless night feels draped by pearled moonlight.
The once-cold stars now have twinkling eyes.
Something is happening out of my sight;
Something out of my mind now softens sighs.
Under the drifts of deep drowning snows
A simpleness stirs. It’s nothing fancy.
It’s old. It’s what a mother knows
Before the father knows of pregnancy.
It’s the first stirrings of sap down in roots
Before the first drop plinks in a bucket.
It’s an earthquake, but lawyers in sleek suits
Can’t feel it, or else sense and say, “Fuck it.”
Though forecasts are cold, it’s forecasting mirth.
It’s a silence utterly altering earth.

LOCAL VIEW —A Warm Snow—

I was so stiff and sore Friday afternoon I didn’t stock the porch with firewood. I was hoping that by moaning and limping and looking pitiful I might inspire my middle son to stock the porch for me. However he failed to get the hint, as he has his own reasons for moaning and groaning: Despite amassing huge debts gaining a degree in biology the only work he can find is in a coffee shop. After a day’s work he needs to remember who he is, and heads off into the woods to study the local wildlife, rather than stocking a porch with firewood.

To a degree I expected that, but knew that the snow wasn’t suppose to start until mid-morning yesterday, and figured I could limp out and get it done early. However I confess I half-expected the snow to start early, as the upper air trough was positively tilted and the storm was wasting no time coming north.

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Temperatures, which had dipped to the upper teens in the evening, rose into the twenties over night as the clouds rolled in, and by the first light of dawn it was snowing. It was fluffy stuff, and atop the iron ice underneath it was like dry sawdust on a polished floor, and treacherously slippery. As my middle son ate waffles and studied the internet, I dressed in my woolly hat and scarf, and with a deep sigh headed out to work with great care, moving wood by wheelbarrow to the porch, and laboring up the porch’s stairs. Soon I forgot to feel sorry for myself, for it was quite beautiful out, and so warm I didn’t feel a bit chilled in a world that resembled a shaken snow globe.  (One thing I can’t understand is how, when a storm is zooming past, there can be no wind.)

Soon my son came bounding out, hardly dressed for winter at  all, and began rushing to and fro carrying wood by the armload, making me feel a bit old as I wheelbarrowed in slow motion, but also a bit wise as he went flying on the slick ice and crash-landed in a manner that would have put me in a hospital. He hopped right up with a laugh and continued.

It was fairly obvious he had other things to do, and wanted to quit as soon as the pile was knee-deep on the porch. I myself was originally thinking I’d quit when I achieved that minimum, but now that I had companionship I continued, despite the slight look of pain on my son’s face I went for the next load, again and again, and the pile on the porch passed waist-deep and headed towards chest-deep.

Besides hauling we did a bit of splitting, as the fellow who delivered the wood last fall was in such a hurry to keep up with orders he didn’t always spit the logs down to a sensible size. We talked about trees and the grain of wood, and I learned things I didn’t know, as I lack a degree in biology, but also had the satisfaction of answering a question. A song much like a tree frog sounded from the tree tops near us, and my son quirked his head and asked, “What’s that?”  I could answer, “A woodpecker,” though I had to confess I never had figured out if it was a hairy or a downy.

All in all it was fun, to my surprise, and it felt good to go stamping back inside past a porch stacked to neck-level. The snow already seemed to be slacking off, as I pottered on, doing the Saturday chores, and enjoying my first snow tires in years, though I will confess they took all the challenge out of going up hills.

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By the time I headed off to feed the goats and chickens and rabbit, and snow-blow the drives and lots at the Childcare, it seemed the snow was done. As I drove I passed many who were just finishing up cleaning off their drives with looks of satisfaction on their faces, but everyone was in for a surprise, as a little following-wave developed and messed up all the neat and tidy jobs with an extra inch. Again the snow-globe was shaken as I worked, in a windless mildness that topped off with temperatures of 29.5° (-1.4° Celsius).

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The second wave of snow was already tapering off as the dark descended. All in all we had around four inches of fluff, though it settled some. I feel a bit foolish for dreading the prospect of snow so much, for this has to have been one of the nicest and warmest snows I can remember since I was young, back when all snows were warm.

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However even as this snow moves off over Nova Scotia, a little Alberta Clipper is diving south, to the southwest of Lake Superior.

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That little clipper is forecast to give us an amazing two feet of powder snow, with winds gusting over 40 mph and temperatures in the teens, this coming Tuesday. I’m not sure I fully believe that forecast, yet, but confess I haven’t learned my lesson, for I am once again cringing at the prospect of snow.

LOCAL VIEW —I thought I saw a thaw—

In the winter, with warmth comes clouds, and with the clouds came a brief spell of snow this morning. It was just enough to make a mess, and totally confuse things for everyone, as the superintendent of schools, (who I think has a deep fear of lawsuits), announced a two hour delay in the opening of school, for a pathetic inch and a half of snow.

Personally, I think the superintendent should be fined for each delay. It might make him more cognizant of the total chaos he is causing the local economy.  When both parents work, to abruptly have to figure out what to do with the children for two hours causes a sort of panic. Someone needs to step in to save the day, and that someone tends to be the guy running the Childcare facility, namely me.

I am grumpy enough about having to add “snow removal” to my schedule, even if it is only brooming off the front walk and scattering some salt, and running to and fro pushing the snow off the part of the parking lot where parents actually disembark with their kids (to keep them from tracking amazing amounts of snow inside). To also have to deal with a bunch of parental pleading is not what I need, as the superintendent himself sits back and sips a coffee in some plush office.

It occurred to me this morning that we could save a lot of tax dollars if we rented his office to some business that actually contributes to the economy, and actually pays taxes, and moved the superintendent himself from that plush office to my goat barn. After all, it has an electrical outlet. I could supply a table and chair.

Besides the parents working real jobs, desperate to find care for their children, there are of course the parents who teach at the school, who come lollygagging in with their children two hours late without telling us they will be late. They have no idea of the staffing problems we are facing with extra children, or of various state laws that demand we have a set number of adults for a set number of children. If they’d have the consideration to call us and inform us they’d be late, then we might…….

Oh, what’s the use!  It is scheduling chaos, and that is all there is to it. And to have this chaos caused by a fall of snow we’d hardly notice, back when I was a kid, does make me even more grumpy than I usually am.

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The irony was that the two hour delay allowed milder air to come north, and raise temperatures from 25° to 34° (-4° to +1° Celsius). This turned the roads from snow-covered, (and if you don’t know how to drive on snow-covered roads you shouldn’t live in New Hampshire), to slush-covered, which turns roads into a sort of treacherous grease, especially when the tar beneath has been chilled by sub-zero cold.

To top it all off, I had a dentist appointment scheduled twenty miles away, at a time things have usually settled down, but now was the time the delayed bus would be arriving, (driven by a bus driver in a bad mood, because drivers usually need a second job in the middle of the day to make ends meet, but the superintendent doesn’t think of the cut drivers are going to take in their mid-day pay, with each two-hour-delay.)

The dentist was going to do a root canal. Come to think of it, anticipation of this procedure might have added a little extra to my grumpiness.

To cut a long story short, kids wound up where kids were suppose to be, I slithered twenty miles, and settled down in the comfortable chair of a dentist who has the redeeming quality of never stinting on the Novocaine.  Around lunchtime I left, planning to skip lunch, because if I had eaten there would have been absolutely no way of knowing whether I was chewing my meal or the left side of my face.

To sit a long time in a chair with my mouth open might not seem like an activity that uses a lot of energy, but I always wind up feeling like I’ve been exercising. I’m stiff and sore. At the same time I feel like I’ve been producing a lot of adrenaline and not using it. I feel sort of like zoning-out listlessly for around a week, but have learned it is better to do some exercise, and get my blood stirring. So I trudged outdoors to stock up the depleted porch with firewood.

Some of our wood was delivered with the logs too fat, so I swung a maul and split the bigger logs to two or three smaller ones. Gradually I began to feel human again.

It was misty, with the temperature stalled barely above freezing, and then starting down again, sinking below freezing around nightfall.  We were in a sort of dry-slot between snow to our north and rain to our south.

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I doubt we will get much snow as the next cold high pressure pushes down over us. That snow to our north looks in a big hurry to slide away up to the northeast. By morning we might have a dusting, atop slush that will all be frozen as hard as iron.

If you look at the weather map you can see the southern-branch moisture and energy is still dawdling down in Florida. When the energy stays spread out like that we fail to get a big storm.

To our northwest you can see the next big arctic high coming. At the very top of the map you can see a cold front way up in Canada, which indicates yet another high pressure will follow.

Between each of the high pressures is low pressure holding the chance of a becoming the “Big One.”  Each slot of low pressure will have a northern-branch and southern-branch feature. Sometimes they will fail to “phase”, as was the case with the current two low-pressures, but the current pattern reminds me of the patterns of my youth, and back then the really big storms waited until February, or even March. That is what I feel in my bones we will see again, this year.

When that happens it does get milder between the arctic high pressures, but the storms tend to make snow even when rain seems likely. The pressure is falling so rapidly, and precipitation also falls so rapidly that, due to some process I don’t fully understand, “cold air gets dragged to the surface.”  It can be a degree or two above freezing, yet the snow dumps down at rates up to three inches an hour.

Our Childcare has never been closed by a storm, but on one occasion only a single small girl showed up. I think we could see that happen again, this winter.

In the mean time we are passing through the more easy time of the winter, when snow-removal only involves a broom. If the superintendent can freak out over this weather, I expect there will be no school at all, this February.

Even though these are the easy times, I can’t help but notice our landscape has changed from brown to white, and I have to brush the snow from the logs out at the woodpile, now. However that is much better than needing to dig down to find the logs. A brief thaw is better than no thaw at all, and two inches of snow better than two feet.

However even better is to retreat to the year 1971, and work on my novel.

I’m Back

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I finished my cross-country jaunt last Saturday, but when I sat down at my desk to resume my blogging I discovered I had no desire to continue doing what I’d been doing. Basically it seems useless to respond to a government which bases so much on sheer deceit. Thinkers and scientists far more skilled than I have been demonstrating, and continue to demonstrate,  the false nature of ideas such as the “Arctic Death Spiral,” but the government seemingly doesn’t care if its claims are based of a foundation of fraud.

Any sort of engineering, including social engineering, which is based on incorrect numbers and ideas cannot stand firm.  It is bound to come crashing down. The ends never justify the means, for false means engineer a bad end.

At this point I am unsure how to respond to this discouraging revelation. It occurs to me I might as well document the disaster I foresee, as it happens, and describe how the people of a small town respond to a government which has, to all extents and purposes, gone mad.

A very warm air mass, hot and humid and 30 degrees above normal for October, is being swept out to see by a cleansing cold front this morning. There is general feeling, among people in town, that it would be good if the coming election swept the corruption from power, down in Washington DC, but also that there is a great danger of election fraud.  During the last election it is estimated 100,000 people came north from Massachusetts to New Hampshire to cast false votes.  This demonstrates how acceptable it is, in the minds of some, to cheat.  Any society that accepts falseness to that degree is cruising for bruising.  When it hammers its own thumb, it has no one to blame but itself.

 

BARKING MAD

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(Nigel Hawthorne playing King George the Third.  Photo credit: Rex Features)

BARKING MAD

(A rave, prompted by facing insane heating costs)

It is a painful thing to confront someone whom one is accustomed to respecting, and to tell that person they are barking mad. Usually one avoids it, or dismisses the other’s strange behavior as “a difference of opinion,” and speaks platitudes about “the importance of diversity,” however when a person is going, “Arf! Arf!” right in your face, there is no way around it. This includes governments, when they become barking mad.

Thomas Jefferson knew this, when he quilled the Declaration of Independence, listing King George’s barking mad behaviors, however there has been a recent, revisionist effort to show that King George the Third wasn’t all that bad, and his blue urine wasn’t due to porphuria, and his spells of foaming at the mouth were but minor episodes, especially when he was young and was busily losing the American colonies. (I think this may in part be due to the fact that porphuria is hereditary, and certain people don’t want the rabble giving Prince Charles appraising looks.)

The argument states that, if you could get an audience at his glittering palace, King George was quite lucid, and even charming, and that the points he raised, about the government’s right to tax, are valid to this day. There is even some reproach towards America and Jefferson for failing to understand King George’s points.

However taxation was not the issue. Taxation without representation was the issue. When one looks back with twenty-twenty hindsight, the solution to the problem seems simple: Simply give the thirteen colony’s thirteen elected representatives in Parliament. It seems like such an obvious thing, to give Englishmen abroad the same rights as Englishmen at home, and seems so conducive to unity and the expansion of an unified kingdom, that to switch the subject to the-right-of-the-government-to-tax seems a sleight of hand bound to stub thumbs, to lead to schism, and to create discord out of harmony. It was, in fact, a barking mad thing for King George to do.

As soon as one treats ones own family as the enemy; one fosters a house divided, which must fall. Perhaps the greatest example of this madness occurred in 1914 when three of Queen Victoria’s grandchildren occupied thrones that governed roughly half the planet, as King of England, Kaiser of Germany, and the wife of the Czar of Russia. Unless these relatives considered their own family to be the enemy, there could have been no World War One, which was a calamity and slaughter so mind-boggling, and so shattering to people’s structures of belief, that it’s declaration was in many senses the beginning of a war that hasn’t ended.

The way to avoid all this madness is simply to understand there is one sort of behavior that leads to marriage, and another that leads to divorce. Assuming one can concede unity is better than division, and harmony is better than discord, (and there are some scoffers who refuse to concede this,) then heeding others (or their elected representatives) is wisdom, and any alternative deafness is ignorance. It is hugely important for those in positions of privilege and power to never lose touch with the so-called “common man.”

Unfortunately this is exactly what appears to have happened in Washington, where the leadership has seemingly forgotten, if they ever knew, how hard it is for less privileged people to scrape by. They have lost touch with humble lives that can be quite happy, provided a certain criteria involving basic necessities are met, and instead are making decisions that cause the poor to experience hardships which the leaders themselves are seemingly oblivious to. Enamored by their own eloquence, charmed by their own intellectual gyrations, they fail to see some of their concepts are barking mad.

“Cash for Clunkers” was an example of such madness. It was basically an ill-thought-out and erroneous solution to a fictitious problem based on a fraud, however it sounded elegant and efficient to the privileged at glittering parties inside the Beltway. In one fell swoop they imagined Cash for Clunkers would increase the gas mileage of American vehicles, reduce Carbon Emissions and therefore halt Global Warming, increase car sales and therefore stimulate the economy, replace low tech vehicles with high tech vehicles and therefore benefit more advanced technologies and technicians, and do all this for a paltry three billion dollars the nation didn’t have, but that could be printed. In short order Cash for Clunkers then destroyed 690,114 perfectly viable vehicles, which were traded in for 690,114 new vehicles.

It was barking mad to destroy all those perfectly good cars, and to get nothing in return for it but three billion dollars of debt. What person in their right mind does such a thing?

It didn’t even reduce Carbon Emissions, because building and shipping a new car requires three to eight tons of carbon, while driving the same old clunker required zero. It would take over five years to make up the difference with a new car, and eight years with a new truck, if the increased gas mileage was as good as promised, (which it wasn’t, due to computer glitches, faulty sensors turning on the check-engine-lights, and people driving with the check-engine-lights on, and also the natural aging of new cars.) Furthermore, the foreseen reduction of carbon would have had only an infinitesimal effect on world temperatures, even if Global Warming were proven true.

However none of a economist’s or climatologist’s pseudoscience meant much to the poor. The poor do not buy new cars; they drive the clunkers that better-off people trade in. What Cash For Clunkers meant for them was that 690,114 poor people were without a car. As the price for second-hand cars soared, many were plunked into the catch-22 position of young men who can’t get a car because they don’t have a job, and can’t get a job because they don’t have a car. But what does Washington know of such unhappy lives? They say, “Let them buy a new car” in the manner of Marie Antoinette saying, “Let them eat cake.”

In their ignorance Washington glibly stated that Cash for Clunkers would be a boon for scrap yards, blissfully unaware that much of the profit at such yards comes from taking apart engines for parts, and that, with engines destroyed, profits would sharply decline. But what does Washington know or care about greasy hands and bruised knuckles?

At least 300,000 and as many as 500,000 of the 690,114 new cars would have been sold anyway, because people need new cars even without incentives, so the government was paying-for and destroying between 300,000 and 500,000 used vehicles for absolutely no reason.

During the brief surge in car sales Cash-for-Clunkers brought about, sales of American cars actually decreased as Asian sales increased, for people were concerned about soaring gas prices at that time, and desired the better gas mileage of Asian cars. This means much of the slight increase in the national-average-gas-mileage (noted with great satisfaction by government Cash-for-Clunker statisticians) would have occurred without the program. It also means Cash for Clunkers didn’t increase the sales of of American cars, and in fact hurt the American car industry more than it helped it. The government would have done better to focus on reducing fuel prices, but actually aimed to increase those fuel prices, to lower the nation’s “Carbon Footprint.”

Some stated that if the poor couldn’t afford cars, their immobility would increase the use of public transportation. Again, it is not the wealthy that have to stand waiting in blazing sun or in winter blasts, or are uprooted because they do not live where such transit is available.

The unintended consequences go on and on. The mechanics skilled in repairing clunkers were hurt; the newer cars were far more expensive to maintain, due to computer glitches, and, when faced with the fact that plugging into a dealer’s computer to diagnose a problem could cost a hundred dollars, people simply chose to drive with the check-engine-lights on. (So you can throw the manufacturer’s estimated-gas-mileage out the window.) People do what they must to get by, and there even was an increase in uninspected and unregistered cars.

It is not that the poor want to be scofflaws or to enact some sort of political rebellion. They simply want to survive, but survival is something the barking mad in Washington has forgotten all about.

This brings me to the current madness of increasing the cost of heating a home, on purpose, to fight some theoretical warming of the planet in the future. This is another display of being barking mad, for the coming winter is no environmentalist’s theory; it is a grim reality that can kill.

What do the privileged elite in Washington know about cold homes in January, or of needing to chose between freezing and food? At their glittering, January parties the only ice they know is in their drinks, as they pontificate the politically correct arfing they call profundity. They know how to frown at the words, “strip mine,” while waving away the subject of unemployed miners, who they never face eye-to-eye. They know the correct disapproval to show for the rural poor’s smoking wood-stoves, and the right way to clasp hands and smile as wind turbines kill eagles. They rumple brows over a tenth of a degree rise in world temperatures they can’t feel, enacting legislation that chills the homes of the poor they never meet ten to twenty degrees.

The fact such legislated “energy poverty” is barking mad was already proven, by an increase in the death rate of the elderly in England by 30,000 in the winter of 2012-2013. The elderly of England could not afford both food and fuel, and didn’t get enough of either. Because the old can’t withstand cold, especially when hungry, and because a common cold can swiftly turn to pneumonia, turning down the heat meant death for 30,000.

What sort of savage society of primitive cannibals allows its elderly to be treated in such a vile manner? It was to avoid such barbaric treatment that FDR created Social Security in the first place. His grave must rumble with a rolling sound, now. To have intentionally brought such misery down upon the general population is the behavior of the certifiably insane. The English leaders were barking mad, and now Washington wants to copy them.

The oncoming hardship, bad enough in an ordinary winter, may be worsened by an especially brutal winter. In theory an El Nino might warm the planet, as a whole, by a tenth of a degree, but in fact an El Nino Modoki, (which is expected,) may warm other areas but brings exceptional cold to one particular part of the planet: The eastern and central United States. Some runs of some models foresee a winter as bad as 1976-1977, which was so vicious it prompted people back then to talk of “a coming ice age.” It is to be hoped these model runs are wrong (as they often are) but what if they are not? Assume the attitude of an Alarmist, and imagine that the models are right. We are then facing a crisis.

Our government seems exceptionally incapable of dealing with such a crisis, for it lives in a landscape of delusion. It does not care for the elderly; it cares about being re-elected. The oncoming winter could loom like the black shroud of the Grim Reaper, and still a politician’s primary concern would be suppressing voter turnout in unfavorable districts. The best that can be hoped for is a national awakening, and a voter backlash in November, and a completely changed congress next January, but by then it will be too late.

It is conceivable, even likely, that in the face of a winter like 1976-1977, fuel prices would skyrocket, and there would be shortages, brown-outs, and even shutdowns. For many there would be no money left over, after paying for heat. There would be no so-called “disposable income.” For the poor, it would not be a matter of staying warm; it would be a matter of staying alive. Immediate action would be required, but by the time the bumbling bureaucrats came wandering back from their Christmas recess, not even a potentially vibrant new Congress would be able to kick their inertia into action before March, at which point the damage would be already done.

In the face of such a future it is high time for the American people to enact a rebellion, but not like any rebellion the powerful expect. It should be a rebellion outside the expectations of economic experts, and completely beyond the comprehension of Washington insiders and the wealthy elite. It would be beyond their comprehension because it would do what they fail to do. It would care for the elderly, and care for neighbors.

Considering all too many Americans don’t even talk to their neighbors, such a rebellion might seem impossible, however Hitler did not think it was possible Londoners could withstand his Blitz, yet they slept in subways, and those of Hitler’s advisers who guaranteed London’s despair, due to people sleeping in subways, were flabbergasted by an increase in high spirits, as the English people rebelled against the barking mad oppressor raining bombs from their skies.

The rebellion I envision doesn’t involve raining bombs or sleeping in subways. It merely involves sleeping at a neighbor’s, or having several elderly neighbors sleep at your house. It involves the simplest economics, which is that if you turn off the heat and electricity and drain the water pipes, and move in with your neighbor, the two of you will together only need to pay half as much for heat, if you share the costs. In cases where three households can fit into a single house, you would only pay a third the cost. Nor would such an arrangement be permanent. To be most effective, it should last only sixty days, from just after Christmas to before the first of March. These sixty days involve the cruel heart of winter, when heating bills are most likely to ruin a budget. If you could put up with your neighbor only that long, think of the money you’d save!

Of course, getting along with neighbors is no easy task. If the younger adults question the old-timers, they might learn about neighbors called “hippies” who lived with neighbors in places called “communes,” and learn about lots of things you should avoid doing. However likely they wouldn’t learn what to do to make the situation work, for most communes were abysmal failures. Getting along with neighbors is no easy thing, even for only sixty days.

However the Londoners, sleeping in subways during the Blitz, were sustained and derived relish from the simple fact they were defying Hitler. Perhaps the same relish might make neighbors more able to tolerate neighbors in modern times, for surely such behavior on the part of the American people would shock the socks off the barking mad in Washington. It is beyond the limits of their feeble minds, for they prove they are incapable of comprehending neighbors caring for neighbors, when they fail to care for constituents.

Just imagine what the effect would be, if my idea caught on. When the oil delivery man came down a street with ten houses, he would not deliver oil to all ten, but to only five, or even only four.   Because he delivered less, rather than the oil price going up, it would go down, due to the laws of supply and demand.

Even better is to imagine the consternation in Washington. They depend, in part, on a tax collected with each gallon of oil and propane delivered. If only half as much oil and propane is delivered, they collect only half as much tax.   It is tantamount to them opening their pay envelope on payday, and seeing their paycheck is only half as large as they expected.

They will deem this a serious problem. Fortunately, they are such dunderheads they will never see it coming, and by the time they wake up the sixty days will be past, and everyone will be back in their own houses, innocently whistling.

I imagine that at this point the elite will be absolutely furious. How dare the American people behave as if they are independent and free! How dare they be so ungrateful as to pay fewer taxes!   Laws must be passed to prevent this rebellious behavior! If the new congress does not pass the laws, the EPA will do it! Laws against the cohabitation of neighbors must be written in stone! Climate scientists must be hired to prove cohabitation causes Global Warming! (This may seem like an irrational response, but you need to remember these people are barking mad to begin with.)

They may even say it is better for people to freeze alone than to cohabit in a warm, shared, happy household. At their glittering parties they will nod in agreement about how cohabitation stresses leech fields and septic systems, and must be banned. Others will state cohabitation spreads infectious diseases, and must be banned. Whatever they say will seem sublimely logical, to them. However whatever they say will increasingly look like bunkum, to an American people who neither died of infectious diseases nor destroyed their leech fields, during their sixty-day, Gandhi-like, nonviolent rebellion.

However, just to be on the safe side, those with legal inclinations should perhaps prepare some legal briefs beforehand, arguing that religious freedom is involved. It doesn’t matter if they are atheists, they can point out Christianity makes a big deal about loving neighbors, and that “loving your neighbor as yourself” is right up there with worshiping the Creator, among Christians.

Not that we Americans care all that much about our neighbors. What we care for is our own independence and individuality. However, through the wisdom of our forefathers, we also know that we had better care for the independence and individuality of our neighbors, and stand united, or we will fall divided, for if our neighbors lose their independence and individuality, so will we.

So important is this concept that those with legal inclinations should likely figure out a way to file a lawsuit even before the EPA bans cohabitation. The best defense is a good offence, after all. The rest of us, who are not so legally inclined, should likely have some talks with the neighbors we never wanted to bother, and have never before gotten to know, during these Halcyon days of summer.

Scoffers will say my proposal will never work. (Likely their neighbor has halitosis and seldom changes his or her socks.) However when dealing with the barking mad you need to bark back. (Though you might like to allow your neighbor to live as he chooses, you need to tell him that for sixty days he should brush his teeth and change his socks.) However I think my idea just might work, due to something I noticed in my study of the London Blitz.

While the history of the English People, from the death of Queen Victoria to the eventual death of Queen Elisabeth II, largely looks like a free fall from huge responsibility to irresponsibility, from power to powerlessness, from grandeur to meaningless obscurity, they did have one moment when they, and no one else, stood utterly alone and took on an evil we cannot imagine. It truly was their “finest hour.”

Next time you are filled with self-pity about high heating bills, or about being stuck in a traffic jam, or about having a neighbor with halitosis, pause and imagine London during the Blitz. Every day bombs rained from the skies. Every day people you knew died. However rather than self-pity a defiance grew. Their motto was, “We can take it,” but what possessed those people to make up such a motto? The best description I ever heard, of what possessed London, simply called it “A White Heat.”

It was a moment in history when it was not America who stood up for Freedom, the English did. That class-ridden, moribund, down-falling society stood for Liberty when America didn’t. And why? Because of “A White Heat.”

As a poet, I love that description, “A White Heat,” but as a scientist I am appalled, for no thermometer can measure it. Even as a pseudo scientist and psychologist I am made nervous, for psychology seldom talks of a goodly power that can take on Hitler and shame him to suicide.

Christians would likely assert “A White Heat” is a gift from God given to those who take on evil, but because I don’t want to alienate goodly atheists, I’ll just state that if you stand by Truth, Truth stands by you. It is the strangest thing, for I am a pragmatist who prefers a large woodpile to standing by a cold stove expecting “White Heat”, but I’ve seen this over and over in my life: If you tell a lie, it haunts you and tracks you down, but if you tell the truth, though you may get sneered at and jeered at and even fired, in the long run you get “A White Heat.”  Scoffers can doubt, and point out 30,000 elderly in England felt no “White Heat” this side of Glory, but it is also true people do not take kindly to politicians telling them to freeze, and it it does not take much for a smoldering public to blaze into Light.

I confess I am counting on this unscientific “White Heat” to help out, when I make my proposal that neighbors love neighbors to the degree where they can abide together for sixty days. I know what can go wrong, for I am an old man who remembers the debacles of hippie communes. I furthermore know anyone who had to live with me for sixty days would be sorely tested. However the redeeming thing is that the sixty days would annoy the heck out of the elite in Washington. The sublime satisfaction of annoying such extremely annoying people would make even putting up with me worth it. In fact, it might turn the living situation into a sort of party, quite enjoyable due to the presence of “White Heat.”

In conclusion, that is my proposal. We need to condescend to love our neighbors for sixty days. If others have other ways we might respond to leaders who are barking mad, I am eager to hear their proposals. However I hope we can agree on this: The leadership is barking mad, and it is time to bark back.

ARCTIC SEA ICE MELT —Crunch Time—

This is the continuation of a long series of posts, the last of which can be found at:  https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/arctic-sea-ice-melt-the-thaw-begins/

I began this series over a year ago, mostly to share a way of relaxing on hot summer days, but also to demonstrate to young reporters how to investigate the arctic, and be less like parrots. I’d been enjoying the North Pole Camera for years, and knew some things reported by the media displayed gross ignorance. Somewhat naively I assumed the media could be educated, and was misreporting due to mistakes, and not as a matter of policy.

Last July a melt-water pool developed right in front of the camera.  I correctly said it would soon drain away down through a weakness in the ice, but the media made quite a fuss about the shallow pool being a visual image of Global Warming. No sooner did they draw the public’s eyes north when the water drained away and, a couple days later, the scene was blanketed in snow.

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/lake-north-pole-vanishes/

During this episode my site went from getting perhaps ten hits a day to getting over five hundred. I decided to contiue this series of observations, as a sort of messy notebook full of ideas, some which have been falsified, and also doodles and even doggerel, as that is how my notebooks have always been.  My more polished articles appear as separate posts, and a few have appeared over on the Watt’s Up With That website.

Gradually, over the past year, I’ve become alarmed. Rather than alarmed about Global Warming, I’ve become alarmed at the government’s bad habit of putting “spin” on facts to promote policy.  At some point the facts stop being facts, and become distortions. This occurs not only concerning the topic of Global Warming, but with other facts such as Unemployment Figures.

For me to take on the government is a bit like a flea taking on an elephant. I doubt I can slam it down, or topple it. However a flea can annoy an elephant, especially  if there are a lot of them, and perhaps can even cause an elephant to go take a bath.

I’m calling this post “Crunch  Time” because over the next 30 days we will see if the ice melts as is usual, or if something astounding occurs. What is astounding is forecast by these two government graphs, (which apparently did not get the memo.)

Extent Jul 1 14 sieMon (Double click to fully enlarge)

The top graph shows the ice-extent going from ,6 million km2 below normal to .6 million km2 above normal during the month of July. This increase is not due to ice growing, but rather due to far less ice melting than usual, as is shown by the lower graph.

In order for this to happen the other extent graphs will have to stop their ordinary and natural yearly plunge, and practically flat-line sideways.  Currently there is little sign of this occurring:

Extent July 1 14 icecover_current_new (click to enlarge)

I don’t think the graph will flat-line to the degree the upper graphs predict. It predicts a minimum of 6.8 million km2, while models such as the UK Met predict between 4 and 5 million (which is still a far cry from the “ice free” Pole predicted ten years ago.) I myself predict 6.1 million, which puts me out on a limb.

I base my prediction on observations more like dead reckoning than careful science. The water in the Arctic Sea, and entering the Arctic Sea from the Atlantic, seems colder, and mixed rather than stratified.  Also the ice north of Greenland, Canada, and even Alaska is thicker. The pictures sent back by arctic adventurers last April (see earlier posts) were of pressure ridges that dwarfed a man. When these big jumbles fall apart during the summer thaw they have the ability to spread like a pat of butter over toast, and even though the volume of ice shrinks, as it always does in the summer, the extent and even area can blip upwards. Lastly, the air temperatures have been below normal:

DMI2 0701 meanT_2014 (Click to enlarge)

I don’t think the air temperature matters all that much, as most melting comes from the water below, however these cooler air temperatures may be hinting that the water is in fact colder, as the air temperatures over ocean are greatly influenced by the water.

Lastly I should mention that there are two ways of measuring how much ice there is, and I think we are still in the mode that sees melt-water and slush as open water. This mode is useful in colder weather, and we may be in that mode due to the interest in the ice cover in the colder environment of Antarctica. Usually they switch over to a second mode, which doesn’t see melt-water as open ocean. I don’t fully understand why we haven’t made the switch, or even if this news is accurate, but I felt I should mention it.

In any case, we are now at the point where we will see if the extent fails to drop as much in past years, and, if it doesn’t, it will be crunch time for the politicians. They have based policy on dire predictions, such as the prediction of an ice-free Pole, and when these forecasts prove false, logic would dictate that they change their policy.  Can they?  Or are they so in love with the unnecessary taxes they hope to get from Global Warming that they can’t change. If they don’t change, they will face being changed, next election. It is not a comfortable pair of slippers to be wearing.

I try to post twice a day, including the DMI maps of pressure and temperature at the Pole. (You’ll have to forgive me for naming storms, and sometimes even high pressure areas, and occationally even features on the isotherm map.)  I also include daily pictures from the North Pole Camera. I update at the bottom of this post, which makes these posts get longer and longer.  Here are the last updates of the prior post:

JUNE 30  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS

DMI2 0630B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0630B temp_latest.big (1)

JULY 1  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0701 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0701 temp_latest.big (1)

“Spin” continues to brew up southwest of Iceland, as “Ach” remaons weak over Svalbard. The other main feature continues to be the high pressure over the Arctic Sea, and its quasi-zonal flow.

A “heat wave” is occurring north of Alaska, with temperatures up over plus five. The ice is pretty thick there, but must be slushy. The sub-freezing pool continues to be in the Kara Sea.

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —The gray thaw resumes—

NP2 June 30D 12NP2 July 1 17

The top picture is from 9:30 PM last night, and the bottom is from 3:30 AM this morning.  The snow is again starting to look grayer, which is indicative of slush. The lead continues to remain wide, and the satellite pictures show many cakes of ice jostling together in a packed sea.  I’m not sure it is right to call the lead a “lead” any more, as it is less like a crack in solid ice and more like water between floating islands, but I’ll keep on calling it a “lead” for the sake of consistency.

You can click these pictures for greater clarity. Then I like to use my magnifier to hunt for seals and polar bears, and other small details in the distance.

9:30 AM —Gray, gray, gray. Will it never get blue?—

NP2 July 1B 18 It up near 90 (32 Celsius) here in New Hampshire, which is the weather I used to go to the North Pole Camera to get relief from. However in my memory the Pole was turquoise and silver, not this gray all the time. It must be the blasted cosmic rays making cloud particles, due to the Quiet Sun. (Or maybe cloud particles from soot from China burning coal.) (Who should I blame today?) In any case, it is noteworthy that there have been more clouds this year, on the Atlantic side of the Pole, at least.

That large berg in the lead isn’t moving. I can’t see much motion in the overcast either. It must be fairly calm at the moment. (This is one of four pictures taken 2-3 minutes apart. You can go see them fir yourself at http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/NPEO2014/webcams1and2.html )

3:30 pm —NOTHING HAS BUDGED—

NP2 July 1C 18

Nothing has changed. Not even the berg in the lead has moved.  This is odd, for winds have picked up a little, from 9 to 14 mph, mostly from the east, as our camera has chugged steadily west, and inched a little bit back to the north, ending the day at  85.204°N, 13.370°E. Temperatures began and ended at +0.5°C, edging up to the day’s high of +0.8°C at 3:00 AM and edging back down to the low of +0.4°C at 9:00 AM. Pressure has raised only a hair to 1015.4 mb. I suppose the scene looks still because we are in a steady, slow flow from the east. It is when winds are shifting that the ice starts jostling.

JULY 1   —DMI Afternoon Maps—

DMI2 0701B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0701B temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA IN DANGER FROM NEARBY PRESSURE RIDGE

NP2 July 1D 14 (1)

The jumble of a pressure ridge’s crushed ice is clear at the right margin, despite the dim light. Also the horizon is tilted, which means the camera is tilted a little.

The ice in the lead has pushed to the left a little. I’m not sure what the black things on the ice are. Seals?

JULY 2 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0702 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0702 temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA  —NO PICTURES—

There have been no pictures since 9:30 last night. Alas, things do not look good at the moment for the camera. Perhaps it really was “crunch time.”

We continue to get reports on its position and on weather conditions. The ice continues west, and to nudge north, and at noon was at  85.230°N, 12.598°E. This motion crunches ice back towards the Pole rather than flushing it south, out through Fram Strait. We are further north than we were a week ago.

Temperatures have risen slightly, hitting the days high of +0.8°C at several times, and at +0.7°C at noon. The pressure has risen just a hair to  1016.8 mb and winds have slackened slightly to 5-10 mph.

JULY 2 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0702B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0702B

JULY 3  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0703 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0703 temp_latest.big (1)

“Spin” is parked over Iceland, playing the part of an Icelandic low to excess. The Azores-to-Pole ridge of high pressure is now shattered and exists no more. Weak low pressure extends east from “Sprin” to unnamed and weak low over the Gulf of Bothnia in the northern Baltic Sea, and on from there to a weak low over the Kara Sea. These two lows have some dim relation to “Ach”, formerly over Svalbard, as an occlusion and a “zipper,” but also gained strength from the south.  High pressure remains over the Pole.

STILL NO PICTURES FROM THE NORTH POLE CAMERA

This is depressing me. How am I to base this post on views from a camera likely buried in a pressure ridge?  Perhaps I am being freed of this self-imposed obligation, by the powers-that-be. After all, it is Independence Day, tomorrow, here in the United States.

I’ll think of something.

JULY 3  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0703B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0703B temp_latest.big (1)

I’m surprised at the overnight chill that appeared on the Canadian side.

“Spin” is occluded and spinning its wheels over Iceland, with an eastward extention of low pressure to “Ach”, weakening over Scandinavia, and on to “Achzip”, strengthening on the central Siberian coast over the Kara Sea.  Despite “Spin’s” size, there is no surge of warm air north into the arctic around its eastern side, and instead a long fetch of Atlantic wind aims across southern Scandinavia, as east wind prevail along the northern Scandinavian coasts. Our crunched camera looks to be in calm seas.

I’m curious to see the UK met view:

A QUICK GLANCE AT THE UK MET

UK Met Jul 3 15875394 (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

This map shows the long fetch into the Baltic.  Though “Spin” assists the Gulf Stream halfway up the coast of Norway, isobars suggest winds counter any southern influx of water north of there. Curiosity has me look to see what this models next Monday as looking like:

UK Met Jul 3 Forecast Mon 15886930

This shows “Spin” still stalled, and rather than a surge of warm air up over the Pole a Scandinavian high is building south. Our crunched camera may again be in light southerly winds that are not overly warm. On the other side of the Scandinavian high “Achzip” may be the next low to attempt to attack the Pole, though it is not seen as getting more than half way there.

By the way, the low southwest of Greenland in this map is Hurricane Arthur. I likely should be paying attention to that, as it is to my south. However it is so hot and muggy here I prefer the Pole.

CRUNCHED CAMERA  —LIGHT WINDS AND BRIEF FREEZE—

Light winds of 4-7 mph swung slightly northeast, and our northward progress ended at 3:00 PM yesterday at 85.230°N, as we continued east to wind up at 85.209°N, 12.139°E at noon today. The wind shift brought temperatures down from a high of +0.8°C at 6:00 PM yesterday to a low of -0.4°C at 6:00 am, but then temperatures bounced back to +0.8°C at 9:00 AM and remained there at noon.

NOTE TO ALARMISTS—CAMERA WAS CRUNCHED BY ICE COLLIDING; NOT MELTING.

I figured I should make that point clear. The ice was pulverized at the Pole back when temperatures were at minus twenty, and had to do with a stormy pattern, and a Polar flow that was meridian rather than zonal. I figured I should say that because I’ve been watching all winter and spring,  and also because I imagine a hoopla could arise when word gets out the camera is kaput. Just remember the last picture showed a jumble of ice appearing from the right.

CRAVING A CAMERA  —Obuoy #10, north of Alaska at 77 north, 155 west—

webcam

The ice is getting slushy over there, and it looks pretty gray. Where’s my views of turquoise and silver?  When it is hot and muggy here in New Hampshire, with dew points above 70, I prefer the shining arctic, not this gray stuff.

By the way, this buoy is nearly 500 miles further south from the Pole than our crushed camera, so you expect slush in July. However the real melting comes from below, and this far south I’ve seen the ice break up in September even as the top starts to refreeze and be covered with drifting snow. The ice here was 1.40 m thick when the camera was deployed last September 28, and is currently 1.62 m thick.  It’s drift map is interesting, for it has looped around and defies the “Beaufort Gyre”, a “wrong way” buoy.

2013F July 4 _track (Double click to fully enlarge.)

JULY 4  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0704 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0704 temp_latest.big (1)

JULY 4 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0704B mslp_latest.bigDMi2 0704B temp_latest.big (1)

“Spin” continues to weaken as it wobbles by Iceland, but is swinging a bunch of fronts with wind and rain over England, as it looks like warmer air is being shoved up into Scandinavia, with a warm front struggling half way north across the Baltic before fading away on Sunday.  Meanwhile Achzip lurks in the Kara Sea, probing towards the Pole.

The surprise (for me) is the cold appearing on the temperature maps. While it is not by our crunched camera, it is significant enough to dip the DMI Graph back towards zero.DMI2 0704B meanT_2014 (click to enlarge)

THE CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

Light winds of six to nine mph have continued to push our crushed camera south and east, to  85.140°N, 11.925°E. Temperatures dipped to a low of +0.1°C at 9:00 PM last night, and were still at +0.2°C at 6:00 AM this morning, but then soared to +1.0°C at noon. (OK, perhaps “soared” is a bit of purple prose, but it is hard to make the stagnation of summer temperatures very exciting.) In any case that is the warmest we’ve seen this summer. Pressures have slowly fallen to 1015.3 mb

A NEW NORTH POLE CAMERA? 

This is the picture from O-buoy #9, just across the Pole. It has come drifting up from the south to roughly 88 north latitude and 157 west longitude, which is closer to the Pole than our crushed camera is.

I know it is terribly fickle to ditch the North Pole camera, especially considering the arduous conditions, the bitter blizzard winds and danger of bears, faced by the brave men who set those cameras up, but hey, they fell down. Anyway, this camera has turquoise and silver, and who can resist that?

webcam

In case you don’t know this camera, it was set up late last September down around 80 north and 105 east, which is about 2/5th of the way across from the New Siberian Islands to northwest Alaska. The landscape was very flat and boring. They shut the camera down in the winter darkness, and when they turned it back on in the spring all the interesting pressure ridges had appeared. Then, at the end of April, that nasty crack appeared, practically under the yellow buoy.  That does not bode well for the future, though some of these buoys take pictures even when they are dumped into the sea, as they are on buoys that bob about.

O-buoy 7 was great fun to watch last summer, eventually getting dumped into the sea and sailing into truly ice-free waters before wind blew it back north and the expanding sea ice gobbled it up again. (It is still up there, but sadly they haven’t been able to get the camera going this spring.)  Watch this entire movie if you have 12 minutes to blow, or just the period after ten minutes if you are pressed for time:  http://obuoy.datatransport.org/monitor#buoy7/movie

JULY 5  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0705 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0705 temp_latest.big (1)

“Spin” remains stalled over Iceland. It now has two centers, as it sucked in a secondary low which has wheeled around to its north. These two centers are going to orbit each other like the two stones of a bola, as the entire system gradually fades away by next Tuesday. Then it looks like the Azores high will try to probe north and attempt to rejoin the arctic high, and recreate the mid-Atlantic high pressure ridge, but the remnants of Hurricane Arthur will be attacking from the west, so we’ll have to wait and see who wins. In the meantime a general south and southeast flow is coming up over Scandinavia, then swinging east and then south along the coast of Greenland, and never mounting a proper warm invasion of the Arctic. “Spin” can’t make any headway into this flow, and its fronts will have a hard time crossing England and getting to Denmark and southwest Norway.  Eventually a sort of zipper will kick under the flow, and a secondary will wander up from the Mediterranean and strengthen south of the Baltic on the Poland-Germany border, around Tuesday.  This will only add to the southeast flow over Scandinavia, and add to the repression of the northern remnants of “Spin.” This southeast flow will press against a cooler easterly flow along the arctic coast of Scandinavia, and likely will create a weak front with weak lows along the very top of the Atlantic, acting as a lid on warm invasions. To the north of this lid our crunched camera will remain blithely unaware of the hubbub to the south, and sit in relative stillness.

Over in the Kara Sea “Achzip” will try to attack the Pole, but be bent back by a ridge of high pressure that builds from Finland to Alaska.  However, if you trust the longest range forecasts (and you shouldn’t) there is a chance remnants of Hurricane Arthur may make it to the Pole a week from Monday. (Even if it is unlikely, it would be cool to see that happen.)

NEW CAMERA—OLD GRAY VIEW

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I don’t know about you, but I’m curious as to what the Albedo-crowd has to say about this gray, gray summer.

JULY 5  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0705B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0705B temp_latest.big (1)

It looks mild in Scandinavia. I wonder if that warmth could fuel a storm… or is it too dry. I need to hire a reporter.

THE CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

Our wreckage continued southwest, to 85.099°N,11.884°E at midnight, before wandering southeast to 85.075°N, 11.916°E at noon. Winds were briefly up over 10 mph yesterday but had slacked off to less than 5 mph at noon. The high temperature was +0.7°C at 3:00 PM yesterday, and then the thermometer fell erratically to -0.1°C at 9:00 Am today, before bouncing back to +0.6°C at noon.  The barometer remained boring, dipping slightly before rising to 1016.7 mb. What we need around here is a hurricane, to liven things up.

NEW CAMERA —IN THE PINK—

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I wasn’t going to bother bore you with another view of gray, when I noticed a hint of a tint, pink, I think. This demonstrates how low the sun is up there. Even at noon sunset enchantment  colors the clouds. The twenty-four hour days are a sunrise never over, and a sunset never done.

JULY 6  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0706 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0706 temp_latest.big (1)

One of the mildest maps we’ve seen, with most of the sub-freezing air relegated to the northern Kara and northwest Barents Seas. “Achzip” is swinging a bit of mild air up into the Laptev Sea, but there also seems to be some colder air in that flow from East Siberia. Our crunched camera seems to be just out of the reach of “Achzip’s” winds, in a more tranquil area.

“Spin” is continuing to weaken, as weak secondary and tertiary lows make no progress against the high over Scandinavia, and are shunted beneath. I guess I’ll call the tertiary “Spinthree,” and it will be parked south of the Baltic at the start of next week, keeping Scandinavia in a mild flow from the east. So far little of this mild air has made its way north to the arctic, and rather is recycled south by the flow around “Spin.”

THE FINALLY AGONY OF THE CRUNCHED CAMERA ON FILM

I thank the blogger Max™ for putting together the static pictures in a way that shows the final crunch that crunched our polar view, and sent us like orphans out over the ice, looking for a new window to that world.

http://cdn.makeagif.com/media/7-05-2014/Kin74G.gif

THE CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT —Below freezing—dubious data?—

Our mangled piece of junk continued slowly south and west, to 85.063°N, 11.823°E, in winds that dropped to a calm for a while and produced some odd data. At  6:00 PM last night, when winds were dead calm, the thermometer abruptly read +4.1°C, when the above DMI map shows no temperatures that high in the area at midnight. (If there were, they would be a more yellow hue.) Hmm. By midnight the reading dropped to -0.5°C, and by 6:00 AM it was down to -1.7°C, and then rose some to -1.1°C by noon.

Hmm. It occurs to me that, if our camera is crunched, the buoy we used to look at might be tipped over on its side. The sun, at a particular angle, might hit the thermometer through a entry not usually exposed to direct sunlight. We’ll have to see what happens at 6:00 PM  tomorrow.  (I’m not sure I trust the low temperatures either, as they are suspiciously close to the temperature of the salt water, and half the buoy may be submerged, even as the wind-vane and anemometer still are in the air.

I merely became more confused when I consulted the initial 0000z runs of various computer models, as they all showed colder temperatures than the DMI map above. Most striking was the Canadian JEM model.

NP2 July 6 cmc_t2m_arctic_1 (click to enlarge)

All the pink is below-freezing in the above map. (Temperatures are fahrenheit) Don’t the models use the same data for their initial runs? Oh…wait…that is the 1200z run. Never mind.

The barometer at our ruin has slowly risen to 1018.7 mb.

NEW CAMERA  —Oh brother! Now this site is stressed!—

webcam

You will notice the large yellow trash can has started to list to the starboard, as the crack under it grinds.  What next???  Stay tuned!!!

JULY 6 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0706B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0706B temp_latest.big (1)

“Spin” continues to weaken over Iceland, even as it incorporates a second secondary, as a weak low north of Iceland. The third secondary is barely nudging a front against the southwest coast of Norway, but likely to be blunted southeast into what will become “Spinthree.”

“Achzip” is also weaker, and is being backed away from the Pole by a growing ridge of high pressure. The high pressure north of Canada is joining hands with the high pressure over Finland and east Siberia. I’ll dub this feature “Trans”, for “transpolar high pressure ridge.”

(In case you are wondering, my names do make sense. A storm named “Spinach” crashed into Greenland and split, so I named the two blobs “Spin” and “Ach”  Get it?)

(If a storm has an obvious secondary, it will get the suffix “son,” but if the son is born along an occlusion zipping east along the warm front it gets the suffix “zip.”)

However, though my names make sense, I am having trouble making sense of the differences in the temperatures between the Canadian 12z “Jem” map, and the DMI map, above. It may only be a degree of difference, but that degree is the difference between H2O being ice or water. If anyone can explain it, I’d be all ears.

It does look like it might be +4° just north of Svalbard, and close to -2° just south of the Pole, but how our crushed camera could experience both these extremes. with winds so light,  is a mystery to me.

(As an investigatory reporter my duty is to ask more questions than I can answer. I wish the mainstream media would learn to do this.)

A HINT OF THINGS TO COME?

I am not expecting the ice-extent-graphs to stop dropping until the non-arctic ice is all melted. Ice in some places is always melted, every summer, such as off the east coast of Russia. In other places it melts nearly every summer, such as in Hudson Bay. Only when this outlying ice is gone do I expect the ice-extent-graph to stop plunging, and, because the ice in Hudson Bay is still melting away, I did not expect the uptick in the DMI graph:

Extent July 6B icecover_current_new (click to enlarge)

JULY 7  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0707 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0707 temp_latest.big (1)

NEW CAMERA   —Nice picture—

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It’s a gray Monday down here, but not up there.

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CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT  —More mystery—

In light airs less than 5 mph and occasional calm our crumpled hunk of industrial waste continued southwest to  85.041°N, 11.691°E. The barometer continued rising to 1025.2 mb. Temperatures were reported below freezing all through the 24 hour period, except for another mysterious spike.  After arriving at the low of  -2.2°C at 3:00 AM it spiked to +3.1°C at 6:00 AM and was back down to -0.5°C at 9:00 AM, finishing the 24-hour-period at  -0.6°C at noon.

What could cause such a spike? Like yesterday’s, it occurred when the wind was dead calm, however the sun was 180 degrees around in the sky, hitting from the exact opposite side. Hmm. Is their some slot in the structure of what holds the thermometer, running from side to side so that the sun only shines in the slot when it is at opposite sides of the sky?  Or are such pools of milder air common, when winds slacken at the Pole?

I prefer to let my imagination run wild, and to picture that a ruptured tank on the side of the tilted buoy has vomited some fetid black substance onto the pristine ice, and when the wind dies it creates an urban heat island. After all, when your lying eyes can’t see, who knows?

(I figure if I can get some good internet rumors going, they might helicopter a guy up from a nearby icebreaker to fix those cameras.)

JULY 7 —DMI Afternoon Maps—

DMI2 0707B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0707B temp_latest.big (1)

Right off the bat I notice that, though our crunched camera reported a 12z temperature of  -0.6°C, this 12z map shows no such cold in that area. Oh well, what’s a degree between friends?

The high “Trans” is the big feature, as both “Spon” and “Achzip” weaken. The low pressure southwest of Greenland is remnants of hurricane Arthur. Scandinavia is getting some warm east winds, and looks like it will continue to get warmth for some time. So far that heat hasn’t made it north to the arctic.

UK MET MAPS  —East winds over Scandinavia—

It is interesting that the east winds that give the Baltic its worst cold in the winter give the warmest weather in the summer. It shows you how hugely the conditions on the Russian plains change, and the importance of understanding the conditions in the “source regions” air-masses originate in.

The Tuesday initial map shows that after a week or work, “Spin” was only able to push its front into southwest Scandinavia, and it is now being rejected and pushed back west as a warm front. To the north of “Spin” orbits “Spinson,” and down the front over Germany is “Spinthree,” which is getting a good flow going across the Baltic,  working in conjunction with a Scandinavian high, which is an extention of “Trans” across the Pole. The remnants of Hurricane Arthur are southwest of Greenland.

UK Met July 8 16015425

If we look at the forecast for 24 hours from now we see both “Spin” and “Spinson” have largely filled in, or perhaps been absorbed west and east, as a ridge rebuilds briefly up between the Azores and the Pole. My guess is this ridge will be transient, as it is getting attacked from both sides. To the east the flow from the east above “Spinthree” through the Baltic has become more pronounced, and it is headed west towards a show-down with the flow from the west beneath “Arthur,” (which is breaking into two chunks, “Art” and “Thur”).

UK Met July 8 24 hr forecast 16018558

“Spinthree” looks like it will not move, part of a blocking pattern, while “Thur” looks like it part of a progressive pattern.  The two patterns will have a difficult time being politically correct, and coexisting. Perhaps they will be polite, and the east winds will pass to the north as the west winds pass to the south, however the North Atlantic is not always so polite. The meeting of east and west will be interesting to watch.

JULY 8 —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0708 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0708 temp_latest.big (1)

“Trans” is the main feature. The one thing apparent in this view, unapparent in the UK Met View, is the long fetch developing along the Siberian coast, introducing the possibility of cooler air in northern Scandinavia.  (Also “Spinson” looks decently strong on this map, and it is hard to believe it will be gone tomorrow.)

It is noon towards the top and midnight towards the bottom, which partly explains the lack of sub-freezing temperatures towards the top. Once again, however, you get a cooler picture from the initial run of the Canadian “Jem” model from the same time:

DMI2 0708 cmc_t2m_arctic_1 (Double click to fully enlarge)

Perhaps I should use my lying eyes.

NEW CAMERA  —Sunny but cold—

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Temperatures here at O-buoy 9 are just below freezing, though the snow looks a little softer under the bright sun. Now let’s travel roughly 650 miles south down towards Alaska, to O-buoy 10 at latitude 77:

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That sure is a slushy scene, and more typical of Arctic summer. Temperatures here are just above freezing. (American and Russian scientists [and spies] used to spend summers on “ice islands” in the arctic, back in the time of the cold war, and they stated the slush could be difficult to walk through, for at times it was over knee deep.)

ADJUSTED NOAA CVSv2 FORECAST

Extent forecast July 8 sieMon (Double click to fully enlarge)

This forecast is still amazing, though they tweaked it to better resemble reality. Now, rather than predicting the anomally will change from -.6 to +.6 million km2 by August 1, they predict it will swing from -.9 to +.5 million km2. Pretty gutsy forecast, considering they only have 23 more days to see it actualize.

ARCTIC DETAILS  —Open water in Laptev Sea—

During last winter and early spring the cross-polar-flow blew a lot from Siberia towards the Canadian Archipelago, and while this jammed ice up against the Canadian coast and made it thick on that side, it was blowing ice away from the Siberian coast, often creating open water along the Laptev Siberian coast even in the coldest part of winter. As a consequence that sea has been swift to melt this spring and summer, and has .2 million km2 less ice than expected.

Laptev graph July 8 recent365.anom.region.8 (click to enlarge)

The red line in the above graph shows how far below normal the ice coverage is. If you look back to last summer you can see that even if the entire sea is ice-free in late September, that will only be .2 million km2 below normal. So the Laptev situation will likely only be a blip in the minimum totals. Also, the ice to the north is thickly packed, and a north wind in September could spread that ice south and cause upturns in the Laptev extent, which puzzles people who assume this means ice is growing in above-freezing temperatures, when in fact it only means ice is shifting.

Another interesting feature is that ice in the Greenland Sea is .1 million kn below normal.  Rather than meaning the arctic extent is less, this actually suggests less ice is being flushed out through Fram Strait and down Greenland’s east coast, indicating more ice is being left up north to increase the extent.

The extent in the central Arctic Basin is between .26 million km2 above normal.

You can check out the graphs for all the various seas at http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.1.html

Go to the map at the bottom of the page to switch from sea to sea. Also be aware Cryosphere Today has Alarmist tendencies, and tends to favor warmer data, and may be using the satellite version that sees slush as open water.

NEW BUOY  —LOVELY DAY, BUT CLOUDS CREEPING UP—

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CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT  —A turn around—

The wind-vane apparently is still working, for it reported a 180 degree swing, and the ice did start moving the opposite way. Our westward movement stopped at 11.621°E at 3:00 AM, and our southward movement stopped at  85.021°N at 9:00 AM, and we ended the day at  85.023°N, 11.682°E. Once again we didn’t quite cross 85 degrees latitude.

The light airs continued at less than five mph until the noon reading, when a light breeze of 9 mph was reported.  The temperature barely broke freezing, and only briefly, yesterday at 3:00 PM, when temperatures touched + 0.1°C. By 6:00 PM they were down to – 0.4°C, and continued down to -0.8°C at 3:00 AM, rose to -0.3°C at 9:00 AM, but then surprisingly dropped to -1.4°C as the wind picked up at noon. This is no way to run a thaw.

The barometer crested at 1027.6 mb at 3:00 AM, and has since fallen slightly to 1026.2 mb at noon.

JULY 8  —DMI Afternoon Maps—

DMI2 0708b mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0708B temp_latest.big (1)

JULY 9  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0709 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0709 temp_latest.big (1)

That low atop Greenland is a bit of a surprise.  I’m going to call it “Art,” because it is in a small part due to the “morphistication” of Arthur, transiting Greenland south to north, and by using the art of imagination, I can do what I want,  as this is my blog. In actual fact it likely also has a lot to do with the mild air pouring across Scandinavia, and not being able to penetrate northwards into the Arctic. While some of this mild air was ocean-cooled and sunk, building high pressure at the surface, it also formed a weak boundary between the Atlantic and Arctic, (which is more obvious on last night’s map). I think this boundary was enough of a frontal clash to fuel “Art”, making him stronger than I recall any model foreseeing. For the moment the southerly flow east of “Art” and west of the building high pressure in the Atlantic will push ice the “wrong way”, north in Fram Strait. Also this will at long last allow at least some mild air up over the Pole.

It looks like “Art” will divide “Trans,” and one part of the high pressure will drift down into Canada while the other part hangs tough in Scandinavia. While some cool polar air may push a front into northwest Finland, most of Scandinavia will remain in the mild flow between “Trans” and the stalled low “Spinthree” south of the Baltic.  This mild flow, from the Steppes to the east, which will continue pouring west to meet the progressive flow across the Atlantic from the west coming east, (including the other half of Arthur, milling about south of Greenland). (I’ll call that half “Thur”.)

As “Art” divides “Trans”, “Art” will drift out over the Pole, which will allow me to say that Hurricane Arthur wound up over the Pole. Although this is “wish-casting” of the worst sort, it comforts me. There are few places on the planet I have the slightest bit of control, but this  post is one of them.

NEW CAMERA  —Cross polar view—

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Judging from the position of the sun and the time stamp, the North Pole is roughly beneath the sun, or perhaps a little to the left. We are looking past the Pole,a little to the right of our distant crunched camera,  towards the far off Atlantic, and eventually jolly, old England. “Spin” is located to the right margin, and the clouds are swinging around and coming north on “spin’s” warm side.  The snow looks a little softer, but there is no sign of slush yet. To see our first genuine melt-water pool we need to look over our left shoulder, backwards, down to O-buoy 10, down at 77 degrees south:

webcam

There are roughly ten feet of ice beneath this pool, however if the satellite is still measuring using its “winter-mode,” it will see the pool as open water.

JULY 9 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

For some reason they haven’t updated these maps, so I guess I’ll go and have a

QUICK CHECK OF THE UK MET

UK Met July 9 16062067

A very interesting map, with the east about to clash with the west, and England in the middle. A strong easterly flow is crossing the Baltic north of “Spinthree” in Germany, as a westerly flow scoots under the occluded wreckage of Hurrican Arthur, in the process of forming “Thur” south of Greenland. The long fetch we saw in this morning’s DMI map, aloing the Eurasian side of the high pressure “Trans”, has managed to push a cold front into Finland, but the rest of Scandinavia appears warm, and I’, curious to see whether any of that warmth has been pushed up to our crunched camera by the circulation of “Art”, north of Greenland.

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

Temperatures did rise, from -1.2°C at 3:00 PM yesterday to +1.2°C at 3:00 AM this morning, as winds rose to more than 20 mph.  Then, as winds slacked off to 9 mph the temperature fell to +0.4°C at noon. The pressure fell steadily to 1010.1 mb. Our northwest movement persisted until 9:00 AM, when we reached 85.121°N, when a .002° southward bump was registered, and we ended the 24 hour period at  85.119°N, 12.375°E.

That .002° southward bump seems curious, as the other maps I’ve looked at make it seem the flow should still be southwest, though the wind-vane shows a wind-shift to the north. I guess I should check the new camera.

NEW CAMERA  —Gray overcast moves in—

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It looks like “Art” has brought some moisture up to the Pole. I’m curious to see if the warmth all stays aloft, and the surface gets colder. Temperatures at this buoy appear to be right at freezing. (They have a graph rather than a number.)

Now let’s check out O-buoy 10 and see how the melt is getting on down there.

webcam

Well, it is not big enough to call “Lake North Pole” yet, and also, at latitude 77, it is a bit far south, but as it expands it may get some media coverage. As the ice is roughly 10 feet thick, this melt-water pond could get fairly large before it finds a crack and drains down. What is neat is when a single hole drains a large area, for then it forms an interesting veined, spiderweb pattern, with all the branching streams leading inward to a single drain.

Some sort of rivulet seems to be starting to flow, in this picture.

There tends to be more melt-water ponds this far south. The thing to remember is that back when the PDO was constantly warm (it is currently in a brief warm “spike”,) the ice here was thinner and fractured into many flat pans, each of which had many ponds on it.  Here is a picture from that time:

Ice-melt ponds SIZRS July melt ponds

If the Alarmist contention that the icecap is melting away was founded in fact one would expect the floating pans to now be fewer, with more water between them, and for them to be thinner. In fact the Navy map shows this same area to now be covered in fairly solid ice (with some leads) that is much thicker:

Thickness July 9 arcticictnowcast

JULY 10   —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0710 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0710 temp_latest.big (1)

“Art” is moving out towards the Pole as a new low, “Tev”, pushes out from the other side into the Laptev Sea.  They have split “Trans” into two separate high pressure systems, with the one over Scandinavia the stronger.  The Pole looks the warmest it’s looked all summer, yet still isn’t quite up to normal.

NEW CAMERA  —Gray day—

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It is hard to find much of interest in a gray picture, but that yellow object, (which I have decided is not a trash can but a cork), is moving. First it swiveled around so we could see its top, but now seems to be starting to rotate back.

Judging from the Navy drift-map, we are moving towards the Canadian side, as the ice across the Pole down at our crunched camera is moving the other way. This likely would open a lead between the two sites. Also note that in Fram Strait the sea-ice is flowing into the Arctic rather than out. The ice shifting about has created a situation where there is ice off the northwest coast of Svalbard in the height of summer, where there were ice-free waters, in the dead of winter. (Notice that Hudson and Baffin Bay are nearly ice-free; from here on in it will be harder to reduce “extent.”)

Drift July 10 arcticicespddrfnowcast (Double click to fully enlarge)

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT   —HEADING NORTH AGAIN—

Our shocking piece of pollution blotching the pristine snows continued steadily east, but its southward motion ceased at 85.106°N at 9:00 PM last night. The wind had died to less than 5 mph, and temperatures reached the low for the 24-hour-period of -0.7°C. Then, as the winds swung from wnw to wsw and rose to 9 mph, temperatures rose to the day’s high of +0.9°C at noon, when our camera’s position was 85.117°N, 12.628°E.  The barometer slowly fell throughout the period to 1006.3 mb.

It is interesting how calmer conditions seem to lead to colder temperatures, as if the air in contact with the ice and seawater is chilled, and the air not very far up is warmer, and higher winds stir the air more.

JULY 10  —DMI Afternoon maps—

DMI2 0710B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0710B temp_latest.big (1)

“Art” is nudging towards the Pole as “Tev” wallows out into the Laptev Sea, completing the break of “Trans” into two high pressure systems, with the Scandinavian one subdividing further due to what likely is a front between polar air and highly modified air from the Asian Steppes. Further south “Thur” is getting his act together southeast of Iceland.

The temperature map shows the summer thaw underway over much of the Arctic Sea, though temperatures remain a hair below normal. The sub-freezing air towards Canada is because it is after midnight in that quadrant, and the sun is either very low or just below the horizon. Interestingly, that is where O-buoy 10 is located, and right by where O-buoy 9 is located is a single spot of sub-freezing air near the Pole. There is also sun-freezing air in the Kara Sea but it, like much of the cold north of Canada, is south of 80 degrees and does not show up in the DMI graph.

DMI2 0710B meanT_2014 (click to enlarge)

QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET

What is fascinating about this map is that, south of “Spinthree” over Germany, Atlantic air has streamed east over the Alps and nearly to the Black sea, while north of Spinthree air from the Steppes has pushed west nearly to England. It is a sandwich. Despite the fact the high pressure ridge “Trans” has been broken, the long fetch it had along the Siberian coast is pushing a cold front down into Finland.

UK met July 10 FSXX00T_00 (1) (click to enlarge)

The next map is 12 hours later and twelve hours after the above DMI maps, and shows the polar front pressing further south through Finland, on its way to eastern Sweden and eventually Denmark, where it will have briefly pinched off the flow of warm air from the Steppes. However models show that Spinthree will intensify towards the Black Sea and send another surge of air from the Steppes into the Baltic next week, pushing the cold front west as a warm front.

Across the Atlantic “Thur” is brewing up and will stall as a sub-1000 mb low over Iceland, with west winds shoving a series of fronts and occlusions to meet that warm air from the Steppes, and models show that warm air pushed back east and north, as Atlantic air gets into the Baltic around midweek.

Perhaps we can then get into a more zonal pattern, where storms behave as they are suppose to behave, and trot around the Arctic Circle from west to east in a polite and politically-correct fashion. However perhaps models are showing that solution because they are programmed to be correct. They are not used to weather misbehaving, and have scored badly, in terms of correct solutions, so far this spring and summer.

UK Met July 10B 16094192 (click to enlarge)

NEW CAMERAS  —POCKETS OF COLD—

Besides showing that the yellow cork has really flopped over, O-buoy 9 seems to show a slight dust of snow has fallen. This will reflect the sun and slow the thaw.

webcam

Down at O-buoy ten, the lowness of the sun at midnight seems to have allowed a skim of ice to form on the edges of the melt-water pools, hindering their growth briefly even as the sun rises higher, however I expect the melting to swiftly resume.

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JULY 11  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI2 0711 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0711 temp_latest.big (1)

Although “Art” is weak, it marks yet another low sitting atop the Pole, king of the world. I like to think it contains a vauge impulse of Hurricane Arthur, though most of Arthur’s moisture is wound up in occlusions in “Thur,” by Iceland.

The winds must have turned north by the northeast coast of Greenland, to have sub-freezing temperatures there.

NEW CAMERA —DRIZZLE?—

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The snow looks grayer and more like slush to the left, and I think there may have been rain or drizzle, which is not all that uncommon in July at the Pole.

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

No report today. Maybe the buoy got crunched as well.

JULY 11  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI2 0711B mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0711B temp_latest.big (1)

It is interesting how quickly the ridge across the Pole turned into a trough across the Pole.

NEW CAMERAS  —GRAY SKIES—

webcamwebcam

Busy with some other writing tonight. Will comment tomorrow.

JULY 12 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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NEW CAMERAS  —snow north, thaw south—

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JULY 12  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI2 0712B mslp_latest.bigDmI2  0712B temp_latest.big (1)

JULY 13   —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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“Art” is stalled at the northern edge of the Kara Sea, which continues to be cold and show sub-freezing temperatures. I thought “Tev” might be attracted to “Art” and they might do a Fujiwhara dance around the Pole, but I was wrong, as Tev has drifted across to Alaska and now will drift along the coast to Canada, as high pressure builds between it and Art. That high pressure will build more strongly between Art and “Thur”, which is stalled over Iceland. This high will build  as Art and Thur fade away, curving east winds along the Scandinavian north coast and then north up through Fram Strait, pushing the sea-ice back up the “wrong way” again.

QUICK GLANCE AT THE UK MET

UK Met July 13 16172227

The map continues to show the interesting sandwich, with Atlantic air to the south heading towards the Black Sea, and warm air from the Steppes moving east through the Baltic, with Spinthree directing traffic between the two. However Spinthree is getting weak, and it looks like it will wobble back to southern Sweden and redevelop a bit, with east winds retreating north and west winds actually managing to drive an Atlantic cold front into the Baltic by midweek.  That little low back towards Newfoundland, “Thurthree,” will ripple east under “Thur” to Norway by Wednesday. Meanwhile Thur and its secondary “Thurson” will back towards Greenland. Some models show Thur actually moving inland over Greenland and contributing to the south winds in Fram Strait.

CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT  —Two days data—

Winds have been swinging around to the north behind “Art,” and our northward progress came to a halt at 85.121°N at 3:00 PM on the 10th.  Our eastward progress came to a halt at 13.439°E at 9:00 Pm on the 11th, and by noon yesterday we had drifted back to 85.031°N, 13.096°E. We should get south of 85 degrees latitude for the first time before the winds shift south again, as current northeast winds are light but steady, from 5 to 10 mph.

The barometer bottomed out at 1002.6 mb at 6:00 PM on the 11th, and had risen back to 1006.3 mb by noon yesterday. “Art” was by no means a big, ice-busting storm, but it did cut back on the sunshine.

The thaw seems to finally be getting serious about setting in, as we only had a single sub-freezing reading, -0.2°C at 6 PM back on the 10th, and since then it has been constantly above freezing, peaking at +0.9°C at noon on the 11th, and at +0.5°C at noon yesterday.  This is no heatwave, but the sun never sets, and slowly the world we can’t see gets slushy.

I want to see. Time to check the other cameras.

NEW CAMERAS   —Summer thaw setting in—

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The ice looks just a bit more slushy to the left. Also there is a sign of an old crack on our side of the yellow cork, to go along with the crack just beyond it. We’re not likely to get a good melt-water pool with those cracks, as the water likely will drain down through weaknesses in the cracks. However maybe we’ll see this ice crack up, later in the season.

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Fog!  Now this could get some real thawing going. Fog condenses on the side of cold snow, just as humid air condenses on the side of a glass of ice-water in the summer. As the fog condenses it gives off its latent heat, which further hurries the melting, and is why fog is called a “snow-eater” in New England.

CRUNCHED CAMERA DATA

Our heap of junk finally crossed 85 degrees latitude, continueing south and west to  84.931°N, 12.818°E. Winds picked up a bit to the 10-15 mph range.  Temperatures continued mild, with a low of +0.4°C at midnight and a high of +0.8°C at 9:00 AM, settling back to +0.7°C at noon. The barometer steadily climbed to 1011.2 mb.

JULY 13  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

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JULY 14 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

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NEW CAMERAS  —Contrasting weather—-

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CRUNCHED CAMERA REPORT

Our demolished example of taxpayer funding continued south and west to 84.827°N, 12.389°E, as winds slackened to 9 mph, and the pressure continued rising to 1016.2 mb. The temperature remained nearly constant in the 24-hour daylight, twice hitting the 24 hour period’s high at +0.8°C at 3:00 PM yesterday and noon today, and the low at +0.5°C at 3:00 AM.

NEW CAMERAS

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Though there is no sign of thawing yet in the picture from up at 88 degrees latitude, the background shifted at some point when I wasn’t paying attention. (I’ve been busy with a post that got printed today on WUWT.)  There may be a second fault-line in that pressure ridge behind the buoy, and it is possible a lead may open up there.

The picture from down at 77 degrees latitude shows the thaw if full progress. You can see why it is omportant to have the satellite be able to tell the difference between open water and melt-water pools. My best guess is that the ice is ten feet thick under the pools.

JULY 14  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

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“Art” is fading in the Kara Sea as “Thur” fades over Iceland. The ridge across the top of the Atlantic will stop the export of sea-ice for a while.

Very warm over Scandinavia, as sub-freezing temperatures reappear by the Pole.

JULY 15  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI2 0715 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0715 temp_latest.big (1)

Lows are circling high pressure over Pole. “Tev” moving from north of Alaska to Canada, “”Art” that is weak over Kara Sea and moving east,  and a new low “Sib” over Eastern Siberia, likely to cross to Alaska.  However the most interesting feature is the high over Svalbard, likely to drift north of Scandinavia and create quite a “wrong way” flow south to north through Fram Strait all week.

Busy day at farm. I have two pigs coming. It is hot and muggy. I’d like to cool myself watching the ice melt, but won’t have time until later.

NEW CAMERAS

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I couldn’t resist taking a quick peek at lunchtime, as it is so hot and muggy here in New Hampshire. By the way, the ice on the other side of the pressure ridge has shifted. It shifted to the left at 11:23 of the movie made by camera shots, and back to the right quite dramatically at 11:53 of the movie. So this ice is not as stable as it looks.  Here’s the movie, if you want to see for yourself: http://obuoy.datatransport.org/monitor#buoy9/movie

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I figure this post is getting too long, so I’m going to start a new one. But I’ll post the first maps and pictures of the new post here, considering you have come all this way. However you may notice the tone of my writing changes a little, as I explain myself to first time viewers.

JULY 15 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

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These Danish Meteorological Intitute maps are put out at midnight and noon. I call them “morning” and “afternoon” maps because that is when I look at them. Because we are looking down on Earth, noon tends to be at the bottom and midnight at the top in noon maps, such as the above map, and the opposite is true in maps from twelve hours later. Though diurnal variation of temperatures has little effect in the 24-hour-a-day sunshine at the center, it does have an effect at the edges of the circle shown by these maps. For example, in the above map it is midnight towards Bering Strait, and the little pockets of sub-freezing temperature you see up there will vanish in the next map, and then reappear in the following map.

Although it annoys some people, I tend to name storms for the fun of it, and also it helps me keep track of them. From this angle of the earth it is possible to track the same system as it evolves, all the way around the planet. During the evolution systems go through during such journeys, I tend to have systems keep the same name even when a stricter meteorologist would say the original died and a secondary took over. (To them I say, this is my blog, and I’m boss here.) (Furthermore, I’m more reasonable than your boss, with his Global Warming fixation.)  I very loosely follow a convention where secondary and tertiary storms on a front gain the suffix “son” and “three,” as they travel up the cold front, but when storms occlude and kick a storm ahead along the warm front I call it a “zipper” and use the suffix “zip.”

In the above map four storms are rotating around the high pressure at the Pole, which is a textbook situation, and unusual for this year, for we have often had lows over the Pole and you can then throw your textbook out the window.  The low over Iceland is “Thur” and is stalled and fading, and the one in the Kara Sea is “Art” and also weakening. They are two faint memories of Hurricane Arthur. (Get it? Art and Thur?) The one over east Siberia is “Sib,” and the one approaching the Canadian Archipelago is “Tev.”  Some models are showing Tev moving east as Art fades west, and a low of their merge forming over the Greenland icecap,  which is unusual as high pressure likes to sit there. Rather than north winds on the east side of a high pressure, there ill be south winds on the east side of a low, and rather than sea-ice flushing out of the arctic through Fram Strait, it may be jammed back north. I use the word “may” because models are not always right, and also winds don’t always obey the isobars.

The sub-freezing temperatures over the Kara Sea have been persistent this summer, even in the afternoon.

CRUSHED CAMERA REPORT

The original point of these posts was to enjoy the views of the North Pole Camera as it drifted south, however we have had bad luck this year, as camera one was knocked over by a polar bear and camera two crushed by a pressure ridge. However the weather station is still working, and I give reports on what we are missing.

As the building polar high pressure shifts over towards Scandinavia we are experiencing changing conditions, before I expect we will be blown back north.  Winds dropped to nearly calm, as the pressure crested at 1017.7 mb and then dipped to 1016.1 mb at noon. Winds fell to a long period of nearly calm conditions, and then rose to 10 mph at noon.  The temperatures fell from noon yesterday’s high of +0.8 to a low of -0.2°C at midnight, recovered to +0.3 at 6:00 AM but dipped back to -0.2°C at 9:00 AM, before returning to zero at noon. These temperatures are below normal, though I expect they will rise as winds become south.

Our steady progress south and west was halted. Our southward progress halted at 84.799°N at midnight, and we were bumped north to 84.804°N at 6:00 Am, and then sagged back to 84.799°N at noon. Our westward progress halted at 12.109°E at 3:00 AM, we were jostled back to 12.195°E at 9:00 AM, and then nudged west to 12.181°E at noon. With all these shifts occurring you can understand the floes do a lot of crashing and smashing, and see why our camera may have been crushed by a pressure ridge. There is nothing neat and tidy about the Arctic Ocean this year, and one adventurer described the situation as “crazy ice.”

NEW CAMERAS

Originally these pictures merely supplimented the Noth Pole Camera, but now they are my fix of cool pictures in hot summer weather. They are from the “O-buoy Project.”  The first is Camera Nine, which has drifted from over towards Bering Strait, and is now passing quite near the Pole on the Canadian side, at 88 north latitude. Originally the camera looked over completely flat ice, but the stresses of the winter built the small pressure ridges. I expect melt-water pools to be appearing soon.

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The second picture is from Camera Ten, which is much further south, a little south of 77 degrees latitude, north of Alaska. As best I can tell, the ice is nine feet thick, but as you can see the summer thaw is in progress.

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This series of posts will be continued at: https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/arctic-sea-ice-melt-flat-lining-death-spiral/