ARCTIC SEA ICE –A Changing Pattern–(Updated Sunday Night)

The DMI maps are available again at long last, and seem to indicate the low pressure over the Pole is filling in, and the cold is starting to rebuild.                          DMI3 0122 mslp_latest.big DMI3 0122 temp_latest.bigDMI3 0122B mslp_latest.bigDMI3 0122B temp_latest.big

Deep low pressure continues to stall between Iceland and Greenland, creating a southerly flow up through the North Atlantic, but the associated fronts and lows aren’t making the same progress past Fram Strait towards the Pole. The UK Met maps show the current storm weakening as it crawls from Denmark Strait up to Fram Strait, as a new Gale replaces it by midday Sunday down in Denmark Strait. Note all the fronts occlude and tangle to the north, failing to progress north. (Click maps to clarify and enlarge.)

UK Met 20160122 31143270 UK Met 20160122 2 day for 31146915

The Atlantic flow is expected to slowly collapse south and east, until it pours across Northern Europe.  (Jospeph D’Aleo has an excellent post about this shift at the Weatherbell Professional Site.) This will squeeze the cold currently over Europe back down over poor, snowbound Turkey (and any Syrian refugees) and then down to the Middle East, as western Europe gets a break from its current cold, and even may get some rain, but eastern Europe and Russia gets yet more snow. This developing spear of milder temperatures shows up especially clearly in Dr. Ryan Maue’s Canadian JEM model map for temperatures next Monday.DMI3 0122B cmc_t2m_asia_11It is not particularly “warming” to increase the Siberian snow-pack, which has been generating a copious supply of cold air this year. It’s to be hoped that the spear of mildness is bent southeast down to Mongolia, which has been suffering bitter cold, as the cold generated over Siberia’s snows escaped south towards China. The excellent researcher and contributor the Ice Age Now site,  Argiris Diamantis, found this press release about Mongolia’s plight, (which I haven’t seen mentioned in the mainstream media):

 Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support Mongolian herders facing severe winter. Published: 19 January 2016
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released 158,000 Swiss francs (157,686 US dollars) from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to assist 1,500 herder families (7,500 people) in Mongolia who are at risk of losing all their livestock to extreme sub-zero temperatures and heavy snowfall.
Based on the latest assessment report released by the Mongolian Government in early January 2016, 50 soums (districts) in 16 aimags (provinces) are currently categorized as being affected by dzud (the Mongolian term for severe winter conditions), while 120 soums in 20 provinces are facing a winter situation that is very close to dzud.
Snowfall and snowstorms are expected to continue unabated in the coming weeks with average temperatures of below -25 degrees Celsius during the day and around -40 degrees at night. This will potentially affect more than 965,000 people, especially vulnerable herders. The herders, most of whom are now facing difficult weather conditions and shortage of hay and fodder, are expected to start losing their livestock in the coming weeks. In order to obtain cash to buy food, hay and other necessities many herders have started selling their animals before they perish in the severe weather. However, the oversupply of livestock resulted in very low market prices, forcing herders to sell at abnormally unfavourable prices. This situation will have the worst consequences for vulnerable families with smaller herds.

(From )

(This sad situation introduced me to a new word, “dzud”, which is a Mongolian word for the mass death of livestock.)

Besides the cold air escaping south, it is pouring east into the Pacific, giving Korea its bitterest cold of this winter, and speeding the freeze of Pacific coastal waters to the northeast, the Sea of Japan and especially the Sea of Obhotsk further north. These waters, outside the Arctic Ocean, have had below-normal-sea-ice so far this winter, and are one reason the ice extent graphs show “less than normal” ice. (Map from Wikipedia)240px-Sea_of_Okhotsk_mapWhile ice in these waters likely has a part to play in the intricate engineering of the PDO, it is likely wrong to put too much weight to the up-ticks in the extent graphs any increase here might create, (especially as ice on Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay were not included in “sea-ice extent graphs” last winter.) Also, in terms of the reflected sunlight and “albedo” equations that mean so much to some Alarmist theories, the amount of snow over Siberia (and Canada) should be factored in, as it far exceeds this possible increase of ice, but the albedo of snow-pack often isn’t included.

The thing I’m noticing more and more is how Siberia generates cold air masses, and what a huge factor this is all over Eurasia, and even across the Pole in Canada. Siberia is a gigantic region, and even the snow currently blocking the mountain passes in the North African nation of Tunisia can be traced back to the Steppes.

In any case, to return from Africa to the subject of the Arctic Ocean, some of the Siberian cold seems to be pouring north, and I am going to be keenly watching to see if the temperatures up at the Pole take a dive, after being relatively high during the time Atlantic air was flowing up that way. (The DMI has finally posted a new graph, for the mean temperatures north of 80 degrees latitude.)DMI3 0122 meanT_2016While temperatures have been as much as ten degrees above normal at the Pole, it should be noted this is no heatwave, and represents a mean temperature of -20C, at the “mildest”. This is “below zero”, for people like me who use Fahrenheit, and quite obviously no melting has been going on during this “heat wave”, (except for a brief thaw on the Atlantic side, that lasted only a matter of hours.)

I will also be keenly watching to see if a rebuilding of cold at the Pole is accompanied by a break from the cold, a so-called “January Thaw”,  further south. As it is, when milder temperatures push north colder temperatures seem to be pushed south, and, even as I write, a nor’easter is blowing up on the eastern coast of the USA, creating quite a hubbub, as the snows are falling further south than they did last winter, and Washington D.C. is getting clouted.

In a sense it seems to me almost as if the Arctic is breathing. It breathed cold out, and had to breathe warmth north to replace that cold, (or perhaps vice-versa). Now it is breathing the other way. The cold is refilling the Arctic Sea, but likely will be again exhaled, leading to the next outbreak of winter storms.

Spring seems a long way away, but we are currently at the depth of the cold, the bottom of the bottom. The coldest surface temperatures are usually around January 20, down where I live in New Hampshire, and the coldest temperatures aloft occur around February 1. I even saw a true sign of spring today, which was the first advertisement by “Quark Expeditions”, for people like me who would like to travel up to the Russian Barneo Base, a yearly airbase (and military exercise) that exists for roughly 45 days on the sea-ice at the North Pole. (Unfortunately I lack the $15,000.00 needed for a ticket, but surely some good reader will fund my research). (I want to meet and interview the fellows putting up next year’s North Pole Camera.)

The sea-ice will keep expanding at the edges for another month, and in some areas the ice keeps growing thicker right into the spring, so there is still much to watch. Besides watching to see if there is late growth in below-normal Pacific areas such as the Sea of Okhotsk and Bering Sea, it will be interesting to watch the below-normal parts of Barents Sea on the Atlantic side, especially around Svalbard.Concentration 20160120 arcticicennowcastOf course a lot concerning the ice is very difficult to gauge. Is the ice tortured by storms, and crammed into pressure ridges? Is it thinner, due to greater snows acting as a muffler? The Navy’s thickness map attempts to measure this, but has some shortcomings.Thickness 20160121 arcticictnowcastOne thing I’ve noticed about the thickness map is that it can’t really tell you whether or where the ice will or won’t melt in the summer, as that is partly caused by where the ice moves, and also is dependent on the temperature of the water moving in, under the ice. Water temperatures are important, and it is great fun trying to figure out what the oceans are up to.

One of the most important factors in the flow of the currents involves the antics of the AMO and PDO, so I try to watch what they are up to

The AMO is still staying up in its “warm” phase (whereas last year it was taking a dive, in January). AMO January amo_short

The Pacific, on the other hand, seems likely to become colder, with the El Nino starting to fade, the so-called “Warm Blob” looking less robust, and the PDO starting down.PDO January pdo_short

One thing becoming apparent to me, as I try to fathom something as huge as even one of the oceans, is that the sloshes represented by the AMO and PDO are brought about by some mighty big butts in the bathtubs. Things such as the magnificent moods of the Sun, and the bigger volcano eruptions, can take a nice predictable cycle and knock it all out of whack. As I look back in time I can see all sorts of evidence of a sixty-year-cycle, but also times when a world shaking event, such as the eruption of Tamboro in 1815, threw some cannonballs into the bathtubs, and added sloshes to the sloshes. Considering some of the ocean’s up-wellings contain waters that are over a thousand years old, I wonder if some events occurring now had origins in calamities that occurred to Earth a thousand years ago. My sense of wonder grows and grows, the more I study.

One small comment at the end of a recent post by Joseph D’Aleo really got me thinking. He mentions, in an off-hand manner, “In upcoming winters as the sun goes into its deep slumber including geomagnetic activity which has a cycle that trails the sunspot/flux cycle, expect more persistent cold and the return of record snows further west as the AC/NAC become very negative. High latitude volcanoes seem to get more active in these periods and they help enhance blocking in winter and the cold.” (My bold).

I found this statement a bit disconcerting, because it exposed my own dismissal of the idea the Quiet Sun could have any effect on things such as earthquakes and volcanoes. I just took a practical view that sunshine might effect the temperature of the air and the surface waters of the sea, but sunshine couldn’t cause the continental plates to shift or volcanoes to explode. Sunshine just plain didn’t seem strong enough.

However I dismissed this idea without bothering to investigate the idea or look at data. Considering I’ve spent (and perhaps wasted) ten years investigating whether trace amounts of a trace gas could have earth-shaking consequences, including boiling oceans and the extinction of the human race, it doesn’t seem fair that I dismissed another idea off hand. But I confess: I did exactly that.

My study of the trace gas CO2 has taught me an amazing amount, and I am far more aware of its effects than I formerly was. Formerly I was only aware of CO2 when tried to see how far I could swim under water, and the CO2 levels in my blood told me it was time to come up for O2. Now I know all sorts of fascinating trivia. For example the CO2 levels in my garden spike during the night, when no photosynthesis is occurring, while a lot of fungus is contributing to a lot of CO2-producing rot. Therefore most of the plants in my garden rejoice at dawn, for the CO2 levels are at their peak, and they do most of their growing just after dawn, when the air is rich with CO2. Within a couple hours the CO2 levels plummet to levels so low plants can barely grow, due to the frenzied phtosynthysis of daybreak.

Now I ask you, isn’t that some interesting trivia?

However, in terms of sea-ice, try as I would, I could find no great effect from CO2 levels. Nor was there much effect from even sunshine, though it was obvious sunshine twenty-four hours a day did have a greater thawing effect than CO2.  Yet most of the effects on the amounts of sea-ice were caused by winds, and by currents of water under the ice.

Winds and currents can at least be attributed to the levels of sunshine reaching the earth, and I struggled to see CO2 might be the fausett turning on and turning off those levels of sunshine, but in the end it was too great a stretch to look at CO2, and not look at the sun itself, as the determiner of the levels of sunshine.

However it is one thing to see the sun as influencing winds and currents, and quiet another to see the sun as influencing earthquakes and volcanoes. Therefore I found Joseph D’Aleo’s comment  unnerving, because if anyone has sifted through the available data, it is he. Maybe he couched his language and used the word “seem”, when he said “High latitude volcanoes seem to get more active”, but when he stops to look at something, it gives me pause.

It was especially disturbing because of another thing I’ve been dismissing. That is the idea that undersea vents may contribute to the melt of sea-ice. I’ve seen creatures by those deep sea vents living quite happily in spitting distance from water so hot it only was kept from exploding into steam by enormous pressures, and if heat couldn’t even cross that short distance, I didn’t see how it could get to the surface.

But wouldn’t you just know it? The very day I read Joseph D’Aleo’s remark I came across this map:

Vent melts sea ice fig1_arctic

It was an illustration for this post:  .

I began to think: If the Quiet Sun could increase high latitude volcano eruptions, could it not increase high latitude undersea eruptions?  And could that not increase the melting of ice from below, even as the Quiet Sun made things colder and increased the ice from the top? And what sort of butt would this stick into the sloshing bathtubs of the PDO and AMO?

What a hideous complication!  But what a wonder to wonder about! (Don’t get me wrong; I am far from arriving at a firm conclusion, but I sure am wondering).

It makes me feel so sorry for the Alarmists who are so insistent upon CO2 being the one and only reason, for absolutely everything, that they never open their minds to the possibility of anything else. What a narrowness they live in. It must be like living in a crack.


I should likely note that the Camera Fabootoo is still producing pictures of darkness, and that the co-located Buoy 2015D is reporting another slight thaw, with temperatures of +0.16°, as pressures have plunged to 983.07 mb. Likely the winds are roaring. We are at 72.31° N, 17.03° W, which means we have moved 244.22 miles south-southwest since December 30. We are now closer to Denmark Strait than Fram Strait, and nearly as far south as the small, isolated  Norwegan Island of Jan Mayen, to the east.

The DMI maps show a weakening low crawling up the east coast of Greenland. The cold is building in the Arctic Sea, but an interesting tendril of milder air is extending up over the Pole from Svalbard, causing a noodle of low pressure north of Greenland.

SUNDAY NIGHT UPDATE –Cold To Be Dislodged From Pole Again?–

Today’s DMI Maps continue to show the cold building up over the Arctic Sea.

However it appears this cold will be pushed off the Pole by new invasions of both Atlantic and Pacific air. Look at the Canadian Jem Model’s solution of what the temperatures will look like on Tuesday, up there. You can see the intense cold in East Siberia, and cross-polar flow to Canada getting squeezed by tendrils of milder air from both Oceans.DMI3 0124B cmc_t2m_arctic_9While looking at a NASA video of the blizzard that hit Washington DC my eyes were drawn, (because I’m a true sea-ice fanatic) to the upper right, to watch what was occurring in the North Atlantic. You can see a couple of very impressive surges heading straight for the East Coast of Greenland.

It looks to me as if it will stay “warm” over the Pole, with a meridenal pattern locked in. If it keeps up, it will be interesting to see what the long-term effect on the sea-ice is. I’ll make no predictions.

The effect on the media is more predictable, for those eager to find “evidence” of a melting arctic are bound to notice if it stays above normal in the Arctic Ocean. They will be all the more delighted if there is any sort of dip in the amount of sea-ice, which is something I myself would not be terribly surprised to see. But I will be considering whether it indicates things other than a “melting arctic”.

For one thing, having so much heat rushing to the Pole seems like it might be in response to the El Nino releasing heat and moisture. To have it rushing to the Pole is like warmth from your living-room rushing up your chimney.  It is a waste of home heating, with “home” being planet Earth. It would be far more efficient if the “damper was shut”, and a zonal pattern kept the winds circling around and around the Pole, with the cold locked up in the north, and the warmth hoarded further south.

Another thing to consider, and watch for, is the consequence of warm air rushing up to the Pole, which tends to be the cold getting dislodged and snows getting deep in places where it usually doesn’t, such as Washington DC and Turkey. Even though snows in southern latitudes tend to melt swiftly, and be gone by the end of February, they cannot have a “warming” effect while they last, especially when you consider the “albedo” of freshly fallen snow is huge. In terms of the “energy budget” (that Alarmists like to pretend we understand, and I don’t),  snow over areas that do get sunshine is bound to reflect more sunshine than a lack of sea-ice over areas that are under 24-hour-a-day darkness is liable to fail-to-reflect.

Once the sun starts coming north all these calculations will get more interesting, for then there is at least a chance of open waters absorbing some sunshine. However that won’t be until March.

Everything is likely to change very much by summer, because the El Nino is expected to fade fairly rapidly. Even if you include “lag time”, the very thing that may be fueling the current situation may vanish by next autumn, when a La Nina may be setting in. Just around the time I get things figured out, they are likely to completely change. To use the analogy I used above, a La Nina is like a cannonball plopping in the bathtub. I guess you can see why I am reluctant to venture a prediction.

I prefer to simply watch and wonder, so that is precisely what I intend to do.


We seem to be switching back to the former pattern, so I figure this post about the “new pattern” is already obsolete, and it is time to start another post. For the record I will state that we have seen a break in the flow of arctic air, during the brief time it has been held up at the Pole, but I suspect the new post will watch the arctic wolves again starting south.




The UAH Satellite data is out for March, and show a slight drop in World temperatures.


This small drop of a mere .04° Celsius might not seem like a cause for concern, however it may be hinting at a greater cooling, for there is every reason for the average temperature to be rising, now.

In my opinion this has very little to do with CO2 and “Global Warming”, although people who are rooting for evidence that their (seemingly political) theory is correct might be alarmed because by now the planet’s temperature was suppose to have risen a full degree, not the mere quarter degree which one can barely see on a porch thermometer.

The reasons for temperatures to be rising are threefold. The first was evident in the “blood moon” seen during Saturday morning’s lunar eclipse.

LUNAR ECLIPSE 635636896674534237-blood-moon-Steve-Bartlett

(Photo credit Steve Bartlett)

When the moon is this reddish hue during a lunar eclipse it indicates the earth has a clean atmosphere. When volcanoes have erupted a lot of ash into the atmosphere the moon is a sickly grey hue.  Indeed, it has been quite a while since a major volcano erupted ash.

VOCANIC ASH Screen_shot_2015_01_11_at_9_31_28_AM

(Credit Joseph D’Aleo’s blog at Weatherbell)

The general view is that ash in the atmosphere has a cooling effect, and conversely, a lack of ash should allow warming.

Another cause for warming are the sea surface temperatures, which have been generally warm, especially in the north Pacific. The ENSO index tends to make the world cooler during a La Nina and warmer during a El Nino. While we haven’t experienced a “Super El Nino”, we have been in a warmish cycle with weak El Nino conditions for over a year, which gives us a second reason to expect warming.


The third reason to expect warming involves the soar cycle. While the current cycle is the weakest in many years, we still are coming off the peak of it.

Sunspot February 2015 clip_image002_thumb6

Because we have three good reasons for World Temperatures to rise, it is a bit disconcerting that they remain level, and even dip slightly. (If you insist, you can add CO2 as a fourth good reason for temperatures to rise.)

The question then becomes, could these three (or four) good reasons be masking a fall in World Temperatures, caused by a dynamic we do not fully grasp?  For example, even though the sun is at a high point of its sunspot cycle, it’s “AP Index” is lower than it usually is even at low points in the sunspot cycle. (The AP Index is “a geomagnetic index driven by the Sun’s magnetism and the solar wind.”)

Sunspot AP Index clip_image004_thumb6

My honest answer to this question is “I don’t know”.  It does seem that, if the ENSO cycle moves to La Nina, and/or there is a major volcanic eruption, and/or the sun progresses on to the low point in its sunspot cycle, the “masking influences” could be removed, and our planet could see a plunge in its temperatures.

In such a case all the current concern about “Global Warming” will abruptly look idiotic. It seems that governments should at least be making “contingency plans” for earlier frosts, reduced crops, and increased heating costs.

1815, 1816 and 1817; A POLAR PUZZLE


1815, 1816 and 1817; A POLAR PUZZLE

            Volcanoes cause cooling, right?  No.

Having got your attention, I would like to bring up three historical incidents, hoping I may generate some interesting explanations for something I myself have no definite answer to.

On April 10, 1815 the Tambora Volcano exploded.  It is estimated it blew 39 cubic miles of ash skywards. (A three-mile by three-mile by three-mile cube is only 27 cubic miles.) (I have no idea how many Manhattans that is.)

The noise was so loud it was heard 1200 miles away. Ships over the horizon assumed it was the cannon of a ship in distress and sailed around looking for another ship, and on one island troops were marched off to reinforce other troops because it was assumed an outpost was under attack.  Then the great cloud of ash began to spread across the sky.

It is estimated 10,000 people were killed immediately by the blast, as many as 70,000 more by starvation or diarrhea brought on by the heavy ash fall, and another 4600 by tsunamis ranging from six to thirteen feet. The blast, as large as four Krakataus, penetrated the tropopause, roughly 11 miles up near the equator,  and reached 16 miles further into the Stratosphere, to a total height of 27 miles.  There, high above the circulations of Haley and Ferrel Cells, it began to spread out around the Globe.  By June 28, 1815 the inhabitants of London were noting amazing, brilliant and long-lasting sunsets.

The following summer, 1816, was remarkably cold over many northern lands, marked by frosts and ruined crops.  It is remembered as “The Year Without A Summer” and, in my neck of the woods, as, “The Year Of Eighteen Hundred And Froze To Death.”  Here in New Hampshire, where hay was an export that fueled the horse-drawn transport in big cities to the south, not even enough grass could be grown to feed local livestock. While the wealthy could import hay from Pennsylvania, the poor knew hunger, and many simply had to slaughter their livestock.  In the following years the populations of many towns in New England shrank, as people never wanted to see such a summer again, and the rock-free lands of Ohio sounded warmer, and actually were further south.

The link between Tambora and that cold summer seems plain, but here comes the third and, to me, intriguing item from 1817.  It involves a quote from John Daly’s site, which many know well, that begins,

It will without doubt have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated….”

This statement by the President of the Royal Society in London is dated November 20, 1817, and is not what I would have expected.  I would have expected Tambora to increase the ice at the pole by making the entire earth colder. The fact the Arctic Ocean melted to such an extent is my polar puzzle.

The question then becomes, “Do volcanoes reduce the amount of ice at the poles?”

In the comments at WUWT the commenter Philip Bradley suggested that Tambora’s ash might have fallen on the polar ice, reducing the albedo and increasing the melting.  I’m not sure enough ash would fall, that far north, and remain uncovered by snow long enough, to have such a dramatic effect.

I’d be interested to hear the ideas of others.  My personal guess is that, even though the climate was colder back then, the AMO still went through warm and cold phases, and just happened to be moving into a warm phase, involving a slosh of warmth moving north, and Tambora accentuated this slosh.

As I have explained elsewhere, “I call this my Slosh Theory, and it is based upon a highly scientific experiment I did at age three in the bath tub. Timing was everything. If you got the timing down, you could generate such a tremendous wave that half the water left the bathtub and wound up on the floor.

My mother did not appreciate my research and stunted my scientific growth, which explains why I became a writer.”

UPDATE:  (July 8 7:44 AM)  This essay was accepted and posted at “Watts Up With That.”



(click to enlarge)


There seems to be an uptick in the eruptions lately.

My interest in how volcanoes effect the weather started long before this Global Warming nonsense got going, and I know it is more complex than the simple idea that “Volcanoes cause cooling.”

For example, there does seem to be a connection between the huge Tamboro  eruption in April, 1815 and New England’s summer of frosts, remembered as “Eighteen Hundred and Froze To Death,” in 1816, however this was swiftly followed by, (or perhaps even accompanied by,) such a melting of ice in the Arctic Sea that in 1817 the Lord of the British Admiralty was advised:

“It will without doubt have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated….

… this affords ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened and give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than they have been for centuries past, and that discoveries may now be made in them not only interesting to the advancement of science but also to the future intercourse of mankind and the commerce of distant nations.” A request was made for the Royal Society to assemble an expedition to go and investigate.

President of the Royal Society, London, to the Admiralty, 20th November, 1817, Minutes of Council, Volume 8. pp.149-153, Royal Society, London. 20th November, 1817.(from)

What this suggests to me is that major eruptions give global patterns a whack, and in the above case the timing was such that a warm AMO was exacerbated.  If the timing had been different perhaps an entirely different result might have occurred.

There seems to be some indication that, after a lag of several years, the cooling of an eruption may stimulate the warming of an El Nino, however this depends upon where the eruptions occur.  Because the stratosphere is lower in the arctic, and because the circulation up there often keeps the ash at high latitudes, eruptions up there apparently have different effects than an eruption like Krakatau, near the equator.

In conclusion, you won’t catch me being so rash as to be certain an eruption will lead to cooling, even though that seems to be a short-term rule, especially with big eruptions near the equator.  Instead I merely quirk an eyebrow, and know a wrench has been thrown into the works of even the best forecaster’s long-range efforts.

Then I sit back and watch for signs of a new and unexpected weather pattern developing.  And also I shake my head over those who think even our most amazing and huge weather computers are anything other than puny, compared to the infinite understanding necessary to comprehend the chaotic system we simplify into two little words,  “our weather.”

However the fact weather is beyond our comprehension is no reason for despair.  It is rather a reason for wonder.

Anyway, here’s the volcano news: