ARCTIC SEA ICE –Beaufort Buildup Bedlam–

Way back in the year 1247 some goodhearted monks created a place for deeply troubled individuals called “Hospital of Saint Mary of Bethlehem”. Over the years the local folk shortened the name of the place to various versions of the word “Bethleham”, and finally wound up with the word “Bedlam.”

I have decided we need a similar place for people deeply troubled by sea-ice. After all, sea-ice is a sort of Rorschach test. Look at this and pretend it is sea-ice, and tell me what you see.

Rorschach test InkblotTest

If you see “the end of human existence as we know it”, there are various Bedlams I can suggest you be committed to. If course, you do not want to go into an asylum run by a madman, and therefore I suggest you avoid sites run by people who enjoy  dressing up in Nazi uniforms.

Skeptical Science Nazi Herr Cook

It is better to commit yourself to a Bedlam run by a compassionate monk, and the best Bedlam I have found is “The Sea Ice Forum”, run by the good monk Brother Neven.

Mind you, just as the original Bedlam back in 1247 was stilted towards Catholic ideas, you need to expect a modern Bedlam to be stilted towards the modern religion of Global Warmingism. Just as, concerning a subject we don’t scientifically know about, such as life-after-death, a Catholic will speak with great authority, so too will an Alarmist speak with authority about sea-ice before the satellite era, though we truly know next to nothing about it.

The little evidence we have needs to be ignored by certain inhabitants of Bedlam, in order to continue to see “the end of human existence as we know it”. What is kept behind blinders are geological studies of shorelines, certain core studies of the sea-bottom, and, most interesting to me, the places where whalers and explorers found open water. For example, the doomed Franklin expedition found open water one year (1845) and not the following two years.

Franklin Map Franklin's-Lost-Expedition

To me it seems a certain suspension of cynicism must be involved, to believe the situation at the Pole is dramatically different this year (as some Alarmists believe it is).  It is sort of like, when you read “Lord of the Rings”, you suspend your doubt that trees can walk around and talk to you. Such belief may be fine in a fantasy, but it is not so good when it involves spending billions of tax dollars. Yet somehow I can’t seem to penetrate an Alarmist resistance to seeing there may have been times of open water in the Arctic Sea in the past. Even photographic evidence fails to get behind the blinders. I can show them that even in the spring, when sea-ice is thick and only starting to fall from its maximum, submarines apparently found open water at the Pole on March 17, 1959

Sub at Pole 1959 download

And on May 18, 1987.

Sub at Pole 1987 3-subs-north-pole-1987

And yet this year we have jets landing up there on April 16, 2017.

Barneo E5 17952888_1341818589228569_6926960017063686340_n

Of course, when I speak about such things I really do come across as a wet blanket and something of a party-poop. If you are going to participate in Bedlam you are suppose to get hugely exited about every little crack in the ice, as if it a “sign.”  You say, “It’s a sign” and make your eyes very round, and nod. That is the way to gain acceptance.  Also you can gain a lot of status if you monkey around with data and make a graph (unless you are a party-poop and point out the data is upside down, as Michael Mann’s graph was.).

Therefore, when you visit Bedlam, my recommendation is that you keep your lips buttoned. Be a so-called “lurker”.  It is well worth the visit to a good site, partly because ( I confess) there is something fascinating about weirdos,  and no one can see you are gawking, when you silently lurk.

One thing that is fascinating is how they constantly stroke each other for reassurance. It is downright touching. (Pun). However keep your tongue firmly planted in your cheek when they pull out their graphs. The graphs will always draw a line showing how much sea-ice there was in the past, as if they knew. In fact it is what they believe, and they arrive at their belief  via dubious means. I tend to roll my eyes when presented with a graph like this:

Extent Polyak et al 2010 fig2a

The problem I have with such graphs is that, before the satellite era, there is only airplane data, and, before the airplane era, there is only data from the edges. The Nimbus 5 satellite only began collecting pictures in 1972, and the Nimbus 2 pictures only reach to 1966. Long distance aircraft were not developed until World War 2, and had little reason to fly over the Pole at first. A few zeppelin flights explored the arctic, (for example the Norge in 1926 and the Italia crash in 1928), but they had no idea our bedlam would require specific details about the exact area of open water versus solid ice. Before that we have only scattered reports from brave and sometimes doomed men. For example, from the diaries of the failed Arctic Balloon expedition of 1897 we know the sea-ice north of Svalbard was not solid,  “Andrée called it ‘dreadful terrain’, with channels separating the ice floes, high ridges, and partially iced-over ice-ponds”.

Andre 1897 image

Nor did Nansen, traveling over the ice in 1895, neglect to bring along the kayaks that in the end saved his life. Considering we have so little data, and the data we do have does show that the ice had leads of open water, all calculations which assume the Arctic Sea was shore-to-shore ice are highly suspect. If we instead estimate and subtracted the unseen areas of open summer-water from the total extent, (as we now do), the extent of some years would obviously be lower.

(The belief the Pole was sheeted with solid ice before 1979 is a belief that is ironically diametrically opposite to a prior incorrect belief from the early 1800’s, which suggested that the center of the Arctic Sea was open water.)

But zip your lip about all such uncertainty, in Bedlam. If you yap you will only spoil their awe over standing, in real time, this very moment, as wonder-struck witnesses to “the end of human existence as we know it”.

And actually the inhabitants of Bedlam are quite good, when it comes to noticing the smallest patch of open water, now. This keenness of eyesight makes them useful, even if what they conclude may be the wildest of speculations.

For example, high pressure can stall over the Beaufort Sea, in which case it is called the Beaufort High, and if it is properly located it will create polynyas of open water called the West Beaufort  and Bathurst polynyas. If you spot this happening now you are welcome in Bedlam, but if you point out it happened in 1975….not so much.

Beaufort Polynyas poly-3-bathurst-and-w-beaufort-polynyas_1975-vs-2015_polarbearscience

However, if, rather than the Beaufort High, a low pressure called “Ralph” stalls, then rather than a clockwise gyre you get a counter-clockwise eryg, as I described here:

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/arctic-sea-ice-demise-of-the-beaufort-eryg/

And the result will be that, rather than the ice being pushed away to form a polynya by the shore, the ice will reverse and be piled up against the shore. This will create a very different deployment of sea ice, as can be seen by comparing the ice of late March in 2016 (left) with 2017 (right):

It does not make people in Bedlam happy when ice is crunched up against the coast like that, but they have seemingly inexhaustible hope. As I mentioned in an earlier post, there was a chance the eryg was turning back into a gyre, and indeed a Beaufort High has formed and the ice has moved away from the shore. It is nothing like last year, but gives cause for bedlam in Bedlam. (One funny thing is that some begin their observations with, “Ugh Oh!”  Actually they are celebrating the fact they have a sign of imminent doom, but it would be danged improper to go “Whoopie” about “the end of human existence as we know it”.) In any case, they save some wonderful satellite shots of the polynyas starting to form, which is a very real reason to visit the Sea Ice Forum site. The image below was offered by Brother Neven himself:

Bering Strait is to the upper left. Notice that the West Beaufort Polynya forming up there is larger than the Bathurst Polynya, to the lower left, and the Bathurst Polynya is nowhere close to the size of last year’s.

Hopefully below you will see some lovely satellite views of the West Beaufort Polynya forming, submitted to the forum by the blogger “JayW”. Superb submission! This is why it is so worth visiting the Sea Ice Forum. (Bering Strait is at the bottom.)

The question that arises in my mind is, “Is this open water evident from shore?” So I turn to the Barrow webcam, looking north from a place higher than men could stand, back in the old days.

Barrow 20170418 07_27_39_65_ABCam_20170418_152400

And the answer is a simple “No”. The only movement that can be seen out to sea is the movement of shadows as the sun swings around in the arctic sky. (Temperature is -2° [-16°C])

My next question is, “When they say the ice was wall-to-wall in a long-ago-year, such as 1912, are they merely guessing? Are they assuming because it was stuck fast to the shore in Alaska that it extended as a solid sheet clear across to Russia? How do they know what was occurring out of view?”

The humble answer is, “They, and we, don’t know”. Graphs that use proxies are largely guess-work, and are at risk when the grafters are more liable to get grants if their guess-work is in a certain direction. However the graphs are gospel in Bedlam.

Me? Oh, you know me. I’m as gentle as a lamb and never raise a ruckus, and only confide my private views in the confines of this obscure blog, and even then I’m astonishingly spiritual and modest, if you want my opinion. I just sit back and watch, and, if I chuckle, well, sometimes you just can’t help it.

Below are the sequence of recent DMI maps. They basically show the Beaufort High forming and stalling. It is interesting to see that the high fails to really develop the southeast gales last year’s did, and is displaced to the west more, so that the region where the Bathurst Polynya might be expected to form may even get north winds, bringing the ice back in to shore. This would be bad news for those hoping the entrance to the Northwest Passage clears out.

The temperature maps are interesting for they, at first, show cold builds at the Pole even though the sun never sets. The sun is simply still too low to warm the arctic, and the arctic continues to lose more heat than it receives. Later the temperature maps show the Pole warming, but this seems to be because the stalled Beaufort High is bringing a steady flow of Pacific air north through Bering Strait.

If possible I’ll update later. If not,  I’ll make up a good excuse.

Advertisements

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Demise of the Beaufort Eryg–

The strong El Nino that faded last year left the planet with some excess heat to get rid of, and we’ve watched as a meridional pattern sent surges of warmth to the Pole, where it fueled a persistent area of low pressure I dubbed “Ralph.” Because Ralph’s winds were counter-clockwise, it resisted and at times reversed the ordinarily clockwise flow of ice on the Pacific side of the pole, called the “Beaufort Gyre”.

This presented me with a problem, because you cannot call a gyre a gyre when it is not clockwise. (It would be like calling a sunny day a storm, which is why we have the words “highs” and “lows”, to differentiate.) Therefore I spelled the word “gyre” backwards, and came up with the word “eryg”. An eryg is a counter-clockwise spin of ice at the Pole. So now you know.

Having an eryg rather than a gyre has consequences, especially on the north coasts of Alaska and Canada. Last year’s gyre tore the ice away from the coast, creating polynyas of open water  at the mouth of the Northwest Channel in the dead of winter. (March 13) (Light lilac is less than a foot thick).

Coast March 13 IMG_4608

Although the open water refroze, the baby-ice was thin and less protected by snow, and was swift to melt as the sun rose higher. Also the ice in the western south-entrance to the Northwest Passage was flushed out, (notice the streamer of ice moving out.) (May 5)

Coast May 5 IMG_4609

To the north a large crack opened up the northern entrance on May 12.

Coast May 12 IMG_4610

All of this was great news for people attempting the passage. Besides there being less ice to melt out of the way, open water warms more easily than ice-covered water, and the warmed water contributed to the melt.

However during the summer the gyre began to shift into a eryg. There was little ice to the south, but the northern approach to the Channel began to see ice jamming into it. Most crushed up against the south side of the channel, leaving an area of clear water to the north by Melville Island, (which may have replicated the conditions William Parry found in 1819 when he sailed from the east past 110° west up there). Yet so much ice was pouring into the north, and then taking a right and heading south, that the luxury liner Crystal Serenity hesitated, before dashing through.  All in all there was only around a ten day window-of-opportunity to make the passage before things swiftly refroze. Here’s the map for September 3:

Coast Sept 3 IMG_4611

This year the ice has been pushed backwards by the eryg, right into the entrance of the channel.  Rather than baby-ice six inches thick, in late March the ice was six and even nine feet thick. (March 31).

Coast March 31 Current IMG_4612

To make comparison easier, lets put 2016 and 2017 side by side.

The immediate thought might be that it has been much warmer to the north, to make the ice thinner up there, and much colder to the south, to make it so much thicker, but in actual fact what we see is the difference between a gyre and a eryg. In 2016 the ice was shifted northwest and piled up thicker to the north, and in 2017 the ice has been shifted southeast and piled up to the southeast, smack dab in the entrance  of the Northwest Passage.

However things look like they may be about to change. The lagged effect of the El Nino is fading and the lagged effect of last year’s weak La Nina may be about to shift the eryg back to a gyre.  The west winds at Barrow have shifted, and are currently blowing from the east at 20 mph. The ice isn’t budging yet, fozen fast to shore with temperares at 5° (-15°C).

Barrow 20170405 08_37_37_12_ABCam_20170405_163400

O-buoy 14 did warm nearly to -10°C on April 2, but has since sunk back to -25°C. It too remains frozen fast and isn’t budging, southeast of Melville Island in Parry Channel.

Obuoy 14 0405 webcam

If I can sneak away from doing my taxes I’ll update the maps below later. If I can’t, the two major features to note is the slow growth of high pressure towards Canada, and that even as “Ralph” fades, (or perhaps sinks towards Siberia), his “signature” persists as a swirl of warmer air curling towards the Pole in the temperature maps, currently coming via the Siberian coast. The maps start on March 26.

FIRST AN-74 LANDS AT BARNEO 2017 NORTH-POLE CAMP (Sea-ice looks less tortured than last year.)

Barneo C1 17629654_1328019120608516_5315072609218632257_n

Barneo C2 17634638_1328019370608491_806326817366810694_n

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Reinforcing Ralph–

I don’t have the time to name the individual lows and highs that ramble about the Pole this summer, let alone name the pockets of cold and warm that show up on the temperature maps, like I did three summers ago. But I do pamper my mischievous side enough to name the general area of low pressure that has been sprawling over the Pole, “Ralph.”

Ralph keeps looking like he will fill and fade away, and I’ve been expecting high pressure to regain a dominate position, as the high pressure “Igor” did a few summers ago. To my surprise Ralph keeps calling for reinforcements, and boyishly keeps his position as king-of-the-mountain atop the planet. When we last looked on June 28 he had absorbed a blurb of low pressure from east Siberia (R3, which stands for third reinforcement), and was north of the Canadian Archipelago.

Then June 30 saw R4  swing across Bering Strait from East Siberia to the Beaufort Sea, to lend Ralph a hand.

Then June 30 saw R5 move north from central Siberia to help out. There was a bit of a hubbub about this low being an ice-eater, but it wasn’t.

Some might suggest the July 1 map showed Ralph gone, and R4 in the the Canadian Archipelago with R5 north of East Siberia, but I’ve grown fond of Ralph, and I rule. I saw Ralph stand bravely in the middle, on the Pole, and fiercely prevent high pressure from ridging over the Pole. Some models impudently snubbed Ralph and kept suggesting the high pressure would reestablish itself in the long range, but when the long range became the present tense it never happened. This maps show the high pressure coming as close as it ever came to regaining the Pole.

 

Then July 2 showed Ralph draw R5 north, and keep control of the Pole. The high pressures were wimps, and were squeezed south in Canada and Siberia.

(Missing July 2 12Z Map)

On July 3 R6 nudges north over Norway, as Ralph remains victoriously king of the mountain.  Ralph sees no reason reinforcements shouldn’t come from the Atlantic.

On July 4 R6 slides north over Svalbard and Ralph welcomes him up at the Pole.

On July 5 they celebrate as a decent summer storm.

(12 Z July 5 map missing)

Lastly, on July 6 we see Ralph is still rocking. A low is loop-de-looping over Finland, but prevented from coming north by a high pressure ridge being pumped up between it and Ralph. Models have been suggesting this ridge would at long last regain the Pole as Ralph finally faded south into Asia, but more recent runs are starting to suggest that Ralph will not be be so meek, and instead will swing around across Bering Strait and come right back up to the Pole via the Beaufort Sea.

At the risk of being a bore, I’d like to return to something I keep harping upon, which is that in theory Ralph shouldn’t exist.  The three dimensional idea of a Polar Cell existing north of Fellel Cells envisions descending air at the Pole, but Ralph, as a low pressure system, would involve ascending air.

Polar Cell cells_mod

This involves attempting to get your mind around a three dimensional image of what exactly is going on up there.  Does the polar jet develop a branch that spirals in to the center? Is there a Fourth Cell, which should be called some yet-to-be-determined name such as “Extrapolar Cell” or (I modestly suggest) “Caleb Cell”? Or is it chaos? (Even if it was chaos, there would still be a changing chart of inflows and outflows and places air rose and air fell.)

In the end I tend to simply wonder, without answers. Even the above chart sees the Pole as a sort of doughnut, with a hole of descending air at the center.  What seems to occur is the doughnut becomes a cinnamon roll, with a spiral towards the center, and then a low moves up the spiral and becomes a low lodged at the center of the High, (a doughnut within the doughnut), at which point we  would have a short lived “Fourth Cell”, named Ralph.

If Ralph involves rising air then there would be outflow at the top, and inflow towards the bottom, and with that lower inflow at the surface one would surmise that the sea-ice would be crunched towards the Pole. This leads me to an interesting DMI chart of volume, which is attached to their thickness map.

DMI 00706 FullSize_CICE_combine_thick_SM_EN_20160705

What is interesting is that the volume has moved away from being at the same level as 2012, and now is at the mean for the period 2004-2013. Meanwhile, in terms of extent, we continue at 2012 levels.

DMI3 0706 osisaf_nh_iceextent_daily_5years_en

What one would tend to conclude is that, though the extent may be the same as 2012, the ice must be thicker, to have the volume be greater.

It is also interesting to to compare the extent with the area. Remember that the area is always less than the extent, for extent calls an area “ice-covered” even if there is open water. In fact extent can call an area ice-covered when it is 85% open water. Area graphs, on the other hand, attempt to exclude the open water, (to only include the pixels that are white).  For this comparison I use the NANSEN graphs.

EXTENTNansen extent 0706 ssmi_ice_ext

AREANansen area 0706 ssmi_ice_area

Here again we see that, while extent is as low as 2012, area is greater now than in 2012. This would suggest 2012 involved more leads of open water, and the sea-ice is packed more tightly this year. Conclusion? The ice has more volume and is packed more tightly. One would surmise this would cause it to melt more slowly, but, as always, all depends on the water swooshing beneath the ice.

My guess is that the water beneath the ice began colder than last year, because the storms of last winter broke up the ice a lot and exposed a lot of the water to bitter cold winds before it could refreeze. Now I am wondering whether Ralph may be bringing any milder waters north, by sucking inflow at the surface. (It is a pity the SST maps up at the Pole are so unreliable.)

The NRL maps show a quicker melt of Beaufort Sea this year, but the major melt of last year occurred over along the Siberian coast, and the ice is thicker and hanging tough there, this year. 2016 is to the left and 2015 to the right.

 

I would think that the inflow into Ralph would make the Pole warmer than normal, but, perhaps due to Ralph’s clouds, they have been slightly colder than usual.

DMI3 0706 meanT_2016

Our lone camera, O-buoy 14, is down close to the melt of the Beaufort Sea, so I would not be surprised to see the ice break up this month. It did see a bit of sun during a cold snap a day ago, after a long spell of gray clouds.

Obuoy 14 0705 webcamObuoy 14 0705 temperature-1week

Temperatures have since recovered, as have the dreary grays of a cloudy summer. It looks like wet snow and perhaps rain may be falling.

Obuoy 14 0706 webcam

Obuoy 14 0706 temperature-1week

O-buoy 14 has been drifting back to the east, which suggests Ralph has also reversed the movement of the Beaufort Gyre from clockwise to counterclockwise. (What a troublemaker.) Once again we see that the motion of Sea-ice is greatly influenced by the air above, even as the melt of Sea-ice is greatly influenced by the water below. The influence of CO2 is a runt in comparison, and may even be so small it is invisible.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Another Swirl–

The sun is up at the Pole, twenty-four hours a day, and temperatures have started rising.

DMI3 0415 meanT_2016

Even with temperatures rising, they are still down around -20°, and the Pole is still a part of the planet that loses heat. In fact it is only during a brief period at the height of summer that the sun gets high enough to make the Pole a part of the planet that is gaining heat. Despite the fact the sun never sets, the non-stop sunshine is still too low to match the heat lost to outer space. All sunlight does is slow the losses, at this point in the Spring.

Also the non-stop sunshine still hasn’t made it down to the Arctic Circle. O-buoy 13 down at 75.8° north is still seeing night, though the nights are more like long sunset-twilights.

Obuoy 13 0413 webcam

The temperatures start to show a definite diurnal swing.

Obuoy 13 0415 temperature-1week

Even after long day’s sunshine the temperatures have a hard time getting above -15°C, and the late afternoon isn’t exactly warm-looking.

Obuoy 13 0415 webcam

(You have to be wary about the temperature readings from buoys, as they tend to be small urban-heat-islands when the winds die down, even melting pools around their feet. This year O-buoy 14 looks like it is especially prone to this effect, and apparently measures even the cooling passage of a cloud.)

Obuoy 14 0415 temperature-1week

However the bright sun does clear the lenses, and it looks like O-buoy 14 will soon open its eyes. At least we can see the passing cloud.

Obuoy 14 0415 webcam

To return to the point I was going to make before I got distracted by the beauty of the arctic, its still cold up there, and the Pole is losing heat. It doesn’t make a sucking sound, but when I see a whirlpool up there I put two and two together, in a completely unscientific and boyish manner.

I am confessing this in an up-front and forthright manner, so people will not think I am a scientist. I am an observer, and a witness. My testimony can stand up in court. When I witness things that disagree with the “expert witnesses”, I say so.

In some ways Climate Scientists, as “expert witnesses”, deserve the same treatment as psychologists, who saw this law passed, (but vetoed by the governor), either in New Mexico or Texas.

“When a psychologist or psychiatrist testifies during a
defendant’s competency hearing, the psychologist or psychiatrist
shall wear a cone-shaped hat that is not less than 2 feet tall.
The surface of the hat shall be imprinted with stars and
lightning bolts.

“Additionally, a psychologist or psychiatrist shall be required
to don a white beard that is not less than 18 inches in length,
and shall punctuate crucial elements of his testimony by stabbing
the air with a wand. Whenever a psychologist or psychiatrist
provides expert testimony regarding the defendant’s competency,
the bailiff shall contemporaneously dim the courtroom lights and
administer two strikes to a Chinese gong.”

Be that as it may, I just have noted the swirls up at the Pole. I was thinking they would stop as it warmed, but another one has developed, perhaps because it is still cold enough and the planet is still losing heat at the top.

At the risk of being repetitive, the basic theory states there should be high pressure at the Pole, as the Polar Cell’s air descends.

Polar Cell cells_mod

If you stagger this high pressure a bit towards Canada, it clockwise winds support both the flow of the Beaufort Gyre and the Transpolar Drift.

Transpolar Drift 360px-BrnBld_ArcticCurrents.svg

For a while last week this very situation seemed to be setting up, and I could at last settle back and see things obey my textbook, but now another dratted low is chucking my textbook  out the window again. (The poor book is starting to look rather rumpled.)

On April 9 the last swirl still showed clearly in the temperature map, even as the low faded in terms of isobars.

By April 11 the low pressure had sagged down to Siberia, and the high pressure over Beaufort Sea was behaving in a proper manner, as a polar high with lows parading around it. It was pulling all the ice north of Alaska to the west, and a polynya was forming along the northwest Alaskan coast. (I sort of liked this pattern because it was robbing Canada of cold and giving it to Europe. When it comes to cold in April, I’ve had enough, and feel North America can be generous and share with others.)

As the days pass look at the milder air being drawn north to the Pole from the Pacific, in the temperature maps.

 

By April 13th this Pacific air is starting to form weak low pressure, moving toward the Pole.

 

And today we have our weak low, right on top of the Pole, only this time it came from the Pacific side. Our textbook high pressure is shriveled up and really should feel embarrassed.

I have various hunches about what we are seeing, but for the moment I’m just sharing the observation.

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Beaufort Sea Crack Up–

Beaufort Crack Up 6a0133f03a1e37970b01b8d1ba3a52970c-800wi

Most of my attention has been focused on Barneo, due to my interest in the North Pole Camera, and up there the ice has been converging much of the winter, and building pressure ridges, due to what I called “The Swirl” in my last post. In this post I’ll look at a place where ice often diverges.

My reason for doing this is not because I am fair and balanced. God forbid! I must be honest with you and state my honest intention to oppose the dishonest. Some, and Mark Serreze in particular, have been so incredibly unfair and incredibly unbalanced that the only way to respond seems, in a sense, to be as unbalanced in an equal and opposite fashion.

Of course this is neither spiritual nor scientific. However I pretend to be neither a saint nor a scientist. What I desire to be is an American thing called “a humorist”, and my chief weapon is to reduce my opponent’s arguments to absurdity.

This is not very hard with Mark Serreze, considering he is on record as saying the Arctic would be ice free by now. He is a person who  has reduced his own arguments to absurdity, and the fact he is still paid a six figure salary is proof the government cares little about Truth. In fact it seems an exercise in futility, and also absurdity, to continue arguing.

We already had the argument about Beufort Sea ice crack-ups back in February of 2013, when this splendid crack-up occurred:

 

I described all the hoopla that occurred back then about midway through my post “Fun With Sea Ice” (which was eventually printed over at “Watts Up With That” in January, 2014),  so if you are interested in all the details they can be found here:

https://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/a-retrospective-fun-with-sea-ice/

But we have already been through that, and I think the more serious Alarmists know it looks a bit silly to get too excited about a Beaufort Sea crack-up. These things are bound to happen, due to the motion of the Beufort Gyre.

Transpolar Drift 360px-BrnBld_ArcticCurrents.svg

It is the flow of the Beaufort Gyre that tends to crunch ice up against the north coast of the Canadian Archipelgeo, and rip ice away from its west coast, creating massive leads and polynyas.  It also rips ice away from the Mackenzie Delta and north coast of Alaska, and piles it against the north coast of East Siberia.  To get a true feeling of this ocean in motion the current NRL animation (past thirty days) is helpful.  (Bering Strait in lower left corner; MacKenzie River in lower right corner.)

 

This animation shows high pressure north of Alaska swirling the ice around, and creating large polynyas northwest of Alaska and north-northwest of the McKenzie Delta.

It is interesting to debate how thickly theses open areas will be skimmed with ice, whether that ice will be black ice that allows sunlight to penetrate, or snow-dusted ice that reflects sunlight, and how much these areas might speed the summer melt. (It should be noted that if a low pressure replaces the high pressure, all the ice could turn right around and come crunching back to the coast.)

I myself am looking further south, into the Pacific, as I wonder about this coming summer’s melt. What was called the “Warm Blob” seems to have been largely replaced by a “Cold Blob.”

anomnight.4.7.2016

To me it looks like the waters south of Bering Strait are a full two degrees colder than last spring. I should hasten to add that these anomaly maps can change as spring shifts to summer, but if this “Cold Blob” persists, it can and will slow the ice melt north of Bering Strait.

Just something to chew upon, as we ponder the situation.