ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Remarks on the Remarkable–

The surge of milder-than-normal (but still sub-freezing) air over the Pole has penetrated the slumberous psyches of Alarmists, and the expected hub-bub is occurring. Ho hum. Old news here, as I posted on it back on February 16.

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2018/02/16/arctic-sea-ice-the-unexpected-surge/

Much of what I have to say I said then. Much more can be found in the comments to be found in the “Watts Up With That” post about the subject, that appeared today.

Warm spike in Arctic drives alarmists into alarm mode – but there’s no reason for alarm

However I don’t want to look like I am ignoring how remarkable the spike is. It is extraordinary, for February.

DMI5 0226 meanT_2018

Something remarkable is occurring, and I’d dearly like to talk about it with sensible, inquisitive people. The problem is that some Alarmists don’t want to talk about it, and say they already know the answer. Their answer is always the same answer: “Global Warming”. The real geniuses midst this ilk may add, “caused by mankind’s addition of extra CO2 to the atmosphere”, but they go no further.

Back in the day (around 2005) there were Alarmist fellows who at least had the decency to venture an idea of how the cause-and-effect played out, and who suggested some interesting ideas of how the atmosphere was engineered. The problem was these ideas didn’t stand up to the poking and prodding of scientific scrutiny. They especially didn’t stand the test of time. (For example, when you state the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free by 2013, and it isn’t, time has debunked you theory, even if it is elegant. [And I know all about having elegant ideas debunked, as I have had lots of good ideas go down in flames!])

Now Alarmists no longer seem to venture any ideas. Their answer is always the same, “Global Warming. Global Warming. Global Warming caused by mankind’s addition of extra CO2 to the atmosphere.” It explains an absurd number of things. (Someone has compiled a list of things CO2 has supposedly spoiled, and it is fabulously long.) Why did the home team lose? You guessed it: “CO2”.

Something remarkable is indeed occurring, and it really should be talked about more deeply. Personally I think the “Quiet Sun” may be instigating a series of meteorological extremes we have never seen before. I could be wrong. But at the very least we should examine the remarkable without bias, and especially without political bias, and see if we can figure out what in the world is going on. I find it dismaying when people seem completely unable to talk, and instead parrot, “CO2, CO2, CO2”.

If I find time I’ll post the past week’s DMI maps which show what happened. But to put it in a nutshell, we began with the Aleutian Low and the Icelandic Low positioned in a way that fed Pacific and Atlantic streams of moisture and mild air up to the Pole, either side of High Pressure ridging over the Pole. Then the Atlantic feed won out, feeding low-pressure north of Canada as the ridge of high-pressure slumped towards Siberia. Then the feed of Atlantic air, between the low-pressure and high-pressure, became a remarkable cross-polar-flow, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with the low-pressure digging on the Canadian side and the high-pressure pumping up on the Siberian side. Now the low-pressure seems to be rotating towards the Pacific as the high-pressure rotates towards the Atlantic, and the Atlantic feed is getting cut off.

Please note I did not bring up “CO2” nor the “Quiet Sun” in the above discussion. I simply observed.

I think we need to observe more and judge less. We are like the judge sitting up in his bench, simply listening. After all, what are “observations”? They are the testimony of a witness. We need to listen carefully to the witnesses before coming to any sort of judgement.

Alarmists have already decided. They say. “The science is settled.” (It isn’t.) They say, “97% of all scientists agree.” (They don’t.) At some point they listened enough to ingest those two statements, but now refuse to hear any more. (Perhaps they are dieting, and fear becoming bloated…..sorry…sarc off.) It seems sad to me, for marvelous stuff is happening, but they’ve drawn the blinds.

In any case, the rushes of wind north from the Pacific and the Atlantic have definitely pushed the edges of the ice north north on both the Atlantic and Pacific side. The edge of the ice is farther north than usual (except in Baffin Bay).

Comment 1 n_daily_extent_hires

With the ice shoved north it is obvious the extent will be less. In fact “extent” is at the lowest point for this time of year that recent records have ever recorded.

DMI5 0225 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

It is possible to question these extent graphs. They don’t always include southern waters, such as the above-normal sea-ice in China’s Yellow Sea, the above-normal and swiftly growing [due to “the Beast from the East”] sea-ice if the Baltic Sea, or the huge waters of the enormous American Great Lakes [also above-normal]. However to a degree this is nit-picking.The witness is giving his testimony about “extent”, and there is no need to cross-examine like a hostile lawyer.

The simple fact of the matter is that winds from the south have pushed the edge of the ice north. It’s a fact. But some feel admitting so much concedes too much to Alarmists. One good fellow scoffed at the very idea of “extent”, posting this picture and commenting, “This would probably qualify as sea ice extent.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To me this seemed a sort of red-herring, and so, at the risk of looking like the rump-swab of Alarmists, I replied,

Yes. It would qualify. But that pictures a summertime situation, showing “extent” of roughly 40%. It can get down to 15% and still be called “ice-covered”, in some extent-graphs, during the summer.

Winter is a quite different situation. Any open water that appears, (a “polynya” ), usually is skimmed over with “baby-ice” with surprising speed. The same thing happens when howling gales open “leads” that can be miles across. For the most part the ice extent is 100%, until thawing gets underway in May.

One thing that happens in the winter is that the ice gets compressed, and buckles, forming jumbled mountain ranges of ice called “pressure ridges”. But though the ice compresses like an accordion, it doesn’t decompress like an accordion. Instead it opens a lead with a pressure ridge on one side. That lead skims over, and then winds shift and the lead claps shut, with all the skim of baby-ice adding to the pressure ridge.

When this happens over and over the bulk of all the pressure ridges adds up. I think that is why the ice is so much thicker in the Central Arctic this winter. “Volume” has increased even as “extent” had decreased. Wind rushing north from both the Pacific and the Atlantic have compressed the ice into the middle.

Please give me credit for getting the discussion back on the subject. We are witnessing a remarkable event in the arctic, and when the Creator shows his stuff in such a clear manner, we should try to remark about the remarkable with clarity.

Now I should post maps and graphs that show that in the Central Arctic the ice is indeed thicker and the volume is indeed increasing. Sigh. I’ve been there and done that. (See earlier posts.)

I know. I know. This post is incomplete if I don’t add the DMI volume graph and NRL thickness maps, and the really cool DMI isobar and isotherm polar maps that show this remarkable scenario developing. So, if I can find time, I’ll update this post.

But, just between me and you, my wife thinks I’m working on our taxes, as I spend all this time at the computer. You don’t want me to catch hell, do you? I think I’ll be responsible,  and work on the taxes a while.

Stay Tuned.

P.S. Paul Homewood has insights on the current situation at his site here:

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2018/02/26/its-called-weather-george/

P.P.S. Here is a very good visual of how the remarkable surge split the very cold air in the Arctic into Eurasian and North American blobs. But please note that plenty of cold remains up there.

Comment 4 gfs_T2m_nhem_2

P.P.P.S.  Here are the NRL “Thickness” maps for February 27 for this year and last year. 2017 is to the left. 2018 is to the right.

 

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ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Arctic Africa–

One thing I have learned from Alarmists is the effectiveness of distraction. When you have completely blown a forecast, it is helpful to point at something happening far, far away.

Therefore you will not notice that I am six days away from the date I assigned for the jet stream to stop being loopy. You will forget I stated the polar flow would become zonal on February 13, due to the lagged effect of the La Nina. You will forget….  You will forget… You are getting sleepy… Very sleepy…

What the heck? It’s not working on you! Oh, I forgot. That only works on Alarmists.

In any case, a second mild surge as good as last winter’s second surge has made it to the Pole.

DMI5 0207 meanT_2018

I haven’t time to go into all the details. In a nutshell it is a surge “madoki” (Japanese for “the-same-but-different”), because (so far) it took a less direct route than last year. Rather than, like last year, roaring straight north from the Atlantic, the surge dented east over Norway and only turned north over the Kara Sea. Consequently the temperatures, on a whole, have been colder than last year’s. But that is basically straining at gnats and quibbling over piffling details. The fact of the matter is that precisely where I thought high pressure should build and form the core of a nice zonal flow (which may be wish-casting, for it would give me, down in New Hampshire, a milder winter), what to my wondering eyes should appear, but “Ralph”! (An anomalous area of low pressure at the Pole.)

 

 

To have “Ralph” reappear, when I have been putting the finishing touches to his obituary, is a sign I’m having a bad week. (It was bad enough that the hero quarterback got strip-sacked at the crucial moment, and the home team lost the Superbowl.) (Furthermore, New Hampshire is not getting the sort of mild weather I wanted.)

The problem with mild air heading up to the Pole is that it displaces the cold, which comes south one way or another and gives arctic conditions to people not prepared for such nonsense. Because this post is suppose to be about sea-ice, I’ll mention the fish-farmers on the coast of China.

But I also need to mention the Sahara, because there is something that just tickles my sense of humor about bringing Africa into a sea-ice post.

But mentioning Africa is a bit odd, as I have noticed that the phrase “one every fifty years” doesn’t sound quite right, when you use it twice in three years. I noted that oddity, when writing about the January snows along the Algeria-Morocco border three weeks ago. But now we are talking about snows along that border twice the same winter.

There are some high north-African mountains, the “Atlas”, that get snow every winter, and send precious melt-waters down to the Sahara from the north, but ordinarily these snows stay up by the clouds. It makes news when these snows spread down to lower altitudes. (The translation of the first video is, “After more than fifty years…The snows in Zagora”).

The translation for the second, longer video is, “Today: After more than 50 years…The snow in Zagora and the south-east of the Kingdom.”

At this point I need to bring up the magic word “Albedo”, which Alarmists feel is very important in discussions of sea-ice. Basically it involves sunshine that could warm our planet being bounced away by the whiteness of snow. Alarmists have suggested that less sea-ice at the Pole could allow “run away warming”. But what about snow on the northern fringes of the Sahara? The sun shines brightly there in February, while it will not shine at the Pole until the Equinox. Is there any chance all the heat lost in the Sahara could cause some sort of “run away cooling”?

Crickets.

(In any case, such a focus on the Sahara is an excellent deflection away from my forecast for a zonal arctic-flow by February 13.)

One of the most annoying aspects of a loopy (or “meridional”) flow occurs when you happen to find yourself at the place where the warm air looping north battles with the cold air looping south. In some ways it is better to endure the cold, for cold tends to be dry. When you sit on the border you can get excessive amounts of snow. For example, the core of the cold sank down in Eurasia at the end of January, and Moscow, well to the west of the worst cold, has been afflicted by Atlantic air streaming east past Norway even as arctic air streams west further south. They have had amazing amounts of snow. During the first week of February they broke their snowfall records for the entire month of February.

This clashing between colder and milder air has been annoying on my side of the planet as well, for even with the core of the cold elsewhere we can get unfair amounts of glop. I’d prefer pure, Siberian cold, for powder snow is easy to shift, and when the cold gets really cruel the old timers say, “It’s too cold to snow.”

In New Hampshire, this winter has been pleasing to Alarmists, I suppose, for the arctic retreated after the first week in January, and since then temperatures have been around seven degrees above normal. This doesn’t really thaw us, for our average temperature is 20°F (-7°C), and “mild” only lifts us to 27°F (-3°C). However an average of 27°F does allow for daily highs to creep above freezing, and does allow snow to turn to sleet, freezing rain, and brief episodes of all-out rain, which creates slush as heavy as mud.  You must shift this heavy glop from walkways and drives, or it swiftly freezes harder than iron. (I’ll take shoveling powder snow any day.)

Nor does all the glop make lake-ice thinner. Wet, heavy snow on ice pushes the ice down, and water oozes up through cracks and turns the snow to slush. It takes little (just a cold, starry night), to turn that slush to solid ice, as, being ice-water, it is right at the freezing point. Then, besides the original two feet of ice that the bitter cold of early January created, you have an additional two feet of ice created by “milder” temperatures, and frozen slush.

The ice is now so thick on lakes that crazy young men are having races with vehicles and motor cycles that have scary wheels with steel teeth. The churning, spinning wheels chip away a foot of the ice on the corners of the tracks, but nobody seems very nervous about chewing through to water.

I know that lake-ice is not the same as sea-ice, but I thought it interesting that “milder” weather brought snow that turned to slush that turned to ice, and therefore “milder” made the ice a foot or two thicker than it might be if it stayed cold and dry.

Of course, some people never get out of their offices, and don’t understand such counter-intuitive things. There is much to learn from simply hiking about lakes, especially reservoirs that rise with rains and thaws and sink when the dry cold returns. I have young Climate-scientists studying local lake-ice, and am eagerly awaiting my government grants and money from Big Oil.

Lake ice 1 FullSizeRender

Lake ice 2 FullSizeRender

Lake ice 3 FullSizeRender

Of course, insurance companies, in their warm offices, do not approve of such research. They fear “risk”. They want everyone to stay indoors. However they must allow a few out, called “adjusters”. A parent of a child I cared for was such an “adjuster”, and told me a tale that I think typifies the difference between the “indoors” and the “outdoors” mentality.

Today was a typical “glop” day, starting with a quick dump of six inches of snow, which makes things look like a Norman Rockwell painting.

Lake ice 4 FullSizeRender

However then the rot set in. The snow sped up, falling faster, and abruptly turned to rain, though temperatures were still well below freezing. Because Moms driving home from work do not have scary wheels with steel teeth, insurance adjusters get called out a lot when the driving stinks.

Now this should give you an inkling of the office mindset, in this corner of the insurance world: If you had to send a fellow out into abysmal driving conditions, what would you reduce your profit by paying for? Snow tires? Or a tattle-tale gadget that keeps track of your adjuster’s GPS and road-speed. If you answered “snow tires”, you are sane, and don’t work in this particular front office.

On a day like today an adjuster received an irate phone-call from his boss. “What in blue blazes are you up to?” the boss inquired.

“What are you going on about?” replied the adjuster.

“You’ve been going 110 mph! Are you crazy!”

The adjuster stayed calm. “Did you check the GPS?”

“Um…no…”

“Check it.”

After a pause the boss muttered, “Oh.  Um…you’re in your driveway?”

“Yes, and do you think I can get the company van going 110 mph (177 kph) in my driveway?”

“Hmm.  Probably not. So…..were your tires spinning?”

“Of course they were spinning! And will you puh-leeze requisition snow tires for the company vans?”

“Oh, no! The stock-holders demand a profit! And we expect our adjusters to know how to drive in the snow.”

Case closed.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Demanding Accountability For Failed Forecasts–

Extent 20170913 SIE_seasonal_n

Well, here we are again. The Pole is not “ice-free” at the minimum, once again. Once again the voices that were so adamant have gone silent. In fact the silence is deafening.

Instead the uproar has switched over to hurricanes, which is patently absurd,  because anyone who has studied history knows Harvey and Irma are not out of the ordinary. In 1886 a hurricane wiped out the city of Indianola, Texas, and it was one of seven. I repeat, seven. Seven hurricanes clouted the coast of the Gulf of Mexico in a single season.

1886 Hurricane Season 800px-1886_Atlantic_hurricane_season_map

Not that it will do the slightest bit of good. The far left not only refuses to look at the past, but goes further. They suggest that people like myself, who bring up what they fail to mention, should be “jailed for crimes against humanity”.

Hate on display – climate activists go bonkers over #Irma and nonexistent climate connection

As if jailing a person like myself isn’t threatening enough, prominent people such as Eric Idle (of “Monty Python” fame) suggests I should be “put down.”

Kill Skepics Screenshot-2017-03-17-at-10.33.58

Formerly my response has been to reply as if the “put down” was not a threat, and to respond with a “put down” of my own because, after all, it often is easy to reduce Alarmist’s arguments to absurdity:

hurricanes-not-worse

However, though the meteorological facts wielded by Alarmists are not alarming, there comes a point when their behavior does become alarming.  A threat is a threat. After all, I do run a Childcare, and the last thing I need is some crazy person arriving with a gun. And, even if the people speaking the threats insist they are only utilizing hyperbole as a form of rhetoric, there are nuts who take them at their word, and show up at softball fields in Washington DC and start blasting away at congressmen.

It would only be natural for me to be intimidated, and to close this blog and creep off and hope to go unnoticed. However I have been putting up with this sort of crap for ten years now. My courage, and the courage of all who dare to be Skeptics, has already passed the test. The simple fact is that such nonsense demands a reply:

These nasty screechers need to be reminded that Freedom of Speech has limits. Beyond a certain point a peaceful protest becomes “disorderly conduct” and is called a “riot”. In like manner, to urge murder, mayhem, and destruction is called “inciting a riot”.

A good way to remind people, and to clarify this distinction, would be to arrest someone in a state that has sane judges. Have a so-called “test case”, and if necessary bring it all the way to the Supreme Court.

I sometimes think the far-left is resorting to what Mao resorted to when his “Great Leap Forward” proved an abject failure and resulted in China becoming economically backward. How did Mao then respond? Mao then incited a horrible nation-wide riot called the “Cultural Revolution.” Perhaps some young fools see themselves as American versions of China’s “Red Guard”, and see their uncivil procedures as part of some sort of “glorious purge.”

Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and our nation will pass this test of our character. “Now are the times that try men’s souls.”

I never would have believed this state of affairs could have evolved, when I first began observing sea-ice. It originally was an escape from my problems, a view of blue skies and cobalt waters and white and turquoise snow and ice. Now the scene has shifted to battleship gray.

Obuoy 14 0913 webcam

And also, by the way, the sea-ice hasn’t melted, yet again.

I am the last to state there should be punishment for failed forecasts, considering how many I myself have blown. However there should be accountability. When you blow a forecast you should admit it. However there is an amazing lack of humbleness among many Alarmists, and at times it seems to involve a complete disconnect from reality.

It is no fun to be a party-pooper, but the simple fact of the matter is that some have to do that job.  Otherwise the night of ignorance never knows the cool light of dawn, and hypocrisy reaches levels so extreme people wind up hurt.

One example is the simple fact Trump donated a million dollars to help Texas after Harvey, and rather than admiration he earned sneers from those who said it was nothing but ” a sleazy tax deduction.” Yet there is nothing but silence from such people after millions upon millions were raised to help the people of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, and little of the money made it to the people who needed it, due to how Hillary handled that money. To excuse such a glaring difference in how politicians handle money as “mere politics” is a level of heartlessness which crosses the boundary of humanity into the wasteland of inhumanity, and any who accept it need to know the eyes of Haiti (if not God) are watching them.

These are not times men should remain silent.

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph Rains?–

Ralph hasn’t become the gale some models were foreseeing, but is a persistent feature at the Pole, and a wrench in the works of the summer thaw.   In essence Ralph creates clouds where I expect sun. This slows the creation of melt-water pools, which are a creation that quickly changes the albedo equation, for the brilliant white of the snows (which reflects light in a highly efficient manner) is changed to the battleship gray of slush (which absorbs more sunlight and accelerates the surface melt.) Once the slush turns into an actual pool particles of soot, volcano ash, and arctic algae often create a black bottom to the pool, which hastens the melt further, and on occasion melt down and create a hole to the sea beneath, weakening the ice and contributing to the break up of floes.

This is a time I sorely miss the floating cameras, for they gave you a visual proof of what otherwise is merely modeled guess-work. The only camera we have is lodged in the ice of Parry Channel, and can’t give us a clear idea of the conditions out in the open sea. However it is better than nothing, and does show the crispness of the drifted snow softening in the thaw.

Obuoy 14 0623 webcam

O-buoy 14 is down around 74° north latitude, and away from the center of Ralph near the Pole. I have an insatiable curiosity about higher latitudes. The DMI graph shows the mean, north of 80°, as being below normal but above freezing.

DMI4 0622 meanT_2017

To look at Dr. Ryan Maue’s maps of modeled temperatures (free week trial available at Weatherbell site) isn’t exactly helpful, because the GFS tends to average it all out to a blandness, while the Canadian differentiates to a degree where it seems to make storms more intense. Which is a curious George to trust? (GFS to left; JEM to right)

 The reason this matters is because in the polar summer snow can change to rain, and this makes an enormous difference. Snow (usually a dusting to an inch, as the arctic is a desert), slows the melt by adding more brilliant white to reflect heat, while rain immediately creates slushy, gray spots and speeds the melt. As is often the case in the arctic, a half degree can make a big difference.

One of my favorite examples was the case of “Lake North Pole”, in 2013. The melt-water pool directly in front of the camera, expanded by summer rains in mid July, generated no end of media hype, complete with stories of Santa drowning and so on.

LNP 1 np-july-26-npeo_cam2_20130726072121 However no sooner had the media gotten everyone looking that way, when the water drained away down through a crack in the ice (as is often the case.)

LNP 2 np-july-28-npeo_cam2_20130728131212

The ice was still gray and capable of absorbing more heat than snow, but, rather than summer rains, summer snows followed.

LNP 5 np-july-29-npeo_cam2_20130729071817

And by August 5 all talk of “Lake North Pole” was muted. It had gone from being an Alarmist talking point on July 26 to being a Skeptic’s talking point.

LNP 3 np-aug-5-npeo_cam2_20130805065710

The camera allowed the curious to compare the August 5 view of 2012 (left) with 2013 (right).

To the dispassionate it simply looked like perhaps 2013 was a colder summer than 2012, but, in terms of getting a political message across, I fear cameras had gone from seeming like an excellent idea on July 26 to seeming like a very bad idea on August 5. This may be one reason funding dried up, and we are without their wonderful visual evidence this summer.

In any case, we now are stuck with what a satellite can see from afar. Ralph’s clouds can then present one with a bit of a problem, though there are usually plenty of interesting views further south, if you are in the mood to ruin your schedule with a wonderful form of procrastination. Here’s a nice, current view of Petermann Glacier and Nares Strait.

The problem is we are too far away to get the intimate feel for conditions the cameras gave us. We can’t see if it snowed or rained, last night. And, in cases where radar attempts to see through clouds, we are not even sure if we are looking at open water or a melt-water pool.

I sure do miss those cameras.

The best I can do is look at Ryan Maue’s “precipitation type” maps, keeping in mind they are models. The GFS seems to suggest Ralph will not rain. Ralph will continue to dust the north with snow (blue). The only rain (green) is towards the Alaska coast.

The maps below represent the GFS forecasts for 6, 72, 120 and 168 hours. Recognizing these are forecasts and not reality, Ralph looks like he will peak in 72 hours, down at 977 mb, but persist for a week. Only then are there signs Byoof (the Beaufort High) will come back.

Ralph B3 gfs_ptype_slp_arctic_2

Ralph B4 gfs_ptype_slp_arctic_13

Ralph B5 gfs_ptype_slp_arctic_21

Ralph B6 gfs_ptype_slp_arctic_29

To me it seems Ralph is being a real spoil sport to the melt-season. Right when the sun is at its highest he is murking up the sky and dusting everything with snow. Of course, most of the melt comes from below, but we won’t be setting any records unless Ralph takes a hike.

I should confess I blew a forecast, for I did not expect Ralph to show up much this summer. My assumption was that the lagged effects of the weak La Nina would reduce the difference in temperatures between the tropics and the arctic, and that it was that difference that fueled the anomaly I call “Ralph”.

This is merely my wondering, and likely should not be dignified with the word “hypothesis”, but the persistence of “Ralph” intrigues me and calls for an explanation, and what I wonder is this:

If the “Quiet Sun” does deliver less energy to the earth in various ways, could it be that less energy warms the Equator while cooling the Pole? At the Equator less energy would produce less wind,  indirectly leading to warming, by stirring up less cold water, and therefore intensifying El Ninos while weakening La Ninas. Meanwhile, up at the Pole, less energy has a more direct effect during the summer, making it colder. During the winter there is no sun so no effect, but the import of warm surges makes the winter’s milder. All year long the tropics are generally warmer (so far) and this fuels a more meridional jet, which is what creates the “feeder bands” that fuel Ralph.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Before Ralph reappeared Byoof did manage to push the ice away from the western entrance to the Northwest Passage, (lower right) but the ice is still fast against the shore at Barrow (top right).

Daytime sea-breeze shifted to a light land-breeze during Barrow’s “night”, and warm inland temperatures wafted over them, lifting them to a balmy 41°F.

Barrow 20170623 05_27_09_508_ABCam_20170623_132400

Here’s the Navy thickness map. (Ice-out starting in Hudson Bay):

Thickness 20170623 Attachment-1

And here’s the “extent” graph everyone likes to watch:

DMI4 0622 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

Stay tuned!

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:

http://seaice.alaska.edu/gi/observatories/barrow_webcam

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 Arctic.io Explorer comes in handy, for it allows you to zoom in from outer space. It can be found here:

http://www.arctic.io/explorer/4Xa5A//4-N90-E0

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.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Remaining Calm–

You have to be careful discussing the factors involving this year’s ice-melt up at the Pole, for at times 90% of what is discussed has nothing to do with Sea-ice.

In my view all the furor and hoop-la spoils the serenity of watching the ice melt, so I do my best to avoid it. Unfortunately nothing makes people more irate then speaking these two words, “Calm down.” (If you don’t believe me, try using them on your wife or husband…but strap on a helmet first.)

In actual  fact things do grow more calm to the north this time of year, which is why, (as we remember heroes on this Memorial Day), we remember D-day was planned for June 5, 1944. The North Atlantic was suppose to be at its least stormy in June. But, as is often the case with the weather, things did not proceed as forecast,  and a storm hit. One of the reasons D-day succeeded was because the Germans didn’t think the Allies would invade in a storm, but the Allies only delayed until June 6.

It is perhaps foolish to predict anything, especially anything involving the vast, silly storm called “Global Warming”, but I have done it. I predicted furor and hoop-la, and that part of my forecast has been 100% correct. The rest of my forecast is as follows:

The ice-melt will get off to a fast start, but slow as the summer proceeds, and in the end the minimum ice-extent  will be about what it was last year. I base my  guess on the following:

1.) During the winter the ice was very active, and sea-ice was compressed towards the center of the Arctic Sea. Also there was less cross-polar-flow, with less ice exported from the Siberian side to the Canadian side, so the ice is thicker towards Siberia. This suggests that, when the ice-edge melts back to these areas of thicker ice, the retreat of the ice-edge will slow.

2.) The fact the sea-ice was active involved the opening of many  leads in the Beaufort Sea. The exposure of the water to  cold winter winds likely chilled the water under the ice, and disturbed the stratification of seawater into various levels, with warmer but more saline waters less able to sneak under the ice northwards. Therefore I assume the water under the ice is colder.

3.) The waters south of Bering Strait were two degrees colder than 2015 throughout much of the winter, which suggests any water sneaking north through the strait would be colder, (and therefore less able to melt ice from beneath), than last year’s (very effective) waters.

4.) The export of ice south through Fram Strait was fitful, and at times even reversed, during the winter, which resulted in more sea-ice being left behind up at the Pole. As this export slows in the gentler winds of summer, more and thicker ice will be left behind, slowing the melt on the Atlantic side.

5.) The melt will begin rapidly, not due to the actual melting of ice, but because polynyas formed where the ice was pushed away from shore. This off-shore wind exposes water to cooling, but also results in up-welling of slightly warmer water by the shore.

6.) Even where up-welling doesn’t occur, huge arctic rivers pour snow-melt-floods north into the Arctic Sea, and, even though this water is ice-water, it is warmer (32F) than the ocean’s ice-water (29F), and it is also less saline until it mixes with the sea. This creates a “lens” of milder water along the coasts, speeding the ice-melt. As this “lens” pushes out to sea it becomes more mixed, and loses its effectiveness, in terms of melting.

7.) As the summer proceeds the warming effect of the El Nino will start to fade, and the effect of the “Quiet Sun” will become more apparent.

There you have it. I have already been told, “Caleb, you ignorant slut”, for making my forecast, so no one needs to say that again. In any case, I won’t know if I am right, wrong, or (most likely) partially correct, until August. Therefore I am simply going to stay calm, and sit back, and enjoy the show.

I had a tap on my shoulder and was reminded what really matters on  Friday evening. My wife’s brother was in a bad accident during the last snow of April, when a car came sliding across the road and crushed in his car’s driver’s side door. After an insurance hassle and physical therapy he got things back together, and was driving his brand new truck on Friday when a car came across the center line, smashed the vehicle in front of him, and managed to flip and once again crushed in the driver’s side door of the vehicle he drove.

Craig crash 20160527_165110

There was about a three hour delay between the time the wonders of the internet produced the above picture and the time I heard from the hospital that my brother-in-law was bruised, royally pissed off,  but otherwise OK.  Three hours is long enough to contemplate how much sea-ice really matters, in the scheme of things.

Not one hell of a lot. I wouldn’t even know it was there, if it weren’t for satellites, the internet, and fools who think it matters more than the practical details of ordinary life for ordinary people.

Generations upon generations have  lived their lives without a clue about what was occurring in the arctic, with the ice coming and going. It didn’t matter that sea-ice was at times nearly absent at the Pole, and at other times sea-ice grounded icebergs on the coast of Ireland, unless you lived on the coast of Ireland, or were a whaler seeking rich hunting grounds.Whaler 3 AmericanWhalersCrushedInTheIce

In some cases those whalers were hunting up in waters that people now completely freak out about, when they are open water rather than ice-covered. The history is available for those who bother to look. The whalers were glad the arctic was more ice-free on summers when the ice allowed them to sneak north. They didn’t freak out about open water in the mid 1800’s, so I want to tell people who freak out now, “Calm down”, but, like I said earlier, that doesn’t work. It especially doesn’t work when billions upon billions of dollars are involved, as people attempt to control the weather with hocus-pocus (when a Hopi priest could likely do a dance that would be more effective, far more cheaply).

The people most prone to hysteria are those who’s entire livelihood is based on the hysteria; ranging from honest professors to dishonest professors, from honestly ignorant idealists to snake-oil salesmen, from honest politicians representing deluded constituents to corrupt politicians lusting for power and gold.  The world has gone bonkers, and has forgotten common sense even to the degree where people can’t agree girl’s bathrooms are for girls, and what really matters gets ignored, until you get a tap on your shoulder. Then you remember. And then it seems most sad we are spending billions upon billions on dust in the wind.

In any case, there is little I  can do but take my own advice and “Calm down”.  I can point out that the current uproar about the polynya northeast of Alaska is about a situation we have seen before.

Poly 3 bathurst-and-w-beaufort-polynyas_1975-vs-2015_polarbearscience

I will likely be then told, “Caleb, you ignorant slut, it is much worse this year”.

http://www.arctic.io/explorer/8-8/2016-05-27;2015-05-27/6-N75.7439-W143.49899

The above link takes you to a really a cool site, for it lets you slide about the arctic and zoom in and zoom out, noticing things Alarmists don’t mention, such as a bit more ice in the west of Bering Strait this year, and that it was more green inland in Alaska, last year, but it is not worth arguing that there is more ice north of the Mackenzie River delta this year, for there isn’t. And considering you are given the link to focus on that specific thing, it is impolite to focus elsewhere. And it is especially rude to tell a kind person who gives you a link that they are an ignorant slut. Therefore I usually avoid that.

As a general rule I find Alarmist put me in the shoes of defending the indefensible, but find it is best to traipse lightly by that trap, enjoying the wonder of a new spring with unique weather. Nothing irks Alarmists more than embracing the very thing they think will devastate you, and instead rhapsodizing about how wonderful it is.

And it indeed is a genuine wonder how smashed up the Beaufort Sea is, after all the winter storms. I think the El Nino created a very meridienal flow, and its lagging after-effects are keeping the temperatures merely normal, rather than giving us the below-normal cold waves we saw up in the Beaufort Sea last May and early June, (that, with a sheer guess, I think were due to the “Quiet Sun”.)

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2015/05/31/arctic-sea-ice-the-beaufort-switcheroo/

To compare two years with different weather patterns is a bit like comparing apples with oranges, but pointing out last year had ice increasing when it usually melts makes this year look less alarming, when you compare a 2015 map with a 2016 map.

Then I expect to hear, “Caleb, you ignorant slut, can’t you see how warm the water is north of the Mackenzie Delta?”

SST 0528 arcticsstnowcast

I like to nod and enthusiastically agree. It is really wonderful! Alaska had a mild winter (even as Mongolia had record cold) so the Mackenzie River is pouring out a nice freshwater lens. Also the off-shore winds that created the polynya also created up-welling. How cool! There may even be some sunshine slightly warming the water, though the sun has been dim the past week.

Obuoy 14 0529 webcam

At this point I scratch my jaw and say, “Odd”. Then I wait, until asked, “What? What’s odd?”  Then I shrug and say, “Oh, I just noticed the NRL map above shows -1°C where Obuoy 14 is located, but the buoy itself is reporting -5°C. I suppose the buoy is reporting the air, and NRL is reporting the water under the ice.  But…odd…”

Obuoy 14 0529 temperature-1week

“What? What’s odd?”

“Oh, it’s just that the picture shows the Mass Balance Buoy at that location is trashed. I just wonder how anyone knows what the temperature of the water under the ice is? It’s such a pity the buoys were so poorly placed and badly maintained, because they are so handy to have, when it comes to double-checking satellite data. But maybe they’ll rehire that guy they had last year, who was so good at recontacting buoys that went periods of time without signalling. It would be nice if we could get O-bouys 8b, 13 and 15 back, as well as Mass Balance Buoys 2015G, 2015I, and 2015J. Oh well, at least we have Mass Balance Buoy 2015F, reporting -4.31° C.  But…odd…

“What? What’s odd?”

“Well, its just that it seems cold over the ice…

Arctic 0529 cmc_t2m_arctic_2

…and high pressure seems to be blowing that cold air right towards the Mackenzie Delta…

Arctic 0529 cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_2

…And…well…you’re so concerned that the less-cold water north of the Delta might melt the ice, but wouldn’t those cold winds cool that water? ”

“Caleb, you ignorant slut.”

“Calm down.”

FOOTNOTES: COMPARISON OF 2016 THICKNESS WITH RECENT YEARS

2016 to 2015

 2016 to 2014  

2016 to 2013  

2016 to 2012

 (Aside: In 2012 there was much less fracturing of the Beaufort ice and the water beneath was very stratified, with lots of warmer water available under the ice, which became very apparent during the polar gale that summer, when a great deal of ice melted in a matter of days.)

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Springtime For Alarmists in Hysteria–

 

It is hard to bear the rejoicing in Alarmist circles, as they see evidence we humans have shot a hole in our boat’s bottom, and our planet is a sinking Titanic. Why exactly they are so joyful that the end of life on earth is nigh, I don’t understand, but the symptoms are undeniable, if you lurk about Alarmist sites. The sea-ice is at record low extent, for early May:

DMI3 0512B icecover_current_new (1)

For Skeptics like myself this is a terrible and tragic situation, for I wish it was true. If the sea ice was really fading away we could get back to growing barley in Greenland, and providing food and unfrozen water on Greenland in January, without relying on imports,  for the 2000 cows and 100,000 sheep and goats the Vikings managed to keep alive. However it is an illusion.

If you draw one of those arrow-straight “trend lines” that Alarmists are so fond of, you can see this year’s rate of decline won’t even match last year’s lows, but Alarmists are already congratulating each other, for they are sure the ice will remain the same distance below-normal it now is, and this year’s minimum extent will beat 2012’s record low minimum. This is tragic to watch, for they are being teased by a tormenting destiny, which rather than ending their delusion with a splash of cold water in their feverish faces, is actually egging them on with incidental evidence they are not crazy, when they are.

For example, ordinarily I can gently nudge them to saner thinking by pointing out something like the yearly drop of arctic temperatures to below-normal in May. But this year, (likely due to the lagged effect of an El Nino already fading away),  for the first time in years, temperatures are not dropping below normal in May.

DMI3 0512B meanT_2016

I don’t see why fate has to be so cruel to Alarmists. It is like encouraging an addict, like telling a person ruined by heroin or crystal meth that they appear normal, and no one suspects they are not quite right, when everyone in town knows they have such a monkey riding their shoulders they can’t even hold an ordinary job.

I really don’t like seeing my fellow man reduced to such a tragic state, but it makes things much harder for me when all the “scientific” evidence just encourages the deluded. Heck, I have to go all the way back to 2010 to find a case where temperatures stayed above normal this late in May, before dipping below normal.

DMI3 meanT_2010

And when I have to go back six whole years Alarmists will accuse me of grasping at straws. And maybe I am, though they are the ones drowning.

It is somewhat embarrassing how unquestioning they are about certain things. For example, the fellows measuring sea-ice have to tweak their devices around this time of year, because of certain problems satellites have recognizing wet ice from open water. They do the best they can, but sometimes as they tweak things, ice abruptly appears or disappears. The funny thing is Alarmists are furious and out to behead people, when ice abruptly appears, but when it abruptly disappears they don’t raise a finger, nor a feather, and remain smooth and unruffled.

Just for an example, check out the waters north of the Mackenzie River Delta in these two maps, from May 9 and May 10. An impossible amount of ice simple vanishes in 24 hours.

Thickness 20160509 ictn2016050818_2016050900_042_arcticictn.001

Thickness 20160510 ictn2016050918_2016051000_042_arcticictn.001

(The best way to compare is to open the two maps to new tabs, and then click back and forth between them.)

I am fairly certain that one to two feet of sea ice did not vanish that swiftly, basically overnight. Most likely it involves a data-gathering-tweak. However I will say this: If one to two feet of sea ice appeared that quickly, Alarmists would be all over it, and some would accuse Big Oil or Big Coal or Republicans or people-who-attend-church. It’s silly they can be in such a panic about one sort of unlikely situation, and heedlessly complacent about another.

As for me, I just note that a large area of ice, vanishing like that, would likely dip the sea-ice extent graph, and I leave it at that. To double-check, if so inclined, one can go to the Canadian Ice Service map:

Canadian Extent 20120512 CMMBCTCA

This map makes the polynya look smaller, and therefore one is driven to use their lying eyes, and to utilize the actual satellite picture of the waters, here:

http://www.arctic.io/explorer/

I think I am going to have to learn how to “save” close-ups from this site in order to make certain points. I don’t know how to do it yet, so you are going to have to trust me that the Polynya is bigger than the Canadian map shows, but the “open water” has more swirls of drifting ice than the NRL map shows.

But what is not obvious is that when open water appears at this time of year it is not because air temperatures are up to the melting point of sea water. It is because the ice has been shifted somewhere else. And this is yet another cruel trick reality has to tease Alarmists, for it drops the extent of the ice without actually melting any.

I get a bit tired of explaining this same dull point over and over, but got drawn into doing again at Steve Goddard’s new site after reading this post:

http://realclimatescience.com/2016/05/we-are-all-doomed/   I stated:

When the light returned to the arctic, and we could use our lying eyes to assess the visible satellite pictures, it was quite obvious a lot of ice in the Beaufort Sea has been shifted towards Siberia all winter. Not only were there the dark cracks of freshly opened leads, but the light grey cracks of leads that opened months ago and have since frozen over, in some cases to a depth of 3 to 6 feet.

A slight amount of the moved ice did get sucked south through Bering Strait and join the parade of sea-ice that moves down the east coast of Asia much like ice moves down the east coasts of Greenland and Labrador. But most of the moved ice stayed up in the arctic, creating numerous pressure ridges in the East Siberian Sea and quite a pile-up along the coast of East Siberia.

This body of thicker ice will not effect the ice-extent graph until later in the melt season. Then we shall see if the East Siberian Sea is slower to melt, because the ice is thicker.

In the winter of 2012-2013 there was a similar movement of ice in Beaufort Sea, causing a great hubbub in the Alarmist community because it seemed to them that, if the ice broke up in the middle of the winter, surely it would fall apart and melt more quickly in the summer. It didn’t happen. One idea I heard was that so much water was exposed in the winter by leads that the water temperature was lowered under the ice, slowing the melt in the summer.

The thing I remember about that summer-of-2013 was the terrible trauma Alarmists went through when the ice failed to melt as they expected. I really don’t like seeing such pain, and I can’t see why, having suffered that way once, they want to do it all over again.

But I suppose that is the thing about an addiction. There is something about the “high” so attractive that one goes-for-it, heedless of the ruin it will bring about.  Pity such people, but do not expect them to admit they have a problem until they are completely ruined.

All an onlooker can do, until the addicts are ruined and plead for help, is to go to work and do your job and record the truth as it happens.

The weak swirl north of Greenland didn’t attack the Pole like the winter ones did. The North Atlantic gale is not stuck over Iceland , but is further north, drifting slowly towards Barents Sea north of Norway. Models were showing it getting up to the Pole a week from now, but now are backing away from that idea.

FRIDAY MID-MORNING UPDATE

The models continue to bounce all over the place, concerning whether the North Atlantic low will wander up to the Pole or not. In the short term it looks like the ridge of the high pressure will stand fast, and the weak but sprawling low over the East Siberian Sea will drift across to the Canadian Archipelago while weakening. That low has drawn some Pacific air north through Alaska and then off shore, giving O-Buoy 14 an early thaw, which will give Alarmists more joy. The thaw is already over, and the ice is still much colder than the air only inches below the surface, but a thaw is still a thaw.

Obuoy 14 0513 temperature-1week

This ice is quite far south, having just moved past 77°, compressing north midst the ice that has been generally pushed away from the coasts of Alaska and Canada. Therefore the thaw is not included in the mean-temperatures-north of 80° graph we look at. Hopefully the compression will not build any pressure ridges that take out our only remaining camera.

Obuoy 14 0513 webcam

The snow does look like it softened a little during the thaw.

SOME ADDITIONAL STUFF.

Here is the wind field that opened up the polynya (also called a “shore lead”) back in April.

Poly 1 2016-05-12101712

(Hat Tip Steve Goddard @ http://realclimatescience.com/   )

And here is a satellite view of the ice starting to crack and leads forming back on April 21. (South, and the coast of Alaska, is to the left in this picture.)

Poly 2 beaufort-gyre-video-screencap_21-april-2016_labelled

(Hat Tip Susan J. Crockford @   https://polarbearscience.com/

She has a good post here:

Beaufort Sea fractured ice due to strong Beaufort Gyre action – not early melt

And last but not least, in case you hear this polynya is “unprecedented”, here  are pictures of similar situations last year and in 1975.

Poly 3 bathurst-and-w-beaufort-polynyas_1975-vs-2015_polarbearscience

This is also from Susan J. Crockford’s research.

Tracking polar bears in the Beaufort Sea in April 2016 and early polynya formation