ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Intentionally Sooting Sea-Ice–

While I am working on a post about the 2018 minimum, I am not all that interested in the subject, as the “Death Spiral” was disproved several years ago, and this year just does it again. To prove the same thing over and over is about as exciting as catching a fish, letting out line and allowing the fish swim away still securely hooked, and then catching the same fish again.

The only reason people get caught up in proving the same thing over and over is because the “Death Spiral” crowd insist on proving the wrong thing over and over again. I suspect that, for some, politics is involved and it is their version of telling “The Big Lie.” However in terms of scientific discover it is yawningly dull. I’d far prefer to move on to fresh discovery.

I started thinking about sooting sea-ice not because the Death Spiral Crowd talks about controlling sea-ice by buying curly light bulbs, but rather because Joe Bastardi was talking about seeding hurricanes. He was venturing that it might be possible to destabilize storms by weakening a section of the eyewall.

Joe has carefully examined every hurricane and typhoon he’s been able to, since he first became fascinated as a boy over fifty years ago, and his study has poured through history books to study storms before he was born, and he has noticed things have to be perfect to keep a hurricane mighty, and sometimes small things can cause a storm to lose its punch.  For example, Hurricane Katrina, though mighty, decreased from a Cat 5 to a Cat 3 storm as it approached land. Though awful, it could have been worse. Joe’s knowledge has been proven by his ability to foresee the strengthening and weakening of storms. He is mulling over how we might lessen damage by seeding storms as they approached land.

This idea is not new. Men flew into storms to test the idea of weakening them by seeding clouds back in 1947.  It was called “Project Cirrus”. A hurricane was chosen that appeared to be headed out to sea, but it began a turn even as planes flew out to seed it, and after being seeded, it continued to turn and headed straight for Savannah, and clobbered Georgia. Lawyer’s eyes lit up, there was all sorts of litigation, and meteorologists decided maybe they wouldn’t continue with the experiments.

However the idea wouldn’t die, and Hurricane Esther was seeded in 1961. Some were worried because Esther performed a remarkable loop. However it did weaken.

 

From the “success” of seeding Esther was born “Project Stormfury”. Here’s a picture of the crew in 1966:

 

The first hurricane Stormfury seeded was Beulah in 1963. The first days flights missed their targets, and the second day’s flight hit them. They looked to see if the expected results occurred.

Beulah’s inner eyewall fell apart and a larger eyewall formed, and it’s winds slowed by 20%. You can see why the fellows were encouraged. But was it man-caused, or was it what we now call natural “eyewall replacement”? They didn’t know about eyewall replacement back then. They were actually gathering data that both proved their theory and led to their theory’s demise.

They cancelled the seeding of Betsy in 1965 but forgot to tell the media, which reported the storm had been seeded. There was an uproar when Betsy smashed into Florida, and congress very nearly cut off their funding.

The final storm seeded was Ginger in 1971. I don’t know when it was seeded, but suspect they were blamed for the storms zany track, even if they seeded it after it performed its looping and backtracking.

They continued to exist as an entity for a decade longer, but did most of their study in their minds, marveling at the increasingly wonderful pictures made available by the swiftly improving satellites. But it doesn’t matter what you do, some people are bound to be suspicious. A “Chemtrails” crowd existed even back then, and Fidel Castro insisted that Stormfury was an attempt to “weaponize” hurricanes. A plan to move the project to the Pacific was torpedoed by outcries from both China and Japan. Maintaining the airplanes was expensive, and Stormfury eventually died a quiet death due to Reagan’s push for budget cuts and also because the researchers themselves were becoming aware that eyewall replacement could be normal and natural, and not due to seeding.

Two things become apparent looking at Stormfury. First, that scientists can take a hard look at data and disprove their own theories. Second, that people who know next to nothing about the data can raise an almighty fuss even when you don’t do anything (as was the case with Betsy.)

Suppose I leaked out that I’d sent a fireworks rocket I made at home and it exploded confetti in the middle of Hurricane Florence a couple of weeks ago, and claimed my confetti had diminished the storm from a Cat 4 to a Cat 1 at landfall. Rather than any praise I can bet you a hundred lawyers would now be knocking at my door, half to sue me for flooding in North Carolina, and half to sue me because Florence unexpectedly turned south into South Carolina. And not a single one of them would know a thing about hurricanes.

I far prefer the studious attitude of Joe Bastardi. He watched Florence with a fierce concentration, bringing fifty years of knowledge to bear but also displaying the obvious delight and wonder of a child when he saw something he had not noticed before. He is not too old to be constantly learning.

That is science as science should be. Before seeding a hurricane there should be concentration on what is to be expected, and awareness there may be unexpected consequences. (There will be the usual outcry from tree-huggers, who complain shooting polar bears is evil, until the bear is looking in the window of their child’s daycare.) Only after a careful assessment,  involving much input, should the experiment be undertaken. Then their should be careful observations of what occurs, and a follow-up assessment of results.

This is not the case in much of the fuss about sea-ice. Largely for political reasons an amazing amount of money has been poured into research about sea-ice, and we know far more than we did, and things the equivalent to “eyewall replacement” are  becoming evident, but the “Death Spiral” crowd stubbornly refuse to see anything but a Death Spiral. It would be as if the Stormfury scientists refused to see that anything, besides their seeding, could influence a hurricane’s eyewall.

For example, we are now far more aware the sea-ice has greater mobility than some initially assumed, and at times is far more mobile than other times when it is far more static. Rather than any sort of focus on how such fluctuation might effect sea extent levels (and therefore effect albedo and other effects, which would have further effects),   the Death Spiral crowd claims CO2 is the culprit. That’s their story and they are sticking to it, as stubborn as mules.

This is especially exasperating when they refuse to use the resources provided by history. Where Joe Bastardi is always eager to read about what hurricanes did before he was born, the Death Spiral crowd seem determined to “erase the Medieval Warm Period”, and anything else that disagrees with what their model was programed to produce, which is basically that the Arctic Sea was wall-to-wall ice until just recently.

This is tantamount to a willful blindness, a refusal to see that which is marvelous and wonderful, that which can teach us much about how sea-ice behaves, and that which can teach us whether we would benefit by covering a large amount of the ice with black soot.

I’ll end with a comment I posted at WUWT. We were wondering if icebreakers might influence how able the sea-ice is to be flushed out of the arctic, or be melted in other ways, but I like my comment because it also describes how wrong scientific opinion can be, and how actual observation can correct errors:

“As an example (of how sea-ice can be relatively static and then very mobile) I’d like to point out the history of the good ship Jeanette, which set out for the North Pole from San Francisco in 1879. They were buoyed by three false hopes.

1.) They believed the North Pole could not be covered by ice, because salt water behaves differently than fresh water. The coldest fresh water rises, and therefore the surface of ponds freeze, but the addition of salt causes the coldest salt water to sink. This is scientific fact. Therefore the waters of the Arctic Sea could never freeze, (unless from the bottom up) for such waters would sink as they cooled, and be replaced by warmer waters rising from below.

2.) Sea ice was tested and found to be fresh water. Therefore it could not originate from salt water, and must be due to inflows of fresh water from rivers along arctic coasts. Therefore all sea-ice would be concentrated along arctic coasts, and if you could penetrate that sea-ice you’d find open water off shore

3.) Some whalers had reported landing on Wrangel Island with a lot of open water around, and therefore it seemed Wrangel Island might be a doorway to the open seas beyond.

Wrong. The Jennette was trapped by sea ice short of Wrangle Island, near Herald Island. The sea-ice had increased since the whalers found open seas, and during the following 21 months the sea-ice erratically took them barely a degree longitude per month to the west. (During this time an icebreaker would have been handy).

But then the sea-ice situation changed radically. The ice began to shift, and the Jeannette was crushed. The 33 members of the crew headed southwest, making it to the New Siberian Islands on ice, but facing open water as they headed to the swamps of the Lena Delta. (Only 13 made it out alive.)

Meanwhile two ships following behind, looking for the lost Jeannette, did not find the Jeannette because they (including the Naturalist John Muir) were able to land upon both Herald Island and Wrangel Island and dilly-dally about surveying both islands. They failed to find the Jeannette but found lots of open water, because the sea-ice was in motion, and moving far faster than it had formally moved.

We know how fast the sea-ice moved, because the crushed Jeannette didn’t sink (though parts of it likely sunk, being iron,) and instead moved, in the next 36 months, more than halfway around the earth, in terms of longitude. The sea-ice the crushed beams and planks were squeezed by moved west along the entire north coasts of Russia and Scandinavia, likely north of Svalbard, and took a left through Fram Strait and then down the entire east coast of Greenland, and then took a sharp right around Cape Farewell and were found nearly three years to the day of when the ship was abandoned, in Baffin Bay off Julianehåb. Miles? You figure it out for me, but the ship was abandoned at 77° 15′ north and 154°59′ east, and the wreckage was found at around 60° 70′ north and 46° 05′ WEST.

Yowza.

This incredible movement of sea-ice in 36 months is what gave Nansen the idea he could park the Fram in Sea Ice in East Siberia and drift across the Pole.

But me? I lack Nansen’s ambition. Instead I sit back and say, “Yowza!” I see that, once sea-ice takes it into its head to move, tremendous forces are involved, and the entire fleet of Russian icebreakers can’t matter much more than fifteen mice standing before an avalanche with stop signs.

And if the mighty Russian ships matter so little before such power, how stupid it is for silly people to think buying curly light bulbs and all other forms of virtue-signaling will have the slightest effect?

Not that we shouldn’t consider ways we might deflect disasters when they are apparent. We should consider spreading black soot on sea-ice the same way we consider seeding hurricanes. However such actions involve at least a basic understanding of the forces we are attempting to influence.

Sad to say, politics has utterly polluted the understanding of many, concerning sea-ice. Unless and until we remove this rot, the subject of sea-ice cannot even reach the level of a basic understanding. Politics is like taking a stupid-pill. It might be screamingly obvious that all mankind would benefit if we spread soot and reduced sea-ice, but political correctness would shout more ice was better.”

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE —Let the nonsense begin—

After yet another crack shortened yet another runway, the Russians cleverly extended the far end of the runway and are back in business up at Borneo. Care to spend $20,000 to run in a race?

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I have to admit I do enjoy the shenanigans of people up there. It does seem a bit outrageous that some have such extraordinary amounts of money to burn, but it also seems like a form of reverse-snobbery for me to get too high and mighty, and to disapprove of it. One needs to be careful, because it might be jealousy one is feeling. Often our lower side likes to pose as a virtue, like a coward posing as a pacifist.

Suppose it was playful otters I was watching, sliding in the snow. Would I fume and fret about them making better use of their time?

Is it nonsense when people have fun? Express joy? Dance? Sing?

No, that isn’t as much of a nonsense as it is to put on a garlic face and see evil in innocence. And therefore the real nonsense is perhaps in those who are already commenting on how “warm” and “thin” and  “weak” this ice is. Once again the “Death Spiral” crowd is in full chorus, like the spring peepers in a nearby pond shrilling as I type. Once again Alarmists are determined to see doom and gloom and the end of the world, and setting themselves up as petty judges with their petty gavels, hammering the bench and pronouncing others “Guilty! guilty! guilty!”

I know a fair amount about this mindset because, back when I was in my early twenties, I tended to have big dreams that crashed and burned with dependable regularity, and then would spend time getting my act back together in my Mom’s basement. There was something humiliating about “living with Mommy”, even when I paid my share, and even when nobody mocked me I felt defensive and prone to counter-attacking. Some of my worst writing dates from those periods, and it is because I wrote like  a petty judge with a petty gavel.

There is something nonsensical about offering wisdom when you are unwise.  It seems adolescent, and perhaps explains why protesters are so often students. This is not to say food riots are not justified when you are starving, but too often the people protesting and judging and sentencing others to punishments have no real reason to complain. They are just spoiled, and feeling vaguely guilty about “living with Mommy”.  Even if they aren’t living with their biological mother there is something about their lives that makes them feel ashamed, so they counter attack.

Or that is my take, and my best effort to play the psychologist, in order to explain how on earth some Alarmists can look at this ice and call it “warm” and “weak.”

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(The picture above is of some cross-country skiers out for a jaunt in a new place, called the Pole.)

The oddest thing is to lurk at Alarmist sites and see how they seize upon the slightest things to justify their belief we are seeing the “Death Spiral.”  Some of the things they dig up are so obscure they are actually fascinating. For example, one fellow was going on at length about how “warm” ice is less strong than “cold” ice. Not that he listed temperatures taken of the ice a foot down this year, as opposed to other years, but the strength of ice at various temperatures did make for an interesting topic. The only problem is that we have pictures like this one, from 1987.

Barneo 6C 3-subs-north-pole-1987

Please note the above picture is not from late August or early September, when ice is at its yearly minimum, but rather from May 18th, a mere month from now, when our more recent North Pole Cameras have never seen a melt-water pool, (though they have seen distant leads.)

Can you imagine the trouble the Russians would have had building an airstrip in 1987?  Not that they wouldn’t have been able to find a pan of more solid ice, somewhere away from this site, but this picture does make much of the current fuss made by certain Alarmists look silly. Why? Because, in order to make this year look like “the worst ever” and part of a deteriorating “Death Spiral”, they have to see conditions this year as being “worse than” 1987.

In essence they have to ignore melting where it is, in 1987, and see it where it isn’t, in 2016. To me this seems nonsense. In some ways this nonsense is more interesting to watch than a North Pole Marathon, but it seems to be much less fun, for the people doing it. At times they seem so miserable I fear they may be contemplating suicide.

Unfortunately the ice-melt should be fairly decent this summer, due to the after effects of the El Nino. This will only encourage Alarmists to fret and worry more. What they need is what will likely follow, as a strong La Nina sets in.

The only thing that will end their nonsensical pain is such a growth of sea-ice that their worry seems absolutely impossible. That will be like the bullet that puts a horse out of its misery. Expanding sea-ice will then end the nonsense and be an example of nature’s kindness. It’s the only merciful thing to do.

 

 

 

ARCTIC SEA ICE –BARNEO 2016–THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING JET–

 

Things are a bit dull, at the moment, up at Barneo. (Not for the people up there, but for onlookers like myself). Huge jets are air-dropping cargo, which holds the housing for scientists, soldiers, and tourists (who will pay over $30,000.00 for a certificate that states they stood at the North Pole). This cargo must be retrieved from 1500 pound polar bears (who think it is for them),  unpacked, and then erected, and, because the start of operations is behind schedule, all bodies up there are likely are as busy as bees, and have little time to blog or post on Facebook.Barneo 2B 12938328_977836602285489_5091821605559718540_n910Barneo 2C 11140098_977836658952150_7239834978044090855_n943

You can see the base is located farther from the Pole than usual, towards Russia.

The choice may seem odd, for the ice actually looks thinner in that direction. The 90 degree longitude line is straight sideways in the map above, but straight up in the map below.)

Thickness 20160404 arcticictnnowcast

The reason for avoiding the thicker ice at the Pole was because it had been shoved north over the winter, and was crisscrossed by pressure ridges (seen below). Not only is it hard to build an airstrip when you have to level pressure ridges, but the pressure ridges also represent a fault in the ice, in a sense like a polar version of the San Andres Fault in earthquake-prone California. In the case of multi-year-ice, some faults are active and some are inactive, but it is taking a chance to build  an airstrip across one.  I imagine considerable thought went into the choice they made.

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You can see (above) that at this point in the season the ice doesn’t look like it is any sort of  “Death Spiral”. The temperatures stay below freezing deep into the month of May, and the melt-water pools usually don’t start to form until late June. It is in the month of July that the melt-water pools get common and the Media gets its sensationalist pictures, that support the “Death Spiral” stories. This can be seen from the view below, (which I think is taken from a far lower altitude), and was likely taken in late July or early August.Barneo 2E image307244_cf7a94da3dd81e6a854b7d12adf0e02b

This slushy, summer ice is not necessarily “rotten”, and often can still support considerable weight.

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In terms of the arctic environment, the Russians tend to be too messy for most environmentalists, especially Alarmists. While Russians are realists, Alarmist tend to be surrealists.

Barneo 2F CfG1rGPXIAAv8DD

Therefore many have been highly critical of the Russian clean-up the the Barneo site. Largely the Russians do a good job, but have been known to burn things rather than to carry everything in plastic bags back to the mainland. Pictures like this one can cause the tops of some environmentalists heads to explode.

Barneo 2G image307244_3570365d266b388089103eafec8d8301

To environmentalists, the very word “exploit” has an unsavory sound, but Russia fully intends to exploit its arctic resources, and when Greenpeace tried to get in the way of Russia’s exploration and exploitation, Greenpeace’s members were arrested and spent time in Russian jails. Therefore the two sides are at war, (albeit a war of words, for the most part).

Consequentially there has been a great deal of focus on the whereabouts of a certain jet, that showed how strong the ice was last year, by coming down so hard on the ice the landing gear crumpled, without cracking the ice.

Barneo 2A 10310

At first the word was that the jet would be repaired on the site, and flown off. However the damage was serious.

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At this  point the plan changed, and it was decided to remove the jet in bits and pieces, by icebreaker.  Environmentalists worried whether oils would be spilled, and wanted to know every detail of the project, but Russians (and even the Ukrainians, who actually owned the aircraft), felt their business was their business, and went ahead without giving the media the satisfaction of press releases. Basically the evironmentalists conservationists like myself who were interested had to scrutinize websites and search for pictures, and come to their own conclusions.

The best job I have seen done was by the blogger “Patrick” at the “Arctic Sea Ice Forum” here:   http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,1505.0/nowap.html   The links he supplied are a mother-lode of pictures, and supplied me with many for this post. I was not willing to arrive at the conclusions he arrived at, regarding the missing jet. As usual, I avoid concluding much of anything, but hope readers think for themselves.

The Borneo base itself is a hive of activity for the month of April, but shuts down around Mayday. Then the base changes its name, and becomes a quieter base, inhabited by scientists as the ice slowly drifts towards its eventual doom in Fram Stait and the North Atlantic. They stay well into the melt season.

Barneo 2I IMG_4246

These fellows stay long after jets can land on the slushy landing strip (though an airplane with skis might attempt it in an emergency). They are supplied by helicopter, and in the end are evacuated by a huge Russian icebreaker, which is big enough to have its own cargo helicopter. Barneo 2J image307244_0463887d529d2be034724ad1ee54cabd

It was during the process of removing the parts of the base last summer that pictures were taken that seem to show parts of an airplane being removed as well.

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Of course the most valuable, and heaviest, parts are the engines. The picture below seems to show the ghostly imprint of the fuselage, with the engines still sitting.

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And the following picture seems to show an engine in the background of objects awaiting removal.

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The blogger “Patrick” concluded the engines were removed and dragged off, because he does not see engines on the wings of the jet in this bird’s eye view, but only “scorch marks” made by a welder removing them. (I can’t tell, and leave the decision to experts, but I do notice there are no melt-water pools, and conclude this picture was taken early in the season, no later than the middle of June). (The jet is at the bottom of the picture, and the various houses for scientists are out of view, further down.)

Barneo 2O 0531-west-side

 

“Patrick” then concludes only a few fins and flaps of the jet were removed, and the rest of the jet fell through a crack and sank to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. He sees a lead in the bird’s-eye-view below. The jet’s parking place is to the top of the picture. No jet remains, at this point. (My assumption is that the icebreaker’s path is invisible because it berthed off the margin of this picture, to the lower left.)

Barneo 2P sp-camp-31.07-c

To my eyes the only active “crack” runs along the bottom of the picture. Other cracks look to be inactive, and perhaps turned into the lazy melt-water streams, (that roam across the summer ice until they find a route down through the ice). It also looks to me like the Russians did a fairly good job cleaning up, though they did make the ice a bit dirty, and perhaps could have bagged all that dirty slush and moved it south, to make Greenpeace happy. But I think that isn’t high on their list of priorities. (There seems to be something they left behind at the center, which I suppose is a weather station.)

Lastly, “Patrick” discovered an interesting Russian “chat room” which hold the suspicious comment  “It was decided that the aircraft will not be repaired, it will remain on the ice, and later fell through the ice.” The problem with making too much of this comment, and later comments on the comment, is that the initial comment was made on April 28, even before the final tourist left Barneo.  However the forum is well worth visiting, because there are later videos, in Russian, from TV newscasts about the decommissioning and evacuation of the base, with some good footage.  The forum is here:

http://www.polarpost.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?p=61069#p61069

Anyway, this mystery-of-a-missing-jet annoys outsiders, who are suspicious of the Russians. A Norwegian Newspaper, the “Svalbardpostan” is especially interested in a pristine arctic, and has been following the issue of the missing jet from the start.

http://svalbardposten.no/index.php?page=vis_nyhet&NyhetID=5776

http://svalbardposten.no/index.php?page=vis_nyhet&NyhetID=6329

Their most recent post was this past March 11th, and seems to suggest that if the fuselage did sink to the bottom, the Russians should still crank it back up and remove it. (Not going to happen.)

http://svalbardposten.no/index.php?page=vis_nyhet&NyhetID=6971

Speaking for myself, to me it seems the Russians might have actually removed the jet. What I’d really like to know is how in the world they removed those jet engines. They were big suckers, and how to budge them must have been something the Russians thought long and hard about.

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TEASER FOR NEXT POST:

Barneo Base-camp reports, on April 5:

This morning at the Barneo ice floe broke. From the band left 650 meters. So many titanic work days for nothing. Helicopter pilot flew to look for a new ldinu.Nachinaem over.
Space for the new runway Barneo ice airfield was found. Right next to the camp.
Stay tuned.