ARCTIC SEA ICE –Not Too Early To Donate $20,000 To Fund My Barneo Trip–

I’m sure there are some who wouldn’t mind sending me away to a dangerous place where jets can occasionally land (in 2005) like this:

And I am equally certain some wouldn’t mind me residing in a base where the sea-ice occasionally cracks and leads form between the tents, like it did in 2010:

Nor would some mind having me aboard a jet whose landing gear collapses slamming down on a rough, blue-ice airstrip, (seen at the start of this 30 minute film from 2015) (There is some controversy about whatever happened to the jet, with cynics stating the Russians polluted the pristine waters by letting it sink when the sea-ice melted, and more sanguine sorts suggesting they disassembled it and removed it in pieces.)

Here’s a picture of the jet:


and here is where I discussed the jet’s fate:

In 2016 (last spring) the Russians had troubles with cracks forming in the runways, and needed to shift their entire airstrip. Here is a wonderful video of a landing on the cracked blue-ice airstrip from the cockpit of a jet.

However the real troubles last spring were political, and caused by the fact that one of the reasons for the Barneo base is to train soldiers. Norway decided to make it hard for the Russians to conduct flights from Svalbard right in the midst of operations that have a very tight schedule and small window (basically three to four weeks in April) to work within, which pissed off the Russians no end, and is to some degree described in these articles.

The upshot of the political squabble seems to be that the people of Svalbard have lost some tourism dollars, as the Russians have decided things will be easier if they stage operations from Franz Joseph Land. This will involve the logistics of building the infrastructure for tourism in a stark landscape that has not known tourism (at least in April) before, but the Russians seem untroubled, perhaps thinking that if they can serve cutlets at the Pole they can do the same in Franz Joseph Land.

I am fairly certain that, after a winter of putting up with me, and with cabin-fever setting in, my wife will be extremely appreciative if I can be sent to Franz Joseph Land this April.

The question is, of course, will there be a Barneo base this year, after all the smashing and crashing the Pole has undergone with weather patterns very “loopy” (IE Meridional), and the Pole looking like this last September.


The thing is that, even when the above satellite picture was taken last September, when sea-ice was at its minimum, temperatures had already dropped below -10°C at the Pole and the leads of open water were already freezing over. What the Russians will do is attempt to locate one of those chips of “baby-ice” in the above picture, (much larger than they look), which will be, by April, “second-year-ice,” and thick enough to land a jet upon. The problem is that the “chips” drift many miles from where they are in September, and by April are not so obvious, for the entire surface is frozen and covered by drifting snow, and to the uneducated looks like one, vast expanse of white. Locating the thicker ice isn’t easy.

Nor is the logistics of building a new base in Franz Joseph Land easy. However the Barneo Facebook page reports:

Irina Orlova, the chief operations officer of the Barneo Camp: “I would say the recent official trip to Arkhangelsk was successful: we took the first step on a long and thorny way of Barneo starting point relocation to Franz Josef Land. It’s well-known that the FJL archipelago forms part of Primorsky district of the Archangelsk governorate. That’s why we had to negotiate with the governorate officials. And now we have got support of all departments, considered several ways to unfold an expedition, and made a plan for the nearest future. So we are satisfied with the results of the trip.”

The various non-Russian tourism entities seem uncertain about whether they will be flying in from Svalbard or not, but still are courting customers. For example, here is “Quark” page:

Click to access 2017-north-pole-express-barneo-ice-camp.pdf

and here is the “Polar Cruises” page:

Now, I’m just wondering if, while you are digging deep into your pockets to send me up there for three days,  you could find the extra generosity to send a friend of mine as well. I’m speaking of Roger Anderson, who is part of the University Of Washington NPEO program, who for 14 0f 15 years since 2000 gave us the luxury of being able to view the Pole via the North Pole Camera, but went unfunded last year, ( I think because the camera showed Truth and not enough ice melting, though I may just be being suspicious.)

In fact, when I think about it, just send Roger. If you send an old geezer like me to the Pole I’ll probably just get hypothermia or get eaten by a polar bear. Fund Roger, and we’ll get excellent pictures of sea-ice conditions all summer long.

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Sad News About North Pole Camera–

Yesterday I received this polite email:


I’m sorry, but I’m afraid we are all out of luck for a North Pole webcam this year.  NPEO did not receive the proposed renewal for this year.  We hope to be able to pick the program back up for next year’s budget cycle, but we will have to see how that goes next fall.  NPEO has operated since 2000, and this is the second time this has happened.  Hopefully, we can recover from this as we did the first time, but in soft-money science, there are many demands and no guarantees.
I hope to be able to maintain the website at least at a minimal level.  We are very grateful for your interest and expression of support.

Roger Andersen       (206) 543-1258
                       Cell  (206) 551-0460                     
Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Lab, University of Washington
1013 NE 40th, Seattle, WA  98105-6698  USA       FAX (206) 616-3142

I have to run to work, but hope to find time to comment later. In the mean time please help me by thinking of things I can put in a letter to my congressmen. (I will say, privately to you,  that if the government wanted to save money, they could start by firing Mark Serreze….but that is just my bad mood talking. I probably won’t put that in my letter.)

ARCTIC SEA ICE —Barneo 2016 begun–

After some nervous discussions about not having a North Pole Base base this year, the Russians have apparently begun work on it.

Irina Orlova: Ice floe found for Barneo 2016 expedition


Ms Orlova, on March 18, two helicopters flew to find an ice floe on which the Barneo camp can be built. Did they find it?

I’ve just spoken with the head of the helicopter crew Yevgeny Bakalov who said they are going to drop equipment on a new floe. I don’t yet know its precise location but it’s about 70 km from the pole.

What kind of an ice floe can accommodate the camp?

A camp primarily needs a runway — 1,200 meters long and no less than 40 meters wide. It is pitched near the runway. So, an ice floe should be at least two kilometers long. Last year we found a very good ice floe, about five to three kilometers.

How do you deliver equipment for building a camp?

When a befitting ice floe is found, an IL-76 flies from Murmansk and delivers two tractors to it. They even out the runway where an AN-74 will deliver equipment. This is a technical flight and it carries an employee who approves the runway. Then the expedition center’s team begins building a camp. Some materials for the camp are just dropped while others are carried by next flights.

More to be found here:

No word yet about the planting of the North Pole Camera.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE BUOYS —Observations June 1, 2015

Now the fun begins, as we enter the 40 days when the sun has the most power at the Pole. Now is the time the Alarmists have been waiting 320 days for, when the snow wilts even when temperatures are below freezing.

Even though summer lasts long beyond these 40 days, and the sea-ice extent decreases well into September, now is the time when the most dramatic sagging of snowbanks, and shrinking of pressure ridges, and growth of melt-water pools can be expected. Indeed, after these 40 days some freezing can start to appear at the surface, and this freezing can be expected to increase, even as melting continues from beneath, and ice breaks up well into September.  In terms of stuff you can see from above, and photo ops, these next 40 days are time to put up or shut up, for Alarmists, looking for doom and gloom and reasons to despair.

Yet they are also a time of hope, if you like the idea of a warmer world, and the Medieval Warm Period returning, and Greenland becoming green again, and its permafront thawing and growing barley as it did for the original Vikings. For a brief time one sees hints of the starkness fading, and a climate optimum returning, and the dry parts of the world standing astounded at the sighing of rains: The Sahara becoming grasslands dotted with lakes. The red mesas of the American Southwest covered with jungle green. Such optimism may only be the overly fond hope of a dreamer, but, as the sun beats down on the arctic from midsummer’s heights, it is dream briefly validated.

Given the choice between despair and hope, I’ll chose the latter, and rejoice at the victory of summer over the most wintry part of the world, even as my more cynical side suspects the victory will be brief. Why brief? Because the powers of despair are ascending. Why rejoice? Because such powers cannot win, and in the end the deserts will bloom, and the north-lands know mildness. Is this faith and not science? Yes, but so is belief in Global Warming.

Currently the power of the sun is most obvious at Obuoy 12. Despite a shot of very cold air, the diurnal rise of the sun nearly tugs temperatures above freezing down near latitude 76°:

Obuoy 12 0601 temperature-1week

And, despite the fact temperatures can’t nudge above freezing, and often are well below, the sun still has the power to soften snow, wilt the sharp points of pressure ridges, and even expand the beginnings of melt-water pools:

Obuoy 12 0601 webcam Obuoy 12 0601B webcam

But hide that glorious sunshine with clouds, and things become more pessimistic, even well to the south, south on the coast of Alaska. As the same shot of cold arrived, Buoy 2015A saw its promising melt-water pools freeze over and be dusted by snow.

Buoy 2015A 0531 camera1

Buoy 2015A 0601B camera1 This demonstrates the simple power of sunlight; beautiful golden sunlight. One observation I made last summer was how often it was gloomy, over the arctic cameras. If you want to see, (for whatever reasons, whether they be hope or despair), the ice melt, then hope for clear, blue skies.

I think that, for clear skies, a zonal pattern is better. We need the AMO and PDO to get in harmony, and to quit the business of provoking each other into kick-backs, for that seems to perturb the jet stream into extreme non-zonal, meridianal, meanderings, which brings moisture north and makes our Polar skies cloudy.

However it is interesting to watch the wild meanderings, and see cold air surge across the Beaufort Sea, if only because it effects the antics of the sea-ice. For example, the ice Obuoy 9 sits on was politely moving east over the top of Greenland, on its way to an organized exit from the arctic via Fram Strait, when this surge of cold air hit it, and the ice did an about face and began marching west back from longitude 18° towards longitude 20°,

Of course, when all this ice is moving east and then decides the heck with that, and to move west, it is like the traffic on the eastbound lane of an interstate all deciding to put on the brakes and accelerate west in reverse gear. Only the bergs are a heck of a lot bigger than cars and even tractor-trailer trucks. (Doing a back-of-the-envelope calculation, I estimate the total weight of the ice at 65 kazillion grams.) You can expect amazing pile-ups, and also leads to open, and to create areas of “highway” with no traffic at all.

This makes the images from Obuoy 9, if nothing else, dramatic (especially with the mountains of Greenland in the background, when the sea-smoke lifts.)

Obouy 9 20150521 webcam

Obuoy 9 0527 webcam

Obuoy 9 0601 webcam

Obuoy 9 0527 webcam

(One interesting thing about these pictures is the dark area of sky along the horizon to the right. Adventurers who have trekked up there state this often indicates a lead of open water, which is dark blue, and reflects its darkness onto the low clouds. Therefore we ought to suspect the reverse in the direction of the ice has torn a big lead open, just over the horizon and out of our view.)

When ice reverses direction it may open leads of open water in some places, but in other places it makes “crazy ice”, which can consist of jumbled pressure-ridges. And to be midst such a jumble is hard on buoys and cameras. Sadly, it seems our oldest and wisest buoy, Buoy 2012G:, may have suffered such a fate. It’s last clear report was on May 20, and its temperature graph seems to hint it may be reporting from under a jumble:


Still, 2012G gave us one heck of a ride, while it lasted:


One-heck-of-a-ride is a decent pay-back, and a lot more than we get from other ways the billions our government pours into “Global Warming” pays us back. It seems to me a lot is totally wasted on computer models that don’t work. (I’m not talking about the long-term models weather forecasters use, but rather about the absurd models that supposedly predict “Climate Change”, but utterly and hopelessly fail.) Even more money is squandered “adjusting temperatures”, (which seems to me to be the falsifying of public records, and a crime). Then “public relations” gets a hugely disproportionate share of the tax monies, especially when you consider “public relations” has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with propaganda. Lastly, there are various junkets and conventions which have nothing to do with science, but seemingly have something to do with rewarding the bribed. All things considered, the buoys and cameras actually doing work and expanding our knowledge of the Arctic don’t even get a tithe of the money spent.

We do get one-heck-of-a-ride from the other money spent, because it isn’t spent on our infrastructure. The state of the State Roads in New Hampshire is worse than I’ve ever seen in my life, and I can tell you, from first hand experience, driving over them is one-heck-of-a-ride. But perhaps that is more of a subject for a “Local View” post, and not for an “Arctic Sea-Ice” post. However, before I return you to your regularly scheduled programming, I must mention this:

At some point the vast amounts spent on Global Warming will seem largely a waste, and there will be huge budget cuts. When that time comes, the bureaucrats will want to cut the funding for things like the North Pole Camera, and keep the funding for their own jobs. At the risk of sounding inhumane, and preferring inanimate cameras to living, breathing people with children to feed,  I say we should cut the bureaucrats long before we cut the cameras, for the cameras produce and the bureaucrats only leech.

Speaking of cameras, up towards the North Pole the North Pole Camera is well west and north of where it was at this time last year. It was doing its best to head down to Fram Stait, and crossed 88° latitude back on May 26, and got as far south as 87.947°N on May 29, but since then it has got caught up in the surge towards Beaufort Sea, and backed to 88.019°N at 0300z on May 31.  Not only that, but, because it must move east to get to Fram Strait, it seemed obedient, as it moved east to 11.055°W at midnight on May 29, however since then it has been very disobedient and headed west. At last report ( 2100Z  on May 31) the camera was at 88.014°N, 13.265°W and headed west in light winds.

The surge of cold air towards the Beaufort Sea has done one thing: It has brought abrupt warming to the Pole. At nine o’clock on the 30th the camera was at -8.4°C, but 24 hours later it stood at -0.5°C, and we were on the verge of our first thaw of the summer. (You will notice, from the picture, there is nothing but sunshine, and no gloom.)

NP3 1 0601 2015cam1_1

The beaming sunshine has allowed temperatures to shoot above normal for the first time in a long time, north of 80 degrees latitude.

DMI2 0601 meanT_2015

Do not be fooled by this graph. It is important to remember it does not include much of the Beaufort Sea, which is south of 80 degrees latitude, and where much of the cold air has been shunted:

DMI2 0601 temp_latest.big

What I’ll be looking for, in terms of melting the sea-ice, is lots of sunshine at the Pole. If it gets gloomy like last year, forget it.

Arctic Sea Ice —The Beaufort Switcheroo—(May 31, 2015)

The blogger “Chris PT” mentioned me in a YouTube video,

In the process he mentioned how watching sea-ice shrink and grow in the Arctic can be a bit like a sporting event, in that Alarmists all cheer wildly when more-than-expected melts, and Skeptics all cheer wildly when less-than-expected melts. I’m not sure I approve, considering billions of dollars are at stake, not to mention the fate of the planet (if you believe Alarmists.)  Also the arguing tends to disintegrate into discussions of the mental state and sanity of opponents, which has little to do with sea-ice, to put it mildly. Therefore I’m going to try to steer clear of such debate, when possible, and if I ridicule anyone it will be myself.

I will expose myself to ridicule by making a guess at what I think will happen. Then I will be wrong. Then I can have all the fun of ridiculing someone, by ridiculing myself.

One forecast sure to be correct this time of year is, “Warmer.”  Temperatures shoot upwards at the Pole, under the 24-hour-a-day sunshine, until they get above freezing and level off in late June. (The average climb in temperature is the green line in the graph below, and you can see how steep the climb is, from April through June.)

What is more difficult to forecast is whether the red line in the graph below will be above or below the green line. For some reason this is the third straight year that temperatures dipped below normal in May. It remains to be seen if they stay below normal for the rest of the summer, as they did the past two summers. I forecast that they will.

Switcher 4 meanT_2015

One way to get an idea how thick the ice is, which gives you a hint about how enduring it might be, is to study the NRL ice-thickness map.

Switch 6 arcticictnowcast If you watch this over a period of time some events become obvious. For example, all winter the ice was pushed from the northwest to the southeast across Hudson Bay, and by April the ice was piled up and thick to the southeast, and newly-formed and thin to the northwest. Therefore it is obvious ice will melt away first in the northwest. I forecast there will be some ice still left in the southeast of Hudson Bay in August.

In the like manner, a lot of ice was pushed out of the Kara Sea, so I expect it will melt more swiftly in the Kare Sea this year.  The Laptev Sea, on the other hand, did not export as much ice as last year. Last year the cross-polar-flow was so extreme that ice was pushed far from shore, leaving so much newly-formed, thin ice that, once melting began, an area of open water I dubbed “The Laptev Notch” formed during the summer, and stabbed north of 80 degrees latitude for a time. I forcast that notch to be far smaller this summer, and to have trouble melting north of 80 degrees.

If you don’t have the time to study the thickness-laps on a regular basis, you can watch a whole year be animated here:

What impresses me most in that animation is the bite the Pacific takes out ice north of the Bering Strait. That ice is solid and thick, at the start, but the influx of milder, Pacific water at the surface melts the ice from underneath, and ice that is ten feet thick in April can be gone by September.

I am expecting quite a bite to be taken from that ice this year, because the PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation) is going through a “warm spike”, and the water coming in through the Bering Strait ought be especially warm. However already I’ve blown my forecast in some ways. For one thing, to the south of Bering Strait the water on the Siberian side has become much colder than normal, and that makes me nervous. If it becomes involved, the water coming in through Bering Strait won’t be so mild.

Also the nice, mild breezes that have been rushing up from the south, and affirming my forecast, are putting me through the old switcheroo. They are swinging to the east and becoming colder.

The coldest air is currently parked over the Pole, and along the north coast of Greenland.

Switcher 1 gfs_t2m_arctic_1

However a high pressure is parked north of Bering Strait,

Switcher 5 mslp_latest.big

In three days the cold air will be pulled off the Pole, and it seems the yearly warm-up will be well underway.

Switcher 2 gfs_t2m_arctic_18

The problem with the above map is that it shows the Beaufort Sea during the warmest part of the day. Even under 24-hour-sunshine the sun is higher at noon, and a diurnal variation does occur. Therefore, to play it safe, we look at the situation under the midnight sun,

Switcher 3 gfs_t2m_arctic_20

Now the situation north of Bering Strait and in the Beaufort Sea suddenly looks much colder. This does not bode well, in the short term, for my forecast of melting in that area.

The GFS model makes it look like the high pressure will remain parked roughly where it is, and an easterly flow will move a lot of the cold air north of Greenland to the west, along the Canadian coast and finally to the Alaskan coast. Yesterday I noticed Buoy 2015B: had dropped from above freezing to -3.19° C, and while it has rebounded to -1.33° in the “noontime” heating, the water its camera shows in a nearby lead looks suspiciously like it is skimming over with ice.

Bouy 2015B 0531 camera2

O-buoy #12 (which is due north of Bering Strait and most likely to first feel the effects of the “warm” PDO), has fallen from above freezing to -5°.

Obuoy 12 0531 temperature-1week Obuoy 12 0531 webcam

To the east across the Beaufort Sea, our old friend Obuoy 10 also shows an abrupt temperature drop

Obuoy 10 0531 temperature-1week Obuoy 10 0531 webcam

The buoy I’ll be watching is Buoy Buoy 2015A: , which is right on the coast of Alaska and effected by the sun-baked tundra just to its south. It’s camera is currently showing a lot of melt-water pools and temperatures are at +0.66°. If the camera starts to show the melt-water pools freezing over, then we’ll know the cold air has really backed west.

Buoy 2015A 0531 camera1

Of course, the cold will have to come from somewhere, and if the Pole is robbed of all its sub-freezing air, temperatures will likely rise up that way. They may even get their first thaw of the year. As it is, it is currently -8.42° C up at Buoy 2015D: , which is hard to see but is to the left of this picture, taken by North Pole Camera 1.

NP3 1 0531 2015cam1_1

In conclusion, what is really fun about watching ice melt is seeing surprises occur, and what you don’t expect. I did not expect this cold shot into the Beaufort Sea.

What happened last summer, and I expect to happen again this summer, is for there to be some of these cold spells that come right out of the blue, with their origins more or less a mystery. After all, you reach a point where there is no more cold air left at the Pole. In the current situation the Beaufort cold can be explained-away as a case of Robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul, but later in the summer Peter is broke, so you can’t rob him. It is when there are suddenly temperatures below freezing in July, without any apparent “source reason,” that your sense of wonder starts to come into play.

I’m looking forward to that.