One thing I’ve learned, as I have attempted to fact-check Alarmist’s sensationalist claims over the past decade, is that sea-ice exists in a sort of teetering balance between a single power that chills, and a multitude of powers that warm.
The single cooling power is the loss of heat to outer space, which continues at a quite regular rate 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Although clouds, and sea-ice itself, form insulation slowing the escape of heat at the surface and from waters beneath the ice, the hungry maw of outer space is constant in its demands. It is the loss of heat to outer space that creates the sea-ice.
Countering this chilling are warm forces constantly attempting to melt the sea-ice. These forces include many that operate even in the dead of winter, including warm air masses, warm currents, the temperature of the Arctic Sea itself, and rising warm plumes of water over undersea volcanoes. But the force that gathers the most attention is sunshine, which only operates six months a year.
The theory called the “Death Spiral” worries that, once the sea-ice is melted, the darker water will be able to absorb more sunlight than the white sea-ice, due to “albedo”, and this will cause the water to warm, and warm water will melt more sea-ice, and this will become a vicious cycle until there is no sea-ice at all, which will cause dramatic, disastrous warming over the rest of the planet.
This worry is needless for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most obvious is that the Arctic Sea has been ice-free in the past, perhaps as recently as the Medieval Warm Period, (and perhaps, on the Atlantic side, as recently as 1817), and there was no vicious cycle seen. If it didn’t happen then why should it happen now? Other reasons the worry is needless are less obvious, but have been fascinating to study.
The first is that when the sun first rises at the Pole the snow is at its most pristine and Albedo is at its highest. Also the ice is chilled to as much as forty below, at the surface, and even when the surface is warmed the chill lingers down deeper in the ice. The sea-ice is so cold salt can’t melt it, and a surprising amount of salt-dust is mixed in with the snow in places. Then, as the sea-ice is warmed from both above and below, the salt starts to melt the sea-ice, which actually is a process which uses up available heat. (Think of an old fashioned crank-operated ice-cream-maker.) All in all there is so much resisting the warming that it often isn’t until the days are already starting to grow shorter that slush starts to form on the surface, and melt-water pools appear
Because these pools are darker, at first they indeed have a lower albedo and absorb more sunlight, however as August proceeds they start to skim over with ice, because the sun is dipping towards the horizon, and, once the angle of the sun gets low, water (especially when it is glassy) reflects sunlight (think of the late-day glare which requires sunglasses). Water then has an albedo as high as sea-ice, especially dirty sea-ice. Therefore the sea-ice melt seen in September is largely caused by the warmer water under the sea-ice, and not the sunshine above. Lastly, because the open water largely appears when the sun has ceased to penetrate the water, the sunshine cannot be heating the water and cannot contribute to a “Death Spiral”.
A second fascinating thing to study is the drift of the sea-ice. It turns out the amount of sea-ice at the Pole can be decreased not by heat, but by simply exporting large amounts to warmer waters (which happened to such an sensational degree in the spring of 1817 that there was open water north of Svalbard and Greenland, yet icebergs grounding on the coast of Ireland.)
A third study is the wandering currents which feed warmer water into the arctic. These currents apparently vary in their temperature, depth and location, having something to do with a cycle of roughly sixty years called the AMO. (Atlantic Multidecadal Cycle). In the past fishermen have noted some dramatic shifts in the location of fishing grounds, and there are incidental reports in historical records of notable changes in water temperatures, and how much ice is along coastlines, and how far glaciers extend into the sea. While these historical reports are dismissed by some scientists as anecdotal and too scattered to be useful, scientists themselves only have scattered data back sixty years ago, when the AMO was last doing what it now (perhaps) is going to do again. But a “Cycle” is very different from a “Death Spiral”, and currently there is more evidence the arctic follows cycles than evidence it is headed down a one-way street to disaster.
A fourth effect has been studied even less than the AMO, and is the occurrence of under-sea volcanos. This has grabbed my attention now due to the appearance of a mysterious hole in the sea-ice, seen in the NRL maps starting roughly at the end of March, but only sizable and clear over the past thirty days. It is located roughly at 85 degrees north and 110 degrees east.
I have only seen this sort of event once before, roughly seven years ago, at roughly the same location. Back then a reader asked me what it was, and I had no answer. They suggested it might be caused by a plume of warm water rising from a volcano, but that particular event was so brief I could only shrug it off and say “perhaps”, but confess I had never read of such a thing. But this one has been longer lasting. It appeared to be associated with no above-freezing temperatures nor with a lead or pressure ridge in the sea-ice, and also to move in a very odd manner. For example, when the sea-ice drifted to the right it would drift more slowly and even seem to stand still, and when the sea-ice swung around and drifted the opposite way it would remain in the same place. Lastly it has persisted despite constantly sub-freezing temperatures, and even to be enlarging. To me this seems consistent with a plume of milder water rising and persistently melting the sea-ice from the bottom.
Now seems a good time for the Navy to plan some sort of long distance training flight, and also to drop some sort of buoy or sensor into that water. If I was a sea-ice scientist I’d be hectoring and wheedling for such an expenditure. I imagine such events (if it is truly such an event) are not that common.
It is also interesting to think about the effects of such an upwelling. Likely it would derange the system of currents at that location, at various depths beneath the sea-ice, and trouble the stratification of water with upwelling turbulence. This in turn would have an effect “downstream” in the temperature and even location of the currents involved, which in turn could effect other currents.
We have heard much talk about “tipping points”, and how bovine flatulence and curly lightbulbs are things the fate of our planet hinges upon. However here we may be seeing a far more meaningful event, which could have repercussions like dominoes, and lead to interesting changes. Likely it has happened before, but by studying what happens this time we may be able to to look backwards and say, “Ah ha! So that is why that happened!”
In any case, it gave me something to get excited about during a basically dull time at the Pole. There has been a “Ralph” sitting over the Pole, but it was weak and the air has basically stagnated up there, without any roaring gales. There has been a slow but steady flow of sea-ice south through Fram Strait, but the current sluggishness of systems has revealed something that isn’t always apparent: Despite 24-hour sunshine, the arctic is still losing heat to outer space, and still creating cold air. Otherwise the DMI temperatures-north-of-80-degrees-lattitude graph could never show a downturn like this:
This downturn demonstrates that the Pole’s temperature is an equation, basically a fixed amount of heat being lost, and a varying amount of heat being added. To be a bit overly simplistic, in the dead of winter 100 units are lost and 70 added, which gives you a temperature of 30 below. Now, with more sunshine and warmer landscapes to the south, 100 units are lost and 90 are added, which gives you a temperature of 10 below. It is a bit of a misnomer to state the arctic is warming, for in fact it is still losing. It just isn’t losing as much.
In fact sea ice is still forming at the Pole. The “extent” graph only starts its yearly crash because large areas of sea-ice in more southerly climes, such as the Sea of Okhotsk, melt away. This year we are a hair behind last year’s rate of decrease (not that it means much this early):
Despite the loss of all the ice to the south, the “volume” graph shows the loss is countered by an increase in sea-ice to the north, and the total volume never starts to drop until around about this time every May.
This graph demonstrates that, despite a possible volcano melting the underside of the sea-ice at one locale, we have more ice up there than last year.
I hope to post again soon, with some maps of the weather events up there, now that my taxes are done. (The dull period may be ending, as a bit of a Barents Sea Blaster may be brewing). But I figured I’d whip off this post to alert people to the possibility of an undersea volcano up there.
A fascinating change in the pattern at the Pole is occurring, involving the winds in Fram Strait switching from south winds, which prevent the sea-ice from exiting the Arctic Sea, to north winds, which flush the sea-ice down into the Atlantic.
One interesting example of the bias of Alarmists is that both south winds and north winds are a sign of Global Warming. South winds bring milder air north, which is proof the Pole is warming, while north winds flush sea-ice south and reduce the amount of sea-ice in the Central Arctic, which is proof the Pole is warming.
In any case I’ll start with a bunch of maps, which will show the switch. We’ll begin back on March 18, when high pressure over Norway and low pressure north of Greenland had south winds in Fram Strait, and a clear “feeder band” of milder air probing up towards the Pole.
The “feeder band” fed the weak low north of Greenland, and it took an unusual route over Svalbard, strengthening and switching the winds from south to north in Fram Strait.
The storm became quite strong, but notice how the “feeder band” fades. Despite the sunrise at the Pole, the warmer air is still lost to outer space, and the temperatures at the Pole remain close to thirty below.
The storm fades into western Russia, but a small low follows over Svalbard, keeping the flow of cold air south through Fram Strait.
At this point I am noticing the low down by Iceland, and wondering if it will disrupt the pattern by taking a more traditional route. High pressure is being pumped behind the prior storm, over Scandinavia.
In the above map I am already noting that the Icelandic gale will not behave as I expect, as the prior low has pumped a ridge over Scandinavia, blocking the Icelandic gale. It will be deflected towards Fram Strait. This could get interesting.
Another big low moves up from Cape Farewell at the southern tip of Greenland to Iceland, and runs up against the blocking high over Scandinavia. That high is expanding south and west, growing into what would be a northern positioning of the Azores High, if it was warmer, but it is not a balmy high pressure.
The gale has managed to squeeze over the top of the high pressure, weakening a lot, and the flow in Fram Strait is now east to west, flushing out less ice. The blocking high has forsed the next gale up the west side of Greenland, into Baffin Bay.
As the Baffin Bay low transits the high icefields of Greenland it sucks a new “feeder band” up through Fram Strait, fueling a “Ralph” (Anomolous area of low pressure) over the Pole, as the old Atlantic gale sags into Russia. At this point I am sitting back and quite confident the flow down through Fram Strait is over. The blocking high pressure is bulging north south of Iceland, forsing a second Gale west up into Baffin Bay.
Only a day later and I am scratching my head, for again there are north winds in Fram Strait, despite the Baffin Bay low approaching from the west, which I thought would create south winds. However I figure the north winds will soon shift south, and my attention is diverted to the speed at which the “feeder band” is cooled, as it fuels the “Ralph.”
The Baffin Bay low fights its way over the blocking high and the 10,000 foot high icefields of Greenland, and is in Fram Strait, where winds are nearly calm. High pressure builds in its wake. I pay little attention. I am thinking of writing a post on how the “feeder band” cooled despite the fact the sun has risen, which shows the Pole is still losing heat to outer space. I am watching “Ralph”. Fram Strait is not a focus of my attention.
Yowza! What the heck happened!? Crossing the northernmost north Atlantic the Baffin Bay low totally exploded, and the high behind it became totally pumped, and the winds are screaming south in Fram Strait. Who the heck cares about the dwindling “Ralph”, or about “feeder bands” you can barely see any more?
The Baffin Bay low, (which now perhaps qualifies as a “Barents Sea Blaster”) never sunk down into Russia, but rather wobbled about southeast of Svalbard, helped by a Fujiwara dance with another Atlantic low which managed to squeak over the blocking high. The maps below basically demonstrate we have seen six days of roaring north winds in Fram Strait. (And many other things as well, but one needs to limit ones focus, at times.)
At this point we perhaps can sit back and attempt to see what the effect of six days of Fram Flushing has been. One rather cool effect is that the sea-ice, formerly crushed west into the east coast of Greenland, has been spread out, forming polynyas of open water or very thin baby-ice along Greenland’s coast, but actually crossing the Denmark Strait and touching the north coast of Iceland in two places.
However, before you plan to saunter from Iceland to Greenland, it is important to be aware “thickness” maps exist in a dream-world of “averages” and the average of a few big bergs and much open water is six inches. There is in fact no six inch thick ice to stroll upon, and you’d better be prepared to hop like a super-kangaroo to get from big berg to big berg. A satelite few of the ice-edge between Greenland and Iceland will give you a good idea of the conditions we are dealing with.
Of course, with ice being flushed south in Fram Strait, one looks north to see where the sea-ice is coming from. And indeed some big leads have opened north of Greenland. (Greenland coast at lowest right corner.)
If you look at these leads you will notice they are dark on their left sides and more milky to the right, which shows you how rapidly sea-ice forms with temperatures still down close to thirty below. In some ways leads may increase the production of sea-ice, especially in April. (In July it is totally different, with air temperatures above freezing.) To be honest, I am uncertain if exporting sea-ice through Fram Strait decreases the amount of sea-ice, or increases it.
In the short term the more sea-ice you flush down into the Atlantic, the less your total will be, because the Atlantic swiftly melts the bergs. However there are long-term consequences as well. What happens if you chill the Atlantic?
In the winter of 1816-1817 there was apparently such an amazing Fram Strait flushing that it seems pure hyperbole. The sea-ice didn’t just reach the north coast of Iceland; it reached Ireland.(Never seen since). So much ice was flushed south the waters north of Greenland were wide open. Coastlines never mapped before were mapped, and one whaler claimed he sailed up through Fram Strait, westward over the top of Greenland, and down through Baffin Bay. The English Navy was galvanized, for it seemed a Northwest Passage might be opening up. But the same time saw a “year with no summer” in western Europe, because the Atlantic had been so chilled by the discharge of sea-ice. (Meanwhile Eastern Europe was warm; apparently the chilled Atlantic caused the summer jet stream to dig unusually far south over Western Europe, but to loop north in the East.)
In any case, the current flushing (so far) is small potatoes compared to 1817. But it is interesting to think about the factors involved.
One factor is that if you greatly cool the Atlantic you also cool the water that ordinarily melts a lot of sea ice, when it enters the arctic as the northernmost tendrils of the warm Gulf Stream. If you cool those tendrils they can melt less ice, which leads to more ice and colder temperatures which leads to even more ice. In fact the very low sea-ice of 1817 sent the 600 ship British Navy, (recently unemployed with Napoleon defeated and the conflict with the United States ended), exploring open Arctic waters which they then saw become increasingly ice covered. In 1819 William Parry was able to sail far west in the sound which now bears his name, yet the Franklin expedition perished, trapped by ice in the same waters thirty years later. It might be that a discharge of sea-ice through Fram Strait is a sort of “tipping point” or “trigger”, which sets off cooling. Or maybe not. But it should at least be considered.
Fram Strait is important because it is the only deep connection the Arctic Sea has with the rest of the world’s oceans. The arctic cools vasts amounts of water, and cold water sinks, drawing warm water north to replace it. As the warm water comes north the colder water must exit south, but has difficulty doing so in shallow waters of the continental shelf, such as Bering Strait or the waters east of Svalbard. Only west of Svalbard is there a deep channel for cold waters that have sunk deep. Even so, some cold water spills over the shallow waters of the continental shelf on the Greenland side of Fram Strait, but, as soon as that water has a chance, it plunges downwards. South of Fram Strait, where the continental shelf draws closer to Greenland, there is a sort of underwater Niagara Falls, where huge amounts of cold water plunges down over the edge of the continental shelf.
As this cold water plunges down it is removed from the influences that control weather at the surface, and, though part of the thermohaline circulation, it cannot effect temperatures at the surface for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years, when it reappears as an upwelling at some other place on the planet. However if that water comes south with a bunch of sea-ice, the sea-ice cannot sink down to the abysmal deeps, but merrily continues to bob south at the surface, and consequently continues to be able to greatly alter weather at the surface. Those who sail northern fogs state you can feel the chill of an iceberg long before you can see it.
Despite six days of frigid north winds, current anomaly maps do not show much cooling of the north Atlantic.
I think ice-water causes problems for the models that produce such maps. Technically ice-water is as cold as water can get, for it is where ice and water coexist. Therefore, because water any colder would not be water but rather ice, ice-water cannot be “above normal”, because that would suggest a “normal” where water was fluid below freezing. However I have often seen such models describe ice-water as a degree, (and in one case three), above “normal”. Impossible. But in any case I am expecting to see the models catch on later in the season, and to see the North Atlantic cooled. Currently the cooling is only apparent east of Iceland.
Another effect the north winds have is to slow the flow of warmer waters to the arctic. The major warm tendril of the Gulf Stream in Fram Strait is the WSC (West Spitsbergen Current), which bounces off the coast of Norway and travels north roughly along the line of ten degrees longitude. This mild current is responsible for ice-free water on the east side of Fram Strait, and ice-free waters north and northwest of Svalbard, sometimes even in the dead of winter. However this water is only held at the surface because it is warmer than than surrounding water; in terms of salinity it wants to sink, because evaporation down in the tropics makes it saltier than surrounding water, and salty water wants to sink below fresher water. Therefore when the WSC chills to a certain point it sinks below the surface, and can melt sea-ice no longer. Six straight days of being blasted by northern winds likely has chilled the WSC more than usual. It may dive beneath the surface prematurely, and allow sea-ice to persist north of Svalbard.
Interestingly, the WSC remains recognizable even after it dives under the surface, due to its salt content and temperature, and hard working scientists have traced it as it describes a complete circuit of the Pole and exits, still different from colder water, on the west side of Fram Strait as part of the ice-clogged, southbound EGC. (East Greenland Current.)
I am somewhat amazed by the hard work done, getting beneath the sea-ice to measure these currents, especially as such study discovers no gold and isn’t profitable in any immediate worldly sense. I’ve noticed the discoveries don’t always jive with prior discoveries. I don’t think this is due to one scientist being “right” and another “wrong”, but rather because the currents wander. After all, like the jet stream high overhead, currents have no restraining banks like a river has, and are free to meander whither they will. What I imagine is needed is a salesman to sell the idea of under-ice sensors as numerous as weather balloons are above the ice, to trace the meanderings. Hmm. Good luck with that job.
Another effect of the north winds howling south through Fram Strait for six straight days would likely be to slow the speed of the WSC northward, while increasing the speed of the EGC southward. This creates interesting pneumatic problems, for water doesn’t compress and cannot stretch. Initially I would think that slowing the speed of the WSC by a tenth of a mile per hour would only delay the arrival of the water in Fram Strait slightly, but the effect upstream might in some ways be immediate. When you press a brake pedal the pneumatic effect takes no time to reach your brakes. The only give in the Arctic Sea pneumatic system is the level of the sea, and if the WSC is importing less water north as the EGC is exporting more water south, the level of the Arctic Sea should theoretically drop. And if it is then lower than surrounding seas, would that not increase the tendency of water to pour into the arctic in other places?
Lastly, the tundra and taiga are just starting to see days longer than nights, and snows are just starting to melt, which means arctic rivers, frozen to a mere trickle by the bitter winter cold, are just beginning to rise. The increases are astounding. For example, the largest river, the Lena, can rise sixty feet in spring floods. The import of fresh water into the Arctic Sea goes from near zero to vast amounts. This fresh water tends to form a “lens” atop the saltier water, and freezes more easily than salt water. Therefore the import of water to the Arctic Sea switches from largely being saltier water from the tropics in early April, to fresh water from rivers in June. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, (or put it in your climate model and watch the computer smoke and melt down).
The more you study sea-ice the more you become aware the variables are multitudinous, and perhaps chaotic to all minds but the Creator’s. Every year 20 thousand cubic kilometers of sea-ice are created, only to melt away every summer down to around 5 cubic kilometers that remain. By the end of summer the sea-ice is splotched with meltwater pools, and in places broken into slabs.
The satellites tend to see meltwater pools as open water, but the scientists slogging about collecting data (and rescuing equipment before it sinks) know such pools are usually but puddles on firm ice (though a few can reach down through the ice, holes down to an open sea a mile deep.)
It is a beautiful landscape. I wish we still had the Barneo polar tourist-trap and jetport, the floating buoys with cameras, and the intrepid adventurers skiing past polar bears, but pictures are getting harder and harder to find. Right now we’d be seeing the floating bergs were now firmly fixed in the winter’s new baby-ice.
We could examine where leads had opened, frozen swiftly over with baby-ice, and then clapped shut, stacking the baby-ice like plates.
All these images strike me as beautiful, and inspire no dread of a “Death Spiral”, nor of a planet broiling and boiling. A quick glance at the “volume” graph shows we have more ice than last year, and indeed more than in 2017, so it’s hard to fear it is all melting away.
In fact, rather than inspiring fear, the sea-ice inspires a sense of wonder. It is amazing how our Creator designed our planet to work, with its seasons and its ebbing and flowing. My mind is more inclined towards awe than towards dread, which makes the pseudo-scientists hired by politicians seem all the more like purveyors of panic porn. They make it their business to inspire fear, rather than appreciation of how well the world is made. They want to sell vaccines, rather than appreciate the excellent antibodies made by immune systems we already possess, so they downplay wonder and stir up dread.
God’s beauty currently does not manifest in Washington D.C., but it does manifest at the Pole. If you want to feel uplifted, shut off the Fake News, and study the clouds, or sunsets, or sea-ice.
As a final aside and wonder, I’ll point out that the current flushing of Fram Strait has drained the Pole of a lot of its cold air, exporting the cold all the way south to April snows in England. Yet despite the export of all this cold air, temperatures at the Pole are not all that far above normal, and indeed are closer to normal than they were at this time last year.
It will be interesting to watch the arctic for further developments. Stay tuned.
This year’s sunrise at the Pole, marking the start of the six month “day”, was once again accented by the strange dip in temperatures which seems so contrary to what one might expect the first touch of sunlight to bring. However I’ve noticed the same phenomenon in the microcosm of my own back yard, on cold mornings. The coldest “nighttime low” occurs not at night, but just after daybreak.
I can’t really explain it, (but that has never stopped me from trying). Just guessing, I suspect there is a thin layer of very cold air right next to the ground. (I’ve seen frost on low places in my yard some autumn mornings, while my tomato plants only a few feet higher escape any frost.) The first beams of sun perhaps stirs up this low layer of cold air, at least to a level of four feet, where it effects thermometers. The sun may be warming, but in stirring cold air up it initially brings thermometers down. Or that is my best guess at why even the long-term averages show a slight dip at polar sunrise, (the green line on the graphs), and the red line has shown temperatures dip to below normal right at sunrise for the last four years, despite generally warm seas to the south and above-normal winters in the Central Arctic.
Check out the last three years. (Polar sunrise is around day 79)
Usually the bounce-back to above-normal temperatures has been striking, but this year it seems a bit more sluggish. We’ve dipped down to the green line not once, but three times, and on the last occasion we spent five days below normal. Admittedly it was only a hair below normal, but it is enough to seem like “a change in the cycle.”
My own take is that there is less warm air available to import from the south. The “warm spikes” during winter (and even after sunrise, when the sun is too low to warm much), are not due to sunshine but rather imported from warmer waters to the south. The warmth of those waters is not due to stronger sunshine but rather weaker sunshine, which leads to weaker winds, which leads to weaker upwellings of cold water, which makes seas warmer at the surface. However the heat at the surface is a limited commodity, and because the sun is quiet such heat can be exhausted, which may be a development we are now beginning to witness. After an extended (and unexpected) period of warm El Ninos, the Pacific has seen a shift to colder La Nina conditions over the past year. The La Nina was expected to end this spring, but a disconcerting surge of colder water has recently emerged off the coast of Peru, suggesting the cold La Nina may not be so swift to weaken.
This La Nina will need to be watched, for it has encouraged the cooler waters off the the Pacific coasts of USA, Canada, and Alaska, which are signs of a “cold” PDO, which increases sea-ice north of Bering Strait. Also extra sea-ice in the Sea of Okhotsk will chill winds from the west, perhaps aiding and abetting that “cold” PDO, at least at the start of summer.
It should also be noted that the UAH average-world-temperature, likely due to the La Nina, is at its lowest in four years.
To return to my original point, it just seems there may be less heat available to melt sea-ice with, in some respects, this coming summer. The sun should become less quiet, but still will be more quiet than in the past, so there will not be extra radiance beating down on the sea-ice.
The sea-ice is noticeably thicker where it was thinnest last spring, along the Eurasian coast and especially in the Laptev Sea. The sea-ice which was shifted from the Eurasian coast into the Central Arctic has not been flushed south by the Transpolar Drift into Fram Strait and south into the Atlantic, but instead stands as a thick body, difficult to melt. Things are looking bad, in terms of an ice-free Pole this summer.
The build-up shows in the modelled DMI sea-ice-volume graph, which shows us moving from “lowest evah” last August to “more than in 2017”, this March.
The “extent” graph doesn’t mean much this time of year, as lots of sea-ice always vanishes from places far south of the true arctic. For example, a vast area of sea-ice ceased to exist, down in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, this past fortnight. Over the next few weeks large areas will vanish from the Sea of Okhotsk. Such fluctuations are normal and natural, and one should attend to whether they are early or late, and feel no worry that they happen. However I did notice something I found amusing about the “total”, which politicians think we need to fret about.
Below is the “extent” as determined by DMI through the month of February. Glance it over, and decide for yourself how 2021 stood, compared to the most recent five years. (2021 is black)
Now a bumpkin like me might note that in mid February the extent was the highest in the past six years, and also note that the month ended with 2021 second highest. However the powers-that-be noted that dip towards the end of February, when a couple of North Atlantic Gales compressed sea-ice west in the Greenland Sea and north in Barents Sea, and used that dip in extent to determine 2021 has the second lowest February sea-ice extent evah.
Now look at the past month. What do you think the 2021 extent will be listed as, by the powers-that-be?
A bumpkin like me might note 2021 had the highest extent of the past six years, just past mid month, but do think the powers that be will look at that? Or look at the fact April started with 2021 having the highest extent in the past six years? Or will they focus on that late month dip?
Time will tell.
But at least, even if you display a certain bias by focusing on dips, a dip is data. The DMI powers-that-be are at least not resorting to making stuff up, like certain politicians, who make up votes they never got, and print money they do not have.
I have more to say about sea-ice, but must attend to paying my taxes, for someone must come up with the five trillion the unelected idiots are spending. (Sorry to tell them this, but I haven’t got five trillion.)
As we approach the sea-ice maximum an interesting Pacific gale wandered north through Bering Stait, even as an interesting couple of gales sunk southeast from a more northerly-than-usual track into the westernmost reaches of Russia south of the Kara Sea. This completely reversed the cross-polar-flow on the Pacific side, from Eurasia-to-Canada to Canada-to-Eurasia.
One interesting thing about this reversal is that, far to the south in North America where I live, places like Texas, which saw a shocking cold wave when the flow was Eurasia-to-Canada, are seeing far more balmy weather now the flow is reversed, and this surge of spring-like mildness is going to reach even Montreal by Thursday. People in Siberia may not appreciate this flow, but North America does.
A second thing I’ve noticed about the reversal is that, at least at first, the air is not exported south into Canada, but hasn’t made it across the Pole to be exported down into Russia either, so the Pole itself is unable to import warm air, and has achieved some of its lowest temperatures of the winter. (red line) It has even touched normal (green line) far below freezing (blue line.)
The temperature map accents how cold the Central Arctic has become.
One interesting thing about reversing the winds in this manner is that it puts the sea-ice under enormous stress, opening leads and piling up pressure ridges. At thirty below, the leads do not remain open water for long. The conditions, in my mind, seem good for increasing the thickness in the Central Arctic. In calm the cold must work its way down through four to fifteen feet of ice to reach water it can freeze, but open leads freeze immediately.
For the best guess of thickness I use the DMI modeled thickness, basically because it is easiest; I have little spare time to go to other sites. But when I do I am always amazed by how greatly the thicknesses vary. Certain features exist on some maps that appear on no other maps. For example, the “S” of thick ice (red) on the DMI thickness map appears on no other maps. I am using the “S” to get a rough idea of the Transpolar Drift, but sometimes wonder if it even exists.
To give an example, (only once), of the variety we are dealing with here are 4 other “modeled” maps of sea ice, (nicely rotated to match by Glen Koehler at Nevin’s “Sea Ice Forum”).
It should be obvious from this that sea-ice thickness is not an exact science, and can lead to endless quibbling. However if you are into that, and have a thick skin and can withstand some flagrant Alarmism, I highly recommend Nevin’s various sea-ice forums, for when you get that many people cherry picking various graphs and maps to prove their bias, you somewhat accidently get a balanced view, (which is the reason for Freedom of Speech and for Freedom of the Press, and why censorship is such a bad idea.) I got the above maps from this particular thread:
With thicknesses in doubt, I hope you can see why I take “volume” graphs with a grain of salt. The DMI graphs show volume’s rate of rise slowing slightly.
At this point in the ice-growth-season the “extent” graph has some odd quirks which can drive both Alarmist and Skeptics crazy, and the “maximum” tends to be a big debating point. (Actually it means less than how sturdy the sea-ice is in the Central Arctic, but never mind that.) I was quite surprised to see it keep rising, for the sea-ice pushed out into Barents Sea by that side’s northeast gales were pushed out into 12-15 feet seas which tends to batter and melt ice even when the water is nearly as cold as the ice is. Also on the Pacific side, that gale’s south winds, despite curving off Siberia and being very cold for south winds, were crushing the ice north and should have reduced extent. Yet the extent graph refused to dip.
This graph leaves some Alarmists deeply depressed, because the last three years have had higher totals than the prior three years, however, as best I can tell, the increase is largely occurring in the Pacific, due to winds pouring off Siberia into the Sea of Oshkosh, and that sea-ice will not last long there, once spring warms the landscape. Furthermore maximums have little correlation with minimums, and a quick glance shows the past two minimums were lower than the prior three.
What really matters, when it comes to determining the minimum ahead of time, is how thick the sea-ice is in the Arctic Sea itself, and whether the AMO and PDO are allowing milder currents north. The North Atlantic currents are colder, and less sea-ice has been flushed out through Fram Strait. (Could still happen, I suppose, but not to the degree it did in 2007; we’ve run out of time.) The Laptev Sea has exported far less sea-ice north this year, and has fast-ice rather than polynyas on its south coast. A La Nina ought make the Pacific colder. So I would say it looks bad for an ice-free arctic this summer, and we might even see a surprising increase at the minimum.
Sea-ice does not form in the troposphere. It forms at the interface between the troposphere and the ocean. In fact, at this late point in the winter fresh ice is forming at the bottom of sea-ice which, in the case of “baby-ice” (ice formed this winter), is three to six feet down from that interface.
This may seem like a pettifogging quibble, but it is an important distinction to be aware of, especially because people in the Global Warming debate bandy about temperatures almost as if they were clubs to bonk each other over the head with.
For example, each month Roy Spencer uses satellite data to come up with temperatures for the lower troposphere, and each month he gets criticized by Skeptics and Alarmists alike, even to the degree where he once arrived at work to find a bullet hole in the window. He just announced the lower troposphere warmed slightly over February.
Joe Bastardi promptly pointed out there is a big difference between temperatures of the lower troposphere, and temperatures at the surface, where we live. This was emphasised by showing two maps of Texas, which we all know just went through a brutally cold February. However in terms of the lower troposphere the month was normal, even a hair above normal in the far south; the core of cold anomalies was far to the north, in Canada.
Joe Bastardi took pains to point out that policy should not be based upon what the average temperatures are in a lower section of the atmosphere, but upon what we are experiencing right at the bottom, where we live. At the surface Texas suffered through temperatures seven degrees below normal (Celsius). (Nearly thirteen degrees below normal, Fahrenheit.)
The difference especially involves policy when the difference involves whether it dips below freezing at the surface. We saw computer models, which tend to use data consisting of blocks of the atmosphere and not low-level surface temperatures, predict above freezing temperatures, when in fact temperatures dipped below freezing; this resulted in commuters zipping along at sixty thinking they were on wet pavement when they were on black ice, and a terrible 121 car crash. The difference also involves crops. I have personally witnessed times my thermometer, at eye level, saw it was above freezing, but my tomatoes, down at ground level, were burned by frost. In such a case your eyes are literally in a weather balloon roughly five feet off the ground, experiencing different weather from your feet.
Returning to the subject of sea-ice, it is important to know whether your data comes from a thermometer on the surface or a satelite miles overhead. The MOSAiC expedition was surprised by the cold right at the surface. Back when we all could be eye witnesses, because we had cameras on buoys drifting around on and midst sea-ice, I often witnessed occasions the satellites stated it was above freezing at the surface, but with my own eyes I saw meltwater pools skimming over with ice. This makes things difficult enough, if you are honest and thirst for Truth; things become even more difficult when people allow lower thirsts for money, power, and fame to motivate the cherry-picking of data to support a certain bias or out-and-out distortion (Fake News).
We are reaching the end of the six month period of darkness at the Pole, with temperatures still bitterly cold but the sky brightening with twilight. Far to the south, the southern edges of the sea-ice are experiencing rapidly lengthening days and rising temperatures, and the edge is starting to erode faster than it can grow. However our extent graph has shown an interesting up-spike right at the time we usually see our maximum extent.
This spike will annoy Alarmists, as it makes it harder to produce soundbites claiming there is less ice. (They’ll try, anyway.) In actual fact the blip merely means the ice that was being compressed is being spread out. Winds have changed, due to an interesting storm which tracked farther north than usual, and took a unusual path
I call such an anomalous area of low pressure a “Ralph”, to differentiate them from Atlantic storms that crash through northern Scandinavia and then role east along the Siberian coast. The “Ralph” storms are home grown, and usually fed by a band of milder air that is sucked up from the Atlantic or Pacific. Sometimes they may receive some upper air support from a storm that basically loses its bottom, crashing into the 10,000 foot tall icecap of Greenland, and this particular storm may have had some such support, though all the surface map showed was a gale stall at the southern tip of Greenland, and later a weaker low form off the northeast coat. Also it may have fed off a feeder band of milder air that caused a spike in polar temperatures, and a couple lows north of Canada, but as the milder air rose the surface map showed the lows north of Canada fade and fill, but do so in a manner that happened faster to the west, so the surface map seemed to show weak low pressure moving east. It moved east north of Greenland, and then became more distinct passing east over Svalbard, and then became a Barent Sea Bomber, with gale force winds, and now has moved into Russia.
This storm is beyond my ability to explain. Perhaps I wasn’t watching closely enough, but it had no obvious Atlantic origins or feeder band, and in a sense appeared out of the blue. When weaker and back towards Greenland it supported, along with high pressure towards East Siberia, a weak cross-polar-flow that leaked Siberian air towards Canada, but now it has deranged that flow, and things are suddenly more normal in Fram Strait, with the Transpolar Flow bringing sea-ice slightly in that direction rather than being diverted by what I called the C.P. Flow (Capitalist Pig Flow, from Russia to Canada.) However mostly we are seeing sea-ice that was compressed be spread out. Sea-ice that was crunched against the east coast of Greenland is now spread like butter away from the coast by west winds, and sea-ice that was repressed north into Fram Strait by south winds is now allowed south by north winds, and north winds are shifting south sea-ice in Barents Sea as well. There is some skimming of open water with baby ice where the north winds are frigid, but mostly the blip in the extent graph is caused by the redistribution of sea-ice that already exists.
It can be seen in the isotherm map of the Pole that the feeder band of milder air has been consumed by the arctic night. Perhaps a hint of it remains as a crescent of light blue on the Russian side of the Pole. If the rest of it exists, it exists aloft, as down low the cold is returning.
The temperature graph shows how that feeder band was consumed.
In a sense temperatures are falling when they usually start rising, but temperatures are still very cold, and any leads of open water freeze over with astonishing speed right into April. Although the extent graph may be at its high point and soon start to fall, that fall only represents sea-ice at the periphery. In the very center of the Arctic sea-ice continues to thicken well into May. So far the Transpolar Drift has not moved the “S” of thickest ice towards Fram Strait at all. (By the way, the circle in the map below represents 80 degrees north latitude, and the above graph only involves temperatures within that circle. The cold in Siberia and Canada is not included.)
Keep an eye on the sea-ice north of Russia. It has a completely different configuration from last year. If I get time I hope to soon discuss the differences.
The total volume of sea-ice is still rising, and will continue to do so until the end of April.
Sadly, due to the coronavirus absurdity, the Barneo sea-ice base/jetport/resort has been canceled yet another year. No pictures of sea-ice in April will be forthcoming. But here is an article by a woman with thirty years of sea-ice experience, who has hope for Bareno’s future.
I find it refreshing to go to the Pole in the summer, when the weather is hot, but even in the winter it is refreshing because it does what it does without any duplicity, skullduggery, hypocrisy or fraud. I study Washington D.C., if I want to study falsehood. When I want to get away from all that, I study the sky, or sea-ice at the Pole, where things are kept pure and, if not simple, honest.
Of course, it is a falsity believed by the false that they can exist independently of the Truth. We are all knitted of the same fabric and all subject to the same laws, and one interest I have in the false is how it (or they) must eventually face Truth, in the form of repercussions and consequences. Every action has a reaction; this is the Law.
The false tend to have a vague sense of guilt, which they try hard to ignore. The whisperings of their conscience are rebuked, and retreat to their subconscious, but they still remain effected. The effect seems to take the form of clutching at straws, hoping cure-alls will fill the void within, and will end their guilty sense of incompleteness, born of separation from the Truth.
The straws they clutch at often take the form of downright silly virtue-signaling, which they imagine will win them love and honor despite their separation from Truth. For example, if they feel guilty about destroying the planet with Global Warming, they buy curly lightbulbs, or if they feel guilty about their germs making others sick, they wear useless masks. None of this deals with the real cause of their guilt, deep in their subconscious, but it gives them a snide and cheap sense of superiority, without the bother of facing Truth. This is sad, for Truth is healing and, at its core, Love, but the false would rather be sick.
Some who have no belief in Truth or God still have the belief they can effect the repercussions and consequences of their actions. While they laugh at people who pray for rain, they buy curly lightbulbs to control the weather. While they scoff at throwing virgins into volcanoes, because a priest says it will make a drought end, they will buy an electric car, because a priest in a white coat says it will stop storms. They claim they are not superstitious, and rather are scientific, because “the science says so”, but they never deeply look into the science themselves.
If you deeply look into “the science” you are studying the Truth, and soon learn that, just as some priests are godless perverts, some scientists are science-less, and far more interested in grants and fame than Truth.
For nearly two decades I’ve debated the ins and outs of Global Warming, and seen lots of idiocy, but also that the Truth is a wonder and marvel, and proceeds regardless of the proclamations of politicians and their priests in white coats, the political scientists. (There is a joke that states, “What do you get when you mix science and politics? Answer: Politics.”)
The simple fact of the matter that the slight warming we have seen over the past forty years is largely due to changes in sea-surface temperatures, and not due to CO2. The sea-surface temperatures are largely caused by “cycles” we can track back through time, and know existed before the use of fossil fuels became widespread. Even though temperatures are up over where they were during the “ice age scare” of the 1970’s, that can be explained by the cycles of the AMO and PDO. In fact, currently a cold La Nina has wiped out a lot of the warming, and world temperatures are more than a tenth of a degree colder than they were during the warm El Nino of 1988. See any headlines about how it is now colder than in 1988?
The major part of the warming we have seen has occurred at the Pole, and is caused by incursions of moisture. It does not take much moisture to cause a fog at the Pole. We see this ourselves during the winter, when we can see our breath, which we cannot see during the summer. Our breath is no moister at winter, but a little puff of fog forms when we breath out. And, when that fog forms, the latent heat in water vapor is released, and more latent heat is released if the fog turns to ice-fog. This is a reason temperatures tend to stop dropping and plateau when fog forms. At the Pole, if you import Pacific or Atlantic moisture, (caused in part by warmer sea-surface temperatures), temperatures can shoot upwards as much as seventy degrees, on one occasion from -40 to +32. (Fahrenheit). This has a huge effect on “Average World Temperatures”, which is all out of proportion to the actual nature of the event.
We just saw an example of this, which is interesting in all that it demonstrates. The spike in the DMI polar-temperature graph was impressive.
But we had a similar spike last year, and it was immediately followed by a crash to below normal temperatures.
This demonstrates all that warmth brought up to the Pole is warmth the planet is losing. All the work that went into turning the water into vapor in the tropics is released at the Pole, and lost to outer space, as the water itself falls as light snow or a rime of ice-fog.
The mechanics of what brought the moisture north are interesting. The east sides of a series of Iceland lows pumped Atlantic moisture north, and then the moisture continued north, to take the place of the enormous, departing mass of arctic air which recently shocked Texas, and currently (greatly moderated) is pushing a cold front over Cuba and the balmy Caribbean. In other words, when it gets “warmer” (minus fifteen) at the Pole folk can be shivering further south.
The plume of milder and moister air forms what I call a “feeder band” and tends to create a “Ralph” (anomolous area of low pressure) over the Pole. The feeder band, though starting to diffuse, is still obvious in the DMI isotherm map of the Pole.
The weakening “Ralph” (there were actually two, which have now weakened to one) is north of the Canadian Archipelago, and forms a pump working in tandem with the high pressure over the Eurasian side.
The isobars demonstrate two factors which effect sea-ice. First, a wrong-way flow is in Fram Strait and over the Transpolar Drift, inhibiting the exit of sea-ice down the coast of Greenland and keeping the sea-ice in the Central Arctic. Second, the sea-ice flowing down the east side of Greenland, which briefly touched Iceland, has been crushed west against the coast by east winds north of the Icelandic Gales, dramatically lowering the area of sea covered by ice, and, despite increases elsewhere, causing a dip in the “extent” graph.
So, besides crowing about the spike in temperatures at the Pole, I suppose Alarmists can crow about a dip in “extent”. However the dip in extent doesn’t mean ice has actually melted; rather that the sea-ice is more compressed. This is demonstrated by the “volume” graph, which shows no dip whatsoever, and has passed 2020 and 2017 in the past month.
The “extent” graph becomes very fickle over the next few weeks, as it involves a lot of sea-ice that has a fleeting existence further south. I will watch Barents Sea carefully, because it whispers hints about how cold the North Atlantic is. If it briefly skims with ice we could see another upward spike, but if not we could have already seen our maximum extent, early this year. But notice that the “volume” goes on increasing until mid April.
I will also be carefully watching the “S” of thick sea-ice in the Central Arctic. It seems to be making no progress towards Fram Strait, and even to be budged the wrong way at times. For a while the isobars between the low towards Canada and the high towards Eurasia were quite tight, indicating strong winds were compressing the sea-ice. If the sea-ice builds in the Central Arctic the summer extent could be higher.
There has been a big difference in the movement of sea-ice in the Laptev Sea this year. It hasn’t been exported north, and fast-ice has formed along shores that saw polynyas last year. When the sea-ice moves it moves west in east winds. Notice the polynyas on the west side of the islands on the east side of Kara Sea. The Northeast Passage will see more sea-ice this year, and Russian icebreakers will be busier, unless things change in March.
It is odd to think of the Arctic Ocean as a radiator, but in the heart of winter it actually is warmer than the surrounding land. Despite the fact the sea is entirely ice-covered, the water under the ice is a balmy 28.5° Fahrenheit, (-1.7° Celsius) and that heat is constantly being lost upwards through the ice, as is shown by the fact sea-ice is constantly thickening at the bottom, as heat is sucked away from the water. The surface of the sea-ice may be far colder, exposed as it is to months of dark arctic night, but the sea-ice surface is appreciably warmer than the snow surface of land areas even a mile away. The surface of the sea-ice seldom dips to -40° while the surface of the snow in Siberia can reach -90°. Consequently the cold, dense air inland tends to flow out over the sea-ice, which tends to have warmer, rising air, especially in the autumn when the water may still be open or the “baby ice” is quite thin, and especially near the coasts where the contrast is most dramatic. Also it is often noticeable, when cross-polar-flow develops, that the air passing over the Pole warms, if it starts below -40°. On the other hand air from the Atlantic or Pacific, which starts far warmer, is cooled quite dramatically, as it moves over the Pole.
When the Atlantic or Pacific air is chilled, it tends to sink and press down and form high pressure, whereas when bone-chilling arctic air pours off the tundra it tends to warm and rise, creating low pressure, (which I call a “Ralph”).
There are of course other factors, one of which is a stratospheric warming event, such as we had a month ago, which causes the warmed stratosphere to expand, bulging the atomsphere downwards and bringing about high pressure at the surface.
This winter has seen a lot of high pressure at the Pole, with only a few invasions of milder air from the Atlantic swirling north and creating a “Ralph”. Initially the high pressure seemed attracted to the thick ice on the Canadian side, whereas low pressure was attracted to the “unprecedented” open water of the Siberian side, which swiftly became “unprecedented” baby-ice, and now is more than three feet thick and in places thicker, which seems to have caused the high pressure to become more centered. Currently the high is is quite strong, perhaps assisted by the Stratospheric Warming Event, and it seems to have crushed the latest attempt at a Ralph, which is a barely noticeable area of low pressure between Greenland and Svalbard.
A week ago the high was centered more towards East Siberia and Bering aStrait, and the low pressure at the edge of the map at 65° longitude was up at the southern edge of the Kara Sea, and the pressure gradient between the low and high created a wonderful cross-polar-flow which sucked vast amounts of frigid Siberian air across the pole to Canada. This had three interesting effects.
First, this crossed the Transpolar Drift at a right angle, in effect interrupting that drift and replacing it with the Capitalist Pig Drift (I just named it) which annoyed Russian Scientists in the 1950’s by pulling their ice-stations away from Mother Russia and over towards Canada. Not only does this differing drift tend to keep ice from being flushed down through Fram Strait, (decreasing sea-ice off the east coast of Greenland, but preserving sea-ice in the Central Arctic), but it also likely disturbs the water under the ice by creating a “turbulence” the MOSAiC expedition discovered, (or at least documented).
It was assumed the waters beneath the ice were relatively still, because they were protected from the wind by the sea ice. The Transpolar drift would flow slow, quiet and steady. To a degree this may occur when the ice moves the same way as the current, but when the ice is blown across the current the situation changes, for each pressure ridge has a “keel”. Because nine tenths of a berg is underwater, a modest pressure ridge six feet tall may have a keel thrusting down 54 feet, and a whopper of a pressure ridge thirty feet tall may have a keel sticking down 270 feet, (which provided good hiding places for Cold War submarines.) These keels also act like the blades of big spoons, sticking down into the current, and, when they stir across the current, causing considerable mixing or “turbulence.” The stratification of the Arctic sea into various layers of differing temperature and salinity can therefore be perturbed by a shift in the direction of the sea-ice above. (I’ll leave it up to more brilliant minds to figure out what the changes may or may not be, but I have noted increased melting when the protective cold fresh-water-lens was destroyed by a summer gale in 2012, yet this same mixing apparently chilled the warmer, saltier water under the lens, so it was too cold to cause similar melting when a similar gale happened in 2013.)
Second, blowing sea-ice towards Canada rather than down towards Fram Strait will pile sea-ice more thickly towards Canada, even as the baby-ice towards Siberia will be frozen thicker by the extremely cold air pouring off Siberia. However it should be noted that the Capitalist Pig Drift is not as strong as last year, when more sea-ice was shifted, and impressive polynyas of open water appeared along the Siberian coast. This year the polynyas are less impressive, and along parts of the coast a sort of fast-ice seems to be attaching itself to the shores. If this persists there will be far more sea-ice on the Siberian side at the start of the melt season, and it will be less likely we’ll see such impressive areas of open water on the Siberian side, next September. (The Laptev Sea usually contributes large amounts of sea-ice to the Central Arctic, as a sort of “export”, but unless things change, this year will see their exports be less.)
Third, the cross polar flow may warm the Siberian side to some degree, as the exported air is replaced by moderated North Pacific air, but the Canadian side gets colder. Canada does not appreciate this. They are quite able to generate cold air on their own, thank you very much, and need no help from the Russians.
The completely snow-covered tundra and taiga of Canada is able to chill even Pacific air to a degree where it is below freezing when it reaches the USA, and can contribute to an American snowstorm. However when Canada starts out with Siberian air, (even Siberian air “warmed up” to -30° by a passage over the Arctic Ocean), it can chill the air further, and give the USA some of its fiercest cold waves. We are quite likely to see this occur during the next two weeks.
These cross-polar-flows can grow nasty when they lock in and persist. For example, during the winter of 1976-1977 a flow from East Siberia over the top of Bering Strait and into Eastern Alaska persisted from November until February, giving me one of the coldest winters I can remember, and impressive sea-ice along the coast of Maine, where I lived back then. This year will hopefully not be so lasting, for the high pressure has shifted in a manner that now seems to be directing the Siberian air west towards northern Europe, and giving London snow. It will be interesting to watch for a growth of Sea-ice in Barents Sea north of Scandinavia. But, even with the cold redirected, the damage has been done in Canada already; the arctic is loaded for bear and ready to attack us poor mortals to the south.
What interests me most about the Capitalist Pig Drift is that it may be indicative of a change between a time sea-ice decreases in the Arctic to a time sea-ice increases. For example, the red “S” of thick sea-ice in the central arctic in the map below is a new feature, created by exported Laptev Sea sea-ice and the Capitalist Pig Drift. I’m watching it carefully, and so far it has shown little inclination to ride the Transpolar Drift down to Fram Strait, as textbooks say it should.
Also note the sea-ice off east Greenland has been compressed west towards the coast. It nearly reached Iceland a few weeks ago. That should decrease the “extent” graph, but the graph shows we are actually ahead of some recent years.
The La Nina shows some signs of weakening towards the coast of Peru, but still is strong. The northmost Pacific has cooled a lot, which we should watch, for that will effect the sea-ice melt in Bering Strait. Odd to me is the warm blob east of New Zealand. Joseph D’Aleo over at Weatherbell suggested it may be caused by deep-sea lava flows. I simply note it, and wonder what effect it might have; any anomaly like that is an action which demands a reaction.
Temperatures world-wide have taken a dive, likely due to the La Nina.
My guess is that we’ll see plenty of sea-ice all summer. No ice-free arctic, this year. And next September will see more sea-ice than last September.
To some degree the left wing revealed such an overriding capacity for fraud during the recent American election they even stunned themselves. This makes the petty fraud involved in Global Warming arguments look both more minor and more obvious. There are some petty crimes you can get away with until some bozo comes along and spoils everything by doing things far too flagrantly.
For example, as a teenager among teenagers one crime we committed was to take a jigger of whisky from a parent’s quart bottle and replace it with a jigger of water. Parents didn’t notice. But then some audacious bozo would get overly ambitious (or greedy) and take ten jiggers of whisky and replace them with ten jiggers of water, and parents couldn’t help but notice, and the jig was up; Presto: Locks appeared on all the liquor cabinets.
In a sense that is the state of the stunned American mind at this point. The jig is up.
The phrase, “The jig is up” came from the underworld of crime, which saw the tricking of the law-abiding as a sort of dance; confidence tricksters spoke of their plots as “capers”. Sometimes the naïve could be seduced, but sometimes the naïve caught on to what was occurring during the dance, in which case the dance was over. Jigging is a type of dancing, so “the jig was up.” The party was over. The virgin had become aware the one she danced with was a slobbering lecher.
This pretty much spoils the arctic sea-ice fun,; the spirit of friendly debate between Alarmists and Skeptics. The party is over. I likely will simply talk of the sea-ice, and leave Alarmists out of it. They have gotten what they want, like King Midas did. Now they shall suffer. I’ll just go on as I’ve always gone, observing the Truth with wonder.
This winter has largely seen high pressure settling over the Pole, favoring the Canadian side where the thicker ice resides. Thrice, however, major feeder bands of mild air have swirled north and formed a “Ralph” (anomalous area of low pressure) which tracked roughly from Fram Strait and over the Pole towards East Siberia. These interruptions (to the general settling of high pressure’s cold air over the Pole) occurred in December, the very start of January, and to a lesser extent a few days ago, and resulted in spikes in the DMI polar temperature graph.
The milder air has no melting effect on the sea-ice, as even the highest spikes (red line on graph) are well below freezing (blue line on graph.) They may cause sea-ice to thicken less quickly, partly because they are less cold, and partly because they bring scant moister to the desert dry Pole and increase snowfall, and even a few inches of snow forms an insulating blanket atop the sea-ice surface, slowing the thickening of sea-ice beneath. But also this increased snow tends to add to the thickness of the sea-ice, by becoming the sea-ice’s topmost layer.
The milder air can have an effect which causes the snow to become stiffened, as if starched. During the freezing of the sea-ice, sea-salt is exuded from the sea-water, largely sinking downwards as cold brine, but some exuded at the surface in “ice flowers” which are so fragile they tend to fragment, and then become powdered salt as the ice sublimates in the super-dry air. There is a haze of powdered salt in the super cold air in the arctic night, and also powdered salt mixed with the snow. The salt usually has no ability to melt the snow at the usual extremely low temperatures, but when milder air comes north the salt melts the snow just enough to make it sticky enough to become starchy when temperatures again crash. (Russians have a word for this starchy snow, but I don’t.)
The milder air also can also have an effect which increases the amount of sea-ice. This seems likely because the milder air feeds a “Ralph”, which dramatically shifts the winds, from a high pressures clockwise motion to a low pressure’s counter-clockwise motion. As these changes move across the Pole vast areas of ice which have been moving one way stop, and move the other, but, because this process is not perfectly synchronized, one ice floe weighing a billion pounds may crash against another weighing two billion, resulting in rumpled bumpers called “pressure ridges.” These can extend thirty feet upwards and, because nine tenths of ice is under water, they can extend down two hundred seventy feet (and create hiding places for submarines). Then, after the ice floes exchange insurance papers and back off, they can create sudden areas of open waters called “leads” which steam like a hot cup of tea in the bitter cold air. This open water swiftly freezes over, producing feet of new ice far faster than ice could form if protected from bitter blasts by six feet of sea-ice and a foot of snow. In fact a winter which sees a lot of open water at the Pole likely creates more sea-ice than a winter than sees none.
Lastly, the creation of open water at the Pole may be part of a process that chills the North Atlantic, and thus is the author of its own demise, because a colder North Atlantic eventually will lead to an increase in sea-ice, and less open water. Exactly how this happens is still being studied, but my guess is that the freezing of a lot of sea-water creates a lot of chilled brine, as salt is extracted from the ice, and this sinking brine in some way chills water below which in some way by some currents are transported to the North Atlantic. (A lot of “some way” in my guessing.) All we know is that since there has been more open water available to freeze in the bitter cold of midwinter, the deeper surface-waters in the North Atlantic have seen a downward trend.
The sinking brine has some trouble effecting the topmost waters of the North Atlantic, as it has a tendency to sink to the deeps of the sea, and become involved in currents that creep at a snail’s pace, taking centuries to arrive at a coastline that uplifts them as a nutritious, cold “upwelling” that promotes some of our planet’s greatest fisheries. Icebergs, on the other hand, do not sink. If you can get enough of them bobbing around in the North Atlantic, the top waters can definitely be effected.
At this point I look to see how much sea-ice is being exported from polar waters through Fram Strait. Even though such export can decrease the short-term levels of sea-ice further north, if they chill the North Atlantic they can lead to a long-term rebound. (This may have happened between 1815 and 1845, when wild swings in the areas that had sea-ice and did not have sea-ice were reported by whalers, and also English explorers attempting to penetrate the Northwest Passage). This year has seen a modest flush of sea-ice through Fram Strait, but likely not enough to completely connect Iceland to Greenland with a sea-ice-bridge.
When the sea-ice is not flushed south, it is kept north, and this year indeed some has stayed north, for a second winter, creating the letter “S” in red in the Central Arctic. I point this out for such thickness in the Central Arctic (over 12 feet thick according to DMI) is new to me. The ordinary “Transpolar Drift” is being opposed by a little talked-about “Siberia-to-Canada-drift” some Russian scientists mentioned in the 1950’s (when they did not like it when their ice-stations drifted too far from Mother Russia towards Capitalist Canada.)
In fact, if you have an imagination like mine, you may see that “S” is preceded by a “W” and “I”, and followed by an “E”. Is the arctic hinting at a word to the WISE? Is the chilling of subsurface waters in the North Atlantic and build-up of sea-ice in the Central Arctic a sign of things to come?
I think at this point I am suppose to say, “For the answer and the next installment of this thrilling saga, send $19.98 to…” Instead I’ll just say, “I wonder. I don’t know, but I wonder.”
And I watch. The last feeder band of mild air to the Pole was weaker, as was the Ralph it created. The cold high pressure rebuilt more swiftly, but you can still see the milder temperatures as a band across the Pole in the DMI map of thermobars. (Also note that the fiercest cold is not, (and never has been), generated over the oceanic waters of the Arctic Sea, but rather over the tundra of Siberia and, to a lesser extent, Canada.)
Each of these mild feeder bands represents, to me, a colossal waste of our planet’s heat. They arrive at the Pole and the heat just vanishes, dropping around five degrees a day. It vanishes up into outer space. It is like opening the draft in a chimney with no fire in the fireplace; all the house’s heat goes up the flue. If you desire a warmer winter and kinder world, you prefer to see descending air and high pressure at the Pole.
And indeed the last “Ralph” has faded before reaching East Siberia, and high pressure is rebuilding.
High pressure at the Pole is likely is good in the long run, but in the short run may transport air from East Siberia across Bering Strait and down towards my neck of the woods. Temporarily I may freeze my socks off. But one must not allow a temporary setback to discourage one. Spring will return, eventually.
Can we mere mortals contribute in the slightest to the speed at which spring returns? Can we influence the climate by buying electric cars or curly lightbulbs or throwing virgins into volcanoes? I doubt it. But here is my word to the wise:
We can contribute to the Truth by standing by the Truth. According to some versions of the tale, this was how King Midas got his daughter back. He turned her into cold gold by being a greedy bugger, but after he saw the horrible thing he had done he confessed the truth, “I am a greedy bugger”, and as his tears of remorse fell on the cold gold, cold gold turned back into a warm daughter.
I leave it up to you to figure out how the heck such cryptic innuendo has anything to do with Arctic sea-ice. In the meantime,
One thing the fraudulent election has made blatant is that the media, and many others on the “left”, have a low regard for the Truth. All that matters to them is power, and its associated wealth, and the gratifications of various lusts which ill-gotten money makes possible. Like a desperate heroin addict facing withdrawal, such people will say anything, no matter how absurd, to retain their lowly concept of what constitutes heaven-on-earth.
This conniving dishonesty is something I have long suspected, when debating Alarmists about arctic sea-ice. In the rough-and-tumble world of the old Accuweather Global Warming website (back around 2005, before it sadly morphed into an echo-chamber) the old-school Alarmists I tussled with at least had the decency to supply me with links to various sources, such as IPCC reports, which supported their views. But when these links were put under the ruthless spotlight of Truth, various worms wriggled, attempting to duck out of sight like night-crawlers do under a flashlight beam on a wet summer lawn after dark.
One such culprit was James Hansen, who kept “adjusting” the temperature record in a manner that made current temperatures look warmer than the terrible heat of the 1930’s Dust Bowl. Most people found it hard to see how the adjustments were made, as they were made in the fine print of computer data, and many simply had to take Hansen’s word that his changes were valid, because he was a scientist and wore a white lab coat. However the statistician Steve McIntyre was familiar with the fine print of computers, as he often audited the financial records of businessmen who sometimes had shady dealings they wished to hide, and McIntyre took a hard look at Hansen’s data with the flashlight of Truth. Hansen immediately became nervous and re-readjusted his data.
Mind you, the above post is from August 8, 2007, more than thirteen years ago. Back then Alarmists had a bit more shame about being caught red-handed midst the fudging and falsifications of fraud. Now, it seems to me, fraudsters have become increasing brazen, as rather than punished they are financially rewarded, for being scientifically incorrect but politically correct. (A recent joke goes, “What do you get when you mix science and politics?” Answer: “Politics.”)
The question then becomes, can Truth push back against the denial of Truth?
Most Alarmists don’t seem to think so. On this side of death they are bribed by wealth and faux-prestige, and they avoid thinking about the other side, and the prospect of hell, by becoming Atheists. Even some Skeptics seem cowed by the juggernaut of falsehood, afraid of what the press might do to their reputations, careers, and happy homes.
Personally I feel Truth does push back. People make light of It and dismiss it as “coincidence”, yet is noticeable enough to even be given an urban-dictionary name, “The Gore Effect”. (In a most uncanny manner, wherever Al Gore went, to give a lecture about Global Warming, seemed to be a locale which immediately experienced record-setting cold.) Laugh at me if you like, but I have a sneaking suspicion something more than coincidence may be involved. If one is audacious enough to strut about thinking they control the weather, they are liable to get a gentle reminder from Truth that they don’t, and that, in fact, they can’t even predict weather all that well.
Another way Truth pushes back is through people like me. Despite all efforts to brainwash everyone, there are always voices, often the voices of small children, asking embarrassing questions, or making simple observations such as, “The emperor has no clothes.”
But even if absolutely everyone is brainwashed, (and sometimes I look around and wonder), Truth remains as true as ever, and is not lessened one iota by our madcap opinions. This endurance is, in and of itself, a push-back of sorts.
Many tend to see Truth as an inanimate thing, fact-like in nature. For example, it is true one plus one makes two. I am prone to a more mystical outlook, and to see Truth as being animate, and therefore able to be caring, which involves push-back.
I can’t explain my belief very well to doubters; I suspect it is born of seeing Truth be ravishingly beautiful in some natural settings, or be utterly awe-inspiring, as upon the lip of the Grand Canyon. Also the way nature feeds and shelters all its creatures, even those with brains the size of a gnat’s, suggests harmony and even love, (albeit crude love when the lion loves the antelope). But once you start talking about Love being a part of Truth, and fundamental to the fabric of creation, you are of course venturing out onto the waters of faith, which many have a problem with. To them it looks like walking-on-water: Because they can’t do it they believe it cannot be done. That is their belief, and I respect the beliefs of others, even if they don’t respect mine. I only bring up mine as a possible push-back Truth may have up its sleeve.
The funny thing is that many who are not particularly religious or spiritual go out for a walk on a sunny day to uplift their spirits. Even an Atheist may fight off depression by heading off to a park to “commune with nature”. It makes me smile a little, fondly, for what are they communing with? Is it not just a wee bit hypocritical to be talking to something you don’t believe exists?
“Communing with nature” is the best reason to study arctic-sea-ice, or any of the other chaotic systems covered by the heading “meteorology”. It is a simple cure: Revealed Truth is a good antidote to the lack-of-Truth on the news. Although swamp-creature elitists may censor Truth on Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, and various search engines, Truth cannot be censored in the sky, or the weather, or in the antics of arctic sea-ice.
This past year has been noteworthy due to a general pressing of the sea-ice from the Eurasian side of the Pole to the North American side, leading to a thickening of sea ice in the Central Arctic and towards Canada, and a eyebrow-raising area of open water between the Central Artic and the Eurasian Coast.
If such a area of open water had existed when Nansen sailed the Fram, or De Long sailed the Jeannette, a heroic tale and a tragic tale would have been very different. No Skeptic should deny that such open water is hard to find in the historical record. (Various “proxy” records indicate similar conditions may have occurred during climate “optimums” like the MWP, before men with pens and paper ventured so far north, but that is another matter.) Skeptics should seek to avoid the denial so prevalent in the Alarmist community (even as Alarmists accuse everyone else of denial.) Not only is such denial a hallmark of deceit, which leads to bad engineering, (even in the case of “social engineering”), but also denial causes one to miss seeing the sheer wonder of God’s play.
The open water on the Eurasian side of the Pole created a situation conducive to the arctic waters losing more heat than is ordinarily possible. Ordinarily the cover of ice keeps the waters under the ice relatively calm, (though the MOSAiC expedition noted more turbulence under sea-ice than theory predicted.) Also the calmer waters are able to stratify, with the buoyancy of fresher water overpowering the buoyancy of warmer water, and a “lid” of cold, fresher water hiding saltier, warmer water beneath. Open waters messed up such stratification by allowing gales to churn the upper layers of the water, bringing some of the warmer, saltier water to the surface where its heat was lost to the perpetual darkness of the arctic night. All through October and well into November open water allowed for impressive amounts of heat to be lost to the atmosphere, resulting in Alarmist joy, for arctic temperatures were undeniably far above normal.
Less delightful to Alarmist thinking is the simple fact that these above-normal temperatures are not entirely indicative of heat entering the arctic, and can be seen as indicative heat is departing. The situation is sunless, and heat has nowhere to go but up, where it is lost to the void of outer space.
The above-normal temperatures were not static, but spilled south over Siberia, which delighted Alarmist by experiencing anomalies which made Siberia cherry red on anomaly maps for most of this autumn. However from late September onwards “above-normal” temperatures are below freezing over Siberia, and, because the above-normal air was also moister air, Siberia experienced early and increased snowfall, which was not so pleasing to Alarmists.
The open water over the sea and snowpack over the land created a general situation where the air rose over the sea and settled over the land. There was low pressure over the sea at the surface, and high pressure over the land at the surface. This situation could not remain static, and created circulations around the low pressure and high pressure, which in turn resolved into a sort of frontal boundary with low pressures running along it, moving along the arctic coast of Siberia.
What is hard for southerners to comprehend about this resolution is that the south winds ahead of such storms are relatively cold, while the north winds behind such storms are relatively warm. How can south winds be cold and north winds be warm? It is because the south winds are from the sunless snowpack of Siberia while the north winds are from the open waters of the Arctic Sea. The air at the surface of the snow pack swiftly falls below zero (-17 degrees Celsius) while the air over the open water cannot fall below the freezing point of salt water, roughly 29 degrees (-1.7 Celsius). The clash between the land temperatures and the sea temperatures can generate decent storms, and strong off-shore and on-shore winds as temperatures attempt to “balance out.” The below zero winds howling north constantly chill the ocean’s water until, despite all the churning and despite the water’s saltiness, it starts to freeze. At first the freeze is only in harbors and inlets along the coast, but then, in November, the entirety of the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia freezes over with such speed some call it a “flash freeze.”
This flash freeze represents a final, and enormous, amount of heat lost to the arctic atmosphere. It is important to understand this loss. It involves the simple fact water, in its liquid state, consists of molecules bopping about in a more fluid state than molecules of water which, in its solid state, are basically sluggards. As water moves through the “phase change” from liquid to solid all the energy contained in its bopping about, called “potential energy”, is lost. It does not simply vanish; it is given from the water to the atmosphere.
One humorous hypocrisy I’ve noticed is that when ice is melting in the summer, and temperatures happen to be a half-degree below normal, Alarmists such as Hansen were and are always quick to point out that melting ice “sucks up heat”, but when the situation is reversed, and temperatures are a half-degree above normal in the autumn, such Alarmists almost never point out freezing water “pours out heat.” But the simple fact of the matter is that freezing water takes heat which was invisible, as “potential energy” in the water, and makes it readily available.
This year, because there was so much more open water on the Eurasian side of the Pole, the flash freeze was far larger than normal, and consequently the amount of potential energy released by the phase change from liquid to solid was bigger. How much bigger? I haven’t a clue. I’ll leave it up to the more honest scientists to figure out how to even measure such a thing. However it must have been a “sizable” amount. (I like that word, “sizable”, even though we use it when we haven’t a clue what the size actually is.)
In conclusion, a huge amount of heat has been given from the Arctic Sea to the atmosphere this autumn. My guess is that, if you could measure it, it would be much more than usual; perhaps even an “unprecedented” amount.
The next question should be, “What has become of all this heat? Are palm trees growing in Siberia?” No, in fact what seems to have occurred is that the snow is deeper in Siberia. What this might mean is that it will take longer for the snow to melt away next spring, which will mean the snow will reflect away the bright spring sunshine for a longer period, delaying the onset of summer’s warmth and mosquitoes. In fact it may be a case of contrary logic, where the extra heat makes Siberia colder in the long run.
Also there can be no denying that much heat in the arctic is simply lost to the night skies and the void of outer space. Even the snow falling over Siberia involves a double phase change, vapor from the Arctic Ocean turns to liquid and then to solid snow, and the heat released from these phase changes is lost from the tops of storm clouds to outer space.
If you want a warmer world, the last thing you should want to see is heat up in the arctic, because that is a bad investment. With the exception of a sixty day period in the middle of summer, the arctic is like a relative who always needs a loan and never pays you back: A drain. To make a warmer world we want a zonal flow, where the cold stays locked to the north and we keep the warmth where we like it, to the south. But this year we are seeing the opposite.
At this point I should shift my attention from the open water on the Eurasian side of the Pole to the odd increase of sea-ice on the North American side. I say “odd” because I haven’t see it before. It seems largely due to ice from the Siberian side being pushed towards the Pole, and also a failure of the Transpolar Drift to flush large quantities of sea-ice south through Fram Strait to melt in the North Atlantic. Ordinarily the Transpolar drift crushes ice against the north coast of Greenland, which is where we see the thickest ice on “thickness” maps, but occasional reverse-flows have actually pushed sea-ice north, creating polynyas of open water along Greenland’s northeast coast, while thicker ice has appeared in the Central Arctic.
The yellow and red in the above thickness map represents sea-ice more than ten feet thick. While there may be less of such thick-ice along the north coasts of Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago, the red and yellow in the Central Arctic is a new phenomenon.
In fact, when you add the lesser amounts of thick-ice along the north coasts of the American side to the very thin ice (lilac) towards Eurasia, there should be an appreciable decrease in the total volume, but a quick glance over at the volume graph shows the levels are the same as last year. I surmise the deficit is made-up-for by the surplus of thick-ice in the Central Arctic. In essence we are seeing the same amount of sea-ice spread out differently.
Now for the fun of it, let’s extrapolate, imagining the changes of the past year persist. Rather than the Transpolar Drift flushing sea-ice south into the North Atlantic, sea-ice continues to be pushed away from Eurasia and continues to pile up in the Central Arctic. After all, the Russians have had many sea-ice “drifting bases”, over forty in all, dating all the way back to 1937, and the Russian scientists noted that there was a drift other than the Transpolar Drift, which they found annoying as it took them far from Russia and towards Canada, which made resupply difficult and also brought them under increasing scrutiny from the “other side” in the Cold War. In other words, the Transpolar Drift is not an ironclad reality.
Now, also for the sheer fun of it, let us take out and dust off the word “unprecedented.” What is unprecedented about the current situation? Well, in the very short term, there is unprecedented build-up of sea-ice in the Central Arctic, simultaneous with unprecedented heat-loss from the waters north of Eurasia. Now extrapolate. The ice continues to thicken over the Central Arctic as the waters north of Eurasia continue to chill. See where I’m aiming?
One fascinating study is the currents of the artic. The water north of Eurasia does not just sit there, but cycle its way around the Pole all the way to Fram Strait. There are scientists who have done amazing work identifying and tracking these currents, and noting their variations. I hope they are adequately funded, for I assume the variations could become quite interesting, due to the waters north of Eurasia being so exposed and so churned the past six months. If even part of the milder, saltier water has been churned up from where it usually hides under the colder “freshwater lens”, that missing heat must make a difference to the equations that determine aspects of how and where such currents flow. I am very curious about what differences might develop. Not that I have a clue, but I’m quite able to play about with the idea that reaching a certain “tipping point” might bring about a change that seems dramatic to us mere mortals. History tells us of times the fish baffled the North Atlantic fishermen by packing up and moving hundreds of miles, rendering prime fishing grounds barren but turning sterile seas to sudden bonanzas. Such changes seem associated with the AMO swinging from cold phases to warm phases, and vice-versa, and, as we may well be on the cusp of such a swing from “warm” to “cold”, I feel we should be alert to unexpected changes. Not that I am so bold as to venture a prediction, but I am “just sayin’…”.
I have been too busy and beset with other matters to scan the daily polar maps to the degree I once did, but I still give them a swift perusal, and would like to share a couple of observations that tickled my imagination.
First, it has always been a mystery to me how the Greenland Vikings could do what they did. For example, how could they hand-dig graves in what is now permafrost as hard as iron? Obviously the meteorological conditions were very different, yet when I try to recreate the conditions in my mind’s eye, nothing works. Therefore, when so much of the Eurasian side of the arctic was ice-free last September, I hoped I might get a hint. Sure enough, as autumn proceeded, the west coast of Greenland and Baffin Bay (where the Viking settled) were well above normal. But for the life of me I couldn’t be sure of why.
My best guess was that all the sea-ice on the Canadian side of the Pole encouraged sinking air and high pressure. While this high pressure led to cold temperatures directly beneath the high, air was swept around the periphery of the high, and this led to a band of milder air sweeping all the way around from East Siberia and the ice-free Bering Strait and across central Canada to Baffin Bay. Just a guess. But what do you expect when my research goes so tragically unfunded?
A second interesting event involved the flash freeze of the vast area of open water north of Eurasia. As soon as those waters are covered by even a six inch skim of ice, a lot of moisture no longer feeds the storms moving east along the Siberian coast. Ordinarily the flash freeze occurs first north of East Siberia, and then west to the Laptev Sea, and then west to the Kara Sea, and lastly on to the eastern edges of Barents Sea, with the result being storms are cut off from their sources of moisture further and further west, and tend to weaken and dwindle away earlier and earlier as they move east. But this year the flash freeze occurred in a big rush, more or less everywhere at once, so I expected the next storm to dwindle away in Barents Sea right away. WRONG.
The next storm moved straight north the wrong way through Fram Strait and Svalbard, and became a fairly strong “Ralph” (anomalous area of low pressure) nearly crossing the Pole, before moving on to dwindle away in East Siberian waters near Bring Strait. In the process it’s east side brought south winds that extended all the way across the Atlantic to Norway, bringing a huge “feeder band” of southern mildness and moisture up to the arctic, where the heat (in my opinion) was squandered, lost to outer space.
If your neighborhood seems too cold at any time this winter, blame whatever it was that caused all that heat not to stay south, where we could use it, and instead to be sucked north and, like heat lost up a chimney, to be rendered useless.
One thing this surge of Atlantic air up into the Arctic did was to drive the advancing edge of the thin sea-ice backwards, reducing the extent of sea-ice on the Atlantic side and allowing the total extent to stop growing, and nearly reach 2016’s levels, which would have been “record-setting” and “unprecedented”.
I must confess I am less impressed by the “extent” graph than I used to be. Even if the edge of six-inch ice is pressed fifty miles north, it tends to create a big jumble of piled-up sea ice three to six feet thick, and also to expose fifty miles of water to churning. Factors other than “extent” seem more meaningful, not the least of which is why that storm took that odd route.
If you want to know why that storm took that odd route, don’t ask me. I’m just a reporter. Instead you need to fund some young meteorologist, and rather than asking him to produce results you want to see, ask him to study the Truth.
Lately it has occurred to me politics is all about producing results you want, but Truth is far more powerful, and also is more interesting. Maybe not convenient, but interesting.
As a sort of example, a few days ago the billion dollar computer models forecast a storm to lift from the Gulf of Mexico and move out to sea south of us. However the computer models failed to give enough weight to a second small low digging south across the Great Lakes.
When two such storms intersect, it is called “phasing”, and they can create a gale greater than the sum of the two.
For reasons I don’t fully understand, rapidly developing storms employ “advection” to cool the air’s “column” just enough to turn cold rain to sticky, wet snow. This is Truth, and it doesn’t matter what billion dollar computer models say. What it basically means is that I headed off this morning to feed goats and chickens in a cold rain, and weather changed to wet snow so swiftly I barely slithered home alive. (Thank God for anti-lock brakes.) Before the plows or sanders or salters could even start the roads were skating rinks, and a snowless landscape looked like this in ninety minutes:
Once you make it home alive, Truth is rather pretty. But one is made aware that Truth is the boss. Any other conclusion is absurdity.
There is something about spending a billion dollars on a computer model which smacks of disrespect towards Truth. The computer seems more aimed at circumventing Truth than in following Truth. Some people resent being followers. They’d rather fiddle with computers that can’t comprehend chaos and never are completely correct, than follow Truth which is always right. Sadly, all sorts of excellent scientific minds, such as William Gray’s, go unfunded, as gizmos get the glitter.
In the end Truth is boss, and Truth is beauty, and the best refreshment is to just follow Truth, as it does what it does, shifting cobalt and azure icebergs in the arctic twilight.
The Pole is bipolar (what we used to call manic-depressive). The heaven of a day six months long gives way to the hell of a night six months long. The wonderfully mad people who wander about in such extremes are wonderfully swayed, and even the primmest scientists, who like to fool themselves into believing they are objective and rational and unaffected, are prone to showing signs of being moody like the rest of us.
The moodiness leaks into the writing and postings of those who sail icy waters or attempt to trek across the ice. In the brilliance of July we used to get glimpses of their manic ecstasy: Odd pictures of nudists on sea-ice. There was little of that last summer, with the world derailed with the coronavirus nonsense. But the Pole ignored us, and went about it’s business of thawing and then refreezing more or less as usual.
There were of course the slight variations which fanatics like myself like to focus on, and make a big deal about. The thaw started a little earlier and lasted a little longer than usual.
This interested me, as the exact opposite was true down at latitude 42 degrees, where I live in New Hampshire. We had a late frost in the spring and an early freeze in the fall, which made our growing season one of the shortest I can remember. Was the cold air displaced from the Pole to more southerly latitudes? I have not the time to do such research, so I just cast the idea out there, in a sense delegating the work to young whippersnappers who have the time and inclination.
I once was such a young person, and in fact one reason I have no pension and must work in my old age is because I took my retirement when young. I did a ton of research when young, rather than getting a Real Job. Surely there are still youths such as I once was, able to study obscure stuff (other than how to win video games).
This past coronavirus summer I could find no crazy whippersnappers attempting to sail the Northwest Passage, or trek across the ice, or set a new record and achieve a new first, such as making it to the Pole on pogo-sticks, but the dearth was redeemed by the MOSAiC Expedition. This bunch of crazies consisted of scientists copying Nansen, and drifting across the Pole in a ship frozen into the ice. They did all sorts of stuff I have been delegating to others, over the past decade. For example, where I said we should take temperatures, they took temperatures. And where I said we should put cameras, they put cameras. If our planet was sane, we would already have heaps of wonderful data made clear in well-written articles, rather than long lists of numbers.
But our world isn’t sane, so besides walking on dangerous sea-ice, the scientists had to, and have to, walk on eggs, in terms of politics. Some of the international team were from China, and one needs to have care about speaking the Truth when one’s leaders are not fond of the Truth. Also one must be careful about denying the theory of Global Warming, for political reasons, no matter what the data says. To top it off, the Coronavirus panic hit the world when the scientists were far from the maddening crowds, snug aboard a warm ship in the deep dark of a frozen arctic winter, and they had to be careful about commenting about how the rest of us panicking people looked, from afar. Yet, despite the fact they had to so careful about ludicrous things, they still gathered wonderful reams of information we never knew before. Their eyes sparkle, as they know more than they are allowed to say. I look forward to their discoveries leaking out.
To return to the above graph, one can see that the temperatures were actually below normal, by a hair, through much of the summer. In my eyes they were not below normal enough. Why? Because the sun has been very “quiet”, and the Pole is a place where low energy from the sun should be especially obvious. The Pole “should” be colder, whereas other places “should” be warmer, as I see things.
It is counter-intuitive that less energy from the sun should make the world warmer, but that is only because we tend to think less energy must be measured by thermometers. It is also measured by oedometers, for less energy from the sun makes less wind. Less wind makes for less up-welling of cold water where winds are offshore. Less cold water makes for more warm water at the surface of our oceans, and a warmer planet.
The only exception to this “rule” (actually a theory) is the Pole, where the sea is covered in ice and upwellings are not brought about by wind, especially when the sun first rises in late March, and sea-ice is at its maximum and the Arctic Ocean is totally covered. Therefore, because the Arctic Ocean is the one place on earth where wind has little influence, it should be the one place on earth where we see the sunshine of a “quiet” sun make things colder (during the summer when the sun shines). And this is exactly what we have seen, in recent years……until last summer.
I have the sense a change is in the wings. The counter-intuitive situation was a temporary adjustment, but now will become more intuitive. After all, the very word “counter-intuitive” means something is violating our common sense. And it goes against our common sense that less energy from the sun should make us warmer.
In a sense the planet has been borrowing from Peter to pay Paul, using warm surface waters to pay a debt created by the “quiet” sun. This can only go on so long before the debt catches up with the bank account. The surface waters use up whatever surplus heat they had to spare, and things return to a new normal where once again upwelling of cold water can occur. And so it is that, after a long lapse, we are again seeing the periodic upwelling called “La Nina”.
It should take a while for this sudden appearance of colder-than-normal water on the equator in the Pacific to work north to the Pole. The north Pacific still remembers the kinder times. And the Pole is still under the influence of kinder times, so we should expect low levels of sea-ice at the minimum. But, though the levels were indeed low, we are faced with a disconcerting problem.
What is the problem? Well, first let me show levels are low, (but up from 2012).
What is puzzling is that, though the sea-ice covers a low area of “extent”, the sea-ice that remains is surprisingly thick. Usually much of the remaining “volume” of sea-ice is piled up against the north coast of Greenland, in a narrow strip, but this year that thick ice is absent, yet “volume” does not show a down-tick, for the sea-ice between Canada and the Pole is quite thick.
In essence what we have seen over the past year is the sea-ice be pushed from the Eurasian side of the Pole to the Canadian side, creating more open water than we are used to on the Eurasian side, and ice thicker than we are used to on the Canadian side. This polarizes Alarmists and Skeptics (ha ha) because the Alarmists can make a big deal about the open water as the Skeptics make a big deal about the thicker ice.
The only thing I am certain about is that the good ship “Arctic Death Spiral” has taken another torpedo. It actually keeps sinking like the Titanic each year, but some people make a boat be a basketball, and it bounces back up to a yearly resurrection, only to be sunk yet again.
This year the torpedo involves all the thicker ice between Canada and the Pole being so-called “multiyear-ice”, which, as I hope you remember, we were suppose to see less and less of, according to the Arctic Death Spiral theory. But reports of its demise have been greatly exaggerated, and this year multi-year has made a come-back. Unless some sort of major flushing of sea-ice south through Fram Strait occurs during the winter, by next spring there will be a solid core of sea-ice between nine and twelve feet thick between Canada and the Pole, which will make it all the harder for the ice to melt away next summer. (It may even represent the core of the beginning of a so-called “recovery” back to cold AMO ice-extent-levels such as we saw in 1979).
Not that my original objections to the Arctic Death Spiral theory needed to be validated by increases in sea-ice. Originally my focus was Greenland Vikings, and certain evidence that Greenland was much warmer in the Medieval Warm Period, and the idea the Arctic Sea may even have been wide open during some summers, back then. It took the dread out of the “Death” in “Arctic Death Cycle” if we’d already been there and done that, and hadn’t become extinct. In fact it made an ice-free Arctic Sea look like a good thing, and part of a kinder and gentler climate.
The backlash I earned simply by talking about Vikings tanning in the sun of a warmer Greenland came as a shock, for I discovered I was a “denier” and “wingnut”. It awoke me from my naïve innocence to the fact I was not dealing with science, but the dogma of radical politics.
It did not take me long to suspect the director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Mark Serreze, was promoting not science, but rather a “narrative”, and that someone behind the scenes was forking out big money and a cushy position to make it worth Mark’s while. He was apparently paid to generate hoop-la about an Arctic Death Spiral. That hoop-la, and not science, became his job. Of course, if you pointed out any science which countered the hoop-la, they needed to make a racket to drown out your calm and rational voice. They also often labeled you in some way that allowed them to escape the fact they couldn’t debate worth a damn. One magic phrase they use was “conspiracy theory”, and to this day they continue to whip that accusation out, if you so much as question. Whenever you hear that phrase, and especially when you are accused of it, you should be alerted to the fact you are dealing with a mind that doesn’t want to debate. It is tantamount to muttering, “balderdash”, (which may express honest emotion, but scores no points, in a true debate).
As far as I can tell, the purpose behind preferring hoop-la to truth is money, which gains power, which gains more money, which gains more power, on and on with the money and power gathered in the same insane manner some women collect thousands of shoes in their closet. The besotted have more than they need or know what to do with, and, because such hoarding is disconnected from Truth and in fact opposes Truth, it degrades the quality of their life. They become pitiful.
However before I become too haughty I should fully disclose I’ve never really been tempted by large amounts of money and a cushy position. Would I myself pass such a test? There is only one way to find out. Drop by tomorrow and offer me a large amount of money and a cushy position.
In actual fact I have quibbled about ice cubes bobbing about in the Arctic Ocean for nigh on two decades, without pay. It makes me wonder: What’s in it for me?
Initially I liked the beauty of the sweeping views, and my pay was the same pay I get from watching clouds cruise across the sky. Added to that was the sense of adventure I got, never leaving my armchair, as I read about Vikings and explorers like Nansen. Also, back when science was actually discussed, I derived a sense of wonder as I learned how harmonious chaotic systems can be; it is hard to call chaos chaotic when looking at the sweeping swirls of a cyclone.
However increasingly I ran into the iceberg called “the narrative”, which is quite effective when it comes to sinking a buoyant mood. An Arctic sunset is beautiful, lasts two weeks, and is uplifting. I can’t say the same about Mark Serreze.
In my gloomier moods I tend to think I have wasted a lot of time, arguing about sea-ice. I likely would have been better off doing something more constructive, such as knitting. But in another sense perhaps this all has been practice for the battle of our lives.
One thing I have noticed over the past twenty years, both in terms of discussions about sea-ice and in terms of politics in general, is that the besotted have become increasingly besotted. The appetite for money and power seems insatiable, when not governed by Truth. The bribe which once seemed enough to diminish craving instead feeds a increase of craving, and one wants to double the dose. One wants more and more money and power, until one starts to want more than a sane person wants, at which point one starts to desire other people’s money and other people’s power. One wants to tax others and take away their liberty, which increasingly violates a certain component of Truth we don’t understand scientifically, called “Love”. In essence as soon as one steps into the webs of deceit they sell their soul to the devil, and become involved in a death spiral having nothing to do with ice.
Over the past twenty years I’ve watched certain scientists battle this insidious trap, which usually begins with a harmless-seeming compromise. Scientists need funding, and to gain it some will exaggerate a little, telling a little white lie for the sake of supporting their family and their staff. In some cases they are aglow when they first get the grant, and gain the power to go to the arctic landscape they adore, but that glow fades. I’ve watched them over the years. Their faces harden and become cynical, and in some cases they start to look ill. The compromise eats away at them, and in a few glorious cases they can’t abide the dishonesty and eventually blow a gasket, and go from being spokesmen of the Global Warming narrative to people you never hear about any more, unless you look very hard, whereupon you discover them posting on an obscure blog from a remote location in Siberia. It does not pay to bite the hand that feeds you, (especially when it’s a Stalin’s. Few return from Siberia like Solzhenitsyn did).
What is fascinating to me is how much of this suffering can be avoided when people, risking being called naïve chumps and suckers, simply stand by the Truth. They are neither tempted by money and power, nor bullied by belittling, and stand their ground. It is especially odd that standing still seemingly gets them somewhere. Truth seems inanimate and cold to some, but, perhaps because It includes Love, Truth seems to have a way of guiding and even protecting people who make It their guru.
Truth also has the benefit of obeying certain laws, such as the law of gravity, which it pays to attend to, and which you violate running the risk of crashing. Engineers who ignore the Truth will build stuff that crashes, and the same holds true for people who ignore the Truth in areas where the eventual crash is not so obvious, such as politics.
In any case, over the past twenty years I’ve watched things slowly build towards a crisis. On one side are those who stand by Truth, and on the other are those willing to disregard Truth for money and power. To think I originally turned to the topic of sea-ice as a way of escaping all the woes of the world!
I still turn to sea-ice for escape, for there is always much to wonder about. This year the refreeze of the huge area of open water along the entire Eurasian coast, nearly to the Pole and across Bering Strait, will be chance to see a situation which likely resembles the Medieval Warm Period in some respects. Having so much water open will allow upwellings which don’t usually occur, and changes to the stratification of the water. Even if the water freezes over by mid November, the usual “fresh water lens” atop saltier water will likely have been churned right out of existence. I delegate a great deal of study to whippersnappers, who must investigate how this reshuffling effects the various currents meandering under the growing sea-ice.
The MOSAiC expedition is doing exactly this. After the Transpolar Flow ejected them where the sea-ice breaks up south of Fram Strait, they powered up their good ship Polarstern and motored back north, sticking to the more open waters of the Eurasian side, and then planted themselves back in the sea-ice to enjoy the ride down towards Fram Strait a second time, and also to take careful observations of what actually happens when the ocean refreezes. They have all sorts of good gadgets, which enables them to measure salinity and temperature and which-way-and-how-fast-the-water-is-flowing at various levels under the ice. Their data will be freely displayed as long lists, and hopefully I’ll eventually learn how to read it; (currently I can’t make heads nor tails of it). But what is most wonderful is that they gather actual data, which on many occasions has surprised them, as it differed from what they expected, which is the theory which is entered into computers and is called “modeled data.”
I am not as surprised as they seem that the “modeled data” is proven wrong. The people programing the computer are paid by benefactors who desire a certain “narrative”, and it is hard to not display a sort of bias when you might get fired if the computer model disagrees with the boss. Computers tend to agree with the boss paying for the electricity, but the actual North Pole works for a different boss, called Truth. It doesn’t care a fig for any mortal’s money or power. It does what it does, and usually what it does is beautiful.
One thing the MOSAiC scientists uncovered was that the air right next to the sea-ice is colder than modeled, which likely explains why (back when we could watch with the O-buoy cameras) we saw meltwater pools freezing over when our satelite-and-computer-generated maps showed temperatures above freezing. But they also have been discovering stuff hidden from our prying eyes, in the waters under the ice. Besides all the critters and festoons of algae I mentioned in earlier posts, they are discovering unexpected turbulence.
As I understand it, nine-tenths of an iceberg is under water, so than when you see a pressure ridge six feet high wandering across the top of the ice, it is matched by a sort of keel sticking down fifty-four feet under the ice. When this keel is pushed through the water as the ice is moved by wind, it acts like a spoon stirring the sea. Apparently this was not considered when the modeling was done for waters under the ice.
This seems to suggest that perhaps those who fund scientists should stop telling the scientists what they are expected to find, and instead to allow them to discover the Truth. For the Truth is something very nice to chance upon, in this rough old world: It is true.