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Messages - Tor Bejnar

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Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: The Nares Strait thread
« on: February 15, 2019, 07:40:33 PM »
Well, the gods choose reinvigorated movement: DMI Satellite Images yesterday and today.
I've marked three floes and added a couple of lat-longs to help with location.  (Yes, the left image is wider; the right image shows the current satellite pass with 'no data' being black.)  What was above 82ºN is now below 82ºN; what was above 81.5ºN is now at 81.5ºN; etc.

papers that might indicate why the Lincoln Sea/Nares is so late to freeze during recent years
These two article may offer some clues:
Nares Strait hydrography and salinity field from a 3‐year moored array
B. Rabe, A. Münchow, H. L. Johnson and H. Melling
First published: 17 July 2010
extract from Abstract:
Data show warm salty water on the Greenland side and cold fresher water on the Ellesmere Island side, especially in the top layers. There was a clear difference in hydrographic structure between times when sea ice was drifting and when it was land fast. Ice was drifting in late summer, fall, and early winter with a strong surface‐intensified geostrophic flow in the middle of the strait. Ice was land fast in late winter, spring, and early summer, when there was a subsurface core of strong geostrophic flow adjacent to the western side of the strait. Salinity variations of about 2 psu in time and space reflect a variable freshwater outflow from the Arctic Ocean. One particularly strong pulse occurred at the end of July 2005. For several days, steeply sloping isohalines indicated strong geostrophic flow down the middle of the strait coinciding with an amplified ice export from the Arctic due to strong southward winds.

Water, Heat, and Salt Transports through Nares Strait, Ellesmere Island
H. Eric Sadler
Published on the web 14 April 2011 - Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada

Data obtained in Nares Strait are used to provide estimates of the transports of water, heat, and salt between the polar ocean and northern Baffin Bay. The annual volume export of water through Nares Strait is 2.1 × 104 km3 ± 30%, which is equivalent to a mean flow of 0.67 × 106 m3∙s−1 and which is about 15% of the total outflow of water from the polar ocean. The annual net heat input into the polar ocean due to the outflow of cold water and ice is found to be 15 × 1019 J ± 50% assuming a reference temperature of −0.1 C. This volume is about 7% of the total advective heat transport into the polar ocean. The mean annual export of salt from the polar ocean is 6.7 × 1014 kg ± 30% or about 6% of the total export. The total transports through the whole Canadian archipelago are estimated and it is shown that they are appreciable fractions of the total exchanges between the polar ocean and the world ocean.

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: The Nares Strait thread
« on: January 26, 2019, 08:16:48 PM »
we would discuss as to whether we thought it might hang up on Hans or Franklin Islands
Ah, but it was so much fun speculating!  But even the Petermann Ice Island (2012)
didn't get suck in Nares Strait.  A floe named 'shark', reported in 2015, "got stuck for a day or so, but then shattered."

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: January 19, 2019, 05:37:23 PM »
A little off topic or pedantic prehaps, but ...
For those who use "ice age" to mean periods of glaciation advancement and near-peak ice coverage, know that in glaciology [i.e., "scientific"] terms, ice age implies the presence of extensive ice sheets in both northern and southern hemispheres. So by this definition, we are in the Quaternary Glaciation or Ice Age (and in an interglacial period—the Holocene—within it). We won't leave the current ice age until most (or all) of the ice fields in Greenland and Antarctica melt away.

Colloquially, of course, ice ages are interspersed with interglacial periods of time.  Although I believe Earth was slowly heading for the next glacial stage, human activities during the past 10,000 years or so (especially the last 300 and moreso, 70 years) have turned this Milankovitch Cycle on its head.  (Well, the Cycle is still operative, but (unintentional) geoengineering has overpowered the M. Cycle influences.)  And there are scientific papers out there [e.g. here] that occasionally use the "ice age = glacial stage" definition, so maybe you should just ignore me.

Consequences / Re: Volcanoes
« on: January 16, 2019, 06:06:45 PM »
The Yellowstone hyped story going around including a "465 mile long piece of molten rock" appears to be from 2007, such as reported by Science News for Students. Notice how "1200 sq. km." turns into "465 mile long" junk reporting?  See the image below

Over the years, the data have revealed rises and falls over various parts of the park's
landscape. These changes reflect the complicated movement of molten rock and
water underground.

Between 1923 and 1995, the terrain shifts averaged between 1 cm (0.4 inch)/year
and 1.4 cm (0.6 inch)/year. The shifts started becoming more dramatic between 2000
and 2003. The record-setting rise of land in the Yellowstone basin began in 2004.

The team's analyses suggest that a reservoir of molten rock, called a magma chamber,
lies about 10 kilometers (6 miles) below the surface of Yellowstone's central basin.
The chamber spreads out under an area of about 1,200 square kilometers (465 square

During the record-setting growth spurt, about 0.1 cubic km (0.02 cubic mile) of
molten rock flowed into the chamber. That's enough rock to fill the Louisiana
Superdome about 30 times.

Even though many volcanic eruptions, including some huge ones, have happened in
the Yellowstone region, the recent findings don't suggest that another eruption is
about to happen.

Still, the new study offers insights into the underground plumbing of Yellowstone,
says Hank Heasler, a National Park Service geologist at Yellowstone's headquarters in
Mammoth, Wyo. The findings, he says, are "very fascinating." -Emily Sohn

Study didn't end in 2007.  Here is a paper's abstract from 2010 that should really put a damper on hype:  An extraordinary episode of Yellowstone Caldera uplift, 2004–2010, from GPS and InSAR observations

Geodetic measurements of Yellowstone ground deformation from 2006 to June 2010 reveal deceleration of the recent uplift of the Yellowstone caldera following an unprecedented period of uplift that began in 2004. In 2006–2008 uplift rates decreased from 7 to 5 cm/yr and 4 to 2 cm/yr in the northern and southwest caldera, respectively, and in 2009 rates further reduced to 2 cm/yr and 0.5 cm/yr in  the same areas. Elastic‐dislocation modeling of the deformation data robustly indicates an expanding sill at ∼7–10 km depth near the top of a seismically imaged, crystallizing magma reservoir, with a 60% decrease in the volumetric expansion rate between 2006 and 2009. Reduction of hydrothermal‐volcanic recharge from beneath the northeast caldera and seismic moment release of the 2008 and 2010 large earthquake swarms are plausible mechanisms for decelerating the caldera uplift and may have influenced the change in recent caldera motion from uplift to subsidence.

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2019 sea ice area and extent data
« on: January 15, 2019, 10:00:25 PM »
So, if we have the new temperatures for 30 years, some could say that the climate (on average) is the same, even that the weather is not.

Per Tamino, in his January 2nd post on 'What is Climate? Really?',
climate is not ever "just the average."
Climate is the probability density function of weather.

The catchy way I like to say it is:

Climate is the odds. Weather is the roll of the dice.
And the odds in January are never the same as the odds in July.

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2018 sea ice area and extent data
« on: December 31, 2018, 07:10:21 AM »
P.S. I will be on holiday tomorrow and I will post on January 1st, 2019.
¡Happy new year!
By my calculations, 2019 starts in just under 5 hours.  Until then, Happy Old Year!

Oh yes, Arctic sea ice ... I predict we'll end the year in 2nd place.  (Unlike my vote in another thread)

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: Greenland 2018 melt season
« on: December 29, 2018, 04:50:33 PM »
Interesting? Not really.
That the end of 2018 is paralleling 2011 is interesting, I declare.   :)
If 2019 follows 2012's experience, this would bode ill for Greenland's ice as well as the ice floating on the Arctic Ocean.  (Did I make the "if" big enough?)

There have been a few recent comments on the ASIF relating to Fram Strait export, all rather speculative (other than graphs showing the fast early Greenland Sea SIE growth stalled to 'normal' growth).  Has anybody had a good look at how the current high over Greenland is affecting the sea ice off Greenland's darkest [northern] shores (including Nares and Fram Straits)?

Thanks, ASLR, for introducing us (me) to "Markov blankets".  It helps explain why I still drive a Prius (even if it is 17 years old).  I like that these 'things' can be numericalized, but that is above my pay-grade.

Antarctica / Re: PIG has calved
« on: December 19, 2018, 12:14:07 AM »

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 18, 2018, 10:59:13 PM »
When was West Texas Intermediate this low?  Ah, last year.
(images from

Antarctica / Re: Rift in Larsen C
« on: December 17, 2018, 06:11:58 PM »
A-68A has move about 20 km northward this past month.  I'm guessing it will escape the shoals near Bawden Ice Rise soon (if it hasn't already).

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2018/2019 freezing season
« on: November 28, 2018, 06:48:06 PM »
How about this article?

Observed soil temperature trends associated with climate
change in Canada

[authors listed]; published 21 January 2011.
[1] Trends in soil temperature are important, but rarely reported, indicators of climate
change. On the basis of the soil temperature data from 30 climate stations across
Canada during 1958–2008, trends in soil temperatures at 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 150 cm
depths were analyzed, together with atmospheric variables, such as air temperature,
precipitation, and depth of snow on the ground, observed at the same locations. There was
a significant positive trend with soil temperatures in spring and summer means, but not
for the winter and annual means. A positive trend with time in soil temperature was
detected at about two‐thirds of the stations at all depths below 5 cm. A warming trend of
0.26–0.30°C/decade was consistently detected in spring (March–April–May) at all depths
between 1958 and 2008. The warming trend in soil temperatures was associated with
trends in air temperatures and snow cover depth over the same period. A significant
decreasing trend in snow cover depth in winter and spring was associated with increasing
air temperatures. The combined effects of the higher air temperature and reduced snow
depth probably resulted in an enhanced increasing trend in spring soil temperatures, but no
significant trends in winter soil temperatures. The thermal insulation by snow cover
appeared to play an important role in the response of soil temperatures to climate change
and must be accounted for in projecting future soil‐related impacts of climate change.

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: November 21, 2018, 06:04:46 PM »
A little here to support "Insurance companies base rates on past experience" and a little to support "Insurance companies base rates on future expectations not represented by past experience":

Climate Change Is Forcing the Insurance Industry to Recalculate
Wall Street Journal - Published Oct. 2, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. ET
Insurers are at the vanguard of a movement to put a value today on the unpredictable future of a warming planet

The effects of the planet’s slow heating are diffuse. Predictions of the fallout are imprecise, and the drivers are debated. But faced with the prospect of a warming planet, the world of business and finance is starting to put a price on climate change.

For the most part, insurers are acting on climate change by building models that aim to better estimate the impact. That leaves the industry with the tough question of how to reflect in premiums the new understandings of the underlying risk.

For most insurers, rates aren’t rising—yet. A flood of capital into the industry from pension and hedge-fund investors, driven by low interest rates, has increased competition and pushed down property-catastrophe reinsurance prices in the past decade.

And property insurance and reinsurance contracts typically last one year, so an insurer can recalibrate yearly as risks change. “Global warming may be occurring. Probably is,” says Warren Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which has a major reinsurance business. “But it hasn’t hurt the reinsurance industry. And people are pricing still as if it won’t, on a one-year basis.”

If reinsurance contracts covered 30 years, he says, “I’d be crazy not to” include the risks.
Big insurers are expanding teams of in-house climatologists, computer scientists and statisticians to redesign models to incorporate the effect of the warming earth on hailstorms, hurricanes, flooding and wildfires. Insurers such as Swiss Re Group say hurricanes like Harvey and Florence, which caused widespread flooding, could represent a more common occurrence in the coming decades.

Climate change may be gradual, but the effects are volatile, meaning a company could become exposed to a large, unexpected hit if it doesn’t understand the changing risks, says Junaid Seria, head of catastrophe-model research and development and governance at Paris-based reinsurer Scor SE.

Antarctica / Re: Rift in Larsen C
« on: November 21, 2018, 05:49:47 PM »
The Ice Island A68-A has rotated about 115º in 6 months, but the pivot end hasn't moved diddlysquat. 

The largest iceberg in the area (current, lower, image) has, in the meantime, moved about 125 km northwards, squeezing through what I'll call an ice-strait.  (1st image from a May 18 post by johnm33 [conveniently at the top of this thread's page 7]; 2nd image from PolarView on November 20.) 

I'm going to postulate, now, that intermittent grounding keeps A68-A where it is; no point is clearly 'actually' stuck in one place for any length of time.  A GIF covering multiple images might show if any spot does get stuck (becoming a fixed (if temporary) pivot point).

Hiawatha Glacier was mentioned in this thread once, so I post this here.

Impact crater 19 miles wide found beneath Greenland glacier
The Guardian  -  November 14, 2018
A mile-wide iron asteroid hit the Hiawatha glacier perhaps as recently as 12,000 years ago. The resulting impact crater 19.3 miles wide has remained hidden under a half-mile-thick ice sheet until now
Much better article in Science Magazine.

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: The Nares Strait thread
« on: November 09, 2018, 09:22:17 PM »
Nares Strait continues to be fed ice by the Lincoln Sea.  ["Here, Little Nares, have a mouthful of ice.  It's good for you.  And don't worry, there's more from where this comes from."]  Images from DMI Sentinel for Nov. 7 and 8.

Antarctica / Re: Rift in Larsen C
« on: November 08, 2018, 07:20:04 PM »
The largest iceberg near A68-A is looking for some action (OR … has moved a lot since October - see above).  Chisel and hammer-stone   OR   Nut-cracker?  [PolarView image link]

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2018/2019 freezing season
« on: November 01, 2018, 03:49:23 PM »
In addition to Dharma's reply, BBR thinks there is (or is imminently) advancing glaciation in parts of northern Canada (largely associated with apparently un-melted snow this past melting season).  I'm sure Hudson Bay plays a role in his theory.

Antarctica / Re: Antarctic images
« on: October 25, 2018, 02:58:36 AM »
  That was weird, wasn't it!   The near-linear edges of large icebergs are largely associated with joint patterns associated with the shelf's stresses pre-iceberg-separation. 

Antarctica / Re: Rift in Larsen C
« on: October 19, 2018, 07:13:28 PM »
A68-A has drifted southwestward this past month, with a little more (5º?) counter-clockwise rotation. [PolarView image from here]  The ice island has now rotated about 95º from when it first separated from the Larsen C Shelf (and, of course, the pivot-end has relocated northwards).

Arctic sea ice / Re: "Stupid" Questions :o
« on: October 19, 2018, 03:07:35 AM »
Skeptical Science generally does a great job of explaining AGW (woops, not in main glossary  :) ) - Anthropogenic Global Warming - and ACC - Anthropogenic Climate Change - details.

Neven (creator of this forum and the related blog) has some resources listed on the right side of his ASIB (Arctic Sea Ice Blog).  See link at the top of this page.

And welcome! (I hope we don't have any fruit to lure you into your trade.)

Consequences / Re: Hurricane season 2018
« on: October 16, 2018, 07:27:58 PM »
60 miles from landfall, how big where the sustained winds at your place ?

I'm just guessing:  sustained strong tropical force winds above the tree tops for maybe 8 hours with TS gusts during the preceding and following 2-3 hours. [Michael remained about 60 miles (100 km) from us for a few hours as it pivoted from going North to going NE.]  I'm guessing we had Cat 1 gusts a few dozen times (at the tree tops).  At 2 meters in my yard:  occasional TS gusts.  It was odd to see tree tops violently swaying up high followed by falling leaves leisurely coming down, with a zig-zag motion.   

(I slept through the landfall of Hermine 2 years ago, even as we were in the western side of the Cat 1 eye as it 'passed by', so I don't know what that looked like.  The only other intense cyclones [?] I've experienced were in the South Pacific on a ship - no bending trees! - but hold tightly onto the rail or get blown off the ship intense winds - but I don't know how strong those winds actually were.)

Consequences / Re: Hurricane season 2018
« on: October 16, 2018, 04:52:04 AM »
Well, I'm back!  No damage to my home, but a few neighbors didn't fare so well, and this is some 60 miles from hurricane landfall.  My electric power went off about 3 o'clock Wednesday and came back about 3:30 Sunday.  I did watch two trees fall Wednesday afternoon, one (damaged 2 years ago by Hermine) from my property into the community road, the other a beautiful 30" diameter red oak took out part of a neighbor's tree house (and the tree in which it lived).  I cut and removed the tree in the road (now a nice brush fence next to a path in my woods).

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2018/2019 freezing season
« on: October 03, 2018, 06:05:46 PM »
third time above zero (after 2006 and 2016)
Hmmm, when I average the four quadrants (estimated) --  (-4.4 + .5 + .9 +1.8 )/4 -- I get -0.3
This is rather different from the +0.3 on the all-together-graph.  Where have I gone wrong? 

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: September 27, 2018, 07:17:05 PM »
Thanks, Steve, for your last several posts in this thread.  You have generally stated my sentiments well, and better than I would likely have done.

The rest / Re: GOP Losing Ground for the 2018 Mid-Term Election
« on: September 26, 2018, 02:05:39 PM »
I would not put too much faith in one poll.  Eight polls have been conducted this past month regarding this race and the results are 3 favoring Nelson, 2 favoring Scott, and 3 tied.  I would still call this a dead heat.
I agree. I've done canvassing and other GOTV (get out the vote) activities this year, but I do this most even-yeared summers and autumns.  I was lured into canvassing, when a graduate student in New Zealand, to support the Values Party (remember them?) and have been involved since then.

The Values Party was a New Zealand political party. It is considered the world's first national-level environmentalist party, pre-dating the use of " Green " as a political label. It was established in May 1972 at Victoria University of Wellington.

The rest / Re: GOP Losing Ground for the 2018 Mid-Term Election
« on: September 25, 2018, 07:47:41 PM »
Alex Kozinski, per Wikipedia:
(born July 23, 1950)[1] is a former United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, where he served from 1985 until announcing his retirement on December 18, 2017, after a growing number of allegations of improper sexual conduct and abusive practices toward law clerks.[2] Kozinski was chief judge of that court from November 2007 to December 1, 2014.
(Read on in the wiki article for some details of his sordid reputation.)
Brett Kavanaugh clerked for him.  Some people find in incongruous that he didn't notice anything.

Antarctica / Re: Rift in Larsen C
« on: September 22, 2018, 08:57:20 PM »
I cannot put the Sept. 16 and 21 images together, but here they are, showing no pivot points.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: September 15, 2018, 11:36:22 PM »
Sustainable Tallahassee sponsored an Electric Car Expo in a church (not mega-church) parking lot today. 

There were 30 or 40 e- and plug-in cars (8 Model 3s), a "truck" (max 25mph vehicle with a flat bed), a city bus, and bicycles, and plenty of folks oohing and awing. 

I stayed late and got a ride in a Model S that seats seven - the owner showed off the acceleration and self-driving capacity of the vehicle; his wife called right at the end of the trip, knowing he'd been out for a drive, cause her phone told her so (It's actually her car.).  A fellow from a factory in Montgomery, AL showed up whose factory makes part of the radiator-like battery cooling system (the ~4" wide metal fins with internal tubes that run the length of the battery pack, so that every cell can be chilled - I remember this from a video posted somewhere up-thread).  He came in a Ford C-Max plug-in hybrid (which I'd never heard of).  One man's Chevy Volt had an inverter plugged in with a fan blowing (it's like 97F here now); another had his Model 3 decked out with an air mattress (non-Tesla) laid out in the back (back seat folded down) and surfboard on top (surfboard reduces mileage by 8%) and said he has stayed at a campground, plugged in, and ran his A/C all night.  The two men with Rad Power bikes said is was by far the best on the market, and less expensive than some, and referred to advice from a local bike shop that services them. One owner 'couldn't wait for a Model 3' and bought a used Model S ('half the sticker price') for his 60-mile (one way) daily commute (we talked about China after I saw his CD favorites included Chinese children's music).  Several of the Volt owners had purchased their cars used, as well.

Thank you, Sustainable Tallahassee!

Antarctica / Re: Rift in Larsen C
« on: September 11, 2018, 03:51:44 PM »
A68-A is on the move.  Two-framed GIF (from PolarView) goes from "20180910T235812" (nearly midnight at the end of September 10) to "20180911T080126" (8 am on September 11).  The Sept. 11 image shows the gap in the ice on the ice island's southern side.  Looks to be about 5 km in 8 hours. Pretty nimble, if you ask me!  The winds are blowing, per

Arctic sea ice / Re: How soon could we go ice free?
« on: September 07, 2018, 08:52:48 PM »
An alternative: we could try actually casting bones! ;D ::) :P
If they float, BOE this year; if they land, BOE in a geologic 'instant'.

Antarctica / Re: Sea Ice Extent around Antarctica
« on: September 07, 2018, 08:39:22 PM »
It is good for me to see the A68-A ice island put into some perspective.  I've been posting, and watching others post, in the Larsen C thread, where it looms large.  Here it occupies approximately 35 pixels.

Arctic sea ice / Re: Holy Sh!t: Year-Round Arctic BOE Imminent
« on: September 05, 2018, 09:42:25 PM »
So, there we have it:  year-round BOE sometime between
  • within a decade or so
  • minimum 80 years to a couple centuries
As a geologist (by education and heritage), these are both "imminent".  My pessimistic outlook has me leaning toward the "any year now - probably not this one" stance, but I regularly guess less ice will survive the summer than what actually survives (except for 2012). 

I understand adequate heat is nearby, so year-round BOE is feasible; that heat is just not currently affecting the surface of the CAB.  A few of the mechanisms that could make the heat accessible include 1)Atlantification, 2) longer-fetched wind-driven waves with opening peripheral seas, 3) a pair of true GACs (I like the recent suggested definition, paraphrased 'more consequential [longer/deeper] than the previous one') strategically placed during the melting season, and 4) 'draining the swamp' (woops, that's political language), I mean, draining the Beaufort Sea of its fresh water cap down the CAA sieve (not garlic press, 'cause somebody doesn't like that term - aren't I nice?).

Antarctica / Re: Rift in Larsen C
« on: September 05, 2018, 06:03:09 PM »
From that BBC article:
"Until recently, the iceberg was hemmed in by dense sea-ice in the east and shallow waters in the north.

"Now, a strong foehn wind blowing eastwards off the ice shelf in early September has pushed the southerly end of the iceberg out into the Weddell Gyre. This persistent clockwise drift of ocean waters and floating sea-ice flowing north past the Larsen Ice Shelf has rotated A-68 out into the Weddell Sea.

"Here, it is much more free to begin moving away and be carried further north into warmer waters."
Incidentially, today's PolarView offers the best image of the battering-ram caused (or assisted) cracks in Larsen C. (enlargement on the original is clearly possible)  Yesterday's PolarView of the entire ice island shows some ~year old fast ice having broken off.  Comparing with 19 July 2018 image above, A68-A has rotated about 50º in 6 weeks.

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: Canadian glaciers face 'big losses'
« on: September 05, 2018, 05:38:40 PM »
Three New Islands Released from Devon Ice Cap, Canada
From a Glacier's Perspective   4 September 2018

The Devon Ice Cap on Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic ice cap’s area has an area of 15,000 km², with a volume of 3980 km³. The ice cap has been the focus of an ongoing research program led by the University of Alberta Arctic and Alpine Research Group. The mass balance from 1960-2009 was cumulatively -5.6 m, with nine of the eleven most negative years occurring since 1998.  Noel  et al (2018) update this observation noting that Canadian Arctic ice caps have been losing mass for decades and that mass loss accelerated in 1996. This followed a significant warming (+1.1∘C), which increased the production of meltwater. This has led to widespread area losses.  White and Copland (2018) quantify the change in the areal extent of 1773 glaciers on Northern Ellesmere Island from 1999 to 2015. They found regional glacier area decreased by ∼6%, with not a single glacier increasing in areal extent.

East of Belcher Glacier, a large retreating tidewater outlet of the Devon Ice Cap, maps indicate a glacier terminating at Cape Caledon, a series of rocky Points on the southern side of the Lady Ann Strait.  Today the Cape Caledon Glacier no longer reaches these rocky Points that have now become islands. 
Landsat images, etc. at link in headline.  Devon Island location map from Wikipedia

Lady Ann Strait is on the north side of Devon Island.

Why reactivate this thread?  Well, Canadian glaciers just lost three islands, that's big! ;D

I wonder what the update in four years will be.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2018 melting season
« on: September 02, 2018, 10:48:30 PM »
Hans Island (just south of Petermann Fjord)  in the middle of Nares Strait recent air temperatures below.  Another site indicates "29F" water (~-2C).  The 14-day forecast for Hans Is. is for quite steady temperatures.  I expect it to be colder further north, though.

Greenland and Arctic Circle / Re: What's new in Greenland?
« on: August 31, 2018, 07:09:02 PM »
GeoTalk: To understand how ice sheets flow, look at the bedrock below

  An interview with Mathieu Morlighem, associate professor of Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine who uses models to better understand ongoing changes in the Cryosphere.  GeoLog  ·  August 17, 2018
Subglacial bed topography is probably the most important input parameter in an ice sheet model and remains challenging to measure. The bed controls the flow of ice and its discharge into the ocean through a set of narrow valleys occupied by outlet glaciers. I am hoping that the new product that I developed, called BedMachine, will help reduce the uncertainty in numerical models, and help explain current trends.

[Edit: this is my post #1997 = the year I married my wife, the artist who created the avatar I use here.]

Antarctica / Re: Rift in Larsen C
« on: August 24, 2018, 06:51:59 PM »
The new Larsen C cracks are more obvious in the PolarView image from today.

Antarctica / Re: Rift in Larsen C
« on: August 20, 2018, 07:46:59 PM »
Ice Island A-68A is currently kissing the Larsen C Shelf.  You can see the consequent conchoidal cracks (at least two) in the Larsen C around the point of contact.  Detail has two drawn lines approx. 1 cm to the right of two cracks.  It appears to me that some (or most) of the ice island's 'nose' will peel, too.  PolarView image from today.

[Edit:  they were also touching on 2018-08-17.]

Arctic sea ice / Re: meaningless freezingseason/melting season chatter.
« on: August 10, 2018, 09:52:49 PM »
Looking around Sentinel Playground (atmospheric correction, gain: .4; gamma .8 ), I noticed two floes in the Lincoln Sea, about the same size, close to each other, but with very different appearance.  Both have what I understand are blue melt ponds, same scale (lower right corners), same date (August 9), but different texture: "A" seems to have quite consistent parallel lineatiosn (mostly near horizontal, but near vertical in lower portions of the image) and cracks that appear 'about to go'.  "B" has what appear to be several 'old' floes very well glued together.

I don't know enough to draw 'significant' conclusions.

Arctic sea ice / Re: meaningless freezingseason/melting season chatter.
« on: August 10, 2018, 06:39:08 PM »
There was some 'discussion' about the effect smoke had on the Arctic, specifically, if smoky air was 'warmed' due to the source of the smoke (here and earlier) with a recommendation to redirect here.  So, I did some internet searching.  Nothing about smoky air being warm, but there was this gem from ScienceDaily:
Highly sensitive clouds

The research team found that clouds in the Arctic were two to eight times more sensitive to air pollution than clouds at other latitudes. They don't know for sure why yet, but hypothesize it may have to do with the stillness of the Arctic air mass. Without the air turbulence seen at mid-latitudes, the Arctic air can be easily perturbed by airborne particulates.

One factor the clouds were not sensitive to, however, was smoke from forest fires. "It's not that forest fires don't have the potential," Garrett says, "it's just that the plumes from these fires didn't end up in the same place as clouds." Air pollution attributable to human activities outpaced the influence of forest fires on Arctic clouds by a factor of around 100:1.
But then I found this:
Smoke Plumes and Temperature Inversions

In fact, it [dry smoky air] cools at around 10C over the first kilometer above the ground. This cooling rate is known as the dry adiabatic lapse rate. This is the rate of cooling expected if we were to lift any parcel of dry air vertically. Through the concepts of buoyancy and convective instability, any parcel that is warmer than ambient air will accelerate upward on it’s own, any parcel that is cooler than the ambient air will accelerate downward on it’s own, and any parcel the same temperature as the ambient air will continue to do whatever it is doing.

At around 800-millibars [in the studied example] the temperature stops cooling as we increase height. In fact, it remains the same or even warms slightly! This warming with height is known as a temperature inversion, or inversion for short. I’ve circled this temperature inversion below.

So what does this have to do with the smoke plume? Well, the smoke from the fire acts like a parcel of dry air. This means that for every one kilometer above the ground, the temperature of the smoke would be expected to cool 10C. (In reality the temperature of the smoke would most likely cool at a slightly faster rate due to processes such as turbulent mixing.) If we were to assume that the temperature of the smoke was approximately the same temperature as the ambient temperature, or slightly warmer, we would expect the smoke to accelerate upward. However, as the smoke accelerates upward it begins to cool, as we previously mentioned. It continues to rise because it is approximately the same temperature as the air surrounding it, so it will remain doing what it had been doing (which was rising).

Eventually the smoke will reach the height of the temperature inversion and become colder than the air surrounding it. At this point the smoke will begin to descend until it reaches an altitude where it is in equilibrium with the ambient air temperature, typically at or slightly below the height of the temperature inversion. At this point the smoke will begin to spread out horizontally instead of vertically, frequently being blow in a specific direction by the wind, as was the case yesterday evening.

So, by seeing smoke plumes spread horizontally, instead of vertically, one is actually visualizing the altitude of a temperature inversions.
My take from this:  smoke over the Arctic Ocean is not 'warm'.

In the long run, I've read of the concern that soot on ice will cause it to melt faster, helping to decimate MYI (and Greenland ice) which have more time to accumulate soot than does FYI.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2018 melting season
« on: August 08, 2018, 09:46:16 PM »
I was curious if Lincoln Sea mélange looked different from Fram Strait mélange.  Sentinel-hub images using Atmospheric Correction and Gain (0.4) and Gamma (0.8) adjustments. There is a different brightness to the two images (time of day???), but that's the only significant difference I see.  I thought the Fram ice might be more rounded.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2018 melting season
« on: August 07, 2018, 06:51:57 PM »
Doing a 'reality check', I'm zooming in on an area of thick ice.

Arctic ice thickness (CICE), via yesterday's Navy website [I ignore certificate issues.] shows lots of 2 to 4 meter ice in the Lincoln Sea.  (Color scale pasted into image).  WorldView shows the Lincoln Sea to be filled with a loose mélange with some larger floes that I presume are thick (probably 3 meters or more thick). [Scale moved to be within view.] An arrow points to a floe that, in the Sentinel Hub image (note 3 km scale),  is in the lower right corner.  This shows much of the mélange to be floes, some 5 km across or more, but many on the order of 50-500 meters across.  (Arrow points to corner of floe that is in the lower left corner of 200m scaled enlargement.)  These are plenty big enough to be 2 or more meters thick. [Sentinel-hub doesn't go north of this location.]  See the melt ponds on the enlargement.

Even if it is mostly thick floes, there are a lot of floe edges that can chip away (wind-induced bumper-car style destruction) or melt (wave assisted).

moved post: I removed this from the ice-free Arctic thread, now seeing this new thread...
My understanding from reading this forum over the years is that there is plenty of heat in the deep parts of the Arctic Ocean to keep the surface ice-free through the winter if the surface 100 meters were thoroughly mixed, and as long as the surface waters remain mixed, under current atmospheric conditions (greenhouse gasses, etc.).  (Have I misunderstood the science?)

I therefore expect a seriously major storm (some day) will mix a large enough section of the central Arctic to effectively destroy the halocline and allow at least months of warm salty water that will refresh itself at the surface (as cooled water, having released heat to the colder air, will sink below warmer water of the same salinity).  Wherever there is sea ice to melt or rivers to flow or massive snows to fall, there will be a natural 'attempt' to reinstall a halocline with cold fresher water at the surface.  Which wins out after the first or second 'seriously major storm', I don't have a clue (the physics is above my abilities), but I rather expect a 'black ocean surface' through winter in the central Arctic within the next twenty years or so.  (I write "black" because it will be Arctic night, and the water won't reflect any blue.)

Over a broken/destroyed/nonexistent halocline region in the winter, the heat exchange will be intense and the air will be very humid.  Whether the resulting fog will keep the 2 meter temperature warm (above -10C) or whether it will calm the seas allowing the halocline to reestablish are beyond me (ahh, atmospheric physics!)

from my 'favorite' political blog (
The Democrats Are Having an Identity Crisis at an Inconvenient Moment

Election analyst Thomas Edsall has a fascinating piece in the New York Times about the Democrats' dilemma. In short, the Democratic Party is two things. It is a normal political party, whose goal is to win as many elections as it can. It is also an engine for social change and a representative of formerly powerless constituencies such as blacks, women, gay people, Latinos, etc. This split is the root of the Democrats' problems.

No party can be all things to all people. FDR was a strong advocate of rural Americans, unions, and working-class people generally. Ending economic inequality was a main driving force in his Party. Starting with the civil rights movement in the 1950s, Democrats became more focused on race and identity than on economics. Thus began the shift of white people away from the Democrats. If the Democrats had said (like the Republicans): "To hell with social justice, we want to win elections," they wouldn't have gone all out for civil rights, which resulted in the solid (Democratic) South becoming the solid (Republican) South. Nowadays, civil rights have moved to the back burner, but when Democrats support the right of anyone to use whatever bathroom they want to, they are again discovering that fighting for social justice and winning elections don't always go together.

Another factor that is causing the Democrats grief is the rise of the affluent urban professional as a key part of the Democratic Party. These people have different priorities than the average voter, according to the Voter Study Group's survey of 8,000 Americans in 2016 and also in 2011-2012. The Democratic elite gave top priority to different issues than the population at large. These included gay rights (61%, vs. 34% for the average voter), gender equality (69% vs. 35%), and racial equality (66% to 39%). In other words, the Party's social goals put it at odds with many voters, who have different priorities.

What are those priorities? They are terrorism (58% for all voters vs. 12% for the elites), crime (57% vs. 18%), taxes (57% vs. 19%), the budget deficit (51% vs. 5%), religious liberty (48% vs. 22%), and immigration (46% vs. 17%). So if the Democrats would just forget about gay rights, gender equality, and racial equality and focus on terrorism, crime, and taxes, they would do better. Of course, then they would be Republicans, who, by and large, have no social goals and will support whatever position gets them the most votes. This year, however, the Democrats are starting to put more emphasis on winning elections than on who uses which bathroom, with Conor Lamb being the poster child for this shift. Of course, come 2020, the old split is likely to emerge again. (V)
Interesting:  nothing (almost) about "Corporate Democrats" in either camp!  [Edit: put quote in quote box.]

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: August 02, 2018, 09:33:22 PM »
grandstanding, sure.  They needed to include something with mass.  This was fun and perhaps lighted up some human imagination; it got some headlines and put Tesla (and SpaceX) on the map for the first time for some.  For a (partial) reference: Mashable

Arctic sea ice / Re: When will the Arctic Go Ice Free?
« on: August 02, 2018, 04:40:32 PM »
Previous rapid warming events over the last 2 million years, when going from glaciation to intermediary, were caused by orbital change with added feedback from CO2 and methane. The current rapid warming goes against the effects of orbital change (the climate should be cooling rapidly) and is mainly caused by a large increase in CO2, so it is reasonable to expect the pattern of warming being different this time.
I will quibble only with the parenthetical "the climate should be cooling rapidly" due to Milankovich forcing.  Without AGW, I understand Earth's climate would be cooling slowly during my lifetime (that is, on a human scale), although I'll accept "rapidly" in the geological scheme of things.

Arctic sea ice / Re: September Predictions Challenge
« on: August 01, 2018, 03:47:17 PM »
I "predict" (defined as "guess") ASI extent, area and volume will just beat out the current records in September.  ...
I now guess the September minimums will be just above the current records, so (to enumerate the guesses) I choose the lowest bin that starts above the record low for each measure (extent, area, volume).  I still say guesses should be recognized as having no confidence.  As of yet unknowable weather, of course, will be a significant contributor to making or breaking every guess, prediction or sure thing declaration.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: July 31, 2018, 07:36:24 PM »
Apocalypse 4 Real posted a summary ten days ago:  A World of Fire and Smoke - A July 20 2018 Snapshot --
from Oregon wheat field wildfires to Central African charcoal making to probably un-fightable (due to years of drought) Siberian fires.

A4R's occasional posts are always well worth reading.

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