ARCTIC SEA ICE –Point Barrow’s Ice–

With many eyes focused on the the Northabout, as it tries to battle through the ice at the western entrance of the Laptev Sea, some are missing a wonderful chance to study the ice at the far side of the Pole. Skies have been clear, and north winds brought ice ashore at Barrow, which I missed because I was too engrossed in the Northabout’s travails. I only managed to save a picture of the final bits of ice before they washed away.

Barrow Webcam 0805 05_22_23_24_ABCam_20160805_132000

For a few more days you will be able to see the sea-ice on the shore and further out to sea in the ten-day-animation of the Barrow Webcam here:

What fascinated me was how substantial the bergs appeared. From outer space no individual bergs could be seen, and the water looked like it had milky swirls, but some of the bergs looked as tall as a man, when they grounded.

Then, when the bergs were blown west and out to sea by southeast winds, I wondered where they had gone. Temperatures can get quite hot over the Tundra, and though they cool towards the coast, during some summers Barrow has seen temperatures in the 70’s in late July and early August. Sea-ice is liable to melt swiftly when it gets close to shore. Had this ice melted?

This is where the Explorer comes in handy, for it allows you to zoom in from outer space. It can be found here:

Zooming in on Point Barrow, the ice can still be seen, lurking not far off shore:

The problem then becomes telling the ice from the clouds. In the above shot there are a few wisps of cirrus over the sandbars along the coast, and a triangle of high cloud to the bottom right, but all the other milky wisps are ice. They look slushy and even ephemeral from afar, but face to face they become far more meaningful and substantial. From outer space the sea barely seems to have any ice, but down on the surface in a small craft the seas seem far more “ice covered.”

This leads to all sorts of bickering about what constitutes an ice-covered sea. 15% ice-extent seems to be the accepted line between ice-covered and ice-free, though I would not like to try to cross water with 10% ice coverage. For one thing, as the above picture shows, the ice is not evenly dispersed but, just as the sand forms sandbars along the coast, the ice seems to form ice-bars out to sea, and they could definitely bar a small boat’s way.

Another subject often debated is how much sunshine the open water is absorbing. The water looks nice and black in the above picture, and as if it would suck up sunshine, but when the sun gets low on the horizon water, especially when it is glassy, reflects sunshine even more efficiently than white snow. Then, when the sun dips below the horizon, as it is starting to do each day in Barrow, open water loses heat more efficiently than water sheltered by an igloo-roof of sea-ice. In other words, the “abedo” equation is more complex than Al Gore described, with open water gaining heat when the sun is highest and never sets, and then losing heat as the sun sinks lower and sets.

Right now we are finishing a time when the North Pole actually gains more heat than it loses. We are beginning to lose more heat than we gain. From now until the sun sets in September the thaws grow shorter, fewer, and more far-between. Most of the melt comes from below.

This “basal melt” is tricky, and I am constantly being fooled by it. It has to do with the temperature of the water under the ice, but we have too few sensors under the ice to have a good idea of when, how and why it varies. And it obviously does vary, because sometimes the “ice-bars” visible in the  picture above can vanish with startling rapidity, while on other occasions they just persist until they refreeze.

So far this summer we have seen the latter more than the former. Last April the Alaskan coast got off to such a speedy start, in terms of becoming ice-free, that those who root for an ice-free Pole were gloating and chortling. Even when temperatures were still well below freezing off-shore winds had created huge Polynyas of open water both to the west and to the east of Barrow, and if the sea-ice had melted in the manner it did in 2012…but it didn’t. Instead it just floated about refusing to melt, and even came back to the ice-free coast and littered the beaches. The nerve!

The last variable involves how cloudy the Pole has been. Not that Barrow ever gets much sun, tending to be cloudy more than half the time, but further out towards the Pole it is usually sunnier, but this past year a meridional pattern has brought storm after storm to the Pole, basically smashing the ice to smithereens.

The weather patterns up over the Pole deserve more study, for they seem to break laws obeyed by patterns further south. Often I’m baffled by their behavior. In fact the triangle of cloud at the bottom of the above shot is worthy an hour of wonder all its own, as it is part of a puzzling cloud formation best seen by taking a few steps back, and viewing Barrow from deeper out in space:

At this distance some of the thinner ice-bars are all but invisible, but we also see bigger bergs, looking like chips from outer space, but the size of several Manhattans, further out to sea. Then, when we step out even further, Barrow becomes tiny as we see a bigger picture:

At this point the discussions can become a bit silly, for if you are rooting for an ice-free Pole you spot that area of open water well out into the pack-ice, and that becomes your focus:

However if you are like me you simply shift the focus, and win the argument. You point out the subject under discussion was not a ice-free area in the Arctic Sea, but rather that the entire sea would be ice-free. You point at an area further south, back towards Barrow, and in a somewhat impolite tone state, “That does not look very ice-free to me.”

In the end I can’t help but think this will be another summer that frustrates everyone. There is still a lot of basal melt to go, so there may be some surprises, but I think we will wind up with too much ice to make the Alarmists happy, but too little to make the Skeptics happy.

And in our preoccupation with area and extent, we may totally miss something wonderful. We could be using the wrong metric, and attempting to smell a rose with a microphone. For, when I look at the ice, it seems wonderfully smashed up. The real news could be hidden in the change in the storm tracks, and in the meridional pattern, and we might be completely missing it.


RIP Dr. Bill Gray

“They’ve been brainwashing us for 20 years,” Gray says. “Starting with the nuclear winter and now with the global warming.This scare will also run its course. In 15-20 years, we’ll look back and see what a hoax this was.”  Dr. Bill Gray, as quoted in Denver Post, June 5, 2006.

Bill Gray 1 gray-thumb

In 2006 Dr. Gray was a strapping young man of 76, but when he spoke of “15 to 20 years” he was speaking of a day he knew he’d be lucky to live long enough to see, as he would need to live to an age of 91 to 96. When he died this April 16th he was only 86, however it wasn’t because he was unlucky.  He was blessed with a thing called “integrity”, which sometimes is a thing you can feel it is unlucky to have, when the corrupted get mad at you for refusing to be corrupted. However we all must die, and on that day we may be asked to account for our actions, and be faced with our honesty, or our lack of it.

Dr. Gray likely was seen by Beltway Insiders as naive, for he had the belief that honesty was an American trait. When he was young children were told that George Washington, when questioned by his father, confessed,  “Father, I cannot tell a lie. I did chop down your cherry tree with my little hatchet.” Nowadays Beltway Insiders laugh at this fable, but scientists understand the Truth behind it, (if not other fables).

If there is any Truth involved in the theory of Global Warming, it is hidden under the shame of what amounts to a grotesque fraud perpetuated upon the trusting. Why? Because, for the sake of sleazy political concepts that treat Truth like a second class citizen,  (such as “might makes right” and “the ends justify the means”), good scientists like Dr. Gray saw their funding cut, as scurrilous knaves landed prestigious positions.

It must have been with a sense of shock, and mystery, that Dr. Gray saw the funding cease and the awards stop. How could it be wrong to tell the truth? But, in the so called “slyness” of power politics, the Truth is stood upside down. Dr. Gray was “out” for being honest, while Dr. James Hansen made a career of wasting millions “adjusting” the actual temperatures taken by reputable citizens and instead creating fudged data, and also by alarming people in 1986 by suggesting “science” would “prove” New York City would be flooded by now, and Earth might become as hot as Venus. As years past his absurd science became a joke, and he increasingly became a sort of cartoon, often equated with Homer Simpson.

H H 1 magesH H 2 roy-spencer-homer-simpson-climate-scientist

Bill Gray will be vindicated, as it increasingly becomes obvious that some of the characters held up as paragons of modern science were but paid shills. Mann’s “hockey sticky” has been exposed as a farce based on the rings of a lone tree. The sea-ice “Death Spiral” of Serreze suffers yearly embarrassments. Cook’s “97 per cent of all scientists agree” has been exposed as mangled data that can’t even prove “97 of all shills agree”, so that anyone who quotes it, (even the president of the United States),  looks like a complete imbecile if they refers to “97%” as an actual fact. And last but not least, (as he held the power that could cut Bill Gray’s funding), Al Gore and his movie “Inconvenient Truth” has been exposed as being far from science, and very close to being the most cynical of propaganda.

Although Bill Gray will be vindicated, I think it is a bit of a drag to be vindicated after you are dead. I wish he could have lived to be a hundred, so he could see the shills get what they deserve. However perhaps it is best he be spared that. For, when the shills get what they have earned, and reap what they sow, it will include much of the USA, for “power politics” have put fools in control. Many innocent bystanders will be swept up in the ruinous fall of a fraud, and I wouldn’t have wanted Dr. Gray to suffer even a stray shard of shrapnel.

What I most admire is how resilient his spirit proved to be, after he discovered he was politically ostracized. Surely he must have gone through some sullen moods and some black nights, and in fact he had every reason to drown his sorrows and become a bitter, ruined man. He did not do so, though some say there were times his temper flared.

Dr. Bill Gray was my age, 63, when his funding was cut by Al Gore in 1993. I can’t imagine what it feels like, after a lifetime of hard work, and on the verge of great research,  to have the culmination be to be relegated to the back rooms of hurricane research. However perhaps Al Gore would have wished even worse to befall the good man, but Dr. Gray was too brilliant to completely trash. His hurricane research was superb.

The fact Al Gore could make this mistake makes me strangely ashamed of my generation. All the talk of Peace and Love and Understanding, and all the hoopla about caring for the environment, was perverted into cruelty, by the Tolkien “ring of power.” (Perhaps I was lucky to never gain power, and always be excommunicated, like Dr. Gray.)

But Dr. Gray did one thing that really makes him shine. He never completely dissolved into rage and frustration, but trained up a new generation of scientists to love Truth more than politics. Right to the end he was a mentor.

Dr Gray 2 grayklotzbach_2014

I doubt that, at 63, I have the 23 years left to live that Dr. Gray had. I’m not sure I’d like it, in a world as corrupted as ours has become. However, even if I only have a year left, I hope to follow Dr. Gray’s footsteps, and be the sort of man who inspires hope rather than cynicism, and encourages belief in Truth rather than reliance on corruption.

Once I was that pert student, eager to please:
That annoying one nodding as teachers spoke,
But that time’s warmth felt drafts of deep freeze
And I came to regard such pupils as a joke.

I then slouched by the window. My hope
Was in clouds. Teachers clashed Venetian blinds
Closed, and called me “class clown” and “the dope”,
But they couldn’t sell the poisoning of minds.

The blinds had imperfections. I still saw
A slice of sky, and clouds, and hope, and then
A teacher noticed, walked over…to my awe
He opened the window, and spoke man to men,

“Blinds hide the clouds. To hide is to lie.
Truth loves the air, and the vast views of sky.”

Rest in Peace, Dr. Bill Gray.

LOCAL VIEW —Boston Sets Snowfall Record—“An Inconvenient Winter”

We got around an inch of snow up here yesterday. The first half inch was glop, a sort of wet layer that melted as fast as it fell, and then nearly as fast as it fell, as the vibrant March sun dropped lower, and stopped the amazing job it does of melting snow even when it is behind clouds. Then the sun got to the horizon and we had a flash freeze, so the second half inch was powder drifting over a layer of frozen crust.

I knew I was in trouble as soon as I heard my wife heading out for her predawn-twilight power-walk. Her footsteps crunched a certain way on the drive, and I swung out of bed in a sort of angry thrash, as I knew I had to start work an hour earlier, heading to the “Town Garage” to shovel sand into the back of my pickup, and then heading to my Farm-Childcare to cast that sand around the entrance of the parking lot, and the area where parents disembark with their children, and the front walk, and lastly the rise where cars exit and young mothers tend to spin wheels and get stuck. Who needs Monday to start an hour earlier?

All was redeemed, however, when I learned Boston got 2.9 inches of snow where we only got an inch. That bumps their winter’s total past the most snow ever recorded (in recent times) of 107 inches in 1993, to 108 inches. This is all the more amazing because Boston was below the normal snowfall of January 10 on January 10.

It makes me look rather good, for I was talking about this being “the worst winter ever” back in November.  Not that there haven’t been worse winter’s up here in these hills, or even in Boston. Back in in the 1600’s, when the Back Bay neighborhood was actually a bay, the bay was frozen over for six weeks, and there were 26 “snowfalls.”  However nothing matches 1717, when the snows were so deep that some houses were buried and could only be located by holes in the snow,  with smoke coming out, melted by the chimney and the constant fire that heated the home.

It does seem sort of anticlimactic to beat the record with only 2.9 inches of snow. Not that it isn’t too late to have a final massive storm. The blizzard of 1888 began on March 11 and ended on March 15, and we got four feet in these hills, (as Boston got two inches of slush.) The “April Fools Storm” a few years back gave us two feet.

The good thing about setting a record is that it justifies a sensation many around here have that they have been through a mugging. People not all that far to the south roll their eyes and act as New Englanders are sissies, fussing about a minor inconvenience. Not that people did fuss all that much.  Come to think of it, the tougher New Englanders don’t even fuss when they get mugged.

I remember an old man who ran a tiny four-lane-bowling-alley in Portland, Maine, back in around 1975. You got to it by descending a stair in a dark alley, and it was a subterranean affair, with everything a bit mildewed, and the balls old and slightly bumpy as they rolled, but the old man was a genius when it came to candle-pin bowling, and also he had the cheapest rates in Maine. I was interested in the sport back then, and picked his brains, and besides learning how to curve the balls around the fallen “wood”, I got bits of his philosophy, such as, “Never bowl without a sponsor and never sponsor a bowler.” Often I was the only person bowling, and I doubt he even could pay his electricity bill with his gross take, and concluded he only ran the place because he loved bowling, but one time I went in to discover he’d been mugged for the small amount of money he had. He had two black eyes, and a scab on his forehead. When I expressed my concern he dismissed it, muttering, “Arrh, it was just kids. An inconvenience.”

In any case, I guess we can call it an Inconvenient Winter. It is especially inconvenient to Al Gore, who through “Inconvenient Truth” and lecture tours assured us snow would become rare and our ski areas would need to close down.

Back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, when Al Gore used his political power to start up the Global Warming fraud, cutting off funding to Bill Gray (whose predictions based on the cycles of the AMO have proven wonderfully accurate) and pouring money onto James Hansen, (whose forecasts have proven to be balderdash), you actually could graph the snowfall in Boston and create a “trend line” that demonstrated that snowfall was decreasing. If you look at the graph below as far as 1992, the “trend” is definitely down.

Of course 1993 changed all that. In fact, in terms of snowfall since 1890, six of the nine greatest yearly totals have occurred since Al Gore opened his big mouth and stated we’d have to shut down our ski areas.

Inconvenient Winter Screen_shot_2015_03_15_at_8_13_11_PM

(Graph from Joseph D’Aleo’s excellent blog at the Weatherbell site.”)

If anyone has been mugged by this winter, it the Alarmists who are attempting to sell Global Warming. However they are not stoic about being mugged, like a tough New Englander. Rather they become increasingly shrill, shrieking the heavy snow proves it is warmer.

Mann Tweet screenhunter_7071-feb-11-22-19

People in New England tend to be suckers for liberal causes. Freeing slaves seemed like an altruistic deed, and every town in New England has a monument in its graveyard commemorating the astounding number of young men who died for that cause. However the Global Warming cause is starting to be harder and harder to swallow, even for New Englanders, because right after Michael Mann spoke of waters off Cape Cod being 21 degrees above normal (utterly false) they saw waters looking like this:

Cape Cod iceberg2

Maybe even in New England it will turn out that you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. After all, Abraham Lincoln stated that, and people voted for him in New England. Perhaps the political winter we are finding inconvenient will give way to a spring.

In the mean time, we have to endure a bit more winter. Today we saw the bright March sun melt away the crust of snow, but later tomorrow the cold will fight back, and the rains advancing from the west likely will change to more snows as they move over us.

20150316 satsfc 20150316 rad_ne_640x480