One of the most exasperating mistakes made by Alarmists is their refusal to study history. Instead they steadfastly insist all is caused by CO2. For example, history teaches us that summer is followed by winter, but, the next time winter comes around, so blinding is their bias that Alarmists will see the next winter as having a new and alarming cause all prior winters lacked. This time it will be caused by CO2. Not only do they insist they know the cause, but they then invent the cause-and-effect out of whole cloth.

Basically Alarmists follow the rule, “If you can’t blind them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” When confronted by a plaintive voice that asks, “You said there would be Global Warming, so why is it colder?” they put on a white lab coat to look scientific, hold up an index finger, and basically say, “You can’t understand because you haven’t looked hard at the numbers, and haven’t seen they need to be adjusted, and our adjustments show that actually it is warmer”.  Or perhaps, “The increased heat causes more snow in the north, and the increased snow is floating south as bergs, so that the warmer it gets the colder it gets. Understood?” The problem with this ingenious excuse-making is that, when you look back in history, you can see the same thing happened in the past, which begs the question, “What caused it then, and is that cause happening again now?”

Once you study history you become aware of various cycles that influence the weather, (with much debate about how large and how regular the influences are).

Alarmists tend to pooh-pooh all other influences, calling them inconsequential, which seems rather odd, for at the same time they are saying a giant thing like the sun has no effect they are saying a very tiny change in the number of CO2 molecules, parts-per-million, has an enormous effect. Skeptics do not deny CO2 has an effect; the planet is indeed greener; but they question the denial of all other effects and cycles.

Things would be easier if we didn’t have a variable star, but our sun does have its cycles of sunspots. And things would also be easier if those sunspot cycles were neat and tidy, but they tend to be irregular, with the sun shifting from very active sunspot cycles to times when we see a “Quiet Sun”. The sun’s regularity likely creates oscillations in the world’s weather, even as the sun’s irregularity throws the same oscillations out of whack.

The current Quiet Sun seems to be messing with the oscillations between El Ninos and La Ninas, as the El Ninos seem stronger and the La Ninas weaker than expected. (Not that we are all that great at predicting them.) Also the Pacific oscillation (PDO) swung from warm to cold as expected, roughly a decade ago, but then unexpectedly spiked back to warm, and has been taking its sweet time getting back to cold, (though it may be trending that way this summer). Last but not least, the Atlantic oscillation (AMO) is not expected to turn cold for a few more years, but unexpectedly and dramatically shifted in that direction this summer.

The signature of a “cold” AMO is a backwards “C” of colder-than normal waters in the Atlantic. Recently the back of that “C” was broken by a blob of warmer-than-normal water that drifted east and pressed between England and France, but the rest of the “C” remains evident, repressing the development of hurricanes to a certain degree off western Africa, and most especially evident off the northeast coast of Canada and south of Greenland.

SST 20180712 anomnight.7.12.2018


The colder water off Canada and Greenland historically leads to colder weather in Northeast Canada, which they have seen this year, with snows even as we had a heatwave not far to their south, in New England. The ice has been much slower to melt out of Hudson Bay than last year.  (July 13, 2017 to left, July 13, 2018 to right)

It is a bit embarrassing to Alarmists to have this sea-ice sitting around in July, so they are likely busily inventing a theory from whole cloth even as I type. However all you need to do is study history to see the situation is not “Unprecedented”. A ship from Boston, early in Boston’s history, failed to get through the sea-ice into the bay in 1663, but the Nonsuch successfully entered the bay in 1668 and established the first Hudson Bay Trading Post at the mouth of Rupert River (the current town of Washaganish, Quebec.) So what does that give us; 370 years of history?

The trading posts had to be resupplied, and also furs needed to be onloaded, and we know the ships were not icebreakers. Therefore it is sheer foolishness to suggest the Bay was ice-bound in the past, and only recently has become ice-free. An early aerial picture of Fort York shows they were still using sailing ships as late as 1923.

Hudson Bay Company YorkFactoryaerial

However the historical record also shows there were occasional grim years when the posts could not be resupplied. If ice-bound years had been too common the enterprise would have become impractical, and perhaps traders would have starved. For the most part the Bay opened up in the summer; excessive sea-ice in July was the exception to the rule, and was likely caused by a cold AMO, just as we are seeing now.

In like manner, the chill is affecting Greenland. In July Greenland is experiencing the height of its melt, and usually gives Alarmists wonderful opportunities to take truly amazing pictures of  the yearly phenomenon. At the peak of the melt, Greenland loses roughly 4 gigatons of ice to melting every day.  Rivers of melt-water course across the surface of the ice.

Greenland melt 1 55-researchersd In places these torrents plunge down holes called moulins, forming spectacular waterfalls, and then continue on as subterranean rivers.

Greenland melt 2 hqdefaultIce also flows off Greenland as massive glaciers, and during the summer enormous slabs calve off the ends into the sea, with some bergs “half the size of Manhattan”.

Greenland melt 3 NINTCHDBPICT000419182729

And of course all this melting is fodder for Alarmists, and gives the media a chance to write thrillingly sensational stuff about ice melting and seas rising.

However I think it’s wiser to not get too caught up in the hoopla, although it is fun, once in a while, to run around in circles waving your hands in a tizzy. It’s good exercise. But once you’re done it pays to calm down and catch your breath. And then ask a question or two. “How much ice usually melts? What is normal?”

The map to the right below shows the normal melt for July 14. You notice right away the melting is all at the edges. That is where all the photographs are taken for the newspapers. In the middle of Greenland the altitude is so high, (over 10,000 feet), that it almost never gets above freezing. Judging from the records of ice cores, only once in every 40 years does it get warm enough, on a windless summer day, to soften the snow a little. Not much; not enough to make rivulets or puddles, but enough to make a crust on the snow, when it refreezes, usually within hours. (When this last happened, in 2012 (I think) the media went completely berserk. They reported so inaccurately that you would have thought torrents, even mighty rivers, were coursing across the icecap. The actuality was that the snow softened for a couple hours. [yawn])

The map to the left shows what happened this year, on July 14. It set a record, but went unreported, for it was a record increase of snow, for the date.

Greenland MB 20180714 todaysmb

What happened was that, likely due the cold AMO, heavy snow punched inland in west-central Greenland, reducing the melt in that area at the same time snow was added. In fact more was added than was subtracted, which means that rather than the icecap losing 4 gigatons, as is normal, it actually gained a little. This shows as the spike in the upper graph below. Notice how the spike moves above the area shaded gray, which shows the historical range, and enters record-setting territory.

Greenland MB 20180714 accumulatedsmb

The lower graph shows, with the blue line, how Greenland’s icecap is failing to melt much this summer. Usually it loses roughly 200 gigatons, and this year it has lost 5, so far. This is a failure on the part of reality to support the Alarmist’s narrative. (Bad reality. Bad! Go to your room.)

Also notice, in the graph above, how, on an average year, (gray line), Greenland gains more than it loses. It ends the year with nearly 400 gigatons more than it started. (A gigaton is a billion metric tons, and a metric ton is 1000 kilograms.) How many Manhattans is that? In any case, for Greenland to stay in “balance” 400 extra gigatons worth of iceburgs must calve off Greenland’s glaciers.

Lastly notice the red line in the graph above. 2011-2012 was a winter and summer that pleased the Alarmists greatly, for it supported their narrative. Nearly all the winter’s increase melted away that summer. There was a gain, but it was small, only around 25 gigatons. It wouldn’t take many calving icebergs the size of Manhattan to arrive at a net loss. And how many gigatons would it take to rise the oceans a milometer?

I can’t do the math, but I did find this after searching the web a bit: “A one mm increase in sea-level requires about 3.618 × 1014 kg = 361.8 Gt of meltwater”.

In other words, while a billion metric tons might seem like a lot, it is a speck of dust, compared to the enormity of the icecap and the oceans. Greenland’s icecap is estimated to be a total of 2,850,000 cubic kilometers of ice. How many gigatons is that? (You do the math for me, please.)

Therefore even a “good” year (for Alarmists) like 2011-2012 really doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, but last year was a “bad” year. Greenland’s icecap actually gained ice, according to NOAA:

Of course, NOAA speaks of the gain as if it is an exception-to-the-rule, but still it is a failure on the part of Mother Nature to support the narrative. And what tactic does an Alarmist use, when something doesn’t support the narrative?

1.) Change the subject. Turn the camera to where the ice is still melting, to dramatic waterfalls pouring into turquoise moulins. Focus the lens on the spectacular sight of a giant berg calving off a towering glacier. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Don’t look at the summer snowstorms in Labrador, and the summer trout fishing camps struggling to dig free of snow.

Fishing Lodge in June labrador-snow

The only problem is people can only be distracted and deflected so long, in which case it is time for…

2.) Invent a theory out of whole cloth. When people notice northern sandpipers can’t even lay their eggs because the snow hasn’t melted, figure out a way to blame the snow on warming. (Hat tip: Brett Keane)

Sandpiper on snow 6450EF03-C77C-450D-8080621943C1804F

Here is the money-quote: “Senner fears this nonbreeding year in eastern Greenland could herald an alarming trend. Climate Models predict the Arctic atmosphere will hold more moisture as global temperatures rise, he notes. A wetter atmosphere means more snow in winter and spring, potentially causing late snowmelt to interfere with shorebird reproduction. He says the bird populations should be resilient to a single poor breeding year like 2018 but worries what might happen if this year’s catastrophe becomes standard. “Even though things aren’t normally as extreme as the current situation in Greenland,” he says, “this is the kind of thing that seems to be happening more and more frequently across the Arctic””

Balderdash. First, the increase in winter moisture is in air so cold that you are talking about the difference between air that is only very, very dry, rather than very, very, very dry. Second, the amount of snow that falls from that dry atmosphere is small, only inches, and tundra usually swiftly melts such snows under 24-hour or near-24-hour sunshine that can bring heatwaves to the north. Third, the snow is now falling in the summer. I repeat, the summer. Fourth, temperatures are colder over Greenland and eastern Canada because the AMO is cold, not because the planet is a tenth of a degree warmer overall. Fifth, it is also colder at the Pole itself.

DMI5 0715 meanT_2018

I’d like to help Alarmists out, but the simple fact polar temperatures remain so persistently below normal does suggest the Quiet Sun may be supplying less heat. The best I can do is to suggest it may be cloudier at the Pole, due to the low pressure I call “Ralph” reappearing and hanging about. Maybe we can concoct a theory out of whole cloth that explains Ralph is due to Global Warming, and that it is colder at the Pole because it is warmer. That would explain why the the sea-ice, despite having a head-start on other years last winter, is failing to melt as fast as other years.

DMI5 0715 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

And it also might explain why the ice is thicker than last year, especially along the coasts of Alaska and East Siberia.  (2017 left; 2018 right)

But in the end there is little I can do for the poor Alarmists. It simply is a terrible year for them. All around there are signs of cooling, at least in the short term, but they must continue to genuflect to the emperor of funding, as if he wore clothes when it is increasingly obvious he is butt naked.

Stay tuned.


ARCTIC SEA-ICE –The Seventh Storm–

I’ve been keeping an eye on “Ralph” (anomalous low pressure at the Pole).  For a time he sagged south towards Siberia, (though often bulging further north than usual), and things seemed more or less typical, with the Beaufort high pressure establishing itself towards Alaska.

If course, as soon as you say “more or less typical” you tend to drop your guard, especially on the July 4 holiday, and that’s when you get sucker punched in the jaw. During the holiday  the Siberian low shot across the Pole and knocked the Beaufort High right off the map. A second Siberian low formed, with a feeder band of milder air moving up its east side from the sun-baked steppes and tundra of Central Siberia.

A “zipper” formed on the warm front. over the New Siberian Islands on the east side of the Laptev Sea.

Rather than drifting east it curled north, drawing mild air as a feeder band, holding some modified Pacific air.

On the seventh day of the seventh month, it began blowing up, as the seventh summer storm since I began counting, back when we had the storm in the summer of 2012 that got so much attention.

If you remember, the 2012 storm generated all sorts of attention because it melted a lot of ice swiftly. Alarmists were overjoyed. Apparently the water had stratified and there was a slightly warmer layer of water below the “lens” of colder water at the surface. The reason the slightly warmer water didn’t rise was because it was saltier. Then the storm churned the water, and the milder water got into the mix. The speed at which the sea-ice vanished was quite remarkable. However then the  milder water was “used up”, and the stratification ceased to be. This, along with  (perhaps) the cooling of the water because it was initially exposed to arctic blasts the next winter, seemed to make the water so much colder that,  when a similar gale blew up in 2013, what was remarkable was how little of the sea-ice melted. (It was also remarkable how crestfallen certain Alarmists were.)

The 2012 storm was described as “very rare”, and a “top five storm”.  I’m not sure who was keeping the records, but if it was unusual, than the unusual is becoming more usual, for this makes the seventh top five storm we’ve had in seven years. We had two last summer, and this is the second we’ve had already, this summer. Ralph is on the rampage.


All eyes will be watching to see what sort of effect this storm will have on the sea-ice. Will it be like 2012 or like 2013?

The sea-ice remains thicker than last year. The “volume” always falls steeply during the peak of the melt, and this year has slipped below 2014, but remains far above last year’s.

DMI5 0707 CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20180707.png

The sea-ice “extent” has not fallen as steeply as last year. All eyes wait to see if the storm causes a downturn.

DMI5 0707 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

Despite the “feeder bands” of milder air Ralph draws up to the Pole, temperatures remain below normal.

DMI5 0707 meanT_2018

As was the case with the storm in early June, the flip of the pattern has swung the cross-polar-flow completely around, to a flow from the Atlantic to the Pacific. (Dr. Ryan Maue map from Weatherbell)

Seven 1 gfs_mslp_uv10m_arctic_5

This flow prevents the flushing of sea-ice down into the Atlantic, (a major reason for the low sea-ice “extent” in 2007). This inflow from the Atlantic looks likely to persist, as Ralph looks unlikely to surrender the Pole any time soon.

I should mention that, deprived of my addiction to views of sea-ice from floating cameras, I have turned to shipping reports in a sort of desperation. The lone American ice-breaker was down in San Diego. No sea-ice there, yet. However I think they are picking up scientists from Scripps. Hopefully those fellows bring a camera north and plant it on the ice.

The Russians have a whole different attitude. The built the world’s first icebreaker in 1897, and are determined to open the Northeast Passage, and replace the Suez Canal. They are building massive ships, veritable monsters.

AA North route 4 Yamal_2009

How committed are the Russians? They have build forty of these monsters. This June they launched their biggest icebreaker yet. It will be able to smash through ice nine feet thick. Cost? Over a billion dollars!

What a gamble! So far the Russians are only escorting something like fifty ships a year, compared to thousands through the Suez Canal, but if they they can open the new sea-route it will be a change like Henry the Navigator  putting Portugal on the map by exploring the new route to India around Africa.

AA North route 2 tanker-icebreaker-sovcomflot

The hope is that once they bash channels open in the summer, the channels will remain open, and some reinforced boats can travel without escort.

AA North Route 1 tankerlng.christophemargerie-rosmorport11

The gamble is, well, the arctic is the arctic. Ice can thicken and channels crunch shut. But the Russians have been battling the arctic for centuries. They alone have built off-shore rigs in the frozen sea, and had a terrific battle getting their tankers to load up the oil this spring, fighting this year’s thicker ice.

AA North route 3 prirazlomnaya.springice2_gazpromneft

Stay tuned.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –The Elephant In The Arctic–

Can’t we Alarmists and Skeptics agree about one thing? Namely, that the sea-ice is not going to melt away by the year 2013?

One definition of hell is to be separated from love, and agreement, and harmony. The way to avoid going to hell is to find a thing you can agree upon. You might not love, or harmonize, but by finding a single thing you can agree upon, you have made a start. There then is a hope, be it ever so slender, that you can build upon that tiny agreement. Who knows? It might be a seed crystal, and someday become the emerald of harmony, or the ruby of love.

Admittedly the likelihood of love and harmony seems very slender, between Alarmists and Skeptics, but shouldn’t we at least give it a chance?

You see, I’m getting old, and don’t much want to go to hell when I die. I’ve experienced enough hell while alive. Therefore I make this gesture of rapprochement: Can’t we agree the sea-ice at the North Pole didn’t melt away by 2013?

Somewhat amazingly, some Alarmists won’t even do that. Try it for yourself, if you don’t believe me. They act like FBI agents before Congress. When you ask them, “Did the sea-ice melt away by 2013 as predicted?” they find it strangely impossible to state the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, which is “No”.  Instead you will witness an amazing defensiveness and avoidance, and they will deflect and sidetrack and do intellectual back-flips, and never answer the question. Then they’ll look very smug, as if they won something by avoiding an honest answer.

For the sake of argument, let us suppose they died just them, and then faced the final judgement. At that time God, or Saint Peter, or some other Higher Authority would judge them, asking them a simple question, namely, “Did you Love Truth”? They, being creatures of habit, (as all humans are), would answer with deflections and sidetracks and intellectual back-flips. Apparently that does not go over too well, at the Pearly Gates. Rather than entering a landscape of Love, Understanding, Agreement, Harmony and Truth, they would then reap what they have sown.

Which is?

Well, that is what you go to hell to find out.

I cannot accept the idea that hell is eternal. Rather it is an opportunity to vividly realize the error of your ways. (If God is Love, He would not punish without hoping punishment would improve those deserving punishment, and the Bible does state that, between the time Jesus died on Good Friday and to time He arose from the dead on Easter Sunday, He went to hell. And what did he do there? He “preached to the sinners of Noah’s time”. Why would He preach, if it couldn’t help? If the damned are damned eternally, wouldn’t He just be rubbing salt in their wounds?)

I figure hell improves you, though it is a hell of a way to be improved. It makes the drill sergeants of boot camp, and the cruelest coaches, and most demanding physical therapists, look like sissies. It is like a spanking, but the one spanking you is yourself. It is the opportunity to reflect upon your past transgressions in a leisurely manner. Not that leisure is a good thing, when you are in hell. There simply is nothing else to do. Life is over. All you have left is the mess you made of it. It haunts you, you twist and turn to escape it, but you cannot escape what you have become.

And then? After you have learned your lesson? Well, then you go to whatever is next. And what is that?

Perhaps it is as some Catholics suggest, and after what they call “purgatory” you might be admitted to heaven. Or perhaps it is as other cultures suggest, and rather than everlasting life you move towards dying another time. In other words, you reincarnate. The One Life continues here on earth, and ends in death after death after death, thousands of deaths, tens of thousands of deaths, hundreds of thousands of deaths, until you finally get sick of dying and prefer Truth, and then, finally, at long last, live forever in Seventh Heaven.

I’m not sure about all that spiritual stuff. I prefer Truth for more practical reasons. If I plant kale and what grows is thistles, I want to throttle the fellow who sold me the seed. If I buy a tape measure and use it to cut lumber the wrong length, the fellow who sold me that measure better have left town. But perhaps it would be better for him to face rebuke here on earth. I understand it is worse in hell.

Which brings me to the subject of Dr. James Hansen. For reasons which I am sure he deems are altruistic, and which he will deflect and side-track and do intellectual back-flips defending, he has been untrue. He is what the Bible calls a false prophet, in that nothing he has predicted has come to fruition. Because this post is about sea-ice, I will not list his many other failed prophesies, and simply state he propagandized the sea-ice would be gone by now, and it isn’t. What should his punishment be?

According to the Old Testament, the punishment for false prophecy is to be taken to the center of town and stoned to death. This might be very gratifying, but it is not politically correct. Therefore Dr. Hansen will have collect his fat pension and sit drumming his fingers, waiting until after he dies to receive his punishment in hell.

And what might hell look like, for him? It does my heart good to imagine it. I think it might look like this:

Yes, hell for Dr. Hansen would be to sit in a hot room with the windows open on the hottest day of the year, wearing a suit, sweating and endlessly attempting to explain to inane politicians that what isn’t going to happen is going to happen. There would be no end to it. He would not be allowed to escape from the room, unless he broke down and finally blubbered, “I confess! I confess! This is all bullshit! There is no scientific certainty! The only high probability is the high probability my computer models are crap!”

Judging from discussions I’ve had with other Alarmists, there is a high probability it would take at least a thousand years for Hansen to become so humble. But that is what he has sowed, so we must leave him to hoe that row. Fortunately we can take a different path.

One route to avoid being humbled in hell is to be humble here on earth, and one way to be humble is to avoid prophesy. None of us wants to be taken to the town square and stoned to death, and something similar is the fate of all weathermen, especial when they forecast a snowstorm and it doesn’t happen. Therefore it is perhaps best to avoid forecasting altogether, and simply to observe.

However while observing I have noticed something odd. Even though I intend not to forecast, I discover I have made one. How I know this? I know it because events surprise me. The very fact I am surprised demonstrates I expected something else, and that expectation is in some way “a forecast”.

In other words there is something in our nature that makes us forecasters. We can’t help ourselves. To avoid being taken to the town square and stoned to death for false-prophesy, we need to freely admit when we are wrong. Not only does this help us avoid getting stoned to death, it allows us to fully enjoy the weather, which is full of surprises.

Every day is fresh and new, full of wonder and surprises. We can either welcome this uncertainty with the joy of a child, to whom every day is uncertain and wonderful, or we can gnash our teeth and rend our garments because of the unexpected, and the fact we blew our forecast. It is up to each of us to respond. However the most ridiculous response of all is to pretend we are right, and have 100% certainty when we haven’t a clue.

In terms of sea-ice at the North Pole, the only thing we really seem certain about is that it didn’t all melt away by 2013. Currently it even seems to be making a “recovery”. We again seem to be seeing temperatures be below normal during the summer. (Green line is average and red is this summer.)

It should be noted that temperatures are indeed above freezing, and thawing is indeed occurring. Also we are mostly talking about a difference of less than a degree. It might seem absurd to fuss about a difference of less than a degree, but like children we can say, “They started it.” It is significant because it is less than a degree in the wrong direction. Rather than above-normal it is below-normal.

At this point a true Alarmist will deflect, side-track, and do intellectual back-flips. One handy way to do this is to discredit the data. Smear the Danish Meteorological Institute. Where other computer models are accepted without question, cast aspersions upon theirs.

I don’t particularly mind this. After all, as a Skeptic I try to be humble, and being skeptical admits imperfection exists. And DMI has in fact attempted to fix its model’s imperfections with improvements on a number of occasions. The green line in the above graph is based on the ERA40 model, which hasn’t been used since 2002, when it was replaced by the improved T511 model.

There doesn’t seem to be much difference between the two models during the summer, but it could be argued the T511 is a hair lower. This enables a dedicated Alarmist to call the below-normal temperatures at the Pole “an artifact”.

The fact of the matter is that the T511 was replaced by the T799 in  2006, and that in turn was replaced by the T1279 in 2010, and then again another improvement called the WCMWF apparently came on line last year. If you like the data you call the changes “fine tuning” but if you dislike the data you claim the models are so different that you are “comparing apples with oranges.”

Alarmists dislike the summer data (red line below), but like the winter data (blue line below) very much.

What the above graph shows us is that the unexpected is occurring. A change in the pattern is underway. We should be exited, but uncertain, for no one predicted it to manifest as it is manifesting.

Personally I feel the “Quiet Sun” has knocked things out if balance, and an extremely loopy (meridional) pattern is bringing warmth to the Pole during the winter, where formerly a more zonal pattern kept the cold locked in. Joe Bastardi advances the excellent idea that the winter warmth is due to the earth’s overall moister atmosphere, caused by the oceans discharging more heat (for whatever reason), and pointing out a tiny increase in humidity makes a very big difference in temperature during arctic winters, when temperatures are down near -40°. And Alarmists, as always, blame a trace gas.

It would be better for Alarmists if the winter warmth decreased the sea-ice, which is one reason they dislike the DMI volume graph, which shows a 4000 km³ increase over last year, and the highest volume in the past five years.

Alarmists are so troubled by the above graph that they are going to great lengths to discredit it. One technique I’ve seen is to suggest the DMI thickness map shows sea-ice the Breman map shows as open water, following that observation with the suggestion that if DMI is seeing ice where it isn’t, then perhaps it is adding volume that also doesn’t exist.

The problem is that we were able to check the Breman maps accuracy in the past, when we had a North Pole Camera and O-buoys bobbing about. We observed often our lying eyes could see sea-ice unseen by satellites. Also the Breman map had a bad habit of making water with 15% sea-ice coverage look dark blue, the same as open water, which confused some Alarmists.

Also the Breman map measures concentration, and not thickness, which made me wonder why it was brought up in a discussion about volume. A green area on their maps, representing 50% concentration, could be 50% burgs six inches thick, or 50% burgs 6 feet thick, which would make a huge difference in terms of volume. (Thickness maps seem to average things out, so an area 50% covered with six-foot-thick bergs looks like it is 100% covered with 3-foot-thick sea-ice.) And the fact the Bremen map misses ice can be seen by comparing the northwest coast of Hudson Bay in the above map, (no ice) with the Canadian Ice Service map (10%-30% ice).

Current ice cover in Canadian Waters

All in all I think it is not easy to discredit the increase in volume. Here is the map they want discredited:

The elephant in the room I think many are missing involves the dramatic change in the pattern. The anomalous low pressure I have dubbed “Ralph” seems to be returning to the Pole this summer, but that will have to be a subject for another post. I’m out of time.

Stay tuned.






ARCTIC SEA-ICE –High Summer–

It is now the time of thawing at the Pole. The sun never sets, and instead rolls around and around, high enough above the horizon to nudge temperatures just above freezing. There are brief freezes, when the sun goes under a cloud or a downdraft brings cold sleet down from a summer shower, but for the most part non-stop thawing occurs, 24 hours a day, for around 1440 hours. This is no new thing; it has been occurring as long as men have wandered the Arctic Ocean. Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s and early 1970’s, men stationed on Fletcher’s Ice Island wore hip waders at times during the summer, the slush could get so deep.

Although we think of tabular icebergs as a feature of Antarctica, the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf, on the northern coast of Ellesmere Island in Canada’s high Arctic, produces them. A big berg from this shelf broke off, likely in the 1940’s, and was 50 m (160 ft) thick and covered an area of 90 sq km (35 sq mi). Between 1952 and 1978 it was used as a manned scientific research station that included huts, a power plant, and a runway for wheeled aircraft. Discovered by U.S. Air Force Colonel Joseph Fletcher, the iceberg was named T-3 or Fletcher’s Ice Island. It moved around the Arctic Ocean for many years, eventually exiting through the Fram Strait, between Greenland and Svalbard, and moved south and around the southern tip of Greenland to disintegrate and melt in Davis Strait. While it was inhabited in the high Arctic things grew so slushy in the summer the men could only be supplied by air drops, which meant they could receive mail, but never send any, for months. (No cell-phones, back then.)

The guys had to be tough and resourceful, as they awaited to things to freeze up in the fall. One year a large, shallow lake formed in the runway, and they tried to prepare the runway too soon, and a CAT broke through the ice. With things freezing up rapidly the men had to work furiously for 24 hours to get it out. The location of the berg that year was such that, “The first sunset was September 7th; the last sunrise was September 14th. So within a week, we went from total day to total night. Temperatures in September were often below 0°F, -17°C.”  With  the first flight not scheduled to land until November, but temperatures down to -35°F by late October, the generator quit. A hero named  Bill Hallett rebuilt it in a frantic rush, well aware there was no hope of outside help.

One interesting aside involves a time two women were sent north to work with the men. Apparently it was such a fiasco, in terms of multiple romances, jealousy and brawls, that it was never attempted again. So much for political correctness. But I digress. I’m suppose to be talking about a different sort of heat.

In the 1950’s a R4D (Navy version of the DC-3)  crashed on Fletcher’s ice island and, stripped of all valuable parts, became a sort of landmark that servicemen had their pictures taken with.

Fletcher's DC-3 1 kf3aa_p4

It is interesting how it looked years later:

Fletcher's DC-3 2 t-3-picture-r4d-on-pillar-apr-62-t3

This is not to suggest the Air Force puts itself on a pedestal, but rather that summer melting has always occurred at the Pole, for as long as we’ve been watching. And now we are watching it again.

DMI5 0619 meanT_2018

Sea-ice “extent”, “area”, and “volume”all tend to crash during the melt. The “extent” graph is being carefully watched, partly because it best supports the Alarmist narrative this year, and partly because some expect the melt to slow, once the thicker ice in the Central Arctic is reached.

DMI5 0619 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

The DMI “volume” graph puzzled many, as the black line vanished. Apparently the computer program is designed in a manner where the gray line representing “normal” takes precedence, so the black line had to pass under it, as volume moved from below to above normal.

Above normal? Did I say the volume is above normal? Yes. But do not expect Alarmists to bring the subject up. They are quite glum about it, and tend to ignore the DMI graph and flee to the PIOMASS data.  But here is the DMI graph they don’t like to look at. It shows volume plunging in the way it plunges every year,  but above-normal. In the past year we seem to have seen an increase of over 4500 km³ of sea-ice.

Volume 20180619 FullSizeRender

Where is the ice increasing? Here is a comparison of the thickness of the ice last year (left) with this year (right).

There is more open water north of Svalbard and in the Laptev Sea this year, but the sea-ice is obviously thicker towards East Siberia and in the Central Arctic.

Of interest to me is the area north of Bering Strait. Alarmists felt the melt would be faster this year than last year, for waters south of Bering Strait were surprisingly ice-free last winter, and Alarmists felt this would give those waters a head start , in terms of warming, and that warmer water would head north of Bering Strait, and hasten the melt in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. This hasn’t happened yet, though the waters are warmer than normal in Bering Strait.

SST anomaly 20180618 anomnight.6.18.2018

Just a reminder: The above map shows anomalies. The cherry red in Bering Strait does not mean the water is warm. Rather it means it is roughly 3 degrees above normal, or in other words +2°C rather than -1°C (which would be the temperature of the water with bergs floating around in it.)

Further south the La Nina is fading and an El Nino appears to be building. Oddly most of the warming is north of the equator, so far. Any warming effect due to an El Nino will be in a lagged manner, and we likely will still be seeing the lagged effect of the cool La Nina for a while longer at the Pole.

The Atlantic side is very interesting, as the backwards “C” of cold in the Atlantic is the signature of a cold AMO, which we haven’t seen in a long time, and were not expecting for another five years. NOAA will have to update the x-axis of its AMO graph, for the most recent “+” for the month of May is just into the negative, and you can only see part of it poking up at the very bottom right of their graph.

AMO May 2018 amo_short

This cold AMO is making conditions colder in southern Greenland and eastern Canada. This is of concern to people on the east coast of Hudson Bay, where the sea-ice is hanging tough. (2017 to left; 2018 to right.)

The concern involves getting a tanker to the east coast settlements, because people no longer heat igloos with blubber lamps, nor spend the entire winter fully dressed. Or maybe they could, but most prefer fossil fuels and warm houses. Therefore all are in a hurry to refill fuel tanks during the window of opportunity offered by the Bay being ice-free. It’s a problem when the ice hangs tough. People don’t sit around drumming their fingers waiting, because it would be downright dangerous to go without resupply.

I remember a clamor arose in 2015 when the ice hung tough into July, and the people in the east coast settlements asked for an icebreaker to clear a path for their oil tanker. Of course this didn’t make headlines. I only knew about it because some Climate Scientists had hired the icebreaker so they could study how the ice was vanishing, and instead the ship was diverted to where the ice wasn’t vanishing. I did not fail to note the irony, but also was puzzled, for the maps and graphs I used didn’t show all that much ice, but then I saw this picture of the path being cleared on July 17.

Hudson 2015 Icebreaker hudson-july-28-3-ccgs-pierre-radisson-in-sea-ice

I hope this explains why I sometimes seem distrustful of maps and graphs. When possible I seek out the Twitter and Facebook feeds from ships and small towns, because a reporter who is actually on the scene is best, even if they are unpaid by any newspaper.

In any case, I’ll be keeping an eye on Hudson Bay.

The cold AMO seems to be effecting Greenland as well. The yearly thaw has started around the edges of the icecap, but there are also some heavy snows. For example, yesterday heavy snow fell in the northwest.

Greenland MB 20180619 todaysmb

Of course, if more snow falls than melts then it is hard to be a true Alarmist about the icecap melting away. For a while this year’s “accumulated mass balance” roughly paralleled  2011-2012, which was a great year (if you like to worry about melting), but roughly a month ago the two years parted ways, and where 2011-2012 fell like a stone, (red line), this year refused to start falling (blue line).

Greenland MB 20180619 accumulatedsmb

One final effect of the cold AMO: Some fishing lodges in eastern Canada are taking a financial hit, for it is difficult to operate a fishing lodge when six feet of winter snow sits outside, refusing to melt. The picture is from Labrador in mid-June. (Hat tip to Ice-age-now site).

Fishing Lodge in June labrador-snow

The fishermen may be sad, but I understand the trout are tickled pink.

Stay tuned.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Summer Thaw Delayed–

Just a quick update while I’m on vacation.

Temperatures over roughly half the Arctic Sea are now above freezing, which is quite normal and natural under the 24-hours-a-day sunshine. It comes as a surprise to some, but temperatures at the Pole average above-freezing 24 hours a day (because the sun never sets) for a period of roughly sixty days. Not that there are not some pockets of cold, especially where it snows, but when you average things out temperatures register at a degree or two above freezing. However this year the pockets of cold out-number the areas of thaw, and temperatures are late getting above the “blue line”, which indicates when the mean temperature exceeds freezing.

DMI5 0611 meanT_2018

This comes as something of a surprise to me, as a large storm just moved up and across the Pole from the Kara Sea. The west side of the storm brought north winds and record cold temperatures to western Russia,  (robbing the arctic of its cold), while the east side of the storm brought south winds and record high temperatures to the coast of the Laptev sea. I paid attention to this warm air as it moved out over the Arctic Sea. I fully expected an upward spike in the DMI temperature graph. Much to my surprise there was a tiny downward spike.

How is this possible? Did the storm have a cooling effect, in some ways like a thunderstorm on a hot summer day? Was the warm air hoisted high, and cold rain and snow dropped to the surface to replace it?

The storm is now filling and fading, stalled north of the Mackenzie River Delta and west of the Canadian Archipelago. A storm like that usually puts a good dent in sea-ice totals, but the only real change I can see is that last week’s roaring south winds, over the Laptev Sea, pushed the sea-ice north, and expanded the polynya around the mouth of the flooding Lena River.  Over all the sea-ice continues thicker than last year, with “volume” (according to DMI) at the highest levels in five years.

DMI5 0611 FullSize_CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20180611 Stay tuned.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Spring Floods–

Above is a NASA loop showing the flood waters pouring out from the Gusinaya River over the five day period of June 4-8.  (The problem is figuring out which Gusinaya River. I don’t think it is the one out on Wrangle Island, but rather one in East Siberia).

The thing to be aware if is that this is happening all around the Arctic Sea, as huge north-flowing rivers turn from winter trickles to summer floods. For example,  the Lena River is nearly frozen to the bottom in February, with only 3% of its yearly flow occurring that month, but then rises over sixty feet by summer. The influx of all this fresh water along the arctic coasts greatly changes the nature of the sea-ice along the shores, tending to swiftly make it more slushy. At first the fresh water is very cold, as it is from melting snow, but later in the summer it can create relatively mild areas of open water by the deltas. The fresh water tends to form a “lens” over the more saline waters.

There can be relatively rapid melts close to the deltas, but the water’s heat is quickly used up by the transformation into latent heat which occurs during the melting process. There tends to be a lot of arguing about what happens next, as the water sometimes stratifies and can be identified over time and distance, and sometimes gets churned and mixed by storms.

In any case I thought the picture of the flood was interesting. I used to be baffled by how quickly coastal ice could vanish in places, such as the Mackenzie River delta in Northern Canada, before I became aware of the colossal yearly floods. What is fascinating me now is how the floods vary, due to droughts to the south, and how this can effect sea-ice. Also I ponder the differences in the timing of floods; some years they are earlier and some years they are later.

Currently there is a very meredional  flow, with a stream of unusually mild air streaming north from the middle of Asia all the way to “Ralph” up at the Pole. Alarmist are quite excited, as there are records being set for warmth on the coast of the Laptev Sea.

Arctic Floods 2 FullSizeRender

Of course, on the other side of that cold front, cold air is streaming south into western Russia, where records are being set for cold temperatures.

Stay Tuned.


ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Ralph’s Return–

The storm I’ve been watching looks like it is heading north and will cross right over the Pole, continuing on to Canada.  “Ralph” (anomalous low pressure at the Pole) is back!

You can’t get much less “zonal” than to have storms crossing over the Pole. So my forecast is shredded. Time to go back to the old drawing board. Arno Crawing Board 2a5c1bb996b52b84daf9c5c70d02864a

My theory was that what made the flow zonal was the atmosphere getting things back in balance, and what made the flow loopy (meridional) was things being put out of balance, which would require a greater exchange of heat from the equator with cold from the Pole. Therefore an El Nino’s warming should require greater looping of the jet, while a La Nina’s cooling should flatten the jet and make things more zonal.

This definitely isn’t happening. Perhaps it is the “Quiet Sun” making the Pole cooler, and keeping things out of balance even when the La Nina cools the tropic a little. For the Pole is cooler than normal.

DMI5 0607 meanT_2018

The storm hasn’t yet made the sea-ice “extent” graph plunge all that swiftly. It continues below normal.

DMI5 0606 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

The storm hasn’t yet caused the “volume” graph to crash either.  It continues unexpectedly higher for this date than at any other year of the past five.

DMI5 0607 CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20180607

Watching the Nullschool “winds” map, it looks like the storm is pushing the sea-ice across the top of Fram Strait, west to east, rather than flushing it south through the Strait. A polynya should form in the Kara Sea, with strong winds pushing the sea-ice north.

Null 1 FullSizeRender

But one thing fascinates me. Looking at the Nullschool sea-currents map, it looks like an eddy has formed just south of Fram Strait. For the time being this diverts a milder current, which usually heads up the east side of Fram Strait, hugging the west coast of Svalbard, and wheels it about to the south. If less mild water enters the Arctic Sea this could slow the melt.

Null 2 FullSizeRender


I’m not sure how accurate the Nullschool maps are, but they are something to keep an eye on. I’m also not sure why it took nearly to June for NOAA to update its AMO graph for April. Perhaps they don’t like the fact the AMO is trending colder.

AMO April 2018 amo_short

We will have to keep a sharp eye on the currents in the North Atlantic to see if a shifting AMO changes them. In the past there have been large changes, with fishing grounds shifting hundreds of miles further south. However the main thing that fascinates me is the loopiness of the jet stream. It has brought storms crashing into Greenland later in the spring than normal, and though some thaw has started at the edges of the ice-cap, that decrease is countered by snows at higher altitudes towards the center.

Greenland MB 20180607 todaysmb

For a while the increase in total mass resembled years where the increase fell off sharply, but now it has separated on the graph from those years, as it just keeps rising.

Greenland MB 20180607 accumulatedsmb

Last but not least, a cold AMO would tend to make it colder in eastern Canada, so we should keep an eye on Hudson Bay. Currently the melt at the edges is keeping pace with last year, but the ice in the center of the Bay is far thicker. (2017 left and 2018 right.)

All in all it is looking like it could be a fascinating summer, even without cameras. It would be indicative of a “Quiet Sun” effect, I imagine, if “Ralph” continues to reappear before the El Nino.

All we need is a volcano to blow up there to really get things crazy.

Stay tuned.