This is an amazing time at the Pole, where it could become a very hot place. Despite the low angle of the sun, it is high enough to continually warm the ground beneath.
Imagine the sun rising in your neighborhood on a cool summer morning just to the point where it starts to warm a little, but then imagine it just stalls there. At first it wouldn’t warm much, but as hours passed the gradual warming would add up. Even though it didn’t get as high as it gets in your neighborhood at noon, it also wouldn’t sink and cool with another night. Persistence pays, for after twenty-four hours it would have heated more than your neighborhood’s sun does, on the same summer day. The simple fact the sun never sets at the Pole makes the Pole a place receiving more radiance than even the equator receives. For six months the sun never sets at the Pole, and just rolls around and around the horizon, heating and heating and heating. If there was any justice on this flipping planet, the Pole would get warmer than the equator, by July.
Here’s a little “solar insolation” chart that proves my point. The equator gets a steady 33 to 36 units of energy year round, but during the height of summer, (in July on the North Pole and in January on the South Pole), the poles are getting 45 units of energy. (North Pole summer is at the top-center.)
It seems to me that, if we insist upon freaking out about sea-ice and viruses and the color of skin, we really should be freaking out more about the Poles not getting as hot as they should. Surely, among the trillions of stars, there are millions of planets the size of ours, and tilted to an angle similar to ours, and I’ll bet they have the decency and self-respect to get hot at the Poles, and to send blazing hot warm-fronts southwards during the height of summer, and I’ll bet they look at us and say, “What a bunch of freaks!” (At the very least, it would explain why we Earthlings freak out about everything.)
The reason our Poles don’t warm like they should is because the south one is a vast plateau of ice nearly two miles high, and the north one is a sea clotted with ice. This tends to suggest our Creator was having a bit of fun when he made our abode. And I’m not going to begrudge the Maker a bit of fun. I imagine it’s no easy job creating a universe. If you have grievances, take them to Him. (He’ll likely ask you where you’ve been). But don’t come grousing to me. I’ve been trying to create the Great American Novel for decades, and seldom get past page six.
Another bit of fun our Creator had while messing about with our planet was to create mountains that don’t even have the decency to stay in the same place. Entire continents drift about like unemployed bureaucrats, and nothing but mischief can come of that. In the geological past conditions were so different that it actually was warm up at the Pole, and a jungle grew up there, with hippos in the pools. They must have been hippos with really big eyes, to see in the dark six months of the year. Hippos with a lot of hair to keep them warm in the winter, that they shed in the spring. But I digress.
The point I am trying to make is that it is perfectly normal for it to get warm at the Pole in the summer, but every blasted year some blithering reporter wets his pants about how ice is melting, or how it has gotten hot over the tundra.
I was actually reassured to see the BBC freaking out and getting hysterical in this manner. As a person who enjoys sea-ice, I was starting to feel a bit forgotten, the way acid rain and the ozone hole have been forgotten, as everyone rushed off to be alarmed by a flipping virus too puny to take on most any blokes but poor, old folk who are toeing the threshold of death’s door. It was good to see the BBC revert to a more traditional and conservative pack of complete claptrap, which I could relate to.
What bothers me is that I’m never fast enough, when it comes to exposing the claptrap as the pure pseudoscience it is. Other websites always beat me to the punch. Usually it is “WUWT” or “Real Climate Science”, but on this occasion it was “Not A Lot Of People Know That”. They just whipped out the old records to show the BBC was wrong, and temperatures up over 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) are not “unprecedented” on the Tundra, and therefore not all that “astonishing”.
Of course recorded history doesn’t impress hysterical Alarmists all that much. To them history is a statue to topple, a weed to rip from their lovely, lovely garden where you shoot all messengers. Rather than learning from mistakes, you shoot the honest fellow who tells you you’re mistaken. Maybe it doesn’t solve the problem, but at least you don’t have to hear about it. Instead you only hear the squeaking flattery of people kissing your….posterior.
This may make your posterior feel good in the short term, but in the long run it is sad. In his drooling dotage Mao had people so cowed they would only bring him reports of what a howling success his economic reforms were. In fact the opposite was true. Yet no one dared tell him so, and instead brought him falsified figures, showed him doctored photographs, and took him to carefully prepared villages where everyone spoke glowingly about how wise his reforms had proven to be, and Mao was so far gone he believed it all. Meanwhile, behind his back, the “Gang Of Four” he had chosen as his hand-picked successors faced a growing throng that wanted them…replaced. “You cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”
The summer at the Pole is a short term event, only two months of the year. However it is seductive. One of the saddest tales I’ve heard, of adventurers on the ice, involved two chums who were so hypnotized by the warmth they neglected to put on the usual, protective, “dry-suit” garb, and were crossing a stretch of sunny ice in their long underwear, when the ice gave out, and they plunged into water chilled below the freezing point of fresh water. One of them set off their emergency signal, but when rescuers rushed to the scene in a helicopter all they found was a sled dog, running around an empty hole in the ice.
Truth can be a bugger, if you mock it. And one of the best ways we’ve found to avoid mocking Truth is to honor history. Don’t tear down statues; learn from them. If you don’t learn from mistakes you are doomed to repeat them.
It is for this reason I have studied all I can find about sea-ice, and the diaries and logs of those who have traveled where I have never been. It began because I enjoyed sailing, and enjoyed the exploits of fellows who dared amazing voyages in the north. My Skeptic side was born as I admired the Vikings, and immediately became aware Alarmists wanted to erase the Viking’s history. It did not fit their “narrative”, and indeed they wanted to entirely “erase the Medieval Warm Period.” They didn’t like the facts and figures the same way some don’t like statues, and want to topple them.
Back then they did not topple statues of Eric the Red and Lief Ericson, but what they did amounted to the same thing. They fudged and falsified data, attempting to make Greenland look warmer now than it was when the Norse could dig graves in what is now iron-hard permafrost, and Vikings could raise 100,000 sheep and goats where we now can’t raise ten, without imported fodder. What they were attempting was so obviously clap trap, and so like like burning the books of history, that I took a stand.
We are talking twenty years ago. Perhaps longer, but it was twenty years ago that Alarmist behavior first began to raise more than just a suspicion, on my part. I had actual evidence certain people were mocking the Truth.
At first people laughed at me, and called me silly and paranoid, but as the years have gone by it has become increasingly obvious some are mocking the Truth. Heck, twenty years ago no one talked about “Fake News”, but now it is practically a given. No longer is this a trivial disagreement about an obscure subject: Sea-ice in some far off place most of us will never see. Instead we may well be seeing things come to a head, and be midst the battle of our lives.
In some ways sea-ice is becoming irrelevant. Instead the focus is on abolishing the police. I don’t want to go there. Instead I’ll return to sea-ice for the same reason I originally went. I need an escape, and looking at sea-ice is like watching a cloud in the sky.
Not that I can ignore the BBC, and not that I can resist countering their Alarmist trivia with counter-trivia they are careful not to mention. For example, the North American (where I live) snow cover has been well above normal all year, and continues above normal even as it retreats north and fades away in the summer heat.
This trivia is worth blathering about because blindingly white snow-cover reflects sunshine, (and makes you wear sunglasses), and having extra reflective snow makes a mess of the BBC “albedo” arguments, which state that, because there is less ice and snow, more sunshine must be absorbed, which supposedly will overheat the planet.
Another bit of trivia involves Greenland’s icecap melting, which it does every summer, (at lower altitudes near the coasts), under the intense arctic sunshine. The BBC likes to show the amazing melt-water streams rushing to the sea, and to then fret about rising oceans, but this year mum’s the word, (so far). Why? Because the melt is retarded this year. In fact there have been two winter-like snows this June, adding rather than subtracting. In the brief time we’ve kept records, there has never been a storm in June that added over four Gt/Day to Greenland’s icecap. This year there has not been one, but two.
Like I said, this is trivia. It is a small part of our Creator’s amazing creativity, which involves so many variables it makes your head spin in awe. However, if the BBC is going to put on a white lab coat and raise an index finger with their trivia, it’s nice to counter-point with a raised finger of trivia that makes them look like imbeciles.
In the end what matters most is not trivia, but the Truth. Are you for it or against it?
In the last Civil War someone asked Abraham Lincoln if God was on the side of the Northern States, and he replied what really mattered was whether the northern states were on God’s side. The same is true today, as things take on some of the aspects of a Second Civil War. If you prefer the political correctness of Fake News, you do not stand by Truth, and cannot expect Truth to stand by you.
Meanwhile the clouds cruise by overhead unconcerned. The sea-ice is melting like it always does under the unending summer sun, at first at the periphery, but increasingly all over the place.
Under the endless sunshine three quarters of the ice melts every year, and this year is no different. There is less sea-ice during a warm AMO than during a cold AMO, as expected.
Temperatures climb up to two separate plateaus. The first is when temperatures reach the point where salt, which loses its power to melt ice below a certain temperature and blows around the Pole like dust in the wind, regains its power and start melting the ice again, sucking up a lot of heat in the process. (Think of the salt in the ice of an old fashioned ice-cream-maker, sucking the heat from the cream.) And the second is when the melting point of water is reached. Melting ice also sees a lot of heat sucked up, with available heat becoming latent heat during the phase-change from solid to liquid. Until the water becomes ice-free the water remains stuck at the freezing point, influencing the air just above it.
The temperatures at the Pole hover just above freezing due to all the sea-ice and ice-water, despite the nonstop sunshine. There is nothing new about thawing, slushy sea-ice in the summer. Here are the temperatures from 1958. The blue line represents the freezing point. Each summer the temperature is above freezing for roughly sixty days.
The most notable variable seems to be the effect of the AMO, which is hanging onto its “warm” phase, despite wavering down towards the “cold” phase at times last winter. It will be interesting to observe (God willing) the changes expected to occur when the switch becomes definite. It is forecast to happen during the next five years.
In the meantime the variable I like to watch is where the sea-ice is pushed by the wind. During the last year, despite a lack of big gales, there has been a steady push offshore from Eurasia, piling the mass against Canada and Greenland.
Barring major events, this situation will mean the Northeast Passage is likely to be passable while the Northwest Passage is likely to be impassable. Of course, the behavior of sea-ice is less predictable than the behavior of the BBC. The BBC will focus on how ice-free the water is along the coast of Eurasia, while failing to note that despite temperatures well above freezing and the sun remaining up at midnight, the sea off Barrow, Alaska remains clotted with ice.
The thicker sea-ice was also moved south towards Fram Strait, which initially sped up the drift of the MOSAiC expedition, but eventually made resupply a problem. It was difficult finding flat ice to land planes on, due to all the pressure ridges, and eventually it was decided to rev up their icebreaker Polarstern and sail down to Svalbard, resupply, and plow back to their original anchorage in the ice. This has proved difficult. First, they were delayed getting to Svalbard, as the ice was so thick that some days they didn’t move much farther than the ice drifted. They did finally extract themselves, resupply, and now are heading back north through the ice, but are now being slowed by the thicker ice again.
As they struggle north they are feeding my craving for views of the summer sea-ice. One thing interesting to see was how excited they were by a flipped berg with algae on the bottom. Of course, I pat myself on the back. I noted such things using the old floating North Pole Camera and the O-buoys, and though I couldn’t study the micro-critters to the degree they are, I published a post about how marvelous micro-critters are, on WUWT back in 2015.
It is good to see these young whippersnappers catching on. They are learning the algae on the ice-bottom is different from the open-water algae. Fascinating stuff!
I wish them well, up there in that splendid summer sun.