ARCTIC SEA ICE: Undersea Volcanoes In the Arctic; Part 1

I see no need of waffling about with a long introduction, as if making a point requires foreplay. The simple fact of the matter is that a hole appeared in thick sea-ice in the spring of 2021 in the rough vicinity of the undersea, volcanic Gakkel Ridge. Although for a time the actual sea-ice drifted to the east the hole “burned” its way west, and then when the sea-ice shifted back to the west the hole “burned” to the east. This strongly suggested (to me) that the power that made the hole was different from the power that moved the sea-ice. My guess was that the sea-ice was shifted by surface winds, but the hole was made by a plume of warm water up-welling from lava beneath. Over the course of two months the hole gradually drifted across the 90 degree east longitude line, and then seemed to loose its power to keep a separate identity. Converging winds eventually crunched the sides of the hole together, creating a pressure ridge where there once had been a hole, as the entire area moved towards Fram Strait, and towards being eventually flushed down into the Atlantic.

I then did my best to stir up some debate about volcanoes melting sea-ice, at various sites, but failed. Then I sulked, and morosely watched the same area, to see if there were other “holes”. I saw nothing for months, until last summer, much later in the melt season when the sea-ice was much thinner. In late August four holes appeared. They were fleeting and ephemeral, but not associated with any divergence of sea-ice that I could see. Interestingly, later they too collapsed into four small spots of pressure ridging, and began slowly drifting towards Fram Strait.

There you have it. That is the totality of my evidence. Or, well, there was an earlier hole around a seven years ago that got me in the habit of watching that area. A person commenting on this site sent me a screen-shot picture and asked me if I thought the pictured hole might be caused by a volcano. I had to confess I had no idea, but that when I tried to research the topic I noticed people avoiding the topic, which did seem odd.

To be blunt, the topic seems to cause some researchers to practically break out in hives. They’d deflect and distract and change the subject. I assumed it was because it was in some ways taboo to suggest anything other than CO2 causes decreases in sea-ice. The powers that control the puppet strings of funding, of advances and grants and promotions and awards, had somehow made it clear that there are certain directions research shalt not go. What boobs.

Besides steering carefully around the reefs of talk-about-seafloor-volcanoes, researchers also seemed to need to walk-on-eggs concerning solar cycles, whether they be the shorter sunspot cycle or longer cycles involving whether the sun is “noisy” or “quiet”. Apparently the powers-that-be noted the sun is not influenced by the levels of CO2 on earth, and therefore they decreed, “Thou shalt dismiss the sun as a cause for increases and decreases in sea-ice.” Fluctuation in solar radiation were then obediently scoffed-at as “too small to matter”, even as a tinier change, from three-parts-per-ten-thousand to four-parts-per-ten-thousand, were claimed to matter hugely…(in terms of funding, I think. Do you want a paycheck? Or not?)

I find this all frustrating, and just plain annoying. When simple observation notices a curiosity, it is only natural for curious people to go look at the curiosity. In a sense a curiosity is an opportunity. It is a chance to discover. And most scientists delight in discovery.

Besides those who shy away from talking about the possible effects of volcanoes on the floor of the arctic sea, there is the occasional lone wolf. Often they are amateurs like myself, who don’t make any money off being curious, nor require any funding to remain curious. As lone wolves, we scent the blood in the water; perhaps we should be called lone sharks. Whatever you call us, we occasionally meet in obscure chat rooms and compare notes, and bounce wild theories around, and nearly always vent our frustration that there is not more research on what should be researched.

One thing about the Gakkel Ridge is that every time they have managed to scrape together funding and do a little research they have discovered things that have shattered science’s preconceptions.

Bathymetrische Karte vom Gakkel-Rücken

One thing discovered, or rather verified, was reports of volcanic craters down roughly two and half miles beneath the ice. The craters had been seen by Russian and British and American submarines using sonar during their Cold War shenanigans, and the craters puzzled scientists because, according to theory, there could not be craters down so deep. Craters require gaseous explosions, and according to theory the pressures were too extreme down so deep. Even CO2 exists as a liquid, (as it does under pressure in a fire extinguisher,) down that deep. This was a curiosity that attracted the curious.

There seemed to be two ways a volcano could explode. A caladra could eject a plug of lava from its vent, reducing pressure in the lava beneath which then, like soda pop in a bottle when the cap is removed, would abruptly release gas at such a rapid rate it would explode lava out of the volcano, creating a crater. Also, should the caldera eject enough lava it would become an enormous cavern of super-heated air, floored by a lake of lava, whereupon a failure of a wall and an inrush of ocean water could cause a sudden, tremendous creation of steam capable of blowing the top of a mountain off. However it seemed impossible to meet such a criterion two and a half miles down. The pressure would be too extreme. Most explorations by robot submarines suggested at such depths lava could only ooze out of mid-ocean rifts. Yet here there were craters! Was there some third way volcanoes could explode?

A series of undersea earthquakes in 1999 made curiosity too great to bear, and in 2007 a robotic submarine was sent down to take a look. There was fresh evidence a never-seen-before (at such depth) eruption had spread volcanic shards over a 10 km2 area.

https://volcano.si.edu/volcano.cfm?vn=377020

If you glance through the above article you will notice it does not mention anything about warming water or melting sea-ice. I think what got them in trouble with the powers-that-be was when they attempted to theorize what could have caused a blast under such pressure. They theorized it was impossible to create steam under such pressure, but if sufficiently high levels of CO2 could be drawn from the lava it could be heated to a degree where it became gaseous. And the lead scientist likely made a political mistake by saying:

“This means that a tremendous blast of carbon dioxide was released into the water column during the explosive eruption.”

I imagine this broke the commandment, “Thou shalt not say there is any source of CO2 other than fossil fuels.” Call me a suspicious old coot if you wish, but, in terms of research on Gakkel Ridge, you could have heard a pin drop for nearly 15 years. (There was one study in 2014 I can find little about, and there may have been some others, but, if so, they received very little publicity, and were shadow banned so effectively, I haven’t found word of them on the web. If you find one, please alert me in the comments below.)

But now at long last some research is going on up there. But I find it amusing the lengths they’ve gone to assure everyone their research has nothing to do with climate, CO2, or sea-ice. The research is ongoing by NASA, and it’s aim has nothing to do with Earth. It has to do with the exploration of “icy worlds” like Europa (a moon of Jupiter) and Enceladus (a moon of Saturn). Far enough away for you?

https://astrobiology.nasa.gov/news/earths-gakkel-ridge-and-the-exploration-of-icy-worlds/

I can’t help but chuckle over the language they use. In a related NASA paper I read,

“We should be pinching ourselves because it turns out that the first vent-site tracked to source in the Arctic is a very useful analog for answering questions pertinent to Enceladus missions,” said Chris German of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

In a sense I feel a little sad. Are they not allowed to find things that might be very useful to answering questions pertinent to planet Earth?

However I have hope. In the same paper I spotted the line,

When collecting samples from the plume of material emanating from the vent, the scientists uncovered other ways in which this hydrothermal system is unique.

You see that word, “unique”? That means it was never seen before. That means it cannot have been expected. That means it is puzzling, and that word “puzzling” has the power to draw scientific minds like a light draws moths.

No matter how hard the powers-that-be use mothballs, the moths will find a way to see the light.

https://astrobiology.nasa.gov/news/exploring-enceladus-in-the-arctic/

Stay Tuned.

(P.S. I am sketching out a future post on the effects a lava flow might have on the currents of an Arctic Ocean. To play it safe this Arctic Ocean will not be on Earth, but on a planet called Mirth. Mirth is exactly like Earth, but on Mirth they are allowed to have volcanoes melt sea-ice.)

ARCTIC SEA-ICE —Intoduction to Arctic Sea Volcanism’s Possible Effects

I’m less prone to erupting like a volcano at Alarmists than I used to be. Instead I’m feeling a bit sorry for the falsifiers, who think they have won. They are in their glory, able to spew whatever poppycock they want without fearing rebuttal, for they are on the side of the Fake News, and those who speak against them are censored or shadow-banned. Therefore they imagine they are fearless, for they imagine they can make things up with impunity, and no one can rebuke them. However Truth needs no voice. It simply stands there, awesome and beautiful, as they scuttle about like cockroaches in the dark, delighting in their forgeries.

However it doesn’t take much to reveal how fearful the falsifiers actually are. Throw a loose cannon like Elon Musk into the mix, and even a drab of free speech sends the cockroaches scuttling like a light-bulb clicking on in the kitchen.

They are, midst their glut, a bit like the Amalekites 3000 years ago, rejoicing after their successful raids of both Philistine and Judaic lands, and their burning of Ziklag. They must have been very pleased with themselves, for they took advantage of the fact the Philistines and Israelites were midst a war to raid both. And they succeeded and were far from the scene of their crime. The ancient Biblical tale states: “(The Amalekites) were spread abroad over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.” What the Amalekites failed to recognize was that their “great spoil” included two of the wives of soon-to-be-King David, and he was royally pissed off. His arrival at their celebration was the kitchen light bulb clicking on for those cockroaches, but most failed to scuttle fast enough. “And David struck them down from twilight until the evening of the next day, and not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men, who mounted camels and fled.”

There are certain climate scientists I’ve wanted to send fleeing on camels, ever since the Climate Audit site caught James Hansen fudging his numbers back in August, 2007.

And then the Climate-gate fiasco in 2009 just affirmed my suspicion that some, and indeed many, of the climate scientists were not the slightest bit interested in Truth. They only pretended to be scientists. Their real interest was in promoting an agenda in order to earn filthy lucre provided by bigwigs, who were the ones who truly wanted the agenda promoted. And the agenda? It was an effort to create an imaginary calamity, and use the “crisis” to waylay public expenditures, and to plunder trillions of dollars which could have been far more wisely spent. And they have gotten away with it. 2007 is a long time ago, and I have now been watching them for a decade and a half.

Because they have been so deceitful and crooked it is inevitable that Karma will get them in the end. It may not manifest as a King David crashing their party, but a Sword of Damocles hangs over their heads. But I’m not sorry for them because of that.

I’m sorry for them because they miss so much that is awesome and beautiful, by preferring their fraud. All the time they spend censoring Skeptics, all the attention they devote to seeking threats to their scam, all the imagination they squander inventing fabricated poppycock for an ever-gullible media, is time wasted for a nothing. If they had spent time contemplating Truth, what wonders they might have witnessed.

However the same decade and a half I’ve been amazed at their audacity, and the fact they never get properly rebuked for what is fraud, (and for at times even lying under oath), is the same decade and a half they have stunted their minds. They think they have gained money, and prestige, and positions at public institutions, but money cannot be more than a Midas curse, without Truth, and pretentiously puffing about public institutions can be as whacko as a man strutting about a mental institution claiming he is Napoleon, if divorced from Truth. What might they have been, had they spent the decade and a half more wisely? What might they have discovered? Maybe, just maybe, they might have even been a true scientist. But now the years are wasted, and they shall never know.

I do know, for I have been under no compunction to insist everything that happens is due to CO2 (caused by evil fossil fuels). What a strain and burden shouldering that presumption must be! The list of things blamed on Global Warming is completely ridiculous, ever increasing, and amazing.

For a time a certain website kept a list, but after several hundred articles blamed several hundred events on Global Warming, the website apparently gave it up. The fact was that the media suggested everything was Global Warming’s fault. This was handy for mindless people, for they never needed to think.

However it did and does present a problem: If everything is caused by Global Warming, then even good things are caused by Global Warming, and then one is then cornered, and must say good things are bad. Good things must be bad because they are caused by Global Warming. And once you say good is bad your moral compass is shot; it is like having a compass at the North Pole, where every direction is south. You have lost your ability to discern good from evil, or even up from down. All the measuring sticks scientists have painstaking designed to study Truth with cease to function; you lose the power to discern; you are lost. The professorship at a bigwig University you sold your soul for turned out to be a lobotomy. Science is a study of Truth, but you can’t even spell the word.

But the Truth stands unmoved by the idiocy of mortals. “But what is Truth?” then ask the ones who do not want to know.

In terms of mundane reality, Truth is a kalidoscope of variables, an interplay of countless possibilities too huge for even the most enormous computer to calculate, a system called Chaos by some and The Universe by others, which requires omniscience to fathom, which, because we lack omniscience, is either annoying, if you don’t like to think, or a wonder, if you do.

I like to think. I like to wonder. I don’t need to understand a sunrise to feel moved. Yet I am moved to greater understanding. This is the power of Truth, and is how it is that both impractical poets and practical scientists study the identical thing: Truth.

That being said, I’d like to move on to the very little I understand, and the enormous amount I wonder about, concerning volcanoes on the floor of the arctic sea.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Arguments For Reversing Currents–

Here is a nice, current example of the Beaufort Gyre reduced and the Transpolar Drift enhanced, leading to sea-ice being flushed down through Fram Strait, which is occurring today, (January 3).

It is important to remember the motion of sea-ice is in constant flux and varies from day to day. For example, only a few days ago the condition was reversed, and it was the Beaufort Gyre that was greatly expanded, to a degree the Transpolar Drift was erased and replaced by what I call the “Cold War Current” (because this variance from ordinary currents would cause Russian “spy” ice-bases to drift from locations easily resupplied from Russia, and away towards Canada, leading to spy vs. spy shenanigans; [see CIA operation “Coldfeet” in 1962].) (For the opposite situation, wherein a USA “spy” satellite fell on sea-ice where Russians might get at it, see the fate of the satellite Discover 2 in 1959, [which prompted the movie “Ice Station Zebra” in 1969].) Here is an example of that “Cold War Current” from December 29:

The fact that the sea-ice is whipped first one way and then another, first speeding up and then slowing down, is the reason the sea-ice surface is twisted and contorted into piled-up pressure ridges separated by flat areas of thinner ice, where “leads” of open water have swiftly refrozen in the Arctic night. However, notice that in both of the above maps the sea-ice is heading down through Fram Strait and the east coast of Greenland. This is called the Greenland Current, but I call it the “Fram Flush”.

Not that even the Fram Flush ice-flow can’t be reversed. An example of such wrong-way-flow occurred back on December 2. (It also is a fairly good example of the “Cold War Current”.)

Now I should confess something which I don’t understand. It is this: Most of the studies I have perused which attempt to map the currents under the ice fail to show any such variability. This may be due to the limited amount of data available, and the limited amount of time data has been able to be collected. Besides an array of fixed buoys across Fram Strait, there have only been limited expeditions taking actual measurements, strings of readings from icebreakers which may number scores or even hundreds of individual readings, but each such reading is one-time-in-one-place, which cannot be compared with measurements in the same place weeks, months, years or decades earlier. This sparce information is fed into computer models which may then create a stability where stability does not exist, (accidentally enacting GIGO). I also assume this false sense of stability is to a degree necessary. Why? Because models are already smoking, just dealing with the variables they already accept, and to include additional variables might make them be too big to buy and too expensive to run. In any case we are left with a seemingly impossible situation: The currents under the ice are steady while the icefloes atop those currents are erratic.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to downplay the herculin efforts of the men who gather the actual data, often in extremely uncomfortable environments and even at risk of their own lives from frostbite, thin ice, or 1500-pound polar bears. Furthermore, I assert every scrap of data they gather has value. But I do feel puzzled by some of the conclusions arrived at, even early on in the discovery process. In a sense it is as one found apples and attempted to attach them to the branches of a walnut tree.

For example, a certain, inherant doubt in the idea that the erratic-movement-of-sea-ice is not reflected in the currents under the ice was created by the O-buoys, which sent out signals indicating their precise location, and through which it could be seen the sea-ice in Fram Strait pulsed in a zig-zag manner, responding to the tides. (Obuoy 9 was fabulous in this respect, as it arrived in Fram Strait. Even during a spell of calm winds, when only the currents under the sea-ice could move the ice, the buoy zig-zagged.) Also, on certain other, earlier occasions the famous “North Pole Camera” drifted upwind, moving against the wind, which had to have involved the power of a current under the ice. Yet the idea the currents were steady, even as sea-ice moved erratically, persisted.

Forgive me for this suspicion, but I got the feeling that the concept of “steady currents” was one of those so-called “narratives” which a young scientist would be ill-advised to question, if he wanted funding. I haven’t a clue why “steady currents” might be more “politically-correct” than “variable and meandering currents”, but it did seem that evidence “for” was welcomed as established fact, while evidence “against” vanished into the dustbin of unfunded and disdained ignominy. Perhaps someone can explain to me why “steady currents” were preferred. But it does seem that one reason that funding for drifting cameras on the sea-ice was discontinued was because such cameras (and attached instruments) gave the general public too many reasons to question the various “narratives”, while doing too little to actually support the various “narratives.”

One reason to support the “steady currents” narrative was that, while gales might rage to hurricane force above the sea-ice, waters beneath the sea-ice were sheltered by the ice and were tranquil and still. I myself accepted this as a logical deduction. However, the MOSAiC Expedition noted “unexpected turbulence” under the ice. What was unexpected manifested in the following way:

Apparently, a large pressure-ridge that thrusts up twenty feet is like any iceberg, with nine-tenths of its bulk underwater, and therefore must theoretically thrust down 180 feet. Such a pressure ridge, many miles long, is in essence a boat with a sail twenty feet high, and an oversized keel. When winds of hurricane force hit the sail, the keel also moves, and has an effect like the blade of a spoon, stirring the water it moves through. In cases where that “spoon”, 180 feet deep and many miles long, moved across or against the existing “steady current”, the result was “unexpected turbulence.” The MOSAiC researchers dared not go any farther than that, in their conclusions, for one does not want to stir the waters of the accepted narrative.

Truth, however, is constantly stirring the waters. It cares very little about what we think. (In fact, when Truth actually does respond to what we think it is often called “a miracle.”) (When personal preference effects science it is deemed “bias”, a forecast becomes a “wish-cast”, and ordinarily we expect failure.)

Truth does what is Truth, and is most harmonious to the entirety of Creation. Truth sees the Big Picture. And the Big Picture often allows meandering and seldom lets the straight remain straight, (or a “steady current” remain steady).

Think of a meandering stream, on those occasions when the meander abruptly becomes an oxbow lake, as the river cuts a corner. Or think of the jet-stream doing roughly the same thing, when a loop becomes a “cut off low” as the jet resumes a straighter course. And then assure me arctic currents never, never do the same? I’ll politely nod, but privately entertain doubts.

At this point I feel I should take a hard look in the mirror, and confess my own unwillingness to have my own ideas poked and prodded by doubts. Just because something makes no sense to me, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. For example, take a platypus…

That being said, let me say another maxim of the idea of “steady currents” seems to be “thou shalt not include seasonal variability.” This knocks me backwards flat on my butt, for there is no place on earth where seasons are so exaggerated and extreme as the arctic, as it shifts from total 24-hour darkness to total 24-hour sunshine. It shifts from temperatures which (almost) never allow melting to temperatures which (almost) never allow freezing. A factoid of the not-many-people-know-that sort involves the extreme heat at the Pole when the sun is at its highest: On the summer solstice the Pole receives more heat than the equator.

This factoid strikes some as sheer nonsense. After all, on the equator the sun beats down from 90° while at the Pole it slants down from 23.5°. However it takes the tropical sun an hour and a half to rise above 23.5° in the morning, and it spends its last hour and a half below 23.5° in the afternoon, and then it does not shine at all during the twelve-hour tropical night, as the polar sun just sits at 23.5° 24 hours a day. In other words, the tropical sun only beats the polar sun for nine hours a day, and during the other fifteen hours the polar sun accrues enough hourly energy to beat the equator. It’s a race where the turtle beats the rabbit, in the end.

In any case, during the polar summer the Pole recieves a big shot of energy, while during the winter it receives no solar energy at all, (except as imports from southerly winds and currents). “Seasonal variability” is extreme. How can currents not reflect such extremes, especially when our understanding is that freezing and thawing in some ways partially fuels such currents?

The “cause” of currents is a weave of many variables, the most stable (and easy-to-model) of which is likely the Coriolis effect. But let us pick another variable thread from the weave: Part of thermohaline circulation involves cold water sinking at the Pole and being replaced by warm water rising and coming north from the equator. (Yes, it is far more complex than that, but we are examining only one thread.)

One major contributor to the sinking water is salty brine exuded from the sea-ice as it freezes. Such brine is especially cold and especially salty, which makes it especially dense. (Such brine is even exuded from the so called “freshwater lens,” for such lenses are actually “brackish-water lenses” due to diffusion and the mixing caused by turbulent storms. Where “seawater” has roughly 33-35 parts per thousand of salt, I have seen water with as high as 32 parts per thousand called a “freshwater lens”.) In any case, most of the freezing occurs in a rush between October 1 and January 1, which would mean most of the cold, salty and dense brine sinks in a surge at that time. Conversely, during the height of summer enormous melting occurs and little brine at all is contributed to the thermohaline circulation, though (because sea-ice has earlier been liberated from much of its salt) a lot of relatively fresh water is added to the freshwater lens. Therefore it “should” follow that, because brine is added in such a pulsing manner, a current ought to pulse, and have a sort of heartbeat. Do they? Not according to the “steady current” school of thought. “Seasonal variation” does not exist.

Another seasonal surge is water added to the “freshwater lens” by the flow of arctic rivers. With the exception of the Volga, nearly the entire northern half of Eurasia floods into the Arctic, but not during the winter. During the winter the water is largely locked up as ice, and precipitation locked up as deepening snow. Even the world’s tenth largest river, the Lena, dwindles away until its waters can drop as much as sixty feet, and only 1% of its yearly flow reaches the seas in March. But when spring comes, look out! All that snow melts under the powerful summer sunshine, and the river rises back sixty feet. The chart below shows that one June the flow of the Lena exceeded 100,000 cubic meters a second, which is five times the flow of the Mississippi.

From “Siberian Lena River hydrologic regime and recent change” Yang et al

Other great arctic rivers show the same sort of surge in flow in the spring. For example, the Makenzie River rises from a flow of roughly 3400 cubic meters per second in March to roughly 20500 in June. This represents an enormous inflow of fresher and warmer water, basically all at once, to the Arctic Sea. Then the cessation of this flow is nearly as abrupt, in October. And I am asked to believe the flow of associated currents remains steady?

Considering a first surge of sinking brine occurs October to January, and a second surge in the size of the freshwater lens, due to both melting sea-ice and river-water, occurs May through August, I am not only surprised currents are expected to be steady; I am also surprised currents don’t reverse course entirely. After all, a lot of sinking brine creates a very good reason for water to flow in at the surface, but adding as much as a quarter million square meters of river water to the freshwater lens per second, at the surface, seems to give surface waters ample excuse to flow out of the Pole. After all, the river waters raise the physical level of the Arctic Sea, so it must depart, due to the law of gravity. The only explanation I’ve been able to invent may be sheer poppycock: The thickening of the freshwater lens presses down like a sort of CPR onto deeper waters, pushing the flow along the same route the brine takes.

At this point I feel I need to throw yet another wrench into the works. In the above case the thermohaline flow involves the decent of waters at the Pole, however lava at over 1000 degrees would create a plume of rising water right where it is supposed to be descending. This scenario seems to happen in the area of Gamel Ridge, close to the craters of three volcanoes two miles down called Thor, Oden and Loke.

As an aside, the discovery of these craters discredited a view held by some geologists that explosive eruptions could not occur under the extreme pressure created by having two miles of water overhead. Explosive eruptions occur when a volcano is uncapped like a bottle of soda, and bubbles form in the lava in the same way bubbles form in soda pop, only on a far larger scale. However, pressures are so great two miles down that CO2 exists in its liquid state (as it does inside a pressurized fire extinguisher) and dribbles of liquid CO2 have actually been seen exiting deep-sea vents. The assumption was that pressures were so great lave could never fizz like soda pop, and therefore explosive eruptions could not occur. However, a swarm of earthquakes in 1999 led to a sonar investigation of the sea-bottom by the icebreaker Healy and the submarine Hawkbill, and the existence of the craters was revealed. Obviously, the lava did more than ooze out. Further investigation seemed warranted, and funding was procured, and in 2007 cameras were sent down, and revealed the eruptions were so violent that despite the pressure and the density of water pyroclastic debris was thrown a mile from the craters.

A paper was published in 2008, and then something odd happened. Silence descended. Funding ceased. Forgive me for again being suspicious, but I can’t help but think that certain “narratives” were threatened. After all, it messes up nice and neat concepts when descending currents abruptly put on the brakes and become ascending currents.

“Nothing to see here, folks. Please move along.”

This brings me to a couple of events I observed last spring. First, an odd hole melted in the sea-ice over the Gammel Ridge, and continued to be melted independently to the shifting of the sea-ice. Concurrent with that event, the WSC (West Switzenberg Current) seemed to lose its power to melt the sea-ice on the west and north sides of Svalbard, as if that current had been weakened. It made a sort of common sense to me that the two events might be related, and that if waters to the north stopped sinking then waters to the south would be less inclined to be drawn north. But what do I know? Let me simply present the observations.

First hint of hole on March 27

Hole on April 20

Hole enlarging and melting “backwards”, (independently of ice’s drift). May 20

WSC melted ice well north and west of Svalbard on February 27

Ice advancing towards north coast on April 20

Thick Ice on north coast and thin ice on west coast on June 20

I should note that if the sea-ice had been similar back in the year 1596, Willem Berentz’s discoveries along the north coast of Svalbard could not have happened. And you have to admit that, if there was less sea-ice in 1596 than in 2021, it harms a certain “narrative” which stresses sea-ice is currently at “unprecedentedly” low levels.

I cannot help but wonder if other innocent observations of Truth, of fact, of what is happening right before our eyes, also threaten the “narrative” in ways I can’t even see. Perhaps the idea of huge amounts of lava under the sea suggests there are other factors besides CO2 involved in the shifts we see to our climate, and introducing new variables in some way threatens the focus on CO2 and CO2 alone. I can’t say.

In any case, variables do exist, whether we include them in computer models or not.

I’ll conclude by returning to how variable the drift of sea-ice is right now, and to my original maps of how that is currently moving. Today’s map (January 4) shows an Aleutian Gale has drifted north across East Siberia, and, nourished by a nice feeder-band of Pacific air, has become a “Ralph” of low pressure over the Pole. This has completely reversed the normal drift of the Beaufort Gyre.

The above is interesting, for ice from Russia is not heading towards Fram Strait, which makes it a “Cold War Current”, yet ice is also being pushed into Fram Strait, which makes it also a “Fram Flusher”. Having one does not disqualify the other.

My conclusion? Variations happen. Sit back and watch. To turn a blind eye because it violates some narrative or pet theory is to miss the wonder.

Stay tuned.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Chicken Little Alert–

(This post was written in late October).

This will hopefully be a brief post, because I’m striving to avoid the Big Lie. What is the Big Lie? It is all the balderdash about Global Warming. Fraudulent Biden is off to Europe to blather about a crisis which doesn’t exist, and, because it doesn’t exist, it seems I might miss beauty which does exist, if I involve myself in arguments about political nonsense. So let me begin by skipping paragraphs and paragraphs and paragraphs.

Beauty that does exist is the Truth, and Truth is always beautiful and always addictively engrossing, (even if it tends to demolish a pet theory or ten of my own).

What has recently happened at the Pole involved a surprising increase in the “extent” of sea-ice. There was basically 20% more sea-ice this October than there was last year. By October 25 last year we had barely reached 6 million km2 of “extent”, while this year we soared up towards 9 million.

To people caught up in politics, this increase might sidetrack them into discussions about whether the sea-ice is shrinking or growing, but I tend to be more interested in what it means for my little farm, in an obscure nook of New Hampshire.

In terms of a warm winter, it doesn’t look good. Why? Because the “source regions” for our cold winters are places far away. Although they are far away, they (as source-regions) obey the same rules as close places do. And one rule is that it is more pleasant to live by water free of sea-ice than to live by an ice-bound coast. For example, southern Ireland is at the same latitude as southern Hudson Bay, but most people prefer the climate of Dublin to the climate of Churchill. They vote with their feet, and millions live by Dublin while the population of Churchill (in 2016) was 899.

As a farmer here in New Hampshire, I am not like the Irish of Dublin who can almost always depend on the Gulf Stream Waters of the Atlantic to keep their shores ice-free (unless it is 1817). Instead, here in New Hampshire, much of the Gulf Stream’s warmth is whisked away east to Ireland. Although we occasionally get midwinter warmth on southeast winds, we also look north and west to waters which might warm us, if they remain ice-free. The three bodies of water which, when they remain ice-free, spare us the onslaughts of the arctic, are the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and (oddly) the East Siberian Sea.

In terms of the Great Lakes, savagely cold winds can be headed right towards my farm, but are tamed by the passage over the lakes. As the cold winds pass over the summer-warmed waters, clouds billow up and villages by the lakes can have snowfalls measured in feet. But by the time that artic blast gets to New England, it at best holds a few flakes, and has been so warmed that we wonder why anyone ever called it an “arctic blast”. As long as those lakes remain ice-free, we are protected.

Besides the Great Lakes most focus on, (Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie, and Ontario) there are equally “great” lakes further north, (Winnipeg, Great Slave, Great Bear, and Athabasca.) Each year I watch as they first warm the arctic blasts with their water’s memory of summer warmth, and then lose that power as they freeze over. The northern lakes always freeze over, and the southern lakes seldom freeze entirely. However, during especially cold winters even the southern lakes may freeze (and even Niagara Falls may quit falling,) and on those winters our west winds become cruel. We cease being spared.

The same is true for Hudson Bay. As long as it is ice-free, the Pole can aim minus forty air straight towards us, but that air is so warmed by passing over Hudson Bay it is like we live in Ireland. Yet, nearly every year, the entire vastness of Hudson Bay flash-freezes over in late November and early December, and the moment Hudson Bay is ice-covered we know we are not living in Ireland. We then experience cold the Irish can’t imagine.

But the East Siberian Sea is so far away it seems ridiculous to suggest it can warm us. But I suspect it can. After all, the coldest air the northern hemisphere creates is created over Siberia, and, in order to get to my farm, it must first pass over the East Siberian Sea.

Last October those waters were open.

This year they were ice-covered.

Siberian cold which was moderated last year, by transiting ice-free waters, this year has not been moderated. The question then becomes, is that air headed my way? This is determined by whether the flow is “zonal” or “meridional”. A zonal flow tends to move straight along lines of latitude, and the coldest air stays north. A meridional flow involves the jet stream looping far north and then far south, bringing warmth north and arctic blasts south.

One of the coldest winters I recall was 1976-1977’s, and featured blast after blast of arctic air crossing north of Bering Strait and, even as much of southern and western Alaska experienced a mild winter, curving down through Yukon and down the east slopes of the Rocky Mountains to the eastern United States. On the maps it looked like a long series of “Alberta Clippers”, with each one delivering another packet of Siberian air. The cold set in early in November and lasted into February. In Maine I was able to walk sea-ice from South Freeport across Casco Bay to Harpswell, and Time Magazine featured a sensationalist cover warning of a coming Ice Age.

The coldest December I recall was 1989’s, which caught my attention because the local road crew was digging a trench with a backhoe near my house, and as the month passed the backhoe had to break through a thicker and thicker crust of frozen earth. At the start of the month the frozen earth was only a few inches thick, but by the end of the month they had to fight through a crust more than three feet thick as they completed the job. It wasn’t a well-done job, as the trench was refilled with big chunks of frozen earth, which held air spaces so that when the earth melted in the spring the road became uneven and a bit of a roller coaster. But one thing I recall about that winter was that the cold broke as if the sky was paying attention to the calendar, and after a December which had people bracing for a terrible winter, a change occurred, and, beginning promptly on January 1, the rest of the winter was surprisingly meek. The pattern changed, and the Siberian air went elsewhere.

This variability is one of the wonders of watching the weather. The better long-range forecasters have skulls holding the memories of thousands of maps, which they use as analogs that state, “if A, then B is likely to follow.” But they stress that word “likely”. They are very aware uncertainty is involved, and always have an eye out for the “unlikely”. The moment they notice the weather is not following the expected path their brains ruffle through thousands of other maps, seeking other times the weather deviated from the norm and took a different path. Often the best forecast is a correction, and the trick is to be ahead of the game and to be the first to recognize the earlier forecast was wrong. It does not pay, when dealing with the wonders of weather, to be too stubborn and set in your ways. (At this point I could be drawn off into arguments about whether the politics of Global Warming involves being stuck on a particular wrong forecast, but I don’t want to go there; I prefer the beauty of Truth, and the wonder.)

I like to watch good forecasters at work, drawing upon their experience to prepare their forecasts. Back when I was young, before computers were used by weathermen, I used to switch between three or four forecasters on TV channels four, five, seven and nine in Boston, because there could be considerable variety in the forecasts, and there was a lively competition between the meteorologists to “get it right.” (I was dismayed when I later moved to a part of the country where the weather was more boring, and the forecasters on TV tended to be voluptuous women who knew a lot about flirting but next to nothing about meteorology.)

Boston in the 1950’s and 1960’s was a great place to be, if you were a boy interested in the weather, for the public was concerned and deeply interested, and the market for meteorology provided money for innovations. The first Boston TV forecaster (before I was born) actually had a fifteen-minute show on the primitive TV sets of 1948. He was an MIT professor who smoked a pipe on air and scrawled on a blackboard, educating the public about things such as isobars, which many more ordinary newscasters knew zilch about. Forecasters who followed also would become very involved in educating the public, and at times annoyed the rest of the broadcast-team by pressing the limits of the time allotted to weather. I think some non-meteorologist reporters were downright jealous, for, in the same manner sports fans are very interested in obscure statistics of a sport they enjoy, and care more for the sports section of a newspaper than news others deem more important, the general public paid more attention to weathermen than to blathering politicians, or even sports reporters. But that made some sense. A baseball game doesn’t change the standard of living as much as a snowstorm does.

Perhaps due to the jealousy of other reporters, weathermen had to endure a lot on on-air jeering when their forecasts were wrong, but sometimes they’d see a big storm coming a week in advance, and it was wonderful watching their excitement grow, and their exhilaration when the storm actually happened as forecast. In particular I remember a forecaster named Bob Copeland who one winter got onto what a gambler might call a “hot streak” and went weeks predicting the weather with amazing accuracy, with his snowfall estimates correct to the inch, so that even the forecasters on other stations shook their heads. Though rivals, TV forecasters were also comrades, and met after work to compare notes. Misery loves company, and they all knew the misery of a botched forecast, a major storm that swerved out to sea and dumped a foot of snow on fishes, as all the inland forecasters got dumped on with laughing mockery.

The fact certain forecasters could experience “hot streaks” led me to wonder if something more than science was involved, for all the forecasters began with the same data, but arrived at different conclusions. Sadly, many modern forecasters seem to have lost some of that ability, (whatever it is), becoming overly dependent on computers, though computers can be equally wrong, especially in the long term. (At this point I could launch off into the foolishness of politics based on computer models, but again I won’t go there. It is far more fun to watch Truth unfold in real time than to squint at a future that very likely never will happen.)

I currently like the Weatherbell site because the forecasters seem more rooted in the ability of old-time forecasters, and explain what analogs they are using, and speak honestly in terms of likelihoods and probabilities, and never speak of science as being “settled.” This autumn they see a good probability of a cold December developing, using twelve years where a similar lead-ups all led to cold Decembers. What is interesting is that after sharing similar Decembers the paths of the twelve winters diverge, some relenting and becoming balmy, and others becoming winters of lasting cold.

Arctic sea-ice is but one component of many, when making such forecasts, but I like to focus on it, as it seems to have a definite influence on arctic air-masses, which later effect New Hampshire winters.

It has been interesting to watch how the recent low levels of sea-ice have led to the marginal seas around the edge of the Arctic Ocean becoming capable of holding greater warmth. As long as those seas have ice in their waters they are forced to remain the temperature of ice-water, but as soon as the ice is entirely melted those waters can warm with surprising speed under the twenty-four hour sunshine of summer. Then when, with equally surprising speed, the twenty-four-hour sunshine gives way to twenty-four-hour darkness, those marginal seas shift to giving back the summer warmth they absorbed. From September 21 to October 21 the 24-hour darkness expands from a dot at the Pole to a vast area extending a quarter of the way down the top of Greenland, and along that latitude clear around the Arctic Sea, but despite the absence of warming sunshine many areas remain above freezing, due to the “maritime influence” of summer-warmed seas. Meanwhile land far more swiftly loses heat and starts to generate cold. Where, in July, the land baked under 24 hour sunshine and was much warmer than the sea (tending to generate sea-breezes), by October the same land becomes colder than the sea (generating land-breezes.)

One aspect of the warming of the marginal seas involves how early they become ice-free. If they become ice-free early, in July or (if winds push ice offshore) even in June, the sun is relatively high in the arctic sky and can warm waters swiftly. But if the waters become ice-free in August the sun is lower and partially glances off the water. The heating swiftly diminishes as the sun sinks towards the horizon. In fact, if the seas become ice-free in September the sun is so low it nearly entirely bounces off the water, as the “albedo” of glassy sea-water is higher than that of dirty sea-ice when the sun is less than ten degrees above the horizon, and by September the open water of a marginal sea may actually be losing more heat than it gains.

In order to significantly alter the temperature of nearby landmasses, the marginal seas must become ice-free early, and soak up heat all summer. This may have been the situation during the Medieval Warm Period, and have led to marginal seas so warm they delayed the onset of winter, which enabled Vikings to farm places in Greenland we can’t farm any more.

But this past summer saw the marginal seas more clotted by ice than the year before, which leads one to wonder: “Why?” In many places the ice lingered well into August, and by the time it was gone it was too late for the sun to warm much. Consequently, the sea-ice was able to reform swiftly, as the above NRL maps show. But why did the sea-ice linger?

I’m not sure, but one factor was a shift in the movement of sea-ice. Ice which was more ordinarily flushed south through Fram Strait was retained. In fact, if Nansen had sailed the Fram last winter his ship would have drifted north right across the Pole, rather than taking its more southerly route closer to Eurasia.

Dotted line = planned route. Dashed lines = actual drift.

Also in fact, if the Polarstern had sailed last winter rather than the winter before, the MOSAiC expedition would have crossed the Pole, rather than following Nansen’s path. The sea-ice took a less usual route, though not an unprecedented route, (for Russian sea-ice bases sometimes were pulled away from Russia towards Canada, in the past). This uncommon flow is a sort of cancellation of the Transpolar Drift and an expansion of the Beaufort Gyre, and keeps sea-ice up in the arctic.

Also there was a change in the inflow of warm water into the Arctic. This was especially noticeable in the case of the WSC (West Spitsbergen Current), which brings warm waters up along the west coast of Svalbard. It can keep the west coast ice-free even in the dead of winter. In June of 1597, when ice melt had barely begun, Willem Barrentz was able to sail a primitive non-icebreaker along part of the north coast of Svalbard, due to this current’s power to melt sea-ice. Yet last summer it lost power. Sea-ice came down to the north shore of Svalbard and even down the west coast during the warmest time of year. Why?

I wonder. Two explanations have crossed my mind. One is that the north Atlantic storm track shifted, and the mega-gales exploded much further east than normal. Usually they explode over Iceland, and roaring southerly gales on their east side assist the WSC as it heads north. Last winter the mega-gales exploded north of Norway in Barents Sea, and roaring northerly winds on the west side pushed against the WSC, and also churned and chilled the WSC’s warmer and saltier waters.

A second event, purely theoretical at this point, is that the very power that draws warm waters north may have been meddled with.

Warm water is drawn north to replace cold water that is sinking. The cold water sinks because it is cold, and also because it is partially brine exuded from sea-ice as sea-ice forms (brine is heavier than sea water.) This cold, salty water exits the Arctic through the one deep channel available, in Fram Strait, and must be replaced by warm currents, including the WPC, at the surface. But what happens if the water does not descend?

This may have happened last summer due to a major sea-bottom eruption of lava well to the northeast of Svalbard. I hypothesize this event occurred due to an odd hole that appeared in the sea-ice for no apparent reason, and which remained a feature for roughly ninety days. If the hole had a volcanic origin, it would suggest waters were rising where they ordinarily sink. This would get in the way of what draws the WSC north. Is it sheer coincidence that right at this point the WSC seemed to stop flowing, and stopped melting sea-ice west of Svalbard, and sea-ice extended further south than usual? (Since then, the WSC has resumed its usual flow.)

If the WSC was in any way slowed, less warm water would enter the arctic for ninety days, which likely would result in less melting of sea-ice. (Much melt comes from below. In fact refreezing begins as early as August at the top, but ice-extent continues to decrease well into September, due to melting from below).

The possible derangement of the WSC is perhaps “unlikely”, but it is one of the variables smart weathermen note, when attempting to state what is “likely”. We are dealing with a Creation that includes numerous variables, for our Creator did not want us bored. There are so many variables some call it chaos, but it all fits together perfectly and creates the harmony of Creation. To the person midst a major hurricane chaos seems complete, but a satellite view shows all the countless variables have created a symmetrical pinwheel with an eye, neat and tidy and far from chaotic, (unless you redefine chaos.)

In any case, I simply note, with wonder, an increase in the extent of sea-ice, and add a few feeble attempts to explain it. I also am splitting wood like crazy, which is hard (but fun) for an old fossil like myself, because I figure Fraudulent Biden will have energy prices soaring up through the roof, and I soon will not be able to afford heating my home with fossil fuels.

I hope for the best. I hope the flow is zonal and the bitter cold rotates around the planet north of latitude seventy. This will increase sea-ice but leave me alone. However I prepare for the worst. I prepare as if the flow will become latitudinal, and air from East Siberia will cross north of Bering Strait, unwarmed by the ice-covered East Siberian marginal sea, and unwarmed by the swiftly ice-covered northern Canadian great lakes, and the swiftly ice-covered Hudson Bay, and the (perhaps) surprisingly ice-choked southern Great Lakes, and we get blasted by a winter like 1976-1977, or by a December like 1989’s.

As an old timer, I tend to think people have become soft. They were not around back then, and call zero (minus seventeen Celsius) cold when it happens a day or two during a winter. They haven’t experienced a winter when zero becomes the norm, and the colder days drop to minus 27 (minus 33 Celsius.) It is then that fossil fuels will no longer seem so politically incorrect. My experience is that at minus 27 all one wants to do is crank up the heat. However, the heat may not be available, because Fraudulent Biden pretends to fear the planet is getting too warm.

I am lucky because I am primitive, and am saving my oak and black locust for the possibility of severe cold. I save the high BTU wood for when it is needed. Right now I’m burning the trashy wood, the old punky stuff and the birch, poplar, alder and cherry. Then I’ll move on to the maple. Hopefully I’ll never need use the oak and black locust, and will wind up looking like a silly old man spooked by worries that never came to pass.

However here again I accent the humble admission that my forecast may be wrong. This makes me radically different from Fraudulent Biden, who seems insanely certain his forecasts are correct. He sails a ship of state he is so certain is unsinkable that he will punish any and all who disagree, because authorities assure him his ship is unsinkable. But didn’t the authorities state the Titanic was unsinkable?

It is occurring to some who formerly were all-in and sold-on political correctness that they may have been mistaken. This tends to occur when Truth interferes with belief. You are rushing around with a forecast of doom, feeling like you are Paul Revere awaking the sleeping public to an invasion of Redcoats, and then become aware you are Chicken Little, rushing about screeching the sky is falling.

In terms of Arctic sea-ice, this has happened the past year. A year ago, at one point in October, the “extent” of sea-ice briefly rose more slowly than it did in 2012, and during that brief time 2020 had the lowest sea-ice “extent” ever for that date. (“Ever” being the recent past, barely sixty years, when relatively accurate records have been possible.) At that point it was understandable that an Alarmist could feel like Paul Revere. But now, they feel like Chicken Little. For, rather than melting away as forecast, the sea-ice has increased by 20%, and perhaps even more. Truth has spoken.

We all make mistakes. We all are incorrect. It is the human condition. And making mistakes can even be a good thing, if we confess we are mistaken. Mistakes teach us. Mistakes can improve us. But only if we confess they were mistakes. If we insist we are right when we are obviously not, our egos are tricking us into disaster.

Alarmists who were convinced the sea-ice was melting away are now not only confronted by the fact the sea-ice has increased by 20%, but by two responses to the event. On one hand they see people like me, who wonder, and ask questions, and share observations. And on the other hand they see people who insist sea-ice is decreasing even when it isn’t.

They then start to notice the same people insist polar bears are becoming extinct, when the population of polar bears has increased, (perhaps even doubled), over the past sixty years.

It even starts to occur to them that political correctness is incorrect. To such a person I can only say, “Welcome to my world.”

But, as I stated earlier, I don’t really want to go there. Maybe in some future post I will bore everyone to tears with philosophical ramblings about the difference between political correctness and Truth, but for now I find that a sort of distraction. It is better to face facts, and do what seems best.

At the moment arguing with intellectuals will not keep me warm this coming winter. However being a non-intellectual who splits firewood will keep me warm. They say firewood warms you twice, at first with exercise, and only later by burning. So I likely will not post much, until I am sure I can sit by a warm stove until spring. Then I will post your ears off.

*******

P.S. I apologize for the delay in posting. I have been dealing with the slow decline of my laptop’s ability to function, due to all sorts of invasive stuff running in the background. Finally, I broke down and bought a new laptop. However, I don’t want to get the new one up and running without the help of a computer geek far smarter than I, who will install protection from invasive programs. Hopefully I soon will be posting more often.

My next sea-ice post will be about the “Dark Quarter”. If you divide the year into 4 quarters, 91.25 days long (not including leap years), the darkest days begin around November 5 and end around February 5. It is a time the sun offers least, when days are shortest and nights are longest, and a huge amount of heat is lost to outer space in the north. Without the sun, the only thing left to battle the cold is the heat retained in waters, and subtropical airmasses brought north by a meridional jet stream, (and sometimes rare heat brought about by the lava of volcanoes). Largely such sources cannot overcome the penetrating cold of the Dark Quarter. Sea-ice expands southward and thickens in the north. But that is stuff that happens every year, rather ho-hum, and it can’t explain the dramatic shifts in the amounts of sea-ice history reports.

What is perhaps more significant is the drift of the ice. Does it stay in the arctic or is it flushed south? Also significant are currents such as the WSC. Are they vigorous or feeble? (But CO2? It doesn’t really matter at all, but I will try to avoid that political quicksand, and merely marvel at the Truth).

Last year the East Siberian marginal sea froze over swiftly in early November, and the difference between last year’s “open water” and this year’s “ice-covered sea” vanished. The question then becomes, “Did the fact the East Siberian Sea become ice-covered earlier change things?”

Obviously it would. But I cannot identify the changes. I imagine it would allow more cold to develop, earlier, but where those airmasses went, I cannot say. They didn’t come down here. October in New Hampshire was balmy, though it was so wet the pastures squelched as you walked across them.

Plenty of room for wonder.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Vikings and Volcanoes–

PART 1

I was perhaps ahead of the curve, when it came to distrusting what is now dubbed, “Fake News.” In fact I can’t remember when I was not a skeptic of some sort. True, my skepticism tended to go into abeyance, when I was young and was prone to idealistic extremes. Like most small boys I felt my Dad was a super-hero, the best; my Mom was my super-heroine, the best; but then they divorced, and then neither said the other was the best any more…Houston, we have a problem. In like manner I was wildly patriotic, when a boy, and every time Lyndon Johnson said we’d defeat the North Vietnamese by sending 10,000 more troops, I nodded fiercely. But there too…Houston, we have a problem. Also, in like manner, when I was a bit older the girl I had just met was perfect in every way, but all too soon…Houston, we have a problem. But such disillusionments were acceptable, (if not agreeable), for back then I was trained, even in grade school, to see that every coin has two sides, and that I should seek to see both sides of every issue. All things have pros and cons. But…they don’t seem to teach that anymore.

At some point a sort of “my way or the highway” mentality set in, where only one view was allowed. Because I had been trained differently, the slightest whiff of such thought set off alarms in my thinking. It struck me as the mentality of a cult.

My generation knew a thing or two about cults, because of communes we joined; and Yogis we investigated; and psychologies we paid-for. They all tended to trespass across, or at least infringe upon, the boundary between healthy thought and cultism.

I suppose this occurred because there are some concepts which are indivisible. For examples: God, Truth, Love, Infinity.  What is half of infinity? It is still infinity. Infinity is indivisible. And (please don’t argue) because this is true, a clever con-artist can state that, because there are not two sides to infinity, and because there is no pro and con involved in the case of infinity, this same principle can be applied in other areas, where there very much are two sides, (for example, a divorce.)  Con-artists apply infinity to other areas by suggesting only their side is infinite, only their side is politically correct, while the “other” side is worthy of purging, utilizing a cancel-culture’s ostracism. For example, some psychiatrists insist they must be obeyed, and any objections you may have are just manifestations of your infantile unwillingness to face reality; your best objections are but your denial and resistance to facts your psychiatrist sees, because he paid a fortune to be schooled in nonsense, whereas you were too smart to fall for such a scam, and therefore you are deemed uneducated. (Those who see like a cyclops insist on absolute obedience). The most extreme case states the communist overlord must be kowtowed to, or you are on the next train to a Siberian Gulag to be reeducated, Buster. (Such myopic thinking is so far from God, Truth, Love and Infinity that it would be a hilarious joke, if not for the fact so many don’t get the joke).

In any case, I tended to be attracted to healthy thought and repelled from cultish myopia, which led me to a love of real science, where people are willing to see the pros and cons of an idea, and delight in seeing both sides. Among the best thinkers even the most harebrained idea is not banned, but is considered, and, even if in some respects the harebrained idea is wrong, one still hears, “But he does make a point…”

One thing we all tend to do is to see what is possible in terms we ourselves have seen. This manifested among academics, who often have little experience out in the battlefields of commerce, as a definition of humanity which sees humans as timid, and unlikely to venture far from safety. This may be true of academics, but it cannot be used as a rule for mankind as a whole. At this point enters, from stage right, Thor Heyerdahl, who, to scientifically “prove” his point, sailed a balsa wood raft he dubbed the “Kon Tiki” from Peru to Polynesia.

Many parts of Thor Heyerdahl’s theories may have been incorrect, but honorable scientists of his time did confess, “He does make a point.” He proved men can make incredible journeys which academics, safely ensconced in their Ivory Towers, would never venture to undertake.

What has this to do with arctic sea-ice? Glad you asked.

As a youth I was not at all attracted to classrooms, but was very much attracted to sailing rafts across the Pacific Ocean. Not that I wasn’t attracted to Ivory Towers, but my Ivory Towers were not classrooms choked with chalk dust under the flickering light of migraine-inducing fluorescent bulbs. What’s so ivory about that? My Ivory Tower was at the winner’s end of a fishing rod, playing hooky from school; or standing, dangling a hitchhiker’s thumb, five hundred miles from home; or at the above-water-end of a tiller in an Atlantic gale.

I was quite academic about being anti-academic. Maybe I’d offend a teacher by handing in a term-report only a paragraph long, but I’d write my best buddy a “note” twenty pages long. I also kept a detailed diary, when I played hooky, which would have amazed teachers, who were convinced I paid no attention to details. I still own the yellowing pages of diaries describing when I hitchhiked from Boston to Florida, just after my sixteenth birthday, and when I sailed from Boston to the Bahamas in a “borrowed” yacht, at age eighteen. I collected data Thor Heyerdahl might appreciate, but which academics tend to discount, as they don’t like admitting some outrageous behavior constitutes “things” outside their ken.

Next I underwent reformation and went to India to seek God, but I likely have offended academics enough already, so I won’t go there, in this essay. Let me only go so far as stating I had a deep respect for, and fascination about, Vikings.

This fascination was likely due to the fact Norumbega Tower was two miles from my childhood home, and way back in the 1950’s I, (still basically a rug-rat), during a picnic by that tower, stood transfixed as the grown-ups debated whether or not the Greenland Vikings came as far south as Massachusetts. The debate conceded that Eben Horseford, (the wealthy Harvard professor who had the tower erected as a monument to his own personal [and perhaps anti-Catholic] theories), was largely wrong, but that “he did have his points.”

For some reason, this fascination took hold of me. Even as a boy, any discussion of Vikings, in any conversation or in any book, riveted my attention. Although my town had long been in the process of being transformed from a farming town with a few water-powered mills and a few lavish mansions owned by wealthy Bostonians as “summer houses”, into a smug suburb which basically banned farmers, (especially pig farmers), I was born into this total transformation of my hometown during the period when you could still hear the grousing of the farmers and mill workers, and their children; families who had cared for a land 250 years but now were being displaced. I wasn’t as interested in their resentment as I was in the history they knew about. It was odd stuff, and would take a long post to do justice to, and historians would call it “lore”. But the locals would call historians worse things, and often displayed disrespect towards Eban Horseford, or anyone else from Harvard.

Perhaps I should explain the contempt.

My town had a certain selectman who was locally cursed and remembered as “Bloody Alphonzo”, for he had sold the town’s water rights back in the 1800’s. The city of Cambridge, (where Harvard Collage is located), dammed a stream and flooded a valley and passed ordinances to keep their water clean. Mills were closed, manure piles called illegal, and local farmers and their children abruptly were not supposed to even fish and swim in the brooks that ran through lands their families had farmed since it was ruled by the King of England. Legally the farmers had no power, so what did they do? They snuck. It was said even the police chief fished in the reservoir. Also, to express their contempt, they would urinate into the brooks, laughing at the idea Harvard professors would soon drink their byproduct. Contempt had sadly become a two-way-street.

Due to this ill-will, the very people who lived on the land Eban Horseford claimed had been a Viking colony were less than forthcoming concerning objects they had found, or which their ancestors had found. A few odd objects remained, but much existed only as family traditions. For example, if they plowed up a strange, corroded copper kettle, they might melt it down. Copper was valuable stuff. Consequentially, they knew about copper kettles Harvard never saw.

One thing they knew about (which I can find no record of Harvard ever seeing) was petrographs. They were in a 300-foot-tall knob of made of the hardest granite, yet fractured and holding a cavern. The knob had a name like “Devil’s Den”, or some such thing. It was a hideout for smugglers and robbers, and when President George Washington rode by that looming knob on his way to Boston along the Post Road, his bodyguard was especially vigilant. If it still existed it would be a protected monument, but instead it became a quarry over 400 feet deep, supplying the best granite gravel for highways, including causeways built across the reservoirs supplying faucets in Cambridge. In essence the valley Eban Horseford claimed held a Viking colony is now buried beneath both a reservoir and an interstate highway.  So all Harvard knows is that there used to be caves that purportedly held petrographs. But as a boy I knew gruff old locals who had seen the petrographs, or their fathers had. They were a vanishing people, and by the time I was a high school senior they’d vanished, but they taught a history much more interesting than the history in school, which seemed to be merely the memorization of dates and places, and seemingly didn’t involve actual people with actual stories.

To conclude this sidetrack, I’ll mention a local historian who was perhaps the last pig farmer to flee my rapidly ossifying suburb. Back in those days (1950’s) you recycled your trash into three piles: Stuff for the incinerator: stuff for the dump; and stuff for pigs; and this particular fellow collected the stuff for pigs. He was our “garbage man”, radiant and nearly completely bald and seemingly always cheerful, but no one you would suspect was an authority. However, an occasion arose where no one knew how to turn on an old, neighborhood fountain. Plumbers were useless. Engineers were useless. But the garbage man knew the history. How he happened to chance by that day is a bit of a mystery, (for there was no garbage to collect), but he listened from the periphery, and then silently strode forward and took a shovel from a man standing by,  pried up a flagstone you could barely see, (it was so covered with sod), and beneath was a subterranean box, also made of flagstone, and at the bottom of the box was a pipe with a handle. He turned the handle, and the fountain came to life. Lesson learned? Garbagemen may be smarter than plumbers and engineers and even Harvard historians. Why?

I’m not going to give you the answer. Figure it out for yourself. How could a pig farmer and garbage man know more than plumbers, engineers and Harvard?

In any case, although I was a spoiled child, my childhood involved wonderful servants. Not that the relatively rich, suburban fathers were not wonderful, but they left at dawn and often did not return until after dark. Back when I was small they didn’t even need to own cars to desert; they left by a local train called a “Budliner,” which wasn’t a trolley but might be as small as a single train-carriage. And therefore the men who were my substitute “father-figures” through the daylight hours were the local fellows who delivered coal down rattling chutes, or oil from trucks with long, snaking, smelly pipes, or who mowed lawns or gardened, or who painted clapboards or shingled roofs, or who delivered the milk, or who delivered the groceries,  or who tarred the street, or who brought grain for rich folk’s horses, or who brought the mail up your drive and put it through a slot in your front door, and so on and so forth. I hope you catch my drift. But, in case you don’t, I’ll just state that, as a child who was hungry for good stories, these local characters were far more interesting than school was. In fact school seemed to go out of its way to make interesting subjects dull. For example, find yourself a “Dick and Jane” book. I challenge anyone to look at an actual “Dick and Jane” book and see it as anything other than boring. It is a baby-talk that likely would cause even a baby to roll their eyes. Rather than teaching first graders to read, they likely turned many away from reading. I was turned away from school, but not from reading. I read everything I could find about Vikings.

I had no idea my interest would be anything besides a hobby. To be honest, it seemed obscure trivia, but I was an enthusiast. I would bore you to death at a cocktail party, if you made the mistake of bringing up Vikings, and especially the Vikings of Greenland. Even at my most destitute, entering a warm public library because it was winter and I was cold and homeless, I’d sometimes make a beeline towards the card catalogs, (the old search engines), to see what that library held concerning Greenland Vikings. Because I wandered coast to coast, I saw some odd, out-of-print books, ensconced in remote libraries. When it came to trivia concerning Greenland Vikings, I accidentally became, if not an authority, then far more knowledgeable than you’d expect a bum sleeping in his car to be. However this was nothing I did for profit. I was like a fellow who knows the batting averages of baseball players of the 1800’s. I studied for the gratification of my own curiosity, and not for any gain other than the pleasure of knowing the amazing, vanished Greenland Vikings a little bit better.

How amazing was this population of several thousand? Glad you asked. They survived, without welfare supplementing their income, yet paying Popes, Kings of Sweden, and perhaps even the Hanseatic League, a chunk of their income, for over four hundred years, in a brutal and unforgiving environment. They lived at the edge. When the climate cooled only a little, their crops failed and their herds perished. Yet they survived many such disasters, and then, all of a sudden, several thousand people vanished, leaving no bones picked by seagulls and scattered by arctic foxes and polar bears. In fact they left only a single frozen individual, dressed in the fashions of Europe. What happened to the rest of them?

There are any number of theories, many which may be correct in part, in a “he makes a good point” manner, while not being entirely true. My mind is a repository for such theories, some of which take a single true fact and use it as a springboard for unfounded conjecture.

Academics tend to frown at unfounded conjecture, even while indulging in what they frown at. For example, I have read one of these “experts” opine that the Vikings “failed to adapt”, and “refused to adopt Eskimo ways”. (Likely the expert used either the word “Indigenous” or “Inuit”). (But the Vikings were there earlier [but were not “first”] and it was the non-Dorset Eskimos, the “Inuit”, [whom the Vikings called “Skraeling’s”], who were the “illegal aliens” of that time).

Besides being an amateur archeologist, I also am an amateur psychologist, and I can recognize “projection” when I see it.  What I saw the academic writer doing was using a single frozen corpse as a springboard for a projection reflecting what he (or she) himself (or herself) was: An ingrown inhabitant of a stultifying university clothed in non-adaptive fashions, who noticed the lone frozen corpse people found (when they returned to the Greenland colony in the late 1400’s), wore European fashions. The academic then projected his (or her) own problems onto the Greenland Vikings who vanished nearly six hundred years earlier: “They failed to adapt”.

I responded differently, when I learned the frozen corpse was wearing European fashions. My inquisitive mind immediately wanted to know, “Which European fashion?” Fashions change, and the frozen corpse might reveal a lot, if it wore a fashion worn after the date the last Greenlander freighter (knorr), (such Viking craft had a design and name all their own), arrived in Europe, and then headed back to Greenland, never to be seen again. (Decades past before any ship was sent to see why no taxes were paid, and the motive for returning to Greenland was seemingly not to help Greenlanders, but because some worried Greenlanders might be following the wrong branch of Christianity, and placing their tithes in the wrong offering-plate.) In any case, I wondered if the frozen corpse was even a Greenlander. He might have been a pirate marooned there by irate crewmates, who were irate because that poor man suggested Greenland might be a good place to raid, but when the pirates arrived, they only found abandoned ruins.

One theory about what happened to the last Greenlanders is that pirates swooped in to grab them to sell as slaves. There were a million white slaves, along the coasts of the Mediterranean, back in those times. And being enslaved might have been preferable to freezing and starving in Greenland; there was at least a chance to get fat, as a slave in warm Italy. And one odd coincidence is that, just when the Greenlanders vanished, there was suddenly talk in sea-side taverns in Italy and in Venetian colonies about lands across the Atlantic, and a couple of fast-talking Italian adventurers talked non-Italian kings into funding their adventures to cross the Atlantic. (The Italian in Spain was Christopher Columbus, and the Italian in England was John Cabot, both of whom who set sail for America in the late 1400’s, just after the Greenland Vikings became officially “vanished”).

This just demonstrates what a bore I can be at a cocktail party, if you make the mistake of bringing up the subject of Greenland Vikings. And I have only scratched the surface. I am the repository of all sorts of trivia you likely don’t want to know about

For example, did you know that for every woman’s grave in Greenland there are two men’s graves? Can you even imagine what a springboard that is, for conjecture?

I’d better stop there, or we will never get back to the subject of sea-ice. But…I cannot resist. Here’s one more springboard:

In 1898 a farmer in Minnesota claimed his son found Viking runes (writing) carved into a stone, (“The Kennington Stone”), in among the roots of a tree, as he cleared land. The runes were later translated. The runes hastily describe Vikings in a desperate situation, with ten of their party of 30 slaughtered by some sort of attack on their camp as the others were fishing. They are 14 days from where ten other men guard their ship. They sign off stating the year is 1362.

This discovery was immediately sent to Swedish linguistic experts of that time, who discredited the runes as a forgery, (perhaps a reason for the brusque dismissal might have included the fact the farmer who found the runes happened to be from Norway, and Swedes and Norwegians were getting along so poorly at that time that soon afterwards Norway declared its independence from Sweden. But ironically, the Vikings described by the runes included both Swedes and Norwegians, who lived and died together.)

That should have been that. The runes were discredited by academics and should have been put into the archives where the Piltdown Skull is kept, in the museum of clever frauds. But for some reason the stone could not be so easily dismissed.  It couldn’t rest in peace, and over and over kept being exhumed from its grave. Over and over linguistic experts kept shooting it dead, but it refused to die.

I found it interesting to peruse this unending quibble. After all, it has been going on and on and on for 123 years, and there are many opinions. What I found interesting was that most of the “experts” had neither farmed nor sailed small ships at sea. They were academics and ate fish and chips without ever having to deal with nets or potato-forks.

Certain things struck me as not making sense, concerning this fraud. One thing is that I know a small farmer’s life is not easy today, and was harder in 1898, and the idea of a fellow finding the spare time to learn about runes, carve them on a stone, bury the stone by an alder and patiently wait for the roots to entwine the stone, and only then dig the stone up and embark upon a hoax, didn’t jive with my idea of how much free time a hardscrabble farmer usually has. (zero).

Secondly, linguistic experts judged the way people talked in 1362 from how academics talked in 1362, for most written words that have survived from so long ago are the writings of professors of that time. Yet we all know that the way sailors talk down by the docks is different from how people talk up in universities, and we also know the universities are the last to change, as language changes. People in universities still can speak dead languages such as Greek and Latin, while utterly incapable of making sense of current slang on the street. To me at seemed obvious that a Viking far from home and in a desperate situation might not chisel stone using the correct vernacular for 1364, and might use many expressions that seem unfit for such a time.

One thing in the runes that made no sense (to me), using ordinary definitions of words, was that, even while stating they were 14 days from their boat, they speak of where they were as an “island.” They were far from any coast. To me this suggests “island” may have been defined differently among such adventurers. It may have been what we would define as a “portage”: As the dry area between going up one river and down another. After all, the Vikings were amazing when it came to portages. The Vikings who were called the “Rus” (which Russia is named after) stunned early inhabitants of Russia by coming down the Volga River, from upstream. They had to carry their longboats over a sort of continental divide to enact such a feat. And the place in Minnesota where the runes were carved was at the point where you must leave rivers that flow north to Hudson Bay, to get to rivers that flow south to the Gulf of Mexico. It was a sort of “island” between waters flowing north and waters flowing south. But such a definition of “island” might only be used by Vikings who underwent long journeys, and never be used by linguistic experts who never leave home.

For the most part, the experts dismissed the runes as a fraud and forgery, until in 2005 a couple of academics noticed an odd detail a farmer in 1898 should not have known about. It was an abbreviation midst an abbreviation, which was in use in 1364. Where the desperate runes state a sort of Hail Mary, with the abbreviation, AVM, for “Ave Maria,” the letter “V” has a little notch at the top, which turns the singular “Ave” into a plural plethora of “Aves”, which might be expected of a man writing in fear for his life. However, this little notch at the top of a rune was a so-called “scribal abbreviation” which was used in 1364, but which a farmer in Minnesota in 1898 should not have known about, while composing a fraud. So maybe the fraud was not a fraud, after all.

This meant little to the people of that time. The so-called “forger” was dead and couldn’t celebrate his vindication, and many who scorned him were also dead and couldn’t blush in shame, but it meant a lot to my greedy desire for trivia concerning Greenland Vikings. I could add this trivia to my vast treasure trove. Then I could talk your ear off at a cocktail party.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, I met a beautiful woman with three small children, married her, and had to get busy with more mundane stuff, and this did not include Greenland Vikings. But it did include eventually getting a gadget I had little use for, called a computer. (A pen and notebook was good enough for me, but I would use a clacking typewriter if it was demanded.) The only reason we got a computer was because schools seemed to demand my children use them, and the only reason I liked them was because they corrected my atrocious spelling. However, I did venture into a place called the “web”, and of course immediately went to the card catalog, (which I call “search engines”, but never call “Google”), to learn more about Greenland Vikings. I was almost immediately horrified.

Much I had learned about the Greenland Vikings was being ignored. Why? For what reason was the hard work of so many scientists being disregarded? This drew me into the “chat” sections of the Web, where I swiftly learned some became quite indignant, if I even asked a question. “Global Warming” was what they called “settled science”, and if you asked questions, you were a “denier”.

This was my first awareness of what is now called “cancel culture” and was (and is) a cancer that has spread, at first slowly, but now with alarming speed, throughout our society. It is something alien to the way I was brought up to think. It is a “my way or the highway” sort of narrowness which involves denial far greater than the “denial” which the virtue-signaling accuse others of, for they deny themselves exposure to fresh ideas, to springtides of new thought, and to the vigor of fresh growth. Worst, (in my view), by wearing such blinders and earmuffs they miss seeing and hearing really cool tales, including Viking sagas.

I felt a sense of outrage right from the start, and was even banned from some anti-Alarmist, anti-Global-Warming sites, for being too inflammatory. Many (such as Steve McIntyre), preached patience, tolerance, and advised that we teach the truth with dedicated persistence. But I felt the Alarmist fact-fudgers should be strung up by their thumbs.

I did try to moderate my indignation, but in some ways I feel like I have wasted a lot of my free time trying to explain things to Alarmist imbeciles. If I could have the 21st century back to do over again I might be even less patient than I already was. I was arguing with an intelligence less moved than a brick wall is, by logic. The Alarmists had their plan and they stuck to their plan, and only pretended to be reasonable. In some ways they were like a rapist who only pretends to be interested in the woman he intends to violate, and who smiles and nods and is apparently agreeable, until he maneuvers the innocent maid into an out-of-sight place, where he slams her into a wall and is extremely disagreeable. (There is a reason a cyclops is called a monster).

But good came out of my frustration, for, in my attempts to be calm and reasonable, I had a chance to indulge in my hobby, and to research all sorts of trivia concerning Greenland Vikings. Yippie! Not that I had as much time as I would have liked. Raising three, then four, then five children keeps you busy. But, when the weather was bad and I couldn’t work I enjoyed what the Alarmist’s call “denial”, which in fact is: Sifting through vast amounts of evidence collected by scientists who study things such as the pollen at the bottom of lakes. And if you wonder of what earthly use such a study can be, I will say that when your infant is teething and you aren’t getting much sleep, the subject of pollen on the bottom of lakes is a glorious escapism. There are times denial of reality is a good thing, for reality has you on the verge of strangling your own, infant son.

One escapism I found involved an obscure subject called “isostatic rebound”, (and its antithesis, which I suppose would be called “isostatic depression”.) This idea stated that the burden of glaciers and icecaps pressed the continental plate they rested upon down, and when the ice melted the continental plate would arise, relieved of its burden. What this meant was that, when the glaciers melted at the end of the last ice-age, and the seas rose hundreds of feet, in certain places the land rose even faster. For this reason there are places in the north where ancient shorelines are not hundreds of feet below the current sea-level, but are above the current sea-level. There are beaches which isostatic rebound has lifted high and dry, on the coast of the Arctic Sea, holding bits of driftwood ten thousand years old, sometimes charred by the Eskimos that burned driftwood before even the Dorset Eskimos roamed up there.

Certain scientists wanted to go study those uplifted beaches, and braved ferocious clouds of mosquitoes to do so. (Not to mention risked the chance of running into a polar bear which weighed more than half a ton.) Among things they discovered was the geological fact that an ice-covered Arctic Sea forms a very different beach from an ice-free Arctic Sea. They noticed uplifted beaches were of two types. This suggested the Arctic Sea might have been ice-covered long ago, but also ice-free at other times, in the past, which annoyed Alarmists. Alarmists did not want to hear the Arctic Sea has been ice-free in the past, as it made the prospect of an ice-free Arctic Sea in the future appear less ominous. So what did the Alarmists do? They cut the funding of such scientists, and suppressed their findings, but…I still could find the findings. They are there if you look hard enough.

What does this have to do with Vikings? Well, it turns out isostatic rebound can happen far faster than you’d think. As a glacier advances down a valley the entire valley sinks, and when the same glacier retreats the entire valley is uplifted. This can be measured by modern GPS gadgets down to millimeters, even on a daily basis, but the Vikings inhabited Greenland over four hundred years. They arrived during the Medieval Warm Period when the shorelines were lifting, and then they saw the climate change and the glaciers start back down the valleys as the Little Ice Age came on, and saw the shorelines submerge. How far? Should we be looking for the beaches and docks that Viking longboats landed at underwater? If we hired scuba divers, might we find a goldmine of information?

Don’t ask Alarmists. They are in denial, and don’t want to know. Anything that questions their narrative is, in their view, “denial”. The entire reality of the Medieval Warm Period makes them queasy. In fact there is evidence certain academics stated, “We have to erase the Medieval Warm Period.” Why? Because it did not support their narrative. (And you can watch the Medieval Warm Period actually be “disappeared”, if you look at old IPCC reports, and compare them with newer IPCC reports.)

The IPCC should be ashamed of itself. Such “disappearing” belongs in the dark disgrace of communist dictatorships, and not in the hallowed hallways of science. The IPCC has in fact been rejected by some brilliant scientists, who joined in good faith but who later became aware the IPCC was more focused on politics than on science.

It was handy to “disappear” the Medieval Warm Period, for it made it easier to say current warming was “unprecedented” and that we should all freak out, but the Greenland Vikings were hard to “disappear”. If it was colder back then, how could they hand-dig graves where we now need jackhammers or flamethrowers to get through the permafrost? If it was colder back then, how could they build barns and stables which suggest that, in the best of times, the several thousand people herded over 100,000 sheep and goats, and roughly 2000 cattle? How could they do it, even in the summers, let alone gather the fodder to feed such herds during the long winters? And what about water? 2000 cows cannot drink ice. How could their cattle drink during winter? In the face of such evidence the Alarmists had to come up with an explanation, and it was this: “Greenland’s warmth was a local effect.”

Wow. It must have been amazing. The entire earth was (according to Alarmists) colder than it is now, but this one spot up the west coast of Greenland was dramatically warmer. The problem then becomes explaining such a bizarre anomaly. Of course, Alarmists don’t have to explain their bizarre beliefs. They don’t want you to explain, either. You are just supposed to swallow. However, science demands an explanation. What could make the west coast of Greenland so much warmer, when all the rest of the earth was colder?

I have tried to be fair and have striven to come up with excuses for such a bizarre anomaly. (I am good at excuses, having had to invent many for undone homework as a boy), but not even I can excuse this anomaly, (if it was a local anomaly, and not worldwide.)

One good excuse was lava. Unfortunately, geologists tell me there is little lava pouring out on the west coast of Greenland. Vast amounts can pour out in Iceland, but Iceland is far away.

How about shifts of the Gulf Stream or the Jetstream? These indeed can cause very cold areas to become much warmer than usual, but when a stream deviates far from normal it tends to be like an oxbow on a river, which eventually becomes cut off, as the river choses a straighter course, and then it becomes an oxbow lake, or a whirl beside the Gulf Stream, or cut-off-low beside the jet stream. As soon as such loops become separated from the stream that created them, they lose power; the oxbow lake silts up: the whirl beside the Gulf Stream fades and slows and vanishes; the cut-off low melts from meteorological maps in a matter of days, as the jet stream goes right on flowing. Therefore, even the most fantastic quirks in the Gulf Stream or jet stream you can invent, which might explain how the west coast of Greenland could be very much warmer even as the rest of the earth was colder, could never last very long. They could certainly not explain Greenland Vikings surviving where we could not survive, for 400 years.

In fact the only real reason that coast could be so much warmer, that I can think of, is that the north winds were significantly warmer, because the Arctic Ocean was significantly warmer, and far freer of sea-ice.

I told you we’d get back to sea-ice! Congratulations, if you have put up with me so long!

But I must again digress and describe the “maritime effect.” I’ll attempt to be brief.

The south coast of Hudson Bay and north coast of Ireland are at roughly the same latitude, but the coast of Hudson Bay sees the saltwater freeze solid every winter, while the north coast of Ireland has only seen icebergs on its beaches once (that I can find) in recorded history (in 1817). The south coast of Hudson Bay is a landscape of Tundra and Taiga, of lichens and stunted spruces, while Northern Ireland is green and hears the lowing of cows. In fact, in a way, Hudson Bay is like the west coast of Greenland now is, while northern Ireland is emerald pastures like Greenland once was, when the Vikings raised 100,000 sheep and goats and 2000 cows. What makes such a huge difference? The “maritime effect” of the warm Gulf Stream, which flows by Ireland but not into Hudson Bay.

The problem then becomes making the Arctic Ocean a body of water as warm and benign as the Gulf Stream. Surprisingly, this is not as hard to do as you might think. How? Well, at this point we at long last return to the subject of sea-ice, and the gigantic meltdown which occurs every summer.

To be honest, I must confess I initially felt that reports of the yearly meltdown were Alarmist bull and Fake News, but I swiftly learned the amazing meltdown was very real. I think what clued me in was a yellowing army document as old as I was: A request from the soldiers at the American base on T-3 (Fletchers Ice Island) back in the 1950’s for hip-waders, because the slush was so deep in places.

As I investigated further I became aware of an astounding fact. It is a perfectly natural fact, and due to sensible forces, but so is the Grand Canyon, yet when we stand on the verge of the Grand Canyon we do not say, “Oh, how normal and natural.” Instead our jaw drops.  In like manner, our jaws should drop over an astounding thing occurring at the North Pole right now.

And what is this astounding thing? It is that the North Pole is getting more sunshine than the equator.

Yes. Allow the thought to sink in.  When we think of the equator we think of palm trees, and when we think of the North Pole we think of an ocean clogged with sea-ice, yet the Pole is subjected to more heat.

How is this possible? Well, at the equator the sun rises to its zenith, and at that point “only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.” But noontime is brief, and a few hours later the sun plunges down to a level where the sun is at the Pole, and then it plummets to the horizon and vanishes from sight for twelve hours. Meanwhile the polar sun simply stays at its zenith, circling around and around and around and never setting. In terms of how much heat the ground beneath gets, it is a bit like the fable of the tortoise and the hare. The equator is like the hare, and races ahead at noon, but then it gets lazy and takes a twelve-hour nap, and as it naps the tortoise keeps plodding, and wins the race, for at the end of the day the North Pole gets more sunshine than even the equator gets.

This melts a fabulous amount of sea-ice. However, until the sea-ice is all melted, temperatures cannot arise far above the freezing point. This is important to understand.

Consider boiling water on your stove. The fire beneath the water is far hotter than the boiling point of water, but the water in the pot does not become hotter than the boiling point of water. In like manner, until all the sea-ice is melted, temperatures of the water cannot become warmer than the melting point of ice.

…Except in places, along the shores of the Arctic Sea, where all the sea-ice does vanish. Almost immediately the temperatures of the seawater in such places jumps upwards. Micro-climates are created, hinting at factors which might have contributed to the Arctic Sea having a “maritime effect” and making the west coast of Greenland like Ireland.

It wouldn’t take much, to melt all the ice in the Arctic Sea (except perhaps along the north coast of the Canadian Archipelago and Greenland) and to have temperatures of the entire ocean jump upwards dramatically. Alarmists suggest this is an end-of-the-world scenario, but in fact it is greatly to be desired. Even though the Arctic Sea would likely refreeze every winter, for a time in the autumn, before it refroze, it would have a kindly, maritime effect on lands to the south. This made a world of difference (I believe) to the Greenland Vikings, and I base my belief on real-life experience.

Where I live in New Hampshire we are protected from the cruelty of the Arctic by the “maritime influence” of Hudson Bay to the north, and the Great Lakes to our west. Hudson Bay never freezes until December, and until it freezes north winds are never all that bad, but as soon as it freezes north winds become cruel and are dubbed “The Montreal Express.” The Great Lakes seldom completely freeze, and west winds are seldom as cruel, but on the rare years the Great Lakes do freeze solid and even Niagara Falls stops flowing, we are cruelly attacked from both west and north, and sea-ice fills our own harbors and sometimes even extends miles out into our bays.

Considering I can see the effects of Hudson Bay and the Great Lakes, looking out my own back door for the past sixty years, it is easy to extrapolate the same phenomenon to the west coast of Greenland, and to Vikings looking out their own back doors. To such a people, a warmer Arctic Sea to their north would not be what Alarmists dread, a so-called “Death Spiral”, but rather a “Climate Optimum”.

So let us look with kindlier eyes at the amazing meltdown occurring to the north. It may be true Alarmists would use an ice-free Pole to tax the begeezes out of us, while padding their own pockets, but a kindly climate might make it possible for us to pay such exorbitant taxes. We should be rooting for an ice-free Pole (as should those leeches).

How could such a melt be possible? Well, in fact we come quite close every summer. The blazing sun melts roughly 20,000 cubic kilometers every year. Only roughly 5,000 cubic kilometers remain when the refreeze begins.

Pause a moment, and consider the heat required to melt a single cubic kilometer. Imagine a single gigantic icecube, one kilometer by one kilometer by one kilometer, was plopped in your back yard, (preferably with a corner atop the neighbor-you-least-like’s house), and you watched it melt. Do you think even the heat of your summer could melt such a gigantic object away, before winter returned? But the frying heat of the arctic’s summer sun melts 20,000 such cubes every year. In fact, so powerful is the meltdown that most of this melting occurs in only sixty days, as is shown by the yearly “volume” graphs. (The upper line of the graph is 25,000 cubic kilometeres, and the lower line 5000 cubic kilometers.)

Meltdown 1

In a sense this is like a pot on your stove boiling 80% of its water, before you put more water in. The pot never boils dry, and the smoke alarm never goes off, because the pot never exceeds the boiling point of water. But, if the water boils away, the pot abruptly is able to exceed the boiling point of water, and we hear the smoke alarm go off. In like manner, if we could only melt away the dratted remnant of sea-ice, temperatures of the surface of the Arctic Sea could leap upwards, and we could get rich quick by investing in farms on the west coast of Greenland. (Alarmists would try to get rich quick by freaking out, saying the world was ending, and taxing everyone in sight.)

Sadly, there is little sign we can quite make it to the kindly state created by an ice-free Pole. We need warm cycles, but they have gone cold on us. The frenetic sun of the 1950’s has become a “Quiet Sun.” I was especially dismayed to see signs, posted by Joseph D’Aleo at his Weatherbell site, which suggest that both the AMO and PDO may be drifting from their “warm” (and sea-ice melting) phases to their “cold” (and sea-ice increasing) phases.  It is not so much seen in the current sea-surface temperatures, but in the way those temperatures are trending. The changes hint at a cold, backwards letter “C” in the Pacific, and also the Atlantic, and those cold, backwards “C’s” are indicative of a situation which increases sea-ice.

Here are the changes over the past year Joe D’Aleo shows in the Atlantic, with the blue backwards “C” extending from Baffin Bay east to Spain and then south and back west to Cuba):

Meltdown 2

And here are the changes in the Pacific, (with the backwards “C” extending from Bearing Strait east to California and then curving back west past  Hawaii towards Japan:

Meltdown 3

To further bad news, the “extent” of sea-ice has refused to behave like a “Death Spiral”, and actually spent May higher than recent years. Not that current levels matter much, when 80% is going to melt. But sometimes, when dealing with Alarmists, cherry-picking data can be fun.

Rather than decreasing, the month-of-May sea-ice extent is turning upwards. The “trend” from 1979 (a very cold year with lots of sea-ice) may indeed still be down:

Meltdown 4

But when you begin the graph in 1998 it is nearly flat:

Meltdown 5

And when you begin in 2004 the “trend” is actually turning up.

Meltdown 6

All you need to do is compare the NRL “thickness” maps of this date last year to this year to see that rather than being flushed south, much sea-ice was first compressed towards Canada, while later-on sea-ice built up more thickly on the Alaskan and Siberian coasts, and the east side of the Kara Sea, making sea-ice measurably thicker in such places, this year. (This is important for it is just such places which are not of the 80% which melt every year, but are of the 20% where ice lasts, and if sea-ice is increasing in such places, it is hard to see how we can get to an ice-free Pole.) (2020 to left; 2021 to right).

Lastly, to assist the summer meltdown, it would be nice to see warmer temperatures, but instead they are below normal, due to clouds and storms up there. (This would have been a good summer to study “Ralphs”, (anomalous areas of low pressure), but I haven’t had time.) Clouds chill the effect of 24-hour sunshine. The DMI temperatures-above-80-degrees-north graph shows one of the coolest and slowest starts to the melt season on record (going back to 1958). (Blue line is freezing point; green line is the usual summer thaw during the meltdown, and the red line shows our summer has seen a cooler thaw, consistently below normal.)

Meltdown 9

All of this tends to refute the Alarmist “Death-spiral”, (and also to put my plans to farm the west coast of Greenland on hold). However, it also turns my mind to a baffling subject, involving how such swings of climate are physically engineered by nature.

PART 2

Learning about such engineering has importance. It is not merely some esoteric topic for scientific geeks. Why? Because the engineering of swings from “warm” to “cold” AMO and PDO leads to flabbergasting swings in where fishing grounds are located, and in the numbers of fish inhabiting those fishing grounds. Therefore, even if we tilt our noses high and deem fishermen crude and uneducated “bitter clingers”, we are affected by such currents if we ever eat fish. Or use items of leather from tanneries which use fish oil. Or take fish-oil supplements to our diet to avoid heart attacks. Or wear old-fashioned mother-of-pearl buttons on our clothing. Or eat a vegan diet grown in soil utilizing organic fish-meal fertilizer.

The engineering of Atlantic Currents can lead to astounding population-explosions. In the late 1400’s the cod were so thick off Cape Cod that men may have sailed all the way from northern Spain to fish the Grand Banks, and rather than using nets they actually scooped the cod up in big baskets. Now it seems impossible to even “sustain” the population of cod, despite (and perhaps because-of) more than a half century of bureaucratic rules and regulations. Yet a reengineering of currents by Nature can change things in a flash.

I myself have seen a few population explosions, when I’ve lived by the sea, and they always strike me a sort of miracle. For years there are no clams; then suddenly the mud has more holes than Swiss cheese; for years there are no squid; then suddenly squid are a nuisance; for years you have to dig a half hour to find enough sea-worms for bait; then suddenly you get enough with a single scoop of your clam-hoe. For years the voracious “Big Blues” never swim north of Cape Cod into the Gulf of Maine, and then suddenly, at midnight, the roar of panicking Menhaden in the harbor wakes you from sleep. Out of the blue, the sterile seas and seashores produce a bonanza. Understanding the engineering of Atlantic currents might be helpful in preparing for such bonanzas. If you are not ready, the bonanzas can pass in a flash, and you may miss a chance to make a quick fortune.

Funding such research isn’t easy. For this reason the researchers long were the fishermen themselves, and the funding was provided by the fish they caught. Secondary funding might come from bankers who invested in ships, but it was the sailors themselves who had the real knowledge, and they were often illiterate and didn’t mix well in academic circles. They also didn’t always get along well with bureaucrats and tax-collectors, and often felt no shame for ignoring rules and being called “a smuggler”, or even “a pirate” (who would be called “a privateer” if he worked for you and not against you).

One reason the Greenland Vikings stopped sending ships to Europe may well have been they grew fed up with paying taxes to the Pope, King of Norway, and Hanseatic League, and chose to be less than honest when they did sail east to trade with Europe. Also they may have chosen to not-report their other trade with lands to their south. (Unreported income is not merely a modern problem faced by the modern IRS). Government may call a failure-to-report-income unpatriotic, and churches may frown at donating less than a tenth of your income as a tithe, but the Greenlanders were a people who received little for their taxes and tithes. Failures by the people in high places to serve the people they are supposed to serve inevitably has consequences. It tends to result in the underlings forming an “underground” and dealing on black markets. A Bishop of Iceland, writing a history of the northern peoples in 1637, suggested the Vikings of Greenland “turned away from Christianity” in 1342.  In actual fact they may not have turned away from Christ, but rather have turned away from taxes and greed.

It also should also be noted that at the same time, in North America,  unidentified people crossed the boundaries which separated tribes and clans, following long-established “Indian Trails” (which some modern highways follow to this day), and apparently these people were not murdered for trespassing. We know nothing about these nomads, but if the wandering cultures called “Gypsies” and “Tinkers” in Europe could coexist with other, more-settled Europeans, there is no reason to deny the possibility of similar peoples living by their wits, as traders in North America. We only know someone was responsible for copper from Michigan winding up far from Michigan, and seashells from the Gulf of Mexico winding up far from the Gulf of Mexico, and a silver Norse penny from Europe winding up in a heap of clam shells on the coast of Maine. Might not these traders have been Vikings, greatly altered by centuries of divorce from Europe? There is no firm proof, but I see no reason to exclude, from the range of possibilities, the idea a certain percentage of Greenlanders did not emigrate back to Europe willingly (some did) or return to Europe unwillingly as slaves, or die in Greenland, but rather left Greenland to become traders to the south.

Academic types who never leave Ivory Towers may not like the idea of people leaving all behind, for a future with no government pension. They also may not like it that the Vikings sent no reports back to European Universities and left no paper trail to follow. But men who risk the dangers of going to sea cannot be expected to report what they know, when they receive no funding for what they report, and instead are taxed for what they report. Academics should be well aware of this dynamic, for cancel-culture is not an entirely new phenomenon. (Galileo got in trouble for stating Jupiter has moons). We cannot expect even academics to report the truth, if they receive no funding for truth, and instead are taxed by blackballing, if they tell the truth. Instead we should expect universities to produce modern pirates, who turn away from the norm of civil procedure, (in an academic way).

I bring this up to demonstrate one problem we face in understanding the engineering which goes into the shifting of warm and cold currents. Such shifts need to occur to turn a “warm” AMO into a “cold” AMO. Understanding is crucial, but I imagine a problem lies in the way. The problem involves the fact that the people who know the most often do not get the respect they deserve. One good thing I got out of my experiences on the coast of Maine was that I learned to respect the so-called “illiterate.”

I arrived on the coast of Maine in December 1974, and lived on the water until 1982. I was 21 when I arrived, and in many ways naïve, but not so ignorant as other tourists from the south, for I had actually been to sea as a marijuana smuggler and had experienced Atlantic gales in a small craft. But I was fresh from a reformative trip to India, and was starry-eyed with ideas that few fishermen would call pragmatic. Yet, because I couldn’t convince anyone to buy my starry-eyed ideas (which I called “poetry”) I had to be down to earth, working in smelly places like canneries, and wading mud to dig clams. As I eked out a living providing for myself (with a few embarrassing loans from my mother) I hopefully also provided (at the very least) some comic relief for those who worked very hard to earn an everyday living from the ocean, (and who couldn’t get loans from their mother because they were providing for her in her old age).

Quite by accident I learned about sea-ice, because I happened to be in Maine during the cruel winters of 1976-1977, 1977-1978, and 1978-1979. Don’t get me started on my adventures upon sea-ice. In short, with a younger brother, I once walked (under the light of the full moon) from the mouth of the Harraseeket River past Crab Island and over Casco Bay to Harpswell. On another occasion I skated with my sister from the same Harraseeket River along the coast down to the Royal River in Yarmouth. Lastly, one time I saw the Harraseeket harbor flash-freeze and not become the more ordinary white, jumbled sea-ice, but rather black-ice as smooth as any freshwater pond’s, and over that ice drifted powdered salt. So, quite accidentally, I could learn how low temperatures extract salt from salt water, without requiring a penny of funding, or needing to travel to the Arctic Sea. Nor did I require funding to learn from fishermen, nor to see how hard it is to earn a living from the sea, especially when the sea is frozen rock-solid. They were hard men living hard lives, yet had surprisingly soft hearts, and the proof is that they put up with the likes of me. I adored the sea, but was not too smart, and they were swift to tow me out of trouble. Initially I felt I was more literate than they because I had studied Shakespeare, but they soon convinced me I was illiterate when it came to reading the waters.

I became especially aware of this one time when it was impossible to read the waters. The fog was too thick. The fog was so thick that the wealthy friend I was with (I was penniless) couldn’t drive his Jaguar XKE fast enough, and we missed the ferry to Mohegan Island. By ruffling some money my wealthy friend persuaded a lobsterman to take us out there. We heaved our suitcases aboard his old boat, and off we chugged into the pea-soup fog. This was long before GPS was available, and our captain used a compass and a wristwatch. As the minutes passed, I grew increasingly nervous, gazing into a wall of deep gray, until I could hear an unseen buoy ringing off to the left, and felt slightly less lost. All too soon that bell faded astern, and I again felt uncomfortably disconnected from any sense we had any idea where we were. The lobsterman seemed unperturbed, until he looked at his watch, squinted forwards, and then briefly seemed anxious, turning and asking us if we had metal in our suitcases, before looking ahead and relaxing, as looming through the thick fog a massive boulder appeared, with brown, sloshing sea-weed below and white guano up high. We were at the entrance to Mohegan Harbor.

I was impressed. He had made the journey look easy, but I knew I would have had a hard time making such a trip in the still waters of a lake. The coast of Maine has strong and reversing tidal currents. This man never consulted a tide table nor chart. He simply was knowledgeable where I was ignorant. He was literate where I was illiterate.

(This contributed to a schizophrenic side which I fear my generation will be remembered for. On one hand we disrespected our elders while on the other we worshiped them. On one hand we rejected the status quo and called ourselves “progressive”, while on the other we were anti-progress and “back-to-nature”. You can’t have it both ways, but we hadn’t ironed out the discrepancies. Perhaps our hypocrisy was a sort of cataract to our vision which has taken a half century to ripen, and only now is at long last manifesting in the schizophrenia of modern politics,) (which symbolically is a ripened cataract demanding removal.)

In any case, my life blundered into a blessing, in that I learned illiterate fishermen might know more than anyone else about certain nuances concerning North Atlantic currents which effect sea-ice. Not that I ever intended to learn about such things. My major was poetry, with a minors in psychology, history and economics. Vikings and sea-ice and North Atlantic Currents were nothing I tried to learn about, as subjects more serious than a hobby’s.

This brings me to a final autobiographical aside, (on our way to the subject of North Atlantic currents), for there was one time I did actually take a class on something that had nothing to do with Poetry, Vikings, History or Economics.

I had quit a minimum-wage job making big sails for rich men’s sailboats, and then had also given up on avoiding a Real Job altogether by “living off the land” [because man does not live on clams alone] and was humbly working as a clerk in a small, local market.  The owner was alcoholic and had fallen off the wagon and hadn’t shown up for days, so I was basically running the joint, wondering if I’d ever be paid. Just then a person walked in and asked permission to put up a small poster. It advertised a class the government was funding. Reading the poster, I surmised the government was using our tax dollars to hire a student from a university to come and tell the public to stop being so damn stupid. The course had a name like, “The ecology of shoreline ecosystems, and why coastal development is inadvisable”.

Everyone already knew it was unwise to build on shifting sand. Jesus had said as much 2000 years earlier. But if some hurricane came and swept all the houses away, it would be good for the construction industry, for they would have to build new houses back on the sand. Why? Because people loved to live by the sea, and to wake with the sound of surf and seagulls coming through an open window along with salty scents. The economy of Maine depended upon this irrational love.  (Personally, I was a hypocrite. I preferred beaches without houses but also knew the mosquitoes could be murder when I camped there. It was far more comfortable when a wealthy friend invited a penniless bum like myself to their cottage, and I slept in a room with a real bed, with open windows with real screens, although I might not have a Real Job.

I may have intuitively known beforehand that the class was a perfect recipe for disaster: “Let’s have a college intellectual come and tell people on the coast of Maine that they know nothing about the sea.” However, intuition may remain subconscious, and I only consciously noticed the class was free. I decided to attend.

At that time I firmly held some erroneous beliefs; for example: That the United States would run out of oil by 1990. I was appalled by the general public’s refusal to panic. Couldn’t they see that we’d be back to horse-drawn carriages by the year 2000? The public was blissfully ignorant and needed to be taught. Therefore, I was on the side of the teacher as I entered the class, and hung on his every word, vigorously nodding as he made his points. And I actually did learn interesting things about the formation of sand-dunes and off-shore sandbars, and how it was unwise to build on sand or to try to prevent sand from washing away from beaches. However, what I remember most vividly was something I did not expect to learn.

Attending the class was a person I deemed an old, grizzled fisherman. (Actually, he was far younger than I now am, but his hair was starting to gray at his temples, which made him “old”, back when I was 22.) He was polite and eager to learn, but for some reason he irked the young teacher. I think the teacher intuitively knew the fisherman held more knowledge about the ocean in his little finger than the teacher had gleaned from four years of indoor classrooms and labs, (with a few jaunts to the sea to “gather data.”) The fisherman had been on the water since boyhood, beginning on his Dad’s boat, and every question he asked was permeated with knowledge. Quite accidentally and innocently he made the young teacher look less knowledgeable than the young man desired to look, and I think it may have punctured the teacher’s young ego. Rather than humble, the young teacher became scornful, and behaved as if what the fisherman asked about was mere superstitious poppycock. Something about the young man’s snooty attitude chilled the atmosphere of the classroom; people were too polite to say anything, back in those days, but the teacher won no respect. The more he attempted to belittle the fisherman the more he belittled himself.

The fisherman came across as affable and nearly incapable of taking offence. Looking back with the wisdom of age, I think the man may have been slyer than he looked, and was seeking to pluck the young teacher’s brains, but he did so in an unassuming way, and laughed when the teacher attempted to shrink him with withering irony. Yet the fisherman persisted with his friendly questions, and constantly seemed to derail the subject from what the teacher wanted to focus on to what he himself was interested in learning.

Judging from my notes on now-yellowing-paper, the young teacher felt that what men should do, if they appreciated beaches, was to move fifty miles inland. If we liked beaches, we should never set foot on them. He cared more for the habitat of plovers than the Maine Tourism Industry. He cared more for the roots of dune-grasses than the bare feet of romping children. He was scornful of any attempts by engineers to control dunes and sandbars with seawalls, groins and breakwaters, and his mantra was, “Erosion is not a problem, but a process”. Nature should be left alone, to do her stuff. Nothing men did was any good.

You have to admit this is depressing news for a people who have lived for centuries interacting with the capricious sea. But despite the shortcoming such an anti-mankind attitude suggests, the young teacher taught a lot, about how nature works. Everyone in the class learned a lot about how amazing grasses grow tough roots that hold dunes in place better than manmade chicken wire and snow-fences, and how the combers of winter storms build offshore sandbars that protect beaches for free, more effectively (in most locales) than expensive breakwaters, and how these impressive offshore bars are naturally reduced by the lapping of gentle summer waves, and how sand is naturally moved back inshore to widen summer beaches. There was nothing depressing about such knowledge. What was depressing was the idea mankind cannot interact with the beauty of nature, and the young teacher seemed prone towards just such a defeatist belief.

The fisherman in the class was a perfect foil. He already knew offshore bars get bigger after autumnal gales pound the dunes, for it was everyday knowledge to him. It was one of those things we so take-for-granted that we don’t bother think about them, like the fact the sun rises after dawn, or the fact trees grow leaves when winter ends. He was already acquainted with what the teacher was teaching the rest of us about, and the subject bored him, so he asked questions which derailed the class.

Oddly, the fisherman wasn’t so much interested in what he didn’t know, but in gizmos and gadgets that could help him more clearly see what he already knew. For example, where his grandfather had sailed without even a barometer or wristwatch, his father had learned such gadgets could be helpful. In like manner, the fisherman in our class assumed the college-educated must be aware of newer gadgets. He wanted to learn what gadgets our young teacher utilized, to see if he could afford having such a gadget aboard his boat. He was not a backwards fisherman and was very interested in modernizing. For example, the price of sonar had dropped to a level where he could afford a depth finder, quite primitive by 2021 standards but state-of-the-art for 1975, but he wanted to know more about sonar; he thought he had noticed that besides seeing the bottom he once dimly glimpsed a thick school of herring; could sonar be converted into a fish-finder? Of course, this was not the direction the teacher wanted the class to proceed in; the teacher wanted to talk about the habitat of endangered plovers.

The fisherman thought forward into the world of gizmos and gadgets. But my mind was reeling backwards to the time of the Vikings.

I’ve explained how amazed I was by the ability of fishermen and lobstermen to find their way through pea-soup fog with only a compass and wristwatch, but as the fisherman chattered away I abruptly understood his grandfather didn’t even have the wristwatch, and Vikings didn’t even have the compass. What in the world did they do in a fog? Travel in circles until they bumped into something? Their only depth-finder was a hunk of lead attached to a long rope they hurled ahead of the boat to see how deep it sank, and their only gauge of direction in a fog was the direction the wind blew from; what did they do when the wind shifted?

If the teacher found the fisherman a distraction, he likely found me more so, for Vikings have little to do with the subject of endangered plovers. To be honest, I found it fairly difficult to twist the conversation in the direction I desired, especially as the fisherman wanted to wrench the same conversation in the direction of gizmos and gadgets. But somehow, to the dismay of the teacher, I did manage to bring into the discussion of coastal sandbars and dunes, and about the plovers who skitter midst sandbars and dunes, the totally off-topic topic of the Tarrantine.

The Tarrantine’s were a coastal Maine clan of the Micmac tribe who developed and then jealously guarded a monopoly of trade with the French in the late 1500’s. They had firearms (“thunder sticks”) before other tribes. They also gained great power because the pandemic of 1617 (which William Snow estimated reduced the Abenaki of New Hampshire from a population of 10,000 to 250) did not affect them severely at all. They abruptly greatly outnumbered their foes and became very powerful.  But why did the pandemic spare them? Why should they have an immunity to European diseases others lacked? Perhaps they were, at least in part, European descendants of Vikings?  (The Puritans of that time called the Tarrantine, “Red Vikings”).

Another odd attribute which the Tarrentine displayed manifested in what they coveted. What did they want to obtain from the French? Where other tribes coveted copper kettles and iron axes (and, later, “thunder sticks”), the Tarrentine desired sailing ships. This always struck me as odd. While the coastal Indians of New England did hunt whales, they apparently used enormous dugout canoes made of the trunks of tall white pines. How would natives even know how to handle the ropes and rigging of a sailing ship? Yet old French records show the Tarranteen did purchase (with furs) at least one sailing craft. (The Tarrentine themselves kept no records we can find, and their power faded as the 1600’s passed).

Besides showing what a pain I can be at a cocktail party, this demonstrates what a pain I can be if you are a teacher who wants to alert the public to the dangers faced by plovers skittering between sand dunes and beaches. (But the fisherman was interested.) Meanwhile the fisherman was asking the teacher whether he had viewed the coast from above.

The tool the fisherman used, back then, to view the sea from above was free and highly useful. He used seagulls. The way gulls were acting three miles away, or the direction they were flying overhead, could alter the course of the fisherman’s boat. But seagulls didn’t fly where he wanted. The gadget he wanted was a fish-finding drone, but this was long before drones were invented. Therefore, he pestered the teacher for information about research done from airplanes, and about the new Satellites that NASA was launching. As he asked, he talked about what he called “big whorls”. He claimed that, if you fished far from land, you might come across warm “big whorls” and cold “big whorls”, and the fishing was best (as I recall) on the boundaries of the “big whorls”.

Around this time the teacher was looking like he was ready to start ripping out his hair. He had managed a painful smile at me as I yammered about the Tarrentine, but the digression into “big whorls” was apparently the straw that broke the camel’s back, and he snapped a dismissive comment that placed “big whorls” on a level with Bigfoot and the Lock Ness Monster. The fisherman’s smile vanished, and he looked very hurt. The class became quiet, and cold, and we meekly discussed plovers. However, I never forgot the information about “big whorls”, partly because I didn’t have time to forget. It was only a year or two later that NASA released the first, marvelous infrared pictures of the Gulf Stream, revealing it was not straight, but undulated into oxbows and, yes, into “big whorls”. This highlighted the incident between the teacher and the fisherman, and made it stand out in my memory.

In some ways the incident was a sort of seed crystal for further thought, and, in other ways, marks the start of my conversion from a liberal to a conservative. I saw how blind the teacher was. Here he had an opportunity, in the form of the fisherman, to learn about “big whorls”, and to be ahead-of-the-curve and smarter than his peers, but he missed his chance. I wondered if he ever remembered the fisherman, years later, perhaps while he sat in an armchair and looked at an infrared picture of the Gulf Stream in a National Geographic. (I know I sure did. As I looked at the amazing picture, I think I murmured, “big whorls”, out loud).

The incident seems a perfect example of how our bias can blind us. We become too caught-up in a certain agenda involving plovers and dune grass and groins, and miss seeing truths, which patiently await the scales to fall from our eyes. Truth is not discovered; it is there all along.

The dynamics which switch the AMO from its “warm” to its “cold” phase are currently just sitting there, waiting for us to see what is glaring at us in the face. At times I feel a frustration that I may not live long enough to see the revelation occur. But maybe I’m too greedy. I did live through the awakening caused by the “Geophysical Year” in 1959, when “continental drift” abruptly made sense to geologists. (Not that some hadn’t ventured the idea earlier, but they were scorned.) How obvious continental drift seems to us today! But what a revelation the “discovery” was, as it happened! If I got to see that enlightenment, perhaps I should not be greedy for more. But I am. Truth is wonderful, and there’s always room for more.

At this point we should turn to North Atlantic Currents, and the truth we know so far. I will provide you with my layman’s view. Forgive my simplicity, and simply see this as a Sunday Newspaper’s puzzle. As I bring up what we don’t understand, see it as a crossword puzzle. It is good fun to try to figure out the answers. But most crossword puzzles only go up and down and side to side. This one, from the start, is three dimensional, and may become more complex than that, although at that point I usually find an excuse to bail from wherever it is my mind is leading me. Truth can fry your brains, it is so wonderful, and a layman like myself needs to know his limits, and when to back off.

In any case let us begin with the simple fact warm water rises and cold water sinks. Water at the equator wants to rise while water at the Pole wants to sink. Water at the equator can only rise so far before it reaches the surface, and water at the Pole can only sink so far before it hits the bottom. Water cannot compress, so such water needs a place to go. The warm water heads north to replace the sinking water, as to the north the cold-water heads south to replace the rising water. This makes a nice circle. Ah! If only things were so simple!

A problem occurs because our planet is spinning, which creates a dratted inconvenience called “The Coriolis Effect”. Rather than heading due north things get curved west, and rather than heading south things get curved east. Bother. Our neat circle is ruined. Rather than heading to the Pole the warm water curves west and slams into North America, and down deep water that should head south is curved east towards North Africa. Yet it is fortunate continents get in the way, for otherwise the circulation would never get to the Pole, and we would resemble Jupiter, striped east to west. But, because continents get in the way, the curved currents forget the “Coriolis Effect” and recall their true destination, and rush north as the amazing Gulf Stream. (A similar thing may occur with cold water in the deeps of the sea by North Africa, be we lack research. Send money.)

It would make matters simple if the Gulf Stream was polite, and headed to the Pole as a unified stream, and promptly sank to join waters heading back to the equator. But no. The stream breaks into all sorts of tributaries and tendrils. Towards the Pole, where the Coriolis Effect fades, currents are freer to wander wherever they wish. In some ways they misbehave, because they hideously complicate the nice, neat circle.

In some cases currents are so rude as to continue north while diving slightly below the surface. If water was polite, warm water would stay at the surface until it was time to plunge to the bottom and reverse course back to the equator. But impolite, slightly-submerged currents slide north like a card sliding into a deck of cards, not at the top and not at the bottom.

This rude behavior is due the fact water does not only rise because it is warm and sink because it is cold. Water also rises because it is fresh and sinks because it is salty. Big Problem. Tropical water is basically salty, because evaporation removes lots of water and leaves salt behind, and polar water is basically fresh (or fresher), for (even during the sixty day meltdown of summer) the pole’s evaporation cannot match the equator’s. In fact, if you only thought in terms of the salinity of water, the Pole should send less-salty water south at the surface as the equator sent more-salty water north down deep. But temperature largely trumps salinity, most of the time. However, I confess it is around this point I tend to bail from discussions; they are too complex and annoying to be fun, and fun is what I expect from my hobby.

Oddly I find that, once I recover from my annoyance, I am drawn back to the very complexity which annoyed and repelled me. Perhaps this is due to another thing I expect from a hobby: A sense of wonderment. Therefore, once I get over the blow to my ego which seeing I-can’t-fathom-something delivers, I return to what-I-can’t-fathom, because it tends to be awesome. (Sailors don’t mind being out over their heads.)

Allow me to share some complexities which seem very awesome to me, from my layman’ perspective.

First, as the equator makes water more salty through the process of evaporation, the pole makes water more salty through the process of freezing. There is something about ice which does not love salt, and salt tends to be exuded from saltwater as it freezes. Very roughly speaking, a small amount of salt is exuded upwards and blows around as dust above the ice, a small amount remains in the ice, (which made arctic explorers avoid melting “baby ice” for drinking water, and seek “multi-year-ice”), but most salt remains attached to water, becoming brine which does not freeze even as the rest of the water freezes, and instead drills down through the ice, creating channels of trickling water. This briny water is far colder than the freezing point of fresh water and even of salty ocean water. In fact, there is splendid video from Antarctica of such trickles forming “brinecicles” as the very cold trickles of brine bore through the sea-ice and reach the ordinary seawater beneath. In the video the brinecicles, hollow tubes of trickling supercooled brine, extend to the bottom in a shallow area and freeze starfish in their tracks. But the point is that, in the arctic, the entire time sea-ice is forming and thickening, (which is most of the year), it is exuding supercooled brine which is very dense, compared to water which is both warmer and less salty. The sea-ice is literally raining supercooled brine. Likely this rain loses saltiness and gains heat, as it descends through warmer and less salty water, (and likely makes those waters colder and saltier), but its descent represents a sizable subtraction of water from the surface, and requires other water to replace it, which explains warmer waters coming north. Yet, and here’s the wonder, this process comes to a screeching halt during the summer meltdown, which leads us to our second wonder.

During the summer absolutely no brine is produced by freezing seawater. Instead 80% of the ice is melted, and, because that ice exuded most of its salt as it froze, sea-ice melt-water is fresher than the water it sits upon, and once melted it continues to float above the water it formerly sat upon as ice, but now as a so-called “freshwater lens” (though it does contain some salt and should be called  a “brackish-water lens.”) What does this suggest? It suggests, to my foolish layman’s intellect, that, without brine descending, there is no longer a reason for cold water to descend, and for cold water to exit the Pole down deep. This takes away the reason for warm currents to enter, at the surface. Currents should screech to a halt. We should see a yearly sixty-day “pause”. Do we? Nope.

This brings me to a third wonder, which occurs during the sixty-day meltdown. This involves the fact the sea level at the Pole stays roughly the same, because withdrawals from the deep sea are matched by deposits at the surface. These deposits don’t only include oceanic currents entering the arctic, but all other contributions. For example, precipitation. But the arctic is basically a desert and summer rains are scant. The real non-oceanic contributors are rivers, and rivers are amazing in the north.

Consider an arctic river, and wonder. During half of the year the landscape is frozen, and the only water entering rivers come from artesian springs. Therefore, rivers barely trickle. Meanwhile, in the landscapes they flow through, the snows get deeper and deeper. By April you have half a year’s precipitation as a sort of backlog, waiting for warm weather before it can flow to the sea. And then the meltdown occurs. Every bit of that backlog melts and rushes in rivers towards the Arctic (except for the Volga’s).

The arctic freshets are hard for southerners to comprehend. Only 1% of the Lena’s yearly flow reaches the sea in January, but in June the river rises sixty feet. And this colossal flow of fresh water pours out onto the Arctic Sea, and contributes to the “Freshwater Lens.” So…does the sea-level of the Arctic Sea rise a couple inches? No. Obviously the water must leave somewhere. But where? The currents entering the arctic should reverse for sixty days, but they don’t. So I become very annoyed and stomp off flinging my hands into the air in despair. Then I get over it. I come back and face the wonder.

My best guess, as an ignorant layman, is that the waters continue to leave the arctic down deep, despite the fact no cold brine is added to it’s supply from above. It is pushed out through the lone exit, (deep channels in Fram Strait), by a sort of CPR enacted by arctic rivers. The floods of arctic rivers adds to the weight of the “Freshwater Lens,” which pushes down and causes cold water to continuing exiting via Fram Strait’s deep channel.

You want proof? Don’t come to me. I confessed from the start I’m a layman. I create my theories out of whole cloth fully aware they may be shot down in flames by keener minds. In fact I appreciate being shot down in flames for it shows me where I’m mistaken, and makes me smarter. And this seems to be part of having an active mind stay healthy.

An aid once described Winston Churchhill’s very active mind in this way: “Winnie had a hundred ideas a day, and three were good ones.” In other words, Churchhill had 97 ideas a day be shot down in flames. But he didn’t sulk about it. He rushed on seeking an idea that worked.

This is science as I most enjoy it. It is people bouncing ideas about in a friendly manner, utterly unafraid of being wrong or even of looking stupid. If you look stupid you just laugh about it; you say, “How stupid of me! I should have thought of that: thank you for pointing that out.” This happy atmosphere is possible because you know you are among friends. It is joy to be midst such thinkers, and it is utterly and completely different from the atmosphere created by “cancel culture.”  It is as different as love is from hate.

I want to move on to a fourth wonder. But I feel dragged into a final digression, before I describe a layman’s fourth wonder. The digression involves a situation like the one I described between the fisherman and the young teacher. It involves a situation which developed years ago between Dr. William Gray (the wise fisherman) and Vice President Al Gore (the young teacher.)

Dr. William Gray preferred to be called just “Bill”.  He was superior to a layman like me. Just as I was illiterate among lobstermen, when it came reading seas in a thick fog, I’d surely be illiterate compared to Bill, when it came to his understanding of North Atlantic currents. Just as lobstermen spend their entire lives on seas I was merely an avid visitor to, Bill had spent his entire adulthood among meteorology and climatology I was merely an avid visitor to.

It seems to me that the better scientists like Bill are not so focused on what they already know, but on what they don’t know.  There is something humble about this attitude, and Bill seemed to epitomize such an awed curiosity.

In my layman’s manner I have hopefully transmitted to you a rough idea how complex the engineering of arctic currents is. There seem to be more questions than answers, and one wonders where we should begin, if we want to increase our understanding. Bill had a better idea than I of what needed to be researched first. He had a grasp I lack, and, if he didn’t actually coin the words “thermohaline circulation”, he certainly did a lot to bring it to others attention. But back when he researched the government didn’t just print money when it was needed, and Bill had to spend his funds wisely.

Back in those days you couldn’t spend extra money without cutting your budget elsewhere, and Bill lived through an agonizing time when, to fund the newfangled Doppler Radar, the government stopped funding hundreds of people who had faithfully taken weather observations at sites all over the nation. In some ways cutting their funding was a mistake, but at the time it was felt Doppler Radar could replace such invaluable observers. But that was what life was like, back when the government was slightly sane and didn’t print money flippantly (so they could spend the money like water, bribing fools). Bill had to be careful to spend on only the research that would produce invaluable knowledge. He had such a deep overview of multitudinous aspects of currents in both the atmosphere and oceans that he was just the person you wanted, who could ask the right questions and focus funding on what we needed to learn next.

At this point there entered a politician named Al Gore, whom I initially liked. He was young and clean-cut and projected a fresh and idealistic vision. He was against pollution and for the environment, which I felt was important. Also, his marriage was a sort of fairy tale love-story, which made him superior to me. (I won’t digress into the deplorable state of my own love life, at that time.) But at some point I feel Al took a wrong turn. At some point “image” trumped “actuality”. He assumed an image, and stood as an authority on the environment, yet his stance lacked the necessary humbleness of confessing you don’t know, and instead Al pretended he did know, and even that the science was “settled science”, which science never is, (and which the science of arctic currents most especially isn’t).

I had great expectations of Al, and personally felt sad, watching him change in a way I unsympathetically called “decay”. He seemed to become lost in the “image” a politician feels it is important to project, and to feel the “image” was more than a mirage, and even to assume he was smarter than he was. In terms of science, he was too busy with politics to really get down to the nitty-gritty of nuts-and-bolts research. He was, like me, an interested layman. When he found time, he likely was, like me, an avid reader. But he should not have tried to project the “image” of a full-time researcher. (True researchers are too busy researching to waste time running for office.) Yet in the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” Al projected the image of being an authority: A researcher and professor and even a prophet. Then much in that movie was shot down in flames. (A British judge mentioned “The Nine Errors”).

In the Bible it mentions that when a prophet is incorrect, he is a “false prophet”, and what the Law stated you must do is take the false prophet to the edge of town and stone him to death. This seemed a bit extreme to me. We’d soon run out of weathermen if we stoned them to death for incorrect forecasts. But then, I suppose most weathermen don’t claim to be prophets. They tend to be like Bill Gray, and more focused on what they don’t know than what they know. They don’t claim to be 100% correct or that the science they know is “settled science”.

To me, being incorrect is no big deal. I am used to being shot down in flames, and if only 96 out of every 100 ideas I have are shot down in flames, I like to point out I’m doing better than Winston Churchill did. But Al Gore did not like being shot down one bit. Not even once. He was very unlike Winston Churchill.

Al had political clout, and I don’t. When I see how Al responded to pricks to his ego, I’m glad I don’t have political clout. If I had clout I might have embarrassed myself, in the manner I was embarrassed, witnessing Al’s behavior over the following two decades.

None of us like seeing our ideas have flaws. We love the golden sensation of having a lightbulb go off in our heads, and it is a downer to see the bulb burn out, (which is another way of saying “go down in flames”). But this is just part of the process; life is full of ups and downs. We are spiritually wisest to just go with the flow, and not get too hung up on staying “up” and never being “down.” We can’t forever be “up” on earth. Sometimes our desks get messy in the fury of our inspiration, to a degree where sometimes we can’t get work done unless we stop and clean up our desk. Personally, I dislike cleaning my desk, but I recognize it is a “down” which is part of the process, wherein, once I clean my desk, I’ll get to mess it up again.

When Al’s ideas had flaws, I am not all that sure he was even able to see the flaws. He seemed to take a different view than I take, concerning what an idea is. He seemed unable to see that, in a healthy discussion, all are friends, working together to see the same Indivisible Truth. Instead, he saw you as an enemy. He had an agenda, a political policy, which would brook no amendments. If you were not for him, you were against him.

We are supposed to love our enemies, and part of the reason for this digression is an attempt to see what in the world got into Al. Why should he be the first to enact what we now call “cancel culture”, and make a foe out of a friendly fellow like me? (Or like Bill Gray?) I had nothing against him and examined his ideas respectfully. When I saw mistakes, I did my best to point them out in a civil manner. Why was Al so uncivil in reply?

It seemed to me, a mere layman, that even if Al honestly believed the world was about to end due to Global Warming, he should have been hugely relieved to hear evidence the world was not going to end. But he did not behave relieved. What was his problem? Because I am an amateur psychologist, (among other things), Al becomes a most fascinating study.

Sometimes what we possess becomes a power that possesses. We don’t possess possessions; they possess us; they turn us into slaves. I imagine the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” allowed Al to possess fame and awards and piles of money. Then certain ideas in the movie were shot down in flames. To me this would be just the evolution of my idea, but to Al it apparently was a threat to fame and awards and piles of money, and even to political power. So perhaps he over-reacted.

Early on in this process Al wanted to hold a “summit” of VIS (very important scientists) to address what Al saw as the VII (very important issue) of “Global Warming”, and he invited Dr. William Gray. Bill sent a friendly and polite note thanking Al for the invitation, and stating he would be glad to attend, but also stating that, in all honesty, man to man, he saw no evidence Global Warming was as severe a threat as Al stated it was.

Al took offence, and after the meeting he used his political clout. Abruptly Bill Gray got no funding for research into thermohaline circulation. Nor did Al relent. Bill got no research funding for the rest of his life. Bill couldn’t be fired, as his brilliance was too obvious, but Bill was told, “Stick to hurricanes, Bill,” as if that was the only subject Bill had any expertise in. In fact it was Bill’s all-encompassing overview which enabled him to surprise people by doing what was deemed impossible.

Sidenote: In the 1950’s hurricanes were only given women’s names because (supposedly like women) they were mysterious….and unpredictable. Then Bill predicted them. So then hurricanes were allowed to have male names. Why? Are men so predictable? (The demons of cancel-culture will need to work on this [and likely name hurricanes for things too absurd to think about.])

But Bill could care less what a hurricane was named. What he cared about was the big picture. His skill involving hurricanes was not his focus but more like a sideline. He was the sort of adviser Al should have wanted at his side, but for some weird reason Al felt it was wise to defund him, and to marginalize him, and to ostracize.

I fail to see any good came of Al’s action. The irony is that Al, who liked to think he preserved the environment, poisoned the environment of scientific thought. The happy and healthy environment where men are free to compare thoughts among friends was polluted by a political policy which didn’t allow certain thoughts and even didn’t allow certain people. Your funding, your job, your seniority, your ability to publish, all were in a sense determined by whether or not you kowtowed to Al. It was cancel-culture in its infancy.

This power might have puffed Al’s ego, but did it do any good? It did not defend Al’s movie, for with each passing year the prophesies in the movie look more and more incorrect. The polar bear population increased, which make the tear-jerking part of Al’s movie look asinine. As do other events, such as the failure of rising seas to swamp south sea islands. The movie does not improve like wine with time, but instead looks stupider and stupider.

So what good did Al achieve by marginalizing those who pointed out his errors, and by promoting those sycophants who told him his errors weren’t errors? It only delayed the inevitable. Even if Al had absolute control over people, it wouldn’t improve his movie. It isn’t people, but is time itself, that shoots Al down in flames. No person need be involved. Truth keeps its power, even if not a mortal on earth has the guts to stand up for it.

So what good did Al’s cruel defunding of Bill achieve? What good is it that we know so much less about thermohaline circulation than we would have known, had Al been curious? What did we gain by defunding Bill? I see no gain.

Al might think he preserved his own status, and his dignity, but increasingly it seems the opposite is true. Rather than furthering truth he opposed truth. There is no dignity in that. In fact Al, like me, seems to have often been stupid, but I doubt he will delight me by being human, and saying, “How stupid of me! I should have seen that! Thank you for pointing that out.” Instead I fear he will be possessed by his possessions, and cling to them until he must let go of them, as he does what we all must do, and dies.

And then? Well, I doubt Al thinks much about, “and then?” One perk of Atheism is that one can avoid a side of Truth which states every action has a reaction, and our lives have consequences.

I bring this digression up to demonstrate cancel-culture is not a new thing, appearing out of the blue. It is an old, bad habit, and Dr. William Gray experienced it, as did Galileo.

I also bring this digression up because cancel-culture has become THE issue, more important than sea-ice. My digression is not actually a digression, but rather is facing-facts-that-demand-attention.

Not that I really want to study the psychology of politicians like Al Gore.  I want to escape reality, and dream at clouds the way I once did out the window during Algebra Class. Sea-ice is pristine, and beautiful, and sea-ice behaves as it behaves obeying laws which don’t give a —- about politics in “The Swamp”, or about who gets “funding.”

To be blunt and perhaps unsympathetic, all “The Swamp’s” claptrap reminds me of a group of teenybopper girls in my long-ago Algebra Class. They too were uninterested in Algebra, but rather than clouds out the window they cared about who was “in” and who was “out”.  I was definitely “out”, but I didn’t care what they thought, because clouds out the window were better looking than those gossiping wenches, (with the possible exception of one wench who looked at me like I might not be definitely “out.”) But even those immature females never stood between immature me and the window to beauty. They were never as in-my-face as cancel-culture is. Cancel-culture is like an Algebra teacher clashing shut the blinds, to deny me a view of clouds, and taping teenyboppers mouths shut, to halt their gossip, and then demanding all focus on the equation on the blackboard, which states X + 1 = 2, (and then bloviating that X must equal something other than 1).

And I end this digression with a simple statement. Cancel-culture is wrong. (Could go on, but it is best to keep conclusions short and sweet.) So, what is right?

What is right is to discuss science in the manner I already described, where we are friends among friends, awed about the majesty of stuff beyond our ken. We need not pretend we are on top of stuff we do not fathom. We don’t. We don’t fathom the weather, nor control the weather, nor fathom viruses, nor control viruses. But we are free to seek to increase our understanding of such subjects. And understanding grows best in an environment fertilized by kindness and friendliness. Such beautiful growth is stunted and clipped by cancel-culture. We need to quit the crap.

PART 3

Now that I have dealt with the gigantic social crisis facing our nation, I can return to the far more pleasant and fascinating subject of arctic currents. This involves the “thermohaline circulation” which Dr. William Gray deeply wanted to study, and which Al Gore zealously prevented from being studied.

At this point I get to bring up my fourth wonder, which was a hole that first faintly appeared in the sea-ice at the end of March, long before the meltdown began. In my last post I wondered what could melt such a hole, and cause such a hole to persist despite the shifting of the sea-ice. And I dared venture an idea, which I could venture despite seeing many reasons to shoot it down in flames.

Why shoot it down? Because I wasn’t entirely sure “the hole” was truly there. It only appeared in NRL (Naval Research Laboratory) “thickness” maps. How those maps are created is outside my layman’s paygrade. But I did attempt, as daylight returned to the Pole, to use satellite imagery to verify the “hole” was there. Oddly, that part of the Arctic Sea seemed to attract storms which stalled on or close to the “hole”, and it was very hard to see through the constant clouds. But the few dim glimpses I got showed no “hole”. So perhaps the NRL maps are experiencing some glitch, and there is no “hole”.

However, because I am free of cancel-culture, I am allowed to wonder. I am allowed to admit the Navy may have access to data, perhaps from submarines, which shows ice is greatly thinned in places, but not utterly removed, so satellites cannot see “the hole”. And that leads me to the next wondering, which is about what could thin the ice in such a manner. And this lead to a subject near and dear to the boy in me. And what is near and dear to the boy in me? Big Bangs: Explosions and catastrophes, earthquakes and avalanches, and other unsettling stuff which cause all sorts of problems to “settled science.” One such event is volcanoes.

Volcanoes cause all sorts of problems to our attempts to understand the subtle engineering of the ebb and flow and give and take of other meteorological balances. As we carefully measure iotas, volcanoes fart hugely.  They are impolite and ruin our attempts at careful measurement. As we attempt to be discreet, they belch. Just when we think we might have the AMO and PDO predictable, a single volcano vomits ash into the stratosphere, and our predictions go haywire.

This seems a good time to fling my hands into the air and walk off exasperated, but I am again drawn back to the wonder, by the sheer spectacle of crimson lava shooting a thousand feet into the arctic sky. And this drags me back to dots that are difficult to connect.

It is difficult to connect anything as violent as a volcanic eruption with anything so gentle as sunbeam, and I long held that attempting to connect volcanoes with sunshine was absurd. But there does seem to be a mysterious correlation between the sun going “quiet” and volcanoes becoming “noisy”. It doesn’t make a lick of sense to a layman like me. How can a sunbeam quench a volcano? How can a lack of a sunbeam allow volcanoes to shatter the skies? I have no idea, so don’t ask me. But it seemingly happens. More research is needed. Send money.

The last major “quiet” of the sun was called the “Dalton Minimum”, and at first not much that was volcanic happened. But, after a decade, volcanoes began popping. Evidence exists of, among many other eruptions, two enormous explosions, in 1810 and 1815. They are the two biggest explosions in a millennium, only five years apart. We find proof of these eruptions in ash that we can note in cores taken from the icecaps of both Greenland and Antarctica. But here is the weird part. We know the 1815 eruption was at Tambora in Indonesia, which cost thousands of lives immediately, and millions if you include the derangement of the climate and horrible pandemics of cholera (caused by fouled drinking water) which followed. But the 1815 eruption was only an addition to the effects caused by the 1810 eruption. And where did the 1810 eruption, which left ash at both poles, occur? We don’t know. I’d say we haven’t a clue, but surely there are clues. We’re just too blind to see them.

In like manner we are too blind to see how a lack of sunbeams might cause super-volcanoes to explode.  Sunbeams are gentle, and volcanoes are not. (As a poet, I might suggest that when people fail to be gentle and pamper me, I tend to explode, but that is not scientific.) In the end we are left with a vague and unverified suggestion that, ten to twenty years into a solar minimum, volcanoes go haywire. And we are now ten to twenty years into our current “Quiet Sun”. Are volcanoes going haywire?

Not in an explosive, sooty manner. (Yet). But volcanoes can go berserk, and not produce ash that can be measured at both Poles. Volcanoes can, with hardly noticeable earthquakes, fountain lava 1500 feet into the air. We have recently seen that in both Hawaii and Iceland.

But also volcanos pour out lava in the depths of the sea, where nobody sees. Roughly 80% of the volcanoes on earth are underwater, yet are blissfully disregarded by the very people who are deeply worried by the flatulence of cows. But I don’t disregard, and do allow myself to wonder.

Allow me to wonder a bit about the amazing geology of continental drift. Data gathered during the “Geophysical Year” of 1959, (when scientists were allowed to be scientists) produced data which determined North America was drifting away from Europe and Africa at a measurable rate. With GPS we can actually measure it, down to the milometer, on a daily basis. But back then it was a flabbergasting concept. Continents can move? They bob around like corks? You must be trying to pull the wool over my eyes! No? You are serious? Gosh! This is incredible.

If North America was heading west as Europe and Africa headed east, there must be a crack between them. And sure enough, the data gathered in 1959 showed a rupture in the Atlantic seafloor, oozing lava, called the Mid Atlantic Ridge. The rock at the ridge was brand new, but as you moved east and west it got older and older, which was taken as a verification that the seafloor was spreading.

As a layman, I tend to think vast amounts of deep-sea oozing lava should be included in models that attempt to predict how Atlantic currents wander. But I don’t think such we understand such oozing well enough.  Send money.

This north-to-south crack in the Atlantic produces excessive lava in “hotspots” which cause so much lava to pour out that it causes the sea-bottom to rise above the surface, creating Iceland and the Azores. (I theorize that these “hotspots” are located where they are because Europe sinks to the north under glaciers during ice ages, and then sinks to the south during climate optimums. The Azores and Iceland are at pivot points. But this idea of mine may well be an idea much like 97 of Churchill’s 100 ideas).

In any case, for a long time this stuff was happening down where we couldn’t see, but finally some scientist persuaded somebody with money we should go take a look, and gizmos and gadgets were devised to descend to depths with crushing pressure. Amazing wonders were seen.

No actual volcanoes were watched, but the sheer heat of the crack produced “smokers” which gushed hot water rich with nutrients, and rather than killing everything in sight the “smokers” fed a sort of oasis, rich with clams, seaworms and crustaceans. It was an ecosystem far from the light of the sun, independent of what was happening miles above, and heedless of what academics formerly stated was possible.

One thing I found fascinating (because of course I found viewing videos from miles down in the sea to be a splendid way to avoid cleaning my desk, buried in miles of paper), was how the smokers produced CO2, and how they handled the CO2.

At the pressure of the surface CO2 only exists as a solid (dry ice) which sublimates immediately to its gaseous form, but CO2 exists as liquid under pressure, for example inside our fire extinguishers. And over a mile down pressures are so great that CO2 exists as a liquid. There are actual videos of little trickles of CO2 oozing away from the “smokers”, heading downhill as other nutrients rush upwards. What a springboard for thought! For example, If we are so worried about CO2, why not plunge it to the depths of the sea, where it liquifies and sinks?) (The answer to this question involves a post of its own, so please don’t go there,) (unless in friendship and joy.)

But the robots crawling a mile down never seemed to view lava. And that was what I wanted. I wanted the bombast, the sensationalism, the calamity, the collapse of twin towers, the train plunging off the exploding “Bridge Over The River Kwai”, the ruin and destruction that schoolboys relish, and which volcanoes epitomize.

Sadly, I learned through a bit of layman research that experts had concluded deep-sea-volcanoes were not explosive. Experts stated that pressures were so great miles down that gases remained liquefied, and couldn’t create the necessary pressure for explosions. Rather, the experts stated, the lava only oozed, creating “shield volcanoes” with shallow slopes, which might eventually rise several miles above the ocean, as in the case of Hawaii, but could never explode like Krakatoa. I bowed to their authority, conceding lava could only ooze, but still, even if volcanoes only oozed, I yearned to see the oozing lava.

It irked me that the deep-sea robots saw no lava. After all, if the crack between continents was just a crack, we would speak of the Mid Atlantic Dent. It is called the Mid Atlantic Ridge because colossal amounts of lava are oozed and make the sea-bottom much higher than the abysmal depths to the east and west. Yet the robots never focused on lava. The focus was on “smokers”, which were mere hot springs. In a sense it was like focusing on Old Faithful and ignoring the enormous caldera of the super volcano that formed Yellowstone. But I supposed it was the fascinating deep-sea ecosystems that generated the grant money. In some ways all the fuss over clams, seaworms and crustaceans reminded me of the young teacher focused on plovers, ignoring the fisherman’s information about “big whorls”.

Then in 1999 a swarm of earthquakes was noted in a northern extension of the Mid Atlantic Ridge. The swarms were so far north they weren’t in the Atlantic, but up in the Arctic. The quakes occurred on the Gakkel Ridge, which is a sort of continuation of the Mid Atlantic Ridge which extends north of Iceland until it fades northeast of Severnya Zenyla, (though traces continue on to the Siberian coast). This swarm of anomalies was associated with other aberrations from the norm, such as increase of dissolved methane and even helium in the general area, and scientists were exited and hungered to take a look. Finally, in 2007, some persuasive scientist managed to convince someone with money to send a robot down under the sea-ice to the location of the 1999 earthquake swarm.

What they discovered was theoretically impossible. Volcanoes had exploded more than two miles down, where they are not allowed to explode. These outlaw volcanoes made actual craters, and covered areas miles away with shards of volcanic glass. As is the case with good scientists, the fact the old theory was proven wrong didn’t make everyone sulk, but instead true scientists became happily excited, as they attempted to figure out how the heck the impossible happened.

I assume that, although extreme pressure can turn gas to liquid, extreme heat can vaporize such pressurized liquid. In any case, the scientists determined some rough calculations about how high the heat must have been, how such heat would affect certain gasses, how high the explosion’s plume must have gone for the glass shards to fall so far from the crater, but then a wet blanket fell on the research. I think I know why.

I don’t know if Al Gore was involved, but to me it seems that any talk of extreme heat at the bottom of the Arctic Sea would lead thinking minds to wonder if that heat went upwards and had any effect on the thickness of the sea-ice above. This might cause problems. Why? Well, if the thinning of sea-ice above had any connection or correlation to swarms of earthquakes beneath, then the political narrative, and Al Gore’s movie, might go  down in flames. Why? Because they had stated the thinning of such sea-ice was entirely due to CO2. And, if you go back and read the papers and articles written in 2007, it is a bit embarrassing to see how the writers walk on eggs, seeking to assure readers the undersea explosions did not “cause” Global Warming but would “worsen” Global Warming. The written evidence of fearfulness is circumstantial,  but creates the impression writers did not want to rock the boat (or boatloads) of their funding.

For Alarmists 2007 was a wonderful year, for a great deal of sea-ice was flushed south through Fram Strait and sea-ice “extent” hit a modern-day record low; (IE: Since satellite views made regular viewing possible from above, in 1979). To Alarmists this seemed a proof Global Warming was real, and that the arctic would soon be ice-free. We were supposedly witnessing a so-called “Death Spiral”, and once the arctic became ice-free all hell would break lose. This was their story, and they were sticking to it.

Well, it is now 2021, and the arctic is not ice-free. In fact, judging from the increase in thick sea-ice along the Siberian coast since last year, by next September we likely will see an increase in sea-ice since 2007. Once again, even if every scientist is made spineless by the blustering threats of cancel-culture politicians, Truth, in the form of time, has spoken. Yet sadly we once again have seen the wet blanket of discouragement slow and stifle research. There has been little study of heat from volcanoes on the floor of the Arctic Sea, since 2007.

I have attempted to show my layman’s idea of the engineering of arctic currents by creating a theoretically elegant concept where waters are warmed and arise at the Equator and are chilled and sink at the Pole. But volcanoes utterly screw my theory up. Why? Because if an undersea volcano vomits a vast lake of lava, guess what? The seawater next to that lava is no longer cold. Warm, sea-bottom water destroys my nice, neat theory where waters sink at the Pole, for warm water rises.

The lava pouring out, at rates which can involve millions of gallons an hour, is at a temperature of around 1500 degrees, and it meets saline deep-sea water close to 32 degrees. What a clash! What then happens?

Judging from lava flows from Hawaii entering the Pacific, very little comes of the 1500 degree difference between lava and water. The lava forms a slight crust, but keeps advancing, as the seawater boils at the very interface between water and lava, but such bubbles of boiling almost immediately vanish, as they arise into waters below the boiling point. On the Hawaiian coast some steam (and pulverized glass) does rise from the lava flow entering the water but is not enough to greatly change the climate. On Hawaii the 1500-degree difference is actually a ho hum affair, merely new land arising above the Pacific. However such clashes may not be such a ho hum affair, when the 1500 degree difference occurs at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean, along the Gakkel Ridge.

Why? Because our nice, neat theory has cold water descending at the Pole, and now we abruptly have a 1500 degree frying pan right where waters are supposed to sink. At the deep interface of 1500 degree lava and water with a boiling point of 212 (F), the water can never pass the boiling point of water, but it can reach 211 degrees. Whoopsie daisy! I forgot to include 211 degree water at the sea-floor, when I concluded I had things figured out, with waters rising at the equator and sinking at the Pole. Instead we have a plume of warm water rising, and even thinning the sea-ice as it reaches the surface, possibly creating the “hole”.

When you glance back to the Alarmist reaction to the 2007 “discovery” of craters on the arctic seafloor (I put “discovery” in quotes because the British, Russian and American submarine captains likely knew they were there) it seems evident Alarmists did what they do. What do they do? Alarmists become alarmed. And they instinctually created a counter-theory, not as an friendly idea which might be shot down in flames by friendly flak, but as a wet blanket to smother further inquiry. It was much like the dismissal of medieval warmth in Greenland as a “local effect”, only this time it was the dismissal of rising warmth in the Arctic Sea as an impossibility due to a “lid”. It was proposed that the stratification of waters in the Arctic Sea created a barrier like the tropopause, and that warm waters rising above volcanoes would hit an impenetrable wall and develop flattened tops like thunderstorms, too far down to melt sea-ice. Further discussion seemingly was discouraged. That was their story and they were sticking to it. If ice thinned over a swarm of earthquakes, or a “hole” appeared, curiosity was discouraged. “Nothing to see here, people; move right along.”

If the current “hole” eventually reduces the extent of sea-ice next September, Alarmists will give the credit to CO2. There will be no mention of an undersea volcano stimulated by a quiet sun, or, for that matter, of 96 other possibilities.  Alarmists seem so involved with protecting the precious egos involved in their biases and vanities that they miss happy discussions, and amazing wonders.

I don’t like to miss wonders. I pity Alarmists, for they are too busy defending where they once were, and they fail to go forward to where they could be. They sit in their cabins, insisting their Titanic is unsinkable, as I head for the lifeboats. Like Churchill I confess most of my ideas will be shot down in flames, or sink like the unsinkable Titanic. One such idea apparently is that waters always sink in the arctic.

I cannot express what a mess it makes of my layman preconceptions to surmise that the “hole” in the NRL thickness-maps is caused by a plume of warmer water rising from an undersea lava flow (perhaps provoked by the quiet sun.) It makes me look stupid. It makes me look wrong. But I’m used to that and am more interested in corrections.

Simply wonder for a bit. Simply think about how the North Atlantic currents would be deranged if, rather than sinking, currents arose at the Pole. It is a matter of engineering. It should be possible for us to figure it out, if we are sensible engineers. It requires a little tweaking of our concepts. And, because Alarmists seem to be very good at making adjustments to the temperature records, perhaps they can someday make adjustments to their computer models.

As a simple layman, one thing I would expect, if currents arose rather than descended at the Pole, would be that there would be less of a reason for currents to flow north.  After all, currents theoretically flow north to replace the water that sinks. If water does not sink, and instead arises, southern waters should lose their reason to flow north. So, has this happened?

Well, it may just be a coincidence, but one northern tendril of the Gulf Stream took a holiday, just as the “Hole” appeared. It is the tendril which bounces off Norway and swings up into the arctic around the west side of Svalbard.  Usually it can be depended upon to melt amazing amounts of sea-ice. (I have seen satellite views show this current melt away impressive amounts of thick sea-ice shoved south by north winds, in only three days.) But this year that current got weak and allowed sea ice to come south and crunch against the north coast of Svalbard. Why?

It cannot be a sign of Global Warming for sea-ice to crunch so far south. Even back in 1596, Willem Barentsz, (who Barents Sea is named after) found it easy to sail a wooden Dutch sailboat, utterly lacking the ironclad exteriors of modern icebreakers, right around the northwest corner of Svalbard, to discover Raudfjorden on the north coast on June 20. This June 20 sea-ice crunched against the same coast. How can we fret about Global Warming when waters which were ice-free in 1596 are now clotted with ice?

But that is a reply for Alarmists, and has little to do with the reality of what actually is occurring in the Arctic. It Is my reply to Al Gore, and not to Bill Gray, or any other honest scientist.

I wish I knew more honest scientists, for they get excited when you bring up an exception-to-the-rule. Al Gore would defund you, if you disobeyed his rule, and cancel culture will attempt to destroy you, if you don’t conform, but honest scientists delight when you discover a nonconformity.

Therefore I dare bring up the nonconformity of the “hole” in the arctic. It should not exist, and breaks rules to even appear, and has the further audacity to, even when fresh sea ice attempts to side over it and erace it, burn right through that new ice and persist as a “hole”, in the NRL maps.

The best way to view the lifetime of this “hole” is now the 365-day-animation of the NRL “thickness” maps at their site (and indeed this is the best way of seeing how mobile the sea-ice is, and also of comparing how thin the sea-ice was along the Siberian coast 365 days ago to how much thicker it is this summer.) But I will conclude with a few close-ups.

Here is the “hole” first faintly appearing on March 31. Of course, I didn’t notice it.

NRL 331

Here is the “hole” becoming slightly more apparent on April 6, though I still  hadn’t noticed it

NRL 406

Around April 18 it became vivid enough for me to notice, in the upper left quadrant.

NRL 418

By April 28  the “hole” definitely had my attention, partly because other examples I’ve noticed seldom lasted so long, yet this one was expanding. Also,  though the flow was towards Svalbard, to the far right (notice how the polinya by Svalbard in the first map has become filled in, and in places the ice is piling up), the “hole” has cut through the ice to the left.

NRL 428

By May 10 I was getting very interested.  As a storm reversed the flow of sea-ice back to the left, the brightest (thinnest) part of the hole shifted to the right side.

NRL 510

By May 31 the “hole” had melted an irregular shape, as the sea-ice shifted downwards. (Notice the polynya forming towards the top, on the shores of Severnya  Zemlya). But it seemed the upwelling was peaking. There was no bright center to the “hole”. I noted the thinning of sea-ice towards Franz Josef Land, and wondered if the entire surface towards Kara Sea had been warmed; the thinning seemed more abrupt than usual, but perhaps it can be explained by storms pushing the ice up against the Franz Josef Land coast.  I simply noticed the thinning seemed extreme to me, so early in the meltdown.

NRL 531

By June 14 the “hole” had drifted into the upper right quadrant, but still seemed to melt ice on the upstream side to some degree. I wondered if the plume of warmed water could tilt, like smoke from a chimney in a wind.

NRL 614

Here is the “hole” starting to fade on June 29 . (After all, no eruption is forever).

NRL 629 IMG_2996

And here are the fading remnants of the “hole” as I now write, on July 12.

NRL 712 IMG_2997

Now I simply ask happy and genuine scientists to think about this “hole”, and to come up with 100 brilliant ideas, and to laugh as 97 are shot down in flames. Let’s have some fun. Where cancel-culture forbids thought, let’s be thoughtful. Rather than mindless lets be mindful, for the best way to cancel cancel-culture is to cancel cancelling.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Volcano Under The Ice?–

One thing I’ve learned, as I have attempted to fact-check Alarmist’s sensationalist claims over the past decade, is that sea-ice exists in a sort of teetering balance between a single power that chills, and a multitude of powers that warm.

The single cooling power is the loss of heat to outer space, which continues at a quite regular rate 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Although clouds, and sea-ice itself, form insulation slowing the escape of heat at the surface and from waters beneath the ice, the hungry maw of outer space is constant in its demands. It is the loss of heat to outer space that creates the sea-ice.

Countering this chilling are warm forces constantly attempting to melt the sea-ice. These forces include many that operate even in the dead of winter, including warm air masses, warm currents, the temperature of the Arctic Sea itself, and rising warm plumes of water over undersea volcanoes. But the force that gathers the most attention is sunshine, which only operates six months a year.

The theory called the “Death Spiral” worries that, once the sea-ice is melted, the darker water will be able to absorb more sunlight than the white sea-ice, due to “albedo”, and this will cause the water to warm, and warm water will melt more sea-ice, and this will become a vicious cycle until there is no sea-ice at all, which will cause dramatic, disastrous warming over the rest of the planet.

This worry is needless for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most obvious is that the Arctic Sea has been ice-free in the past, perhaps as recently as the Medieval Warm Period, (and perhaps, on the Atlantic side, as recently as 1817), and there was no vicious cycle seen. If it didn’t happen then why should it happen now? Other reasons the worry is needless are less obvious, but have been fascinating to study.

The first is that when the sun first rises at the Pole the snow is at its most pristine and Albedo is at its highest. Also the ice is chilled to as much as forty below, at the surface, and even when the surface is warmed the chill lingers down deeper in the ice. The sea-ice is so cold salt can’t melt it, and a surprising amount of salt-dust is mixed in with the snow in places. Then, as the sea-ice is warmed from both above and below, the salt starts to melt the sea-ice, which actually is a process which uses up available heat. (Think of an old fashioned crank-operated ice-cream-maker.) All in all there is so much resisting the warming that it often isn’t until the days are already starting to grow shorter that slush starts to form on the surface, and melt-water pools appear

Melt ponds in the Beaufort 14 July 2016 NASA sm

Because these pools are darker, at first they indeed have a lower albedo and absorb more sunlight, however as August proceeds they start to skim over with ice, because the sun is dipping towards the horizon, and, once the angle of the sun gets low, water (especially when it is glassy) reflects sunlight (think of the late-day glare which requires sunglasses). Water then has an albedo as high as sea-ice, especially dirty sea-ice. Therefore the sea-ice melt seen in September is largely caused by the warmer water under the sea-ice, and not the sunshine above. Lastly, because the open water largely appears when the sun has ceased to penetrate the water, the sunshine cannot be heating the water and cannot contribute to a “Death Spiral”.

A second fascinating thing to study is the drift of the sea-ice. It turns out the amount of sea-ice at the Pole can be decreased not by heat, but by simply exporting large amounts to warmer waters (which happened to such an sensational degree in the spring of 1817 that there was open water north of Svalbard and Greenland, yet icebergs grounding on the coast of Ireland.)

A third study is the wandering currents which feed warmer water into the arctic. These currents apparently vary in their temperature, depth and location, having something to do with a cycle of roughly sixty years called the AMO. (Atlantic Multidecadal Cycle). In the past fishermen have noted some dramatic shifts in the location of fishing grounds, and there are incidental reports in historical records of notable changes in water temperatures, and how much ice is along coastlines, and how far glaciers extend into the sea. While these historical reports are dismissed by some scientists as anecdotal and too scattered to be useful, scientists themselves only have scattered data back sixty years ago, when the AMO was last doing what it now (perhaps) is going to do again. But a “Cycle” is very different from a “Death Spiral”, and currently there is more evidence the arctic follows cycles than evidence it is headed down a one-way street to disaster.

A fourth effect has been studied even less than the AMO, and is the occurrence of under-sea volcanos. This has grabbed my attention now due to the appearance of a mysterious hole in the sea-ice, seen in the NRL maps starting roughly at the end of March, but only sizable and clear over the past thirty days. It is located roughly at 85 degrees north and 110 degrees east.

I have only seen this sort of event once before, roughly seven years ago, at roughly the same location. Back then a reader asked me what it was, and I had no answer. They suggested it might be caused by a plume of warm water rising from a volcano, but that particular event was so brief I could only shrug it off and say “perhaps”, but confess I had never read of such a thing. But this one has been longer lasting. It appeared to be associated with no above-freezing temperatures nor with a lead or pressure ridge in the sea-ice, and also to move in a very odd manner. For example, when the sea-ice drifted to the right it would drift more slowly and even seem to stand still, and when the sea-ice swung around and drifted the opposite way it would remain in the same place. Lastly it has persisted despite constantly sub-freezing temperatures, and even to be enlarging. To me this seems consistent with a plume of milder water rising and persistently melting the sea-ice from the bottom.

Now seems a good time for the Navy to plan some sort of long distance training flight, and also to drop some sort of buoy or sensor into that water. If I was a sea-ice scientist I’d be hectoring and wheedling for such an expenditure. I imagine such events (if it is truly such an event) are not that common.

It is also interesting to think about the effects of such an upwelling. Likely it would derange the system of currents at that location, at various depths beneath the sea-ice, and trouble the stratification of water with upwelling turbulence. This in turn would have an effect “downstream” in the temperature and even location of the currents involved, which in turn could effect other currents.

We have heard much talk about “tipping points”, and how bovine flatulence and curly lightbulbs are things the fate of our planet hinges upon. However here we may be seeing a far more meaningful event, which could have repercussions like dominoes, and lead to interesting changes. Likely it has happened before, but by studying what happens this time we may be able to to look backwards and say, “Ah ha! So that is why that happened!”

In any case, it gave me something to get excited about during a basically dull time at the Pole. There has been a “Ralph” sitting over the Pole, but it was weak and the air has basically stagnated up there, without any roaring gales. There has been a slow but steady flow of sea-ice south through Fram Strait, but the current sluggishness of systems has revealed something that isn’t always apparent: Despite 24-hour sunshine, the arctic is still losing heat to outer space, and still creating cold air. Otherwise the DMI temperatures-north-of-80-degrees-lattitude graph could never show a downturn like this:

This downturn demonstrates that the Pole’s temperature is an equation, basically a fixed amount of heat being lost, and a varying amount of heat being added. To be a bit overly simplistic, in the dead of winter 100 units are lost and 70 added, which gives you a temperature of 30 below. Now, with more sunshine and warmer landscapes to the south, 100 units are lost and 90 are added, which gives you a temperature of 10 below. It is a bit of a misnomer to state the arctic is warming, for in fact it is still losing. It just isn’t losing as much.

In fact sea ice is still forming at the Pole. The “extent” graph only starts its yearly crash because large areas of sea-ice in more southerly climes, such as the Sea of Okhotsk, melt away. This year we are a hair behind last year’s rate of decrease (not that it means much this early):

Despite the loss of all the ice to the south, the “volume” graph shows the loss is countered by an increase in sea-ice to the north, and the total volume never starts to drop until around about this time every May.

This graph demonstrates that, despite a possible volcano melting the underside of the sea-ice at one locale, we have more ice up there than last year.

I hope to post again soon, with some maps of the weather events up there, now that my taxes are done. (The dull period may be ending, as a bit of a Barents Sea Blaster may be brewing). But I figured I’d whip off this post to alert people to the possibility of an undersea volcano up there.

Stay tuned.