ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Trans Greenlandic Ralph–

In my last post I pointed out cross-polar-flow was bringing north a mild (albeit dry) “feeder-band” through Central Europe, and a smaller (but moister) “feeder-band” was sneaking north through Bering Strait and then east along the East Siberian coast. I stated I’d be a on the lookout for Ralph (Anomalous low pressure at the Pole) due to the influxes of mild air. Well, Ralph has formed, but not in the way I expected.

This time of year we expect “bombogenesis” in the North Atlantic. Arctic outbreaks of very cold air over warm water creates a contrast ripe for development, however at first the sinking cold air serves as a sort of “lid” on the heat. Then, due to a sort of “tipping point” in terms of lapse rates, the heat starts to rise, and abruptly a storm explodes. Often these gales are bigger and stronger than many hurricanes, but usually are out where only captains of freighters and people in Iceland notice. Usually they stall around Iceland, creating a semi-permanent feature known as “The Icelandic Low”. Back on November 13th I was wary of the weak low pressure south of Greenland exploding.

Bombogenesis did occur, but rather than heading east to Iceland the huge gale roared north into Baffin Bay, with winds howling south to north along the entire spine of Greenland.

Then this morning, Ralph pops out north of Greenland.

This is interesting partly because it makes me look like a dope. I was watching warm inflows from the Pacific and from Eurasia, and never saw this huge wave of Atlantic moisture coming. In any case, the Arctic Sea is now brimming with above-normal air, “white hot” in the temperature anomaly map.

Alarmists will likely focus on the “white hot” anomalies, though temperatures are in fact below freezing. They will pay no attention to the frigid air masses bumped off the Pole into Europe, Central Asia, and currently clouting me here in New Hampshire (and centered south of Hudson Bay.) At times some Alarmists seem to forget no thawing occurs when temperatures are below freezing.

I find the situation interesting because I always like to watch how the “white hot” anomalies fade, and to think about all the heat being lost. Where does it go? Also the antics of Ralph are always interesting. Finally, having this huge slug of moist Atlantic air ride over the icecap of Greenland involves the Alarmist idea the icecap is melting and coastal cities will drown. Not today. All the precipitation seems to have have fallen as snow, and no melting is seen.

In a single day it looks like Greenland received ten gigatons of frozen water.

I’m not exactly sure what ten gigatons amounts to, in terms I can comprehend. I’m just glad I don’t have to shovel it.

One final wonderment (for me, at least) is how much heat is lost as the moist air passes over the ten-thousand-foot high ice-cap. A lot of latent heat is released as vapor goes through two phase changes, and falls as snow. Some is lost to outer space. But some remains with the air, which must descend as Greenland-Chinook. Even the roaring katabatic winds coming off Antarctica warm as they descend in altitude (albeit only a “warming” to minus-forty), and up in Thule, towards the top of Baffin Bay, where winter temperatures can get down to -72 (-58 Celsius), they have experienced above freezing temperatures every month of their dark winters, and have a record January temperature of 41 (+5 Celsius). This makes me wonder if some “polar warming” is just a natural Chinook.

There are some fascinating old tales from whalers, and the Polaris Expedition of 1871-1873, about polynyas of open water up in Nares Strait at the top of Baffin Bay, even in the dead of winter. Much to ruminate upon.

Stay tuned.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Greenland “Heatwave” Hype–

Sometimes the rants of Alarmists amuse me. Rather than moan softly and roll my eyes, I sit back and admire how something ordinary can be turned into something that sells newspapers (and/or attracts grant-money.)

In my last post I mentioned how a “blocking high-pressure” has persisted over Greenland, leading to lots of sunshine and far fewer North Atlantic gales ramming into the mountains and dumping copious amounts of snow onto the icecap. I warned this would reduce the yearly increase in Greenland’s “ice-balance”, even without including any summer melting. A massive amount flows off the ice-cap as glaciers and calves off into the sea, all year long, and, if not replaced by huge snows, the “ice-balance” dips. Alarmists were mute when the “ice-balance” blipped upwards the past two years, but I warned they would find their voices this summer as the ice-balance fell.

I neglected to include a further warning. Some ice might actually melt, especially with the blocking high-pressure making sunshine so persistent. Ice and snow always does melt on Greenland, especially at the very edge, although it doesn’t melt back as far now, as it did in the Medieval Warm Period, when the Vikings were able to raise several thousand cattle and over 100,000 sheep and goats. Though summer thaw is normal, when any sort of thaw occurs you can expect the Press to beat their drums. As the start of summer thaw has occurred yet again, and the Press has gone ape, I thought I’d give examples of some of the stages the Press’s hoop-la typically goes through.

First, a dramatic photograph is needed. Such pictures are usually of the dramatic meltwater rivers that form in the south of Greenland, where very thick ice pushes south into milder Alantic air and nearly twenty-four-hour-a-day sunshine, and also slopes down from an altitude of over 10,000 feet, where its cold, towards sea-level, where its above freezing. Obviously the top of the ice will melt, especially where a slope faces south, and the streams of melt-water that then get going in June and July can thunder. In New England we call such abrupt melting of snow and ice a “freshet” and they are usually brief, as we run out of snow to melt, while in Siberia the Lena River can rise sixty feet as the snows melt. However in Greenland the supply of snow and ice is not only boundless, but the streams are not running over rock and sand, but ice, and they cut crystal canyons and even find crevasses where they plunge underground. Ice-geologists have to be very careful, because one slip and you get no second chance and can’t hit the “replay button”, be they do take wonderful pictures of fantastic formations. The holes melt-water pours into are called “moulins” and they can be small:

Or they can be huge:

And I can understand why a young, strong geologist would want to get someone to pay him to look at such wonders. I myself prefer to stay home and, on a hot day in July, to type “Moulin images” into my search engine, and then sift through the thousands of pictures from glaciers all over the world.

I assume the Press does the same, to find a picture to sensationalize the screaming headline GREENLAND MELTING, (though sometimes they accidentally use a moulin from a glacier in Alaska or Tasmania.) But the picture the Press used this year was really unique, and made me chuckle.

The Press of course will fail to mention this is not an icecap. It is a lake or inlet, nice and flat, which does what lakes and inlets do, (freeze in the fall and thaw in the spring). This is a picture of some coastal-Greenland meteorologists heading out to retrieve some equipment before it sinks to the bottom.

You can tell this pictures is taken from a lower elevation because the mountains are snow-less and brown. To the upper right of the picture there is some evidence of the edge of the true Greenland icecap.

Once you move up onto the actual icecap and move away from the edges, temperatures rarely nudge above freezing, and are often far below. The deep snow compacts under the weight of year after year’s worth of snow, becoming this compact (yet surprisingly drafty) stuff called “firn”, and then finally compacts into the glacial ice, roughly a mile thick, from which ice cores are drilled. These ice-cores, when examined, do show a difference between winter snow and summer snow, which creates a yearly layer and allows the dating of cores. But they apparently show something else which is interesting.

Around once every 40 years a “blocking high-pressure” creates enough sunshine to actually create a thaw which can be noticed in the ice core records.

Such a thaw can’t merely be a few minutes above freezing. It must last long enough to soften at least the top sixteenth of an inch of snow, making it more like the sticky stuff that boys fling at each others in snowball fights, than the drifting powder which boys find fairly useless.

Please observe that, in the eyes of the media, a photo of the sun softening the top sixteenth inch of snow up at 10,000 feet would make a boring picture, (which is why the Press uses pictures from other places, in order to increase the sense of drama and sell more papers).

Also sometimes the temperatures nudge above freezing for such a brief time that the snow doesn’t even soften, nor leave a permanent record for ice cores. I assume the recent event was just such a brief thaw. However it is still possible to drum up drama and sell newspapers, even from such an inconsequential event….as follows:

First of all, the Press can stress the inconsequential event occurred over a vast area, and a sub-headline may scream, “40% of Greenland thawing.” Then the Press will include a graphic that is honest, but misleading if misinterpreted, such as this:

The above map has nothing to do with how much water was produced, or how much the sea–levels rose, but rather shows where temperatures inched above freezing enough to make snow sticky. It is a large area, for June. To me it demonstrates how the “blocking high-pressure” has made it especially sunny up there (and especially dismal, cold and rainy down in New England, where I live.)

The next step is to take the above data, (which involves “area” and not “amount”), and sensationalize how early the “area” is. But in fact, even if the top sixteenth of an inch of the snow over the entirety of Greenland softened, it wouldn’t produce even a trickle of water. It takes more serious melting to produce melt-water creeks and moulins. However to sell newspapers (and get grants) a graphic is created that is all about “area.”

It may be true that the mid-June “area” is “unprecedented” for so “early” (though in actual fact it should be expected, as the sun is near its highest), and it furthermore may be true the word “unprecedented” sells headlines, (especially when coupled with pictures of floods), but I must say, at the risk of being a “party poop” and “wet blanket”, that “area” is not the same thing as “amount”.

The records we have from the Greenland icecap are gathered by tough men in rough conditions, and I will not put such men down, but the data they gather are records that are recent, and can’t show the scope of history. The “average” of the above graph can’t include unseen variations hinted at by the history of Vikings in the Medieval Warm Period. And they don’t include “amount”.

Let me give you an example of how “area” can mean next to nothing, in terms of “amount”.

When we read that this “unprecedented” area is above freezing, it involves individual stations. Let us look at such a station, way up over 10,000 feet.

As you can see, at this station temperatures poked above freezing twice in a period of roughly fifteen minutes. (Not enough to flood Florida or the Netherlands). (And maybe not even long enough to soften the snow enough to be noted in future ice-core records.)

Yet this station’s temperatures are included in the blaring headline, “40% of Greenland Above freezing. Thaw Unprecedentedly Early.”

I suppose the above station deserves its fifteen minutes of fame as much as the next man, but I am not expecting a wall of melt-water to descend upon us, from the north, any time soon.


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 –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 —Quirks Of The Quietude—(Updated seven times and concluded)

With sun arctic sun at its highest, and shining 24 hours a day, we are actually at a point where the Pole gains energy, albeit only a small amount. Therefore, in theory at least, the Pole could even be seen as a “source region” of warming, rather than cooling.

In actual fact the Pole remains a source region of cool air, as there happens to be an ocean covered with bergs in the way of warming. Things might be different if there was a low, flat island (not 10,000 feet tall like Greenland or Antarctica’s icecaps) at the Pole, baking under the 24 hour sun, however that belongs to the realm of fantasy, and the reality is reality.

Besides the icebound ocean there are some other factors creating cold, or at least cool, air. A lot of heat gets gobbled up simply melting the ice into summer slush, as the available heat becomes latent heat in the phase change from solid ice to liquid water.  Also any time it tries to snow or rain evaporative cooling may occur as the precipitation falls through the often-arid arctic air. Lastly, there may be heat lost from the tops of clouds through the tropopause to the stratosphere, as the tropopause is lower in the arctic,.

There is actually a lot of debate about whether or not storms lose heat. It might seem to be common sense, for when one thinks of a thunderstorm on a hot day it seems the storm obviously cools things down, but when it comes to doing the math it doesn’t add up. I myself have never been all  that good at math, and have to take it on faith that it doesn’t add up, but I also keep scrutinizing the situation, thinking an yet-unobserved factor might be involved. (For example, a cloud has a flat bottom but a triangular top, so perhaps it has more upward-facing area with which to lose heat than downward-facing area to reflect heat downwards).

All that being said, it does get quiet up in the arctic in June and July, as there are not the cold air-masses needed to clash with warm ones,  to brew up big storms. While this may make things boring, it may also offer us a chance to observe subtle effects that are usually hidden or swept away by the powers of larger and more wintry storms during the ten months the arctic is definitely a cold-creator (or actually a heat-loser).

I like to carefully watch the weak storms that drift about the arctic, and to watch the below-freezing temperatures they seem to create. Officially there should be no created cold with the sun so high and powerful, but over and over one sees the cold appear out of the blue. It is something to ponder.

Currently a weakening storm I dubbed Klyuchi (after a small Siberian city) has drifted across the Pacific side of the Pole to the Canadian Archipelago, and the storm trailing it, dubbed quite logically “Trailor”, is being deflected south to a crossing route down near Being Strait. On the Atlantic side things are quiet, though something is brewing in the Baltic Sea and may come north later in the week.

DMI2 0622 mslp_latest.bigDMI2 0622B mslp_latest.big

DMI2 0623 mslp_latest.big

It seems to me Klyuchi did create some cold, as a few small patches of sub-freezing air have appeared even in the afternoon heat, on the Canadian side.

DMI2 0623 temp_latest.big

Although the sun never sets on the sun-baked Alaskan coast, it does get quite low at midnight, and temperatures at Buoy 2015A, which have been as high as +7.0° C, have recently dropped to -0.13° C.

Buoy 2015A 0623 camera1

Far out to sea to the north and west, Buoy 2015B was also reporting thaw, but has dipped below freezing to -0.18° C

Buoy 2015B 0623 camera2

North of there O-buoy 12 is exactly at freezing, with the melt-water pool at the left starting to erode at its edges.

Obuoy 12 0623 webcam

Back to the east across the Beaufort Sea O-buoy 11 is also exactly at freezing.

Obuoy 11 0623 webcam

It is interesting that these cold temperatures are all south of 80 degrees north latitude, and not included in the DMI graph of polar temperatures.

DMI2 0623 meanT_2015

As you move towards the Pole you are actually moving into high pressure, with fewer clouds and milder temperatures, and our North Pole Camera getting above freezing again. By 2100z on the 21st the camera had progressed 4.1 miles southeast, riding a steady wind of around 10 mph, to 87.006°N, 3.093°W, and its temperatures had yo-yoed from  -1.4°C at midnight to +0.7°C at noon and back down to -0.3°C at 2100z. (Today’s unofficial report has us down south of 87 degrees latitude at long last, with temperatures up to +0.13° C.)

NP3 1 0623 2015cam1_1

Down off the north coast of Greenland O-buoy 9 is drifting east again, nearing 15 degrees longitude, and temperatures have briefly spiked above freezing.

Obuoy 9 0623 temperature-1week

Obouy 9 0623 webcam


In case you are wondering what the word “Faboo” means, I just coined it, because I’m tired of writing “Faithful North Pole Camera Buoy.” It will be our little secret, and knowing what “Faboo” means will mean you are among the select. We elite few who know what “Faboo” means will be able to adopt a pitying, condescending tone, and say things such as, “The poor fellow doesn’t even know what, ‘Faboo’, means.”

I am fond of Faboo, because it was the first camera I knew about. Years ago it introduced me into the mind-boggling reality of using my own eyes, rather than trusting the mainstream media, when it came to understanding the arctic icecap. I am grateful to the people who created the idea of the drifting arctic camera, because when they created Faboo they created something unlike the media, unlike politicians, and unlike all too many scientists. When they created Faboo they created honest views.

In any case, I tend to focus on Faboo even though he is now just one camera among a seeming throng of Johnie-come-lately-copy-cats. I figure Faboo has earned my loyalty,  (unless-and-until some politician demands it start portraying palm trees on the ice.)

Faboo’s official reports tend to be delayed a day, but are neatly recorded at three-hour-intervals here:

You can get more up-to-date reports at the Mass Balance-Buoy home page at  where Faboo is called “Buoy 2015D”. (The problem with this site is that they don’t bother with time-stamps.)

Faboo has continued to slowly drift southeast, but its speed has slowed as the wind slowed from a steady breeze around 10 mph to a near calm. It ended the last report (2100z June 22) at 86.961°N, 2.783°W, which is 3.3 miles further to the southeast, but still roughly 150 miles north-northeast of where we were at this time last year.

Faboo’s temperature antics are a bit amusing, when you consider the fact temperatures basically stayed the same, varying barely more than a degree. Where I live there would be little fuss if temperatures varied between 74° and 75° Fahrenheit, but when that degree moves across the freezing point it makes a huge difference, especially if you are an Alarmist and feel a thaw is proof the North Pole is melting and the End Of The World is coming, but a refreeze means you are plunged into abject despair because the world isn’t going to end and you have to get a Real Job. In fact, each time Faboo quirks above freezing I imagine Alarmists wildly cheering, and then when it dips below freezing I imagine the cheering abruptly cut off.

Mother Nature was toying with the poor Alarmists on June 22, for at 0300z temperatures were at -0.3°C, and at 0500z rose to +0.2°C, (wild cheering), but then at 0900z fell to -0.7°C (dead silence). Later, at 1500z temperatures were at  -0.5°C, and at 1800z rose to +0.3°C, (wild cheering), but at 2100z had fallen to -0.6°C (dead silence).

Of course, Skeptics can cheer in an equal but opposite way, and be just as silly. The way to avoid being emotionally jerked around by Faboo’s thermometer is to remember that temperatures are suppose to be above freezing at this time of year. In this way you don’t get all depressed about thawing, but every freeze is an unexpected benefit.

The unofficial report gives us a reading for Faboo of  +0.73° C,  which might make the Alarmists happy, were it not for the fact every other Mass Balance Buoy is currently reporting freezing or below.  (Likely this is just a fluke of the record-keeping, but when it comes to Alarmists and Skeptics, all is fair in love and war.)

On a more scientific note, it does seem the fading-away of Klyuchi on the Pacific side has made temperatures colder over there than they were.

DMI2 0623B temp_latest.big

WEDNESDAY UPDATE  —Faboo reverses—

Faboo made it as far south as 86.960°N at midnight yesterday, but then edged back north and west, winding up at 86.964°N, 2.911°W at 2100z, which is 0.51 miles back the way we came. In the light southeast winds the temperatures nudged up to +1.0°C at 0900, before sliding back slightly to +0.6°C at 2100z.

The light southerly flow exists due to a ridge of high pressure developing between the remains of Klyuchi and Trailor on the Pacific side, and a storm brewing up in the Baltic in the Atlantic side, which I suppose I’ll call “Balt.”  Balt looks like it will weakly roam east along the arctic coast of Eurasia, and the high pressure will persist over the Pole, likely keeping Faboo from moving much for a while.

DMI2 0624B mslp_latest.big It seems the persistent gray weather at the Pole is at long last giving way to a more sunny spell.

NP3 1 0624 2015cam1_3 NP3 1 0624B 2015cam1_1

The low midnight sun is not warming much in the Beaufort Sea, likely because of clouds and possibly because of snow. DMI2 0624B temp_latest.bigIt has warmed up on the coast of Alaska, with Buoy 2015A reporting +4.09° C, but once you head out to sea it gets colder. The only other above-freezing temperature is at Buoy 2014I: which is co-located with O-buoy 11, and shows it is just barely thawing at +0.03° C. The melt-water puddles are holding their own.Obuoy 11 0624B webcamAt other buoys it is colder. Buoy 2015B: is reporting -0.09° C, Buoy 2014G is reporting  -0.79° C, and Buoy 2014F: is coldest at -1.33° C. O-buoy 12 looks like it might be experiencing some snow, with temperatures right at freezing.Obuoy 12 0624 webcam Considering we are well into the season of thaw, conditions seem a bit cold up on the ice. Perhaps once the low pressures die away on the Pacific side we can get back to sunshine and thawing, but at Buoy 2015E: , way down at 79.53° N, 0.84° E, at the edge of the ice in Fram Strait, it is -0.44° C, which seems to hint at a colder Atlantic.

THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE  —Faboo back north of 87° latitude—

The morning map shows Klyuchi drifting down towards Hudson Bay, as Trailor stalls north of Bering Strait.  Balt is slowly drifting up through Scandinavia. Between the lows is a ridge of High Pressure to the Eurasian side of the Pole,  giving Faboo south winds and nudging the ice it sits upon back north. DMI2 0625 mslp_latest.big

In these 0000z maps it is midnight down in Fram Strait, so you expect a bit of chill as the midnight sun sinks down to the horizon at 78° south latitude. but it is noon at the top of the maps, so you don’t expect the cold, sub-freezing  temperatures towards the top, but there they are.DMI2 0625 temp_latest.big When the wind shifts up at the Pole, and a huge area of ice stops moving one way and starts back the other way, you can expect pile ups and cracks and the formation of wide leads. The ice still looks fairly solid in Faboo’s view, but there may be a thread-like line of sun shining on water in a lead on the farthest verge of the central horizon.NP3 1 0625 2015cam1_1The view from o-buoy 9 is far more dramatic, as a wide lead opened up. Apparently some the ice has continued on to the south as the ice our camera sits upon put on the brakes. Obuoy 9 0625 webcam Our camera here may be in danger when the lead closes and the ice slams back together again. Keep your fingers crossed.

O-buoy 9 is still to the northwest of the final north-thrusting peninsula that Station Nord is situated on. Once we are past Station Nord we’ll likely head south. Currently the camera seems to have swung around and be looking more to the west than we were. When we were looking due south we could see the mountains of Greenland passing in the distance.


The Faboo official records have been updated, and show that as oif 2100z last night Faboo had moved 2.48 miles back to the north-northwest, and was at 87.000°N, 2.934°W. (It made it as far west as 2.992°W at noon yesterday, but has begun creeping back to the east.) Temperatures have remained above freezing throughout the past 24 hours, achieving a high of +0.9°C at 1800z.  ( The unofficial updates from the Mass Balance Buoy show we remained above 87° latitude today and temperatures fell below freezing.)


The unofficial update from the co-located Mass Balance Buoy tells us Faboo has continued to crunch north, and has reached 87.08° north. This is no easy task, when you consider how concentrated the ice is to the north. It is not a single berg drifting, but an enormous mass of ice that all has to be budged northward for any of it to shift.

Temperatures have just nudged back above freezing, to +0.05° C, after spending roughly a day below freezing. The ice beneath Faboo remains 2 meters thick, and hasn’t yet started to show melting from beneath, though the snow has thawed atop the ice.

Klyuchi is down over Hudson Bay, with Trailer finally starting to fade into Alaska. Balt is drifting east across Barents Sea. High pressure still rules the Pole. A decent summer storm will prowl around south of Iceland, without going anywhere, for a while. With things fairly stagnant, the model runs vary wildly in what they see the future holding, because a small thing can make a big difference. If someone sneezes in Sweden the models total change their predictions.

DMI2 0626 mslp_latest.big.

Temperatures seem to be starting to warm back up on the Pacific side. Of course, it is noon over there in the map below, and midnight down in Fram Strait.

DMI2 0626 temp_latest.big

Things grew all gray again for the past 24 hours at Faboo, but a gray sun is now peeking through.

NP3 1 0626 2015cam1_1

Down at O-buoy 9 off the north coast of Greenland temperatures have spiked up and a thaw is occurring. The lead seems to be closing. I’m nervous the ice may crack right at the cameras feetObuoy 9 0626 webcam

Over in the Beaufort Sea O-buoy 11 is showing temperatures at +0.10° C, but the melt-water pools aren’t expanding much. The yellow trash can seems to catch sun and create its own pool, and is starting to tilt more.Obuoy 11 0626 webcam Furthest west, O-buoy 12 is resuming its thaw, but its melt-water pools hold slush from recent snow.Obuoy 12  0626 webcam I’ll likely conclude this post with Faboo’s official report, tonight. Likely it will show we made very little progress at all, towards Fram Strait, the past week.

EVENING REPORT  —Faboo’s failure—

The evening report is in, and it shows that as of 2100z last night Faboo had regressed to 87.060°N, 2.391°W, or 4.57 miles to the northeast. In fact, when you consider that back on June 18 at 1200z Faboo was at 87.056°N, 4.765°W,  it becomes apparent we are dealing with a serious backslider here. In an entire week we have not made a bit of progress south, and are in fact .004° north of where we began.

Now I’m sure some of you well tell me to be gentle, and will point out that over the past week we did progress 8.4 miles, but it is to the east. Others will hasten to point out we did make it down to 86.960°N at midnight on the 23rd, but that makes the backsliding look all the worse. And while I hate to sound harsh, the unofficial Mass Balance Buoy report suggests we are continuing in the wrong direction, and are up past 87.090°.

This is a serious situation, and I think it is high time to have a talk with that sea-ice. The reputations of highly something Climate Scientists are at stake, and both a Pope and a President could wind up looking like they both have fudge for brains. We simply can’t have the sea-ice gallivanting about and compressing and refusing to spread out and dissolve. It is even starting to effect the “extent” graph, which is refusing to plunge in the alarming manner it should.DMI2 0626B icecover_current_new If this keeps up people will start to wonder if the NWS/NCEP/CPC model might be correct, and we could see above average ice extent by mid July. (Click to enlarge and clarify)Sea Ice Exrent Anomaly June 26 sieMon I doubt this model will prove true. For one thing, if you compare it to how it looked at this time last year, it is nearly identical. It fooled me last year, but once burned twice shy. Last year it kept delaying when the extent would be above normal to a later and later point in the summer, and finally, in September, said, “Never mind.”

At this point it seems Faboo will lose the race to Fram Strait, and will suffer the humiliation of being beat by O-buoy 9, which actually began its journey on the other side of the Pole. It currently has slowed, but still seems to be grinding east along the north coast of Greenland. The lead that had opened and was wide seems to now be crunching shut.

Obuoy 9 0626B webcam

On the Pacific side “Follower continues to weaken, as a follower of Follower, hence “Folfol,” appears in the Laptev Sea. “Balt” continues to nudge west towards the Kara Sea, but the lows are rather lazy, and none seems to want to budge the high pressure from the Pole at this point.DMI2 0626B mslp_latest.bigAs the sun dipped down to a midnight sun low on the Pacific side, some sub-freezing temperatures did appear over that way,DMI2 0626B temp_latest.big All in all it seems the Quietude will continue, unless someone gets up there and gives that sea-ice a good talking to. As I am a bit busy this weekend, I elect you for the job.