I’ve been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately, as my hobby of watching arctic sea-ice melt and reform has taken some serious hits. My entire reason for posting on this topic for half a decade sprung from the fact that the ice and sky of the Arctic Sea are beautiful, and I found it a lovely place to flee to, when I wanted to escape reality. Now it seems the funding for cameras, drifting about on buoys planted on the sea-ice, has dried up. No more pictures. No more beauty.
It was a purely accidental coincidence that what began as a retreat from reality put me dead center in a maelstrom of political nonsense. Apparently the sea-ice was suppose to be in rapid decline, due to a so-called “Death Spiral” caused by Global Warming, and the cameras were purported to be eyewitness views of this profound tragedy, that would effect the entire human race. To which I merely noted, “Umm…….it doesn’t seem to be melting…” The response was overwhelming. The Alarmists ripped me to itty, bitty shreds, but I found some amazingly good friends (who some called “Deniers” but I called “Skeptics”).
One interesting thing I discovered, just watching sea-ice, was that at times the various charts, maps and graphs produced by satellite data didn’t match what my eyes could actually see, through the camera’s lens. Skipping all the details, this led me to learning more about satellites, and the ways they interpret their data. I learned how to evaluate the satellite-produced maps with a wary eye, and to compare the maps produced by different nations. From there I moved on to an earlier love: The history of Arctic explorers, and studied various maps of what sea-ice was like in the past, again seeing various interpretations drawn from the same scant data. It has been a wonderful way to waste time and avoid doing my chores, but now it seems to be coming to an end. Not only the cameras, but even the satellites may go unfunded.
Ugly: President Trump Accused of Obstructing Climate Research
Now, I know that the government has been spending money like a drunken sailor, and is deeply in debt, and perhaps all the concern about the arctic was a waste of money. Also maybe I should myself waste less time and do my chores more. But allow me a bit of self-pity over the ruin of my hobby.
I’ll try to be a good sport about the ruination of my hobby. After all, it appears the Skeptics have pretty much won the battle, as the “Death Spiral” has simply failed to manifest in the expected manner. Not even a “Super-El-Nino” could make much headway. Alarmists look ludicrous. With the battle won, perhaps it is time to beat swords into plowshares, (though, when the pen is more mighty than the sword, perhaps I am beating my pen into something that does chores, such as the rag you wash dishes with.)
However it seems an inconvenient time for cameras and satellites to go dark. There are interesting things happening, (interesting to me at least). Even if Global Warming is largely overrated as a threat, and Alarmist attempts to make it be a threat are largely money-grubbing balderdash, weather still happens, and weather effects everyone every day. Ordinary swings in ordinary cycles are worth paying attention to, as they effect the people who work outside, such as the men who grow potatoes and go to sea for fish, and therefore also effect the guy who only walks outside to go buy some fish-and-chips.
Two ordinary cycles are the movement of a “warm” AMO to a “cold” AMO, and the movement of a “noisy” sun to “quiet” sun. In the former case the last time it occurred was around 1960, and the latter case it last happened around 1800. In both cases people of the past had far less sophisticated means of collecting data. In both cases we are now, in a sense, seeing the changes for the first time, in terms of seeing with satellites and a multitude of scientific buoys. We are pioneers standing at the verge of a wilderness.
These longer cycles may be effecting how shorter cycles manifest. For example, the ENSO cycle has been misbehaving, (if you insist it should behave in a certain way). The last El Nino was “too big and too long” and the last La Nina was “too little and too short”. Rather than leaping to the ordinary conclusion, (because that is where the money is) and shouting Global Warming is to blame, it might be better to simply be quiet and use our powers of observation. If we are pioneers then we are seeing new things, and should expect the unexpected.
One man who always impresses me with his powers of observation is Bob Tisdale. To me it seemed he had the scientific training I lack, (and perhaps the patience I lack), and when I first noticed him, back before the “Watts Up With That” site even existed, he always seemed to be be quietly asking questions, reading scientific papers, and casually (and perhaps at times accidentally) embarrassing Alarmists by knowing more than they did about ENSO cycles. Eventually he was able to shoot holes in some of the more sensational Alarmist claims, and put his knowledge down in a 559 page work called “Who Turned On The Heat”. A free copy is available here:
Of course, the usual suspects heaped scorn on Bob and accused him of being funded by “Big Oil” and so on and so forth, which is a lousy way to treat a man who (though he does have a tip jar at his website) basically worked for free. Last January he went to the beach and didn’t bother come back, and his website became quiet:
At first I worried about his health, but recently he has reemerged, after nearly a year of R+R. Partly I think it was because some of the outrageous claims made by Alarmists during the hurricane season simply demand curt ridicule, but also I think it may be because the ENSO’s recent behavior is fascinating. I noticed he commented on the fact the ENSO has cooled the surface temperatures with the developing La Nina, but is lagging, when it comes to cooling air higher up in the troposphere.
While global surface temperature cools, the lower troposphere has record warmest October
Now this is just the sort of event where we could use the keenly observant mind that Tisdale has, but hell if we deserve it, for we, as a society, have allowed this gentleman to be disdained, as we have allowed other men, who are preening imbeciles and sometimes have last names rhyming with “skam”, to be flattered and rewarded. Perhaps Tisdale might go back to work if we all now groveled a bit, or perhaps fifty grand in his tip jar might encourage him. But my point is that for going on twenty years now the better minds have been discouraged, while the bottom of the barrel have been encouraged. Basically we should expect little more than to reap what we have sown.
(In case you think this is just my way of hinting I might deserve fifty grand in my own tip jar, please note this site doesn’t have a tip jar. I am incorruptible), (not because I am particularly virtuous, but rather I’m too damn lazy to figure out how to set up a tip jar.) (Anyway, I don’t feel all that disdained, because I’ve always been the sort of writer who creates jams of people in doorways, as crowds are so eager to avoid hearing my “poems”. Therefore getting cursed for being a Skeptic is a step in the right direction, for some attention is better than none at all.)
My own focus has been on sea-ice, which is a long way from the tropical waters where the ENSO acts out its dance. The ENSO does effect sea-ice, but after a considerable lag that processes through convolutions I don’t think anyone understands. I know I don’t. But when I look south I wish there was a mind like Tisdales I could ask questions of.
Those who look back at my old posts know I’ve been wondering if there is any noticeable correlation between sunspot cycles and the ENSO cycles.
In my simplistic way I see the ENSO as a small boy sloshing water east and west in a mighty big bathtub, called the Pacific, with the size of the sloshes determined by a multitude of factors that make up the “boy”. The most obvious factor is the east to west winds. If those winds are related to the amount of energy coming from the sun, then any change in the sun’s activity would be reflected in the sloshes. If the sunspot cycles were nice and regular the oscillation might make for nice, predicable sloshes. But the “Quiet Sun” might be a bit like the small boy hearing the approaching footsteps of a mother: The sloshes go through a dramatic change.
The thing that makes for complete confusion is that ENSO does not work in isolation, but effects the weather patterns around it, which in turn effect the ENSO, until it is hard to see which came first, the chicken or the egg. Therefore the oscillations are likely not nice and neat, like a two-stroke-engine, but rather are likely hideously complicated, like a fifteen-and-a-half stroke engine. It would be hard enough to figure out the engineering if the sunspot cycles remained regular, but this “Quiet Sun” adds another variable. It is a wrench in the works of a works that already holds wrenches.
In any case, knowing how astute Bob Tisdale’s powers of observation are, I wish he (or someone like him) would set his mind upon determining if the sun’s variations are reflected in any way we can see, in the ENSO. (I’m sure the effect is there, but it may be lost in the muddle.)
At the equator, if the Quiet Sun’s less generous supply of energy translated into weaker westerlies, then the lack of energy would be measured by anemometers and not thermometers. Weaker westerlies would make an ordinary sequence of an El Nino giving way to a La Nina have the El Nina be stronger and longer and the La Nina be weaker and shorter, which is exactly what we have seen. This would create milder temperatures, which is not what one would expect from a “colder” sun.
At the Pole, however, the Quiet sun is measured by thermometers. Or that is the case when the sun is up 24 hours a day. The Summers have indeed been colder at the Pole since the sun has gone quiet.
This creates a clash between warmer tropics and a colder Pole, during the summer, and has led to a unique situation, as soon as the sun starts to sink at the Pole and relinquishes its grip. We have seen more late summer Polar gales, and invasions of mild air from the south all winter long, creating an anomalous area of polar low pressure I’ve called “Ralph.”
I was thinking that, now that I have no cameras to watch sea-ice with any more, I’d focus on Ralph, but wouldn’t you just know it? As soon as I am ready to focus on Ralph he gets shy. It’s hard to see him any more.
In some ways perhaps the unique situation has ended. We no longer have a Super-El-Nino conjunct with a cold-summer-Pole. Things are simply returning to normal. So maybe I ought retire from the present tense, and just study my old maps.
However there is something very intriguing about the current situation that makes me feel it isn’t really “back to normal.” The Quiet Sun is approaching its minimum, and that would mean the equator would continue to see reduced Westerlies, if that indeed is an effect of the Quiet Sun. However I have a sense the tropics have some sort of limit to how much heat they can supply. At some point the well goes dry. At some point the calf can butt the cow’s udder all it wants, but there is no more milk available. Last summer an El Nino attempted to generate, but collapsed into a La Nina.
This confusion down in the tropics sends a mixed message, in a lagged way, towards the Pole. In the past year we’ve had a La Nina that failed and an El Nino that failed and now a La Nina again, (which also may be short lived). This confusion is different, very different, from the very clear message of a Super-El Nino. Though the lagged message is still of a warm sort, generally, the warmth lacks the power it formally had. The spikes on this autumn’s DMI temperature graph are nothing like last year’s. (2016 left; 2017 right)
I am expecting at least one big spike in temperatures, as a reflection of last summer’s failed El Nino, before Christmas. But I am on record as saying precisely on February 13 we will see temperatures dip down to the green line and perhaps below, as La Nina lagged effects occur. (We will see how good my guessing is by March.)
I could be very wrong. As I have stated before, we are Pioneers on the verge of a wilderness, and should expect the unexpected.
Currently the pattern is a bit boring. The North Atlantic gales are staying south, rather than veering north to fuel “Ralph”, and therefore high pressure has been more able to rule, especially over to the Pacific side. Currently the huge Atlantic low towards the top of Norway is filling and fading east along the Siberian Coast, as a new gale pummels southern Greenland. Over the Pole cold air is allowed to build without intrusions of milder air.
Because I am hypersensitive to “Ralph”, I can see him lurking in a feeble way atop Greenland. But I wouldn’t see that if I wasn’t looking for it. In fact I think Ralph may be becoming a thing of the past. Something new is in the wings.
I am watching the cold build at the Pole carefully, expecting it to invite a northward surge of mild air, as occurred at the end of December, 2015. If it stands its ground it is actually good news for people further south, for it may mean the cold will stay north this winter. This may please Alarmists who will make much ado about less snow to the south, but I doubt they’ll be happy to the the cold make sea-ice thicker.
In terms of sea-ice “extent” the “Death Spiral” fanatics are glum, for we are well above last year. If downward was “death”, we are headed for “life”. Why are they glum?
Because “extent” was failing to accentuate downward “death”, last year some switched to “volume”, claiming the volume graphs (which are the most model-tainted and unreliable) proved we are doomed. Now they too are glum, as volume has increased. Why are they glum we’re not doomed? (Volume is graph to right, below.)
The thickness graph (to left above) shows the sea-ice has been swift to form along the Siberian coast. This prevents evaporation of open water, and without that evaporation Atlantic lows will not be as willing to scoot along the Siberian coast to the Pacific, and will be more prone to hesitate and stall north of Finland.
One thing I haven’t seen before is so much ice jammed south between the islands of the Canadian Archipelago. Usually that sea-ice forms a wall along the north coast of the Archipelago. This year a particularly mobile surge of sea-ice came south past the east coast of Melville Island, across Parry Channel, and south to wipe out O-buoy 14 and perhaps make the Northwest Passage impassable for small boats next summer.
I suppose a year of thick ice in the Northwest Channel might at long last get it through certain thick skulls that the “Death Spiral” is not a reality. For me, it was proven years ago. Further proof is redundant.
To prove what I have already proven, because certain Alarmists can’t see, makes me a practitioner of redundancy. I have better things to do than to be an echo.
For this reason there may be more “local view” posts and fewer “sea-ice” posts, in the future, though I don’t think I’ll just vanish, as Bob Tisdale did.
One thing I’m hoping to find time for is use a whole slew of maps to show the rise and fall of “Ralph”, even though that is in the past.
I will post about any surprises I see, in the arctic, (devoid of comments about Alarmist politics).