ARCTIC SEA ICE —Ralph ‘s Rebound—

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


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

DMI4 0921 meanT_2017

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


And in the West of USA:

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

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

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

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

El Nino Sept 2017 nino34_short

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

Sunspots 20170906 latest_512_HMIIC

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

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

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

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

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

DMI4 0921 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

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

Stay tuned.


ARCTIC SEA ICE –Demanding Accountability For Failed Forecasts–

Extent 20170913 SIE_seasonal_n

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

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

1886 Hurricane Season 800px-1886_Atlantic_hurricane_season_map

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obuoy 14 0913 webcam

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

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

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

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

These are not times men should remain silent.



It may seem off the topic of sea-ice, but let us begin off the coast of Peru.

SST 20170829 Anomaly globe_cdas1_anom(96)

That blue spear pointing west off Peru is what looks like the start of a La Nina, and is a bit of a shock to me, for only two month ago that area was red, and it looked like we were in for a weak El Nino, at least in the central Pacific (an El Nino Modoki). The switcheroo that has occurred has given me, (and perhaps the patterns) a case of whiplash.

As far as I know this fooled everyone. A year ago people were expecting a big La Nina, because often a strong El Nino is followed by a strong La Nina, (sort of like a strong action creates a strong reaction). Instead there was a rather pathetic excuse for a La Nina, followed by a pathetic excuse for an El Nino.

Perhaps we are seeing a case of delayed-but-not-denied. It is sort of like when my desk gets too messy, and an avalanche of papers at the back starts to slide towards me. I can delay the avalanche with my right palm in one place, but it comes at me from another angle, and I can delay that with my left palm, but when it comes at me yet again from a third direction I know it’s all over, and the mess will slide into my lap and on the floor, (and cleaning my desk will become unavoidable). In other words, a La Nina was primed, but held back by some unknown culprit, (I suspect the “Quiet Sun”), but now the resistance is futile, and the La Nina will not be denied.

How does this effect sea-ice? In a general sense warmer oceans (El Nino) eventually (in several ways) warm the Pole, and increase melting, while colder oceans (La Nina) eventually (in several ways) cool the the Pole, and decrease melting.

Much of the hoop-la about the Pole melting has to do with the Atlantic being in a “warm” AMO phase at the same time the Pacific was in a “warm” PDO phase. The clockwork of these cycles has been messed with by the sun being very “noisy” last century, but shifting to a “quiet” sun this century. The PDO turned cold as expected, but then unexpectedly swung back to warm (though it may be ending that swing now.) The AMO has remained warm, but may be starting its swing back to cold.

When the tropics are warmer the planet tries to balance things out. The planet is like children, and like humanity, in that it attempts to achieve peace through creating a ruckus. The jet stream becomes meridional, as the planet tries to move the heat north and cold consequently sweeps south. So think of that, next time you look out the window at a howling storm. As trees fall say: “The planet is making peace.”

When the tropics cool (La Nina) the flow becomes more zonal and the cold stays north more. I’ve actually been forecasting that, (and seeing my forecasts blown), for some time, as the lagged effects of the big 2015 El Nino were used up (in theory). However in fact, as I stated, the big La Nina never developed and instead it looked all the world like a weak El Nino was going to develop.

This provided me with a handy excuse for all my blown forecasts. It also explained why the anomalous low pressure appeared at the Pole (that I dubbed “Ralph”) and wouldn’t go away, and why unusual warmth rushed up to the Pole in the dead of winter even as unusual snows fell in Kuwait, the Sahara, Mexico and Vietnam.

But now, with this La Nina appearing out of the blue, my forecasts need to go through a switcheroo. But the problem is the timing.  There is a lag between when an event occurs at the equator and the effects reach the Pole, both in terms of the air temperatures and in terms of the sea-temperatures (with the water taking longer to respond.)

My layman’s guess is that it will be around mid-winter when the pattern switches to a zonal one. The winter will start out like gang-busters, with a meridional pattern, (as a lagged effect of the El-Nino-that-wasn’t), but then the cold will retreat to the Pole and the end of the winter will be more merciful, at least on this side of the Atlantic. (I’m not so sure about Europe, as the Gulf Stream looks like it is swinging like a fire-hose on a sidewalk, and currently in a swing that may aim the mildness more towards north Africa than Europe,)

Of course this is dependent on whether the La Nina sticks, or becomes the La-Nina-that-wasn’t. The recent pattern has seemed agitated and fickle, and I blame the confusion on the “Quiet Sun.”

Perhaps we are even still seeing the lagged effects of the last La-Nina-that-wasn’t, for the models keep seeing a zonal pattern appear at the Pole. It starts to happen, but then Ralph reappears.  On a whole the clouds, looking down at the Pole, have moved in a counterclockwise manner.

Recently we have seen one of the best recoveries of “Byoof” (The Beaufort high) and the models were even suggesting we’d soon see a clockwise flow of clouds over the Pole. So far Ralph merely sagged to the Atlantic side, and the contrast between Pacific high pressure and Atlantic low pressure has created a cross-polar-flow from Siberia to Canada.


(All the cool air pouring down into the plains of North America is one of the factors breeding hurricanes in the warmer waters further south.)

Temperatures are falling, after the last Ralph-feeding mild-impulse came north. Surface-melt has ended, and from now on melt can only come from below.DMI4 0829 meanT_2017

It does not appear “extent” will get as low as last year:

DMI4 0829 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

And for those who like to switch the subject to “volume”, it does not look like volume will get as low as well. The ice has not been scattered by “Gustogales”, and remains concentrated in the Central Arctic.

DMI4 0829 FullSize_CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20170828

Will update later if I find time.


After being alerted in “comments” I went to Tony Heller’s site at  to check up on a couple summer-voyagers who can send us pictures of Arctic Sea-Ice.

Creeping Senility Crystal Serenity is a luxury liner that allows you, for a mere $10,000, to travel north and see for yourself the melting ice. To a certain degree their technique for selling tickets utilizes the usual wailing and rending-of-garments about Global Warming, which Alarmists like to employ when making money off the fact ice melts in the arctic in the summer. However someone made a bit of a mistake. In selling tickets they state that they will be taking the Peel Sound route, and then go on to state that if William Parry had turned south and entered Peel Sound in 1819, rather than heading straight west to where sea-ice blocked him south of Melville Island, he might have been the first to navigate the Northwest Passage.

I have no idea if this is true, for the state of the ice in 1819 is largely unknown, except where Parry sailed. However by suggesting the waters were clear in 1819, and then running into ice, they embarrass Alarmists aboard, for rather than making it look like the arctic is melting away, they make it look like ice has increased in the last 198 years.

They may be able to penetrate the ice and complete the Northwest Passage, for they are accompanied by the icebreaker Shackleton.  However Parry was powered by sail, and stated he could be halted by a mere inch of ice, unless there were strong following winds.

Here is a picture of the ice they’ve met and the Shackleton:

CS 0829 2 Attachment-1

And here’s a map of their route:

CS 0829 1 Attachment-1

Ice looks thicker ahead, but sometimes there is open water right along the coast. The icebreaker can send off helicopters to seek the best route. (Another thing William Parry lacked.)

The cross-polar-flow I mentioned earlier in this post has been pouring some cold air down that way, and O-buoy 14, not far to the north, seems to show broken new ice between the bergs of old ice.

Obuoy 14 0830 webcam

I wonder if there is any chance they’d just turn around and go back?

The other adventurers are two boats, the Sea Dragon and the — , which are most definitely milking the Global Warming angle for every drop of cream they can get. The expedition is headed by the arctic adventurer Pen Hadlow, who achieved a remarkable so trek to the Pole years back, but is also known for the “Ship Of Fools” debacle down by Antarctica.

They sold their expedition as a first-time sort of adventure: “First to sail to the Pole”, (though they made sure to include many disclaimers about how science would come first and they might not bother going all the way). They include plenty of footage of sea-ice, and of polar bears reclining on the ice, all the while exclaiming how ice free it is.

(Before I include any photographs I should give credit where credit is due. Their photographer is named Coner McDonald and he is taking some beautiful shots.) You can check out his pictures of polar bears here:

While admiring their daring, I do have to toll my eyes a bit about the way they stress the sea as being ice free, yet need to tie up to a floe to do science experiments. But I bit my tongue, even when they included pictures like this:

(Taken by a drone?)

Arctic Mission 1 21014050_1885841401442838_5566014077910508507_o

And this:

Arctic Mission 2 21150145_1885839721443006_7462560160847329194_n

But today they found a patch of open water, and marveled over how ice-free the Pole was, and I can feel my held tongue slipping from my grasp.

Arctic Mission 3 21150233_1890956340931344_2187743086738490783_n

1.) They are at 80°, far from the Pole.

2.) We have reports of whaling ships sailing above 80°

3.) We have early Nimbus satellite pictures from the 1960’s showing enormous areas of open water up there.

4.) If it is so ice-free, why don’t they just head north? Why are they dilly dallying at 80°? At the very least they should set a new furthest-north-by-a-sailboat record. (I think the old record was set by Nansen’s Fram, 85°55′N)

The truth is, as we have seen from the camera’s of O-buoys in the past, the sea-ice is quite near, just over the nearby horizon (and possibly visible if they climbed the mast) and they likely would have a hard time heading much further north. But we shall see about that.

They should have sailed last year, when the gales had the ice much more broken….though perhaps the ships would have been broken up as well, by such gales.

NRL averaged “thickness” maps:  (Last year on left; this year on right.)

The Navy maps shows ice 2 feet thick where they find open water. This is likely because they average the thickness. There may be ice six feet thick not far away, and when you average it out with the patches of open water it comes to two feet thick. But what worries me is the chance the thicker ice crunches together with them in the middle.

View of that Ice-edge” from space

My best guess is that the “open water” they are in is in the upper center of the above picture. The ice gets thicker and thicker as you head to the Pole. Check out the view yourself here:

In any case, I’ve grabbed a hold of my slippery tongue again, and wish those fellows (and ladies) well. I’ll include them in my prayers. Their Facebook page makes good reading, no matter whether you are an Alarmist or Skeptic:

They have a neat time-lapse shot of their boat motoring through the sea-ice (before they found this “open water”) that likely makes the spirit of William Parry green with envy. Sail-powered ships lacked such maneuverability.

Stay tuned.


ARCTIC SEA ICE –Whaler Gales–

The modern millennial likely would not approve of the life Whaler’s lived, seeing them as back-stabbers, but Whaler’s lived in a society where if you did not produce food, clothing and shelter you would not receive food, clothing and shelter. The choice was quite simple, back then: Work your ass off, or freeze and starve in rags. It was downright Biblical, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

Given this choice, men and women in the times Whalers sailed were motivated to do far more than the millennial mentality allows. There were no trophies for “participating,” for life was clearly a matter of life or death. Winning was life, and losing was death, and it was left to the angels in heaven to decide whether the dead got a “participation trophy.”

Not that people back then didn’t believe that certain losers, called “martyrs”, did get a “participation trophy” of far greater value than the plastic objects handed out to modern losers. However it was because they had given the ultimate sacrifice, their own life, so that others might live. Life and living was still the focus, and there was the awareness that in order to give, and be charitable, you must have. And in order to have, you must work your ass off. You must have a life worth living in order to perform the ultimate charity, and give your life away as a martyr.

Millennials seem confused about the basic premise which states one must have something to begin with, in order to be charitable. Some millennials indeed have things completely backwards. Where, in fact, an act of charity leaves one with less materially than one started with (though one may be richer spiritually), millennials feel they should wind up with more materially, if they are charitable. They only “give” because the pay is good; a “non-profit” should be highly lucrative; a “public servant” taxes those he supposedly serves. This colossal ignorance represents a complete redefinition of the word, “charity.”

This can only have occurred because millennials were misguided. Somehow they were misled into thinking you could give without first working your ass off. Perhaps this ignorance began with the ability of governments to reap without sowing, by printing money that didn’t exist. Who knows? I wasn’t there and I refuse to take responsibility for starting it.

I will accepts a certain amount of responsibility for perpetuating the lunacy of thinking charity is profitable. After all, I am a “Child Care Professional”, which means I profit off caring for small children. It is a shameful profession, for little children have no wallets, and to make money off innocents is surely a vile exploitation. The only redeeming factor is that the pay stinks, so I don’t share the shame of those who get filthy rich being “charitable.” However far better was the old ways of the old days, when a mother charged nothing for her milk.

Some of the worst offenders are psychiatrists, who do get filthy rich by helping the troubled. Likely they are aware of the shame involved, for no other adult occupation matches their rate of suicide. However, until they crack up, they like to sit in their stultifying offices and criticize whalers sailing out in the open air. They like to raise their noses and invent fancy words that demonstrate their contempt for honest men working honest jobs. To harpoon a whale is “sadism”, and the suffering of life on the pounding sea is “masochism.”

This only demonstrates their appalling ignorance, for they can have no idea how wonderful the wildness of whaling was, and that the people involved lost fortunes as often as they made them, but chose that life because a Nantucket sleigh-ride was the opposite of stultifying.

Arctic Whalers 2 1000 dpi un framed

Even though it did not always end well.

Arctic Whalers 3 3ae5bc1d-052d-40e0-80c5-83bff1f82e77

In any case, the daring lifestyle of Whalers took them to where whales congregate, and one such place was the edge of the arctic sea-ice.

Arctic Whalers 1 Arctic-Whalers

It is from these men we learn most about how the sea-ice has expanded and contracted in the past. Because whales like to push their limits, (because the edge of the ice hold the richest foods), and because even whales sometimes pushed their limits too far and were trapped in pockets of open water and eventually killed by expanding ice, (because whales cannot breath if they have to swim too great a distance under ice),  whalers were tempted to pursue the whales into compromising situations. Whaling ships were also trapped, and crushed, and crews only survived by hauling lifeboats south over sea-ice to land, or to open water.

Some captains, such as William Scoresby (Junior), kept amazingly scientific and accurate logs, but most captains had no idea we intellectuals-of-the-future would ever wonder what they saw, and bicker about what the sea-ice was like back then.  Their logs are far less scientific, yet we can learn much from them.

For example, in 1871 forty ships sailed north of Bering Strait in June, and proceeded to hunt whale along the coast of Alaska nearly as far as Barrow during July and early August, but then the winds shifted and the ice came crushing south and trapped all but seven of the ships. 1219 lives were on the line.

At this point I suppose certain people of the “vegan” persuasion are clapping their hands in glee. They hate the idea of men stabbing whales in the back, and if you visit their websites you discover their hatred does not frown upon wishing death upon fellow humans, if those humans feed children with meat. Nor would it trouble them much to learn that some captains had their sons and even wives aboard, so the 1219 doomed people included women and children. Certain vegan types basically loathe humanity, preferring beasts, and snicker when true saints weep.  The fact whales also were trapped by the southern surge of sea-ice wouldn’t trouble them much, as it would be well worth the glee of seeing 1219 evil “hunters”die.

Some of these people would also be glad to see so many ships destroyed. Even though they were mass-produced very cheaply in the shipyards of those times, they were worth roughly a million dollars each (in modern dollars), (though you could never build such a ship for a mere million dollars today.) (Each ship must hold a crew of 25.)  In any case, 33 lost ships represented a loss of 33 million dollars for the investors. The vegan mentality claps its hands in glee, for, though some have never made an honest dollar in their lives and dwell in a mother’s basement, they prefer to avoid their own motivations and instead accuse others of “greed”.

The problem with this idea is that, if greed alone was the motivation, many captains would have gotten out when the going was good. Having made their fortune, they would have stayed home. They were well aware of the risks involved. Why should they risk losing a fortune they’d already made? Yet some of the captains involved had made and lost fortunes more than once. This suggests something besides greed was involved. It suggests men might live for something other than profit. It suggests men might rejoice in the sheer challenge of the sea.

Not that some of the “vegan” mindset can comprehend the joy of such danger. A person who loves danger will seldom hide in his mother’s basement, (unless he understands that is a dangerous place for a man to be).

(As a daredevil who has experienced both storms at sea and living in my mother’s basement, I will testify the sea has a beauty and joy which basements utterly lack, and for that reason a basement may be more dangerous. But the basement’s chief danger involves cowardice, while the sea brings out your courage.)

It is the courage of the doomed 1219 that really stands out. They knew, as the sun sank and September chills filled the air, and the ship’s timbers moaned under the stress of the increasing sea-ice, that the sea-ice wasn’t going to miraculously open and allow them to sail to unload cargo at the home port. It wan’t going to be a happy, profitable voyage. It was going to be one of the unprofitable ones they’d heard tales about. From members of the crew. If not the captain himself. So they knew it was time to abandon ship. They lowered the lifeboats, but not to water. The lifeboats went “clunk” on hard sea-ice, and then served as sleds, as 1219 doomed people headed south for land.

1219 made it to land, and then headed southwest along the Alaskan coast, to where the sea-ice didn’t crunch against the coast. And what did they find there? They found the seven smart captains who had escaped the sea-ice. They were the seven winners, and faced a choice of what to do with the 33 losers.

Now, if the seven winners happened to be like some “vegan” I’ve known, then when faced with 33 loser “meat-eaters” in dire danger, they would not lift a finger to help. They’d likely shriek, “Die! Die! Die! For you deserve it, because you are greedy and cruel to whales!”

In actual fact the seven smart captains may have made a choice that the stock-holders far away frowned at.  They dumped the entire profits of their voyages overboard, to make room for the 1219 lives they saved.

The end of the story is that millions of dollars were lost, but not a single life. The 1219 all arrived safely in the sunny south, to bask beneath the palms of Honolulu.

Knowing this, perhaps you can understand why I am less than trustful of those who write a sort of revisionist history, describing Whalers as being wicked, sadistic, greedy men. Surely they were not perfect, but they had a class you seldom see these days.

Consider, if you will, the class displayed by the seven captains who saved 1219. Talk about charity! They could have been rich, but instead chose to be poor and save 1219 lives.

And then consider how different are seven Climate Scientists. They have been nowhere and done nothing, in reality, though they may have jet-setted to Bali and Paris, spending other people’s money to talk nonsense they could have just as well talked (with less expense)  at home. All their adventuring is in a mother’s basement, with the “mother” being the funding of a government which cannot make money, and instead must print it. It is a landscape devoid of the reality where one must actually catch a whale. And, rather than demonstrating sacrifices they themselves must make to save people, they instead utter strident cries that others should sacrifice, so they (and hypothetical future generations) can profit and do “further research”. It is an intellectual world so divorced from catching whales, from hard facts, from food, clothing and shelter, that I can only conclude it is stark madness.

It is perhaps fortunate that I wasted a winter in my mother’s basement long ago, for I know how the mind can stray from reality in such circumstances, inventing excuses for not leaving shelter, concocting elaborate blamings of others for ones own spineless reluctance to go out into the cold. But I got sick of it, and faced a stark dawn where the choice between fresh air and stultification, between sanity and insanity, was blatant. So I stepped out into the cold, and discovered something that surprised me: Life is a blast. One may not be able to sign up to crew on a whaling ship any more, but there is plenty of fresh air out there, if one only leaves the basement.

Perhaps there are now simply fewer opportunities for millennials to work meaningful jobs, where they can see they actually produce food, clothing and shelter. A lone man in a tractor can now do the farming and produce the food which once would have taken hundreds, if not thousands, of toiling farmers to produce. Robots now do the tedious toil, but should not this allow people to be poets? To study Truth? Instead many just become nasty, and disingenuous, and more prone to con-artistry than to art.

It is for this reason I distrust ideas that seem to be produced in a setting like a Mom’s basement, and have a greater trust of ideas that seem from the decks of ships at sea. I am skeptical of data from models, and more interested the raw facts from “field studies”. And this is most especially true when the maps and graphs produced by professors in cozy offices differ significantly from what is shown, (often without comment) by their interns out on the ice. Or by the floating cameras out on the ice. Or by the adventurers out on the ice. Or by the historical records of Whalers who sailed long ago, and never dreamed a society could exist that is in the state ours is in.

This at long last brings me back to the topic of sea-ice, and the fact one can compare computer-generated ideas of what the sea-ice was like, back before we had satellite pictures, with the records kept by sailors. One discovers the two views disagree. Ships were sailing where the computer-generated maps state they could not have sailed. After all, William Parry observed a sailing ship could be brought to a halt by as little as an inch of sea-ice, unless there was a strong following wind. The people back then were not aboard icebreakers that smash through six feet of ice with impunity. Therefore their reports of open water are not “modeled”, but based on actual fact.

Even the old Danish sea-ice maps, which are decent regarding where the sea-ice lay on the European side of the Pole, tend to overdo the historical amount of sea-ice on the Pacific side. The old Eskimo (Inuit) spoke of whaling every year along the same coasts the Danish maps show as being gripped by ice. One surmises the Danes were just guessing, but the Eskimo, (perhaps the most gutsy whalers of all), not only spoke from experience, but their very survival was staked on there being open water. (One reason the Inuit replaced an earlier people called the “Dorset Culture” may be because the Inuit could hunt from kayaks while the Dorset required sea-ice, which in turn suggests times of thicker ice was advantageous to an earlier people, but losing that ice (perhaps during the Medieval Warm Period) put them at a disadvantage.)

The computer models, for some reason, show more sea-ice in the past than the Danes and Inuit reported. To me it seems the modelers have been so eager to demonstrate that sea-ice is decreasing, and in a “death spiral”, that they ignored the eyewitnesses, and the models became an example of “garbage in, garbage out.”

To get around such bias I have always preferred the eyewitnesses, whether they be Eskimos, Whalers, Explorers, O-buoys, Satellite pictures, or modern adventures sailing those waters.

The modern adventurers often are full of zeal, when it comes to promoting the idea that sea-ice is in a “death spiral”,  but that never bothers me, for they can talk the talk, but they also walk they walk. Often they inadvertently share a picture worth far more than a thousand words, for they share pictures of persisting sea-ice, even while agonizing about an ice-free Pole.

I am of the opinion that the Arctic Sea was at times ice-free, or nearly ice-free, as recently as the Medieval Warm Period. Though sea-ice has increased since then, it has not done so in a steady fashion, and the reports of whalers like William Scoresby seem to suggest there was one summer, around 1817, where there was less ice up in the Arctic Sea, on the Atlantic side, than we have ever seen, during our Modern Climate Optimum.

This pits me against some computer models, and it also, (to those who have great faith in those models), makes my observations seem a sort of heresy.  I try to point out that the models do not match the historical record, but some simply refuse to hear such a possibility can even exist.

I also try to point out that a return to the relatively sea-ice-free summer conditions of the Medieval Warm Period would be good for humanity,  but this also seems like sacrilege to those who think a decrease of sea-ice signifies doom.

In the end time will tell. I just watch what happens, and rue the fact we have so few cameras this year, (for the funding of eye-witness views seems to be greatly decreased).

Because we have so few cameras I am thrilled that a group of sailors, calling themselves “Arctic Mission”, are thinking of attempting to sail several boats north as far as they can:

These are fellows following in the footsteps of the whalers of Yore, and testing the limits of the edge of the ice. I am not particularly concerned about their politics, (one fellow suggests there may be less sea-ice this year than any summer in 120,000 years), because Truth is better than politics, and these fellow will report the Truth.

A slight problem has occurred, as Truth doesn’t always involve fair weather. They were planning to have left Nome, Alaska by now, and to have headed up through Bering Strait, but rather than the summertime calms they expected, there have been gales in Bering Strait. So they are delayed.

Hmm. Is it just me, or is there some irony in the fact that in 1871 forty whaling ships made it north of Bering Strait in June, but these guys are delayed in August?

But I will not deny these fellows have guts to be attempting what they are attempting. They have not the vegan-mentality that stays at home. I’m a little worried they may get trapped up there. But they will give us eye-witness accounts of what the sea-ice is up to, and I personally value that more than any model.

In terms of weather, “Ralph” continues to storm up at the Pole, but high pressure pumped up over Siberia may be swung around to Bering Strait and give “Arctic Mission” some sunny sailing.

Subfreezing temperatures are becoming more common.

DMI4 0811 meanT_2017

Waters are open north of Bering Strait, but “Arctic Mission” should start meeting sea-ice at around 75° north latitude. (For some reason NRL hasn’t updated its maps for three days.)

Thickness 20170811 Attachment-1

Our lone camera shows the thaw has resumed after a sharp freeze, south of Parry Channel. The melt-water pools briefly skimmed with ice, but now are again expanding. Much of the melting now comes from beneath, and the ice should soon break up even if a freeze occurs above the ice.

Obuoy 14 0811 webcam

Stay tuned (even if hurricanes to the south get more interesting.)




ARCTIC SEA ICE –Awaiting The Break-up–

One aspect of watching ice melt is that one becomes aware of misconceptions we all have, and which the media should end but doesn’t.  For example, people tend to think certain parts of North America are arctic, when they are not. All one needs to do is trace lines of latitude from North America around to Europe, and one gets their eyebrows lifted. The southern tip of Greenland is at the latitude of Stockholm, Sweden; and the southern end of Hudson Bay is at the latitude of  Hamburg, Germany.

If course it spoils the thrill of sensationalism if you mention, showing water pour off a glacier in Greenland, that it is as far south as Stockholm. The public then would compare a picture of flowers blooming in a Swedish summer park with the craggy coast of Greenland, and it would seem less surprising that ice melts at the edge of Greenland’s icecap.

In like manner, when writing about how swiftly the ice breaks up in Hudson Bay, it spoils the element of Alarmism if you mention it is as far south as northern Germany. Rather than the melt seeming surprising it would seem surprising that ice remains in July, for people would think how surprising it would be if there was ice on the sea-coast of Germany in July.

The fact of the matter is that it thaws right up to the North Pole in July, and temperatures can be above freezing and still below normal.

DMI4 0712 meanT_2017

Once you become aware that thaw is the norm up there in July, what becomes more interesting are the places that dip below freezing. It is quite common, for temperatures only need be three degrees below normal, and the rain changes to snow.

One thing I miss very much is the cameras we used to have drifting around up there. As recently as 2014 2015 we had seven views, and could witness fresh falls of snow and brief refreezes of the melt-water pools.  These were especially interesting because the satellites tended to miss these events, perhaps because they occurred at the wrong time of day, perhaps because they happened in a very small area, perhaps because refreezes involved a very thin layer of air right at the surface, or perhaps for some other reason. In any case, they stopped funding the cameras. (Let us hope the de-funding was not because certain people didn’t approve that the cameras showed freezing where politicians claimed there was melting.)

The only camera we have this year is a tough one, O-buoy 14,  which refused to be crushed by ice, and survived the winter. It is not out in the Arctic Sea, but down in Parry Channel at a latitude of roughly 74° north.  I like having it located where it sits, still frozen fast in immobile ice, because it allows us to compare the current situation with the year 1819, when William Parry sailed HMS Helca and Griper in the same waters.

William Parry original.1770

Parry sailed further north and west of where O-buoy 14 now sits, and then, as ice reformed in September, they cut a channel for the two boats, to get close to the shore of Melville Island, where they’d be less exposed to the crushing and grinding of moving ice.

William Parry The_Crews_of_H.M.S._Hecla_&_Griper_Cutting_Into_Winter_Harbour,_Sept._26th,_1819

Then they waited for the ice to melt. It was a long, long wait; ten months in all. It is interesting to read how Parry kept his crew from going nuts, especially during the three months of winter darkness. They produced plays and published a newspaper and, as it grew light, conducted expeditions along the coast of Melville Island on foot. Also, when some of the men showed signs of scurvy, Parry planted mustard and cress seeds in his cabin and fed the sprouts to the afflicted men. The first signs of thaw were in March, but the ice remained six feet thick.

In the year 2017 our first signs of thaw were much later, but sudden, and we swiftly developed an impressive melt-water pool on June 29:

Obuoy 14 0629C webcam

Of course, the media would generate sensationalism with such a picture, crowing about how the arctic is melting. Then they would get very quiet when the water drained down through a crack in the ice, as it did by July 8:

Obuoy 14 0708B webcam

The media would get even quieter when the camera then showed signs of fresh snow, as it did on July 12:

Obuoy 14 0712 webcam

And last but not least, there was a cold spell associated with the above view, and the melt-water pools were skimmed with ice, which needed to be melted away to make a little progress on July 13:

Obuoy 14 0713 webcam

What this makes me wonder about is the fortitude of Parry’s crew. They never got moving until August 1. Can you imagine how they felt when it snowed in July? (Or did it snow, back then, when it was supposedly colder?)

Our modern buoy is at roughly 103° west longitude. Parry was able to sail as far west as 113°46’W in the late summer of 1820. Then they noticed ice starting to reform. Apparently no one was eager to spend another winter up there, so they sailed lickity-split east the entire length of Parry Channel, escaping into Baffin Bay and arriving back in England in October.

It will be fun to watch this camera’s view. We are in a race with the year 1820, to see if we can get the ice moving before August 1. (One interesting thing is that, while the Navy satellite suggests the ice in Parry Channel is moving, the GPS attached to O-buoy 14 shows no movement. Once again we see the value of having an on-the-spot witness.)

I actually want the ice to move, so the view shifts around and we can see mountains in the distance.

Stay Tuned!

(Hat tip to Stewart Pid for always keeping me abreast of O-buoy 14 news.)

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph Rains?–

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

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

Obuoy 14 0623 webcam

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

DMI4 0622 meanT_2017

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

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

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

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

LNP 2 np-july-28-npeo_cam2_20130728131212

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

LNP 5 np-july-29-npeo_cam2_20130729071817

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

LNP 3 np-aug-5-npeo_cam2_20130805065710

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

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

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

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

I sure do miss those cameras.

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

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

Ralph B3 gfs_ptype_slp_arctic_2

Ralph B4 gfs_ptype_slp_arctic_13

Ralph B5 gfs_ptype_slp_arctic_21

Ralph B6 gfs_ptype_slp_arctic_29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barrow 20170623 05_27_09_508_ABCam_20170623_132400

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

Thickness 20170623 Attachment-1

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

DMI4 0622 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

Stay tuned!

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Ralph’s Back!–

After a period of relative calm, when Byoof (The Beaufort High) ruled the roost and sun could get to work on the yearly thaw, low pressure has loop-de-looped north from the Siberian coast, and Ralph (anomalous low pressure) has retaken the Pole. (Maps created by Dr. Ryan Maue at the Weatherbell site [week free trial available.])

Ralph 2017 1 gfs_precip_mslp_arctic_2

Ralph will tend to slow the melting, for two reasons. First, the clouds block the sunshine. Second, summer storms at the Pole seem to create cold, perhaps utilizing evaporative cooling in the manner of a summer thunderstorm. Even when the precipitation largely evaporates (or sublimates) before reaching the ground, temperatures can be lowered a degree or two, and at the Pole that is the difference between temperatures just above freezing and temperatures just below.

Ralph will meander weakly about the Pole for the next few days, and then the GFS model sees Ralph reinvigorated by a sort of secondary moving north from east Siberia, and becoming our first gale of the summer.  Of course, we will have to wait and see if the computer is correct, but the current forecast is impressive, with pressures dropping to 966 mb in five days.

Ralph 2017 2 gfs_precip_mslp_arctic_20


If such a gale manifests we will not merely be talking about a dusting of snow, but several inches, and also the winds will increase:

Ralph 2017 3 gfs_mslp_uv10m_arctic_20

Once the winds get over gale force the ice tends to be crunched and broken. This will be our first opportunity to see if the water under the ice holds enough mildness to melt ice, as occurred in the summer gale of 2012, or is so cold it melts little ice, as occurred in the summer gale of 2013.

The Canadian JEM model also shows the gale. As usual it sees a stronger storm, though it takes longer to develop.

Ralph 2017 4 cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_24

The Jem model also sees colder resultant temperatures associated with the the gale, (again as is usually the case.)

Ralph 2017 5 cmc_t2m_arctic_27

Stay tuned!