ARCTIC SEA ICE –Barents Bounce-back–

Over at Tony Heller’s site at realclimatescience.com I spotted an interesting map which emphasizes the growth in sea-ice in Barents Sea since 2006. (more ice than 2006 shows as green.)

Ice gain 0513 FullSizeRender

With the sun up close to 24 hours a day now, at those high latitudes, the increase in ice represents a significant area where sunlight is reflected back to space, as opposed to 2006, where the reduced extent allowed darker waters to embrace the sunlight and suck it into the sea and….and…and eventually result in the highest September ice extent in recent years?

Hmm. Some sort of flaw is boldly rearing its head here, in terms of the simplistic “albedo” theory of how the Pole is to become as ice-free as it was in prior optimums. If we were comparing apples to apples, the above map should mean we would have more sea-ice this September than in 2006. I think we will have more than last year, but more than 2006 would surprise me (though it is not outside of the range of possibility.)

I only bring this up because I think the “albedo” idea is way, way too simple, and the above map should make that obvious. The “albedo” theory is an idea concocted for the simple, in the manner Santa Claus was conceived to explain Christmas to little children.  It needs to be discarded, in the manner serious Christians discard Santa Claus. The reality is far more wonderful.

Let’s just compare last year on May 16 to May 16 this year; (2016 to left, 2017 to right):

 

Last year there was open water north of Svalbard, where this year ice piles against the north coast. However, before you leap to any conclusions, lets compare May 16 last year (left) with March 1 this year (right):

The polynya northeast of Svalbard should leap out at you. 45 days ago all the sea-ice between Svalbard and Franz Josef Land was slush and pancake ice, in places only inches thick. One could leap to different conclusions two months ago, and indeed some did.

Some concluded that, if the ice was so thin on March 1, it could only get thinner as the sun rose and temperatures moderated between March 1 and May 16, but compare the maps: (March 1 to left, May 16 to right.)

Hmm. Abruptly the waters between Svalbard and Franz Josef Land are filled with ice 4-7 feet thick. What the heck happened?

Well, a little is due to temperatures being below normal, but largely the change was due to winds.  Earlier in the winter south winds shoved the ice north and created polynyas north of Svalbard (and even north of Franz Josef Land at times) but then that pattern reversed and more northerly winds brought all the ice crunching and crashing back south.

Conclusion? The thickness of sea-ice often has little to do with air temperatures, and with any slight effect CO2 may have on that air. Rather it is largely effected by winds.

I should add it is also effected by the temperature of the waters below the ice. And this is another reason the area shown by the above maps is important, for it is the area where Atlantic water enters the arctic.

Atlantic water has a component brought north by the Gulf Stream, and Gulf Stream water has been subjected to warmth that has evaporated enough water to increase the salinity of the sea-water. Gulf Stream water is therefore more warm and more salty than the arctic water it moves into. The warmth makes it want to rise but the salinity makes it want to sink. For a time the warmth holds Gulf Stream water up at the surface, but after a while it cools to a degree where it’s salinity makes it take a dive, and it then flows as warmer but more salty water beneath the cooler but less salty water just beneath the ice. (At this point it is usually referred to as “Atlantic” water rather than “Gulf Stream” water.) In a very general sense, the cooler water just beneath the ice is the “mixed” layer, the Atlantic (and/or Pacific) water is the “pycnocline” layer, and the deeps are, with amazing creativity, called the “deep” layer.

As an aside, I should mention that some don’t think such stratification exists at the Pole. NASA states,  “At high latitudes, the pycnocline and mixed layer are absent“, and proves it with this lovely graphic:

Sea layers ocean-vertical-structure_clip_image002

I suppose they assume the water is so cold at the Pole the variations of temperature don’t matter, especially as the northern waters that head south are so chilled they take a dive and become part of the “deep layer.”

In truth, slight variations of cold temperatures matter a lot, in the world of sea-ice. A tenth of a degree can be the difference between water being liquid or solid, and that can be the difference between cold water sinking from sight or cold water bobbing as ice at the surface.  Therefore sea-ice scientists, while not telling NASA to go to hell (due to funding concerns) are so rude as to ignore NASA graphics and to speak of the arctic’s “mixed”, “pycnocline” and “deep” layers, and some even may divide the pycnocline into “Atlantic”, “Pacific”, and “Preexistent” layers.

Considering a lot of the melt of summer ice comes from beneath, it pays to attend to any news you can find about what is going on under the ice. It turns out the antics of these layers is insidiously complex. It is not enough to merely get a little data from the north and then flee south to a computer, and attempt to model the antics, for there are too many variables and too much chaos-theory involved. What we really need are real-time measurements from real buoys put in place by real scientists with real guts.

Most of what we know about the antics of waters under the ice was discovered by just such gutsy  scientists, and often what was discovered was things that were not suspected beforehand, and therefore were not included in computer models.

For example, the “mixed” layer is assumed to be mixed by waves, as explained by this simple diagram:

waves__01

Therefore, when ice forms, there can be no waves, and therefore no mixing, right?

Wrong. It turns out there are at least two mixings that occur even when the waters are seemingly still, under the ice. The first is that the ice, as it freezes, exudes salt as brine, and a steady rain of these brine-droplets wormhole down through the new ice and then rain down into the less-salty mixed layer, making it both colder and more salty, and therefore to differentiate differently from the pycnocline. The second is called “Ekman Spirals”, and is caused by Ekman Transport.

Allow me to pretend I understand this Ekman stuff:  Basically floating ice has a keel, which creates drag, which allows the Coriolis force to influence motion. Even in 1897 Nansen noted that the sea-ice drifted at an angle to the direction the wind blew, and in the 1960’s real scientists with real guts were out on the sea-ice noting strange stuff in the waters beneath,

It should be noted that this does not merely mix waters in the “mixed” layer, but pulls up water from the pycnocline as an upwelling:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2004GL021819/pdf

Conclusion? Well, the ruckus that has been going on all winter and into the spring, in Barents Sea, has had to have had an effect on the Atlantic water moving north into the Arctic. What might that effect be?

How are we to know, without gutsy scientists heading up there to place real buoys that give us real-time data? I sure don’t trust any model, because a model depends on real-time data. If you put guesses in you will get guesses coming out.

My own guess is that the arctic pycnocline has been effected, and in the future this will effect the sub-surface measurements of the layer of “Atlantic” water in other parts of the Arctic Sea.

How? I think there will be less slightly-warmer-slightly-more-saline water to be stirred up by summer arctic storms, to hurry the summer melt. But this is just a guess. How can I know without real-time data?  And how can that data be gathered, if funding is cut at the Pole, so frantic beltway bureaucrats can line their nests?

 

 

 

LOCAL VIEW –Perfected Creation–

I thought I’d include this poem to demonstrate how my mind wanders.

1.) A sea-ice post led to a discussion of drifting continents.

2.) God moving continents about is like a husband moving about the furniture.

3.) We, as the “bridesmaids” God created, likely nagged Him into doing it.

4.) Time for a poem.

For just a moment, every spring,
I see how perfect Eden must have been.
For just a dawn, before bugs come out to sting,
I glimpse how life will be, when freed of sin.
Spring’s an echo of God saying, “It is good.”

We should have accepted the compliment.
Instead it seems we told God that He should
Move the furniture, shift each continent,
End drought but end rain.

                                        What had God created?
A nagging wife? Did our Maker then groan
“This isn’t good!” No, for He clearly stated
The not-good he’d made was, “To be alone.”

The opposite of “alone” is “in love”
And, because God is love, isolation
Is the enemy. Creation dreams of
A great family’s celebration
And, though family may bicker and fight
And be His headache, we’re still His delight.

Rainbow Cloud FullSizeRender

 

(Photo Credit:  Marlowe Gautreau)

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph Versus Beaufort High–Updated Sunday Night–

This will have to be quick. Certain uninformed people seem to feel sea-ice is not important. They may well be right, but they have gone to bed and I’m still up. But a certain pick-up truck, even less informed than warm and living humans, was so selfish that it blew its starter engine. Therefore I am facing a time of doing stuff that has little to do with sea-ice. But I do snatch this moment, when all are asleep, and when it is too dark and rainy to work on pick-up trucks.

The big news seems to be temperatures are below normal at the Pole. Whoop-de-do. I predicted it, but can’t claim any accolades because I predicted they would dip below normal today, May 13, and I blew that forecast, for it happened nearly two weeks ago, on May 2.

DMI4 0513 meanT_2017

I have suggested that we should not expect to see the “Quiet Sun’s” effect until the Pole has a sun that can effect it. To some this is illogical. How can the rising of the sun make temperatures below normal? Well, it is a colder sun rising, than it was in the past, and though the rising  does warm, it does not warm as much. Just look at the old graphs. Ever since the sun has gone “quiet” this phenomenon has occurred.

Some Alarmists pout and sulk about such a dip below normal. This surprises me. Don’t they know the “Quiet Sun” dipped temperatures below normal even in 2012?  And was not that the year that set the modern record for the least ice?

DMI4 meanT_2012

Before Alarmists become too manic and overjoyed, I should also point out a few differences, which make me say I highly doubt this year’s sea-ice will approach the 2012 lows.

The first is that in 2012 the Quiet Sun, though quiet, was at its maximum. It may have been a low maximum, (“unprecedented” in modern records) but it was a maximum all the same. Now we are plunging back towards the minimum, and can’t expect such a boost.

Secondly, (and this is an amateur, layman’s observation), the Quiet Sun seems have to have increased the likelihood of summer gales over the Arctic Sea. (I assume this is due to an increase in the clash between colder polar air and air to the south.) 2012 was marked by the first of a series of sub-970 mb gales, which, if I may be allowed 20-20 hindsight, are manifestations of low pressure which I in my whimsy have dubbed “Ralph”.

Not all these gales are as effective as the 2012 gale was, when it comes to melting sea-ice. There was a gale in 2013 which was striking, because it failed to melt anywhere nearly as much ice as the 2012 gale did. Why not? My assumption is that the 2012 gale was able to stir up a slightly warmer but more-saline layer of water below the colder but less-saline surface water, but the 2013 gale was unable to access such waters, because the the 2012 gale had stirred the waters so much the sub-surface layer was “used up.”

That layer may have been in some ways replenished during 2014 and 2015, especially as a feature dubbed “The Warm Blob” appeared south of Bering Strait. Therefore last summer, when not one but two sub-970 mb gales churned the Arctic Sea, to some degree the sea-ice could again be melted by sub-surface waters being churned up. However, if this idea has any merit, we now should assume the sub-surface layer has again been “used up.” In other words, the situation under the sea-ice is not the same as 2012, and should be more like 2013.

The “situation under the sea-ice” has become, to me at least, the deciding factor in the summer melt. Too many times have I seen ice refuse to melt, despite thaw, and then have seen ice melt despite freezing above. Even though I am a person who trusts my lying eyes, I have seen stuff happen that indicates something I can’t see, a sort of lurking subconscious, is in control.

There are brave scientists who seek to understand the “situation under the sea-ice.” It is no joke to go into the situations they enter to gain “data”. When most think of the word “data” they don’t conceive of the chance of meeting a 1500 pound bear, or slipping into water below the freezing point of blood, that can kill you faster than strychnine. Such scientists deserve praise and funding. When their funding is cut, while the bleating bureaucrats in Washington DC get fat, it is an insult to science.

The only reason a fellow like me can mutter conjecture about the “situation under the sea-ice” is because the fellows who do the hard work get too little funding to produce the data to shut me up. If they could only show me the facts, I’d mutter no more, but the few facts we have makes me mutter all the more.  Consider this ARGO buoy data from the north Atlantic:

Don’t get me wrong. I am no Math-whiz, and I’m not known to pinch with calipers, but the above graph does give me a layman’s sense some colder-than-we-have-seen water is heading up through the North Atlantic to be part of the “situation under the ice”.

Given this information, I can’t say the sea-ice will be in any hurry to melt this summer. I could be wrong, but I will be more surprised by a summer like 2012, and not as surprised, as some may be, by a summer like 2006, (which began lower than most winters but ended higher than most recent summers.) In fact this year does look in some ways like 2006:

DMI4 0511 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

In order to see how meaningless (in many ways) such extent graphs are this early in the melt-season, look below. The dashed green line was lowest in September (2012) while the purple line was highest (in recent years) in September (2006). (Our current year is in light blue.)

Extent 20170513 FullSizeRender

Certain Alarmists, who do not look very deeply, simply looked at the situation a month ago, and, because 2017 was so very far below 2012, assumed the same would be the case in September. If I dared differ, they adopted a state of high dudgeon. However here we are, only a month later, and this year’s extent is misbehaving. We are still below 2012, but much less so, and we are ahead of 2006, which makes us ahead of the most sea-ice, for September, in recent times.

The state of high dudgeon some Alarmists are now in is mostly because they have never bothered dig deep, and don’t see the other, obvious stuff that “ice extent” involves. Instead they see a graph aim a certain way, and assume it will continue. It is absurd. It is as if a baseball player went three-for-four during the first game of the season, and was batting .750, and they then assumed the batter would hit .750 all season.

Baseball, and arctic sea-ice, is not so simple.

Tomorrow, if I have time, I’ll update this post with maps. I may not have the time, due to a pick-up truck that could care less about arctic sea-ice, and therefore I’ll now briefly summarize.

The Beaufort High has tried to assert itself, but has been bothered by ghosts of Ralph.

The first ghost came north through the western Canadian Archipelago, and a second is now coming north through east-central Siberia. Ralph refuses to be written-off, but the Beaufort high refuses to be written off either. A brawl like Hagler-and-Hearns is developing, and you don’t want to miss it.

Stay tuned.

SUNDAY NIGHT UPDATE

While updating the maps I’d like to reintroduce an idea I was toying with last summer. Like many of my theories, this idea fails to work a lot, but it works just enough to intrigue me. It is a sort of Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) of the far north, the Mad Old Hooligan Oscillation, (or MHO, as we in-the-know call it.) It theoretically travels invisibly around the Pole from east to west, screwing up the west-to-east motion of storms cruising northeast on the westerlies.

It is the MHO that causes storms politely traveling northeast to veer left and loop-de-loop. It is also the cause of the “feeder-bands” that peel off the more zonal west-to-east flow and stream north to feed the phenomenon of “Ralph” at the Pole.

The MHO  is least apparent in normal and more zonal flows, but becomes more apparent when the flow becomes meridional due to a Quiet Sun, or major volcano, or some other wrench-in-the-works of normal climate-functioning. Because it is so unapparent it is not included in textbooks or climate models, however the MHO explains some of Ralph’s reincarnations during these abnormal Quiet Sun times.

The MHO becomes more apparent when the winter westerlies wind down into their kinder, gentler summer state. It is then that the feeder-bands (or perhaps feeder-blobs) start to head north in a regular, nearly predicable fashion, moving around and around the Pole in a east to west manner.

For example, during the rare occasions when the MHO works without a hitch, you could expect a feeder-band from the Atlantic to be followed by a feeder band up through the Canadian Archipelago, followed by a feeder-band from the Pacific up through Bering Strait, followed by a feeder-band up through East Siberia, and then one up through west Siberia, and then one up through Europe, and finally one up through the Atlantic again.

The problem is: The feeder bands vary greatly in their nature, coming from such different backgrounds, and because some are very maritime while others are very continental, they can magnify or diminish the pulse they are part of, even to the degree that the MHO is only noticed by mad, old hooligans, which is how it got its name.

In any case, as the winter westerlies calm down I’ll point out the MHO-symptoms as I see them.

Also, because I get tired of typing “Beaufort High” I am just going to call it “Byoof”, as a sort of antagonist to “Ralph.”

I was expectring Byoof to be stronger and Ralph to be weaker, because the lagged effects of a strong El Nino have given way to the lagged effects of a weak La Nina, but Ralph wouldn’t quit. In our last bunch of maps we seemed to see the MHO start to send feeder-blobs north, right into the guts of Byoof. The first came from the Pacific and over east Siberia on April 22 and though weak wiped Byoof off the face of the map by April 24. As the MHO swing east west, another feeder-blob came north through Kara Sea and was smack dab over the Pole as a reincarnated Ralph on April 28. As the MHO continued east west the next feeder-blob came up from Greenland on May 1 and crossed the Pole on May 2 as a weak Ralph, even as Byoof  struggled to reestablish itself north of Canada, which gave us this situation on May 3:

Of course, I was interested to see if the MHO could continue around to the east west, perhaps sending a feeder-blob north through Baffin Bay. However wouldn’t you know it? DMI chose just then to go down for nearly a week. I had to go the Ryan Maue’s maps at the Weatherbell site (week free trial offered). This knocked me off stride, as did some inane comments I needed to respond to. Also temperatures north of 80° north latitude were taking a plunge below normal as near-record cold occurred south of 80° in the New Siberian Islands. (And, oh yes, there was also a small matter called earning my living to attend to.)

In any case, by the time the DMI maps were back on line I figured the MHO should have moved on west to Alaska, but instead a low was battling north through the Canadian Archipelago. It shoved Byoof right out of position and up over the Pole.

Though weakened, this low persisted north, shoving Byoof right into the north Atlantic.

By the time this low reaches the Pole it was about the most feeble Ralph we’ve ever seen. Still, it was king of the mountain. In the map below you can see a new Byoof is re-firing in Ralph’s wake, in the archipelago.  The new Ralph is cut off from reinforcements in that direction. Also, perhaps, the invisible MHO has moved on to the west, and no longer supports from Canada, as it is crossing Bering Strait. Will new reinforcements arrive from east Siberia, as the MHO gets there? Watch what happens:

Amazing. Ralph is sitting on the Pole again, and this time the feeder-blob came from Siberia.  Byoof does regain his foothold in the Beaufort Sea, but is having quite a battle keeping his dominance.

I just wanted to show you how the idea of a MHO circling the east-to-west Pole occasionally seems to make a shred of sense. We just saw the invisible make a full circuit. However now that I have pointed it out it may vanish, or become next to impossible to see. (However the same can be said of the MJO: Now you see it, now you don’t).

I’m glad we have O-buoy 14 in place, for we were able to see the feeder pulse (or pulses, for there may have been two) pass north. For a while the camera saw only gray fog, and when the sun came out the BHI effect allowed us to see brief spikes above freezing. (BHI stands for Buoy-Heat-Island, for the skin of buoys is darker than the snow, and thus warmer.)

Obuoy 14 0514 temperature-1week

Obuoy 14 0510 webcam

When the sun returned we witnessed a sparking fresh fall of snow.

Obuoy 14 0513 webcam

Within a day it was wind-whipped into the stiff, sculpted stasrugi of all the rest. The landscape is in fact very arid, and the total snowfall is in inches, not feet.

Obuoy 14 0514 webcam

For the moment this ice is frozen fast and not budging, but it is amazing where the buoy is located, at the junction of a number of important channels in the Northwest Passage. I think we could not have chosen a better place if we had airdropped it by helicopter. I hope very much it survives.

Little change at Barrow, despite Byoof bringing some east winds. It is mostly gray weather, and the ice remains frozen fast to the shore. Temperature is at 23° (-5°C)

Barrow 20170513 23_02_19_229_ABCam_20170514_065900.jpg

The dark line along the horizon may be the reflection of dark water over the horizon on low clouds. However Buoy 2017A to the north still reports ice over three feet thick and thickening.

2017A 20170513 2017A_thick

It will be a while yet before the real melt begins. Stay tuned.

LOCAL VIEW –Black Fly Blues–

Black fly blues 1 FullSizeRender

       BLACK FLY BLUES

Outside the blue sky’s gorgeous
But I’m not going out of doors today.
Outside the sun is golden
But inside is the place I’m going to stay.
I’ll be a couch potato
Until the biting black flies go away.

I’ve heard God’s love’s in everything,
Even in that pesky little fly.
I found the thought impossible,
So I grabbed one, and I looked him in the eye.
He whined, “Hey man! I love you!”
He’d made a point no woodsman can deny.

They love me head down to my toes;
They even love the inside of my nose.
They also love my armpits
(And not too many folk are fond of those.)
They’re part of Love’s creation
Sort of like the thorns upon a rose.

See that flycatcher winging?
He loves black fly. Black fly he’s glad to see.
Hear that songbird singing?
Black fly fuels his springtime rhapsody.
Feel that itch and stinging?
You are part of Love’s ecology.

Outside the blue sky’s gorgeous.
I can’t be cooped up inside any more.
Outside the sun is gorgeous.
I find I’m walking slowly to the door.
Spring is here and it is clear
Love’s inviting me to come explore.

I wrote that song back in May, 1990. It was one of the last songs I wrote as a bachelor, though I didn’t really have a clue what lay 45 days in my future. I had just chanced into a small town church choir, and found myself mingling with young married couples with small children, and they wanted me to sing at a church picnic in June. It was sort of a graduation party for the Sunday School. For me it was great fun, for I’d been through over a decade as a drifter and a loner, and now all of a sudden I had not only a guitarist and bass to back up my vocals, but the young housewives insisted on being accompanying dancers as I sang, and choreographed a thing where all held fly-swatters and waved them like batons as I sang. I doubt it would have been a hit on Broadway, but we weren’t aiming for that. We hit the bulls eye of what we aimed for, which was joy and a good laugh.

To make joy out of black flies is a major achievement. In fact it is something I think might be good to be remembered for. It would make an intriguing tombstone, “He made joy out of black flies.”

However here it is 27 years later, and I’m dealing with a whole new generation of children and black flies. One way I create a safe-house out of doors is to use the old-fashioned idea of a “smudge.” You basically build a hot fire, and then smother it with wet leaves and twigs.

Black fly blues 3 IMG_4835

Black flies don’t like smoke. They don’t even like the exhaust of a lawn mower or leaf-blower, but back in the day I was prone to using un-powered hand tools, and therefore during the spring I was a chain-smoker. I’d say I only inhaled a puff or two of each cigarette, but they were much cheaper back then, and I’d go through 3 packs a day quite often.

Of course, the politics of smoke have gotten rougher. The EPA was doing its best to outlaw smoke altogether, (though they did get caught fudging some of their data, concerning the harm of “particulates.)”

When I was a small child I didn’t use the word “particulates”, but, believe it or not, one of the small girls at the Childcare furrowed her brow, as I built my smudge, and asked me if I was worried about the “particulates”.

What could I say? I just tugged my beard thoughtfully, and said man started using fire a long, long time ago. Neanderthals used fire. Even Homo Erectus used fire, perhaps as much as 1,500,000 years ago. If it was bad for us, it would have killed us by now. In fact, we probably evolved to handle smoke better than laboratory rats do.  So I told her she shouldn’t worry too much about “particulates.” There was probably more bad stuff in indoor air, than by a campfire.

The girl seemed immensely relieved, and ran off to happily play. But it did make me wonder what some environmentalists think they are teaching our children, when they cause the young such worry, and so many bad dreams. Actually the outside is a lovely place, even when the black flies are out.

Black fly blues 2 FullSizeRender

LOCAL VIEW –Tipping Point–

Tipping Point FullSizeRender

When life gets too quiet we crave some noise.
Noisy life makes us seek quiet again.
We’re always alternating our joys.
We have visions and get busy and then
We feel over-worked, and seek some new toys,
Some new hamster wheel to take a spin in
But it becomes a rat race; with the boys
We go out, and begin with a big grin
But wind up hung-over; each pleasure destroys
Its foundation somehow; each winking allure
Winds us up jaded. Our poor brain employs
Years of research to find peace that is pure
And will last: Perfect balance; perfect poise…
…but then it’s too quiet, so we crave some noise.

My wife and I have decided we don’t feel fulfilled unless we are busy as bees. We cannot seem to sit and sip a drink without brainstorming and coming up with a whole new crop of ideas. Soon our schedule is filled to the brim, and we are happy, until…

There always seems to be one unplanned thing that pops in, and tips us from joy to complete despair. What saves us is our sense of humor. It has happened so many times that we have a private motto (regarding how full our schedule is.) “99% equals joy; 101% equals despair.”

Some people say, “Into each life a little rain must fall.” Yesterday I decided it could also be “Into each life a little weasel will call.”

Weasel 1 FullSizeRender

Weasel 4 FullSizeRender

Should some weasel enter your life today, remember you are not alone, and keep your sense of humor.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Ralph vs. PIOMAS–

This is just a brief observation, demonstrating how my lying eyes get me in trouble with the hard-working, code-apt, computer-savvy geeks who have eyes glued to computer terminals that produce wonderful models.

Please understand,  I avoid Math when possible, and I am very grateful to those who do the Math for me, such as my tax accountant. However I do not allow my accountant to mind my business.

How does this involve sea-ice?

Well, there are certain “accountants” who at times seem to want to run my business, and by that I mean they seem to want me to deny my lying eyes. By “accountants” I of course am referring to computer models. In this particular case I am referring to a model I often refer to, and in some ways very much like, called PIOMAS. In my opinion it is in many ways a wonderful model, and represents the hard work of fellows who have worked their butts to the bone and deserve respect. I cannot tell you how much it pains me to suggest they might have gotten something wrong.

In this manner I’m like my Dad. He was a surgeon, and sometimes people came to him asking for a second opinion, and sometimes he had to inform not the patient, but the first-opinion surgeon, that their diagnosis was wrong.

I felt my Dad should have just told the first bozo they were an idiot, for advocating a needless amputation, but instead Dad walked on eggs and only differed from the first quack in a most cringing, ingratiating manner. Maybe Dad was kind and polite, but it was sort of embarrassing to watch. He was sort of apologizing for being correct. The boy in me felt he should just have chopped off the first quack’s head. (That is what a true Tolkien warrior would have done.) (But pretty soon we would not have many doctors left alive, I suppose.)

I have no wish to chop off the head of PIOMAS, but my lying eyes are begging to differ with their diagnosis.

I have just used my lying eyes to watch what the arctic isobars did, and  have surmised what the winds were, and have watched to see how the sea-ice responded, and it has seemed fairly obvious the low pressure I dubbed “Ralph”  caused a counterclockwise flow to effect the Pole.  However the PIOMAS only shows a counterclockwise “anomaly”, and suggests the ordinary clockwise flow (the ordinary Beaufort Gyre and ordinary Transpolar Drift), persisted.

Piomas piomas_ice_motion_anomaly_JanMarch2017

This troubles me, for it is a bit ludicrous to suggest an “anomaly” moves ice, if the ordinary flow is in effect. An anomaly might speed or slow the ordinary flow, but the ordinary flow would remain ordinary. In actual fact we have witnessed, with our lying eyes, the extraordinary features of an extraordinary flow.

For example, the above map shows the “mean ice motion” pushing ice away from the western entrance of the Northwest Passage, when we know that (before April) ice piled into that entrance.  In like manner, there is no suggestion of west winds forcing the Kara Sea sea-ice into Vistula Strait, so a toothpaste extrusion of thick ice crossed the polynya which the same west winds formed in the west of the Laptev Sea.

2 Laptev FullSizeRender

And so on and so forth.

I do not want to belabor this point, and want to keep this brief, however I feel a need to stress that we who use our lying eyes seemed to see the sea-ice act as if the PIOMAS “anomaly” map was in fact the “ice motion” map. It follows, therefore, that the “ice motion” map contains some sort of misdiagnosis.

I need to say this because there are some who worship the PIOMAS “ice motion” map as a sort of god, whose authority cannot be questioned. When I try to tell them what my lying eyes actually witnessed, they scoff. They say my vision cannot be correct, for PIOMAS said it did not occur, and how dare anyone dare question the divinity of such a idol?

To me this is a bit like saying you cannot go a second surgeon for a second opinion, even when the first surgeon suggests an amputation is necessary.  If we must scoff at all, I scoff at that idea. After all, as a child I saw many doomed to lose a leg come to my father for a second opinion, and saw advances in the vascular surgery of that time save the patient’s limb.

My father was able to save others limbs despite the fact he had largely lost the use of his own, because of polio. In like manner, I suffer from a different sort of polio, involving Math. And, just my father saved people of the past from amputation of legs, I might spare you from the amputation of logic, if you just step away from computer models for a bit, and use your lying eyes.