ARCTIC SEA-ICE BUOYS —Observations June 1, 2015

Now the fun begins, as we enter the 40 days when the sun has the most power at the Pole. Now is the time the Alarmists have been waiting 320 days for, when the snow wilts even when temperatures are below freezing.

Even though summer lasts long beyond these 40 days, and the sea-ice extent decreases well into September, now is the time when the most dramatic sagging of snowbanks, and shrinking of pressure ridges, and growth of melt-water pools can be expected. Indeed, after these 40 days some freezing can start to appear at the surface, and this freezing can be expected to increase, even as melting continues from beneath, and ice breaks up well into September.  In terms of stuff you can see from above, and photo ops, these next 40 days are time to put up or shut up, for Alarmists, looking for doom and gloom and reasons to despair.

Yet they are also a time of hope, if you like the idea of a warmer world, and the Medieval Warm Period returning, and Greenland becoming green again, and its permafront thawing and growing barley as it did for the original Vikings. For a brief time one sees hints of the starkness fading, and a climate optimum returning, and the dry parts of the world standing astounded at the sighing of rains: The Sahara becoming grasslands dotted with lakes. The red mesas of the American Southwest covered with jungle green. Such optimism may only be the overly fond hope of a dreamer, but, as the sun beats down on the arctic from midsummer’s heights, it is dream briefly validated.

Given the choice between despair and hope, I’ll chose the latter, and rejoice at the victory of summer over the most wintry part of the world, even as my more cynical side suspects the victory will be brief. Why brief? Because the powers of despair are ascending. Why rejoice? Because such powers cannot win, and in the end the deserts will bloom, and the north-lands know mildness. Is this faith and not science? Yes, but so is belief in Global Warming.

Currently the power of the sun is most obvious at Obuoy 12. Despite a shot of very cold air, the diurnal rise of the sun nearly tugs temperatures above freezing down near latitude 76°:

Obuoy 12 0601 temperature-1week

And, despite the fact temperatures can’t nudge above freezing, and often are well below, the sun still has the power to soften snow, wilt the sharp points of pressure ridges, and even expand the beginnings of melt-water pools:

Obuoy 12 0601 webcam Obuoy 12 0601B webcam

But hide that glorious sunshine with clouds, and things become more pessimistic, even well to the south, south on the coast of Alaska. As the same shot of cold arrived, Buoy 2015A saw its promising melt-water pools freeze over and be dusted by snow.

Buoy 2015A 0531 camera1

Buoy 2015A 0601B camera1 This demonstrates the simple power of sunlight; beautiful golden sunlight. One observation I made last summer was how often it was gloomy, over the arctic cameras. If you want to see, (for whatever reasons, whether they be hope or despair), the ice melt, then hope for clear, blue skies.

I think that, for clear skies, a zonal pattern is better. We need the AMO and PDO to get in harmony, and to quit the business of provoking each other into kick-backs, for that seems to perturb the jet stream into extreme non-zonal, meridianal, meanderings, which brings moisture north and makes our Polar skies cloudy.

However it is interesting to watch the wild meanderings, and see cold air surge across the Beaufort Sea, if only because it effects the antics of the sea-ice. For example, the ice Obuoy 9 sits on was politely moving east over the top of Greenland, on its way to an organized exit from the arctic via Fram Strait, when this surge of cold air hit it, and the ice did an about face and began marching west back from longitude 18° towards longitude 20°,

Of course, when all this ice is moving east and then decides the heck with that, and to move west, it is like the traffic on the eastbound lane of an interstate all deciding to put on the brakes and accelerate west in reverse gear. Only the bergs are a heck of a lot bigger than cars and even tractor-trailer trucks. (Doing a back-of-the-envelope calculation, I estimate the total weight of the ice at 65 kazillion grams.) You can expect amazing pile-ups, and also leads to open, and to create areas of “highway” with no traffic at all.

This makes the images from Obuoy 9, if nothing else, dramatic (especially with the mountains of Greenland in the background, when the sea-smoke lifts.)

Obouy 9 20150521 webcam

Obuoy 9 0527 webcam

Obuoy 9 0601 webcam

Obuoy 9 0527 webcam

(One interesting thing about these pictures is the dark area of sky along the horizon to the right. Adventurers who have trekked up there state this often indicates a lead of open water, which is dark blue, and reflects its darkness onto the low clouds. Therefore we ought to suspect the reverse in the direction of the ice has torn a big lead open, just over the horizon and out of our view.)

When ice reverses direction it may open leads of open water in some places, but in other places it makes “crazy ice”, which can consist of jumbled pressure-ridges. And to be midst such a jumble is hard on buoys and cameras. Sadly, it seems our oldest and wisest buoy, Buoy 2012G:, may have suffered such a fate. It’s last clear report was on May 20, and its temperature graph seems to hint it may be reporting from under a jumble:

2012G_temp

Still, 2012G gave us one heck of a ride, while it lasted:

2012G_track

One-heck-of-a-ride is a decent pay-back, and a lot more than we get from other ways the billions our government pours into “Global Warming” pays us back. It seems to me a lot is totally wasted on computer models that don’t work. (I’m not talking about the long-term models weather forecasters use, but rather about the absurd models that supposedly predict “Climate Change”, but utterly and hopelessly fail.) Even more money is squandered “adjusting temperatures”, (which seems to me to be the falsifying of public records, and a crime). Then “public relations” gets a hugely disproportionate share of the tax monies, especially when you consider “public relations” has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with propaganda. Lastly, there are various junkets and conventions which have nothing to do with science, but seemingly have something to do with rewarding the bribed. All things considered, the buoys and cameras actually doing work and expanding our knowledge of the Arctic don’t even get a tithe of the money spent.

We do get one-heck-of-a-ride from the other money spent, because it isn’t spent on our infrastructure. The state of the State Roads in New Hampshire is worse than I’ve ever seen in my life, and I can tell you, from first hand experience, driving over them is one-heck-of-a-ride. But perhaps that is more of a subject for a “Local View” post, and not for an “Arctic Sea-Ice” post. However, before I return you to your regularly scheduled programming, I must mention this:

At some point the vast amounts spent on Global Warming will seem largely a waste, and there will be huge budget cuts. When that time comes, the bureaucrats will want to cut the funding for things like the North Pole Camera, and keep the funding for their own jobs. At the risk of sounding inhumane, and preferring inanimate cameras to living, breathing people with children to feed,  I say we should cut the bureaucrats long before we cut the cameras, for the cameras produce and the bureaucrats only leech.

Speaking of cameras, up towards the North Pole the North Pole Camera is well west and north of where it was at this time last year. It was doing its best to head down to Fram Stait, and crossed 88° latitude back on May 26, and got as far south as 87.947°N on May 29, but since then it has got caught up in the surge towards Beaufort Sea, and backed to 88.019°N at 0300z on May 31.  Not only that, but, because it must move east to get to Fram Strait, it seemed obedient, as it moved east to 11.055°W at midnight on May 29, however since then it has been very disobedient and headed west. At last report ( 2100Z  on May 31) the camera was at 88.014°N, 13.265°W and headed west in light winds.

The surge of cold air towards the Beaufort Sea has done one thing: It has brought abrupt warming to the Pole. At nine o’clock on the 30th the camera was at -8.4°C, but 24 hours later it stood at -0.5°C, and we were on the verge of our first thaw of the summer. (You will notice, from the picture, there is nothing but sunshine, and no gloom.)

NP3 1 0601 2015cam1_1

The beaming sunshine has allowed temperatures to shoot above normal for the first time in a long time, north of 80 degrees latitude.

DMI2 0601 meanT_2015

Do not be fooled by this graph. It is important to remember it does not include much of the Beaufort Sea, which is south of 80 degrees latitude, and where much of the cold air has been shunted:

DMI2 0601 temp_latest.big

What I’ll be looking for, in terms of melting the sea-ice, is lots of sunshine at the Pole. If it gets gloomy like last year, forget it.

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NORTH POLE CAMERA UP AND RUNNING

NP1 0417 2015cam1_4

DANGER  Looking at these pictures can be addictive. Furthermore, they can lead to arguments about sea-ice with fanatics, and even (gasp) holding the politically incorrect view that there is no “Death Spiral” and the North Pole isn’t going to become ice-free.

On the other hand, looking at these pictures is soothing on hot summer days, a good way to forget pressing issues and to zone out, and can introduce you to interesting people.

The above view is from camera 1, and is a wide angle lens. I’m not sure what the deal is with camera 2 this year, as it seems to have a narrower view.

NP2 0417 2015cam2_2

The link to these pictures is  http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/index.html .

Currently the camera is at 89.651°N,  38.819°W and is drifting northwest, which is a little unusual, as the camera tends to head south towards Fram Strait. Usually they continue to send pictures into September, but last summer one was knocked over (perhaps by a bear) in late June, and the second was too close to a pressure ridge, which buried it in rubble later in July.

The camera is undergoing a “heat wave”, as a southerly wind has raised temperatures from -15.5°C on at 1730z on April 14 to -2.7°C at 1800z on April 16. (4.1° to 27.1° Fahrenheit)  Winds are quite strong, at a steady 22 mph (gusts aren’t reported.)

Barneo wind April 16 317886_original

The cameras are deployed from the Barnea Camp. With these winds, it must be rough on the tourists at that camp. (See my post at:  https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/jets-landing-gear-fails-at-pole/  )

The cameras take a group of three to six pictures, four times a day. One trick I have learned is to open the pictures to a new tab, and then click back and forth between the pictures. This makes slight shifts in the ice, which otherwise would be difficult to notice, jump out at you, but you need to be careful not to be tricked by the shifting shadows. (One thing to keep an eye out for is polar bear tracks. Keep your fingers crossed no bear gets interested in the camera, because those bums have no respect for all the hard work and tax-dollars involved.)

Usually nothing much happens for the first month or so, as things are basically frozen solid, and temperatures seldom get above freezing until June. Once temperatures get above freezing, they can stay above freezing for over a month, as the sun never sets, and the melt-water pools start to form. Of the camera moves south into Fram Strait the final pictures sometimes show a nearing ice breaker, sent to rescue the camera.

I am thinking I might start a “Polar Camera Post”, with views from these cameras, as well as the four “O-buoy” cameras, plus some of my amazingly witty and lucid comments.

An elongated low north of Greenland is causing the winds, and bringing the mild air north.

DMI2 0417 mslp_latest.big DMI2 0417 temp_latest.big