ARCTIC SEA ICE –An Anti-Ralph–

Even back when we had sea-ice cameras, they tended to go dark this time of year, as did the visual satellite, but even despite that darkness this was (and is) a fascinating time of year at the Pole. The darkness is at its most complete, and we enter sixty days when twilight recedes to the Arctic Circle.

The diurnal effect of temperature, rotating clockwise around our arctic maps, for a time all but vanishes. Even at the edges of the circular maps, where the sun does rise, the sun is so low and the days are so brief that the diurnal rise is slight. In fact Siberia and arctic Canada are better at losing heat than the Pole (because the heat of the ocean radiates up through the sea-ice) and are often colder. Even when a zonal flow keeps air “locked up” at the Pole, frigid air masses can be generated independently over Siberia and Canada, and sweep south to catch the unwary off guard.

Because we are free of diurnal temperature we can become fascinated by other diurnal effects, such as tidal or Barometric effects. (Or at least I can.) For example, what happens to the tidal effect of the sun when it is below the horizon? Does the sea-ice rock to the east and west with tides up at the top of Fram Strait as much in the winter as it does in the summer? If it rocks less does it freeze better?

Having the sun never rise makes it easier to see if warm air is invading from the south. You don’t get fooled by sunshine because there is none. (There are not many times in life it is so easy to subtract the influence of such a major effect.)

Last year I called these influxes “feeder bands” because they seemed to fuel the persistent area of low pressure I dubbed “Ralph”. This year is proving different.  I find it somewhat annoying, because all the nice, neat ways I had of viewing things are made a shambles. But I’ll get over it, for change has a better side: It is fascinating.

We recently had a nice influx of milder air up into the areas above 80° north latitude. While it is nowhere near as impressive as last year’s record-setting plumes, it still shows up nicely on the DMI graph.

DMI5 1120 meanT_2017

Therefore, though I am very busy in other areas of my life, I was of course curious to see if “Ralph” would reappear. In theory the mild air, rising, would create low pressure at the surface.

When I last had time to post on November 14 the “feeder band” extended up through Scandinavia and right across the Pole, curving towards Greenland (seen in the temperature map.) A “Ralph” was forming north of Greenland.


Last year (perhaps due to more potent, milder impulses as an after-effect of the 2015 super-El-Nino) Ralph would have bullied the high pressure off the Pole, but this year the high pressure pushed back. Ralph was squashed west across the Canadian Archipelago, as Atlantic Gales were repressed along their usual west-to-east route, and an Aleutian Low came further north than usual and crossed west-to-east from Siberia to Alaska north of Bering Strait (which seemed to be a pattern this autumn.)

By November 17 the feeder band has broken down, and though the milder air is over the Pole it is cooling quickly.

By November 18 Ralph is a pathetic blip on the Canadian side of the Pole, and the high pressure is expanding. The influx of milder air is still clear in the temperature maps, but cloud-cover maps showed fewer clouds than I’d expect, and very clear skies towards Greenland.

By November 19 the clear skies moved towards the Pole, and the high pressure was pumping up. Where last year the Pole likely lost much heat through uplift and latent heat being released as moisture precipitated out as snow, this year clear skies are allowing radiational cooling. The mildness of the “feeder band” is all but gone from the temperature map. The high pressure is so strong that the next west-to-east Pacific low is crossing Bering Strait further south. (Last years such lows sometimes came right north to the Pole, and I dubbed them Hula-Ralphs.)

By the  20th the high pressure at the Pole is one of the strongest I’ve seen. (Blue is above 1050 mb).

And this morning has me shaking my head. This is about as opposite a “Ralph” as you can get. The clockwise winds on the Atlantic side are effectively cutting off all Atlantic moisture from getting to the Pole, and though mild air is coming north through Being Strait, it is being swept east as an easterly flow that likely will cause the next Pacific storm to take a wrong-way route, along the Siberian coast east-to-west rather than west-to-east.

The current situation is fascinating for a number of reasons. Closest to home, when a high pressure like this has a lobe over Greenland it can breed storms on the east coast of the USA. (Those of you who insist upon using old-fashioned maps, that look at the earth sideways, know such high pressures as “blocking highs”.)

Another switch from earlier pattern is that sea-ice will be pushed down the east coast of Greenland, even as ice forms along the coast due to cold winds. Considering such sea-ice is basically leaving the Arctic to enter the Atlantic, any spike in sea-ice extent it causes is artificial, as the ice will melt by June. (However, if enough goes down the coast, it can cool the Atlantic, which I suppose influences sea-ice extent in some future time.) Ice extents remain well above last year’s.

DMI5 1120 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

It appears that while winds will push ice from around Svalbard and Barent’s Sea southwest into Fram Strait, winds north of the Strait will not be so helpful, and will keep ice from coming south.

A comparison of NRL maps shows much more sea-ice in the north of Barents Sea, and Kara Sea nearly full of sea-ice, which is indicative of the lack of southern surges that made last year so interesting (and pushed so much sea-ice north.) (2016 left; 2017 right)


There continues to be less ice on the Pacific side, but Hudson Bay has started its freeze earlier. It can freeze over with astonishing speed. Susan J. Crockford at reported that the people of Churchill stated the coastal freeze-up was one of the earliest since 1979.

W Hudson Bay freeze-up one of earliest since 1979, not “closer to average”

Lastly, the big high pressure at the Pole will offer me a chance to study the Polar Easterlies, which tend to be ephemeral and elusive, especially when Ralph is around.

Perhaps a good (although simplistic) way to think of the Polar Easterlies is to think of the track of a long lived hurricane. In the tropics it heads east-to-west, in the Trade Winds, but then curves and heads west-to-east in the Westerlies. Usually it transitions to a gale as it comes north, but if that gale gets far enough north it curves back to the west (often preforming a sort of loop-de-loop). That curve back to the west is the Polar Easterlies.

A lot of the time these east winds just seem to be the northern sides of Atlantic or Pacific storms in the Westerlies, but at other times they carry storms along with them (as seen in the case of the very weak version of “Ralph” in the above maps, and also in the Pacific storm which like will move east-to-west on the East Siberian coast this week.)

Also I keep thinking I glimpse some impulse or force moving against the Westerlies at high latitudes. I forget the name I gave it last winter, but I seemed to notice the “feeder bands” that fed Ralph rotated around the Pole in a clockwise manner.

I’m very unsure what I am seeing (or even if it is real) but I am going to keep myself entertained by continuing to scrutinize maps for it, (even if it is a mythical Bigfoot). I think it will be accented by the current Anti-Ralph at the Pole.

(In case you think it foolish to call a high pressure an “Anti-Ralph”, I must confess I have always though it was foolish to call a nice, sunny day an “anticyclone”.  It always seemed sort of like calling sunshine “anti-rain”.)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and stay tuned!



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?

DMI5 1106 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

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.)

DMI5 1106 FullSize_CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20171105

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).

Stay tuned.



ARCTIC SEA ICE —A Shot In The Dark—

So far this autumn’s  injections of milder air towards the Pole do not match last year’s, but they are occurring. Temperatures are above normal. (2016 to left. 2017 to right.)


Once the sun has set at the Pole, above-normal temperatures up there are not indicative of heat coming in to Earth, but rather of heat departing.  After the autumn equinox there is no better place for the earth to lose extra heat than the Pole, and, unlike what many Global Warming Alarmists suggest, to have above-normal temperatures at the Pole between the autumn and spring equinox is a sign the planet is squandering its mildness, and not clutching warmth to its bosom via the powers of a trace greenhouse-gas.

Some of the heat-loss is due to open waters, not yet covered by sea-ice, which is opposite what many Alarmists think the effect of less sea ice will be. They think the open waters will absorb sunshine that ice-covered waters would reflect, but there is either no sun at all up there, or the sunlight is coming in at such a low angle that water reflects sunshine more efficiently than rough and dirty ice.

The rest of the heat-loss comes via plumes of mild air brought north by a meridional flow. These “feeder bands” have fed the low pressure I dubbed “Ralph” over the past year. The current DMI maps only show the weakest sort of “Ralph” northwest of Greenland, but a Ralph-like swirl of milder temperatures shows up more clearly on the temperature maps. (Pressures and Isobars to left; Temperatures and isotherms to right.)

If you are on your toes you should note the swirl of milder temperatures at the Pole is clockwise rather than counterclockwise, which makes it distinctly un-Ralph-like, and more closely associated with high pressure than low pressure. The high pressure towards East Siberia is a new and interesting feature, and likely hints at a new pattern.

When this high pressure first began to pump ten days ago it messed up my naming system. Ordinarily highs to the Canadian side are named “Byoof”, and the highs towards Russia are named “Igor”, but this one emerged precisely halfway between sides. So I’ll name this one “Halfy”.

Because Halfy ridged down towards the Atlantic, it started to create a flow that barely shows in the above temperature map, as a slight spike of warmth northeast of Greenland. This sort of spike ruins the nice circle of cold at the Pole a more zonal pattern would encourage, and over the past two years has often led to a Pole milder than lower latitudes. (More recently, as seen in today’s isobar maps (but less obvious in isotherm maps) a second mild feeder-band has headed north ahead of lows moving east along the coast of Siberia.)

Over at the Weatherbell Premium site, Joe Bastardi recently posted an article called, “Has Cooling Begun, in spite of the Warmth on the Global Temp?”  In this post on his blog (week free trial available) he pointed out that warmth at the Pole is a very relative term, especially when you attempt to consider its effect on the most major greenhouse gas, which is not a trace gas like CO2 but is a major driver of weather, namely H2O.

To put Joe’s calculations in a nutshell, he explained that temperatures ten degrees above-normal, up where it is very cold, only add a little more water vapor to the atmosphere.  That slight addition of H20 only slightly reduces the amount of heat lost to outer space during the arctic night.

If temperatures were ten degrees above-normal further south, where temperatures are milder, much more moisture would be added to the atmosphere. However, when the Pole is milder often sub-polar areas are in fact colder. This significantly reduces the H20 in the atmosphere, and consequently significantly reduces the ability of sub-polar regions to trap heat.

The figures Joe came up with were as follows. A ten degree difference at the Pole would make a .18 grams/kg difference in H20, whereas a ten degree difference down where 50° F was the average temperature would make a 1.74 grams/kg difference in H20.

In other words, if temperatures are ten below-average to the north and ten above-average to the south, it averages out as zero, if you consider temperatures alone (as many Alarmists do). However if you consider the change in H2O, the most major greenhouse gas, it does not average out to zero. It is not a matter of averaging +10 with -10, but rather of averaging +0.18 with -1.74. Yowza! What a huge difference!

At this point we need to leave the simplicity of DMI maps (which I prefer) and look at the Weatherbell maps made possible by the genius of Dr. Ryan Maue, for we need to compare how much of the Pole is above-normal with how much  of the sub-polar landscape is below-normal. (Temperature Maue-map to left; Anomaly Maue-map to right.)


The above maps demonstrate the Pole is above-normal, and also show the feeder-bands of mildness up the east coast of Greenland and up through the Kara Sea, but besides those two feeder-bands, all other sub-arctic areas are below-normal.

Using the Bastardi Hypothesis, all the below-average areas have less greenhouse H20 in their atmosphere, and are less able to trap heat. They also are further south where the sun is still shining. If you added up the heat lost from these sunny, southern areas, it likely would be greater than the heat trapped from sunless northern areas with a slight increase of H20 in their air. I haven’t heard many Alarmists consider this, in their calculations.

If I was an Alarmist I might point out that, in East Siberia, October is when temperatures plunge to levels colder than the Arctic Sea’s. Therefore the decrease in H20 in such an area is slight, and perhaps less than the increase at the Pole. (I would pay no attention to the area of the Arctic Sea just north of the Canadian Archipelago, where temperatures are far below-normal.)

Such arguments are an attempt to plug holes in a very leaky ship. The entire argument that states our planet’s temperatures are governed by variations in the albedo of sea-ice has been holed by a veritable shotgun, called reality.

For example, Alarmists think less ice at the Pole will proceed hand in hand with shrinking ice atop Greenland. Therefore Alarmists, looking at the above maps, might be glad to see the anomaly map shows the Atlantic-feed up the east coast of Greenland has the entire Greenland icecap above-normal. But the temperature map shows such air is far below freezing. Also, as such Atlantic air, rich in H20, is uplifted ten thousand feet it tends to fail to be a greenhouse gas, but rather to fall as anti-greenhouse snowflakes. Rather than the icecap of Greenland shrinking, we seem to be entering a second year of above-average increase.

Swirl 3 accumulatedsmb

The media will ignore the snows on Greenland and the sub-polar cold. All they will talk about is the Pole being above average. What I saw over a decade ago is becoming increasingly obvious to the layman. The media is payed to bleat like sheep.

People interested in the beauty of Truth, (which is my aim), should be aware current indications are suggestive of short-term cooling, and not warming. Personally I see no harm in buying extra firewood for the first half of next winter, even though I am sensing the second half may be more merciful for sub-polar regions, and am already out on a limb, for I have suggested that the flow may become zonal and we may stop seeing “feeder bands”  bringing mild air to the Pole. Around February 13 we may see the media stop focusing on how mild it is at the Pole, and instead focusing on an early end to winter in areas further south, calling the early spring proof of Global Warming.

My reasons? Basically they revolve around the fact the Pacific seems to be recovering from an effect of the Quiet Sun which represses La Ninas and encourages El Ninos. I did not expect the waters off Peru to be chilling as they now are:

Swirl 4 nino12_short

Unless the Quiet Sun is able to stunt this up-welling of cold water off Peru, patterns should change at the Pole, and Ralph will become a rarity.

Stay Tuned.

(By the way, I made much the same point a year ago, albeit a bit more bitterly, as it looked at that point as if Hillary would be elected, and the Global Warming fiction would go charging ahead full speed. Old post is here:) (The comments that post prompted were especially gratifying.)

ARCTIC SEA ICE —The Drastic Laptev Majesty—

Of all the seas bordering the Arctic Ocean, the Laptev Sea is the most extreme, when it comes to the yearly ecological whiplash the arctic subjects its species and geology to. The water goes from nearly fresh to salty and the water temperatures swing from freezing to 60° F (16° C) near the shore. The tundra bordering it goes from sunbaked heat in the summer to one of the coldest places in the northern hemisphere in the winter.

Arctic rivers vary greatly in their flow, at a trickle in the frozen depths of winter and in a roaring flood during the height of the summer melt, and the Lena River is the tenth largest river in the world, though perhaps it is difficult to measure a river’s size when it freezes to the bottom in places, in February. The river rises sixty feet during its flood stage. Maximum discharge has exceeded 4.2 million cubic feet (120,000 cubic metres) per second, and the minimum has fallen to 39,300 cubic feet (1,100 cubic metres). In other words, a hundred times as much fresh water pours into the Laptev Sea in August as does in January.

The huge surge of fresh water into the Laptev Sea is one reason its shorelines freeze so swiftly. The ice has spread over much of the sea in only a week. (October 4 left, October 9 right.)

During calmer years the fresh water is able to stratify more, and a definite “lens”of fresh water forms at the surface, but on stormy years the mixing of the fresh water with the salty occurs more quickly. The sea is over the continental shelf and relatively shallow, so there is little exchange with the deeps, as occurs over much of the Antarctic coast. Winds tend to shift from summer sea-breezes, when the land is hotter and air rises over land, to winter land-breezes, when the sea is warmer and cold air sinks over Siberia. A dramatic change occurs during September, when days shrink shorter than nights, and the landscape shifts from sun-baked to snow-covered.

On his blog at Weatherbell, Joseph D’Aleo mentions the Siberian snows have been early this year.

Laptev 3 download

As soon as there is even a dusting of snow the tundra loses its ability to absorb heat from the shrinking daylight, and increases its ability to lose heat to the skies of the increasing nights. Although we are suppose to speak in terms of “heat-loss”, Siberia becomes a “cold-producer”.  The chilled air sinks, and builds high pressure as it presses down, and the Siberian high pressure (which I like to call “Igor”) can be the coldest and strongest in the northern hemisphere, with temperatures in the depth of winter down to -90° F.

The effect on the Laptev Sea is a quick freeze, as the winds start to flow off the land. It is all the quicker because the water is made brackish by the Lena River’s floods. However as the Lena River’s waters freeze, the flow swiftly shrinks. Also the winds start to pick up off the land, as the difference in temperature between the sea and the tundra increases. For a brief time there is a maritime airmass rubbing cheeks with an arctic high, and often this breeds storms that roll along the Siberian coast (with these storms having an oddity: Warmer winds from the north than from the south.) (Not so odd in Australia, I suppose.) These storms churn the water and can break up the ice, yet the freeze can be delayed but not denied. Eventually the Laptev is ice-covered.

However even when ice-covered, though less heat is lost, heat continues to radiate up through the ice. It may seem odd to call it “heat” when it is below freezing, but it is far “hotter” than the air pouring off Siberia. The air over the land is often below -50°F while the air over the sea-ice is “warmed” and seldom below -30°F. This difference can create “land-breezes” that in fact are roaring gales, and the gales are so strong they push the Laptiv Sea ice away from shore, creating a polynya of open water even in the depth of winter. This creates a difference in air temperature at the surface of +28°F over the water and -50°F over the land, which can only increase the gales, and the result is that large amounts of Laptev sea-ice are exported towards the North Pole. Most winters see the Laptev Sea as the largest creator and exporter of sea-ice, though the amounts vary a lot from year to year, depending on weather patterns.

Each time the polynya forms and the exposed water must be refrozen, an interesting process occurs wherein salt is exuded from the forming ice. Unlike Antarctica, where the super-cooled brine vanishes down to great depths, Laptev brine sinks in shallow water. In the delta of the Lena River the water becomes much saltier, as the summer flood turns to a winter trickle, and the “lens” of fresher water atop the Laptev Sea is constantly frozen and exported.

Just imagine a scientist trying to get his mind around all the variables we have discussed already. For a true scientist the challenge is a sheer joy, though for a person who wants a simple answer the Laptev Sea is a nightmare. Even if you could comprehend one year’s changes in temperature and salinity, the following year is likely to be completely different. One year the Lena basin may experience cold and drought as the following year sees mildness and rains, greatly altering the flow of fresh water into the Laptev Sea, and therefore altering the point at which water freezes, and changing all sorts of exchanges between water and air, all sorts of up-welling and down-welling influencing currents, and influencing evaporation rates and the formation of storms.

Just, (for the joy of it), consider this variable: In the case of fresh water, water at 32.1° F floats on top of water at 35°F, but in the case of salt water, water at 32.1°F sinks below water at 35°F. For your homework assignment, figure out the flow of fresh water from the Lena River, chilling as it flows into the Laptev Sea, and also becoming more saline, and determine the point at which it stops being more buoyant than the water it is entering, and starts to sink.

I think the true joy of a true scientist is not so much in figuring everything out, as it is in seeing how wonderful everything is. We might find some answers, but we will never comprehend the entirety of the sheer majesty and magnitude of what our Creator has achieved.

ARCTIC SEA ICE —Awaiting La Nina Del Norte—

There is always a lag between the time an event occurs in the tropics and the time the effects of that event reach the Pole. But there is no lag, when it comes to the effect of the sunshine actually striking the Pole. Therefore the effects of the “Quiet Sun” at the Pole are immediate, in terms of sunshine, but lagged, in terms of the complex manner the Quiet Sun effects the temperature of the oceans at the equator.

I think we have seen this in the temperatures at the Pole. From the moment the sun started to get high and bright in arctic skies in May, the temperatures were below normal. Then, from the moment winter darkness begins to spread south from the Pole in September (and the sun can have very little effect at the Pole because it doesn’t shine) temperatures have been above normal.

DMI5 1004 meanT_2017

It is common sense that the sun only effects the Pole directly when it is shining, (though certain people will make it more complex than it needs to be.) It is also common sense that as soon as the sun sets at the Pole something besides the sun must be involved, when it comes to transporting heat to the Pole.

The transport occurs via air masses.  The planet is constantly attempting to achieve a balance, though arriving at a point where the entire planet is the same temperature is impossible. Just as we will always have our poor, we will always have our Poles. As the planet attempts to move all the equator’s heat to the Pole, it is attempting the impossible, and is in some ways like a socialist attempting to move the wealth of the rich to the poor. It even gets nasty, with hurricanes and gales, like socialists do with taxes. Unlike socialists, the result is a beautiful planet.

(In case you are wondering, I’m currently doing my taxes.)

The transport also occurs via ocean currents, but much more slowly. The heat we currently notice at the Pole largely comes from a meridional flow, where the jet stream develops loops that hurry the mixing of arctic air with tropical air. When the difference between the Pole and the Tropics is less pronounced there seems to be less need of mixing, and the jet stream gets less loopy, and that flow is called “zonal.”

I have been working on the idea, the past year, that there is a third flow, that creates an area of low pressure at the Pole which, for my amusement, I have dubbed “Ralph.” I suppose this third flow is actually an “extremely meridional” flow, but I’ve decided to call it a “Ralphal” flow, because I’ve always wanted to contribute something to science, and coining words is fun.

My assumption was that the Ralphal flow was prompted by a larger-than-nornal difference between the tropics and Pole, brought about by the very big El Nino in 2015. I further assumed that the sway in the direction of El Nino conditions would be followed by an equal-and-opposite sway in the direction of a La Nina, as that usually happens. But it didn’t. We had a feeble La Nina, not equal-and-opposite at all, and then the Pacific looked like it was heading right back to El Nino conditions.  So all forecasts could get thrown right into the dumpster.

But then, even as I busily wiped the egg off my face and adjusted all my forecasts to expectations of an El Nino, that fickle Pacific flipped right back towards La Nina conditions. This is why so many quit attempting to forecast the weather. They don’t like having their sanity messed with. (Fortunately sanity is never anything I’ve had to worry about losing, being blessed with madness to begin with).

Nino 20171003 nino34Sea(58)

The long term effect of this La Nina will likely be to generate cooler air masses, which in a lagged way will make their way up to the Pole, but likely this change will take its sweet time to manifest. When we check to see if sea temperatures are below normal, we notice the southern hemisphere may be surprisingly cool but the northern hemisphere remains surprisingly warm.

SST anomaly 20171002 anomnight.10.2.2017

With all that extra heat to the north, the planet had the urge to lose, and that tends to encourage the development of hurricanes  and typhoons. The set up was one which made the Atlantic the place for them to develop this year, and the above map actually shows their effect on the Atlantic’s waters. The heat was sucked out of the water off the east coast of the USA. (To the north the water is warmer because the hurricanes prevented the up-welling of cold water south of Labrador and Nova Scotia.)

On a whole all the heat coming from the northern ocean made the planet milder, but that mildness was hurried to the Pole, to be lost to the growing dark of winter night. The favorite route was up through the North Atlantic past Norway, over Svalbard, which was well above normal in September, as Roy Spencer’s September air temperature map demonstrates.

Temperatures september_2017_map (1)

The above map averages out some of the loopy shifting of the jet. For example, at the start of September it was very cold in the east of the USA, with unusually early snows on peaks not far north of where I live, and even a few spots of late August frost, but by the end of September we were midst a heat wave, and the unusually early snows had shifted to the west of the USA. Result? The map averages the extremes out, and most of the USA looks “normal”.

However Svalbard, at the top of the map, was the most “above-average” place on earth. (Not that anyone went swimming in the icewater.) This is a definate sign of a Ralphal flow, and we did see Ralph incarnating up over the Pole, even as a decent gale for a time. (September 21 map below)

DMI4 0921B mslp_latest.big

This flow continues to fascinate me, but I continue to think it must be at its end. Eventually the effects of the new La Nina will work north, and we’ll see what I imagine will be an abrupt shift to a more zonal flow. When?  (Wait while I flip a coin.) My guess is February 13 at 6:00 PM, EST.

I’ve been saving maps since late August, and hope to go through what we’ve been seeing the past month in more detail. But first I have to face my blasted taxes. (I got an “extension” back when they were due on April 15, but it runs out on October 15. Even a great procrastinator like myself must someday face the music.)

For people interested in the sea-ice itself, it is growing back swiftly now.

DMI5 1003 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

As an interesting side-note, the mild air pushing north past Svalbard has pushed the ice away from its north coast, but this may actually be also preventing ice from being flushed south through Fram Strait and the east coast of Greenland. Though this reduces the sea-ice in the short term, in the long-term it keeps the ice up in the Arctic Sea, and increases “volume” if not “area” and “extent”.

Svalbard FullSizeRender

Here’s a comparison with last year. (2016 to left; 2017 to right.)

One topic I hope to talk about in the future is the interesting way the sea-ice was jammed south last summer into the channels in the Canadian Archipelago. Some thick, multi-year ice flowed south to the east of Melville Island and across Parry Channel. This may enter the calculations of people attempting the Northwest Passage  next summer. We can only cross our fingers and hope our poor, odd, battered O-buoy 14 camera survives another winter, in that area. Obuoy 14 1003 webcam

Stay tuned.

ARCTIC SEA ICE —Ralph ‘s Rebound—

While attention has been diverted to hurricanes to the south, a gale has blown up at the Pole.


This storm has characteristics of the persistent low pressure at the Pole I dubbed “Ralph”. Milder-than-normal air has fed up to the Pole, like it did last year, indicative of a meridional flow rather than a zonal flow.

DMI4 0921 meanT_2017

This sort of loopy jet stream often bring cold air south, and indeed there are unseasonably early snows in Norway:


And in the West of USA:

Mount Hood Screen-Shot-2017-09-19-at-2.59.45-PM

This is the same western area that the loopy jet-stream was bringing blazing heat and forest fires three weeks ago.  Now snow is quelling the blazes, as the east of the USA gets heat. Three weeks ago our higher peaks were getting an unseasonably early dusting of snow here in my home state of New Hampshire, but now our forecast is for temperatures of 88°F Sunday and Monday (31°C), the moral being a loopy jetsream does not mean the cold will lock in at any particular spot. The irony is that the cold and heat will likely balance out, and a month of extraordinary extremes will wind up looking “average.” (Although I cynically imagine certain Alarmists will tweak and adjust the data to make the month look 0.02 degrees above normal.)

At this point I should likely confess I was expecting to see “Ralph” fade at the Pole, and a more zonal jet stream to manifest and build high pressure. Indeed there did seem to be a struggle between high pressure and low pressure at the Pole, but now “Ralph” has reappeared in a big way.

My reasoning was based around the fact the lagged effects of the major El Nino of 2015 have likely faded, and I think the appearance of Ralph was largely due to the difference between a colder Pole and warmer tropics. With the tropics cooler I figured the cause of the meridional flow would weaken.

El Nino Sept 2017 nino34_short

However perhaps that poor excuse for an El Nino last summer was enough to keep Ralph going. Or perhaps the fact the sun became briefly became very noisy at the start of September threw a wrench into the works.

Sunspots 20170906 latest_512_HMIIC

In any case, we have a gale churning away up there. It will not have the effect of an “Gustogale” because it isn’t August. In August it is hard to find temperatures below freezing over the sea ice, but now temperatures are well below freezing, and the -10°C isotherm has appeared north of Greenland.

Not that the ice-edge might not retreat in the face of southerly gales north of the East Siberian Sea, but also the Laptev freeze-up might be hurried as cold wind sweep around and chill its shallow waters.

Comparison of this year (right) with last year (left).

Last year’s storms left the ice far more scattered and shattered. Also the Northwest passage appears more frozen up this year.

Yesterday’s extent graph does not yet show the storm causing a downward blip. We will have to keep an eye on that. There may be a late minimum.

DMI4 0921 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

There does seem to be a lag between when things happen in the tropics and when the effects reach the Pole, so another thing I’ll be keeping an eye on is whether the lagged effect of the developing La Nina reach the Pole in the second half of the winter. I’ll be expecting the zonal flow. I figure if I forecast it long enough, eventually I’ll be right!

Stay tuned.

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:


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.