THREE DARK DECEMBER SONNETS

Before celebrating the return of Light and the Candle in a cavern, December holds days when light is least, like starlight glinting in new moon’s midnight icicles.

Don’t ask the Almighty, “Why shouldn’t I?”
He’ll reply, “Do you really want to know?”
If you then nod, you may plunge from the sky
Like bright Lucifer. Then pain helps you grow.

“Why avoid bad girls when they’re so much fun?”
“Do you want to know?” “I want it madly!”
Then fun fades and faith cracks; sad morning sun
Shows fun isn’t fun when the bad treat you badly.

All such suffering is avoided by they
Who heed the advice spoken from on high.
But I could see no good, and wouldn’t obey,
And sought the answer to that hard word, “why”.

Now I ask “what” with a sad sort of grin
For I missed seeing “what” might-have-been.

*******

Humbled by time, and facing a cruel world
That has never cared a hoot for the Truth,
I face the Truth. I lift the gauntlet hurled
Down by liars and ask them, “What’s the use
Of fighting your own wavering shadow?
It only fights for as long as you do.”
They do not understand, for they cannot know
The Truth they deny. Beauty that is True
Stands waiting with asking, appealing eyes
But they still scorn it, as they’ve always done.
What is ever-fresh and young they disguise
In decrepitude, crucifying the One
Who heals, and so I lift my wondering eyes
To where the heavens are blue and clear
And ask, “Where on earth do we go from here?”

*******

Why does God create only to then burn?
Why grow vines only to prune and then throw
Into the fire? Men are fools, and fools learn
Through blunders. What can I possibly grow
When my entire life is but a rough draft
Doomed to be crumpled and thrown into the trash?

God knows the answer. The Creator’s craft
Weaves vast vaults of starry skies as a mere sash
For Atlas-shoulders. Creation’s ending
Is beyond creation, for Love needs Love.
Space and time are curved, with all things bending
Back to the beginning. (I’m speaking of
What can’t be spoken.) Though I’m a rough draft
I think I will love the result of God’s craft.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –See Prior Update–

Things have been “interesting” around here. Three feet of snow and temperatures below zero (-17 Celsius) were followed by temperatures above fifty (+10 Celsius) and heavy rain, followed by a flash freeze and three inches of snow, resulting in a car crash, floods in the cellar and a fire in the stables. Handling such interesting stuff leaves little time for posts on sea-ice, but I have managed to update the prior post up to December 10. It can be found here:

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2019/12/07/arctic-sea-ice-cross-polar-switcheroo/

LOCAL VIEW –Mining Wood–

In case you young folk want to know where firewood comes from, it comes from “wood mines”.

Wood Mine 1 IMG_0108

My rat-hunting dog begs to differ. She claims they are called “woof mines”.

Wood Mine 2 IMG_0111

The deep snows make everyday deeds, like getting an armload of wood, difficult. The deep snow-cover also seems to confuse the computer-model used to figure out our forecasts.  Temperatures are significantly lower than forecast. The low last night was forecast to be 10F (-12 Celsius) but instead it is getting down towards zero in the dark before dawn. But check out the forecast. Nearly fifty degrees warmer and raining by tomorrow!?

Wood Mine 3 IMG_0113

What a mess it could be! Everything will turn to slush and then freeze solid. Great start to winter. But if the snowbanks by the roads freeze solid it will be more difficult to skid off the roads. They become like bobsled runs.

 

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Cross-polar Switcheroo–UPDATED

In 5 1/2 days the flow of air up at the Pole went from Canada-to-Siberia (November 28, lower left) to Siberia-to-Canada (December 4, lower right.)

 

Personally I prefer Canada to export its cold air to Siberia, for that means there is less left over to freeze my socks off where I live,  south of the Canadian border in the state of New Hampshire. It seems to me that the last thing Canada needs during winter is the import of Siberian air.

I may be a bit prone to ranting about the subject of cold weather at the moment, as we have been at the center of a so-called “lollypop” on snowfall maps, and are dealing with 36 inches. (91 cm). It’s unfair, because the politicians in the capitals of Concord, New Hampshire 35 miles to our northeast, and Boston, Massachusetts 49 miles to our southeast, experienced less than six inches. If there was any justice they’d be the ones digging down three feet to get a stick of firewood, or even to get their mail. 

But maybe its for the best. If they had to deal with three feet of snow they’d likely invent some new tax or fee to deal with it, and never shovel a flake themselves.

I amuse myself by imagining what politicians would come up with. Perhaps they’d concoct a fee to supply every mailman with a snow-shovel to dig down to mailboxes with, but only a nickle of every dollar would reach the mailman, as 95 cents went to “administration”, which would of course involve the politician’s  Aunt Agnes and Cousin Waldo, plus anyone else who contributed to his reelection.  This alone explains why governments are so inefficient when they attempt to do what ordinary people do. When I shovel out my mailbox 100% of my energy goes into the job, but when politicians try to do the same job 95% goes to nepotism and cronyism, and the remaining 5% causes the Postal Workers to go on strike, for currently they refuse to deliver me my mail if my mailbox is under snow,  (even though I pay them to deliver it with my taxes),  and if you supply them with a shovel and tell them to deliver the damn mail even if it involves digging,  you will not only see no digging, but you will see no mail delivered.  In essence the entire tax-dollar is wasted.

In like manner, it seems my imagination is wasted, when I spend time on the antics of politicians. It seems far better to spend my imagination on the antics of clouds. Not only has the government not yet found a way to tax us for looking at clouds, (though they have invented a “view tax” to add onto the property taxes of houses on hills), but also clouds are 100% efficient, whether it is the cloud’s job to free the sunshine, or to dump three feet of snow on my mailbox.

One reason I look to the North Pole is because it gives me a heads-up to what my future may hold. It was good news that the cross-polar-flow went from Canada to Siberia, for it promised a break in the arctic outbreaks that afflicted us. But it is bad news that the cross-polar-flow has undergone the switcheroo. Mark my words, after a mild spell to start next week, the (bleep) is going to hit the fan around here, and I may manage very few posts about sea-ice, until spring.

One interesting thing about watching cross-polar-flow is that it doesn’t matter which way the air goes, it warms crossing the Arctic Sea. People tend to see the North Pole as the source of cold, but in actual fact the source is Tundra, and to a lesser extent Taiga.  Over Siberia temperatures can drop to -90 F, which gives us pretty pictures like this:

On Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, Anastasia Gruzdeva poses for a selfie as the temperature dropped to about 58 degrees below zero in Yakutsk, Russia.

However as that air is sucked towards Canada via cross-polar-flow one notes it swiftly warms, right at the surface, and the Central Arctic Basin seldom sees temperatures below -30ºF, very rarely sees temperatures below -40ºF, and never (that I have seen) reaches temperatures below -50ºF.

Meanwhile Alaska and northern Canada, though not as expansive as Siberia, can see temperatures below  -70ºF. When the cross-polar-flow  moves from Canada to Siberia, one again sees the surface temperatures rise.

What does this suggest? First, it suggests that the true sources of arctic cold are Northern Eurasia and Northern North America, and the Arctic Sea is actually a “heat-island” between two very cold places. Second, because the Arctic Sea is a “heat island” and because warm air rises, it must constantly be sucking air north to replace the air that rises.

If the air sucked north is from the Atlantic or Pacific, it is “maritime” air and slows the growth of sea-ice as it is relatively mild (though usually below freezing). But if the air sucked north is from Siberia or Canada it is “continental” and enhances the growth of sea-ice because it is very cold.  In simplistic terms all Alarmists should root for maritime air being sucked north while all Skeptics root for continental air being sucked north.

In actual fact the opposite may  be true. If you study the temperatures of air-masses,  it becomes obvious nothing squanders the planet’s heat as swiftly as a mild air-mass moving to the sunless Pole. In like manner, nothing preserves the planet’s heat as much as it’s coldest air never freezing lower latitudes, and instead being warmed over the Arctic Sea.

Some eloquent arguments  may then arise between those over-focused on sea-ice and those over-focused on air temperatures. Both are “wrong”,  for the situation is complex and involves multiple variables. One reason climate models fail is because they miss certain variables, or fail to give certain “weight” to certain variables, or even to vary the “weight” of variables (which creates varying variables). It is so complex it tends to give me a headache, so what I prefer to do is to make an overly simplistic forecast and then enjoy my failure. Fortunately no one is depending on my forecasts, for it frees me from blame and guilt, and, like a child at play, I think train wrecks are cool.

peter-arno-drawing-board-cartoon-new-yorker-1941-8x6

 

One train wreck in my forecasting has been due to attempting to see a pattern, when the pattern is a switcheroo pattern, which in essence is a lack of a pattern. If you try to base things on a Canada-to-Siberia flow then you get messed up when the pattern goes through a switcheroo and is the exact opposite 5 1/2 days later.

Another train wreck occurred because a pattern did persist even as things all around it were going through a switcheroo. What happened was that an upper air trough in eastern North America combined with a ridge to the west and brought a flow of arctic air persistently south, the first half of November.  Then this flow was interrupted by the Aleutian Low penetrating the ridge in the west, which allowed Pacific air to flood inland in Canada. What this usually means is that our north winds become noticeably milder, because it involves air from a different “source”.  That change was the “switcheroo”, but the arctic air wasn’t entirely banished from the north winds. Way over towards Greenland a thin ribbon of arctic air bled south, sneaking over the east side of Hudson Bay into Quebec. That was the “pattern that persisted”. Perhaps the arctic wasn’t breaking records and sending impressive blobs of high pressure south, (causing Texan ranchers to laconically drawl, “Nothin’ between here and the North Pole but a few strands of barbed wire an’ some cold cows.”) But the arctic flow persisted in the very east of Canada. That resulted in a personal train-wreck forecast, for that cold air was the reason that rather than rain we got three feet of snow.

If one is in the mood to be gloomy, that persistent drain of cold in the east of Canada, even when the west is flooded with Pacific air, does not bode well for the Great Plains and East of the USA. If it effects us even when the cross-polar-flow is Canada-to-Siberia, it will be far worse when the flow is Siberia-to-Canada. Our worst winters see the arctic sweep south down the east side of the Rockies, brew trouble by mixing with tropical air in the Gulf of Mexico, and send snowstorms up the east coast.  This early in the winter the Atlantic retains summer warmth, so the storms often contain rain or are all rain, but as the winter proceeds the big cities of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and even Washington D.C. get clouted, (and politicians get busy dealing with the climate by raising taxes).

Around here the last thing we want right now is rain. When you have three feet of snow on your roof the snow acts like a sponge in the rain, and the weight of all the wet snow can cause buildings to collapse. In fact I’m going to shovel the roof of my goat’s stable over the weekend. (When younger I made some extra money during bleak winters risking my neck in that manner, but now I just do it for survival, which I also call “fun”.)

There seems to be a lag of up to a week between events in Northern Canada and repercussions reaching us down here. A switcheroo up there leads to erratic weather down here. It’s still too early to be certain what the winter pattern will be. One looks for things to “settle down”, but one also is not entirely sure the switcheroo-pattern might not be THE pattern, and chaos will continue non-stop. Stay tuned.

(I’ll ad some graphs and the individual DMI polar isobar and isotherm maps later, when I find time. But now I have to go shovel a roof.)

*******

OK. Heavy rain is now reducing any snow that hasn’t been shoveled from local roofs, allowing me to scrutinize maps.

When I last posted a Aleutian Gale had been deflected north up the Siberian side of Bering Strait, (becoming “Hula Ralph #2”). The southerly gales up through Bering Strait actually pushed the expanding sea-ice backwards, increasing the open water (and warmer surface temperatures) north of Bering Strait. (Nov. 24 to left; Nov, 27 to right).

Sometimes these retreats of sea-ice can cause a dip in the extent graph, but in this example the decrease in the Chukchi Sea was more than matched by increases in the Kara and Greenland Seas and Hudson and Baffin Bay.

By November 29 Hula-Ralph #2 was rapidly weakening north of Alaska, and I was watching the next Aleutian Low to see if would follow the same path. Despite the vast impulse of Pacific air coming north through Bering Strait and across the entirety of Alaska, the Pole itself was still cooling, which was not what I expected. I expected the Pacific “feeder-band” to fuel more of a “Ralph” low north of the New Siberian Islands, but instead an Atlantic low strengthened at the top of Norway.

Over the next two days the Pacific influence continued to dwindle, to my surprise. The influx of pacific air cooled, precipitating very little snow, and the next Aleutian Low faded without coming north, though it did swing a secondary into Alaska. The Canada-to-Siberia cross-polar-flow was falling apart, but I still expected the Atlantic low to fade and high pressure to reassert itself on the Atlantic side, as all the Pacific air would allow low pressure to reassert on the Pacific side, resurrecting the Canada-to-Siberia flow.

The map of December 2 made a train-wreck of my expectations.

First, polar temperatures hit their lowest levels of the year, despite the huge invasion of Pacific air through Bering Strait. To be honest, the invasion seemed a spectacular flop. All the invasion seemed to accomplish was to lose an incalculable amount of heat to the arctic night.

Second, I failed to foresee the expansion of high pressure from Siberia, even as I failed to forecast the low pressure expanding north through Baffin Bay. A month ago a similar low moved right up to the Pole, but I had low confidence the current low could do the same, with the Siberian high advancing from the other side of the Pole. It seemed to me an irresistible force was meeting an immovable object, and I tend to avoid forecasting the outcomes of such affairs. 

The next day saw the two powers both stronger, and still at a stand-off, but the isobars between the two suggested the cross-polar-flow was completely reversed to Siberia-to-Canada.

The next day showed the Siberian high pressure won. Just as the Aleutian Low failed to penetrate north the prior week, and instead was deflected east, now the Baffin Bay low was deflected east into the Atlantic. The cross polar-flow was starting to suck in some milder Atlantic air through Fram Strait, creating a feeder-band north of Greenland.

One day later saw the high weaker, and a massive Atlantic storm strengthening. This storm had sub-950 mb and the power of a super-typhoon, but such beasts get little press, as there are not even shipping lanes that far north. But what does get press is temperatures at the North Pole, and this Icelandic Gale pumped the feeder-band north of Greenland fatter, and warmed the Pole. I found it odd that a feeder-band existed without a “Ralph”, and I was paying undue attention to the very weak low pressure north of the Canadian Archipelago. I dubbed that low “Wimpy-Ralph.”

Maps a half-day later day demonstrated what a wimp that Ralph was. Rather than being fed by the feeder band he was weaker, and pushed east.

A half-day later Wimpy-Ralph had made a train-wreck of my theory feeder-bands feed Ralphs, for he was weaker and getting pushed southwest. However Wimpy-Ralph was, besides crimping my egotism, crimping the cross-polar-flow. It no longer came straight across from Siberia, but now described a backwards “S”, first swinging towards Svalbard to scoop up some Atlantic air, before curving towards Alaska, and only then swinging down to Canada. (At this point it is interesting to think of the cross-polar-flow as a high-pressure-hose laying on a pavement. When it swings over in one direction, what do you expect will follow?)

Only a day later the cross-polar-flow is aiming down the east coast of Greenland, rather than curving around towards Alaska. How could such a dramatic shift occur?

First, the Siberian high pressure, though weakening towards Siberia, expanded greatly towards Canada, pushing Wimpy-Ralph down towards Hudson’s Bay.  In fact while the official center of the high pressure is still over the New Siberian Islands, the body of high pressure is generally moving across the Pole.

Second, if high pressure is moving away, low pressure tends to replace it, especially if other factors support growth, and in the Kara Sea we see growing low pressure from a “kicker” storm ahead of the weakening Icelandic gale now hitting the northwest coast of Norway.

The next day’s map shows the Siberian High and Kara Low performing a sort of Polar Waltz, something remotely like the Fujiwara Effect between adjacent Typhoons.  Let it suffice to say (because I can’t claim to understand it) that the body of the high pressure is dislodged from the coast of Siberia and is moving towards North America.

The following two days show stuff occurring on the Pacific side, associated with the Aleutian Low, and the Atlantic side, associated with the Icelandic Low, which may well be the subject of my next post. However, for this post, simply notice how the dislodged high pressure moves across to Canada.

I may well be laying the tracks for my next train wreck, but to me it seems the cross-polar-passage of an entire high pressure system is more significant than cross-polar-isobars which are here today and gone tomorrow.

For one thing, cross-polar-isobars only suggest winds “can” transport air from Siberia to Canada. The actual transport takes time. How long? You’d have to send up a balloon, and see how long it took to float from Siberia to Canada.

You can be certain the balloon wouldn’t follow the straight path suggested by one map, when following maps first curve the path towards Alaska and then down the east coast of Greenland.

However, when an entire high-pressure crosses the Pole, in some ways it is a big balloon, in and of itself. (And I know, I know, some don’t like to call a high-pressure a “thing”, and to say it is but a reflection out outside imbalances, but for the sake of argument allow me to state it has a reality and is an entity.) This balloon is not a hot- air balloon, rising, but is a cold-air balloon, pressing down and making barometers read “high pressure”. (In such a case a high-pressure represents a big blob of cold air, and therefore is a “thing”.)

The power of such Siberian cold can be hidden, for its lowest levels are warmed by the passage over the thin ice of the Arctic Sea. However the surface maps mute the true intensity of the cold. If we could only afford towers, or perhaps drones, to measure temperatures only a hundred feet above the sea-ice, we might see that the warming of Siberian cold passing over the Arctic Sea is superficial. It seems to me that I have seen constant examples of times such air, the moment it moves from the Arctic Sea into Canada, reveals its true nature. It was not truly made into a maritime air-mass by passing over the Arctic Sea, but rather was a Siberian air-mass with its very bottom, as little as six feet thick, turned into a maritime air-mass. How can I claim such a thing? It is because air “above-normal” over the Arctic Sea can become “below-normal” within a half hour of moving inland and over Canadian Tundra. This would be difficult to do, because Tundra’s “normal” is so much colder than the “normal” over sea-ice, but becomes possible when the layer of “warm” air is so very thin it is easy to mix out of existence.

In any case, it will be interesting to watch the high-pressure that has crossed the Pole, and to see if it is a “thing” that causes North America grief.

To conclude this update, I should revert to the subject of sea-ice, and state that neither the invasion of Pacific air through Bering Strait, nor the feeder-band that invaded north of Greenland and fed Wimpy-Ralph, slowed the yearly growth of sea-ice. In fact the growth has been so rapid we are no longer counted among the lowest years.

If you are into headlines, you need to change the September headline “Lowest Extent In Five Years” to “Highest Extent In Five Years.” (No bother, because you’re only changing one word.)DMI 191212 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

Hudson Bay is in the process of swiftly freezing over. (November 30 to left; December 11 to right.)

We are ahead of the same date in 2016 (left) but behind 2017 (right)

Hudson Bay Dec 10 2016 2017

As soon as the Bay skims over the cold is able to build much more swiftly to my north, and north winds become crueler here.

The only thing Alarmists have to crow about is sea-ice “volume”, which is notoriously hard to determine, but is currently quite low:

Volume 191210 Screenshot_2019-12-11 DMI Modelled ice thickness

I think the low volume is largely due to the open water north of Bering Strait, but that area is rapidly shrinking and Bering Strait is now bridged by sea-ice.

Thickness 191210 Screenshot_2019-12-11 DMI Modelled ice thickness(1).png

Also of interest has been the slow growth of a sort of mountain range of thicker sea-ice all the way from Svalbard to Wrangle Island. This range of ice has largely been created by the transport of ice from the marginal seas along the Eurasian coast. The Laptev Sea is always a great creator and exporter of sea-ice, as cold winds blow north from Siberia, shifting sea-ice away from shore and creating polynyas of open water which swiftly refreeze in the frigid winds. But this year it seems the Kara, East Siberian and even Chukchi Seas are also getting into the act.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

LOCAL VIEW –We are # 1!–

The final New Ipswich storm total was 36 inches. Picture of my cozy home:

We actually were struck by two storms. The first was a surge of mild air ahead of both the upper air trough and the surface low, that I would call “a warm front”, but I understand is now called “warm air advection”. The upper air jet zooming around the bottom of the upper air trough spread out as it moved away, which created suction aloft that helped the warm air, which wants to rise anyway, rise faster. This stuff, called “divergence” and “diffluence”, is all very fascinating, but doesn’t necessarily translate into a good forecast.

They were predicting 4-6 inches by the morning of December 2 here, but I was wary, using my old fashioned concepts of warm fronts. I know that warm fronts give us southeast winds which run up against our east-facing hills and increase uplift, which means we can get more rain or snow than folk down on the flatlands. Also air cools as it rises, so we can see the snow change to rain far later than the warm front changes things, at the coast in Boston. If temperatures begin cold enough, the snow may never change to rain or sleet at all. As it was 13 ° (-11.5 Cesius) at dawn on December 1, when the high clouds first started moving in, I knew we had the available cold. Last but not least, over on his blog at Weatherbell, Joseph D’Aleo was focusing on some of the computer models that showed the warm front could dump a stripe of deep snow over southern New Hampshire. So I was forewarned, even if the weather bureau slipped up, and we got more than the 4-6 inches they predicted. I just wasn’t forewarned enough.

Even 4 inches (10 cm) means I have to arise early to snow-blow the Farm-Childcare driveway, and in the pitch dark of December 2 the first thing I glanced at was the weather radar. It was clear the front was clobbering us and wasn’t going to change to rain.

Turning on the porch light I saw the steps made smooth by snow, and guessed we’d had ten inches, (25 cm), but as I stepped off the lower step and had snow pour into my boots I realized we had 18 (46 cm). It was the start of a long ordeal, as the snowblower had to crawl along at its slowest to deal with that depth, but even though I was late clearing the Childcare’s entry and lot, the few customers who made it through the snow were also late. The snow-removal crews (besides myself) seemed also taken by surprise; they were late to start plowing and had a hard time catching up, even working all night, because the snow fell with such intensity.

The snow became light after sunrise, but all eyes were on the heavy precipitation down around New York City, in the above map. There was an idea a secondary would form and roll towards Cape Cod and then up into the Gulf of Maine, and some forecasts stated we could get six more inches as it rolled past. Fortunately we only got a dusting all day, for around town a lot of equipment was breaking down. My snowblower snapped a cable controlling the transmission, and I worked with unfeeling fingers jury-rigging a repair made of electrical wire, before finishing the drive to the barn and various paths to fire-escapes. I didn’t get to study maps as much as I like, but could utilize my cell phone to check the radar, on guard for heavier snow driven inland from the Gulf of Maine. But no storm appeared there. In fact the swath of heavy snow and rain associated with the warm front took off to the northeast with (to me) astonishing speed. I had the sense that a lot of energy that might have gone into a secondary low was being “robbed” by a low developing up past Nova Scotia. I’ve seen such “robbery” occur many times in the past, turning forecast storms into non-events, and it seemed to be happening again. The forecast six inches never materialized, and we got about a quarter inch. This gave me time to attend to the edges and corners I neglected in my first frantic attempts to open my Childcare, and also attend to my chickens, who had never seen snow before and were severely traumatized by 18 inches. (My older and wiser goats just hunkered down under the barn.) The recovery seemed to be going well until I noticed, in the afternoon, the light, falling snow seemed to stop getting lighter and lighter, and the sky stopped getting brighter and brighter as well. Slightly nervous, I checked the animated weather-radar, and noticed an ominous (and also very-cool) thing:

Even though the winds had been southeast, on the radar-map precipitation had been tracking southwest to northeast, as if in a hurry to follow the warm front up towards Labrador, but now it was all slowing, and out to sea was turning around and moving east-to-west. Was a secondary developing after all? To top it off, one mother picking up her child had heard a forecast different from the other mothers. Most opined we’d have flurries over night, but one stated she’d heard we’d get four inches.

This troubled me, for it suggested I might have to snow-blow the whole danged place all over again. So I was in a hurry to get home to my computer, but at the door I was met by the dog, who informed me with a pained expression she had been severely neglected, so I took her out.

Some state dogs can warn you in advance about events such as earthquakes. My dog ran about barking at snowflakes to an absurd degree, which is exactly how she behaved the night before. This should have alerted me. Instead I judged my dog insane, and after she had annoyed the neighbors for a period I decided might stress the limits of their tolerance, I dragged her in, fed her, and hurried to my computer, to seek the “weather updates” of every nearby station I could access.

The forecasters who were using old copy, or who had recorded their forecasts early to hurry off to watch Monday Night Football, were still predicting barely a dusting overnight, but the more active and animated forecasters were forecasting 4 inches (10 cm) [Hmm…where have I heard that before?] The most accurate forecast turned out to be in the old blog posting by Joseph D’Aleo, which should have been like day-old-bread. In his assessment of possibilities he described exactly what happened.

In the far-above radar shot you can see the circulation associated with the upper air low far to the west, moving from Indiana to Ohio. It was so far west it could delay the development of the coastal low, turning a single event into two events.

I kept shining a flashlight out the window during dinner, only slightly annoying my wife, who, though she wished my full attention, understands I’m like our dog, and on occasion have accurately predicted earthquakes. I could see that, although the snow was only intermittently moderate, we already had an inch on our steps, and the forecasters watching Monday Night Football were going to be embarrassed in the morning. I was convinced I was going to have to get up early and snow-blow four inches, and retired to bed early and glum.

When I got up I turned on the porch light even before I checked the radar. My jaw dropped. Once again the front steps were smooth. Wading out to my car I estimated we’d had a little over a foot. Those who the TV stations consult stated we’d had 14 inches (35.6 cm) which gave us a total of 32 inches (81 cm).

It took me 45 minutes just to shovel a short path to the street in darkness, so I could drive to the Childcare to snow-blow the entrance and lot, so customers could come. But I did it. Only six children showed up, and all were late.

Radar showed the storm indeed did develop and move up into the Gulf of Maine, giving us “backlash” snows.

It was a case of perfect positioning and alignment. Quite often such storms cycle the precipitation into the White Mountains, and the air is robbed of moisture and is down-sloping by the time it gets around to us, so we get only flurries. But this time the radar showed the precipitation come straight in from the ocean and then take a sharp left just inland of Portland, and then move south-southeast east of Concord, largely over coastal plains, so the air stayed juicy and then was uplifted when it hit our hills. This created a “perfect storm” scenario, and is why our storm totals were so high when Concord only got six inches.

In Atlanta life may grind to a halt when there is 3 inches of snow, but up here we can’t get away with that. Maybe we would if we could, but we can’t. If we let a little snow stop us, we’d all be unemployed from November to April, and likely would starve in the process.

It is like a fifteen-round-fight to keep roads open, when snowfall is over a foot, and after such a battle the warriors desire rest. Very seldom does a second snowfall-over-a-foot happen the very next day. Around here the warriors just faced the music, and without rest fought a second fifteen-round-fight. The roads stayed open, as did my Childcare. (After all, someone must care for the children of the men who clear the roads, as their wives work in hospitals caring for those who slip off the snowy roads).

One redeeming thing about having to go out in such weather is the views one sees. There are times you don’t even want to clean up the snow, because it will spoil the view. For example, who left the back, screen-porch-door open after thanksgiving dinner?

There was very little wind with this storm. Check out the railing at my home’s front entrance:

A new state-law insists you can’t drive with heaps of snow on your car roof, and my wife is law-abiding. Yet she is reluctant to clear 32 inches off her car and have it fall in her own parking place. So she backs her car to where the person who plows our short, private road will have to plow it.

The reason my wife can do such a thing is because our eldest son plows the small, private road, but the reason I had to shovel my way out earlier was because he hadn’t been able to get to our road, despite working without sleep. Nor would he find time before afternoon. But what if an ambulance had to head up that road? Because I was busy cleaning snow from the Childcare, he turned to his father-in-law, who showed up in a small pick-up and cleared just enough and no more.

By afternoon the snow at long last stopped, the low sun peeked out, the copious amounts of salt state crews sprinkled on the highway in front of our street began to melt the tar from white to black, my sleepless son appeared and made our small road look better, and we had once again demonstrated there is one thing we don’t entirely do when faced with a winter storm.

To conclude, I cannot resist a political dig at certain Alarmists who call me a “denier”. The comment below is for them.

I am well aware you Alarmists are attempting to switch the goal posts, and make the term “Global Warming” politically incorrect while stressing that the term “Climate Change” is the only term now allowed, but I must remind you what you insisted, fifteen years ago. Your so-called “climate experts” announced, “Our children are not going to know what snow is.” You did not dare disagree, but my grandson (and his buddy) would dare disagree and beg to differ with you.

So is my grandson a “denier”, or is it you?

The most amazing (and perhaps disconcerting) thing about this snowy situation is that winter hasn’t even started yet. The solstice is still more than two weeks away.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –The Darkest Ninth–

We are entering the darkest days, the forty days which most challenge northern people. In Denmark some call this “hygge”, “the cozy time”, which is a brave attempt to evoke sentimental feelings about black days more likely to kill than to nurture. The sun is at its weakest, and when there is snow-cover the days are so short and the nights are so long that landscapes can lose more heat than they gain even as far south as the Gulf Coast of USA and the deserts of North Africa. Snow-cover is key, and this year it is above normal, covering Scandinavia, nearly all of Russia, nearly all of Canada, and extending far south in the west of the USA.

Snow cover 191129 cursnow

This early and advanced snow-cover is largely due to a buckling jet stream which failed to keep cold air up at the Pole, (where I feel it belongs), and instead allowed it to pour south (and annoy me). While southern areas shiver with below-normal temperatures the Pole itself experiences above normal temperatures, and also shivers, for even thirty-degrees-above-normal is still below freezing up there.

What I look for during such cold episodes is a “break-in-the-pattern”, which is basically anything that stops the delivery of cold air into Canada, and then down to me in New Hampshire. I am sort of selfish, for sometimes this means the cold air gets delivered into Europe or Asia instead. That is fine by me. But I am not really heartless; in fact I’m brimming with pity for people shivering far away; it’s just that I’d rather feel pity than shiver myself.

One way to see where the cold air is being delivered is to watch the maps over the sea-ice. I look for one of two things. The first is a “zonal” pattern, which traps the cold air up where it belongs, making Santa wear fur. The second is a surge of warm air due to a “meridional” pattern which pushes the cold air off the Pole in some southward direction other than the south called the Canadian Arctic.

Recently the polar maps showed just such a respite develop for much of the Canadian Arctic: (To save myself the bother of writing “low pressure anomally” over and over I use the word “Ralph”, and rather than writing “Low pressure anomaly of pacific origins” I write “Hula Ralph”.)

What I like to see is high pressure at the center of the polar map, with low pressures submissively rolling from west to east around the periphery. Two semi-permanent areas of low pressure are the Icelandic low on the Atlantic side and the Aleutian low on the Pacific side. As long as these two lows mind their manners things are fine; it is when they get unruly and fail to know their place that trouble brews (or “things get interesting”.)

Recently we’d seen the Icelandic low get unruly and come north over Baffin Bay and the backbone of Greenland, flooding the Pole with warm air. Initially this bumped bitter cold into Canada, but a series of three “Ralphs” crossing the Pole seemed to redirect the cold air down into Eurasia, pumping a massive and very cold high pressure in central Asia. This high pressure in turn seemed to make the Aleutian low unruly, and it crossed into Alaska, with its south side flooding Pacific air into northwestern Canada, and also redirecting some cold air building over the Canadian snows back north over the Arctic Sea.

As we rejoin our maps on November 25 the Aleutian low had become somewhat discombobulated by its passage over Alaska. Part had continued east into Hudson Bay and was even kicking energy further east as the Icelandic low tried to reform in its proper position, and part had swung mild air completely around, northeast of Alaska, and was forming a weak Hula Ralph over the Arctic Sea. Meanwhile a new Aleutian low seemed to be reforming in its proper position. Across the Pole Ralph #3 was weakening over the Siberian coast, with a weak secondary Ralph #4 north of Scandinavia, but these two features were so far south they were not all that unusual. Things seemed to be returning to normal. My main concern was that “normal” meant the thirty-degree-above-normal air over the Pole had chilled thirty degrees, which meant a reservoir of cold was building, and the weak Hula Ralph was bleeding some of that cold into the very northeast of Canada. But usually such cold is shunted southeast into the Atlantic, so I wasn’t overly concerned.

24 hours later not much had changed, with the exception of the Aleutian low. It was exploding into a sub-960-mb gale, and rather than remaining stationary, or heading east to Alaska like the last one, it was coming straight north.

Twelve hours later the Aleutian low has south winds howling in Bering Strait. North of there the sea-ice has stopped advancing and is being crushed back north. Also, in a most sneaky way, the weak Hula Ralph moving into the Canadian Archipelago, combined with the weak low over Hudson Bay, continues to bleed very cold air into northeast Canada.

Twelve hours later the Aleutian Low is crashing into the Asian side of Being Strait. To some degree Pacific air is not poring east into Canada as much as it is being curved north into the Arctic Sea. The above-freezing isotherm pushes north through Bering Strait. Perhaps this deflection of Pacific air permits the very weak Hula Ralph to continue its slow bleed into eastern Canada. Ralph #3 and #4 look like weak Atlantic lows slowly moving east along the Siberian coast, with a suspicious low forming northeast of Iceland.

12 hours later the Aleutian Low is moving onto the Arctic Sea, which I suppose makes it Hula-Ralf #2, even as Hula-Ralph #1 fades away in the Canadian Archipelago. It is interesting that despite the constant flow from the south in Being Strait, the above-freezing isotherm retreats south. South of there cold air is being dragged from Siberia out over the Pacific. The Icelandic low has moved east into western Europe, with a weak extention north towards Svalbard. The slow bleed of very cold air continues into eastern Canada, (setting me up for ambush, locally, because I am looking towards western Canada and seeing mild air and Chinooks, and am not looking due north.) Old Ralph #3 and Ralph #4 persist as weak lows along the Siberian coast, like bubbles atop the enormous and sprawling high pressure off the map, over central Asia. They are drawing cold air west inland in Asia, while over the Arctic Sea Atlantic air seeps east.

Twelve hours later Hula-Ralf #2 has stalled over the ice-free water north of Bering Strait, and has cut itself off from further inflows of Pacific air, although moderated Pacific air continues to be pulled up into Alaska even to the arctic coast. On the Atlantic side the inflow of Atlantic air is starting to generate a low off the northwest coast of Norway. Cross-polar flow is pulling air from Canada towards Siberia, as high pressure over Hudson Bay pushes cold air down over my neck of the woods.

An interesting development at this time is that northern Canada is in a sense being robbed blind of its arctic air with very little inflow. The cross-polar flow exports some, as more is exported south down the east side of Hudson Bay to my neck of the woods. Meanwhile the inflow is all from the Pacific. The best you can say is that the Pacific air had origins in Siberia, and is not as warm and juicy as Pacific air from further south. But my point is that the cold in Canada must be all “home grown” by the winter darkness.

The next map shows Hula-Ralph #2 weakening, Ralph #3 fading, Ralph #4 getting pushed south and inland by the cross-polar-flow’s expanding high pressure, which is blocking the North Atlantic low and bringing a secondary up through Scandinavia. The Pacific air has so flooded northern Canada and Alaska it is starting to show up on on the arctic coasts, on the temperature map.

 The next map shows Hula-Ralph #2 continuing to fade as the next Aleutian low appears at the very top of the map. On the far side of the Pole low pressure moves north through Scandinavia.

The next map seems to show the start of a flip-flop in the pattern. The Aleutian low is neither charging across to Alaska nor coming north, as Hula Ralph #2 fades. Meanwhile low pressure is building north of Scandinavia on the Atlantic side.

The final map shows November end with the pattern flipped.  The Pacific side has gone quiet as the Atlantic side gets active. The Pole is rather “Ralphless” as the low north of Scandinavia still counts as a North Atlantic storm. There is actually high pressure at the Pole.

One interesting thing about the period covered by the above maps is that, despite the invasion of Pacific air through Bering Strait, the sea-ice north of 80º latitude never warmed, and in fact continued to slowly chill.

DMI 191130 meanT_2019

The surge of south winds in Bering Strait did push the edge of the sea-ice back north up there, and open water exists where it usually doesn’t, creating air temperatures as much as thirty-degrees-above-normal right at sea-level. However the south winds there have led to north winds in eastern Canada, and the refreeze of Hudson bay started early. I can remember some years when it didn’t truly begin until December.

CIS 191130 CMMBCTCA

One thing that becomes apparent during the “coldest ninth” is the stupendous amount of heat the north loses at this time of year. Rather than seeing it as “losing heat” I tend to see it as “generating cold”, which likely breaks laws of thermodynamics, but I can’t help myself. I am always on the lookout for cold air masses, and I can’t help but notice when, despite masses of Pacific air being pumped into Canada, we see little of it get down here to New Hampshire. It becomes obvious that besides the Pole losing heat, two enormous stretches of tunda and taiga are losing heat and generating cold, one over the vast stretches of Siberia, and another the smaller but still vast north of Canada.

A final observation is that the current temperature-anomaly map (remember red and even white-heat still can indicate temperatures below freezing) shows that despite all the above-normal temperatures pumped into northern Canada, southern Canada (and New Hampshire) is below normal.

GFS TA 191201 gfs-deterministic-nhemi-t2m_f_anom-5180000It will be interesting to watch the “warm” air in northern Canada, and see how long it takes to cool now that it isn’t being reinforced by Pacific air so intensely.

New Hampshire is seeing temperatures ten degrees below normal and is currently under a heavy snow warning for over a foot of snow by tomorrow morning, so I’ll be busy for a while and may not be as able to focus on any arctic besides my own driveway. Stay tuned.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Stand By Truth–

Around a fortnight ago I heard that Alarmist sites were proclaiming that the big guns were being rolled out to blast Skeptics, in order to convince the general public that Global Warming was a “fact” and not a theory, and that only wicked people (like me) denied such “facts”. In actual fact the Alarmists have rolled out pop-guns; not cannons. There has been a shortage of facts, and primarily we’ve seen raving and ranting by young people who are “on strike” because grown-ups are “destroying their world”, (which is basically a delusion, for it is likely there has never been a generation as physically well-off).

(Emotionally, such youth may well be destroyed, but their teachers are to blame for that. The climate itself is beyond reproach. And I could warn such foolish teachers what eventually happens to the teachers in socialist revolutions, but that would take me down a long, sad sidetrack and far from the subject of sea-ice.)

I will only go so far, playing this silly game Alarmists play, wherein they steer far from the facts while pretending they are the realists. As long as the person I am debating is willing to calmly discuss the facts, (and also whether the facts are “raw data” or so-called “adjusted data”, [which is data that has been fiddled-with and therefore can no longer can be called true data]), I can enjoy the conversation. However there are certain conversations that seem highly unlikely to involve any enjoyment.

Having raised two daughters, I am familiar with young women’s extremes of emotion, (though by age sixteen mine were showing some signs of returning to earth). But with daughters one at least owns the love which sees one through feminist storms, and daughters return some degree of that love, even when they’re furious at you. In the case of Greta Thunburg one is faced with a veritable iceberg of antipathy.

And “icebergs” returns me to the subject of sea-ice. Which is what people need to do, when faced with political nonsense. Otherwise one risks being dragged down by the sheer ugliness of untruth. In such situations it is often wise to go for a hike and absorb the beauty of the view. Become aware of the wonder.

This was actually all I was doing, when I first posted about sea-ice back in July of 2013. I was merely sharing a beautiful escape I had found, which offered relief to the heat of July.

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/north-pole-ice-melt-watching-the-summer-thaw/

But that post embroiled me in the Climate Debate on my own site. (I did visit the “subject”, in a political sense, on other sites, but my own site was for my personal, poetic wanderings, attractive to some 10-20 viewers a day.) Abruptly I had over 500 viewers a day, and all sorts of interesting comments.

My first sea-ice post made me aware of what a huge hubbub surrounded sea-ice, and that, though the subject seems inane, it can get you more attention than driving a Mercedes. Gosh! If I only knew I could get so much attention talking about icebergs I surely would have started much younger, back when I still had the lungs and stamina necessary to chase women. However, because I am largely past such pursuits, I am not as impressed as I once was by superficiality. In fact I am interested in things that didn’t interest me at all when young, such as “peace”.

When I was young I was more interested in stimulation and excitement, but even then I was aware of a richness and depth which could be found in quietude. I even pursued peace, sitting cross-legged and chanting “Aum” for an entire fifteen minutes, when swept up by spiritual zeal, but soon that seemed too boring, and I bopped away from meditation along an erratic path towards gratifications that never were lasting. To be honest, the course of my life displayed a sort of Brownian motion, despite the great gift of owning free will in a free country. Yet one thing did seem to come along with me and to be lasting, namely a sort of intangible and highly subjective sense of beauty.

Beauty is most definitely in the eye of the beholder. One time I was swept into a sort of rhapsody by the beauty of a sunrise, but when I asked a depressed and cynical friend if the sunrise was beautiful, he stated it looked like a vomited egg. For that reason I sometimes am in no hurry to share beauty with sourpusses.

As one gets older one’s initial attraction to mere superficial beauty (which is why people wear make-up) evolves. One is hurt when a person externally beautiful turns out to be cold-hearted, and one is touched when an ugly person turns out to have a heart of gold. One then becomes more aware of a thing that is an “inward” beauty. This in turn seems to have a relationship with a thing called “Truth”.

For some odd reason I have always had the ability to see beauty in situations that few would call beautiful. My depressed and cynical friend once told me, “You could face a pile of stinking shit, and you’d find something positive to say about it.” I had to laugh. It was the Truth. But that only annoyed my cynical friend, for I was finding something beautiful about his insult.

One time I was in an alley of a slum, and rather than be upset by the ugliness and decay all around me, I was entranced by the way a sunbeam found its way into that gloom, and how beautiful the old, orange bricks looked in the sunlight. Also I noted that, in some forgotten past before the slum was a slum, the bricks had been laid with extraordinary care by a skilled mason, at which point my cynical friend accused me of smoking dope without sharing any with him.

I actually did hope, when young, that legalizing marijuana might allow others to see the way I saw. After people smoked they would say things like, “Wow, man, the sky is so blue.” Unfortunately their revelations weren’t lasting, and the long-term consequences of using drugs seemed to lessen revelation, rather than stimulate revelation. Not that there was a definite decrease in intelligence. People remained the same. At age fifty they sounded the same as age seventeen.

When I look back and try to find some logical reason for my ability to see beauty, (rather than just calling it a “gift”), one thing I remember is an amazing collection of old and ugly people. My parents were both wealthy and very active, and chose to delegate the rearing of their children to others, and this tendency was exacerbated when they both were bedridden by polio in 1954. The first “nanny” I recall was an old French woman, the daughter of a French composer, who had no fear of polio germs because she was a Christian Scientist. She looked very much like the face on a box of Quaker Oats: Not exactly the face of a Hollywood movie star, but a person who was very beautiful, simply because of all she had endured in France during years of hardship, without losing faith and hope, nor losing her ability to suffer little brats like myself.

Someday I’ll hopefully write a post called “My Nannies” about the entire collection of fascinating refugees who I was cared-for by, by age nine. All were fired, as not one fully achieved the high standards my parents desired for their children, but they were all fascinating in my eyes. They didn’t ever tell me about the hells they had endured, the lynchings in America’s south, the barbaric behavior of Hitler and Stalin in Europe, but, though I later learned they had endured such ugliness, instead, in their wrinkled faces, was a triumph over evil, the victory of simple, good people over horribly astounding adversity. They shone with an “inward beauty” I was somehow able to see, despite being a naive and gullible child, and I think it stuck with me. Being old and wrinkled has never since seemed the slightest bit ugly to me.

Unfortunately, now that I myself am the old and wrinkly person, some young people do not look upon me with any fondness.

Greta and her ilk shows no sign of having the slightest interest in respecting any elders beyond those who indoctrinated her. She is as prejudiced against old people with differing views as some white people were when they listened to Louis Armstrong’s music at a nightclub, but wouldn’t allow him to drink at the same bar with them. Yet Louis wasn’t soured, nor convinced the world was doomed, but instead sang with hope in his old age:

There is an irony in watching Greta, (who has just sailed across the sea in a boat owned by monarchy), wrinkle her nose and insist her future has been stolen, and comparing her sourness with the sweetness of a man whose life was full of reasons to be bitter, yet who refused to be bowed, and persisted, and insisted on joyous song.

What makes the difference? To me it seems to be a difference between imagination and fact, between a dismal distortion of hope into despair, as opposed to an acceptance of what the present tense holds. Where Greta gripes about a forecast, Louis accepts the weather right now and, if it is raining, sings in the rain.

Greta complains her dreams have been stolen, but what are dreams? Even in a better world there is no guarantee dreams will come true. Nor is there any certainty worries will manifest; in fact they usually don’t, and even when they do they’re often not nearly as hard to endure as one envisioned. All in all, it is better to attend to today and allow tomorrow to tend to itself; even five-day-forecasts are often wrong, and few lives unfold anything like what we had scripted at age sixteen. We may plan for a pension, but “the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray”. Conversely, even when one seemingly assures oneself a miserable future by being utterly morose in the present, unexpected fortune can befall one out of the blue. Even Greta’s sour face might tomorrow be the glowing face of a young woman who has fallen in love.

One reason it is better to focus on the present is because it is all we really have. It is where Truth exists. It is filled with beauty, if you only look for it. Sadly, people often miss what they have because they hanker for what they haven’t. It is not only heroin addicts who writhe in their cravings, despite the fact the sun is shining and birds are singing.

This at long last brings me back to the subject of sea-ice. It is a beautiful and wonderful subject, if one simply looks at the Truth, and has no need to distort with bias and “adjustments”, nor any need to advocate some political cause. Even though the sun has stopped shining at the Pole, and arctic birds have fled south, the starry polar night has a beauty all its own.

It is a time of great changes, from perpetual sunshine to perpetual darkness, from melting ice to freezing salt water. The flooding arctic rivers, glutted with meltwater, abruptly shrink to a trickle as melting ceases to the south, and even the south winds become cold, when they come north over a tundra which has abruptly changed from being a swampy ooze to being as hard as iron.

This time of transition is fascinating to watch, as it never happens the same way, because a great many variables are involved. Allow me to skim over the surface of this highly complex subject, to give you an idea of how wonderful it is.

One variable is the amount of sea-ice in the marginal seas, which seems dependent on the state of the AMO and PDO. This year the ice-cover is low and the passage along the coast of Siberia is open. What this in turn creates is the likelihood of air rising over those open waters, for the waters “remember” the summer sunshine in a more lasting way than the sea-ice to the north and the tundra (already snow-covered in places) to the south, which makes the air above those waters both milder and moister than the air to the north and to the south. Because the air is rising low pressure is encouraged, and lows tend to ramble from west to east, from Barent’s Sea through the Kara, Laptev, and East Siberian Seas, all the way to Bering Strait. In the map below (for September 29) the blue areas are places where pressures are lower than normal, (especially along the Siberian coast), and orange areas are where pressures are above normal (especially over Greenland and the Central Arctic.) You can see the suggestion that the open water is effecting the pattern. (Maps courtesy of Weatherbell Site.)

When we switch to the temperature maps of the same time (Sept 29) we again can see the effect of the open water, as compared to colder lands to the north and south. (I prefer the Celsius Weatherbell map because the difference between below freezing (white) and above freezing (purple) is so clear.) Of especial interest to me is the above freezing area towards Bering Strait over the East Siberian Sea, as usually the East Siberian Sea is colder and first to freeze.

Also of interest is the below freezing air just inland of the Laptev Sea coast in Central Siberia. It looks so cold one doesn’t see it is actually warmer-than normal, unless one looks at the temperature-anomaly map for the same time:

In the above map the area inland of the Laptev is so cherry red one is tempted to forget temperatures are in fact below freezing, and get carried away and step outside in a bathing suit. (One has to be careful with anomaly maps.) What the anomaly demonstrates is the after-effects of a large storm that stalled over western Russia, drawing cold air south over Scandinavia and pulling warm air north over central Russia. But remember the warm air is only relatively warm, has chilled as it came north, and is in fact below freezing and far colder then the air it displaces over the Laptev Sea, when it is sucked north because the air over the Laptev Sea is rising.

Also notice the above map shows colder-than-normal air plunging south in Western Canada, as Eastern Canada is above-normal. This is indicative of a loopy, “meridienal” jet-stream, (which is what you look for if you like exciting winters). A flatter “zonal” jet stream has troughs and ridges that are barely bumps, and on the surface beneath have meeker lows that travel west to east without much ado. But it is when the jet stream gets loopy that the fun starts. The storms beat their chests and roar. They can start down at the edge of the tropics and come northeast intensifying constantly until they are full fledged monster-gales as they approach the arctic, actually drilling up into the upper atmosphere and altering the steering currents. This is great fun to attempt to visualize, though it can leave you a bit cross-eyed. How can the steered control the steering? It messes up computer programs, for it is like unruly peasants marching to the castle with torches and scythes to tell their boss they aren’t going to follow his orders.

What you have to watch for is storms stalling, and the upper-air pattern getting stuck in a certain position (or sometimes looking like it is going to pull out of a certain position, but then relapsing back to its former pose.) As the storms stall they often occlude, which means the warm front has caught up with the cold front, and the “warm sector” is hoisted off the ground and starts messing around with the upper atmosphere. Though some take the attitude an occluded storm is “cut off” from the juice that feeds storms, at times an occluded front represents a pipeline of juice still feeding the gale, but feeding-in up a few thousand feet. The massive gale remains massive, and often slows, stalls, and then curves back to the west. What the heck is going on in terms of “steering currents”?

The most elegant explanation for the looping of high latitude gales is that they have escaped the influence of mid-latitude westerlies and nudged into the influence of polar easterlies. And, as is the case with many beautiful explanations, this idea works, but only to a certain degree, after which elegance is thrown to the wind like a rich, fat banker slipping on ice and falling on his butt.

In the most elegant scenarios all the might of the primary gale fades as a secondary storm grows new might, usually to the southeast where the occluded front meets the warm and cold fronts. In the most pretty examples, as the secondary explodes into predominance the primary low’s occluded front turns into a secondary cold front of the secondary gale, and the primary gale just vanishes. This happens often enough to be something I watch for, and it fails to happen often enough to cause me to think inelegant thoughts. Politically incorrect thoughts. Thoughts often begun with the three words, “I wonder if…”

There is stuff going on up there on the arctic coasts that bears further study. I fear we may have a sort of west-to-east prejudice, due to living in mid-latitudes, and that this prejudice manifests as a sort of blindness to ripples that move east-to-west, like our sun. What’s more, polar weather is capable of trickery impossible at lower latitudes, for a cross-polar-flow can make a south wind a north wind in one inch, which can’t happen anywhere else (except the South Pole). This messes with simple concepts such as “Coriolis Effect”, to say the least. But it makes the Pole a splendid place, if you like to wonder.

One thing I’ve been wondering about is what causes a jet-stream to get stuck in a certain location. This is important, because a stuck jet-stream has led to our most remarkable winters. For example, the winter of 1976-1977 saw the jet stream get stuck in a pose where the coldest Siberian air took a cross-polar flow north of a balmy Alaska and then across a frigid Yukon and straight down to where I lived in Maine, and far further, to freeze oranges in Florida and cause “Time” magazine to wonder if an ice-age was starting. But what the wonder should have been was: Why did the jet stream stay stuck? It is a small wonder if the jet stream assumes that position for a week in an ordinary winter, and we get a blast we call “winter’s worst.” But that year the blast began in November and stayed stuck until February. It was amazing how the cold just wouldn’t quit that year, and fortunately I was young and hot-blooded and enjoyed it to the hilt.

Now I’m more than forty years older and would likely call the same weather a pain in the ass, but I remain curious about why the jet-stream stayed stuck. Because it seems scientists are too busy trying to get paid by showing CO2 is the cause of everything, no one has the time to wonder why jet-streams stay stuck. Therefore I have to think all alone, (without the help of those who are supposedly educated, but chose to be slaves).

One thing I have wondered is that, if I was going to push around a jet-stream, I wouldn’t chose to do so when it was charging north, like giant surf that flattens swimmers, or sucking south like undertow that can drag swimmers out to sea, but instead would chose the moment when the mighty wave is reduced to a ripple, at the top of the beach. That “top” is the coast of the arctic. It occurred to me that seemingly small things, along that coast, may effect the jet stream when it is at it’s weakest. Just as a little pebble can start an avalanche that flattens an army, small events on the arctic coast may effect the entire Northern Hemisphere winter.

Not that I can say what the events are, but I do think we should study what happens, and not CO2-caused events that don’t happen. We should study what usually happens, and also study the unusual.

What usually happens is the East Siberian Sea freezes first, followed by the Laptev, and then the Kara, and lastly by Barents Sea to a varying degree. And “usually” as the waters freeze the low pressure systems passing over them lose the addition of heat and moisture, and therefore weaken, first over the East Siberian Sea, and later over the Laptev, then Kara, and lastly Barents Sea.

At this point I am launching into sheer conjecture. It seems to me that the point where a jet stream stops moving north and starts moving south may be a sort of “hinge” which can be moved this way or that way, by small things, and have huge effects on the world’s weather. The swing of a huge gate is determined by a little hinge, and that “hinge” is moved east or west by a scrawny little man with a screw driver.

God willing, I’ll find time to venture some of my ideas about who (or what) the “scrawny little man” that determines our winter might be, in a future post. However the point of this post is not to announce some grand theory, but rather to stress the importance of simply watching the Truth. The Truth knows all about the grand theory long before we get around to discovering it, and Truth toys with it.