ARCTIC SEA-ICE MELT—RESURRECTION OR ZOMBIE?

This is the continuation of a long series of posts, the last of which can be found at http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/arctic-sea-ice-maximum-a-taxing-time/

I began these posts as a way of investigating claims that the North Pole was in a “death spiral,” and that we might soon see an ice-free Pole, which would lead to run-away Global Warming because an ice-free Arctic Sea would absorb heat rather than reflecting sunshine with white ice.

I had to investigate these claims, partly because I wanted to know if the world was really undergoing a dramatic change, but also because it had become obvious the media was completely failing to do its investigative duty.  They were not making any effort to investigate what they were told, and instead merely echoed what they were told.

This disgusted me. I was brought up to be an educated voter.  One way of educating myself was to read the papers.  However the papers started reporting things they had been told that I knew were false.  The first examples that sprang out from the pages of newspapers to catch my eye involved the subject of the Medieval Warm Period, which I happened to know an inordinate amount about, because I began studying the Vikings of Greenland before I was five years old.

(This occurred because both I and my father grew up close to a silly monument called Norumbega Tower, on the banks of the Charles River. This tower was erected because a Harvard professor, Eben Norton Horsford, (perhaps threatened by Irish Catholic immigrants), dreamed up the idea that Vikings were basically Lutherans rather than basically Pagans, and that it was important to prove Norse Protestants had discovered America, rather than the Mediterranean Catholic, Columbus. Therefore he seized upon some honest local lore, in order to create Harvard Humbug, (such as the Harvard Humbug Timothy Leary advanced about LSD, when he taught there.)

(I know a thing or two about Harvard Humbugs, as both my father and stepfather taught there, and they regaled me with tales of the foibles of their contemporaries. Many brilliant professors, who were experts in one particular field, held strange views about fields they were not expert in. Eben Norton Horsford invented baking soda, and generously supported the education of women, however his ideas about Vikings were largely flights of fantasy.)

I was more interested in the honest, local lore which Horseford only used as a springboard to advance his ideas about Vikings.  The farmers of the area were very anti-Harvard, as Cambridge bought up the water rights of Weston due to some political shenanigans, and when I so much as waded in a brook in Weston as a boy I was officially breaking the law by polluting the water supply of Harvard. (Not that it ever stopped me.) Weston was so anti-Harvard and anti-State-government that Commonwealth Ave is not called “Commonwealth Ave” as it passes through Weston, though it bears that name to the east in Newton and to the west in Natick. In Weston it was “South Avenue.”

Such farmers were rapidly fading from the scene as Weston became a “snob town” during my boyhood, however I was friends with the son of such a farmer, and also the daughter of such a farmer was an old lady who ran a nursery school right next door to my home. I heard a little lore, but it impossible to do any verifying archaeological digs, as the knob of granite with petrographs had been turned into a quarry hundreds of feet deep, and a reservoir crossed by a superhighway buried a second site, and the third site was disturbed by Eben Norton Horsford, and then turned into an amusement park which was replaced by a five star hotel, and crossed by a major railway and two interstate highways with cloverleaf ramps. Therefore I was stuck with Yankee lore.  As Eben Norton Horsford demonstrated, lore is liable to be polluted with a lot of warped and self-serving stuff, but it was all I had to go on.

From 1956 to 2003 I made a hobby of studying the possibility of Vikings in New England,  and in the process had to sift through a lot of lore to find tidbits of fact.  In my own way I gathered a fair amount of data about the Medieval Warm Period in Greenland and New England.  Then, in 2003, (I think), I first heard Michael Mann’s bizarre suggestion that it is warmer now than it was when the Vikings colonized Greenland. This ludicrous suggestion was accepted by the media, which quoted him as if he was “scientific,” and therefore beyond any need of investigating.)

Once I started doing the investigating that reporters should do, if they ever want to be called “investigative reporters,” I saw many things that were extremely upsetting to me. In essence, the entire “Global Warming” issue appeared to be an exaggeration created for reasons that cared little for the public’s desire to base their votes on truth.

Of course, there was always the chance the Climate Scientists were on to something subtle, that was not obvious to me.  Therefore I decided I needed to study arctic-sea-ice more deeply.  This was especially true after the summer of 2012 set records, in the post-1979 era, for the least amount of sea-ice, (though I think there was even less ice in the Medieval Warm Period.)

This series of posts is my notebook.  It is the portrait of a voter’s study, as he strives to become an independent, educated voter.  It includes scribbles, scrawls and doodles.

I have pretty much concluded that Climate Science is an outrageous sham and fraud, and that laws have been broken. Therefore further research may be more or less a waste of time.  The people involved in the fraud already know darn well that they are involved in a humbug, and my efforts will not change them. However I’ll continue on a bit longer.

APRIL 16  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Apr 16B mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 16B temp_latest.big (1)

APRIL 17  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Apr 17 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 17 temp_latest.big (1)

 

(These DMI maps can be clicked, to enlarged them.)

As the gale “Campreck” fades away the air associated with it seems to be chilling. A new gale, “Taxdon,” is churning southeast of Svalbard, bringing some Atlantic mildness north on its east side but pulling Arctic cold down over the North Atlantic to its west.

As you look at the temperature maps it is important to remember that the “morning map” (actually the 0000z map) has daylight at the top and night at the bottom. (The situation is reversed in the “afternoon map.” ) Noon is at the top, and sunrise to the right, and sunset to the left. Diurnal swings in temperature become apparent as you compare the morning and evening maps.

It looks like Taxdon is heading north to bother the people attempting to get work done at the North Pole.

LOCAL VIEW  —A ZOMBIE SPRING—

A battle 196 satsfc (3)A battle 196 rad_nat_640x480

 

(These “Local View” maps can also be clicked, if you want to enlarge them)

Brrr.  It is twenty degrees out.  (-7 Celsius.) For crying out loud!  It is past the middle of April!

I figure it is a Zombie Spring.  Spring is suppose to be a season of hope and rebirth, of life being resurrected just as Christ was resurrected. However doing my taxes has made me cynical.  After paying them I’ll basically be broke.  I don’t own anything; I just rent it from the government.

One is suppose to have the hope, when they plant, of a harvest.  However when the government takes it all the hope shrivels.  You can work hard your whole darn life and they’ll loot your savings, calling it “unearned income.” (As if they know anything about earning; all they do is steal.)

Oh well. I came into this life with nothing, and they are just helping me get used to the fact I’ll leave it with nothing.

But spring is suppose to be more hopeful.  When things rise from the grave without hope in a cold, cold spring, they are zombies.  Heck if I am going to put up with allowing life to be reduced to that.  I’m not bowing out without a fight.

There. That’s more like it. If the dawn holds no heat, you can generate a heat all your own.

 

JETS LANDING ON NORTH POLE ICE

JETS LANDING ON NORTH POLE ICE

The ice looks fairly strong at this point, and if you have the money you can fly up there as a tourist and do some cross-country skiing.

NP Photo 2014 Apr 12 244809_originalNP Photo 2014 Apr 12B 244252_original

I’m a bit nervous about a fairly strong gale approaching the Pole from the Laptev Sea.

DMI Apr 12B mslp_latest.big

I’m not sure what would be more annoying to the dedicated scientists up there; a gale or the tourists.  Likely neither, but instead they find Polar Bears most annoying.  They did have a “bear alert,” as they first started setting up, whereupon everyone had to hurry to a cafeteria tent so they could make sure all were safe and accounted for.  It is no joke to work up in those conditions.  You can read more about what is going on up there at these two sites:

http://translate.google.ru/translate?hl=ru&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fbarneo-polus.livejournal.com%2F

http://psc.apl.washington.edu/wordpress/research/npeo-2014-field-reports/

Hopefully all will be completed safely, and we can spend the summer watching the pictures from the North Pole Camera without fretting about the safety of the scientists.  I’m sure those who love them won’t mind if admirers (who are inclined to do so) pray for them this Sunday.

UPDATE  STORM HITS POLE WITH 56 MPH WINDS

Camp Borneo Apr 14 245645_original

The storm hit last Sunday, and the wind chill was murderous, with winds steadily over 50 mph and temperatures well below minus 20 Celsius. Basically everyone did the wise thing, which was to get inside tents and stay inside.

The Russian report (translated) states:

Today was not any flights. Yesterday evening, the weather began to deteriorate and the whole Today snowstorm sweeps. Despite the fact that all the tents were fixed on the first day, at night the wind has torn corner tourist wardroom, so the whole team was alerted to further strengthen the tents (tying ropes). From today, the camp commandant introduced compulsory clock duty to look after the tents from wind damage and time to detect possible faults ice – the last day of the route with skiers reported more torosheniem and appearance of open water. 

All groups of skiers today staged a forced day’s rest due to bad weather conditions. By evening, the weather began to gradually improve. 

A “torosheniem” is a pressure ridge, which is a mini-mountain range formed as two plates of ice crush together. The “open water” referred to is a “lead”, which is formed when two plates of ice move apart.  This ice, which jets are landing on, is not all that thick.  The North Pole Camera crew states it is 1.4 meters thick, or 4 feet 7 inches.  The older ice was all pushed towards Canada and Greenland during the winter, and this is largely “baby ice,” or ice that has grown this winter. The danger, (besides meeting a 1600 pound male polar bear), is that the ice cracks and a “lead” opens up beneath your tent.  

Just how mobile the ice is can be seen in this chart of the motion of Camp Borneo, since it was set up in the midnight sun, during the “night” of March 30-31.  It is already south of 89 degrees latitude, roughly sixty miles from the Pole, in the direction of Fram Strait. (It is the dotted line.)

Camp Barneo April 14 247819_original

The lines in the upper right are various skiers and adventurers hiking to the Pole. You can see the ice is moving them away from the Pole faster than they can approach it.  Apparently they then cheat, and get lifts from Russian helicopters.  The translated Russian report states:

Groups Rick Sweitzer and Annie Aggens requested assistance. Because of the strong counter drift they can not move to the North Pole – despite advance them further and further classifies the target. Morning by helicopter, these groups were deployed to N 89 ° 57.05 ‘W and 151 ° 43.24′. Along the way, it turned out that a group of Chinese tourist Annie Aggens frostbitten fingers and had to be removed from the route. One member of the group Rick Sweitzer herself asked her to return to the base camp. Barneo Dr. Stas Boyarsky rendered first aid to the victim of Chinese tourists. 

(It may lose something in the translation.)

It sounds like a bit of an ordeal, and perhaps it is not surprising that the North Pole Camera isn’t transmitting pictures yet. I wonder if the scientists consider the tourists part of the ordeal. They don’t exactly “rough it.”  Here is a picture of their camp kitchen. The chef is cooking cutlets.

Camp Borneo cook 243551_original

Humph!  Arctic explorers sure are soft, nowadays. When I was young it was just blubber, blubber, blubber, all the livelong day.

UPDATE #2  — APRIL 17—  ANOTHER GALE TO APPROACH NORTH POLE

A low pressure system passing just south of Svalbard looks like it will head up towards the Pole.  Hopefully they can get the North Pole Camera operating before it hits.

DMI Apr 17 mslp_latest.big

ARCTIC SEA ICE MAXIMUM —A TAXING TIME—

This is a continuation of a series of posts, the last of which was,  http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/arctic-sea-ice-maximum-march-madness/

This series of posts has wandered a long ways from its original intent, which was to discuss the view from the North Pole Camera.  That camera has been gone since September, and we still have roughly 45 30  21!!! days before the new one is set up in April.

The wait through winter darkness has been long, but the sun has now risen at the Pole.  I’ll be able to use my eyes more, as I complete my year of studying the Pole’s ice. I resorted to using my own eyes because I became increasingly aware that the media and government were disinterested in the the Truth.  This distresses me, because it has been my experience that if you don’t stand by the Truth, Truth doesn’t stand by you. Bad things will happen to my homeland, I fear, unless its people demand the Truth, even if it is merely the Truth about a thing as removed from their daily life as the ice at the North Pole.

Over the past year scientists far more qualified than I am have bravely  stood up and informed the government it is wrong about Global Warming, but they have been completely disregarded. Rather than listening, the government has recently ratcheted up a publicity campaign which seems dedicated more towards misinforming than informing. If the big voices of scientists can be so completely ignored, I don’t know what my tiny voice, on a blog that averages 50-100 views per day, can do. However I’ll continue on. Sometimes a small pebble can start a big avalanche.

I will be busy doing my taxes, so my posts will likely be brief for a while.

MARCH 21  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 21 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 21 temp_latest.big (1)

MARCH 22 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 22 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 22 temp_latest.big (1)

“Morphy” has moved towards the Pole, as “Marchair” has become a parade of lows moving north of Norway. This creates a strong flow across the Pole and down towards Iceland, temporarily surging the ice into a more ordinary flow, with the Transpolar Drift  aiming down through Fran Strait. However the strong flow seems likely to swing from aiming down the east coast of Greenland to aiming down the west coast, and then to aiming to Canada once again as the sort of cross-polar-flow we have seen too much of this winter.  About the only hope I see is that some of the air crossing the Pole is not bone-chilling air from east Siberia, but apparently is milder air from more southerly Steppes.

Sorry I missed last night’s DMI maps. I was worn out from a neighborhood crisis involving an old horse which couldn’t quite make it through the hard winter.

LATE SEASON SURGE IN ICE EXTENT

Extent graph March 22 ssmi1_ice_ext_small (CLICK GRAPH TO ENLARGE)

It is interesting how the peak of the ice extent has occurred later in the season over the past few years.  Largely it involves HTGT ice which is fleeting and matters little, but the simple fact it keeps happening suggests the Arctic Sea is hinting at something. I’m slow and don’t get the hint, but perhaps it is suggestive of colder water. In this particular case it may merely be due to Morphy blowing ice up against the shore of Svalbard and closing up the areas of open water that have persisted to the northeast and north of Svalbard all winter.

I commented on the open water over at WUWT, in an open thread where the Svalbard situation came up. Some were wondering about undersea volcanoes.  My comment read:

Regarding the open water northeast of Svalbard this winter:

You do not need undersea volcanoes to explain it. I’ve been watching the movement of the ice all winter, as a hobby, and it has been unusual. What would be more usual is for the Transpolar Drift to bring ice across the Pole and down into Fram Strait, which tends to eventually bring ice against the northwest coast of Svalbard. Also the polar easterlies scoot ice along the ice-edge boundary in Barents Sea against the northeast and east coast of Svalbard. Although these two motions did happen this winter, they were also interrupted by shifting winds that moved ice away from Svalbard.

The most interesting motions defied the Transpolar Flow, and pushed ice towards Canada, building the amounts of ice in the Beaufort Gyre. While that does increase ice in that part of the Arctic Ocean, it robs the area around Svalbard of its usual quota of imported ice.

Most of the ice pressing towards Svalbard this winter did not come from the Transpolar Drift, but from the Barents Sea, robbing that area of ice and resulting in a lot more open water. I’m surprised Alarmists aren’t making a bigger deal about that open water, for it is at “unprecedented” levels. (IE since 1979, and ignoring historical reports from the pre-satellite era.) This shows in the cryosphere graph: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.6.html

The openness of Barents Sea is largely due to the weather pattern that exported cold down over North America and imported milder air up over Europe. Not only did this mean there were times there was no cold air available to form ice in Barents Sea, it also meant that when the ice did form it was exposed to strong winds that moved it out. There were several good surges of ice right by Svalbard, resulting in increases of ice in Fram Strait even as there were decreases in Barents Sea. Briefly the extents were even above normal in the Greenland Sea south of Fram Strait: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/recent365.anom.region.5.html

This differs from the situation in 2007, when a lot of the ice that flushed south through Fram Strait came across the Pole on the Transpolar Drift, reducing the amounts of ice as far away as Bering Strait. This time the flush comes from a smaller area, largely Barents Sea.

I’ve been watching the situation for years now, and one huge misconception I originally had was that the ice up there is static. FAIL. It is amazingly mobile. The “North Pole Camera” only starts its life near the Pole. Usually it is south of Fram Strait in only six months, where the break-up of ice ends its life. The GPS from last year’s “North Pole Camera” wound up on the northeast coast of Iceland last January, having drifted over 1600 miles since the prior April.

While some of the ice piling up north of Canada is over five years old, most ice up by the Pole is so mobile it has a hard time seeing a second birthday.

My impression is that the ice up there is increasing on the Pacific side, and at a sort of “low tide” on the Atlantic side.

UK MET MAP  —The slide—

UK Met Mar 22 13219181  (Click map to enlarge)

All the features on this map are going to slide to the northeast over the next few days.  “Marchair”  will fall apart and depart as a series of blobs across northern Norway, as the ridge of high pressure over the Azores slides up over the British Isles and onward over Scandinavia. The “Springer” family of storms will be shunted further west, up the coast of Greenland, by the lean of the high pressure to the northwest, and then will likely kick features under the high pressure ridge, creating a trough from Iceland down over England towards France, as behind that trough another nice Azores High starts to build.

For the time being nothing is bogging down and occluding, and instead everything is part of a slide, flowing northeast.

The pulse of sea-ice down through Fram Strait will likely slow and may move the other way for a bit, as all these features pass by to the south.

LOCAL VIEW  —Good-bye, old horse—

A Battle 174 satsfc (3)A battle 174 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

The map shows “Springer ” departing in the upper right corner, “Brunt” approaching us (and radar shows we are likely to get snow showers,) and a big, nasty arctic high pressing south on its heels.  Monday morning could see our temperatures back down near zero (-17 Celsius.)

The long, hard winter wore down an old mare who has been a fixture of my neighborhood for over a quarter century.  I think its fat reserves simply got used up. Yesterday she began trotting to and fro, as if to stay warm, and then fell over and lay on her side in the snow, shivering. I forgot I was sixty-one and joined a crew of passerbys to help get the old horse back up to its feet. A lot of heaving and grunting was involved, and when she got up it was like she said, “OK, OK, I’ll get up.” I suggested she needed a heated barn  and a richer diet, but the vet and owner carted her off in a horse trailer to be destroyed.

It is an end of an era. It was sort of amazing how people appeared as soon as the old mare went down.  It didn’t seem to matter what people’s politics were, everyone liked that old mare. She was nearly thirty-four.

Any way, I am stiff and sore today.

MARCH 22  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Mar 22B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 22B temp_latest.big (1)

MARCH 23  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 23 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 23 temp_latest.big (1)

The “Morphy” mess continues to mill about in the Kara Sea, as “Marchair” slides up across Norway to join the dance of storms.  The ridge of high pressure over Iceland will follow it and then build over Scandinavia, as an upper-air blocking-high builds over Scandinavia and becomes a major feature on the map. This will shunt “Springer” to the west up the coast of Greenland to Fram Strait. No storms will be able to get through Scandinavia for a while, and instead will have to go over the top, or be squashed underneath.

The cross-polar-flow is directed more towards Canada and less towards Fran Strait, and is drawing a “mild” ribbon of minus-ten air over the Pole. Even though the sun is up I expect that air to rapidly cool, because the sun is so low. The ribbon of minus-twenty air crossing the arctic further towards Bering Strait is partially south of eighty degrees latitude, which explains why the DMI polar temperatures graph is showing such an upward spike; it includes the milder air but not the colder air.

The building high over Scandinavia will be quite a change, and interesting to watch.

UK MET MAP  —Changes coming—

UK Met Mar 23 13245079  (click to enlarge)

The change coming is not apparent on the surface map.  The ridge of high pressure from the Azores to Iceland will slide east towards Scandinavia and then build in the north. It looks sunny for Sweden.  This high will grow stubborn, and actually cut off the trough of low pressure currently over Europe and roll it backwards until it is off the coast of Spain.  Or that is what the models are seeing.

Here are the 500 mb maps, showing the pressure-anomalies, for the next week.

CURRENT AAA Mar 23 gfs_z500_sig_eur_1

48 HOURS AAA March 23b gfs_z500_sig_eur_8

72 HOURS AAA March 23c gfs_z500_sig_eur_13

96 HOURS AAA March 23d gfs_z500_sig_eur_17

120 HOURSAAA Marcg 23e gfs_z500_sig_eur_21

(Double click these maps to fully enlarge. They are produced by Dr. Ryan Maue at his WeatherBELL site.)

These sort of blocking highs are interesting to watch. Just looking at surface maps, you scratch your head and wonder at the odd tracks of the storms.

MARCH 23  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 23B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 23B temp_latest.big (1)

MATCH 24 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 24 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 24 temp_latest.big (1)

From now until next October I make a mental adjustment, when looking at the temperature maps, to take diurnal variation into account.  Roughly speaking, the morning maps have the top of the sphere in daylight, so I expect isotherms to show a temperature rise, as is the case with the top half of the maps in the above example.  Then I watch to see if temperatures drop an equal amount twelve hours later. Being aware of this keeps me from leaping to conclusions about warm-ups or cool-downs, and then having to eat my words twelve hours later.

“Morphy’s” area of generalized low pressure is incorporating “Marchair,” and on a whole looks weaker and more disorganized, as the ridge of Atlantic high pressure sides away from Iceland towards Scandinavia. “Springer” is crawling up the southeast coast of Greenland.

The wonderful animation at  http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticict_nowcast_anim30d.gif shows a surge of ice into Fram  Strait, including some thick ice around the northwest corner of Greenland. This is pushing the slushy and mobile sea ice up against the north coast of Svalbard. Meanwhile ice which was surging south through Bering Stait has reversed and now is surging north. All in all sea-ice-esxtents are dropping, and may have finally passed their peak.

Sea_Ice_Extent_March 24 graph v2_L (click to enlarge)

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 24 13270410 (click to enlarge)

“Springer” is moving up the coast of Greenland, kicking “Springerson” ahead towards Ireland. Now lets watch and see is everything screeches to a halt, as that ridge of high pressure over England tilts northeast towards Scandinavia. It is expected to get so strong over the north that the low over Poland will get squeezed backwards through the Baltic, and the low over Italy pressed backwards towards Spain.  The British Isle will have weak storms coming at it from all directions. Fun to watch, but perhaps less fun to be in the midst of it.

LOCAL VIEW  —Wishing a storm out to sea—

A battle 175 satsfc (3)A battle 175 rad_nat_640x480

 

“Brunt” is moving off the map, with his arctic cold front passing us yesterday and cold air creeping south and giving us a wintery Monday morning, with temperatures just touching the single digits at nine. (-13 Celsius)  If that isn’t enough to make a Monday moody, there is also talk of a snowstorm tomorrow night and Wednesday morning.

So far this winter the sheer weight of the cold has pushed a lot of these storms out to sea. I’m hoping the pattern holds, though I know storm tracks creep north with the spring.

Besides work and taxes, I have a little, local talent show to organize for next Sunday. Therefore I am using my psychic powers to wish this storm right out to sea. Do you think it is going to work?

MATCH 24  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 24B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 24B temp_latest.big (1)

 

MARCH 25  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 25 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 25 temp_latest.big (1)

“Springer” is occluded and blocked by high pressure over Scandinavia, and has become a weak Icelandic Low.

The above maps again show diurnal variation.

The “Morphy” mess continues to fill and weaken.  The “mild” air from the Steppes that came north through Siberia has cooled over the Pole, but it looks like another blob has moved north into the Laptev Sea.

Pacific air is coming through Bering Strait, pushing that ice back north through the strait.

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 25 13296552 (Click to enlarge)

This is the blocking pattern I was looking for all winter, but it is happening too late to do what it would do in December.  However, if it is true that, “The next winter will begin as the last winter ended,” perhaps it should be noted.

The fronts extending from Iceland to France should make little eastward progress, and in fact should back to the west.  As this flow-from-the-east develops the little low over Poland will take an unusual route, west through the Baltic into the North Sea (and may mess up what should be nice weather, in southern Sweden.)  In the winter this flow-from-the-east would contain bone-chilling blasts from western Siberia, but that source-region has been greatly moderated by influxes of milder air and by spring sunshine.

“Brunt” is appearing in the lower left, but can’t rush across the Atlantic with the blocking high in the way. Part will occlude and mill about to the west, as part gets kicked ahead and smushed southeast towards the Mediterranean.

“Springer” is weak, for an Icelandic Low.  Note how the Gulf Stream is forced to meander by winds blowing its surface waters south, to the southwest of Iceland, but north, northeast of Iceland.

If this blocking pattern locked in at the start of a winter, it would bring a lot of warm water north and in some ways be the author of its own demise, by importing warmth into a very cold situation. However this past winter was the opposite. In general winds pushed the surface waters of the Gulf Stream south, unlike the situation  northeast of Iceland that is seen now.  (I have no idea what happens to the Gulf Stream a hundred feet down, in such situations.)  While the waters west of Norway are near normal and slightly above normal now, that largely reflects the mild winter. As summer comes on these well-mixed waters may fail to warm in a typical manner. It will be interesting to watch.

LOCAL VIEW  —All eyes look south—

A battle 176 satsfc (3)A battle 176 rad_nat_640x480

 

It is another absurdly cold pre-dawn. Five degrees. (-15 Celsius)

Features are coming together in both the northern and southern branch to form a big coastal storm. I’ll dub it “Cherry,” for Washington DC is suppose to have blossoming cherries now, but instead of swirling petals they’ll be getting flakes.

There will be two centers ar first, one on the polar front further out to sea, and one over the arctic front closer to land.  The models have been suggesting the polar-front-storm will win out and pull most of the snow out to sea, which is my wish. In a worst-case-scenario the arctic-front-storm wins, and the snow is far enough west to get big cities and my little farm.  (Actually a worst worst-case-scenario has the arctic-front-storm get so big so fast that it digs right up into the upper atmosphere and makes its own “steering winds,” allowing it to loop-de-loop south of Cape Cod like the Blizzard of 1888.  However that is a rarity, and why worry when the storm hasn’t even formed yet?)

LOCAL VIEW   —I’M GLAD I DON’T HAVE TO MAKE THIS FORECAST—

A battle 177 satsfc (3)A battle 177 rad_ec_640x480

It sure looks like a big storm brewing up down the coast, yet there are no watches or warnings. I wonder how they are so sure this storm is going out to sea.

LOCAL VIEW  —9;30 PM—Only an inch forecast here—

A battle 178 satsfc (3) A battle 178 rad_ec_640x480

Judging from how my bones ache, we’re in for a storm, but the forecast is still for the storm going out to sea. Blizzard Warning down on Cape Cod, but we should only get light snow. It should be very windy and cold, though, with gusts to 50 mph. The pressure is steady at 29.97.  I’m getting up early to double-check on the situation.  This is like January, but they say we might warm up to fifty by Friday.

SOME EMBRYONIC THOUGHTS ABOUT SEA ICE AND ATLANTIC COOLING

tHIS COMMENT OF MINE IS FROM A DISCUSSION ABOUT SEA-ICE AT wuwt

  RE: Stephen Skinner says:
March 25, 2014 at 1:44 pm
“Every time I have looked at the NRL Ice Thickness gif there is always ice flowing out of the Arctic via the Fram Strait:
http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticict_nowcast_anim30d.gif
It looks like significant volumes of ice are transported out via this strait continuously.”

No, it isn’t continuous. It is fairly regular, but there have been interruptions this winter. Also not as much ice came from the Pole via the Transpolar Drift, but came along the ice-edge north of Svakbard to the east.

Keep paying attemtion and you’ll see what I mean. The ice seems to come through Fram Strait in bulges and pulses. There was a big one at the end of last week. Often it creates a sort of bulge “down-stream,” and the ice-extent will curve away from Greenland and be “above normal” (across the orange line) in the NSIDC map on the “Sea Ice Page.” This sort of “increased extent” is actually a loss to the Polar Total, in the long run, as it is heading south to melt. However if a lot heads south it can actually chill the waters of the North Atlantic. In 1817 so much ice flushed out that bergs were beaching in Ireland, and the chilled Atlantic may have contributed to the “Year Without a Summer.”

The opposite occurred last summer. The flow through Fram Strait was reduced, as ice was pushed over towards Beaufort Gyre. The extent below Fram Strait was below normal even as sea-ice increased up at the Pole. It makes me wonder if that means the Atlantic waters were chilled less than normal last summer, which may have been part of the reason Barents Sea froze up less last winter.

Recently a lot of ice has flushed out and traveled all the way through Denmark Strait to Cape Farewell at the bottom of Greenland. Also lots of ice has flushed south in Baffin Bay, and passed into the Atlantic off Newfoundland Island. (The top of Baffin Bay was ice-free at times in the depth of winter, so much ice was exported south.) I imagine the Atlantic has had a good chilling due to the addition of all this ice.

The more you watch the ice the more you see about twenty things are going on at the same time. I don’t claim to understand it, but it is fun to witness, if you have the time.

MARCH 25  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 25B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 25B temp_latest.big (1)

MARCH 26 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 26 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 26 temp_latest.big (1)

UK Met Map

UK Met Mar 26 13321516

Local view  —Thank God for small mercies—

A battle 179 satsfc (3)A battle 179 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

Unless the storm loop-de-loops, which is unlikely, it seems we have dodged the bullet. I am hugely thankful. Extra work is the last thing I need, as I’m fighting off a cold.

I think doing taxes is bad for your health. Also it is the antithesis of poetry. It even seems to keep the sun from shining.  It won’t be springtime until the $@&#&# things are done.

LOCAL VIEW   —A roaring day—

A battle 180 satsfc (3)A battle 180 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

 

The storm did not miss us, in terms of wind. It roared all day long, with the sky battleship grey before noon, and then the sun gradually appearing in sky increasingly milky.

During my shift I took the kids out to the flood control, where the ice was more like January than the final days of March. This mirrors the situation on the Great lakes, where the ice is at 400% of normal for this date. Usually the ice is rapidly melting by now.

Great lakes March 26 lice_00__14_  Click to enlarge

Despite the cold and fierce windchill, (I was constantly checking faces for frostbite), the children didn’t complain a bit.  They laughed as the wind shoved and in a few cases knocked them down. The goats were also frisky, able to prance and kick up their heels on the snows thick crust as if it were solid ground. So I guess it is spring, no matter what the thermometer says.

MARCH 26  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 26B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 26B temp_latest.big (1)

The flow over the Pole is from Bering Strait towards Svalbard. From Pacific to Atlantic, but weak. Blocking high remains over Scandinavia.

MARCH 27   —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 27 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 27 temp_latest.big (1)

It looks milder towards Bering Strait. Partly it is due to diurnal variation, and it being noon up there, but a weak flow is coming north. Also the strong high over Scandinavia is bringing some nice mildness north towards Iceland. However the Pole and Fram Atrait look to be in a sort of polar doldrums.

Note how the blocking high forces lows north up the coast of  Greenland, and won’t let them east.

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 27 13346420 CLICK TO ENLARGE

I don’t have the brain cells available to figure out this map. The block over Scandinavia is obvious, but all the junk around the edges must be murder to figure out. My sympathies to European weathermen.

It looks fairly nice over France and in the middle of the high in central Norway, Sweden and Finland, but there is polar junk to the north and Baltic junk to the south. Over the British Isles it looks unstable aloft, due to occluded junk. Stagnant junk is milling around in the Mediterranean.

This map would mean murderous cold in January. I can’t help but feel that eventually it will bring cold down and east in Europe, though with the days so much longer it won’t be so bad where the sun is shining.

The gale in the lower left corner is the big storm that gave us howling winds but no snow yesterday. I never named it. Call it “Taxie” because I’m doing my taxes.

SHORT, FUNNY AND ACCURATE VIDEO

LOCAL VIEW —Bring on the thaw—

I can never remember the ponds frozen so solidly so late in the spring, in southern New Hampshire. Yesterday was a subfreezing day with gusts over forty mph, with the morning skies a battleship gray. Due to some recent thaws, the snow has a firm crust and is like walking on Styrofoam. My goats, who hate wading in deep snow (as they can’t see what their legs may hit,) discovered the snow’s crust was strong enough to support them yesterday, and when the sun began to shine through the milky overcast in the afternoon, as a brightening smear of light higher in the sky than we are used to, those goats went nuts. They started frisking about over the stiff crust, twirling and gamboling and prancing and kicking their heels. The children were acting the same. (I run a Childcare.) Though the wind was brutal and the wind-chill was vicious, I heard no whining and not a single complaint, (unless it was my own muttering to myself.) Instead I witnessed a huge after-school burst of energy, with the children laughing and shouting and daring the roaring wind to knock them over, and scooting down hills on their stomachs like otters.

The thermometer may not know it is spring, but the sunshine does.

This morning the crescent moon is rising hand in hand with brilliant, silvery Venus, with the winds slacking and the cold like January’s. It is around 12 (-11 Celsius) which would be normal for January, but is bizarre for the sixth day of Spring.  However the maps show the high is cresting and southwest winds to our west.  And, even if those southwest winds only bring clouds and gloom and slush, before they do we will get brilliant sunshine, and you can’t fool that sun.

A battle 181 satsfc (3) A battle 181 rad_nat_640x480

 

MARCH 27  —DMI Afternoon Maps—

DMI Mar 27B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 27B temp_latest.big (1)

A weak “wrong-way” flow exists Fram Strait, slowing the exit of ice, and perhaps even pushing some north back into the Arctic Sea.

MARCH 28  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 28 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 28 temp_latest.big (1)

Flow getting back to normal in Fram Strait, as the weak low squeezes around the northern side of the blocking high pressure over Scandinavia.

FASCINATING NEW DMI MAP

DMI Mar 28 icetemp.arc.d-00

 

This map is a satellite product, showing the temperature of the top of the ice (and also water, I think.)  (White areas represent missing data, I think.)  It will be interesting to watch in the summer, to see when the surface gets warm enough to start melting.

I have a bad case of insomnia due to tax-worries, and drown my sorrows by animating this feature. (Hit the “loop” tab to the lower left of the map here:  http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/ice_temp/index.uk.php  )

I commented on the map over at WUWT  ( in a post about other, misleading maps put our by the University of Maine,) as follows:

RE: AJB says:
March 27, 2014 at 6:00 pm

Thanks for sharing that new DMI feature. When you animate it, it shows three totally cool things.

First, it shows the ice reflecting the cross-polar flow of frigid air from Siberia to Canada, at the end of the winter. (This is the supply of the air that has been freezing our socks off, down in the USA.)

Second, it shows the air in this flow becoming less brutal as the sun gets higher over Siberia. (Eastern Siberia has some of the greatest temperature extremes on earth. In the dead of winter it can average down around -70 (-57 Celsius), while in the summer it can average up over +80 (+27 Celsius). And that is “average;” and doesn’t include record-setting extremes.)

Third, it shows cracks forming and then freezing over in the Arctic Sea, as thin lines of warmer ice-surface temperature which then vanish as they freeze over. These leads (cracks) have to be fairly large to be seen from outer space. Ordinary leads are too thin to be visible. My feeling is that these cracks chill the water more than usual by exposing it. They are less likely to form when a zonal flow (around and around the Pole) brings calm to the central arctic. They are more likely to form when there is cross-polar-flow and the ice is exposed to stronger winds.

Now that the sun has risen on the Pole we can use our lying eyes to examine the ice up there with satellite pictures. You can see there were some fairly huge leads formed, up there in the windy winter darkness, for the new ice is darker than the old ice, albeit sometimes thick enough to be a milky color rather than pure white.

While the cracks do not seem as extensive as they were two winters ago, my guess is that the Arctic Sea has again been chilled. I’ll be keeping an eye on the DMI temperature graph to see if the summer temperatures up there again are below normal.

While I am sure DMI has some political appointees at higher levels, demanding maps be tinted differently, I think generally their products are good, due to hard workers at lower levels. After all, some Danes work at the edge of the ice, and if the DMI gets too political and produces false maps, people may die.

That is a reality-check the people at the University Of Maine seem untroubled by.

UK MET MAP 

UK Met Mar 28 13371670 CLICK TO ENLARGE

The blocking high over Scandinavia is starting to bring north windsdown over Finland and Swedan, as it backs and extends across the North Atlantic towards Greenland.  It is forming a wall.

“Taxie” is crashing into this wall like a bug into a windshield.  Already it is occluded and weaker, up 974 mb from around 955 mb . It will may little headway against the blocking high, and will get squashed and ooze around the block to the south, kicking its energy southeast towards the low east of Spain, which is going nowhere. Until this block erodes storms in the Atlantic will just spin their wheels and generally weaken.

LOCAL VIEW  —Pattering sleet—

A battle 182 satsfc (3)A battle 182 rad_ec_640x480

 

Yesterday was a lovely sunny day of relenting wind and cold, with temperatures nudging a above freezing and the sap again starting to dip into the buckets by the maple trees. This morning I hear sleet tapping on my window.  Milder air brings moisture, and its still a bit to cold for rain.

Rain.  Can I remember how that stuff sounds?

MARCH 28  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 28B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 28B temp_latest.big (1)

LOCAL VIEW  —Beyond belief brief relief—

A battle 183 satsfc (3)A battle 183 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

 

Just for an hour or two today it was above fifty.  At one point I simply stood feeling the wind and sprinkles of rain in my face with my eyes shut.  I felt like I was standing in the bow of a ship forging ahead to a better land.

Sometimes our hopes are a sort of myopia.  What actually occurs is better than what we hoped, even if it is brief.

The forecast is abysmal: Freezing rain Sunday and Monday. Seldom do I hope for just rain, but this time I am.

MARCH 29  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 29 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 29 temp_latest.big (1)

Without going into the piffling details of how such a resurrection is possible, I’m going to say the wreckage of Morphy and the wreckage of Springer resurrected into dual lows straddling the Spiberian side of the Pole. A strong cross-polar-flow is bringing ice and cold air back from Alaska north of Greenland and down into Scandinavia.  The high pressure block is very apparent from Greenland to the Baltic.

Just imagine if this was December! Then remember that the way a winter fades away often give hints how the next winter will begin.

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 29 13396067 (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

A strong flow from the north east of Finland turns right and becomes a flow from the east all the way west to Iceland and then on to Greenland. This marks the boundary of the blocking high pressure. Taxie has squashed against that wall like a bug.  Siuth if the block various features are milling about, moving wast to west towards the north and west to east towards the south  as a sort of vast, counterclockwise confusion.  I haven’t the time to make sense of it, and find myself envying those who have the time.

LOCAL VIEW  —Sorry I wished for rain—

A battle 184 satsfc (3)A battle 184 rad_nat_640x480

 

People around here still suffer from Post-traumatic-shock-syndrome, due to an ice-storm that knocked out power for over ten days, five years ago.  That is why I hoped for rain, when they were forecasting freezing rain. However now we have flood warnings, with up to three inches forecast. Be careful what you hope for.

Talent show tomorrow is in the way of finishing my taxes.  It will be the perfect thing to do on a rainy day that turns the local world to slush.

MARCH 30  —MORNING DMI MAPS—

DMI Mar 30 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 30 temp_latest.big (1)

Sorry I missed yesterday afternoon’s DMI map.  It is interesting how “Springer” has regenerated on the far side of the blocking high, in the Kara Sea.  The exit region for polar air now appears to be down over Scandinavia.  Once again I say, “Be glad it is not January.”

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 30 13420959 Click to enlarge.

Blocking high remains in place,  Black Sea to Greenland.

LOCAL VIEW  —Perfect talent show weather—

A battle 185 satsfc (3)A battle 185 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

At least no one will be playing golf.

I’ll be a bit preoccupied until the show is over. This evening I’ll focus more on this blog.

MARCH 30  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 30B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 30B temp_latest.big (1)

The “Morphy” mess continues to swirl over the Kara Sea, bringing colder air over Barents Sea and Scandinavia.  The blocking high continues to tap Atlantic air south of Iceland. The Pole is gradually cooling, despite the fact the sun is up.

On his website at WeatherBELL Joe D’Aleo produced evidence that various factors are hinting that this pattern will be seen next winter. Not only will Eastern USA be cold next winter, but Europe as well.  If you can’t afford high heating bills, plan to shut down your house, and to move in with a neighbor from Christmas to Easter. Two can live as cheaply as one.

UK MET MAP  

UK Met Mar 30B 13431460

The blocking high pressure will only slowly erode, and is likely to still be a fature on the map bu Friday. Scandinavia is on the colder side, with northwest winds, but the British Isles have lucked out and are getting mild, southeast winds from France.  The squashed remains of “Taxie” and whirling in the Atlantic, and will attempt to push cold fronts up towards England from the south, of all odd directions.

Weather looks fair and tranquil for most of Europe, though cooler air is trying to edge westward from the east. A blocking high wouldn’t be so kind, in January.

LOCAL VIEW  —Sleet starting to mix in with the rain—

A Battle 186 satsfc (3)A battle 186 rad_ec_640x480

It’s been a grey and wet day, perfect for holding a talent show at a little church. All went well, and people had fun.  Everyone forgot the weather for a bit.

This is the first storm to stall all winter. It is whirling south of New York City, and the rain you see over Cape Cod is moving northwest towards me, cooling as it rises.  I may have to deal with a bit of an icy mess first thing tomorrow morning, so I’m hitting the hay.

LOCAL VIEW  —The radar’s deceitful.  No snow; just rain—

A battle 187 satsfc (3)A battle 187 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

It is a relief to look out into the blackness from the front porch and hear nothing but dripping and gurgling, and the rushing of the freshet over the ruined dam in the woods.  There may be a few snow flakes mixed in with the icy rain, but the stalled storm hasn’t quite been able to mess up a Monday.  I can sit back and enjoy my coffee in peace, without needing to rush off and clear walkways.  I may have to lay some planks across puddles, and drain a few other puddles, but I sort of like digging little channels in the mud and watching the water flow off in rivulets. Maybe it is because I don’t get in trouble for playing in the mud, like I used to as a boy.

The igloo at the Childcare collapsed on Friday, and we have lost a lot of snow since then. Not that rain a degree above freezing melts as well as a warm rain, but a few south-facing embankments are showing brown grass.  The bare ground is showing its face for the first time since December.

I’m still enjoying the afterglow of our little talent show. It is funny how such events come together. At first there is an unwillingness on the part of people to budge from their winter immobility, but then, as the event approaches, a subtle anticipation starts to grow. People start to suggest things, and to offer things. Immobility turns into a momentum, and soon you’ve got something rolling you can’t stop. My list of “acts” suddenly was filling up, and I went from thinking I’d have to send out for pizza to having more food prepared than we could eat. Then the show itself was full of fun, with the youngest performer aged five and the oldest aged ninety. We had no “hook” or “gong” to shame bad performers off the stage, nor was one needed. Keep your expectations low, and rather than disappointed you are astonished by the goodness you see. We had jokes and songs and magic tricks and a hilariously transparent example of “mind-reading,” (which the adults could see through but which awed the children; “How do they do that?”) It was a far better way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon than to click through a hundred channels on a TV and find nothing decent.  I expect people will be remembering things and chuckling all week.

Blast. I spoke too soon. I just looked out the window, and in the purple light of a rainy dawn I can see the rain has turned to a gloppy sort of falling slush.  O well.  What do you expect from a Monday?

I guess I’ll name the current storm “Drench.”

Where’d that storm up in Hudson Bay come from?  That is “Fooler,” for April Fool’s Day, and the storm out west is “Foolerson.”

MARCH 31   —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 31 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 31 temp_latest.big (1)

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 31 13442152 (Click to enlarge)

MARCH 31  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 31B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 31B temp_latest.big (1)

The “Morphy mess” is pulling ice away from the Siberian shores of the Kara and now Laptev seas and crunching it north towards the Pole, and also pulling ice south up against the North Coast of Svalbard, and past Franz Josef Land into Barents Sea.  (The increase in ice in Barents Sea is more than countered by a lot of ice lost from the Pacific coast of Asia, in terms of the “ice extent graphs”.)  The Morphy mess is also creating a visual swirl in the isotherms in the temperature map.

The block remains in place just north of Iceland, keeping mild air over Iceland and southwards.

It looks colder on the Canadian side, and slightly colder towards Bering Strait. Is a block forming there as well?

UK Met Map  

UK Met Mar 31B 13452833

Usually I pity European weathermen, but for some odd reason this bizarre map has me envying them. You have a warm front pressing across Iceland from the northeast, as a cold front approaches Ireland and England from the southwest.  I assume a lovely plume of mild air is being ushered up from the topless beaches in the south of France across England to Iceland, as arctic air from frigid Canada crosses the Atlantic and swings up from the south.  There may be some thunder in Cornwall tonight, but it seems bizarre that the cold air is coming from the south as, in Iceland, the warm air comes from the north.

How “Taxie” came to be such a disjointed collection of fronts and lows, strewn about the Atlantic, both baffles and fascinates me. If I had the time and money I’d hire a young European meteorologist to study it, make an animation, and take me through the evolution of each low pressure, step by step.  (Not likely, this week.)

Scandinavia continues to get north winds, on the other side of the blocking high, but it looks like the winds may die and they’ll get calm as the center of the block gravitates north, with little polar lows skimming along its northern edge, perhaps giving the arctic coasts of Norway, Sweden and Finland bits of bad weather as they zip east.

Central Europe and France looks like they get to celebrate springtime. Must be nice, but I wouldn’t know about that.

APRIL 1 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Apr 1 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 1 temp_latest.big (1)

A reinforcing low is moving up from just east of the Ural mountains in Russia to join the “Morphy mess” in the Kara Sea, keeping Scandinavia as the exit region of polar winds.  The blocking high will gradually weaken and center over Scandinavia, so the north winds will give way to calm and then south winds a week from now.

The Pole continues to cool but still is above normal. Things are quiet on the Canadian and Bering Strait sides.

UK MET MAP

UK Met Apr 1 13464993 (Click to enlarge)

A piece of “Taxie” has brewed up a bit of a storm west of Spain and Portugal, but this storm will not forge east into the Mediterranean, and rather will drift back to the northwest, only kicking a storm ahead to the south coast of Spain towards next weekend.  The boundary between the blocking high’s air and Atlantic air will remain stuck, generally from coastal France through the British Isles to south of Iceland, until the block breaks down and drifts east next weekend.

LOCAL VIEW  —No break during the break—

A battle 188 satsfc (3)A battle 188 rad_nat_640x480

I have to cover for a member of my staff who hurt her back. Then I have a state-required class to take tonight. However the dawn is lovely, as we are between Drench and Foolerson.

APRIL 1  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Apr 1B mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 1B temp_latest.big (1)

I don’t see much that is new. The blocking high pressure is still in place, with Iceland on the warm side and Svalbard on the cold side. The Morphy Mess is being strengthened by the addition of a low coming up from the Sreppes, and it looks like the mild side of that low is managing to push some milder air up towards the Pole. This is quite a change from January, when south winds from Siberia are so cold.

UK Met Map

UK Met Apr 1B 13478807 (click to enlarge)

“Taxie” continues to spin, drifting away from Spain to the north, but basically stalled by the persistent blocking high to its north.  That high has created a strange situation over the British Isles, where the much-modified air over southern England is from the Canadian arctic, while to the north the much-modified air over Scotland is from the south coast of France. Taxie is liable to bring milder air over much of the British Isles briefly, though it is difficult to figure out the flows when things are basically stagnant.

One odd feature I don’t understand is shown by that bit of cold front between Norway and Greenland. That is a developing storm that will clip northern Scandinavia.  I also think it is indicative of the crumbling of the blocking high pressure. It looks like the block will lose its roots in the upper atmosphere, and the high pressure at the surface will go rolling away across Scandinavia by the weekend.

LOCAL VIEW  —What a glory day it was!—

A battle 189 satsfc (3)A battle 189 rad_ec_640x480_01

“Drench” continues to fade slowly to the east, as Foolerson stalls north of the Great Lakes and kicks fronts towards us. We didn’t see storms stall like this all winter, but perhaps we are seeing hints of next winter’s patterns.  Stalled storms give us our deepest snows, which is not a thing I am in the mood to think about right now. I’d much rather simply bask in the healing beams of sheer, unadulterated mercy, called “Spring.”

With Foolerson so close to us, to our west, I am under no illusions that the fine weather will last, and in fact computer models are giving us further snow before true spring comes in May, however today was a day to simply bask.

The word “bask” has ferocious Viking roots.  Similar to the word “bath,” its use meant you were not bathing in warm water, but rather in the warm blood of your defeated foe.  While bloodbaths are no longer politically correct, back then it was preferable to the alternative, which was death. It meant your foe was defeated and you were alive, and joy was in the gruesome word. (Now we think we are more civilized when we kill from far away using drones.)  In any case, apparently it took Shakespeare to take the Norse word for bloodbath and connect it to sunshine. It is a far nicer word when the foe you have defeated is not a fellow human, but the inanimate enemy called “winter.”

Yesterday morning I was flinching from sleet pellets that stung my scalp as I salted the walkways, for the sleet was mixed with freezing rain and small icicles hung from every twig and electrical wire. It accumulated as a cobalt blue slush that coated the ground but didn’t flow downhill like ordinary slush, until the victorious sun broke through in the afternoon, and abruptly the world melted.  Today’s brilliant sunshine was almost a shock.

I took the children out for a walk, and was surprised to see the boisterous spring-fever energy fade into a languor.  We wound up at a stretch of large stones that had been rolled from a pasture by farmers of the past,  and the children just sat about on the warm rocks, quietly conversing, and also basking.  In the distance my goats were all laying down, and also basking.

I can only conclude basking is natural, and has a hidden importance.

APRIL 2 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Apr 2 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 2 temp_latest.big (1)

(You can click these maps to enlarge them.)

“Morphy” is creating a strong flow north over the Laptev Sea towards the Pole. For some reason they haven’t updated the Navy maps since March 27, but I imagine the ice is being pushed away from the Siberian coast there, and is crunching and thickening towards the Pole.  The air being pushed towards the Pole is above minus-ten, and near the coast is nearly up to freezing, but further east some remaining Siberian chill near minus-twenty is being wrapped into the swirl. Further west Morphy has less tightly packed isobars and the conditions are calmer over the Kara Sea.  Barents Sea is also untroubled, until you get over towards Svalbard, where a strong flow from the north is likely pushing ice south through Fram Strait.  A little low north of Norway is sucking some of that colder air into northern Scandinavia.

Over towards Bering Strait conditions are calmer and high pressure is blocking any major invasions of Pacific air.  The coldest air is now west of Greenland in Canada north of Hudson Bay.

UK MET MAP

UK Met Apr 2 13491934 (Click to enlarge)

An interesting home-grown arctic low is attacking the top of Norway, north of the blocking high pressure, which persists from the Baltic to Greenland.  Taxie continues to spin, stalled south of the British Isles. “Drench” is appearing at the lower left.

LOCAL VIEW  —A surprising sunny daybreak—

A battle 190 satsfc (3) A battle 190 rad_nat_640x480

 

The high pressure between Drench and Foolerson is holding strong, and it hasn’t clouded over yet.

APRIL 2 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Apr 2B mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 2B temp_latest.big (1)

 

APRIL 3 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Apr 3 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 3 temp_latest.big (1)

COMPARISON OF SEA ICE THIS YEAR WITH LAST YEAR

APRIL 2 2013  Comparison April 2 2013 AM2SI20130402RGB

APRIL 2 2014  Comparison April 2 2014 AM2SI20140402RGB

Bill Illis offered these two links in a comment on a sea ice thread over at WUWT.  If you open the two links in a new tab, and then click back and forth, you can have fun and fall behind schedule.  Greenland and the Atlantic are at the top, and Bering Strait and the Pacific are at the bottom. The black dot is the North Pole. The thicker ice appears as a darker shade of blue.  My own observations were as follows:

RE: Bill Illis says:
April 3, 2014 at 5:48 am

Thanks for sharing those two satellite shots. I did what you said, and after falling behind schedule by having a blast, clicking to and fro between the two tabs, I am struck by the increase in the ice thickness.

The exception seems to be the Laptev Sea north of central Siberia. That makes sense, when you remember the cross-polar-flow kicked in fairly often during the winter, sending Siberian air across to Canada (and then down to freeze my socks off in New Hampshire.) That flow would be offshore in the Laptev Sea, pushing the ice across towards Canada.

As you head east from North of Scandinavia the Northeast passage is wide open in Barents Sea, looks like it is open or will soon be open along the coasts of the Kara Sea and Laptev Sea (due the aforementioned offshore winds) but when you proceed east to the East Siberian Sea you start to run into the thicker ice. While there is less ice south of Bering Strait than there was the prior (record setting) winter, north of Bering Strait in the Chukchi Sea it looks thicker.

This may present a bit of a problem for shipping in the Northeast passage. It doesn’t matter much if you are following a super-icebreaker, when the winds turn north and the ice starts shifting south. The channel behind an icebreaker can close like the jaws of a bear trap. (And winds can get strong, from the north, along the Siberian coast during the summer. When you have inland temperatures of 85 degrees and offshore temperatures of 34; it generates one heck of a sea-breeze.)

(If an oil tanker gets trapped up there, for even a day, Greenpeace will be doing back-flips. So the Russians won’t mention it.)

My own take is that what really matters is the temperature of the water under the ice. My assumption is that the water is colder, and less stratified. (In calmer conditions a layer of warmer, more-salty water is below colder, less-salty surface water. However conditions have been far from calm, with large areas ice-free at the start of the past two winters. This is especially true of Barents Sea, however the waters north and south of Bering Strait on the Pacific side had below-normal ice-cover for the first half of winter. Without that protective cover the waters get churned and don’t stratify as much.) However an assumption is only a guess.

It is not that we don’t have a clue, concerning arctic sea-ice. We just need more clues. We’ll watch and wait for more clues.

The entire thread can be seen here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/04/03/sea-ice-news-volume-5-number-1-multiyear-ice-on-the-rise/

APRIL 3 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Apr 3B mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 3B temp_latest.big (1)

The “Morphy Mess” has moved over the Pole, and is a sort of warm-core storm sitting atop the planet. The theory of a “Polar Cell” (like a Hadley or Ferrel Cell) is suppose to have air rising around the periphery of the Pole and sinking at the center, but this appears to be the opposite; air rising at the pole and sinking at the periphery.  I’ll need to think about this, after my taxes are done.

Looks like ice is being blown into Fram Strait, but not out.

APRIL 4  —DMI MORNING MAPS–

DMI Apr 4 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 4 temp_latest.big (1)

I’m just sticking these in for the record.  No one will want to be anywhere near me this weekend, as I’ll be up to my elbows in illegible receipts and swearing a lot.

Every year I say I’ll be more organized however the truth is I’m just a slob.  The government invented taxes to punish disorganized people.

DMI Apr 5 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 5 temp_latest.big (1)

I’m still stuck with heaps of receipts, but just needed to relax my eyes on some cool ice.

It looks colder up there; the tongue of mild air that blew up from the Steppes over the Pole has lost its heat.

Where’d that storm north of Norway come from?  You takes your eyes off things for a second, and those rascal storms are up to something.

Looks like the block hasn’t quite quit yet.

UK Met Maps  —saturday—

UK Met Apr 5 FSXX00T_00UK Met Apr 5B 13578913 (click maps to enlarge)

The block has developed a weakness between a Greenland center and a center over Europe. Lows are starting to squeeze through that weakness, though it looks like “Taxie” did get crushed and have to kick low pressure beneath the Block to Italy.

Things are starting to move west-to-east again, and the high over Greenland ought roll east along the edge of the Arctic over the top of Scandinavia.  Behind it may be some south winds that will push the ice the wrong way, north through Fram Strait.

LOCAL VIEW  —a cold shot—

A battle 191 satsfc (3)A battle 191 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

 

After a lovely week, with a lot of snow simply fading away, we had a shot of rain last night and this morning as a storm came up the coast and over us. Behind it it is sharply colder.  I’m glad I never let the wood stove go out. (I only have one fire a winter, but I light it in October and it goes out in April.)

OK  Back to the taxes.

APRIL 7  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Aprol 7B mslp_latest.bigDMI Aprol 7B temp_latest.big (1)

These temperatures are roughly normal for the Pole. If it dips below normal up there it will be for the first time since last autumn.

Taxes are bad for my immune system. I’m suffering from a bad cold.

APRIL 8 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI April 8 mslp_latest.bigDMI April 8 temp_latest.big (1)

APRIL 9  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Apr 9B mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 9B temp_latest.big (1)

Milder air up to Iceland and Svalbard.  Quite cold north of there around the Pole. The flow through Fram Strait is slow and even halted. Looks like ice is being pushed away from the western Siberian coast, in the Kara Sea.

UK MET MAPS APRIL 9 

UK Met Apr 9 FSXX00T_00UK Met Apr 9B 13679070 (Click maps to enlarge)

I’m just archiving these maps here, hoping I find time to peruse them at a later date.

Looks like the blocking high pressure has pretty much eroded away.

LOCAL VIEW  —SURVIVING THE CLIMATE CHANGE—

A battle 192 satsfc (3)A battle 192 rad_nat_640x480

 

The map shows a secondary cold front sweeping down over us, so we will get a freeze tonight. The low will be in the mid-twenties (-4 Celsius) and not a tree is budding.  The farm pond remains astonishingly ice-covered, for this late in the spring, and to our west the Great Lakes are 50% ice-covered, at a time of year when they are usually nearly ice-free.: (Hat tip to Joseph D’Aleo’s WeatherBELL blog.)

Great Lakes Apr 9 lice_00(6)

Great Lakes Apr 9 20140331180000_CVCSWCTGL_0007594648

 

However the radar map shows something comforting:  Not a bit of snow is falling in the entire USA. And the sunshine is comforting as well, as it is as high on April 9 as it is on September 2, when people flock to the beaches for the last holiday of summer, “Labor Day Weekend.”  All the trees are still green then, and the squash and tomatoes thrive in the gardens, un-blackened by frost.

The sun has real power, and despite frosts every night that freezes puddles, the snow has vanished from the pasture, (though it is still six inches deep on north slopes and in shaded groves of pine.) Unfortunately people shed their winter clothing too swiftly, ignoring the wisdom of old-timers, which stated , “Stick to your long underwear until your long underwear sticks to you”. Consiquently a cold virus has seized the opportunity to afflict my little town, and even though I kept on wearing my long underwear, being sneezed upon by so many snuffling, under-dressed children dropped off by snuffling under-dressed parents overwhelmed my immune system, and though I never wound up in bed like so many others, I truly felt like something the cat dragged in.

One bad side of a farm is that even when you get sick the animals still require care.  A bad side of running a Childcare is that when the employees call in sick you still have to work.

Simply getting through the day was an ordeal. One aspect of the current virus is that, while the congestion isn’t all that bad, you feel totally exhausted and very achy. You feel like you have worked very hard even before you have worked a lick, right down to the aching muscles. All you want to do is sleep, and in fact that has been the talk of the town, the past week: How much time people have spent in bed.

As I trudged through the day I couldn’t help but wonder how young mothers, and especially young, single mothers, manage when they are sick.  The kids don’t stop being kids.  The mother has to keep caring, though she really needs rest.

By the time I came home, and faced the huge drift of receipts and tax-forms on the dining-room table,  I could barely last a half-hour adding up sums.  I got more and more anxious as the deadline approached with my taxes undone.  However today I finally was starting to feel better. I planned to go home and get the damn taxes done. But my daughters, who have had the virus, were feeling better as well, and chose tonight to visit, along with my baby granddaughter.

I faced a choice: Do my taxes, or sweep the papers aside on the dining-room table for one more night.  As is usual for me, I quietly and privately told the Federal Government to go to hell, and instead of doing my taxes I put my wife, daughters, and granddaughter first.

If the government demands an explanation, I’ll blame “Climate Change.”  Global Warming definitely afflicts the northern hemisphere in April, and makes people forget to wear jackets and catch colds and sneeze all over me.  It is not my fault; it is the government’s fault. Despite spending a billion dollars a day, world-wide, to prevent Climate Change, they haven’t kept springtime from coming.  Like the Grinch who tried to keep Christmas from coming, they are attempting to regulate things which cannot be governed.

Once I’m over this cold and have my taxes done, I think my pen will ventilate a huge amount of spleen, concerning the complete stupidity of government regulations.

However first things first. First is: Get the damn taxes done.

APRIL 10   —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Apr 10 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 10 temp_latest.big (1)

NORTH POLE CAMERA BEING SET UP

http://translate.google.ru/translate?hl=ru&sl=ru&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fbarneo-polus.livejournal.com%2F

http://psc.apl.washington.edu/wordpress/research/npeo-2014-field-reports/

APRIL 11  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Apr 11B mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 11B temp_latest.big (1)

APRIL 12 —DMI MORNING MAPS—Threat to camp at North Pole—

DMI Apr 12 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 12 temp_latest.big (1)

 

A pretty big storm has blown up over the Laptev Sea, and is moving north towards the guys setting up the North Pole Camera. I’ll dub the storm “Camprek,” because I imagine it is wrecking their camping.  Hopefully no leads form right where they’re working. They’ve already been through a “Polar Bear Alert,” which seemingly involves everyone withdrawing to the tent that serves as their cafeteria. Now they can gather first hand observations of an arctic gale.  I wonder if the ice rocks and moans.

I don’t see how I am expected to finish up  my taxes with this interesting stuff going on.

QUICK PEEK AT UK MET MAP

UK Met Apr 12 13741773 (Click to enlarge)

The map shows a new pattern has taken over while my attention has been elsewhere. A faint memory of the blocking high has faded east into Russia, with a tail of high pressure dangling down towardfs the Azores, as north of it a new storm track marches up over Iceland and then along the arctic coast of Scandinavian and Russia.

The weak low over the Black Sea is remnants of “Taxie.”   The Icelandic Gale is “Taxick” (because I’m sick of taxes) and the Labrador Low is “Taxmore” (because I have more taxes to do).

What will be interesting to watch is the Azores High and the high pressure south of Newfoundland.  They are going to attempt to take over the British Isles and southern Europe, and perhaps even southern Scandinavia, and push the storm track north into the arctic.  However the storm track will keep counterattacking with fronts like the one approaching Scotland.

LOCAL VIEW  —A battle nearly over—

A battle 193 satsfc (3)A battle 193 rad_nat_640x480

 

The last bit of snow in the center of the Childcare playground, a circle where the igloo once was, had faded away to a single lump the size of a grapefruit on Thursday morning, and by afternoon it was gone.  Yesterday it was warm enough to go out wearing just a sweater, with no jacket, though a front swung through late in the day with cold sprinkles of rain. This morning is clear and chilly, but a benevolent sun is beaming over the eastern hills,  and I have the sense we might escape without an April snow this year.  Of course, I do glance anxiously at that patch of snow showing on the Canadian border of North Dakota. However even if it does get us, it will melt quickly.  The worst is past and the future is bright.

Or it will be when I finalize my taxes.

I am planning to explain why it takes me so long, but if I do it now I’ll be avoiding the task of finishing them.  How even as I work I’m muttering some choice bombast, saving it up for an essay which will ventilate a lot of pent up ire.

APRIL 12 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Apr 12B mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 12B temp_latest.big (1)

“Camprek” continues strong, edging towards the Pole. The Friday report from Barneo Camp mentions “the weather is deteriorating,” but I could find no Saturday report. Likely they are busy, and have more important things to do than chat to people outside.

“Taxick” continues on towards northern Norway.

APRIL 13  —MORNING MAPS—

DMI Apr 13 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 13 temp_latest.big (1)

APRIL 13 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Apr 13B mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 13B temp_latest.big (1)

It looks like “Camprek” is weakening as it nears the Pole, though it still looks fairly windy up there.  I wonder if they evacuated the Barnea camp and airstrip. The ice is only around four to five feet thick, and strong winds can crack the ice and open sudden long leads of water.

I’m a disheveled wreck, but my taxes are nearly done.  Then I can get back to important things, like watching ice melt.

It is interesting to see a “warm sector” of a storm pulled right atop the Pole.  Though the DMI temperature graph of the Pole will likely show a spike, I’ll be watching to see if it is swiftly followed by a crash.  Sometimes these Polar storms seem to generate cold air.  I’m not certain of the dynamics, and will be seeking clues.

APRIL 14  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Apr 14 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 14 temp_latest.big (1)

APRIL 14  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Apr 14B mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 14B temp_latest.big (1)

Camprek is weakening right over the Pole. It did not wreak the camp but did make life difficult. The Russian site reported (translation) :

Today was not any flights. Yesterday evening, the weather began to deteriorate and the whole Today snowstorm sweeps. Despite the fact that all the tents were fixed on the first day, at night the wind has torn corner tourist wardroom, so the whole team was alerted to further strengthen the tents (tying ropes). From today, the camp commandant introduced compulsory clock duty to look after the tents from wind damage and time to detect possible faults ice – the last day of the route with skiers reported more torosheniem and appearance of open water. 

A “torosheniem” is a pressure ridge, a sort of mini-mountain range of ice formed when two plates crunch together.

For a while the wind was blowing over 56 mph with temperatures down around  -31° C!!!

That is a nasty wind-chill for the people who went up there to ski.  Some Chinese tourists suffered frostbitten fingers.  (I’ve had enough of hurting hands for this year.)

No reports from the North Pole Camera people.

LOCAL REPORT  —Taxes Done!— —Wild and Mild—

A battle 194 satsfc (3)A battle 194 rad_nat_640x480

 

 

Considering I’ve spent so much time watching ice melt, I likely have no business talking about anyone wasting time.  I’m sure many think counting coins is much more fun. However that is their business, and my business is my business. Just as they would likely deeply resent it if I forced them to watch ice melt, I deeply resent being forced to count coins.

To be honest, I consider money a sort of manure. It is a byproduct of work, just as manure is a byproduct of farming. It has its value, just as manure has a value, which is why farmers once called it “brown gold.” However farmers knew better than to hoard manure.  It did absolutely no good unless you spread it around the garden to enrich the soil.

Our government likes to talk about “redistributing wealth,” as if they were spreading manure, however the fact is they obsess about manure.  They can’t get enough of it.  They  have to create more and more of it, even to a degree where they print trillions that don’t exist, which is tantamount to creating manure without cows. Nor do they spread it in sensible places, such as gardens that grow food. Instead they spread it on the ceiling and walls of the houses where they abide, and in the kitchens, which is why their lives stink, and why the poor stay poor as their cronies thrive.

Farmers are quite able to handle large amounts of manure without obsessing upon it.  They keep stables clean (except perhaps in the coldest weather, when manure in stalls can generate free heat), and have a rough idea how much land their mellowing pile of manure in the barnyard can fertilize.  However they would laugh at the idea of recording every single flatulence of every cow, which is basically what the government requires of me, when I do my income taxes.

In order to figure out your income you have to tally the amount you took in, and then subtract what you expended making it, and the result is what you harvested.  In simple terms, it takes a potato to grow potatoes, and when you say you have harvested twenty potatoes from four plants, you need to remember the single potato you cut into four pieces to grow the four plants, and subtract it from your total harvest.  If it took a potato to grow twenty, your harvest isn’t twenty, but nineteen.

Because I run a Childcare, my harvest is happy children. It has been my experience that children don’t thrive in a Childcare which is operated like a penitentiary built to incarcerate criminals. They’d much rather be outside, doing stuff like cutting a potato into four pieces and seeing it grow twenty.  When I am dealing with twelve children, that involves twelve potatoes. It is a very small expense, but the government demands I be able to show them a receipt, “Twelve Potatoes.”

It just so happens that it doesn’t take all that much time to plant twelve potatoes. Kids also don’t want to stand about all summer watching a potato plant grow.  Potatoes take about twenty minutes in April. I need to think up another activity, and this involves another small receipt. After three-hundred-sixty-five days I have hundreds of small receipts.

As I went through the hundreds of receipts, doing my taxes, I came across one that stated, “Nightcrawlers, $2.50″.  This refered to a hot day in August when we could not dig our worms for fishing, as the soil was very dry and the worms had gone deep down and coiled themselves in balls to hibernate until the next rain. So I swung into the local market, got worms, and the children didn’t have to sweat under the hot sun learning what they learned the day before, (which was that in hot, dry weather it is hard to find worms because they go down deep and coil themselves in balls). Instead I was a small-time master with twelve disciples, heading off to learn about catfish.

The Childcare my wife and I run has won praise and awards. I wish the government cared for children (and their parents) like we do, but they care more about receipts. In fact, if I get audited, there may be trouble about the “Nightcrawlers $2.50″ receipt.  You see, I was in such a rush to get to work on time that day that I neglected to put it in the proper folder, It sat in my truck, and my dog sat on it. It slipped to the passenger-side floor and somehow coffee got spilled on it. Invading sunbeams faded the ink until you need to know what it says to read it.

This sort of situation can only develop when people in power care more for manure than cows. However if they care so much for manure, they should not be surprised when their reward isn’t milk and honey, and the brown stuff they bite into turns out to be something other than chocolate.

There. I had to get that out of my system.

Today was actually hot.  It was 56 (13 Celsius) even before the sun rose, and as I drove to mail my taxes it was 75 (24 Celsius).  Its been a while since I could think about complaining about heat. Nor am I thinking about that now, as the radar shows snow in Chicago, heading my way.

The wind has been roaring from the southwest, and it is ever so nice to get shoved about by a wind gusting over 40 mph and not to feel cold.  I’d write a sonnet about it, but I’m too worn out from paying what I owe the government for making my life miserable and preventing poetry.

APRIL 15  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Apr 15 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 15 temp_latest.big (1)

APRIL 15  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

dmi apr 15B mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 15B temp_latest.big (1)

 

APRIL 16  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Apr 16 mslp_latest.bigDMI Apr 16 temp_latest.big (1)

With “Campreck” fading away, perhaps they can get the North Pole Camera up and running.

LOCAL VIEW  —A parting shot; howling snow squalls pass through—

A battle 195 satsfc (3)A battle 195 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

 

The world is white out my window this morning. My wife said, “It’s sort of pretty out there.” When I looked at her in disbelief, I could see mischief in her eyes. She was only saying it to stimulate incredulity in my face.

It has been a long, hard winter, and we’ve actually been lucky to get so little snow in the second half of it.  This is just a parting shot from the North, to remind us that our land is only being loaned to the summer.

I’m attempting to clean up the wreckage taxes made of the dining room, and put all the dirty receipts into neat folders, in case I am ever audited. (I’d much rather throw them all in the trash.) Once that is finished, I suppose the “taxing time” is over, and we can step into the amazing resurrection called Spring. That deserves a new post, so I guess this one is over.

The continuation of these posts will be found at: http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/arctic-sea-ice-melt-resurrection-or-zombie/

ARCTIC SEA ICE EXTENT TRIPLES!!!

eXTENT sEP 17 N_bm_extent_hiresExtent March 18B map N_bm_extent_hires

I created my sensationalist headline to counter the headline we are likely to once again see, come this July, which will read, “North Pole Melting!!!”

When it comes to facts, neither headline is truly false. The truth in my headline can be seen in the following graph, which not only shows that the arctic sea-ice extent has tripled since last September, but has actually quadrupled since the summer of 2012.

Sea_Ice_Extent_March 18 v2

The second headline is also factual, because the ice melts at the the North Pole every summer. This happens because a day at the the North Pole is six months long, which means the “noontime heat” lasts around a month.  Temperatures nudge above freezing in early July and sink below freezing in late August. This has happened every summer since records started being kept in 1958. A summer without melting at the Pole would be a real reason for sensationalist headlines, but there has never been a summer without melting. Here is the Danish Meteorological Institute’s graph for polar temperatures in the year 1958, as opposed to last summer’s:

DMI meanT_1958DMI 2013 meanT_2013 (1)

It can be seen that even in the case of last summer, (to the right), which had below-normal summer temperatures, it would not be dishonest to have a headline proclaiming “North Pole Melting.”

The difference between the two headlines is not in their truthfulness, but in the impressions they convey.  A headline about tripled extent is more suggestive of a coming ice age than a headline about a melting North Pole. A headline about a melting North Pole is more conducive to panic about Global Warming.

I don’t see much wrong in having different impressions. Having more than one impression is a healthy thing. They balance out and produce scope and depth. This is why we have two eyes. The right eye is a thesis, the left eye is an antithesis, and between the two of them they produce a synthesis, which contains something no single view has, called “depth perception.”

In the same way a two-party system is better than the single party of a dictatorship. The allure of a dictatorship is that one faces no legal opposition, however one constantly risks getting no advice when about to step off a cliff, and history shows us, again and again, that megalomaniacs who think their own view is best view climb pinnacles of power only to plummet to ruin, often bringing entire populations with them.

Science is also most healthy when it is open to new ideas. This is not to say it isn’t afflicted with attributes of humanity: Youths tend to be undisciplined and to lack experience, while the aged tend to resist change and be set in their ways, but, in theory at least, scientists are ever hopeful they will be there at the bright dawning of a fresh and new discovery. There is no bowing and fawning among true scientists before the magic word, “Consensus,” (which is a word that assumes discovery is a thing of the past.)

You may be wondering what all this has to do with sea-ice. So am I. I originally studied sea-ice for the same reason I studied clouds: It was an escape from reality.  I can honestly say that I didn’t return to reality; reality invaded my clouds.  Where it once was a safe thing to say, “It’ll be a nice day, if it don’t rain,” it suddenly became unsafe, and you could wind up with your hair all blown back by another person’s rage. “Weather,” which was once a safe topic, has become more dangerous than discussing religion or politics.

To have weather become a dangerous topic has led me to conclude that there is no such thing as a safe social posture, on this crazy planet. It took me decades to arrive at this conclusion, which I started to understand back in the early 1970′s when it suddenly became politically incorrect to open a door for a lady.  (Before, opening a door always earned me a smile, but suddenly it got me a swift kick in the shins.) Even if I assumed silence and a disarming smile, people seemed liable to regard me as Brer Rabbit regarded the silent tar-baby.  http://americanfolklore.net/folklore/2010/07/brer_rabbit_meets_a_tar_baby.html

Considering there was no safe place to withdraw any more, (and I was a master of withdrawal, avoidance, and all other forms of escapism,) and considering there were no clouds left to hide in, I had to fight back, and it turns out that once I’m cornered I can fight like a cornered hamster. I refused to be cowed any longer, and went around looking for a fight, doing dangerous things like opening doors for young women. Obviously it was successful, for now young women want nothing to do with me.

It was equally successful in terms of sea-ice. I no longer search for the politically correct way to bring up the topic. While it is politically correct to talk at great length about ice melting, it is a horrendous social gaffe to talk about ice reforming, but I did it, and now the “beautiful people” don’t invite me to their parties. Fine with me. The only ones who really thinks those people are beautiful are in their mirrors, and those mirrors sometimes have doubts.

This has left me free to do what I want. (I told you I was a master of withdrawal, avoidance and other forms of escapism.) What I want to do is watch sea-ice melt and reform. Watching ice melt and watching water refreeze is tedious, though not as boring as a party held by the politically correct, and unlike “beautiful people,” it has the redeeming quality of possessing real beauty that rivals the beauty of clouds.

Furthermore, as I watch ice melt and refreeze, I become increasingly aware we are on the verge of discovery.  We are about to see something that actually deserves the word “unprecedented,” because it has never been seen before.

It has never been seen before because the AMO has a cycle from “cold” to “warm” and then back to “cold” of roughly 60 years, and we have only had satellites viewing the sea-ice for roughly fifty years. (There are some who behave as if the earliest satellite-pictures don’t exist, but never mind that for now.) Therefore we are about to see a part of the AMO cycle humans have never witnessed before, from outer space.

Fishermen down here on earth have witnessed what we are about to witness, and have done so for centuries, and the Danish Meteorological Institute, (because Danes sail arctic seas,) labored long and hard to make maps of ice-conditions in the northern seas, for decades before we had satellites. They possess the old maps, but for some reason don’t make them public, (but never mind that for now.)  I did get to study those maps long and hard at an old Watts Up With That post, http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/02/cache-of-historical-arctic-sea-ice-maps-discovered/ It was a was a wonderful post I returned to over and over, to study pre-satellite conditions, but the last time I went there all the maps had vanished, so I can’t refer you there.

Therefore you will have to take my word for this.  If the AMO sixty-year-cycle is a true cycle, and if history repeats itself, we are about to witness a most astonishing regrowth of ice on the Atlantic side of the Pole. We will move from “unprecedented” lows to “unprecedented” highs in only five to ten years.

However let us assume the worst. I know from experience that those who refuse to learn from history attempt to erase the past, and let us assume they have succeeded, and we only have the current situation to forecast the future with.  Have we any indications we are about to see a dramatic shift, in the world of arctic sea-ice?

First, besides the AMO there is a thing called the PDO, and it shifted from a “warm” phase to a “cold” phase a few years back, and, and in steps and stages, the sea-ice has made a remarkable “recovery” on the Pacific side.  Ice north and south of Bering Strait was at record levels last winter, and this winter, despite a slow start and despite above-normal temperatures in Alaska, it has achieved an above-normal extent. However the ice in the Strait is thin ice that will be gone by June. What is really impressive, on the Pacific side, is the increase of thicker multi-year ice.  That ice has buckled and built, heaped-up in multiple pressure ridges, and expanded slowly west along the North American arctic coast, starting from a last-hold-out northeast of Greenland, and creeping along the entire Canadian and Alaskan coasts, until it is now invading waters north of the Bering Strait itself.

This means a great deal, in terms of the measure people make a big deal about::  “Sea Ice Extent”, because ice-free waters north of Bering Strait added a lot to the decrease in sea-ice totals seen over the past decade.  Because those waters are now less likely to be ice-free, sea-ice-extent could rebound a million, or even two million km2, on the Pacific side.

To some that does not matter, because Pacific waters are minor contributors to the Arctic Ocean, compared to Atlantic waters, which include the northern tendrils of the Gulf Stream. These people will focus on the dregs of a warm AMO, which has greatly reduced the ice on the Atlantic side.  How greatly? Well, the past winter has seen so little ice regrow in the Barents Sea that its ice cover is at levels so low that they are “unprecedented” for this time of year, in the satellite era.

This open water is largely due to a lack of cold air to freeze the sea, because of a surge of warmth up through Europe towards the Pole this past winter. This air had to surge north to replace all the arctic air heading the other way, south down to freeze my socks off, and even reaching Texas and Northern Mexico, in North America.  The warm air, surging north as cold air surged south, defied a simpler idea seen in textbooks: The idea of a “Polar Cell.”

A “Polar Cell” is much like a “Hadley Cell” down at the equator.  Warm air rises in the warmer south, flows north aloft, and then sinks in the colder north. When this happens the flow around the Pole is “zonal.”  Cold is kept up at the Pole by winds flowing around the Pole.  That sure didn’t happen this past winter. The flow was “meidianal,” .with the jet stream describing such loops that warm air was brought to the Pole itself, as cold air was brought to Mexico. Often it was colder in Minnesota than at the North Pole, and in east Siberia (away from the warm inflow surging north over Europe,) it was even fifty degrees colder than at the Pole.  (Minus-seventy when the Pole was “only” minus-twenty.)

Things were out of balance. What caused the imbalance? My guess is that the Altlantic AMO and Pacific PDO are out of Phase. The Pacific is “cold” while the Atlantic is “warm”. Until the Atlantic AMO becomes “cold” we are unlikely to see a return of a zonal flow, where the cold air stays north where it belongs.

But how does the Pacific, being so much bigger, bully the Atlantic into becoming “cold”?

I have no idea.  I think that is what satellites are about to show us, over the next five to ten years. I hope very much to live long enough to witness the entire process, as (and if) it happens.

However I do have a hunch that open water is a better way for the Arctic Ocean to lose heat than ice-covered water. The open water of the Barents Sea may be losing heat and be part of what prompts the “cold” AMO.  Also, as light again reveals the sea-ice, removing darkness like wrapping paper removed on a Christmas morning, my lying eyes can again scan the ice up at the Pole, and I see evidence that it was very windy up there in the dark of the last arctic night.  Where a zonal flow would keep things calm and very cold, the meridianal flow had winds roaring north and roaring south in a way that stressed the sea-ice, creating cracks that expanded to areas of open water over a mile wide, while in other areas crunching ice together to create pressure ridges.  The areas of open water, (now thinly frozen over but still visible), were exposed to air which, though ten degrees above normal, were still a “balmy” twenty-below, and this exposure would chill the sea more than if it was protected by thick ice. That too would be a case where open water does not indicate warming, but rather a chilling of the Arctic Ocean. It is the chilling of the ocean that will lead to the expansion of sea-ice, I theorize.

This is only a hunch, and I wrote more about my hunch at:  http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/09/author-of-its-own-demise-musings-on-the-amo/

It would not surprise me a bit if my hunch was utterly wrong. After all, we are about to witness what has never been witnessed from above.

Being wrong doesn’t bother me all that much, because I like that which is fresh and new, especially new discoveries. And as the AMO shifts towards “cold” such freshness and newness and discovery will be available to all, just as warm sunshine is available to all, and falls on rich and poor alike. It will be a wonderful newness, just as springtime is a newness.

There are some who don’t like being wrong, and dislike newness. They prefer correctness, especially correctness of a political-correct sort, even if it means they cling to a winter and never see spring. If you really want to enjoy seeing what we’ve never seen before, as the AMO shifts to “cold,” I’d suggest avoiding that crowd….unless, of course, you prefer an echo chamber echoing ignorance, and enjoy the depth-perception of a Cyclops.

Sorry. I meant this essay to be humorous, and did not mean to end it on a bitter note, but the long, cold winter refuses to relent, and my heating bills are through the roof, and now I have to do my taxes and they will be higher.  That’s enough to wipe the smile off most anyone’s face.

ARCTIC SEA ICE MAXIMUM —MARCH MADNESS—

This is a continuation of a series of posts, the last of which was,  http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/arctic-sea-ice-maximum-the-peak-at-the-depth/

This series of posts has wandered a long ways from its original intent, which was to discuss the view from the North Pole Camera.  That camera has been gone since September, and we still have roughly 45 30!!! days before the new one is set up in April.

The wait through winter darkness has been long, but already the horizon at the Pole is brightening with twilight, and at 12:57 PM on March 20 the sun will blindingly streak light across the frozen waste, and we can go back to using our eyes (at least from the satellite viewing from miles above.)

I prefer using my eyes, as some of the reporting done about the ice at the Pole has been less than observant. Also there is a sense of wonder to be had from simply witnessing what goes on up there.

I try to post twice a day, with the updates added to the bottom of the post. When the post gets long and unwieldy I add a new post. I post the DMI polar maps of pressure and temperature, and maps of other areas of interest, attempting to avoid wandering too far afield and to keep polar sea-ice the main topic (and often failing.) Lastly, I have been describing how the arctic has been influencing my business in southern New Hampshire, in a segment called “Local View.”  (People of good breeding may wish to skip over these sections because, as a frustrated poet, I use them as an outlet for my propensity towards purple prose, including going so far as to hide sonnets in the prose.)

I am calling this post “March Madness” for two reasons.  First, the clash between increasing warmth in the south and residual winter in the north creates some of the greatest storms at this time, and second, people (including myself) go a bit nuts after a long winter. (Hopefully I will do so with charm and some degree of tact.)

MAR 6  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 6B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 6B temp_latest.big (1) (click to enlarge.)

The low I dubbed “Morphy” has pretty much engulfed Greenland, if you follow the 990 mb isobar right around the island. However the devil is in the details. Even this map, (which I like for its simplicity), shows the secondary I dubbed “Morpheven” has been swiveled around north of Iceland and now is deeper than Morphy. However if you really want to understand the complexity you should use your own eyes and scan the satellite view of the situation at http://www.arctic.io/explorer/ . (I’m still trying to figure out how to clip and paste these satellite shots; especially close ups.  No luck so far.)

It swiftly becomes apparent the reality is far more complex than the isobars would lead one to believe. There are whirls within the whirls, and so on. Also the winds don’t always follow the isobars. For example, though isobars suggest milder Atlantic air should cruise right across the top of the globe, it runs into a wall north of Greenland. Likely there is some sort of front there.

Now, should you want to dig deeper you can poke through the thousands of maps Dr. Ryan Maue offers at the WeatherBELL site, and perhaps, like me, wind up squinting at the Canadian “JEM” model’s initial run of “Precipitable Water.”  Then you can see the line of grey north of Greenland.

DMI Mar 6B cmc_pwat_mslp_arctic_1 (Double click to fully enlarge.)

If you would like that line in vivid red, you look at the GFS initial run of the anomalies of precipitable water. (Unfortunately GFS insists on being contrary, and prints its maps upside down, with Greenland at the top.)

DMI Mar 6B gfs_pwat_sig_arctic_1 (Double click to enlarge fully.)

You can see how the devil is in the details, and also how I could blow an entire day just delving into what exactly is occurring. I do exactly that on rare occasions, but usually I have too many other responsibilities, and prefer to skim.  That is why I like the simplicity of the DMI maps. However I urge others to dig deeper if they have the time and inclination, because as you come to comprehend the complexity you develop your sense of wonder, (and also can spot “news releases” that are basic balderdash.)

It is interesting to note that, despite being enveloped by low pressure, the icecap of Greenland persists in creating cold high pressure, which is like the center of a flower with the low like petals rotating around it. Away from that polar dance a clear cross-polar-flow is developing towards Bering Strait, and is likely to shove ice into the Beaufort Gyre.

So at this point I like to check the Navy map that shows which direction the ice is moving, and how fast :

DMI Mar 6B arcticicespddrfnowcast

This map shows that once again, rather than flushing sea-ice out of the Arctic Ocean via Fram Strait, the ice is being compressed into the Beaufort Gyre. This has happened so often over the past two years that there has been a considerable increase in thicker ice towards the arctic coasts of Canada and Alaska.  This shows as a dramatic (IE red) area of “multi-year-ice”, in another Navy map that portrays thickness:

DMI Mar 6B arcticictnowcast (click to enlarge)

It is really cool to animate this map, and watch the ice shift and pulsate with the weather patterns: http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticict_nowcast_anim30d.gif

The best collection of such maps and graphs (that I know of) is at Anthony Watt’s “Sea Ice Page”:   http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/

In any case, we are entering March madness with a heck of a storm north of Iceland, which is unusual as storms have been passing well south of Iceland.  In fact their winter, (as opposed to Ireland’s and England’s,) has been remarkably sunny and windless, though I imagine Morphy has brought things back to normal.

A QUICK GLANCE AT THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 6B 12825081 (click to enlarge)

With Morphy and Morpheven heading north so far west of Ireland, the best the Atlantic can hit them with is weakening fronts. However they will be utterly baffled if models are correct and a large high pressure area moves up over the British Isles at the start of next week. I wish I was there to see the looks on winter-dazed faces. After so much rain, a truly sunny spell will have smiles stretching the cheeks of even cantankerous grouches, on a Monday, of all things.

I’m not sure how long the pattern will last, but it will be interesting to watch it develop.

LOCAL VIEW  —THREAT #9 SLIPPING SOUTH—

A battle 147 satsfc (3)A battle 147 rad_nat_640x480

That is an impressive storm clouting North Carolina and Virginia, especially for March, and the moisture is surging north.  I’d be worried, but too weary to bother with that. It looks like the arctic high over us is going to deflect that storm south, though it might clip Cape Cod.

It was a gorgeous day, as long as you stayed in the sunshine. As soon as you stepped into the shade you could feel the cold creeping. We might even get down to zero again tonight, for as soon as the sun slips behind the hills you can tell the dry air over us had arctic origins.

Tomorrow it will slide east, and we’ll start to get southerly winds from the high pressure’s warmer side.  Hopefully the warmth won’t breed too many clouds.

MARCH 7  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 7  pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 7 temp_latest.big (1)

“Morphy” has definitely changed the flow. Quite the Atlantic surge invading Barents Sea.

One thing you can see from this pattern is how a more traditionally placed Icelandic low assists the Gulf Stream, helping it flow up north of Norway.  For most of this winter the assistance was lacking, as the isobars suggested winds were more from the north, behind the low I called the “Britannic Low,” and blew across the Gulf Stream, perhaps deflecting surface waters more to the south.

LOCAL VIEW —Starry dawn—

A battle 148 satsfc (3)A battle 148 rad_nat_640x480

One more sub-zero morning, though the cold air is very shallow. It is -7 in the valley here but +7 atop a hill about three miles away.

Of you get up before the sun it is worth checking out the sky to the south. Venus is brilliant and silver to the southeast, as Mars is brilliant and red to the southwest.  (Mars only gets bright every 2 years or so, as our orbit catches up to it and we pass it.)

MARCH 7  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 7B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 7B temp_latest.big (1)

As “Morpheven” gets stronger and “Morphy” weakens it will be interesting to see if Morpheven moves up towards the Pole, or over towards the coast of Siberia. Currently the mild air (-15 Celsius) has made it to the Pole. Siberia to Alaska cross-polar flow continuing.

UK MET MAPS

UK Met Mat 7 FSXX00T_00UK Met Mar 7B 12850445 (CLICK MAPS TO ENLARGE)

LOCAL VIEW 

A battle 149 satsfc (3)A battle 149 rad_nat_640x480

Hope to comment later, but it is my Grandson’s birthday. First things first, y’know.

MARCH 8  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 8 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 8 temp_latest.big (1)

“Morphy” has weakened down at the bottom of Greenland as “Morpheven” occludes up by Svalbard, and kicks a secondary, “Morphevenson,” into the Norwegian northwest coast, with a final pulse of milder air in its warm sector, but colder air being drawn inland over Scandinavia south of it.  I think this will end the current invasion of the Arctic by Atlantic air, as a new storm is brewing off this map, south of Iceland. (It is “Thretate,” which is short for what was Threat #8 on this side of the Atlantic.) The high pressure at the very bottom of this map will deflect that storm straight north to Iceland along the new storm track, replacing the west winds over Iceland with east winds, and interupting the surge from the south.

On the other side of the arctic the Siberia-to-Alaska cross-polar-flow continues, which does not bode well for North America.

UK MET MAP  —Western Europe to catch a break?—

UK Met Mar 8 12867015

What tends to catch your eye on the above map is the gale center “Thretate,” to the west of Ireland. If this was the old pattern that would head straight to the British Isles and stall there for the duration of the weekend, becoming what I called the “Britannic Low.” However a new pattern has appeared and the gale will be more well behaved, heading up to become an Icelandic Low as seen in textbooks, only kicking its cold front to the Brittish Isles.

The features that don’t catch your eye, but that should be watched, is the string of high pressures extending from western Siberia all the way down to the Azores.  Rather than being bumped to the east by changing Atlantic Gales they will stand their ground and even be pumped up, forming a wall against Atlantic attacks.

I likely should stay down to earth, and avoid talking about stuff that is over my head, but I do get curious about what is happening aloft that is causing the high pressure over Europe to stand its ground. So I check out D. Ryan Maue’s maps at WeatherBELL, to see what is happening up at the 500 mb level of  the atmosphere. (Red on these maps indicates pressures higher than normal.)

UK Met Mar 8 gfs_z500_sig_eur_1  (Double click to fully enlarge)

Hmm. It does look like a bit of a ridge is poking up over Spain and France. But what about that trough to the west? Will that ripple east and park over Dublin and London?  Let me see what Maue’s maps say the GFS says the situation looks like five days from now:

UK Met Mar 8 gfs_z500_sig_eur_21

Yowza!  That sure looks like the storm track is deflected far to the north, and Western Europe enjoys some fine weather.

Now, you may ask, does this make me happy?  No. I am green with envy, and wear the expression of a man eating garlic.

LOCAL VIEW  —Threat #10—

A battle 150 satsfc (3)A battle 150 rad_nat_640x480

It looks like we should be in a nice and mild southwest flow, judging from the above map, however the low out to sea, (Threat #9), pushed back just enough of a back-side north-flow to delay the southwest winds and keep things calm. We may be thirty degrees warmer this morning, but that is still below freezing.

I’ve got things to grouch about, however I’m going to try to see the sunny side. When I walk outside I see the drive is sheer ice, though it looks sandy. All the sand I spread was covered by around a half inch of melt-water that refroze. If this was December I’d hustle out to spread more sand. But it is March, and with the sun as high as it is at noon on December by mid-morning, I can just be lazy, and let the sun melt the ice.  In fact you notice everyone getting increasingly sloppy, when it comes to snow removal, at this time of year. In December walkways are cleanly shoveled with the edges ruler straight. Now there is more slush, and slumping sides, and less fussing, for all are winter-weary and have slumped into an attitude of, “It’ll melt.”

Threat #10 looked impressive on the long range maps, three days ago, but now it looks like the cold front will  slide by with nothing but snow showers. Of course, with the sun so much more powerful any one of those showers can boom up in the sky and dump a surprise six inches, but I’d be pessimistic if I thought that way. Instead I’m just going to make sure to keep my  snow shovel standing up where I can get at it (as opposed to laying flat on the ground where it gets buried and you scratch your head wondering where it is, under the surprise six inches.)

Now the talk is about Threat #11, arriving next Wednesday. So I should stock up the front porch with more firewood, and take care of a few other chores that are better done on a sunny day than midst heavy snow. Not that I’m pessimistic. Instead I’m working on my tan.

MARCH 8  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 8B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 8B temp_latest.big (1)

“Thretate” has appeared at the bottom of the map, heading along the new pattern of south-to-north, and ignoring the old pattern of west-to-east. A high-pressure ridge has built between this new gale and the Morphy family, and likely is cutting the flow of Atlantic air up into the Arctic Sea.  Watch how quickly the mild air that is already up there cools down, remembering the sun will not rise at the Pole for another 12 days.

The Siberia to Alaska cross-polar-flow looks weaker, but is persisting.

LOCAL VIEW —Front passes quietly—

A battle 151 satsfc (3)A battle 151 rad_nat_640x480

It was a lovely, mild day, with true thawing and temperatures nudging above 40, (+4 Celsius). I relaxed in the morning and loaded up the porch with firewood in the afternoon, and also got some excersize repairing the igloo over at the Childcare. It has been so cold this winter there has been little snow that was sticky enough to build with, and the igloo I managed to put together included some blocks of dry, packed snow I cut with flat-headed shovel. That dry snow just vanishes in the warmth, and the igloo looked a bit like swiss cheese, or like someone had used it for target practice with a bazooka.

I only meant to patch the holes, but got carried away and build a front entryway. I’ll be feeling the excersize  in the morning, I’ wager. I can’t seem to limit myself, when it comes to building forts for the kids.  However with the front passing all the sticky snow in the igloo will freeze like rock, and on Monday the kids will have a hideout.

There were hardly any clouds in the sky, but as the front came through there were some strong gusts of wind.  Now it is calm again, and I’m looking southwest along the front, watching rippled run along the front towards us. We won’t get off without a bit of snow tomorrow, I’ll bet.

MARCH 9  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 9 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 9 temp_latest.big (1)

Look at “Thretate.” Now, that’s an Icelandic low!  I don’t think we’ve seen a low right over Iceland like that since Autumn.  As high pressure builds to the south, it looks like it will follow “Morphevenson” over the top of Scandinavia, keeping most of Scandinavia in winds from the east. The question then becomes will they get any of the mildness from the southwest that the British Isles seems likely to enjoy, or will they be on the borders and get cooler air from the northwest.

Over the rest of the Pole the weak Siberia-to-Canada-and-Alaska cross-polar-flow persists.  A difference between the Pacific and Atlantic ice extents is apparent.

THE PACIFIC VERSUS THE ATLANTIC

Here is an interesting extent map from Anthony Watts “Sea Ice Page” at:  http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/sea-ice-page/

While this map has a weakness, because it shows neither how thick nor how concentrated the ice is, it does have an orange line which shows you where the “average” edge of the ice is, at this date. This is very helpful in terms of seeing whether the growth and shrinkage of the ice is doing anything unusual. (The map may take a while to load, and double-clicking it gives a huge version, which you can then shrink by re-clicking it.)

Extent Mar 9 N_bm_extent

What is apparent this March is that the Atlantic side has less ice than normal, especially in the Barents Sea, while over in Bering Strait the Pacific side is normal. This seems indicative of the fact thast the PDO has shifted to its “cold phase” while the AMO remains in its “warm phase.”

Here is a map I lifted from Thomas E. Downs blog at WeatherBELL showing the warm and cold phases of the PDO.

PDO warm and cold phase pdo_phases (click to enlarge)

What you notice is that, while the ocean as a whole likely doesn’t average out much colder or warmer, the location of warmth and coldness changes.  It is fairly clear the water is colder in Bering Strait and along the arctic coasts of Canada and Alaska.  So it would only be natural for ice to increase and persist more, and perhaps even increase year-to-year, as the PDO shifts to “cold phase.”

The PDO goes through all sorts of wobbles, and even can briefly revert to a “warm phase” look during the “cold phase.”  The warm pool of water shifted closer to the coast of Alaska last summer which did create a few “warm phase” reactions, however also it fueled a ridge of high pressure which drove the cold down the center of North America all winter.

My sense is that, because the Pacific is so much larger than the Atlantic, it forces the Atlantic to respond, until eventually the AMO shifts into a “warm phase” which is more in balance with the Pacific.  However perhaps, when this balance is achieved, it is out of balance in another way, which tips the Pacific towards its “cold phase.”  (Rinse and repeat.)  The entire process takes roughly sixty years.

Currently we are at a point where the Atlantic is in the process of responding to the Pacific, and the interactions create a sort of sloshing in the atmosphere, with many more cross-polar surges than would occur if things were in balance. When things are in balance the flow could be more orderly and zonal.

The devil is in the details, but this is my sense of what we have been witnessing.

LOCAL VIEW  —Birdsong beginning—

The maps show that the ripples of low pressure along the front that passed yesterday are staying south of us, so far.  It is a clear, crisp and cold dawn, with temperatures in the low twenties, (-6 Celsius.)  Winds are from the northwest, and temperatures are dripping to the teens and even single digits across the border in Vermont, not all that far upwind.

A battle 152 satsfc (3)A battle 152 rad_nat_640x480

Yesterday felt like a heat wave, with temperatures up in the low forties, (+6 Celsius,) but in fact that is only an average high temperature for early March. The winter has been so cold that normal seems warm.

Besides me noticing the warmth, the winter birds noticed as well. Mostly they are small: Chickadees, titmice, juncos and goldfinches, with unspectacular peeping and trilling. They were silent during the sub-zero spell, but have decided its safe to come out now, and are filling the underbrush with their small music, so much more modest than the thrushes and warblers that will be arriving from the south. However there is nothing modest about the woodpeckers and sapsuckers, who have started drumming the trees.  (Once in a while one will decide the way to out-do a rival is to drum against a metallic surface such as a TV aerial, which can be downright annoying, but I heard none of that yesterday.)  There is something very stirring about the deep, hollow, thunder woodpeckers make, when you get several drumming against dead trees at intervals at various distances through the trees. It is definitely an announcement: “Things are going to be different around here.”

Woodpecker hairy_01

(Photo Credit: http://www.lookoutnow.com/feeder/hairy_01.htm)

MARCH 9 —DMI EVENING MAPS—

DMI Mar 9B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 9B temp_latest.big (1)

“Thretate” is breaking through the high pressure ridge separating it from the Morphy family of storms, but the surge of Atlantic mildness invading Scandinavia looks like it will head east rather than north.  The cross-polar-flow over the top of these lows seems to be closing the lid on Atlantic invasions for the time being.

Watch the temperatures over the Arctic Sea to see if they drop the next few days.

A SQUINT AT UK MET MAPS

UK Met Mar 9 FSXX00T_00

UK Met Mar 9B 12900996 (CLICK MAPS TO ENLARGE)

“Thretate” continues wallowing north, as “Thretine” appears in the lower left and seems likely to also follow the new pattern up towards Iceland, rather than clobbering the British Isles. A sort of wall of high pressure extends from Siberia to the Azores, shunting storms north, and even keeping the storm’s cold fronts from pushing far to the east.

However, as people in Dublin and London are suffering from post-traumatic-stress-syndrome, due to being punch-drunk after so many winter gales, some may have a deep need for some new hazard to worry about. (Sunshine makes them uneasy.) Therefore I would like to point out a potential fly-in-the-ointment, in the form of that weak low to the west of Spain. I don’t recall seeing that in the forecast models. Nothing much is likely to come of it, but it is small features such as that one which escape the notice of big computers, (flying-under-the-radar, as it were).

Therefore, if you really need the security blanket of having something to worry about, you can keep an eye on that low. Perhaps it will run up the front and give a sunny day a sprinkle of rain, and even a roll of thumping thunder.

LOCAL VIEW  —The trickster sun—

A battle 153 satsfc (3)A battle 153 rad_nat_640x480

These maps show a couple of interesting things.

First, they show the Great Lakes still can produce snow even when ice-covered, if circumstances are right.

Second, isobars show the north winds over me are turning to west winds, and a hint of the west winds even got into the final north winds, coming around the corner of the high pressure.

The analyst who drew this map, “Fanning,” was aware something was up, and drew the orange dashed line over us, and divided the high pressure into one over Virginia and one over western New York State. What isn’t so obvious is that the southern high is colder than the northern high, and the southern is from north winds and the northern is from west winds.  The west winds are kinder, and slightly less stable, though clouds are few; I can see the stars tonight, and the planet Jupiter shining beside the half moon. The lack of stability is weak, and is a sort of ghost-front, and only shown by the snow over the Great Lakes.  The change in air-masses is subtle, unless you happen to spend time in a place some modern people are unacquainted with, called “the outdoors.”

The clear boundary is Threat #10′s, much further to the south. (You would think a system named Thretten could live up to his name and threaten,  but the only threat is that low pressure left behind in the Gulf of Mexico, “Threttenson.”) However there was a clear boundary, felt by skin, between the truly arctic discharge of the north wind and the more benign air of the west wind. However thermometers didn’t show it. Why? Because the coldest air passed when the March sunshine was highest and brightest. Temperatures stayed fairly flat all day, but did rise slightly as the coldest air moved through, and then fell slightly as the milder air arrived as the sun sank low. In other words, skin registered something the thermometer missed.

(There is a whole essay worth writing, which I hope to get to work on, regarding the difference between being-out-in-the-weather and being-removed-from-reality, but that will have to wait. My focus now is how cold it felt despite the bright sun.)

As the core of the cold passed over, the morning March sun had the power to produce puddles on the street, though the thermometer in the shade stated it was still below freezing. The sun was sort of a trickster, producing a scene that looked warm though it wasn’t.

I can recall when, as a little boy, the brilliant face of the jolly March sun beamed in at me, filled me with boyish joy, and called me out like a best friend to run without reason in happy rays, that as soon as I stepped out the door the bitter air told me to pause, and perhaps wait until noon for more warming.

Now I’m wise, and the glare of the old, trickster sun cannot fool me…or does it? I check the thermometer and sagely stay in, but what did I see that made me check? (Some distant, bright glitter is calling from between the snow-swept trees like an old best friend from a lost time’s ease.)

They say that people who win the lottery often end up incredibly miserable, despite their good fortune.  Perhaps they are miserable because they can afford to stay indoors and removed-from-reality, and miss the contact with what is real.

MARCH 10  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Marc 10 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 10 temp_latest.big (1)

COMMENT ON HIDDEN SONNETS

I hid a sonnet in last night’s purple prose.  Written in a more formal manner it would look like this:

I can recall when, as a little boy,
The brilliant face of the jolly March sun
Beamed in on me, filled me with boyish joy
And called me out like a best friend to run
Without reason in happy rays, that as soon
As I stepped out the door the bitter air
Told me to pause, and perhaps wait until noon
For more warming. Now I’m wise, and the glare
Of the old trickster sun cannot fool me…
Or does it? I check the thermometer
And sagely stay in, but what did I see
That made me check? Some distant, bright glitter
Is calling from between the snow-swept trees
Like an old best friend from a lost time’s ease.

Although I obey my own rules regarding rhythm, (and stricter poets might claim I abuse my iambs), I do obey a lot of constraining conventions, such as having ten syllables per line and a rhyme scheme of ABABCDCDEFEFGG.  Even as I obey all these restraints, I am suppose to make the result sound like ordinary speech, (albeit prose that is a bit purple.)  When I hide a sonnet in my ordinary prose it is to see how well I am doing. If I am doing well you shouldn’t know you are reading a sonnet, even as you do so.

In the same way, order is hidden in weather maps that seem very chaotic. In actual fact there is no such thing as chaos. When we think we see disorder, and call it “chaos,” it only demonstrates our incapacity to comprehend our Creator. Therefore it is sometimes better to stop frustrating our brains by trying to make sense of clouds that are far above our heads, and instead to sit back and enjoy the show.

LOCAL VIEW  —A dusting of snow—

I got a bit of a surprise this morning when I saw the blue daylight of dawn show light snow falling, and a radar map looking like this:

A battle 154 rad_ec_640x480_01

However the snow settled south and more or less evaporated in the strong March sunshine, and, though I had to rush off and sweep the walkways at the Childcare and spread sand, the situation now looks like this at noon:

A battle 154 satsfc (3)A battle 154 rad_nat_640x480

The snow was caused by those west winds I talked about last night moving milder air in. The only fronts they show are stationary, one down in the Carolinas and one up north of the Canadian border, but I figure that west wind deserves some sort of orange dashed line, considering I had to sweep it up, and also you can see the stream of clouds back all the way west to Nebraska.

However that is but a pettifogging detail, considering we now have a heavy snow watch for Wednesday onto Thursday.  I still have a hope the cold will come pressing back down from the north enough to push it all south of us, but I confess it is a slender hope.  It looks like our luck is about to run out.

I’ll post maps, but likely my comments will be brief. Besides making ready for the storm I have an essay brewing in the back of my mind, and likely will be working on that as well.

MAR 10  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 10B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 10B temp_latest.big (1)

UKMET MAP

UK Met Mar 10B 12926977  (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Storm track continues north, well west of Ireland.

A battle 155 satsfc (3)A battle 155 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

I’m just going to pretend that light snow isn’t headed our way. Why spoil a good night’s sleep?

MARCH 11  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 11 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 11 temp_latest.big (1)

“Thretine” is taking the new storm track up Denmark Strait, on the west side of Iceland, about as far from the old storm track as you can get, as western Europe experiences this odd thing they can hardly remember called “high pressure.”  “Thretate” has merged with the Morphy family of storms, and is churning east along the Siberian coast, giving northern Scandinavia some polar winds in its wake, but pushing the ice away from the Siberian coast of the Kara Sea and even the Laptev sea, as can be seen in this animation of sea-ice thickness: http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticict_nowcast_anim30d.gif  This may reduce sea-ice extent and open a channel along the coast, while crunching up and thickening the ice towards the Pole.  The air blowing off shore will form new ice quickly, but it will be thin.

The air over the the Pole is cooling fairly quickly.

A GLANCE AT THE MORNING UK MET MAPS

UK Met Mar 11 12939617 (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

The people of Dublin and London must be looking about, blinking in disbelief and wondering if they are on the same planet as they were during the winter, as high pressure settles over them. The weak cold front that pushed east into the channel is stronger up in Scandinavia, where it is closer to the storm track.  It will be a battle to get the nice weather up there, especially to the east in Finland, as “Thretine’s” fronts will be closer as it passes north of Norway, however southern Scandinavia may get in on the glory days.

“Thretten”,  appearing to the lower left, will take the same path as “Thretine”, but a little further east, and as the lovely pattern starts to break down it’s fronts will start to nudge into Scotland by Friday as it stalls northwest of Norway, and a secondary forms northwest of Scotland.  Here is the forecast map for late Friday:

UK Met Mar 11 friday forecast 12943734

The above map is only a forecast, and reality may be different, but if I was in Ireland or England I’d make sure to get out and take long lunches during the week, for by the weekend it may be windier and showery.

LOCAL VIEW  —Forecast turns gloppy—

A battle 156 satsfc (3)A battle 156 rad_nat_640x480

Just before I went to sleep I glanced out the bedroom window, and saw snowflakes swirling around the streetlight by the street, as that small feature you can see departing northern Maine passed through. It didn’t keep me awake, as I got plenty of exercise moving firewood yesterday. I slept like a brick, and this morning I’m about as flexible as a brick, but refreshed.

All eyes are on Threat #11, now gathering strength out in Nebraska. Henseforth I’ll call it “Thretelve.” A lot depends on how far south the cold front of its parent-low rippling weakly to our north comes, and how quickly the arctic front further north is brought into play.  (A interesting factor is the weak “Thretenson” in the western Gulf of Mexico.  It may be able to tug the storm further south.)

Currently we still have a winter storm watch, but now the forecast includes rain and freezing rain at the heart of the storm, before it turns back to snow at the end.  That would be a mess, especially as all the slush would freeze to rock in the storm’s cold aftermath.

MARCH 11 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 11B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mat 11B temp_latest.big (1)

“Thretine” is much weaker north of Iceland, but isobars between it and strong high pressure to the south is shifting northwest winds over Scandinavia to the southwest.

The cross-polar-flow is weakening and starting to meander, as the air over the Pole gets colder.

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 11B 12951796 (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

All those fronts in the Atlantic will be swept north, and the beautiful weather will last, even getting into southern Scandinavia. Soak it up.  It doesn’t look so lovely in the long range, with a deep low pressure trough over Europe in ten days.

LOCAL VIEW  —False echoes—

A battle 157 satsfc (3)A battle 157 rad_nat_640x480

With the Analyst “King” drawing so many lows on the map, and the radar producing so many false echoes, I’m not even going to attempt to guess if we’ll get rain or snow. (My hunch is more snow than they now forecast, which is 1-3 inches.)

It’s been a beautiful day, with a warm sun and temperatures up to 51.  I’m just going to enjoy the sunburn. Let tomorrow bring what it will.

MARCH 12  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 12 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 12 temp_latest.big (1)

“Thretine” is slightly stronger as it moves north of Norway towards the Morphy family of storms, retaining surprising strength in the Kara Sea.  Most of the Atlantic input of relative mildness is pumped south of these two storms, part of a larger flow of relatively mild air (only slightly below freezing) that holds sway over western Siberia and the western and central Russian steppes. There is a turn to much colder (below zero [F]) air to the south and east of the Morphy family, and Morphy is pulling that colder air north into the Arctic Sea. All in all the two storms are cooling the Pole more than warming it, at this point.

“Threten” is getting its act together west of Iceland in Denmark Strait, and looks likely to start out on the northern storm-track, but then veer more to the south, crashing into northern Scandinavia from the northwest.  “Thretelve,” which is effecting my neighborhood today, looks like it will scoot across the Atlantic even further to the south, passing over Iceland and then hitting more southern parts of Scandinavia, winding up in the Baltic next weekend. The southward progression of the storm-track suggests the Pole will be exporting air down into the north Atlantic, rather than the flow being up from the Atlantic to the Pole.

The cross-polar flow continues, but is weak. It curves around Greenland into Hudson Bay. Meanwhile a counter flow is developing from Alaska back to eastern Siberia, as a low in southern Alaska generates low pressure in the Bering Strait.  Between the two flows is a ridge of high pressure bisecting the Pole.

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 12 12965767  (Click to enlarge)

Looks like lovely weather for most of Europe today.

Low pressure is going to stop heading north of Norway, and start attacking down into Scandinavia. By Saturday a storm could be cutting southeast right where the high pressure is now located, and the high pressure will be nudged down to the Azores.  This Azores high could keep things pleasant in the south of the British Isles, even as the Scotland gets the front and edges of that storm passing to its north. The North Sea and Baltic Sea will become the battle-line between a counter-attack of winter, and sweet springtime over France.

LOCAL VIEW  —I burned the sap—

A battle 158 satsfc (3)A battle 158 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

It looks like the rain-snow line is setting up just north of me, and the storm will begin as rain. The trouble will start in the evening, as the cold presses south and the rain turns to snow.

However I burned the sap, so trouble has already started for me. Rather than delicous maple syrup, I have only charcoal to offer the children.  That will not go over well, nor will the way the pot looks go over well with my wife.  It is one of those mornings where I wish there was a rock I could go crawl under and hide like a worm.

LOCAL VIEW  —At noon—Nothing—(except aching joints)—

A battle 159 satsfc (3)A battle 159 rad_ec_640x480

I’ve been watching this storm rush towards us without enthusiasm. I’ve got better things to do than deal with snow. (Such as clean a burned pot.) When I’m rich, and can afford hiring some strong young fellow to do my work, my attitude may switch back to the way it was when I was younger, and relished storms.

The wind was light and from the north all morning, which suggests the cold air is sneaking south “under the radar.” The pressure was falling to 29.50 fairly swiftly. The clouds were high and from the west (and from the west-north-west at sunset yesterday). We even had a bit of milky sunshine this morning through thick high clouds. The clouds abruptly came up from the south, which gave me more hope of rain. However down here on earth the wind was still from the north.

Another hope is this storm might zoom by so fast it hasn’t the time to cloud us.  It isn’t the sort of storm that gets blocked and just sits off Cape Cod dumping on us.  Instead it is surging northeast at top speed. I think it has an appointment to be across the Atlantic and in the Baltic Sea by Saturday.

Fine with me. I’m promoted to chief pot scrubber for a while.

LOCAL VIEW  —Storm speeding past—6:00 and pressure down to 29.15

A battle 160 satsfc (3)A battle 160 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

Dry slot headed up our way. We could escape with little more than a dusting, if we are lucky. (Surprisingly, even the kids are starting to seem sick of the snow.)

MARCH 12 —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Mar 12B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 12B temp_latest.big (1)

Pole is colder. It has “reloaded.”

MARCH 13  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 13 mslp_latest.bigDMI March 13 temp_latest.big (1)

LOCAL VIEW  —Just an inch—

A battle 161 satsfc (3)A battle 161 rad_ec_640x480

Barometer 29.15 and rising, with light snow. Time to go clean the walkways at the childcare.

LOCAL VIEW  —Lunchtime Report—2 inches in snow squalls—

A battle 162 satsfc (3)A battle 162 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

Temperatures were around 20 when I got to work, but had dropped to 13 by 9:30 AM. There is a roaring wind and drifting snow, and squalls that often don’t show up on the weather radar. They must be low scud having its moisture squeezed out by the cold.  We have actually had more snow after the storm than during the storm.

The good side of the cold is that it will slow the run-off and keep the streams and rivers at a lower level. There is an amazing amount of water stored in our foot of snow cover.

MARCH 13 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 13B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 13B temp_latest.big (1)

“Morphy” is stalled and weakening on the Siberian coast in the Kara Sea, however its east-side winds pushed ice away from the shores of both the Kara Sea and the Eastern Laptev Sea. This exposed warer swiftly freezes over, but may lead to a swift ice-melt this spring in coastal areas, and slower ice-melt further off shore, where the ice piled up.

“Threten” has restrengthened and is diving towards the northwest coast of Norway, sucking some Atlantic air up the Norwegian coast, however this air for the most part seems likely to get wrapped around and will wind up wound-up occusions, rather than invading the Pole, which continues to get colder.

“Thretelve” is just appearing at the southern tip of Greenland.

UK MET MAPS

UK Met Mar 13 FSXX00T_00UK Met Mar 13B 13004741  (Click maps to enlarge)

Even as these maps show “Threten” bombing out off Norway, they show the high over Europe is so strong it keeps the cold front from penetrating farther south than the top of Scotland. This high pressure will sag south slightly as “Thretelve,” south of Greenland, rushes across the Atlantic and into the Baltic Sea on Saturday. Not even it, on a more southerly track, will be able to drive fronts far south.  Scandinavia will get all the weather, as most of the rest of Europe gets a sunny spell. Enjoy it while it lasts.  “Thretelvis,” who has given me a wild day over on this side of the Pond, is just appearing as warm fronts to the lower left, and it is likely to nudge the kindly high pressure a bit further south.

LOCAL VIEW  —Purple hands, purple nose, and purple prose—

A battle 163 satsfc (3)A battle 163 rad_nat_640x480

At the top right corner is “Thretelve” is rushing off to a date with Denmark on Saturday, and below it is the storm that gave us a better backlash than front-lash, which should be called “Thretelveson” but I’ve decided to call “Thretelvis,” because it made things sway.

Yesterday was so mild that even the packed paths in the snow got soggy, and each step plunged down knee deep, and just walking fifty yards up a hill to get a sap bucket was exhausting, and left me leaning against the tree catching my breath. This morning was so cold I walked right along the top of the same snow, but found new things to gripe about, due to a wind that blew snow in your eyes like a sandstorm and sometimes tried to butt you off your feet.

The kids at the Childcare did go out, likely because it looked wonderful out the window, and they clamored to go out, but once they were out they were clamoring to go back in, and wound up spending most of the day indoors. I would have stayed in, but had to make amends for burning the sap, though the trees swiftly stopped producing any sap when temperatures dropped to the teens. All in all I only gleaned about two gallons, which will make perhaps a cup of syrup for sugar-on-snow.  I said the heck with boiling it outside, which I usually do to avoid steaming up the house and making the ceiling sticky. The air was so dry I decided the house could use the humidity.  So I did manage to stay indoors more, but not entirely, and the time I was outside was murder.

I’ve confessed I’m no longer fond of winter, but when it gets really extreme the embers of my old heart get stirred, and even though I hardly curse at all any more, in ordinary circumstances, in the most vicious winds colorful curses spring to my purple lips. A veritable rainbow of blasphemy can pass through my mind, even if the children are about and I don’t speak. In the end the rainbow turns purple, as the best outlet for extremities upon extremities is purple prose. And purple prose is more satisfying than just cursing, in the same way that singing the blues is more fulfilling than cursing, when your love-life drives you to drink.

Therefore I suppose I should be thankful for awful weather. They say, “you’ve got to pay the dues if your going to play the blues,” and therefore the sandblasting wind was dues I was paying, for poetry.  And I must say it did approach some different level of consciousness at times, when the gusts made me stagger, and my life passed before my eyes. But my more pragmatic side just wanted to get out of the outside, knowing this cruel day is better seen through a pane than walked through.

The pain the wind blew, (nails and needles,) threw spears, drew tears, grew the mane of a wild white horse tossing flared contrails from mad nostrils, mad eyes and mad white teeth biting, wheeling, kicking, whirling, sinking, settling to just snow seething flat beneath slacked wind between surf roars in pines winking harsh light, swaying thick trunks, brandishing boughs like shaken fists, all lion-voiced but then howling up to a scream, as white swirling stings the distance pale, ’til it’s haze-hidden and I stagger inside.

Here I’ll remain, for this cruel day is best seen through a pane by a warm stove.  I watch the snow’s hard crust be polished to a glare by whistling powder’s drifting ripples.

Bending crows with their thrust, making all small birds hide from their powers, the winds roar onward, scoop falcon zephyrs towards uncertain dooms as the sun burns brass low between corridor shadows the firs and pines sway across a glossy canvass made of polished snow.

Brassy is the glare of of the snow and the sky and the sunk sun, and brassy is the taste of grim despair ending a day I wish hadn’t begun, though I must see it through, although I rue confessing this cruel day is best seen through a window made of art gallery frames, painted by an artist who knows the view for he once walked within the canvas creation I’m staggered by.

(OK. Enough of that purple profundity. Can you spot the hidden sonnet?)

MARCH 14  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 14 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 14 temp_latest.big (1)

“Threten” is stalled off the northwest coast of Norway, bringing strong east winds across Scandinavia and likely a lot of sea-ice south through Fram Strait.

Milder Pacific air is working towards the Pole across Alaska, though the Pole as a whole continues cold, nearly down to “normal.”

LOCAL VIEW  —Cold’s core out to sea; warm-up ahead—

A battle 164 satsfc (3) A battle 164 rad_nat_640x480

The worst cold passed during the daylight yesterday. Last night was not as cold as I expected, with the snow-cover fresh, as the winds didn’t slacken until dawn.  Winds slackened earlier to our west, and in the Connecticut River valley at the Vermont border they set some records with sub-zero readings, but most places around here were down around 10 (F).

Now the March sunshine is brilliant, and the map shows a nice southwest flow behind the arctic high, and the radar shows dryness.  I’m dubbing that low over the Great Lakes, (Threat #14,) “Marchair.”  I’ll hopefully explain my reasons later, but now I have to hurry over to the Childcare and hopefully redeem myself by treating the kids to a little maple sugar on snow. (My name has been mud, since I burned the sap earlier in the week.)

March 14 — DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 14B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 14B temp_latest.big (1)

UK Met Maps  —March 14 and 15—

UK Met Mar 14 FSXX00T_00UK Met Mar 14B 13030969UK Met Mar 15 13045649 (Click maps to enlarge)

“Thretelve” has rippled across the Atlantic into the Baltic as expected, but the kindly high pressure is fighting back and pushing its fronts back north, and even keeping “Thetelvis” bottled up back in Baffin Bay.  However this apparently is a last hurrah, as the kindly high will be flattened, and squeezed east by a reversal in the upper air flow.

This reversal can be seen in two of Dr. Ryan Maue’s maps from his WeatherBELL site,  the first showing the current situation, with the lovely upper air ridge over the British Isles, and a trough back over North America. The trough flattens out as it presses up and over the high, and then digs down to give us the second map, which forecasts a trough over the British Isles five days from now. (These maps show the 500 mb level.)

CURRENT MAP  UK Met Mar 15 gfs_z500_sig_natl_1

120 HOUR MAP UK Met Mar 15 gfs_z500_sig_natl_21 

This should be an interesting reversal to watch.  Care to make a guess at what sort of surface features such an upper air map will produce? (Double click the Maue maps to fully enlarge them.)

MARCH 15  —DMI Morning Maps—

DMI Mar 15 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 15 temp_latest.big (1)

“Threten” continues to occlude and be flattened northwest of Norway, even as some of its energy is kicked east into coastal Siberia, to be joined by “Thretelve” rushing through the Baltic. While sea-ice is still likely being flushed through Fram Strait, it is interesting that once again Iceland enjoys high pressure, and the isobars between Iceland and Norway suggest winds that are not helping the Gulf Stream warmth get north.

An interesting feature in this map involves the milder isotherms curving around Morphy, as Morphy is reinforced by a low coming up from the Steppes to the south.  Even a month ago south winds from Siberia would supply the coldest air, however the situation over Siberia is changing, as the days lengthen. Siberia is no longer the icebox it was, as the days soon will be longer than the nights.  While the sun is still low, and there are still some patches of sub-zero (-17 Celsius) air, we are transitioning into a time when south winds from Siberia will be warm.

It looks like the addition of the low from the south and Thretelve charging past the Baltic will make Morphy part of a general pool of low pressure bulging towards the Pole, recreating the Siberia-to-Canada cross-polar-flow.  Likely this this will be the last truly arctic blast delivered south into North America,  as conditions change in the source regions due the wonders of sunshine.

LOCAL VIEW  —Whiplash weather—

A battle 165 satsfc (3)A battle 165 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

It is above freezing this morning, with rain pattering lightly on the roof.  We are in the warm sector of “Marchair,” passing to our north. When its cold front, now over the Great lakes, swings by this evening temperatures will crash, and tomorrow morning it will be 15, just as it was 10 yesterday morning after being mild the morning before.

You get a sort of whiplash if you allow your heart to surge with hope with each mild hint of spring.  You know it will be crushed by following cold, but you are made manic by the sunbeams just the same. It is so illogical I think the logical must be biological.

Yesterday I redeemed myself by serving the children at the Childcare sugar-on-snow.  In the process I demonstrated that after you burn the sap life isn’t over. Just because you may feel like a worm is no reason to behave like a worm. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start scrubbing the pots. When the pots are clean you start all over again, and wind up snatching success from the jaws of defeat, and also licking your lips, because the result tastes so good.

I salvaged some humor, (though I did not feel the sap-burning situation was funny at the time,) by showing the children how I behaved when I discovered I had left the outdoors burner on and burned the sap to a crisp.  I acted it out, stomping around kicking the snow and raging at the sky, and the kids found that was very funny, especially when I said, “How could I have been so stupid!” and slapped my forehead, continuing  “Dumb-dumb-dumb, duh-duh-duh, stooooopid!”  Then they looked very interested when I stopped, put my hands on my hips, and said, “There must be someone else I can blame for this. Who can I blame?”

The children looked thoughtful, and then one suggested, “The goats?”

I put on an enlightened and hopeful face, nodding, but then pretended doubt crept in, and finally concluded I couldn’t blame the goats as they were in the stable.  So we considered other options.  The dog? No, it was back at the other house.  The rabbit? The chickens? The rooster? Nope, they were caged. Then I allowed a eureka to escape my lips, raised an index finger, and said, “I’ve got it! I’ll blame you guys!”

The children did not think this was a very good idea. I said it probably wasn’t, because they had all gone home when I burned the sap, however I could always say that it didn’t matter if they weren’t around, because I burned the sap because they had driven me, (and here I dramatically paused, took a deep breath, and then waved my hands, bulged my eyes, made my voice shaky and high, and uttered the word) “crazy” (in a long, wailing, and drawn out manner.)

They all looked at me in delighted horror, and then one said, “Do it again!”

After “doing-it-again” around ten times, I got down to scrubbing the pots, conceding, as I did so, that I had no one to blame but myself, and that the thing to do, when you make a mistake, is to fix it.

I would like to be able to say I had this all planned out beforehand, and that I burned the sap on purpose, to demonstrate to small children how to handle emotions and how to recover from a debacle. However the entire thing was an example of flying by the seat of my pants. In actual fact, when I actually have a plan, more than half the time children swiftly make my “curriculum” mincemeat. They live in a world of spontaneity and appreciate spontaneous responses.

In order to be spontaneous, and not have the result be ruin, you need to be able to trust yourself, and to be fairly certain you are not prompted by subconscious demons, and this involves years of the trial-and-error called “life.” It is important to have elders who give you guidelines to go by, but the actual learning can be done by none but yourself, and there are times you feel very alone. You are never actually alone, because God is everywhere, but you sure can feel alone. However if you persist you can arrive at a point where spontaneity is something you can trust.

This is not to say it ever gets easy. Even at age sixty-one there are times the hardest thing to do is to get out of bed, especially when I’ve disappointed a bunch of small children by burning the sap.

LOCAL VIEW  —Hidden sonnets revealed—

A battle 166 satsfc (3)A battle 166 rad_nat_640x480

There’s plenty to worry about on this map, if one is so inclined, but I have been seduced by a beautiful day, and am not inclined.  Or, I should say, I am not currently inclining, though I have been in a lazy mood, and did incline a bit after lunch.

The rain rolled away early, and the sky cleared to a kindly blue with the sun wonderfully warm. I couldn’t do the weekly deposit at my desk, and did it sitting on the front porch in the sun. Of course, when I arrived at the bank a check was missing, but after a brief panic I found it behind the woodpile, where a stray breeze had blown it, and when I returned to the bank I was in a better mood than ever.  A brief panic is a sort of tonic to your system, I suppose, providing all works out well. Also it enhanced my reputation, at the bank, as a dreamy airhead and mad poet.

Speaking of poetry, I should give the solutions to the hidden sonnet parts of prior posts.

I cheated in the March 13th post, because I changed the punctuation in order to hide the sonnets. I say sonnets because there were two. It was what I call a sonnet-duo, [which is pronounced as if it was one word, (perhaps Italian?) "Sonneduo."]  It went like this:

THE SEEN-THROUGH SONNET DUO
 
This cruel day is better seen through a pane
Than walked through. The pain the wind blew, (nails
And needles,) threw spears, drew tears, grew the mane
Of a wild white horse tossing flared contrails
From mad nostrils, mad eyes and mad white teeth
Biting, wheeling, kicking, whirling, sinking,
Settling to just snow seething flat beneath
Slacked wind between surf roars in pines winking
Harsh light, swaying thick trunks, brandishing
Boughs like shaken fists, all lion-voiced but then
Howling up to a scream, as white swirling
Stings the distance pale, ’til it’s haze-hidden
And I stagger inside. Here I’ll remain,
For this cruel day is best seen through a pane.
 
By a warm stove I watch the snow’s hard crust
Be polished to a glare by whistling powder’s
Drifting ripples. Bending crows with their thrust,
Making all small birds hide from their powers,
The winds roar onward, scoop falcon zephyrs
Towards uncertain dooms as the sun burns brass
Low between corridor shadows the firs
And pines sway across a glossy canvass
Made of polished snow. Brassy is the glare
Of the snow and the sky and the sunk sun,
And brassy is the taste of grim despair
Ending a day I wish hadn’t begun,
Though I must see it through, although I rue
Confessing this cruel day is best seen through.

I also hid a sonnet in my last post, on March 6, above the picture of the Cardinal

THE CARDINAL SONNET
 
The east blushes blue. A cardinal tweets,
Insanely loud in the subzero hush.
Jaunty red plumage black against dawn, he greets
Winter’s conquest with counter-claims, a rush
Of twitters, and then, “Tweet! Tweet! Tweet!” he yells:
A winced headache to all with hangovers
And a plague to sleep. “Tweet! Tweet!” It compels
Curses from virgin lips; even pushovers
Push back against the madness of claiming
A white waste of tundra for a dull spouse
Who likely thinks he’s mad, and is shaming
Him by basking in Florida.  What house
Can he claim for her when the odds are so low?
”Tweet! Tweet!” screams the cardinal at seven below.

That will end my poetry for a while, for I must embark upon one of the most un-poetic voyages there is: Doing my taxes.  Not that I won’t be driven to write some spiteful doggerel.  It drives me half mad that I have to be responsible, and then the imbeciles in Washington take my money and are incredibly irresponsible with it.

But I’m not going to let it get to me, No, No, No.  This year will be different. I’m going to keep my cool and pretend it is a sort of crossword puzzle I’m doing while reading the paper, for my own pleasure, on a cozy Sunday afternoon.

It likely will get my brains working in a more down-to-earth wave-length, and then, after the taxes are done, I plan to use those pragmatic brain-cells to reorganize this blog-site.

That is another effect of spring sunshine. It makes you ambitious, even if you’re old enough to know better.

MARCH 15  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 15B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 15B temp_latest.big (1)

MARCH 16  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 16 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 16 temp_latest.big (1)

“Threten” remains as a general area of low pressure northwest of Norway, as what remains of “Thetelvis” moves over Iceland to join it, creating the sort of confused web of occlusions that makes forecasting in the North Atlantic more changing than areas further south.

“Thetelve” has moved beyond the Baltic and is east of Finland, moving towards a rejuvinated “Morphy.”  As these two lows swing around each other, (performing an arctic version of the Fujiwara effect,) they will create a situation where high pressure is on the Canadian side and low pressure on the Siberian side of the Pole. This may flush some ice towards the Atlantic and create a false peak in the arctic sea-ice extent.  (False because it is not due to freezing as much as it is due to flushing.)

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 16 13067783 (click to enlarge)

The kindly high pressure is hanging tough, southwest of Ireland, but the squeeze has begun, and a strong westerly flow is developing across northern Europe, as “Threteven ” moves away east of Finland.  It looks like an east-west front, with ripples on it, will divide that westerly flow into polar air over Scandinavia and northern Germany, and milder air from the kindly high and the Azores to the south.  At this point the front is expected to sag south as the kindly high retreats, without any major storms appearing, however that only looks forward five days.  My antennae are twitching, sensing something is brewing.

The low in the lower left is not “Marchair,” which is just off the map. I think it is a secondary or tertiary storm on what is left of Thretelve’s cold front. I’ll dub it “Thretersh”. It is expected to stall where it is, and then be kicked ahead by Marchair, arriving over northern Scotland as a weak, dissolving occlusion-spiral on Tuesday, and drifting on in the westerly flow to the Baltic by Wedensday.  Meanwhile, rather than turning into a big gale, it seems Marchair will rest content to flatten into a bunch of ripples in a strong westerly flow.

The north Atlantic is so prone to brew up big gales that it seems downright odd, especially in March, to have the flow be so flat.

LOCAL VIEW   —Bastardi baffled—(Me too)—

A battle 167 satsfc (3)A battle 167 rad_nat_640x480

This sure looks like the set-up for a storm to me: A big cold high pressure to the north and lots of juice to the south.  However rather than brewing anything up it seems the moisture will side meekly out to sea, well to my south.  When I went looking for an explanation I noted Joe Bastardi at WeatherBELL, who I respect for his genius and honesty, stated he too was “stumped” by the behavior of this pattern.

Not that I’m complaining.  I’m glad I don’t have to shovel and trudge around behind the snow-blower, though in actual fact I’d prefer doing that to doing my taxes.

MARCH 16  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 16B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 16B temp_latest.big (1)

I’m going to call that combination of lows netween Iceland and Norway “Elvis.” It is  blocking Atlantic air from getting into the Arctic, and instead strong westerlies are swooshing that air across Europe,  North of there a lobe of high pressure is poking down over Svalbard, and had stopped the flow of ice through Fram Strait.  It also is delivering north winds into northern Scandinavia, but interestingly those north winds are not especially cold, at this point.  The air over the Barents, Kara and Laptev Seas is actually relatively mild, despite the fact no Atlantic invasion is going on, and despite the fact “Morphy” is sucking air up from Siberia.  Siberia simply lacks the punch it once had.

However the Pole still has power, as the twilight hasn’t been broken by the sun. The minus-thirty air swirling around it is some of the coldest air we’ve seen up there this winter, and the cold is building at a time the DMI graph shows temperatures usually begin to rise.

DMI Mar 16B meanT_2014 (click graph to enlarge)

MARCH 17  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 17 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 17 temp_latest.big (1)

UK MET  MAP

UK Met Mar 17 13092956

The kindly high has fought back and reclaimed Scotland and denmarp from the polar flow.  A last hurrah?

LOCAL VIEW  —Another frigid morning—

A battle 168 satsfc (3)A battle 168 rad_nat_640x480

8 Degrees to start the day. ( -13 Celsius) Typical Monday gloom. Grey overcast from a storm down over Washington DC.  Good. Maybe it will slow their spending a little.

It cleared up later but stayed cold. The snow just fades away in the bright sunshine, seeming to evaporate more than melt. It was odd to think that on Saint Patricks Day two years ago it was eighty degrees (27 Celsius) and the soil was thawed enough to plant some peas.  We still have eight inches of snow and enough ice on the rivers to worry about ice jams.

MARCH 17  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 17B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 17B temp_latest.big (1)

OCTOBER 18  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 18 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 18 temp_latest.big (1)

“Morphy” continues to whirl, though weakening, over Barents Sea, bringing air up from Siberia over the Pole. Ordinarily this would be cold air, even with the sun now up on the Siberian coast, however central Siberia is enjoying a balmy spell with temperatures up near freezing, which is twenty degrees above normal. The real arctic cold has been displaced down into Canada, (which is a bit annoying for me, as I’ve had enough of winter.)

Because the air moving up over the Pole from Siberia has a source region down in the steppes around the Caspian, it is much drier than Atlantic air, and cools swiftly.  This may raise the “relative humidity” but doesn’t raise the amount of “precipitable water” in the air, and reduces the chance for any snow, and even reduces the amount of latent heat turned into available heat.  It is worth thinking about the differences this sort of air mass has, compared to an Atlantic one.

The Fram-Strait-flushing has resumed, with winds turning north there.

UK MET MAP  —The kindly high retreats—

UK Met Mar 18 13118132 (Click map to enlarge)

The kindly high is now west of Spain, and the gnawing of the colder Atlantic westerlies are chewing its edges southward. “Thretersh” has been booted ahead towards Scotland, as Marchair hangs back as a Labrador Low.  Europe is basically in a westerly flow, with colder Atlantic air to the north and milder air from the Azores to the south.

The kindly high is forecast to stage a final counter attack, but in effect will be caught up in the flow and move as a kindly blob into southern France, where its west-side warm winds will combine with “Marchair’s” east-side warm winds to bring a final surge of warmth north, though it will likely be spoiled by the strength of the wind and showers. Then we will watch to see if Marchair settles southeast as a final example of the Icelandic Low becoming the Britannic Low, before we can leave the wet winter in the past.

The recent flow of mild air into Europe rather than up to the Pole extended east into the Steppes and up to Siberia, where Siberians were likely overjoyed to see the intense cold break.  (The cold was all shipped across the Pole to freeze the socks off people in North America.) The departures from normal are now impressive.  If you want to get silly about proof of end-of-the-world Global Warming, it is best you ignore North America, and focus on Siberia. To help you find misery in the joy of Siberians, I’ll include a Dr. Ryan Maue WeatherBELL map showing the temperature anomalies over Asia, which makes the mildness over Siberia clear. (Remember, the map shows anomalies, not temperatures.  The highest anomalies still represent temperatures at freezing.)

UK Met Mar 18 gfs_t2m_anomf_asia_1 (Double click to fully enlarge)

LOCAL VIEW  —THE COLD HANGS ON—

A battle 169 satsfc (3)A battle 169 rad_nat_640x480

It was 6 degrees (-14 Celsius) when I drove the kids to kindergarten at 8:20 Am, after the sun had been up over an hour. This is getting ridiculous. However the snow is actually shrinking, sublimating into thin air in brilliant sunshine. Only in the most protected places is the sun able to produce actual puddles, which freeze as the sun sinks in the late afternoon. There are none of the melt-water rivulets that engrossed me as a boy, and got me in trouble because I could never manage to walk home from school without getting my school clothes muddy.

I’m going to be busy with an essay for a while.

MARCH 18 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 18B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 18B temp_latest.big (1)

MARCH 19 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 19 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 19 temp_latest.big (1)

We have to start paying to how daylight effects temperatures now. Roughly speaking, the bottom half of these maps are in night as the top half is in day. This will be reversed in the afternoon map.  Watch to see how much colder the upper half is at night.

Morphy continues to fade. I feel like fading a bit, myself.

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 19 13143028 CLICK TO ENLARGE

The kindly high is losing a fight with “Marchair” but some nice weather is nudging into France. That high pressure will be swept by the westerlies to the Black Sea by Friday, as Marchair stands victorious over the Atlantic and shifts the winds to the south over western Europe, but they will be cooler south winds, with a polar source region rather than coming from the Azores.

MARCH 19   —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 19B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 19B temp_latest.big (1)

LOCAL VIEW   —Warm front approaching; wet snow falling—

A battle 170 satsfc (3)A battle 170 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

I was up until 1:30 last night writing an essay, and now I’m paying the price. When I get a bee in my bonnet I just can’t rest until it is out and on the page.  It is great fun, but the next day I suffer a sort of hang-over, and the work looks like garbage.  But I’ll get over it.

It was clear at sunrise, and up to 16 degrees (-9 Celsius) which seemed warm, after what we’ve been through. By 9:00 AM  it was clouding up, as a warm front pushed towards us, and sleet began in the late afternoon, which has now changed to wet snow.  That is the price you pay for milder weather: Snow.

There is a lot of talk about another arctic blast coming on  Sunday night, and lasting well into next week.  People are definitely starting to grumble about the unrelenting cold.

MARCH 19 —DMI MORNING MAPS—Sunrise at the North Pole—

DMI Mar 20 mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 20 temp_latest.big (1)

The sun is rising at the North Pole, and it won’t set until September. It will take a while to warm enough for the ice to start melting, so the next 30 days or so will represent a window of opportunity. It will be light enough to see, and the ice will be hard enough to walk on without having to deal with slush or melt-water pools. My best wishes and prayer go to the fellows who head up that way now, and risk meetings with 1600 pound bears to set up the arrays of intruments I enjoy so much.

The map shows that even as Morph fades reinforcements are arriving from the south, while down in the Atlantic Marchair is gathering stray storms into a sizable entity.  Low pressure is staying to the Eurasian side, while high pressure owns the Canadian side, which will speed the Transpolar Drift and the exit of ice through Fram Strait. The open water northeast of Svalbard has closed up as the ice shifts, increasing the “extent” of the ice.

The isotherm maps now clearly shows the diurnal rise and fall of temperature, as noon swings around this map like the hand of a clock.

LOCAL VIEW   —A tale of two seasons—

A battle 171 satsfc (3)A battle 171 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

A battle 172 satsfc (3)A battle 172 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

Spring came in a little after noon, but the change in mood came around 8:30 AM, when the sun popped out after a gloomy dawn greeted all with a solid inch of heavy slush to plod through, remove from windshields, and shovel from walkways when you had to, though many opted to ignore it and hope it would melt away.

I couldn’t get around shoveling the walkway of the entrance and the steep part of the Childcare entrance, and the slop weighed a ton, putting me in a sour mood. As I drove the kids to kindergarten I saw faces through windshields of on coming caes, and everyone looked in the mood to bite the heads off nails. Then the sun poked through. The transformation on the faces in oncoming cars was amazing and instantaneous. Everyone was smiling, car after car. It would have been laughable, if it wasn’t also strangely touching.

MARCH 20   —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 20B mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 20B temp_latest.big (1)

The reinforcements have arrived, and rather than fading away “Morphy” has a second life. I likely should call it “Morphy2,” but can’t be bothered. It is created because the warm air drawn north from the Steppes is unusually warm, and lashing with polar air typically cold, so of course this brew up a storm.

“Marchair” is over Iceland, an actual Icelandic Low, which has been rare this past winter.

I am curious about the switch from Siberia being a land that generates cold, to Siberia being a land that generates heat. I think that is the only reason I’ll continue these posts, for March Madness has me in its sway. There are other things I am much more interested in.

UK MET MAPS

UK Met Mar 20 FSXX00T_00UK Met Mar 20B 13182445 CLICK MAPS TO ENLARGE

The kindly high has been defeated, and a final gasp is kind to France in the first map, and kind to Greece in the second, as the low “Marchair” triumphs over western Europe, though he is hanging back over Iceland. This is a fine example of a strong westerly flow becoming a strong southerly flow.

In the same manner I sense winds are changing in the USA. They are changing in a way making me profoundly uneasy.  They are political winds, and therefore the focus of this blog upon beautiful clouds and weather patterns may be forced back down to earth.

I hope I am wrong, which is unusual in a fellow who likes to forecast correctly.

LOCAL VIEW  —THE FRAUD OF WARMING—

A battle 173 satsfc (3)A battle 173 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

The maps show the low that passed north of us and its coastal sidekicj (which I dub “Springer and Springerson” ) now have me in a colder northwest flow. We got a bit of their warm sector today, which was lovely as temperatures were actually up to normal, and slush was thawing, but now snowflakes are whirling again around the streetlight  at the foot of the drive.  Worse, much colder air is coming south from Canada, and even though this air is way up in the top center of the above map, I expect it will give us a snow event as it plunges south.  That nest of lows out by Montana will scoot along the front trailing from Hudson Bay, and, because they will kill the spring, I’ll dub them “Sprinkle.”

I’ll try to keep up my posts about local events, however this blog is likely to see a change, due to a government map which just came out which states the past winter, which I have attempted to portray in colorful detail on this site, was a near-normal-winter.

This makes it apparent to me my government is deranged.  Who in their right mind could call the past winter, “near normal?”  If you who visit this blog have been watching with any sort of care, you know this is a hard winter. For crying out loud!  The ice on my farm pond is not melting away atthe advent of spring; it is between two and three feet thick!

It is quite obvious the government doesn’t care a hoot about me or my “colorful details.”   If they did, they couldn’t make such ignorant proclamations,   The fact they ignore all evidence in favor of some unspoken agenda is causing me to face issues much less lovely than “colorful details.”

I hope you will forgive me if this blog becomes less colorful, because the thing I seem to see staring me in the face is written in black and white.

Hopefully this is only a case of March Madness, but I do feel like I’m stepping ahead into a taxing time.

END OF POST  — this series of posts will be continued at: http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/arctic-sea-ice-maximum-a-taxing-time/

ARCTIC SEA ICE MAXIMUM —THE PEAK AT THE DEPTH—

This is a continuation of a series of posts, the last of which was, http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/arctic-sea-ice-recovery-the-equipoise-of-battle/

This series of posts has wandered a long ways from its original intent, which was to discuss the view from the North Pole Camera.  That camera has been gone since September, and we still have roughly 45 days before the new one is set up in April.

April!  That word has a nice ring to it, after the long, hard winter we have been through in the USA, and the long hard winter it looks like we’ll continue to go through for at least the next ten days. In fact the “local view” sections of this post may predominate, as we get through the final weeks of cold and snow.  However eventually the warmth will return, and views from the North Pole Camera will be a refreshing break during hot summer days.

In the mean time views of the Pole are from the Satellites.

FEBRUARY 24 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Feb 24 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 24 temp_latest.big (1)

FEBRUARY 24  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Feb 24B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 24B temp_latest.big (1)

“Polo” has drifted off the Pole towards Canada, as an extension of the Icelandic low probes north of Scandinavia. It looks a little like an attempt to recreate the autumnal storm track along the Siberian coast, though of course the Kara and Laptev Seas are now frozen over.

A rather impressive slug of very cold air has been delivered into northern Canada.

A QUICK GLANCE AT THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 24B 12561390 (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Very cold air is coming south down the coast of Greenland as mild air heads north up the coast of Norway. The boundary between the two is unclear on this map, but clear if you look at the isotherms. Perhaps a better front should be drawn in. Nature is drawing it, with the string of low pressure systems from the Atlantic up into Barents Sea.  These lows are drawn as occluded remnant lows (that I had names for, “Kwik” and “Skwishzip,”) but are too persistent to be purely remnant.

The only new low is “Thotson,” which has scooted across the Atlantic south of the remnants, but now will stall and loop-de-loop west of Ireland, southeast of Iceland, in a position more like a “Britannic Low” than an “Icelandic Low”

“Thot” himself, which was a major North American Feature south of Hudson Bay and North of the Great Lakes, is now a weak low west of Greenland, but its tertiary low will appear at the lower left and become more of a Labrador Low than an Icelandic Low, perhaps held west by Thot’s  dent in the upper atmosphere. This new low, “Thotertiary,” will combine with the stalled “Thotson,” and beneath the two a long fetch of westerly winds will cross the Atlantic.  When these winds reach Europe they will be asked to do an abrupt, hairpin turn and join the south-to-north flow, but may not be able to make the sharp turn, and may go crashing through the guard rail,  creating a southern storm track into the Mediterranean.

In other words, some influences are trying to create a storm track north of Norway as others try to create a storm track through Spain. I doubt the two can coexist.

It is also interesting to note on these maps how often the southeast displacement of the Icelandic Low, creating the Britannic Low, create winds that blow across the Gulf Stream. This may push the warm surface waters south.  Or perhaps the storms that keep blowing up as they approach the British Isles suck the heat out of the water. Or perhaps both. In any case that water’s temperature has gone from being above normal to below normal, this winter.

LOCAL VIEW  —The bluster is back—

Today was one of those miserable Mondays that make men want to ban the day from calenders. Yesterday we had strong west winds, but it still was thawing, though you could feel the edge coming back to the wind.  The radar map showed a front which hadn’t existed had come into  existence right across the USA:

A battle 123 satsfc (3)A battle 123 rad_nat_640x480

(These maps can be clicked to enlarge them)

Towards the end of the day I headed over to the farm to tend to the goats, and noted the show-shedder roof had done its job, and shed the snow. This makes huge heaps in front of doorways, so I had to do yet more shoveling, to dig slots through the heaps of snow. However when I was done I felt confident I’d face a Monday when I didn’t have to shovel. Wrong.

The snow-shedder roof over the main entrance of the Childcare has such a shallow pitch that, rather than shed the snow all at once, like an avalanche, it tends to slowly ooze snow off the edge, like toothpaste from a tube, giving you plenty of time to carve it away as it overhangs the main entry, and giving the children much to be fascinated by, as it forms a slow curve, moving the speed of a glacier, beside the main entrance. Or that is what happened other years.

This morning,as I arrived at work, consciously vowing to stay serene even though it as a Monday, I was confronted by a three foot tall heap of snow in front of the main entrance, as the snow-shedder roof had waited until I departed the day before, and then dumped a winter’s worth of snow onto my nice, clean, dry walkway.  Nor was it fluffy, powder snow. It was compacted slush, frozen to a crust three inches thick at the top. I couldn’t dent it with a snowshovel, and had to go running for a round-nosed garden shovel. My vow to stay serene was utterly shot.

Then there followed an embarrassing and frantic time of hacking away at frozen crush, and digging at slush that stuck to my shovel, as early arrivals had to be escorted to the kitchen doorway, and the children had to be told to stand by the front window and watch me, so I could watch them as I shoveled.

And then the first snow squall hit.

A battle 124 satsfc (3)A battle 124 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

On the weather map you can see our nice westerly flow abruptly became northerly, as the low I dubbed “Thotertiary” started to blow up to our northeast. On the radar map you can see some decent lake-effect squalls blew south off the still unfrozen parts of Lake Ontario to out west, but doesn’t show our local squalls, as they were from low, tumbling clouds that flew beneath the radar like stealth bombers. Some were white clouds and the snow flew in the gusty wind even as a brilliant sun shone, but others were deep purple and the world would briefly look like the middle of a blizzard, and the roads were coated with white.

Ordinarily I enjoy intense flurries, but I had to drive to the last of a series of appointments at my dentist, and then had to drive back roughly a grand poorer.  Furthermore, smashing through a pothole did something to my exhaust pipe, and my old truck now sounded like a hot rod. It  all combined to make me less than appreciative of the winter wonderland I was a midst.

One thing I don’t understand is why visiting a dentist should be tiring. All you do is sit in a comfortable chair,  and my dentist is a good one, and practically painless. However I always wind up feeling like yawns could dislocate my Novocaine-numbed jaw, and I could sleep for a week. Instead I had to restock the porch with firewood and then get sand and spread it where the slush had refrozen and turned a path to the upstairs entry into a lawyer’s delight. I would have put that sanding off, but my wife was fighting the onset of cabin-fever by holding one of her wonderful dinners for staff and parents. So I had to attend that as well, and attempt to be charming as the Novocaine wore off. And then I had to tend to the goats, and my goats are in a bad mood about the weather turning colder.

But now at long last Monday is over, and I can sit back at my computer and have some fun, looking at maps and trying to guess the neck hay-maker life will deliver at me.

A battle 125 satsfc (3)A battle 125 rad_nat_640x480

You can see “Thotertiary” is getting deeper as it departs stage right, to appear on the UK Met maps, and the radar map shows another northern-track feature south of the Great Lakes, headed this way, though the north winds may push it south of us. However these northern-track features don’t scare me much, as even when they explode on the coast they are often heading away, like “Thotertiary,” and even if we get snow it is powdery fluff.  What worries me are the southern-track storms, especially  when they “phase” with the northern-track storms.  For example, that front-less low over Georgia may want to join up with the patch of snow south of the Great Lakes, and prove that the sum can be greater than the total of the two parts.  (Because both are so weak, I don’t expect much, but I’m keeping an eye on them.)

What concerns me is that low over Georgia looks like a harbinger of a whole series of southern-track storms of increasing size.  If you look west you can see another in north Texas, another in southern California, (with a lot of moisture to its south), and lastly an impressive swirl out in the Pacific.  These feaurures tend to crash into our west coast, giving California much needed rain, and to roll across the USA like bowling balls,  largely divorced from the northern storm track until, sometimes with astonishing speed, they “phase.”

If that should happen I’ll look back on this Monday, and with the rosy glasses of 20-20 hindsight, think of how lovely the white flakes were, swirling in the sun, and how nice it was I could drive all the way to the dentist and back without skidding once.  For I’ll be out behind my snow-blower in two feet of heavy wet snow. And, if I could look at this day that way then, I might as well do it now.

FEBRUARY 25 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Feb 25 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 25 temp_latest.big (1)

The Pole is starting to export cold down to Canada, and also down the east coast of Greenland,so I expect temperatures up there may rise a little, as the air is replaced by milder Atlantic and European Continantal air via the Barents Sea entrance region, and also  to a lesser degree by Pacific air via Bering Strait.

While the stripe of high pressure across the Pole does have its own circulation, it also represents blobs of heavy Siberian air pressing down as it moves from Siberia across to North America.  Europe and China can breath easier to see this air head away, and can sit back and snicker at Canada and the USA and even northern Mexico, as this year is their turn to shiver.

“BLACK HOLE” SWIFTLY SHRINKING

I checked out the True Color Arctic Satellite Image and was surprised to see how swiftly the circle of darkness is shrinking over the Pole. It makes sense, when you think that in only 26 days the sun will peek over the horizon at the Pole, and for six months there will be no circle of darkness at the Pole at all.

Despite the fact areas are often obscured by clouds, I highly recommend returning to look at the sea-ice from above on a regular basis. There is nothing like using your own eyes.

One thing I noticed right away was that the parts of the Beaufort Gyre now reappearing show signs they were stressed and did fracture, last winter. While it was not as dramatic as last year, you can see the signs. The old cracks have refrozen, and are various shades of milky white, while the fresh cracks are much darker, nearly black. Each crack represents a patch of sea water that was dramatically cooled for a while, until the ice reformed.

What you can’t see are the smaller features, such as whether the ice is smooth or jumbled slabs. I really wish I could fly around up there in an airplane, (preferably in a heated cabin.)

It remains cold for a while even as the sun peeks above the horizon. It takes a while for the real summer warming to set in.

LOCAL VIEW —Pressing cold—

A battle 126 satsfc (3)A battle 126 rad_nat_640x480

It sure was nice to open our Childcare this morning, and to look east, and see the sun above the horizon.  True, the sun did look like it was shivering in the blustering winds and single digit temperatures, but it wasn’t that long ago I was opening in the dark.

The map shows the first  “threat” is moving out to sea to our south. At worst we’ll get a few flurries, which is fine with me.  The next “threat” is that snow over Nebraska, and the moisture coming across Mexico into Texas from the Pacific. I don’t really see how that can come north, when I look towards the top of the map and see isobars showing north winds from Labrador to Montana. It looks like the entire North Pole is flooding down this way.

Oh well. Take it one day at a time, I suppose.  And today I see what I can do about my ridiculous junker of a truck. I hit a pothole and knocked the exhaust-pipe from the muffler. I wake half the town now, driving to work. Not that I mid that; I’m paying many back for times they hit potholes and suffered the same embarrassment.

What really gets to me is look of reproach I get from my dog, as it sits beside me in the cab. That dog has a most expressive face. Usually it likes the music on the radio, though classical violin music makes it look very sad. This new noise makes it wince, though it still wants to come along for the ride.

I could go on about my experiences with junkers, but I don’t want to be one of those old men who repeats himself. I wrote about hitting “One Pothole Two Many” nearly a year ago: http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/one-pothole-too-many/

FEBRUARY 25 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Feb 25B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 25B temp_latest.big (1) (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

The Icelandic Low seems to be separating from what we could call the Barents Sea Low, which could lead to an interesting shot of cold from Svalbard to Norway. Also it looks like the pool of cold over the Pole is heading towards Canada as one huge blob..

A RAPID APPRAISAL OF THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 25B 12587197  (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

“”Thotson” has become ensconced in the position of the latest “Britannic Low.”  The high pressure bulging off Greenland to the north is deflecting cold air across the Atlantic towards Norway and the British Isles. Meanwhile cold air is trying to sneak west under the high in the upper right, over Siberia. However at this point it doesn’t look like these two cold thrusts will be able to penetrate the mild air between and link up.

“Thotertiary” to the lower left will stall and fall apart, and never make it across the Atlantic, but will kick its fronts east and they may stir up future storms which models show passing under England and crashing into France or even shooting tight into the Mediterranean.

LOCAL VIEW  —Second threat—

A battle 127 satsfc (3)A battle 127 rad_nat_640x480

The second “threat” is heading east. Though it is weak both in the northern and southern branch, it may “phase” as it moves off shore, and give us around an inch as it moves away. There could be a messy commute for people down in NYC tomorrow morning.

Bright sunshine with a few cumulus and stray snow flakes today. I beat down a path for the goats on Saturday, leading across the pasture to the edge of the woods, as the goats don’t like walking in deep snow. Today I led them up that path so I could chainsaw them down a birch tree, as they are sick of their diet of hay and grain, hay and grain. They crowded so close behind me I had to yell at them back off so I could start the chain saw. Then they panicked and started crowding back down the path, rudely pushing each other off the path. It was at this point they discovered the crust on the snow is so thick they can walk on top of it. They celebrated. I have seldom seen such prancing and cavorting, except when the grass is first green in the spring.  The deep snow has been cramping their style, and they apparently are euphoric about being able to do something besides trudge.  (They liked birch branches, as change in diet, as well.)

LOCAL VIEW  —Worry if you will—

A battle 128 satsfc (3)A battle 128 rad_nat_640x480

It makes me a bit nervous to see so much juice down on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, with two innocent-looking lows approaching us, one in the northern branch north of Lake Ontario and one in the southern branch over Carolina. With the water so warm off the coast, it is as if a lid is taken off the convection as soon as the lows get off shore, and I’ve seen innocent-seeming lows get big very fast.

I peeked out at the pre-dawn darkness, not staying on the porch long as it was a frigid 2 degrees out, and was reassured to see the brilliant stars.  However when I poked my nose out later to see if I could see Mercury peeking over the horizon in the dusk, it has clouded over.

I like to stay down to earth, and note things such as smoke from chimneys, but it was fairly calm. Perhaps there is a slight drift from the southeast. However I decided to consult things that are above my head, and peeked at Dr Ryan Maue’s WeatherBELL map of the 500 mb level of the atmosphere:

A battle 128 gfs_z500_sig_noram_5  (Double click to fully enlarge.)

This is definitely above my head. At WeatherBELL Joe Bastardi states you should heed the “tilt” of the trough. If it leans to the northeast it is a “positive tilt”, and everything presses east out to sea, but if it leans back to the northwest it is a “negative tilt”, and storms can dig in and hug the coast and bomb out.  However my eyes can see both in these isobars. It depends which isobars you look at. The 940 mb is marked in red, and tends to be the focus of many, and to me that one looks indecisive. Like a politician it says, “Maybe positive; maybe negative; see me later.”

I don’t have time for that. I suppose I’ll just keep an eye to the sky and my ears to the forecast updates.

FEBRUARY 26  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Feb 26 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 26 temp_latest.big (1)

It is interesting how that Barents Sea low now has a life of its own.  Hope to find time to focus on what’s up with that, later today.

LOCAL VIEW  —A lunchtime look—

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Just a quick check to see if any “phasing is going on. It isn’t. The moisture is sliding out to sea well to the south, as a cold rain over the Carolina’s.  (Hmm. That might make a good title for a book: “A Cold Rain Over the Carolina’s.”  I’ll get right to work on it.) (As soon as I’m done my chores….which is basically never.)

It’s a cold and blustery day, with only a handful of snow thrown into the wind now and again like sparse confetti. It is keep-your-head-down weather, though there is something about the hint of brilliance in the March-like sunshine that gets you poking your head up just the slightest bit, like a turtle from its bomb shelter, before the all-clear.

FEBRUARY 26  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Feb 26B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 26B temp_latest.big (1)

The Barents Sea Low, which I suppose ought be dubbed “Kwik” as it seems to be the remains of that old storm, weakens but persists, it has built a weak ridge of high pressure between itself and the Labrador-Icelandic Low to the south. This creates a flow from Norway back towards Greenland, and through the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland, to the south, while to the north there apparently is a reverse flow from Greenland east to Finland and western Siberia.  The ice in Fram Strait must be confused, and perhaps is moving east towards Svalbard rather than south.

It will be interesting to watch Kwik. It may be reinforsed by some pockets of mild moisture and become a low like “Polo” was, that wanders about the Pole and creates a sort of zonal flow, and allows temperatures to again drop up there.  This would give me a brief respite, down here in the northeast USA, from the amazing arctic flow we have witnessed, however if the pattern persists the next reservoir of cold air would again dump down over Canada and the USA.

Judging from this view the milder southerly flow over Europe diverges over northern Scandinavia, and doesn’t thrust towards the Pole with vigor. Rather half turns away east and then southeast, while the other swerves west and then southwest.

A RAPIDLY CROSS-EYED APPRAISAL OF THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 26B 12614187  (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

As Usual, the Icelandic Low refuses to establish itself in any sort of lasting manner. Thotson, which was in the best position to accept the crown, is weakening, and Thotertiary, which was in the best position to be a successor, is hanging back like a Labrador Low.  Thotertiary is kicking ahead its fronts to annoy the Irish and English, who have had what Anthony Holmes described as “six months of autumn.” (IE rain after rain, with very little snow.)

Below Thotertiary is a strong westerly flow, with a slight tilt to the south, which seems likely to sweep North American storms more towards France and Spain than towards Iceland. The little storm appearing in the lower left was Threat One in my “Local View,” so I’ll dub it “Thretwan.” It will be interesting to watch it, and see if it defies tradition and actually passes south of the British Isles.

The high to the upper right is not the “Snout of Igor” I expected, as it ingested and holds too much modifying air, and isn’t as cold as I thought it would be.

FEBRUARY 27 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Feb 27 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 27 temp_latest.big (1)

A QUICK LOOK AT THE UK MET

UK Met Feb 27 12626396

LOCAL VIEW  —Dry and cold—

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LOCAL VIEW  —snow squall line—

A battle 131 satsfc (3)A battle 131 rad_ec_640x480

LOCAL VIEW  — A brief whirl of white—

A battle 132 satsfc (3)A battle 132 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

It was interesting how the arctic front faded after sunset, in some ways like a line of summer thunderstorms. It shows you that the sun is now high enough to stir up even an arctic air-mass.  We did get a brief squall as it came through, and a quarter of an inch dusting.

Built a fire for the children out by the skating pond. Lacing up skates in the cold wind does a number on my old hands.  Also I had to rush off to deal with a bank that does not seem to to care if it loses me as a customer. (They’ll be sorry when I’m rich.) However the day was redeemed by a country garage that fixed up my old truck’s starter and muffler for about a third of what a dealership would charge. I’ll take my small victories where I can find them.

The pines are roaring up on the hills tonight. There is a “wind chill warning” issued.

FEBRUARY 27 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Feb 27B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 27B temp_latest.big (1)

“Kwik” is weaker, northeast of Svalbard, but seems likely to be reinforsed by some mild air working up the west coast of Norway.  A Pacific Low I’ll call “Rongweh 7″ is moving the wrong way along the Siberian coast. There is not the same joining of Pacific and Atlantic mildness across the Pole that there was 2 weeks ago,  though this does seem to be a meeker version of the same atmospheric stunt. The Pacific invading air is already chilled, even from what it was this morning, and a new wave of “Igor’s” cold seems to be moving off the coast of eastern Siberia.  My impression is that we might get a brief break from the arctic onslaught, here in North America, but then it will resume.

A SWIFT SCAN OF THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 27B 12639897 (Click to enlarge)

“Thotertiary” continues to hang back like A Labrador Low, and now is weakening, as “Thotson” wobbles up towards Iceland, also weakening. In the westerly flow beneath the two occluded gales “Thretwan” is making a beeline towards the south coasts of Ireland and England. No surprise there, unless it is that the coast may just get clipped ratherbthan clobbered.  “Thretoo” is making an appearance at the lower left, and at this point looks like it will make a beeline in Thretwan’s wake. These storms are crossing far enough south to start pushing a storm tack into the Mediterranean.

Over Europe the winds continue from the south, but that stubborn high pressure east of Scandinavia is starting to push back, and introduce some east winds into the equation, especially in eastern Europe.

FEBRUARY 28  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Feb 28 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 28 temp_latest.big (1) (click to enlarge)

LOCAL VIEW  —Zero at daybreak—

A battle 133 satsfc (3)A battle 133 rad_nat_640x480

The wind roared during the night, but is fading as the horizon brightens with orange. It is zero, (-17 Celsius,) and dry as a bone. Even when it “warms” to 20 this week the dew points are down near zero. However the real news is that the dust is finally getting dampened in Southern California.  That pulse of moisture will roll across the USA and may make headlines when it crashes into  the cold air.

LOCAL VIEW  —Snowman’s sunglasses—

A battle 134 satsfc (3)A battle 134 rad_nat_640x480

I tend to drive my wife crazy by living too close to the edge. She likes to arrive early, but to me that is wasted time.  I squeeze every last second from my dawdling, and then rocket out the door to do whatever it is I have to do. In terms of opening up the Childcare, I like to charge about and then pretend to be serene, as the first customer arrives and I unlock the front door.  Only occasionally does this efficient use of every available second come back to bite me, as it did last Monday when I arrived to find three feet of snow had slid off the roof and blocked the entry.  (Then I have to fall back on my charm.)

Lately I have become less efficient, as I keep arriving early. This inexplicably aberrant behavior is due to the dawn messing up my biorhythms. I tend to be checking out weather maps on my computer until a certain tint of the eastern sky rockets me out the door.  With the sun rising nearly two minutes earlier every day, in only five days I can go from being punctual to being ten minutes too early.

Twice a year daylight messes with your mind this way, and the confusion is heightened by the landscape being so utterly different.  Today the day is eleven hours and eleven minutes long here, the same as it is on October 13, but in October the trees are only starting to change, and the ponds are still unfrozen, and while frost may have killed the squash and tomatoes and corn and peppers, there are still beets and broccoli, kale and carrots and cabbages, parsnips and parsley and potatoes to pluck from the soil. Now the soil is rock hard beneath a sweeping stretch of white, and considering humans are creatures of habit, it is little wonder we feel perturbed, as if something isn’t quite right. Days don’t break the same.

Glittering stars, with bitter black breezes, are broken by a sudden streak of blue along the eastern rim, as Spring teases hope into hardened eyes, not because you feel any kindness in the stinging gale, but rather because morn taps your shoulder and you check your watch.

Deep darkness grows pale earlier each dawn: White page from dark folder, new day unwritten-upon arises earlier. Earlier ends dark brooding. The inevitable isn’t. Surprises shock the pessimist with hope’s mood-swing, and all of this unexpected delight smiles because more daylight’s in sight.

Even my cat gets crazy, as usually it winces and will not step out into sub-zero cold, but this morning it went out and just sat in the sun, despite the cold. It sensibly turned and came in after five minutes, but those five minutes hint at the start of March madness.

It is no coincidence that the two holidays we dedicate to pranks and tricks are situated when daylight is messing with our minds. The trick-or-treating of Halloween is a bookend to April fooling.

True, April first is still a long month away, but already I can see that the first sign of Spring is not a robin. Instead it is happy insanity.

FEBRUARY 28  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Feb 28B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Freb 28B temp_latest.big (1)

“Kwik” has come back to life, after nearly fading away, and is rebuilding the weak ridge of high pressure between Norway and Greenland that to some degree walls the Atlantic influence away from the pole. The north winds between Kwik and Svalbard might even be cold enough to grow a swift skim of ice on the edges of Barents Sea, which doesn’t mean all that much as it will be melted away in days, or at most a few weeks, however in terms of the politics surrounding sea-ice it means a great deal and will cause all sorts of hoopla.

The past few years we have seen the ice keep expanding past the time when it usually hits its peak. This has been seen with great consternation by Alarmists, and as a reason to rejoice by Skeptics. Actually it is six inches of HTGT ice that matters little in terms of the big picture, and likely barely causes the slightest blip in terms of the stratification of seawater and its temperature. However it has happened, and it will be interesting to watch and see if it happens again.

Meanwhile I’ll be watching Kwik to see if it has the effect Polo had, and creates a semi-zonal flow around the Pole which causes temperatures to plummet at the very top of the globe, right when Siberia’s increased daylight is reducing its effectiveness as the Northern Hemisphere’s refrigerator.

A SPEEDY SQUINT AT TWO UK MET MAPS

UK Met Feb 28 FSXX00T_00UK Met Feb 28B 12667187 (CLICK THESE MAPS TO ENLARGE)

These maps show “Thotson” weakening while doing a poor impersonation of an Icelandic Low. Thretwan has scooted just south of England into France, somehow failing to bomb out and ruin the weekend for the British Isles with drenching rains and howling winds. :Thretoo and Thretree are weak in its wake, and are likely to pass too far south of the Isles to spoil the party.  Interestingly Thretfor, just appearing to the lower left, which was little more than a squall line when it passed my farm on this side of the Pond, may well be the next Britannic Low, but it won’t be able to spoil the weekend, as it likely won’t get across until Monday.

The high pressure to the upper right, east of Finland, is forecast to gradually shift the winds over Europe from south to southeast and finally east, as it just sits there for the next five days.  A hugely simplified schematic would show, by Tuesday, a northern flow from the Black Sea to the Baltic and on to Baffin Bay, and a southern flow from  Newfoundland Island to France to Turkey.  (We are unlikely to see anything so simple develop.)

LOCAL VIEW  —Dry cold to end?—

A battle 135 satsfc (3)A battle 135 rad_nat_640x480

If you include yesterday’s arctic front and squalls of snow, we have had four “threats” pass us by with little more than a dusting, or a handful of flakes on a brisk breeze. Today we didn’t even get that; it was the first day without a flake in days. It was cold and amazingly dry. When dry air comes in your house, and you heat it from zero to sixty-five, it is parched air, air that is drier than most deserts. We have a pot of water on our wood stove to keep the air from withering us, and on days like today it is amazing how swiftly that pot empties without boiling. Evaporation is extreme when the relative humidity is five percent.

The above map shows that the fifth “threat” will likely also pass us by, with the northern branch failing to “phase” with the southern branch, and the snow over the Great lakes being little more than another dry, arctic front when it gets here. However by then the sixth “threat” will be hard on its heels, full of California rain-clouds, and it may ram its moisture into that arctic front.

Moisture.  What a nice word.  It’s been a while since we last heard the trickling of rain off the roof. Not that we’ll get rain. That arctic front all but guarantees us snow.

MARCH 1  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 1 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 1 temp_latest.big (1) (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

“Kwik” continues to whirl up near the Pole, over Franz Josef Land, drawing a tendril of milder, moister air up to its east, but sweeping cold air down to its west past Svalbard and over Barents Sea. The Atlantic is being cut off from the Arctic by a weak ridge of high Pressure south of Svalbard, turning the winds around the weak “Thotson,” (between Iceland and Norway,) around so they blow east from Norway to Greenland, rather than up into Barents Sea. However the Pacific is invading to a greater degree through Bering Strait and north of Alaska.  The cross-polar-flow has been interrupted, at the surface at least.

A BRIEF BLINK AT UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 1 12680295  (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

“Thretwan” has occluded and stalled across the Channel in Belgium, kicking its energy southeast to the Mediterranean. “Thretoo” and “Thretree” are weak in its wake, and are likely to be little more than occlusions as they pass over Ireland, also kicking energy southeast. “Thretfor” is brewing up a Labrador Low southwest of Greenland, which is likely to cross the Atlantic, again farther south, and to try to become the next Britannic Low.

To the north “Thotson” and “Thotertiary” continue to swirl weakly, doing a poor job of being an Icelandic Low. It appears more Atlantic moisture is heading southwest between Iceland and Greenland than is getting up to the Arctic past Norway.

What is most intriguing to me is the gradual tilt of the flow over mainland Europe to the southeast, due to the high east of Scandinavia. This should eventually import very dry air from the Steppes. Though cold, it won’t be true Siberian air.

TRANSPOLAR DRIFT NORMAL FOR A CHANGE

Drift mar 1 arcticicespddrfnowcast (click to enlarge)

This map shows ice moving across the Pole and through Fram Strait in the textbook manner. What is interesting to me is how often the flow has refused to take this route and do things by the book, over the past year.  If you watch the animation of the past 30 days you can see the ice often moved against the flow: http://www7320.nrlssc.navy.mil/hycomARC/navo/arcticicespddrf_nowcast_anim30d.gif

The current flow may bring about a spike in the extent maps by closing the open water north of Svalbard and clogging Fram Strait and the coast of Greenland south to Denmark Strait. (Also cold air may create HTGT ice on the edges of Barents Sea.)

Also the current flow may create a channel of open water along the arctic coasts of Alaska and Canada, which may inflame the aspirations of mad sailors to attempt the Northwest Passage this summer. It doesn’t seem like a good idea this year, as that channel along the coast is like the jaws of a crocodile. If the wind shifts to the north the ice returns south, and the jaws close.  The ice is far thicker and denser to the north than it has recently been.

LOCAL VIEW  —ANOTHER SUBZERO MORNING

A battle 136 satsfc (3)A battle 136 rad_nat_640x480

Five below zero, even though it is March.  When I went for my morning coffee neither the hot nor cold kitchen faucet worked. Therefore I started my day under the sink with my wife’s hair drier.

One good thing about old copper pipes is that they conduct heat well, and I don’t have to squirm around in the crawl-space beneath that kitchen floor. After a couple minutes I had the water running.  Still, it was noteable that those pipes froze, not only because it is Match, but also because the snow is deep around the house, and usually that insulates the crawl space. However perhaps the snow shrank down enough, on the south-facing side.

This winter hasn’t been all that bad, in terms of the worst cold. I can recall a cold wave (1994?) when it got down to minus-27 (-33 Celsius) and, even with three wood stoves burning, I had the kids sleep in the living room rather than their icebox bedrooms. That was one time that a 250-year-old house’s charm was lost on me. This winter the coldest it has been is minus-9 (-23 Celsius,) but the cold has had a persistence that stands out.  Even our yo-yo mild spells, which we got because we are on the eastern edge of the national cold, only thawed the top of the snow, which then quickly refroze.

One odd thing I noticed yesterday was that the surface of the farm pond was actually higher than the edge, in places.  Over and over the warm-ups created layers of wet slush atop the ice, which refroze. Meanwhile the ice grew down at the bottom of the ice, until it is now nearly three feet thick. And because a tenth of an iceberg floats above water, the ice has lifted three inches at the outlet, and is three inches higher than the outlet without flowing out.

Hmm. If the ice all melts at once in a warm rain, we could get quite a spring freshet this year, especially because the ground was frozen deeply early in the winter when there was little snow, and the water can’t be absorbed by the ground until that semi-permafrost melts. However we won’t cross that washed-out bridge until we come to it.

The above map still looks quite dry to me, despite everyone talking about a storm on Monday.  Another amazing mass of cold air is pressing south, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this next threat was shunted south of us.  That is fine with me.  Let Washington DC do a bit of shoveling, for a change.

MARCH 1 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 1B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 1B temp_latest.big (1)

MARCH 2   —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 2 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 2 temp_latest.big (1)

“Kwik” has joined with low pressure pushing through Bering Strait to create a sort of backwash to recent cross-polar-flow, with isobars suggesting winds coming back from Canada.  This doesn’t show very well on the isotherm map because as soon as air gets over the open water of Barents Sea it is warmed at the low level the isotherms describe.  Only two meters above the open water the air is swiftly warmed, though the water is  swiftly cooled.

This backwash looks to be a brief event, with the flow again reversed by tomorrow, as Kwik weakens and the lobe of low pressure between Svalbard and Greenland strengthening into a new low, again separate from the Atlantic, which I guess I’ll call “Sval,” as it is developing right next to Svalbard. This will create isobars which suggest a flow again from Siberia to Canada. (Currently that flow is from far east Siberia across the Bering Strait to far west Alaska, but will rapidly expand as Kwik weakens and the flow on the Atlantic side of Kwik  vanishes, and reappears south of Sval.

Sval  looks to be the last of  these small polar lows that are independent of the Atlantic. Models now suggest a major flow will surge north up the coast of Norway from the Atlantic, as a storm comes up the coast of Greenland, to the west of Iceland. This is very different storm-track from the current pattern’s, which has storms heading east well south of Iceland. It will be interesting to watch.

LOCAL VIEW  —snow staying south?—

A battle 137 satsfc (3)A battle 137 rad_nat_640x480

Milder, with a dust of snow this morning. A very cold arctic front is approaching, likely with another dusting, however at this point it looks like the bulk of the following snow will be pushed south of us by the arctic front.

LOCAL VIEW  —Finding sweetness in bitter blasts—Scripture and squirrels

A battle 138 satsfc (3)A battle 138 rad_nat_640x480

A southern band of snow does seem to be increasing as the northern band decreases, which does suggest the storm will slide south of us.  Fine with me. If I don’t have to spend time cleaning up heaps of snow I have more time to entertain the kids at my Childcare, (and hopefully a few observers of this blog, as well.)

I checked out the WeatherBELL site to see what Joe Bastardi and Joseph D’Aleo had to say about the coming cold, and they didn’t hold out much hope for warming. In fact some models suggest the core of the cold will shift east, and rather than Minneapolis and Chicago getting the core of the cold, it will be the northeast. In fact, as I squint at the maps, the exact center of the cold looks like it is located in my back pasture.

Oh well, I suppose things have to balance out. A couple of years ago the soil thawed early and  I actually got my peas planted around the first day of spring.  This year it looks like it is likely to be the more traditional time, which is “Patriots Day,” on April 19. (And I can remember planting peas midst whirling snowflakes, even on April 19.)

In any case, it will be a wait. Sometimes the waiting and waiting and waiting for spring gets people down, especially when the frozen ground gives way to “mud season,” where the top four inches thaws above frozen earth, and water cannot drain away, and life gets downright sloppy.  Even indoors-people get discouraged, because the mess sticks to feet and mud tracks indoors, despite the best efforts of housewives to battle it back at the front entry.

I try to be sensitive to my wife, and to remove my boots a tenth of an inch inside the front door, but so invasive is the mud that it uses that slender foothold to spread like butter over toast throughout the entire house.  I spread my palms in incredulous disbelief when my wife points to evidence in far corners of our abode that I was careless. I have no idea how mud got onto the ceiling of the bathroom. It is just one of those things that happens, during mud season.

And, as if a husband isn’t bad enough, my wife must also deal with a hoard of small children at our Childcare.  Seventeen small children translates to  thirty-four feet, all spreading mud like butter-knives over toast. This is not merely discouraging. It is tantamount to a spiritual crisis.

I should be able to handle a spiritual crisis, as I am a deacon at my church. True, I only became a deacon because, as Christianity has become politically incorrect in New England, membership declined to a degree where they had to employ me, even though I confess to being more focused on being a good cantankerous anachronism than on being a good Christian.

The way a cantankerous anachronism handles a spiritual crisis is through a wry sense of humor. While the Bible never actually comes out and states a wry sense of humor  is a spiritual gift, I see it in the scriptures. For example, in Galatians 5, verse 12, Paul is basically stating that if people think circumcision of the foreskin is so spiritual,  he wishes they would be even more spiritual and cut their entire penis off. If that isn’t a wry sense of humor, I don’t know what is.

Around these parts, when people are suffering from a long, long winter, one thing we have done in the past, to fight off the spiritual depression of a long, long winter giving way to a long, long mud-season, is to hold a “talent show”, where people can express a wry sense of humor. I think the last time we did this was in the last century, around 1996,  when we suffered a winter which simply refused to quit. That doesn’t seem so long ago to me, but time has flown, and, somewhat to my amazement, there are now very young mothers who were not even born, the last time we had a mud-season talent show.

The idea popped into my head that this winter was so hard and so prolonged that now was high time for another mud-season talent show.  My pragmatic side was screaming, “No, no, no!  That would be extra work!” However, in a most careless manner I “floated” the idea, as a deacon of a very small church. I didn’t think the idea would catch on.  It was just an old-fashioned idea of an old-fashioned, anachronistic geezer. However the idea did catch on, and now I’m stuck with it.

I was sort of hoping everyone would forget I ever mentioned the idea, but this morning, as I came dashing into the church at the last possible moment, despite the fact I am “deacon on duty” and obliged to stand at the pulpit and begin the service with the “announcements,” I glanced up towards a big screen I don’t much like, which my church has plastered up on the wall above the pulpit in an attempt to be “modern.”  (The most recent invention I, as an anachronism, approve of is the invention of stained glass.) On that screen was the blaring announcement: “Talent Show!”  Then, in the small print, it stated, “See Caleb Shaw for details.”

As I sauntered up to the pulpit to begin the service I was attempting to think fast. My brain did not comply. As I announced the other church activities I was troubled by a troublesome detail. That detail was that people could not “see me for details” about the Talent Show, for I hadn’t worked out any of the details. I had merely floated an idea. Now I suddenly found myself in charge of an event, and in some ways Master of Ceremonies of an event, which only moments before I had been hoping everyone would forget I ever mentioned.

In the end I was honest, and simply stated there were still “a few details to work out.” However, on the way to that honest confession, I babbled a bit. In fact I reminded myself of Calvin, in the old “Calvin and Hobbs” cartoons, when he was asked for homework, or an answer, by his battle-ax teacher, and was “buying time,” for if he procrastinated long enough the bell would ring and he could escape the classroom without answering or producing homework. Unfortunately no such escape was available to me, for, in a very small church, I, as the deacon who announces the announcements, am also the deacon who, just after that, rushes to the bell rope and rings the bell.

During the time I babbled a bit, my mouth produced some wonderful sidetracks, including the weather report.  I discussed the reasons for a talent show, avoiding the subject of the talent show itself. I discussed how cold and dreary and, in the end, muddy, the month of March could be. I found myself discussing ways the monotony and dreary boredom of waiting for April could be relieved, besides holding a talent show. Among other things, I babbled about snapping the twig of a maple tree to grow an icicle of maple sap.

I cannot say where that idea came from. Blame it on the Holy Spirit, if you will. In any case, as I looked out over the mostly empty pews, I could see the scattered congregation was looking at me with obvious interest, as I babbled. Apparently they had never heard of growing your own maple syrup Popsicle.

What happens is that, when you snap a maple’s twig in subfreezing temperatures, perhaps due to the power of the sun on the south-facing side of the maple’s bark, the sap flows even though it is below freezing. When you interrupt this flow on its way to a bud, by snapping a twig, the tree bleeds just as we bleed from a small cut, but as soon as the sap hits the air it freezes, forming an icicle. Then, because the air is so extremely dry, a process called “sublimation” occurs, where ice becomes water vapor without the bother of melting. (A bit like “dry ice”, which is CO2 and cannot exist as liquid at ordinary sea-level barometric pressures.) What this does is shrink the icicle, and reduce the amount of water in it, which increases the amount of maple sugar.  On occasion the icicles from a maple tree’s broken twig can be surprisingly sweet.

I’m not sure if this has anything to do with Christianity. Perhaps, in a symbolic sense, it may explain how an anachronistic old icicle like me wound up a deacon. Sweetness is found in unexpected places.

In any case, no one got mad at me for the fact I haven’t worked out the details of the talent show. But I’ll have to get busy.

After church I got curious about who first discovered the sweetness of maple icicles, and decided to research the subject.  Apparently the credit goes to a red squirrel:

Red-Squirrel-1

(credit also goes to the photographer Allan Oman, whose site is at:  http://allanoman.photoshelter.com/image/I0000yMZQ8Rsmf2w )

In conclusion, if you want to find sweetness in a World man has made more bitter and cold than it needs to be, there are two places to find sweetness: Scripture, and squirrels.

MARCH 2 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 2B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 2B temp_latest.big (1)  (click to enlarge)

“Sval” failed to develop, but right where models thought he would move, a weak low has swung around along the Canadian coast from the Bering Strait. I guess I’ll call it “Rietway,” because it came the right way rather than the wrong way. It may well be a fleeting feature, but it has allowed the cross-polar-flow to resume in its wake.

The wall of high pressure continues to segregate the Arctic from the Atlantic, and for the time being ice sxtent should be growing in Barents Sea. Models suggest the Atlantic will mount an invasion by midweek.

A GALLOPING GLIMPSE AT TWO UK MET MAPS

UK Met Mar 2 FSXX00T_00UK Met Mar 2B 12720117  (CLICK THESE MAPS TO ENLARGE)

“Thretfor” has become a powerful storm, and is not heading up to Iceland like a good Icelandic Low, but is following the pattern and is heading straight towards the British IsleS to give those poor, drenched people a blue Monday.  However at least they got a shred of a decent weekend, between showers.

Models are flip-flopping all over the place, concerning a coming change.  The most extreme “solutions” have the next trans-Atlantic storm completely breaking the pattern, and heading straight north rather than straight east, and rather than passing well south of Iceland passing well west, up the coast of Greenland. However that is only one of a number of different “solutions.”

Things have got to change, because the seasons are changing, however I have a “rule,” (though at times it seems more like a “superstition,”) that you can sometimes learn how the next winter will begin by how the last winter ended.  I am watching the current maps keenly, for clues.

Those who have visited this site during the duration of this winter know I have been on guard for the east winds from Siberia, and for situations to become like the map below.

A A Screen shot 2013_05_19 at 10_33_10 PM(1)

In fact, if you look at the above UK Met maps you can see elements of the above “AO and NOA negative” map, with a storm track into the Mediterranean and the winds over Europe shifting to the east, however time and time again we would approach this “solution,” only to swing the other way. In fact the true pattern this winter has been to be between two patterns, neither here nor there, which is why I think we may have discovered a third pattern.  It is a sort of illegitimate bastard pattern, as it does not have an authorized and official name, but it sure does plunk a gale over the British Isles with annoying (to those people) regularity, which is why I decided to give the bastard legitimacy, and called it “The Britannic Low.”

My curiosity now wonders, “Will we begin next winter in this pattern, or will a new pattern evolve?” My hunch is: A new pattern. Therefore I am watching the end of this winter for hints.

LOCAL VIEW —The seventh threat—

A battle 139 satsfc (3)A battle 139 rad_nat_640x480

Last Friday some of the older kids at our Daycare confided to me that they expected their vacation would be extended a day by a snowstorm tomorrow, but it looks like they will be disappointed.  The amazing (for March) press of arctic air seems to be pushing everything south. Threat-number-six basically evaporated, the air was so cold and dry, (though a remnant storm “Thretix” may ripple onto my UK Met discussion tomorrow.)  The seventh threat may well also be squeezed south of tomorrow.  In fact I am planning on it.

However,until the storm moves out to sea, I’ll reserve judgement, and retain my option for worry.  (I learned how to worry from my mother, who had an amazing capacity for fretting about things happening to me that never happened.) (Also the American Prophet Yogi Berra is said to have once pronounced, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over,” which is especially applicable to the above maps.)

The worrisome aspect of the above maps is the warmth coming north in the east as the cold swivels south in the west.  This suggests the seventh storm could tilt the table, becoming bigger than expected.  The forecasts are based on things staying “flat,” but the radar shows the warmth has come north far enough for rain in the south of New Jersey, even as plunging cold amazes the northern panhandle of Texas. (In one north Texan town, where the average high temperature for this date in March is 67, the actual high was 7; a mere sixty degrees below normal!!!) (Meanwhile, on the southern coast of Texas, it was 87 degrees.  That is an eighty degree contrast, and able to dumbfound computer models built upon “averages.”)

In a worst-case-scenario this seventh threat, (which I dub “Threteven”), would become bigger, dig deeper, and move slower. This would then cause it to dig even more, deepen even more, and slow even more.  Rather than being a big but “flat” system, moving to our south and giving Washington DC snow, it would give them more rain, as it tilted the tables and rode a retreating arctic front north. I would wake tomorrow to winter weather advisories, which would become winter storm warnings around noon, resulting in local schools closing early, and our Childcare experiencing total chaos and confusion, and, all things considered, a typical Monday.

I prefer to imagine it will be an atypical Monday.  Nothing unexpected will happen. The day will break steely grey, with the storm passing south of us, and the winds will stay from the cold and dry northwest.  Temperatures will refuse to rise, even when the sun pokes through in the afternoon, and the high temperature will be seventeen.  In that cold I will thank the skies for dryness, and the fact I don’t need to remove snow. Instead I’ll focus on tapping maple trees, even though it will be so cold no sap will flow.

MARCH 3  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 3 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 3 temp_latest.big (1)

LOCAL VIEW  —Storm slipping south— 

A battle 140 satsfc (3)A battle 140 rad_ec_640x480

MARCH 3  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 3B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 3B temp_latest.big (1)

“Sval” has formed over Svalbard, and is drifting up towards the Pole, likely to absorb “Kwik” and “Riteway” and to create a very brief period of semi-zonal flow. It will be interesting to watch how much mild Atlantic air Sval brings north, and how quickly that air cools.

Some models are showing a huge area of low pressure completely surrounding Greenland by Thursday.  There can’t truly be a low center over the icecap, but the 996mb isobar will surround Greenland and also much of the north Atlantic.

UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 3B 12746096

“Thretfor” has parked over the British Isles and become the Britannic Low, as expected, while kicking low pressure down into the Mediterranean storm track.  “Thretix” is crossing and will likely take a southerly route, but is leaving energy behind as a Labrador Low which will be interesting to watch, as it is expected to grow and engulf Greenland. Talk about morphistication! In some ways, with shreds of the typical icecap high pressure at the center, it will be like the low is a whole bunch of lows around Greenland, like the petals of a daisy.  The lows moving up Greenland’s east coast could get pretty big and bring a surge of south winds up towards the Pole, with the southerly flow stretching clear across to Norway.

LOCAL VIEW  —grey day—

A battle 141 satsfc (3)A battle 141 rad_nat_640x480

The seventh threat was the biggest, and held the most potential and power, but it too slipped off the coast to our south, and all we got of it was a grey day.  Temperatures had dropped to twelve by dawn, and barely rose all day. The kids didn’t want to play outside much. The snow has all turned to a gritty crust, and I can walk atop a foot of snow as if I am as light as a squirrel.  I’m not.

It was a tedious sort of day, and I’m in the mood to turn in early.  I’ll let the maps speak for themselves.  (Get talking, maps.)

MARCH 4  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 4 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 4 temp_latest.big (1)

“Sval” swirls up by the Pole, creating a bent flow from Finland east along the Siberian coast to the laptev Sea, where it takes a left turn and is a cross-polar-flow to Canada. This creates a flow with a split personality, as it has two source regions. Milder air comes from north of Europe, while Siberian air is pulled up from central Asia. I wonder if the clash between these two stripes of air will make Sval stronger, or influence his track.

No sign of the flood of air up from the Atlantic yet.

LOCAL VIEW  —SKIES GONE MILKY—(The Medusa Effect)

A battle 142 satsfc (3)A battle 142 rad_nat_640x480

It was another bitterly cold morning. As I opened the door at the Childcare for a parent loaded down with her child’s supplies, I saw her glace at the thermometer,  which read three degrees.  (-15 Celsius.)  Brightly and cheerfully I stated, “Well, at least it is above zero. That’s a sign of spring for sure!”  She managed a chuckle, just barely.

However as soon as the March sun got up in the spotlessly blue sky, you could feel the warmth in the rays.  Temperatures fought up towards twenty, however if you got on the south side of a building out of the wind you could bask, and even see the snow soften and slump a little.  But then the slightest overcast came over, and immediately the world turned back to stone.

This is an amazing start to March. In March hot and humid air usually comes north from the Gulf of Mexico, and we get our first tornadoes in the Midwest as it clashes with polar cold. The above radar map shows snow down on the Gulf Coast. Unbelievable!

That southern snow is a southern-branch feature hardly getting notice on the map, and the snow over the Great lakes is a northern-branch feature equally undignified with attention. Together they represent “threat eight,” which is not much of a threat, though it does turn our blue skies milky, and our landscape back to stone, like a wink from Medusa.

MARCH 4  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Mar 4B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 4B temp_latest.big (1)

This is a very interesting couple of maps. (To me, at least.)

For one thing, as “Sval” has gobbled up “Rietway” and “Kwik” he has become a decently strong low on the Pole.  Imagine that!  With all the talk of Polar Vortexes, in an attempt to explain every arctic outbreak, we now have a vortex on the Pole, which likely will get no press whatsoever. True, compared to what is brewing down around Cape Farewell at the southern tip of Greenland, it is a small low, but the isobars are tightly packed on the Suberian side of the Pole, and you can bet winds are strong and the sea-ice is getting crammed into the Beaufort Gyre, rather than down towards Fram Strait.

Second, look back at the maps for the past few days, and contemplate what has become of the mild Pacific air associated with “Rietway.”  Unless a little got sucked into the top of Baffin Bay, it has all been ingested by the development of “Sval.”  Just compare the isotherms from the morning map of two days ago with today’s afternoon map:

DMI Mar 2 temp_latest.big (1)DMI Mar 4B temp_latest.big (1)

That entire pool of mild air has been transformed into cold air.  Magic?  We are talking the green hues turning to deep blue, or -8 degree air changing to -25 degree and even -30 degree air.  Not magic, but fact. (Likely the warm air rose, lost heat to outer space, and showered down snow.)

Third, notice the tongue of “warm” air “Sval” is now sucking up into its core from Barents Sea. (This contains a lot of air from the Steppes, and isn’t true Atlantic juice.) Will the same “magic” aflict this mild air, dropping its temperature 20 degrees in sixty hours? STAY TUNED!!!

Lastly, watch that low south of Greenland. It may engulf all of Greenland, and then even grow bigger.  Indeed it may become this thing called “A Grand Planetary Wave,” wherein the polar, sub-polar and sub-tropical waves all match up, and you can get a gigantic plunge in the isobars forming a trough from west of Greenland to the Gulf of Mexico. Such events are rare, and likely won’t happen, but tend to happen this time of year when they do happen. If it happened people in Europe could sit back and munch popcorn, watching the USA cuss and tantrum and shovel feet of snow.

Even if that doesn’t happen, you can see a decent cross-polar-flow is redeveloping, which makes warm spells highly unlikely on this side of the Pond.

LIGHTNING-LIKE PEERINGS AT UK MET MAPS

UK Met Mar 4 FSXX00T_00UK Met Mar 4B 12773405  (Click these maps to enlarge them.)

These maps show the mixed muddle of switching patterns. “Thretix” is taking the old patterns southerly route towards the Mediterranean track, as “Threteven” appears and seems hesitant, and even divided, with part following along behind on Thretix’s cold front, as a northern part has independent fronts and is getting sucked into a deepening of isobars at the southern tip of Greenland.

This sort of confused map messes with the virtual mind of models, (and the very real minds of true meteorologists as well.)  Until a new pattern becomes clear you are likely to get a wide variety of “solutions” from the models, (and a variety of forecasts from true meteorologists as well.)

One very interesting solution has the deepening south of Greenland becoming a major feature, even to the degree where it may suck some warm air way down at the bottom right of the map from the Azores right up towards England. (Such a visit of balmy temperatures would likely be part of a showery pattern, if not yet another gale, but balmy is still nice, even if it is brief.)

However until such a Greenland-engulfing feature actually manifests, other solutions are still on the table. In any case, I wish I had the time to really study these maps, rather than watching from afar. Some intriguing stuff is going on.

AN UNEXPECTED THANK-YOU

This is pretty neat, for me at least.

I likely sound like an advertisement for WeatherBELL, but I do get all sorts of wonderful information for the price of a cup of coffee each day from their “Premium Site.”  So I headed over there this evening to see what was new, and got my socks knocked off by this headline on Joe Bastardi’s blog: THANKS CALEB, FOR AT LEAST LISTENING

So of course I wondered, “What the heck?”  Then I read on. (I would link you to his site, but you may not have the price of a cup of coffee.) Joe wrote:

“March 4 04:06 PM

I was glancing through WUWT at an article about Dr Jeff Masters and his comments on how this winter is a sign of global warming. I came upon this letter and I want to say thank you to Caleb for remembering the theory behind all this. Essentially if the oceans caused warming and they started turning colder, there would be some climatic hardship, nothing too terrible in relation to what has happened before, but something that was at least there to consider.

“Caleb says:March 4, 2014 at 7:44 am 

Back when I first started paying attention to Joe Bastardi, nearly a decade ago, he was warning we should expect to face what he called “a time of climatic hardship.” His warning was based upon prior weather, and what occurred the last time the “warm” PDOand AMO flipped over to the “cold” phases. His warning didn’t involve Global Warming one bit. It only needed history to repeat itself.

I imagine he got laughed at a bit, as back then the talk was all warming followed by more warming, and how our children weren’t going to know what snow looked like.

Now the PDO has flipped to the “cold” phase, and we are waiting for the AMO to also flip in the next few years. So far Mr. Bastardi looks wise and the Alarmists look like….well, unwise.

At this point the Alarmists are flip-flopping like a trout on hot tar. They need to be reminded, over and over and over, of what they said in the past. Not that they will ever say the three very difficult words, “I was wrong.” Being able to say those three words is the sign of a true adult. Flip-flopping, on the other hand, means you’re up to something fishy.”

I took alot of heat over this, alot of ridicule. And by the way there is no way to say if its truly right or wrong as far as a provable point. The main message is that as long as there were clashes , the weather was likely to produce extreme events. It seemed to me that with the PDO flipping and the amo warm, and then flipping later, we should look to what happened before.

If there was no clash, if one side overran the other, there would be LESS extreme weather. That is a fact of nature.. When one side overwhelms the other, be it the weather or a wrestling match, the weather goes from chaos to lack of chaos.. in the case of wrestling, the match ends.

I realize such things are a threat to people who want others to believe that this is so complex, you have no chance to understand it. But I have found, through watching all of you, whether you like me or not, its the opposite. I have found there alot of very talented people out there that if their path was different, their love of the weather and the talent they have would have them on the same path I am on. This does not threaten me, it makes me grateful that I had the chance. A letter like this makes me understand what a blessed man I am .

So Caleb and all of you, thanks.

Now, is that not a fairly nice thing to blunder across? (I should note that when I wrote that comment on WUWT I had no inkling Mr. Bastardi would ever see it.)

What was even better was to look through his next post, and to see he had examples of “Grand Planetary Waves.”  The first is from March 13, 1993, and is from a situation I fondly remember, because I was younger and stronger, and the resultant storm created so much shoveling I made a quick hundred dollars at a time I sorely needed it.

Grand Planetary Wave compday_J5CFf_N3Nq (click to enlarge)

The second map is from a computer model, for the exact same day, 21 years later:

Grand Planetary Wave gefs_z500a_noram_37(1)  (Click map to enlarge.)

Considering I am 21 years older, I doubt I would be as fond of the same situation, if it reoccurred.  (By the way, which map is superior? The old one, or the Dr. Ryan Maue WeatherBELL map?)

As a final example of sounding like a WeatherBELL commercial, I’ll steal something from Joseph D’Aleo’s blog at WeatherBELL, however this one deserves its own headline:

GREAT LAKES ICE SETS MODERN (SINCE 1980) RECORD

I could hunt down this map and the pictures of Niagara Falls for myself, but why do that work when Joseph D’Aleo works so hard to make it available to me?

Great Lakes March 4 lice_00  (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Great Lakes March 4 1960830_10201192157760688_23307115_o  (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

‘UNPRECEDENTED?’ NOT SO FAST.  NIAGARA IN 1911

Great Lakes March 4 1911  (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

I am sorry if this post seems like some sort of mushy mutual-admiration-society. However the reason is that I admired both Joseph D’Aleo and Joe Bastardi even before “WeatherBELL” existed, back when I made Bastardi my professor at “Accuweather” and heeded D’Aleo through his site at “Icecap.”  I’ve been thanking them for a decade, and even if I didn’t get tonight’s return thank-you, I’d go right on telling everyone I know that their site, and Dr. Ryan Maue’s maps, are worthy, because the simple fact of the matter is: That’s the truth.

Now let me toot my own horn. If you look way back in these posts you will see I had what I called a “hunch” this winter would be a bad one, and backed up my statement by buying several truckloads of firewood. Now it seems, with propane prices above $4.00 a gallon at times, I was not as dumb as I look (and often behave.)

The Great Lakes are not a small body of water, yet are not included in the “Sea-Ice extent graphs,” for the obvious reason they are not salt water.  However, if you include them in the surface area of the planet, they make a blip in the data as big as the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Sea is below average this winter, but if you included the Great Lakes in the sea-ice data, it might more than make up for that deficiency.

In other words, even if it is mild in Europe, this is no slouch, as winters go. And it isn’t over.

LOCAL VIEW  —We duck another bullet?—

A battle 143 satsfc (3)A battle 143 rad_nat_640x480

As an old geezer, this map makes me nervous, however when I check my weather-radio I learn we have a 40% chance of snow-showers tomorrow.  No prediction for snow amounts is made, which suggests a dusting at best.

Why am I nervous? Because the ingredients for worse are there. You have a northern-branch low with a big arctic high sitting over it, and a low in the Gulf of Mexico with plenty of juice.

Even if threat-eight slips harmlessly out to sea, I can’t help but wonder, “How many times can we duck the bullet?”

My hunch is that we will get at least one, big, storm-to-remember, before this winter quits.

MARCH 5  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 5 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 5 temp_latest.big (1)

“Sval” is becoming the northern appendage of low pressure engulfing the entire island of Greenland.

LOCAL VIEW  —Another gray day—

A battlke 144 satsfc (3)A battle 144 rad_nat_640x480

We were at seventeen (-8 Celsius) this morning, which felt surprisingly warm.  Gray overcast sliding over from the west, as low gray scud came in from the east, with light snow falling. Even the snow looked a bit gray to me.

Temperatures are suppose to get down to five below (-20 Celsius) tonight, which doesn’t have my mood very spring-like.  We might make it up to freezing by Friday.

MARCH 5  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Match 5B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 5B temp_latest.big (1)

“Sval” has weakened while drifting towards Canada from the Pole, pulling a tendril of mildness with him, as a part of a cross-polar-flow which continues strong even as Sval weakens, due to the powerful low developing at the southern tip of Greenland.  I cam going to dub this low “Morphy” because it involves so much of what I call “morphistication.” (Basically morphistication is what occurs to low pressure areas as they transit high ranges of mountains.)

There tends to be a semi-permanent high pressure parked over the cold ice-cap of Greenland, but Morphy is erasing it. Atlantic air is slamming into Greenland, being hoisted over 10,000 feet as it crosses the icecap, having lots of moisture condense and crystallize and produce available heat from latent heat as the snow snows out, and then a sort of Greenland Chinook occurs as this air sinks more than 10,000 feet from the icecap to sea level on the Baffin Bay side.  Although the Chinook has “warmed” air, a lot of heat is lost to outer space as well, and my guess would be the process represents a loss of heat, even though the Baffin Bay coast may experience a short term warming of sorts. (This would be a neat thing to study more deeply. When I’m filthy rich I’ll hire some brilliant young student to study what happens to winds transiting Greenland.)

For the time being the milder Atlantic air is hitting Greenland rather than invading the Arctic, but it does look like an invasion is immanent.  It will be interesting to watch this invasion, and see how it mixes with the cross polar flow.  It looks like Morphy will dominate the Atlantic side, and high pressure dominate the Pacific side.

A RAPID SCAN OF THE UK MET MAPS

UK Met Mar 5 FSXX00T_00UK Met Mar 5B 12798082

I’m tired, and am mostly popping these maps in here hoping I have the time to study them later. You can see the old storm track continuing to feed weak trans-Atlantic lows into the Mediterranean, even as Morphy grows and takes over the show. O guess I’ll call that appendage of Morphy getting wheeled past Iceland “Morpheven”, as it took over the cold front belonging to “Threteven.”

Watch the Azores High at the bottom center to see if some really balmy air can make it north, and watch the lobe of Siberian high pressure over Finland to see if it can bring cool and dry air from the Steppes west on its south side. Some sort of conflict between the two high pressure areas seems likely.

LOCAL VIEW  —2 inches of fluff—

A battle 145 satsfc (3)A battle 145 rad_nat_640x480

Even as the cold, dry air moved in all day, just enough of a easterly drift continued at the surface to give us light snow all day, with the flakes getting large and thick just before it ended at dark. I wasn’t feeling very inspired, but did manage to get the kids at the Childcare involved with catching snowflakes on there tongues.  As I showed them how the thought occurred to me, “Dang. It’s been years since I’ve done this.”

I’d also forgotten how white flakes look like black ashes, when you look up into a grey sky, and how the flakes expand towards you as they fall, and how the farthest flakes look like a thick swarm of the smallest black gnats.

That low lurking in the Western Gulf of Mexico is Threat Nine.

MARCH 6 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Mar 6 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Mar 6 temp_latest.big (1)

“Morphy” is impressive as it engulfs Greenland, with “Morpheven” being swung past Iceland. Strong southerly flow developing over Norway. The Scandinavia-to-Canada cross-polar flow should create a milder stripe than the Siberia-to-Alaska flow.

A HASTY HEEDING OF THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Mar 6 12811230 (Click to enlarge)

The Azores High has actually linked with the Siberian High, forming a weak wall of high pressure between the old pattern, with lows in the Mediterranean, and the new pattern, with “Morphy” creating a Icelandic High that is displaced northwest rather than southeast over England. In fact it looks like southeast England might even be close enough the high pressure over France to see a thing called sunshine.

The front touching northeast Ireland and Scotland will not move east greatly, becoming a feature on the maps that undulates back and forth over the British Isles and the coast of Norway over the next few days, separating a milder southwesterly flow from a colder southwesterly flow.

LOCAL VIEW —The last sub-zero daybreak of the winter?—

A battle 146 satsfc (3)A battle 146 rad_nat_640x480

Fresh snow-cover bred a pocket of nasty cold in our area, especially down in valleys.It was seven below (-22 Celsius) at the foot of our hill, as I stumbled about in the dark getting going. When I went out to start my wife’s truck for her the east was just starting to get light, but even that was annoying because, just when we are starting to have a glimmer of daylight to work with, the dolts in Washington DC decree that the clocks should spring forward to Daylight Savings Time, an hour earlier than they used to, which means we’ll be working in the dark again next Monday.

I didn’t think I needed gloves just to walk to the truck and back, but the cold stung the back of my hands immediately. It wouldn’t do to start the day crabbing about everything, so I stuck my hands deep into my pockets and looked around for something inspiring.

The east blushes blue. A cardinal tweets, insanely loud in the subzero hush.  Jaunty red plumage black against dawn, he greets winter’s conquest with counter-claims, a rush of twitters, and then, “Tweet! Tweet! Tweet!” he yells: A winced headache to all with hangovers and a plague to sleep. “Tweet! Tweet!” It compels curses from virgin lips; even pushovers push back against the madness of claiming a white waste of tundra for a dull spouse who likely thinks he’s mad, and is shaming him by basking in Florida.  What house can he claim for her when the odds are so low?  “Tweet! Tweet!” screams the cardinal at seven below.

I decided I likely needed a second cup of coffee.

Cardinal images

***********

The sun has risen in a cloudless sky, and by 9:00 AM its beaming face is as high as it is at noon in December. Temperatures have risen 30 degrees, which is still ten below freezing, but feels kindly in the calm. Despite some murmuring about a big storm next week, last night felt like the peak of ice in the depth of winter, and so this seems like a good place to end this post.  However I should add an ice-extent graph, to show its peak as well.

DMI Mar 6 icecover_current_new (Click graph to enlarge.)

I imagine this is the peak of the ice extent because late season increases are largely HTGT ice along the edges, especially in the Barents Sea, and that sea is likely to see a decrease in strong southerly winds, the next week.

Barents Sea is the main reason the extent looks low this year.  It has less ice this winter than any time in recent history:

DMI Mar 6 region.all.anom.region.6 (click graph to enlarge)

My assumption is that this is typical of the situations that develop when the AMO is about to switch.  It may even be a cause of the AMO switching.  It will be interesting to see if having this water unprotected by ice all winter speeds the ice-melt or retards it. (It will make no difference to the minimum, because Barents Sea nearly always melts completely.)  I wrote more about this wondering in an essay called, “Author Of Its Own Demise.”  http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/author-of-its-own-demise/

This series of posts will continue at:

http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/arctic-sea-ice-maximum-march-madness/

ARCTIC SEA ICE RECOVERY —THE EQUIPOISE OF BATTLE—

This is a continuation of a series of posts, the last of which was, http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/arctic-sea-ice-recovery-the-viewless-viewers-views/

The original post was about the view from the North Pole Camera. I learned some years ago that the view from that camera showed things that the press was not reporting, and became intrigued. Partly the view helped me become an educated voter, and partly it is a serene and beautiful view to watch, especially during the summer when the weather is hot.

Now the cameras all have been either retrieved, shut-down, or lost at sea. I am a viewer without a view. Even the visible satellite pictures show a black hole of darkness at the Pole during the winter. However I had become engrossed and, partly because I simply am stubborn, I have continued to observe what I cannot see. I make do with infrared and microwave satellite data.

Two gold mines of information I use are the “Sea Ice Page” on the “Watts Up With That” site, and the thousand or so maps Dr. Ryan Maue makes available at the WeatherBELL. site.

I tend to post the DMI pressure and temperature maps of the Pole twice a day, and any other maps that strike my fancy.  Also I post what I call a “Local View” (which some may wish to skip,) as it is about how the arctic is effecting my little town in New Hampshire, and contains what I call humor and also some purple prose.

If you are a first-time visitor I will simply say this post will get longer and longer, as I add updates to the bottom several times a day. If you revisit the site to check up on the latest update you can enter on my home page, and click the little “comments” balloon to the right of the title, and that will take you to the bottom of the post, where you can scroll up a short ways to see the latest. This avoids the bother of sometimes needing to scroll down a long, long ways to see the latest.

We are now nearing the point where ice is approaching its maximum extent, which is something like the point where a pendulum stops going one way and starts going another. (It is interesting that the word “poise” comes from a word for a weight used back when weighing things was done on an old-fashioned scale. It was a thing rather than a state.) Often “poise” suggests a sort of pause, and a calm.  In truth it is a time of some of our biggest storms, as the higher sun creates warmth at a time when winter is still at its mightiest. It is a case of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object.

The days are swiftly lengthening, and we are starting to see diurnal variation in bone-chilling places like Siberia. True, the temperatures may only rise from minus-forty to minus-twenty at noon,  however still it a hint at a warming sun.

Although the sun is already as high as it was in early November it shines on a completely changed world. In November lakes and bays were unfrozen and still radiated heat remembered from summer sunshine. Now those lakes and bays have become traitors to the heat, and are white wastes that reflect the sun away. As soon as the sun sets at night they become generators of cold, as radiational cooling occurs where, last November, the same lakes and bays wafted updrafts of mildness. The north is still capable of creating cold air masses even as the south creates warmth.

Therefore, rather than less snowy, it can become more snowy. Even as temperatures start to rise from their winter depths, the depth of snow can increase. The extent of arctic sea-ice can increase as well, especially if it is shifted the right way by winds.  (This year a last-minute spike in ice-extent would be most likely to occur if calm and cold conditions occurred in the North Atlantic, where Barents Sea ice is below normal, and also if a surge of ice was flushed south through Fram Strait.)

If snows increase here in New Hampshire I’ll be busy battling it, and updates at this site will become few and far between. However it is actually a sign of the turning of the tide, and of spring.

FEBRUARY 10 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Feb 10B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 10B temp_latest.big (1)

“Rongwe 5″ continues across the Pole, now more a part of the Atlantic low pressure than a separate identity. While he is pulling a plume of milder Pacific air in behind, he is going to slam that door shut by swinging a slug of Siberian cold right up into that plume, and then on into Alaska and Canada. The real invasion of mildness is likely to be from the Atlantic, over the top of Greenland, and actually  oppose the circulation of Rongwe 5 for a while.

The isobars diverge north and northwest of Svalbard, pushing some ice down through Fram Strait while pushing ice further north away into the Beaufort Gyre, and keeping it from entering Fram Strait.  It seems only logical that when ice moves in a way that diverges an area of open water should appear. Perhaps this explains the open water northeast of Svalbard, which keeps attempting to freeze over only to reappear.

DMI Feb 10B arcticicennowcast (1) (click to enlarge)

Even odder is the fact that the open water is “below normal,” in terms of sea-surface temperature, while ice-covered areas around it are “above normal,” according to this map:

DMI Feb 10B color_anomaly_NPS_ophi0 (click to enlarge)

The divergent flow can be seen in the map below. Some ice is being sucked down through Fram strait by the winds on the northwest side of the Icelandic Low, but a lot more ice is drifting straight into the Beaufort Gyre.

DMI Feb 10B arcticicespddrfnowcast (click map to enlarge)

FEBRUARY 11  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Feb 11 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 11 temp_latest.big (1)

The low I dubbed “Rongwe 5″ is finishing his journey as a bubble carried along by the old cross-polar-flow, and carrying along a last slug of Siberian air to Canada in his wake. However it looks like the cross-polar-flow is swinging clockwise, and moving from a Siberia-to-Canada flow to an Atlantic-to-Pacific flow.  This may give the USA a break from winter blasts, but not until a week-to-ten-day period of Siberian air that has already been delivered gets used up. Meanwhile Europe continues to get a southerly flow except for the very west, which gets storms.

QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET MAP 

UK Met Feb 11 12210115 (click map to enlarge)

What a messy map!  The pattern continues to be stuck between having a strong and established Icelandic Low, and having a storm track through the Mediterranean. Currently it looks like the GFS model was wrong, and what remains of “Lullerthird” will not redevelop and swing a secondary into Norway tomorrow. Rather the weak low “Ghost,” just appearing in the lower left, will strengthen as it crosses the Atlantic and (Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!) crash into the waterlogged British Isles on Thursday.

The pattern I’ve been watching for all winter has been strong on the American side of the Atlantic, but never has really established itself on the European side.  (Likely this demonstrates a Pacific component was involved.)  I still think it may appear, but it is too late to cause Europe a severe winter;  instead it would be a spoiled spring.

A A Screen shot 2013_05_19 at 10_33_10 PM(1)

LOCAL VIEW  —Rumors of storm—

A battle 89 satsfc (3)A battle 89 rad_nat_640x480

The GFS computer models started to see the storm I’ve been wary about last night. As it is the model most of our local forecasts are based about, forecasts had been for a light snow event on Thursday, as the GFS saw the storm slipping out to sea. Last night there was suddenly more  concern, and people picking up their children at our childcare started demonstating that strange glee people have when doom first appears on the horizon, but still is at a safe distance.

I try not to get too caught up in it. Some were all excited about a giant storm that some model showed for last weekend, and talked of us getting two feet of snow, and then had to suck lemons when we only got an inch.  However this time the threat looks realer.

You can see the rain and snow brewing to the south, in the radar map. Some of this will slip out to sea with a ripple of low pressure I suppose is “Ghostson.”  More moisture will hang back and await the kick from that impulse of energy way up in the Canadian Rockies. That energy will swing down and swoop up the Gulf of Mexico moisture and then curl back up the coast, likely giving us snow Wedensday night and Thursday morning.

I’m the slightest bit smug about that front laying down in the Gulf, as it is a ghost-front which came back to life, which I paid attention to, and it is the reason the storm whose isobars are dimly seen in the upper right of the map got the name “Ghost.”  I figure that, even though a lot of this next storm’s energy is coming from elsewhere, it is a sort of “Ghostthird.”  However it is detached from “Ghost” to such a degree I figure it ought be spelled differently, to recognize its separate identity, so I guess I’ll dub it “Gothurd.” (That has a nice, Nordic ring to it.)

It’s a bit below zero out, in the dark of predawn, and as low as ten-below in a sheltered valley down the road. I’m going to be fairly busy with storm preparations on top of ordinary chores, but will post when I can.

FEBRUARY 11  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Feb 11B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 11B temp_latest.big (1)

Just at first glance, (and only glance, as I’m tired,) It looks like Rongwe 5 is the last of the Pacific “wrong-way” storms, but a new parade of Atlantic wrong-way storms may get going along the north coast of Greenland and Canada.

The Finland to Alaska cross-polar-flow is now glaringly obvious, and seems likely to inject less-cold air into at least half the Arctic.  The big blob of cold crossing on the Bering Strait side looks like it will be the last, but we’ll have to wait and see about that. ( I keep thinking patterns are about to change, and then the old patterns resume.)

FEBRUARY 12   —DMI MORNING MAPS—  My back porch is colder than the Pole

DMI Feb 12 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 12 temp_latest.big (1)

An impressive surge of Atlantic air is invading the Arctic Sea, as both Iceland and Svalbard experience thawing. Temperatures at the Pole have risen above minus-ten ( 14 Fahrenheit) and could get above minus-five (23 Fahrenheit).  Meanwhile it is minus-seventeen on my back porch (0 Fahrenheit.)

I wish the darn arctic would stay up where it belongs.

I wonder if the clash between mild air and cold air will brew up an arctic gale.  I’m going to name that low north of Greenland “Atwong,” (for “Atlantic-wrong-way-low.”)

The north-of-eighty-degrees-latitude-graph DMI temperature graph will spike way above normal, as all the truly cold air is over towards Bering Strait, or in Siberia, or raising my heating bill, and most is south of eighty degrees.

With low pressure moving west on the Canadian side I wonder if high pressure will move west on the Eurasian side, bringing a “Snout of Igor” (Siberian Cold) back to Europe. I wouldn’t put away my winter clothes, if I lived over there, though looks like it will stay mild until next week.

QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 12 12236347 (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

“Lullerthird” remains strong between Iceland and Scotland, as “Ghost” continues on its way across the Atlantic to crash into waterlogged England. Though the Mediterranean storm track is still apparent the Icelandic High is making a comeback. In western Europe the southerly flow has a maritime-polar source, and isn’t all that warm. In eastern Europe they are getting a break from Siberian air, but the “Snout of Igor” should come surging back in a week or so. Don’t put away your mittens.

LOCAL VIEW  —Insomnia report—  

A battle 90 satsfc (3)A battle 90 rad_nat_640x480

A battle 91 satsfc (3)A battle 91 rad_nat_640x480

The above maps show the warmth people were talking about coming across the USA just got crushed between the preceding arctic high and the following arctic high, and now is an occlusion extending up to Hudson Bay. The real action is to the south, where “Ghostson” slipped harmlessly out to sea (unless you live in the Carolinas,) and now “Gothurd” is gathering strength and looks far less harmless.

The GFS computer model keeps hinting Gothurd might slip out to sea like Ghostson did, but the Weather Service issued a “watch” yesterday and a “warning” about ten minutes ago, so maybe they don’t trust their own computer, or maybe it updated its read-out.

I’m in no mood for a storm. Three separate ailments have been moving through town, (a cold, a 24-hour-stomach-bug, [Norovirus] and the flu). Children and parents at our day care are coming down with things left and right, but my wife and I can’t. Our staff can have sick days, but we have to be immune. Strangely, we (so far) haven’t gotten sick, however I think we simply are exposed so such an onslaught of germs that our immune systems are in high gear, so that when we get things we don’t get completely clobbered.  We just feel less than 100%, but are still able to do stuff that has to be done, such as snow-blow the driveways. However I sure don’t feel like snow-blowing when I am not at 100%.

O well, whatever will be will be.

SIBERIAN SNEAK ATTACK ON WESTERN EUROPE

The following maps are produced by Dr. Ryan Maue at the WeatherBELL site. They show very cold air sneaking back over arctic waters during the next ten days to come down on western Europe from the northeast.  They are from the ECMWF model, and represent whether temperatures are above normal or below normal roughly 5000 feet up from sea level, in the atmosphere. Notice how Scandinavia starts out red (above normal) but winds up blue (below normal.)

Models are often wrong, but this particular model shows a solution which shows something I’ve been thinking about, and is why I think people in london shouldn’t put away their mittens.

(By the way, the map also shows coastal Siberia has exported so much cold to Canada it is now above normal. But don’t be fooled by the red color. “Above normal” is still well below zero.) (Double-click these maps to fully enlarge.)

PRESENT   Sib1 eps_t850a_asia_1

IN 3 DAYS     Sib2 eps_t850a_asia_13

IN 5 DAYS      Sib3 eps_t850a_asia_21

 7 1/2 DAYS    Sib4 eps_t850a_asia_31

IN 10 DAYS    Sib5 eps_t850a_asia_41

FEBRUARY 12  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—  Thaw at Pole?

DMI Feb 12B mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 12B temp_latest.big (1)

The Finland to Alaska cross-polar-flow persists, and has now dragged the minus-five isotherm right next to the Pole, with the freezing-isotherm now poking north of Svalbard.  Considering how tightly the isobars are packed together, it seems remotely possible for above freezing temperatures to cross the Pole, despite ice-cover and 24-hour-a-day darkness. If it happens, I imagine it will generate a counter-attack-headline, to cover the fact that places in the American Midwest are threatening to break all-time records concerning snow-cover and cold.

It’s darn hard to sell Global Warming in the American Midwest right now, just as it was hard in Europe last winter.  Therefore there will be, I imagine, an attempt to change the subject and divert attention elsewhere, by the salesmen.  They have money involved, and it is impossible to be objective and see the big picture when constrained by concerns for the the wallet.

In my humble opinion the big picture is that something is out of balance, and therefore the jet stream has gone loopy.  The atmosphere is always striving to achieve an impossible mediocrity, and the zonal pattern is as close as it gets.  The loopy [or 'meridianal'] pattern is, I imagine, a sign something needs to be brought back into balance. Perhaps it is caused by the PDO switching to “cold” mode when the Atlantic is still in “warm” mode.  Or perhaps it is caused by the variations of the sunspot cycle.  Or some other cause.  However we are witnessing an atmosphere which is doing some drastic things, flinging cold air far to the south and sucking warm air clear to the Pole, to regain its balance.

Pretty neat, if you ask me. But no reason to raise taxes.

The surge towards the Pole will interrupt the flow of Siberian cold to Canada, I imagine, and it also seems likely to create a new place for that Siberian air to go. Every action begets a reaction, so I imagine the current from Finland to Alaska will create a counter-current the other way, along the Siberian coast from east to west, creating the sneak-attack portrayed in the update before this one.

Lastly, in terms of sea-ice, this flow is not flushing much ice down through Fram Strait, and is cramming a lot of ice into Beaufort Gyre. Though ice extents may drop, the ice that exists in the arctic is not the thin skin it was a couple years ago.  It is compressed, and thicker.

A QUICK GLANCE AT THE UK MET

UK Met Feb 12B 12250227 (click to enlarge)

The pattern seems to be wobbling back towards the domination of the Icelandic Low, as “Lullerthird” has retained its strength despite being occluded, and remains a strong 954 mb gale south of Iceland. Meanwhile “Ghost” is nearly as strong, a 955 mb storm smashing poor Ireland yet again. In a sense this reduces the power of the Icelandic Low, and gives credence to my assertion that this winter we have a “Britannic Low”.

I should also point out that “Ghost” got its name because it was a feature I noted on American maps that didn’t get the notoriety of being noted by the map-makers.  It was a mere dimple in the isobars, without the recognition of a little “L” on the map to show it was there, and its fronts un-delineated, and mere “ghost fronts.”

There are features on this map equally unnoticed.  I will give the map-maker credit for noticing Ghostson, just appearing as a meek thing in the lower left corner, as that will likely be the next gale crashing into Ireland and rebuilding the Britannic Low.

However the persistance of the Britannic Low is creating a divided Europe, for it does not create a kindly southern flow from the Azores, (though occational dollops of that nice air can come north.) Instead it drives maritime polar air into the southern flow. This air may be greatly modified by its Atlantic passage, but it remembers its arctic origins.  While the lowlands of England may be squelching and soggy, the highlands of Scotland are drowning in snow.  Therefore there should be a demarcation in the southerly flow, currently owning Europe. To the east, where it usually is colder, the southerly flow is bringing air up from deserts and warn seas, but to the west, where it usually is milder, the flow has a definite chill, as its origins are Iceland and Greenland.

This chill from the west will be matched by a chill from the east, but that is especially unapparent in this map. All that remains of the “Snout of Igor” is vague high pressure in the upper right, and it seems the antithesis of Siberian cold, because it is the west side of a high pressure and denotes winds from the balmy south.  However as this high pressure lifts to the north the winds will shift to the southeast and then east, and the balmy nature of the wind will change.

Or so I surmise. We shall see what we shall see. All I am saying is that there are features on this map that are not apparent, unless you listen to the whispers of ghosts in the wind.

LOCAL VIEW  —Will the storm stall?—

A battle 92 satsfc (3)A battle 92 rad_nat_640x480

When I was young, this map would be a dream come true, especially with 18 inches of snow in our forecast. It would have meant no school tomorrow, and likely Friday as well, and then all of Saturday and Sunday free as well, before I finally faced my undone homework, late on Sunday night.

Now it only makes extra work for me, and it is amazing how that alters your view of a storm. Rather than a friend it is my enemy. How the tables have turned!

The good news is that the storm has slowed down. The snow was originally suppose to start at midnight, but now it is delayed until after the sun is up. So I don’t have to crawl from bed before dawn, leaving my warm wife for the embrace of bitter winds, and for miserable time spent trudging in darkness behind a snow-blower, so customers can drive comfortably into our Daycare’s lot. Instead I can sleep a little later, and likely won’t have to snow-blow until noon.

My hope is that the storm slows down to a grinding halt.  I’ve seen such things happen in the past.  If you look at the map, the high pressure to the north does present an obstacle. Originally the GFS had that high pressure shunting the storm out to sea, but it has now decided the high will prevent the storm from taking that route, blocking that escape, and causing it to head inland to such a degree Boston will see the snow turn to rain, (even as we get all snow, 60 miles inland and north).  And if the GFS can slow the storm that much, why not go farther?

Once these storm slow they occlude, as a fast-cold-front speeds around the low to a slow-warm-front stretching east. Then the storm follows the occlusion due east, sometimes creating remarkably different weather and snow-totals in a sixty-mile range.

In February 1978 a blizzard, thaw, and blizzard completely shut down Boston, but in the suburbs of Portland, Maine it was just a couple of ordinary storms, and life went on as usual. The only sign things were amiss was that the shelves started to look empty in grocery stores, because no trucks could come north. However enterprising truck drivers drove all the way around and came south from Quebec, and the shelves were restocked in Maine even before Boston had its streets clean.

The entire day of the Perfect Storm in 1991 we, where I now live in New Hampshire, had grey skies and strong winds blowing dry leaves about like scurrying herds of knee-high color, with blue sky at the northern horizon. I drove up to that horizon because I wanted to help out at a friend’s “Habitat For Humanity” project, and actually got a sunburn in October, as fishermen drowned in a crazed Atlantic not too far to my east.

So it has happened before, and can happen again. The GFS computer lives in a dream world, and only comes around to reality as it happens. Slowly it is getting around to seeing the storm doesn’t zip out to sea, and consequently the forecast now has the storm plodding slowly up the coast. Why shouldn’t it just as slowly get around to seeing the storm stop, occlude, and follow its occlusion out to sea?

This is what is known as “wish-casting.” I don’t want to huff around a parking lot behind a snow-blower, so I create a forecast that makes my wish come true, just the same way I would, when a half-century younger, wish for storms to cancel school.

It makes me shake my head at myself. What has happened to me? I used to relish the challenge of a storm.  Now I’d rather stay in bed. In the winter of my life I’m going soft.

I’m weary of winter. It’s sunny days make me flinch. Like a small child’s futile griping, “It isn’t June this January,” dismays grip my will. The gray gauze now striping southern skies promises me but more snow, more slush, more wind that bites with cold.

It doesn’t help that I’m old and know my seasons. I’m fed up, and growing bold I stamp a foot and raise a fist at the sky and howl like Job, “Enough of this winter!”

Then, immediately abashed, I sigh, “Aurgh, don’t listen to me,” but dead leaves stir on a beech branch, and far whispering states, “The final Spring is everlasting.”

Aurgh, don’t use that word, “Everlasting.” It’s too much like I’m past my prime, put out to pasture, and promised food while fasting. Spring will be fine when its green comes about in the usual way. These things that I say are just how a heart howls when it’s winter.

I curse my sweater, under skies hard and gray, preferring bare skin, but when winds splinter the nerves of my face, I won’t discard wool my wife’s knitted for me.

I’d be a poor excuse for a man if I discarded armor in the face of an evil man’s sick war, (and poor if my wife saw me not charm her.)  Therefore I’ll hate cold, yet hug my sweater. (A man can know worse, yet also know better.) I’ll leave comfort to snow-blow and make comfort. It’s a contradiction, and part and parcel of going shack-wacky in the north-lands, this time of year.

Even the sunset was a contradiction this evening. When a sunset is gray it foretells of storm, and when it’s beautiful it foretells of fair weather, but this sunset was remarkably divided right down the middle. They southern west was grey, purpling darker to the south, while to the north the entire sky lit up to a rosy peach, not merely in the west, but right along the northern horizon to the east.

It made me wonder if it was an omen that we would be right on the edge tomorrow, when the storm comes north.

I also couldn’t fail to notice it was still (just barely) light, as the final parent drove off with their child, and I fed the goats and closed down the Childcare. Not many days ago it would have been pitch dark. Days are getting longer, and winter won’t last forever.

LOCAL VIEW —February 13—Snow starts at 5:45 AM—  

A battle 93 satsfc (3)A battle 93 rad_ec_640x480

Snow is light and the barometer is still high at 30.25. School cancelled, but parents still need to work unless they are school teachers, so it will be a mixed up day at the Childcare.

LOCAL VIEW  —Mid-morning report—

A battle 94 satsfc (3)A battle 94 rad_ec_640x480

The snow is still light, but the heavy stuff is moving up through Connecticut into Massachusetts. The storm is coming north with little sign of it occluding or stalling, so I guess we’re in for it. It’s above freezing in Boston but having trouble getting out of the teens here. Pressures have started to fall: 30.15 at 10:00 and 30.09 at 11:00.

FEBRUARY 13  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Feb 13 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 13 temp_latest.big (1)

The strong cross-polar-flow continues, with Atlantic air now splitting the Pole.  The clash with Canadian cold seems to be keeping that interesting little low “Atwong” alive, north of Canada.  It’s circulation is exactly opposite the normal flow of the Beaufort Gyre. It would be interesting to know if the ice is jamming up.  The cloud cover is fairly thick, so it would also be interesting to know how much snow is generated by these Atlantic invasions.

The invasion has resulted in a a dramatic spoke upwards in the DMI temperature-north-of-80-degrees-latitude graph:

DMI Feb 13 meanT_2014Click map graph to enlarge.

QUICK LOOK AT UK MET

UK Met Feb 13 12265152

“Ghost” is right over the part of Scotland where I went to school for a year, 44 years ago.  “Ghostson”  is strengthening in the lower left, hurrying across to spoil the Saturday in the British Isles.

For some time the isobars  have slanted across the Gulf Stream. I wonder what it takes for winds to push the surface waters of such a stream south and east, and whether it influences the temperatures to the northeast.

LOCAL VIEW —Evening report— A foot of snow

A battle 95 satsfc (3)A battle 95 rad_ec_640x480

Barometer fell to 29.96 at 1:00, to 29.69 at 5:00, and to 29.46 now at 7:00. Winds picked up and the snow came whirling down so thickly I could barely see a hundred yards away.  We barely had over inch at 1:00, but by 3:00 we had nearly six inches and I figured I’d better start snow-blowing before it got too far ahead of me.

Today’s my birthday, and I thought a nice present would be to have this storm go out to sea.  Instead I spent a long time this afternoon snow-blowing, and decided it wasn’t so bad. I didn’t enjoy the wind blowing the fluff back in my face much, but now that it’s done the amazing capacity of memory to mend is apparent. In fact I could probably describe it in such a manner that you’d feel like rushing out and getting snow blown in your face as well. I won’t do that. I’d feel terrible if you got frostbit.

********

Interruption there.  Some nice birthday phone calls, and then a relaxed birthday dinner with my wife. Birthdays are nice, but I’m glad they only happen once a year. If they were more often I’d never get anything done. Also a heck of a lot older.

One more interesting shot of snow is apparent on the radar. The “hole” we are in now is actually a very fine snow, sort of a frozen drizzle, which doesn’t show up on the radar. However the center of the storm is still to the south, and is sucking in more moisture.

I should update the maps:

A battle 96 satsfc (3)A battle 96 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

That could be quite a spell of snow, if it makes it north.  Looks like the storm is starting to occlude, so things could move east. Pressure is still falling, down to 29.32 at 9:00. I’d best get to bed, as I might have to snow-blow again in the morning.

FEBRUARY 13  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Feb 13B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 13B temp_latest.big (1)

FEBRUARY 14 —DMI MORNING MAPS

DMI Feb 14 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 14 temp_latest.big (1)

(Hope to comment later)

LOCAL VIEW  —Still snowing—

A battle 97 satsfc (3)A battle 97 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

Woke up to use the bathroom and noriced the barometer was down to 29.07 at midnight, and this morning it is down to 28.86 at 5:00 AM . It is fairly calm, with lazy, fat flakes drifting down, but the isobars are packed tightly behind this storm, and I expect winds will get blustery later. I have to run over toithe farm to clean up the inch or two of snow we had overnight, but hope to be back at mid-morning to just sit here and contemplate profound stuff.

LOCAL VIEW  —mid-morning report—

A battle 98 satsfc (3)A battle 98 rad_ec_640x480

Barometer rising, up to 28.95 at 11:00, and strong winds dumping the burdened boughs and whirling great billowing swirls of snow in the wind, though the snow has stopped except for flurries.

We had roughly four more inches, with the first inch a gritting sleet last night that resisted removal. The snow-blower would basically get rid of three inches during the first pass, with the lover inch a smooth pavement that crumbled under the wheels, and required a second pass. The top inch was fluffy, likely a fifteen-to-one ratio, (snow to water,) but that bottom inch was likely four-to-one. All in all the storm delivered icey, heavy snow, despite the fact it was primarily dry snow. They had a two-hour-delay to the start of school, and later gave up ans cancelled school. The plows did a great job of clearing the roads, but effectively sealed everyone into their driveways. The snow banks in driveways were waist deep.

I had a sort of confrontation with a huge blow about to seal in the entrance to the Childcare for the fourth time. I was running the slow-blower along the side of the street, at the entrance, as the huge truck approached with a big wing-plow. I figured if I didn’t budge he would swing out to avoid me, and wouldn’t plow me in so badly, but he figured it was a game of “chicken,” and he was a heck of a lot bigger, so he kept right on coming.  I decided there was no way my 300 pound snow-blower was going to take on a five ton truck, so he won.  However it did give me a chuckle and an idea for a humorous essay.

They have the wing-plows out to push the snow back as far as they can, as more snow is coming tomorrow.  You can see it out west, on the radar map. They are only forecasting an inch or two, but this sort of “trailer” storm can explode when they reach the ocean, and make forecasters very nervous.  They are likely calming the public, but privately advising the plowers to not be surprised my more. Usually they let the snow settle a bit before wing-plowing, but aren’t taking any chances. (there is a chance of yet another storm on Tuesday.)

It probably makes people over in Europe chuckle to see us call a low only down to 973 mb a “storm,” as they get so many down around 960 mb and lower, however it has to do with the latitude.  Anything below 980 mb this far south delivers much more action than a 980 mb storm over Iceland.

LOCAL VIEW  —Winter weather advisory— (Like we need any more snow)

A battle 99 satsfc (3)A battle 99 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

The little low over Ohio is suppose to explode into a 970 mb low south of Cape Cod tomorrow.  Boston has a warning for 4-7 inches of snow.  We should get less, but I don’t look forward to any more snow-blowing.

A wild afternoon.  I let the goats out but they wouldn’t venture from beneath the barn.  You know the wind is strong when entire trees sway, and not just branches.

A PEEK AT UK MET MAP  —Oh Look! Ireland’s getting hit again!  What a surprise!

UK Met Feb 14 12305598

FEBRUARY 14 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Feb 14B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 14B temp_latest.big (1)

FEBRUARY 15  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Feb 15 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 15 temp_latest.big (1)

The Finland-to-Alaska cross-polar-flow looks to be breaking down, or swinging clockwise to a Finland to Greenland flow. The Atlantic air has blocked the delivery of Siberian air to Canada, and if anything it looks like Canadian cold is moving towards the pole, (perhaps to fill a vacuum left when the Warm Atlantic air rises.) Likely this means Canada and USA will get a break from Siberian air next week, however Europe might not be so lucky.  As mild air goes one way north of the High Pressure on the Siberian coast, very cold air is going the other south of that high, east to west, towards Europe.

QUICK GLANCE AT UK MET  

UK Met Feb 15 12319424

Not a very nice Saturday for the poor, soggy folk in the British Isles.Nit so bad down in the Mediterranean.  The Icelandic Low has again been replaced by a Britannic Low.

Our last storm, “Gothurd,” is appearing in the lower left, but is already occluded.  Perhaps things will be different if we use up a storm’s energy on our side of the Pond, and the storm will have less strength to bother the British with.

LOCAL VIEW  —Blizzard warning for Boston—

A battle 100 satsfc (3)A battle 100 rad_ec_640x480

Oh fudge.  4 to 6 inches predicted for us this afternoon. We don’t even get a break.  However at least it will be fluff and not heavy wet stuff. That looks like it is coming after a storm Monday, with yet another storm on Wednesday.  That will use up the last of the imported Siberian air, and be the start of  a warm up and rain, to make a slushy mess, but that doesn’t reassure me all that much, as often a warm-up is a prelude to our bigger February snowstorms.  In fact it looks like we are in for an ordeal.

Hmm. I likely need another coffee.  Then I may get more optimistic.

This storm needs a name. It came so quickly I think I’ll dub it, “Kwik.”

LOCAL VIEW —Noon update—

A battle 101 satsfc (3)A battle 101 rad_ec_640x480

Light snow is already falling, up here in New Hampshire. The barometer is already starting down, at 29.81 at noon, and 29.76 at 1:00 PM. I’ve enjoyed a lazy morning, recovering from the last storm and taking a deep breath before the next one.

It is, (or should be,) amazing that they can forecast a blizzard when it hasn’t really developed off the coast. They are saying it will be wild down over Cape Cod, with wind gusts up near hurricane force.  Up here in the hills we’ll be at the edge, with wind gusts only around 35 mph, but I’m expecting the way the ocean winds uplift over our hills to squeeze out a bit more snow than they expect, and to get around a half foot.

LOCAL VIEW  —4:00 PM report—

A battle 102 satsfc (3)A battle 102 rad_ec_640x480

I’d been pottering about doing chores outside in my usual slow-motion Saturday fashion, clearing the snow from the back doors we seldom use, mending a gate at The Childcare, tending to the goats, and watching the sky. We’ve had over an inch of fine flakes,  but I couldn’t see much that would clue me in to the idea a storm was brewing, however around 3:30 I started to notice the low clouds had sped up and were from the northeast. Down here on earth is is still quite calm. Then big flakes started to mix in with the small ones, and curiosity drove this old cat indoors to check the maps.

Pressures haven’t fallen that much here; to 29.70 at 4:00 PM.

LOCAL VIEW  —9:00 PM update—

A battle 103 satsfc (3) A battle 103 rad_ec_640x480

It looks like we’ll just get a glancing blow. The pressure’s starting to fall more swiftly, 29.55 at 9:00, but radar shows that the edge of the snow is only ten miles away, to my west, and it is fading east as the storm roars away out to sea.

Fine with me. I’ll be able to get the snow-blowing tomorrow in sixth gear, practically jogging behind the machine.

Radar also shows more snow in the midwest, which is actually the forefront of our “warm-up.” The problem is that the departing storm will have howling north winds in its wake, and will drag down arctic air between us and that “warm up.” As the warmth advances the arctic will fight a rear-guard action, and we’ll get one last bout of snow before the mildness moves in. But O’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

FEBRUARY 15  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Feb 15B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 15B temp_latest.big (1)

FEBRUARY 16   —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Feb 16 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 16 temp_latest.big (1)

The Atlantic air that was sucked up over the Arctic Sea continues to lose its heat. The Canadian side cotinues very cold, as much of the Siberian cold has been suppressed south and is heading back west over land, even as milder air is heading east further south over the Steppes.

QUICK LOOK AT UK MET

UK Met Feb 16 12345135

“Ghostson” has moved up to Norway. Polar maritime flow cools western Europe. Even the south flow in Scandinavia has orig ens north of Scandinavia.  It may not be Siberian air, but it isn’t balmy.

Reports from Iceland contain comments about how sunny and wind-free their winter has been.  Reports from Scottish ski resorts speak of record-setting snow depth; in one case a ravine was filled to the brim, and now is a flat area.

“Gothurd” appears to have less energy than storms that started weak but grew strong as they crossed the Atlantic.  He appears to be headed straight for the British Isles, but lacks the power of prior storms.  (He spent all his energy burying my pastures and ruining the skating on our ponds.)

LOCAL VIEW  —Roaring in the heights—

A battle 104 satsfc (3)A battle 103 rad_ec_640x480

Cape Cod got clobbered, but the storm was already over when insomnia got me up at 3:00 AM, up here in New Hampshire. Pressures were 29.53 and already rising. Up in the heights the pines were roaring like distant surf in the wind. It was in stereo, louder in the heights above our house, and quieter across the little valley, in the distant pines that fringe the dim dawn twilight now.

It’s much colder, which is what people should be relating to, but already the talk is all about another storm on Tuesday.  I’m going to focus on drinking up the sunshine, while it lasts.

FEBRUARY 16 —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Feb 16B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 16B temp_latest.big (1)

A battle between the Atlantic and Siberia is developing. I am concerned about all that cold north of Canada coming down my way, (to the USA,) however I think the rebuilding of cold on the Siberian side is also interesting.  I wish I had more time to study it.

In my simplistic way of looking at things the Atlantic has spent a lot of its available energy in the recent invasion, and will be less able to mount another invasion in the near future.  Meanwhile the Siberian cold has ducked down and is sneaking west under the bright orange high pressure in the above map.  I advise those who have the time to attend to the movement of that cold air.

OK. I suppose you are as busy as I am. But just this one time I’ll do your work for you, because I am such of heck of a nice guy.  Here are a couple maps produced by Dr. Ryan Maue at the WeatherBELL site, showing the current cold over Siberia, and how it expands towards Europe 90 hours from now.

INITIAL RUN  ————– DMI Feb 16X gfs_t2m_asia_1

90 HOURS FROM NOW   DMI Feb 16Y gfs_t2m_asia_31

If you right-click on these maps, some computers give you the “open link on a new tab” option. This enables you tom click back and forth between the two tabs and create a mini-animation of the cold coming west. It also enables you to note the warmth heading east over the Steppes under the cold. On the right situation this can create a low pressure, or string of low pressures, and the east winds above that low pressure further shunts the cold, the beast from the east, towards Europe. However at this point we are entering the la-la land of “model solutions,” and the models tend to differ about what actually becomes of the is cold air. That is why it pays to keep your own eyes open.

The 90-hour map also shows that, to the north, the Atlantic spear of warmth has been converted to Arctic cold. However before you get too bummed out about “Igor’s” amazing ability to generate cold, you should look at the 12 hour map:

12 HOURS FROM NOW DMI Feb 16Z gfs_t2m_asia_5

If you compare this map with the initial map you notice a vast area of minus-forty temperatures has sprung up to minus-twenty temperatures.  What can be causing this amazing warm up?

It is called high noon. The sun is returning to the north, and eventually this amazing place called Siberia will be unable to generate temperatures of minus-fifty, and instead will generate temperatures of plus-ninety. (Fahrenheit.)

But don’t have your May-Day party when it isn’t May yet. Temperatures still plunge to minus-forty in Siberia as soon as the sun sets.

A GLANCE AT THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 16B 12357649 (click to enlarge)

As usual, the map shows no Icelandic Low over Iceland. The people of Iceland are looking around, as they have done much of the winter, bewildered by the light airs and sunshine. Even more bewildered are the people down in England and Ireland, for they are between storms, and the ridge of high pressure extends down from Iceland over them, and they are seeing a bit of sun and a thing called, “the moon.”

“Gothurd” is crossing the Atlantic, aiming straight for the British Isles, but rather than getting stronger will be a weak 995 mb low when it gets there. The people of London and Dublin will be baffled, but will await in confidence for something to brew up and spoil next weekend.

There is no sign of Siberian air on the map. The cold air sweeping over much of northern Europe has origins in the Greenland Sea, west of Scabbard.   Nothing to picnic in, but not the beast from the east.

  LOCAL VIEW  —3 inches can be more, if there is wind—-

A battle 105 satsfc (3)A battle 105 rad_nat_640x480

It is amazing what a 35 mph wind can do with 3 inches of snow.  I spent much more time snow-blowing than I planned, as paths were filled bank to bank, and the banks are 14 inches high. The driveways and entrances were swept clear in some places, and in others had a foot looking like the top of lemon meringue pie. So I’m not in the mood to write much.

Kwik is heading away, an impressive little storm, and the low that trailed it has been swept south of us and is that bit of snow on the coast of Virgina. The next threat is out at the edge of the warm-up. The people of Nebraska are hearing this strange sound, and remembering it is something called “rain.” It might make it here by Thursday, but first we have to face a bout of snow tomorrow night.

Humbug. I can’t believe that when I was young I liked this stuff.

FEBRUARY 17  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Feb 17 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 17 temp_latest.big (1)

Cross-polar-flow from Finland moving clockwise slightly back towards Canada from Alaska, and eroding the cold Canadian reservoir. That is the only cold air decreasing. The Atlantic invasion past the Pole has cooled 10 to 15 degrees, and cold air is building in the Kara Sea.

A QUICK LOOK AT UK MET  —A quick look at Kwik—

UK Met Feb 17 12369225 (click to enlarge)

As expected, “Gothurd” is weakening as it approaches the British Isles, and “Ghostson” is drifting over Scandinavia. Meanwhile Iceland is enjoying a ridge of high pressure yet again. On the lower left “Kwik” is entering the picture, already occluded. It will act more like a Labrador Low than an Icelandic Low, however it may kick a secondary “Kwickson” east, and an actual attempt at a genuine Icelandic Low may occur later in the week. (The people in Dublin and London won’t believe it until they see it.)

The NAO, which is likely to remain in a generally “warm” mode for 5 to 10 more years, has taken a short-term jog into “cold” mode, even as the PDO, which is likely to remain in “cold” mode for years, has taken a short-term jog into “warm” mode. This seems likely to change the pattern, but exactly how I don’t know.

LOCAL VIEW —More snow tomorrow—

A battle 106 satsfc (3)A battle 106 rad_nat_640x480

You can see “Kwik” departing at the upper right, and the cold High Pressure it dragged down over us in its wake, and, to the west, the “warm up” hasn’t progressed very far east.  In fact, with powder snow hissing in bright sunshine and temperatures around seven, (-14 Celsius),  the promices of a “warm up” seem a bit like a cruel hoax. Furthermore, the radar indicates the warm up, at this point, consists of a wall of snow moving east. At this point it looks like it will arrive here tomorrow and give us around 4 inches. Then we will see how much cold air gets dragged south behind that storm.  At times these “warm ups” eventually cover the entire USA with the exception of New Hampshire and Maine, which remain in a stubborn little pocket of resistant cold.

I’ve been disappointed too many times be these “warm ups” to wear my heart on my sleeve, and tend to take an “I’ll believe it when I see it” attitude.

I may be slow and short with posts for a bit, as I have to go have a “tooth extraction,” which is just a nice and polite way of saying, “get a molar ripped from your skull.” I’m not a baby, but would be lying if I said I was looking forward to it. I need it like a need a hole in my head.  (Get it?)

FEBRUARY 17  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Feb 17B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 17B temp_latest.big (1)

The cross-polar-flow continues to swing like a loose fire hose back and forth across the Pole, Now it is moving from east of Finland to the Canadian arctic archipelago, and its source region contains more continental air and less Atlantic air, though it is still predominantly mild. It is denting the cold air on the Canadian side, while a somewhat ominous increase in very cold air is eddying into the Kara Sea. For the time being the cross-polar-flow is a buffer, protecting Scandinavia from “Igor’s” beast-from-the-east.

Sea ice is being pushed down through Fram Strait, but the supply is restricted as ice to the north is pushed towards Canada. This may in part explain the lack of ice around Svalbard: Some goes south as some goes west, and little is imported.

QUICK SCRUTINIZING OF UK MET

UK Met Feb 17B 12381753 (click to enlarge)

Color map isn’t working. Sort of like how I feel.

Iceland continues to enjoy fair weather, as the British Isles manage to get three fronts over them even though “Gothurd” has wimped out and is only a 994 mb low. (Maybe they want bragging-rights for “worst winter,” even though they haven’t had much snow.)

The easternmost front on the Map, basically from Morocco through northern Italy to north of the Black Sea, and then curving up through Russia and back to the coast of Finland, is a approximate boundary of how far the Polar Maritime air has advanced. Of course it is greatly modified in places,  but it demonstrates what having the Icelandic Low shifted southeast into the Britannic Low position can achieve.

There is no sign on this map of the cold air building over the Kara Sea.

“Kwik” is stalled out in the position of a Labrador Low, and likely will cause a shift in the pattern.

LOCAL VIEW  —Winter storm warning— 6 to 8 inches tomorrow—

A battle 107 satsfc (3)A battle 107 rad_nat_640x480

The arctic high pressure is hanging tough over us. Temperatures are a bit higher than yesterday, around twenty at twilight, but dew points are below zero. If it stayed clear and calm tonight we’d get very cold, but likely the clouds will move in, and keep us a bit warmer.

To the west the warm-up warm front has made it to Minnesota on the map, and the people there must be pleasantly stunned by the relief from sub-zero cold. To the south the warm front has crossed the Mississippi River and is sliding east, however I’m slightly worried that the Pacific High Pressure behind that front is bulging south rather than east.  It was up in Idaho on the map I posted this morning, but now seems to be making its way into northern Texas.  It may head southeast towards a vacation in the Caribbean and leave us up here to the arctic wolves.

That low in the Mississippi valley seems squashed between the Pacific High to its west and the Arctic High to its east, so I’ll name it “Skwish.”  As it hits the Appalachian Mountains it will likely kick energy ahead, and, through the mysteries of “mophistication,” a low will appear off the coast, “Skwishzip.” That will intensify and give us a white tomorrow.

More time behind the snow-blower. What joy! /sarc

LOCAL VIEW  —Bedtime update—

A battle 108 satsfc (3)A battle 108 rad_nat_640x480

No change on the forecast. I just like to glance at the maps before I sleep.  It is odd how this storm seems to want to go straight through the arctic high, rather than being deflected north or south.

LOCAL VIEW  —TUESDAY MORNING—  —Forecast now 6-10 inches—

A battle 109 satsfc (3)A battle 109 rad_ec_640x480

It is a dark and starless predawn, with temperatures close to zero. It is 1 degree here in the valley and 13 up on the top of a nearby hill. Further north, it is -6 in the Mount Washington Valley and +8 up atop Mount Washington at 6000 feet. So the extreme cold is shallow.

“Skwish” is occluding over the Great Lakes, as the warm front is having trouble getting over the Appalachian Mountains. The warm Front only reaches the sea way down in South Carolina. This is called “Cold Air Damming.”

No new low has developed on the coast yet, but the snow looks like it is getting heavier down off the Maryland coast.  It won’t get up here until noon or so, though we could get a little light stuff earlier.

Time to take a deep breath, before the fun begins.

FEBRUARY 18 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Feb 18 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 18 temp_latest.big (1)

The flow north of Scandinavia is swinging to an east-to-west flow, closing the lid on Atlantic air invading the Pole. A divergence continues north of Svalbard, with one flow down through Fram Strait and a second flow across the Pole towards Alaska. Beneath  the high that sits south of that flow, a west-to-east flow pushes cold air back towards Europe, assisted to some degree by a large (if not deep) low over Siberia north of Mongolia. (Siberian low shown in the Ryan Maue WeatherBELL map below:)

DMI Feb 18 gfs_mslp_uv10m_asia_1 (Double click to fully enlarge.)

QUICK SQUINT AT UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 18 12393972

No sign of Siberian air sneaking back from the east . No sign of Icelandic low, either.  “Kwik is a temporary Labrador Low, with various suspicious-looking lows to its south that appear to be aiming across the Atlantic. Whatever forms will be “Quikson.”

The weak low over Scandinavia is walling the very cold Siberian air to the east.  England looks like it is still getting a few showers from the fading remnants of “Gothurd,” but for the most part is in a lull.

LOCAL VIEW  —Noon Report—  Heavy burst if snow and then a lull

A battle 110 satsfc (3)A battle 110 rad_ec_640x480

The map shows the coastal low starting to form. The radar shows the heavy snow associated with the coastal low, and also a dry slot between that snow and the lighter snow associated with the old low. We are at the very edge of the dry slot now, but were in the very edge of the heavy snow thirty minutes ago. Looks like the snow-line will expand back west shortly.  Temperatures are up to 18.

LOCAL VIEW —Snow over for now—

A Battle 111 satsfc (3)A battle 111 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

I’d say we got around 8 inches of very fluffy snow, with a little graupal mixed in.  It wasn’t hard getting the snow-blowing done, except when I bogged down in the older snow making a path to the chicken coop. Getting the (word deleted) machine from the deep snow where it wanted to do nothing but merrily spin its wheels left me severely huffing and puffing.  I can’t see why some people spend perfectly good money going to gyms to work out. I practically kill myself just getting by.

I squeezed in my yearly physical at the local doctor’s today. He said I had no problems. I made sure to mention that I had no problems to my wife. She amounts to a “second opinion” at times, concerning the diagnosis of whether I have problems or not.

This little low, Skwishzip, had a cold front, but they disappeared it. It is a ghost front, however we are colder than the rest of the USA. It is up in the 40′s in shivering Chicago, and even up in the glacial streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota it is in the 40′s.  However so far the “warm up” has only nudged us up to 23 (-5 Celsius) which is no thaw. The winds behind the mini-noreaster, which barely got our barometer below 30.00, have shifted to the north. So the warm up is delayed for a bit.

I’m a little nervous about  that cold front with a stub of a warm front just south of lake Superior. That warm front actually connects to the diappeared part of Skwishzip’s cold front, and if if has trouble advancing into the north wind’s behind Squishzip that stub of a warm front could kick ahead yet another pulse of energy which, after the mysterious morfication of the mountains, could generate yet another mini-nor’easter for tomorrow.  Right now they are mentioning snow in the forecast, but not amounts.

That would be like topping on the topping, as we are reaching the point where it starts to involve thought, when it comes to thinking about where to put the snow.  The snow banks by the roads are getting impressive. You would have to be very determined to get through them, and crash into a tree.

They are still promising temperatures in the forties after tomorrow.  That might settle the snowbanks a little, especially if we get some some rain showers. However then a refreeze turns the banks to iron, and the roads become a bit like bobsled runs, only when you are going down a run in a bobsled you seldom meet another bobsled coming the other way.

I wouldn’t mind a thaw, because you don’t have to snow-blow a thaw. Unfortunately our thaws are usually only  during the day. During the night everything refreezes, and rather than snow-blowing I huff and puff spreading sand to keep customers from falling in the parking lot and suing me.

I doubt I’ll get fat anytime soon.

FEBRUARY 18  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Feb 18B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 18B temp_latest.big (1)

The maps are a contradiction. The isobars suggest a lid is closing and mild Atlantic air can’t enter the Arctic Sea, but the temperature maps suggest a spear of mild air is being pulled right across the Pole. Perhaps it is mild continental air, in front of the Siberian air which is still coming west. I’m too tired to think much about it tonight, but it will in the back of my mind as my head hits the pillow.

A QUICK GLARE AT THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 18B 12405517

Again a confused map, seeming to get half way to a new pattern before moving back to the old one. I’m too tired to analyze much.

FEBRUARY 19  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Feb 19 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 19 temp_latest.big (1)

The Siberian cold has edged a bit further west, into the southeast corner of Barents Sea, (which is the only part of that sea ice-covered.) However stepping up to meet it is the Labrador Low, (“Kwik”), which is oozing past Cape Farewell (the southern tip of Greenland) as if it is going to try to reestablish the Icelandic Low.  So likely there will again be a fight between the old pattern, which will bring Atlantic mildness up the coast of Norway, and the never-established “new pattern,” which tries to bring Siberian air west.

Mild air continues to push over the Pole despite the lid being closed at the Atlantic entrance to the Arctic Sea.  The Pole itself continues well above normal, as cold air is displaced into Canada and Siberia.

The clash between the mild air and the cold over Canada has generated a polar low northeast of Greenland. That low will create a slight wrong-way flow in Fram Strait, retarding the exit of sea-ice. It also may nudge the cold air over Canada south towards me, which I will not appreciate, as we, far south of the edge of this map, are hoping for a thaw.

A QUICK SCOWL AT THE UK MET

UK Met Feb 19 12417285 (click to enlarge)

What is left of “Ghostson” continues to whirl off the coast of Norway, but doesn’t really create much of a flushing north flow in Fram Strait due to the high pressure remaining over Iceland. In the North Sea “Gothurd” has fallen apart, and is basically a reservoir of polar maritime air feeding into a west-to-east flow across Europe. The east-to-west flow I’ve been watching for is north of Scandinavia.  It will be countered by an attempt to recreate the southerly flow over Europe by “Kwik” as it wobbles south of Iceland. The fading boundary between polar maritime air and milder continental air has brewed up a weak low south of France, and then continues on to the Black Sea. The west-to-east flow north of that front is impressive. For the time being the milder air is not going up into Barents Sea, but rather into the Steppes.  Barents Sea is seeing the other side of the high pressure, and the cold east-to-west wind.

Briefly the Atlantic winds stopped blowing across the Gulf Stream, and were actually blowing with the Gulf Stream, but it looks like the winds may be reverting to blowing across the Gulf Stream again. Over the long term this has got to have some effect, and I imagine a considerable amount of warm water will wind up further south than when the Icelandic Low is parked up over Iceland all winter.

LOCAL VIEW  —the mildness struggles to come east—

A battle 112 satsfc (3)A battle 112 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

Although the arctic air is diluted and no longer sub-zero, you can see “Skwishzip” pulled down just enough in its wake to resist the eastward movement of the thaw we yearn for. Once again we see a warm front to our southwest.

Also the front edge of that warm air is snow.  (Grumble-grumble-grumble.)

LOCAL VIEW  —Another coat of white paint—

A battle 113 satsfc (3)A battle 113 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

We’re getting punched by a shot of heavy snow at the moment, about an inch in the past hour.  It hopefully will rush past and give us little more than enough to annoy everyone.  Pressure is down to 29.86 from 30.01 this morning, and temperature is up to 27 from 15 this morning. It was sunny at daybreak, and then clouded over at around eleven, and here we are, snowy at two.

I’m not a happy camper. I have starter troubles with my truck, and then right after work I have to take one of those annoying CPR classes the government makes you take even though you’ve taken them many times before, (likely to keep the CPR instructors busy.) In actual fact it is the kids who should be taking CPR, because if any one is going to keel over with a heart attack it is me, likely due to shoveling too much snow. Grumble-grumble-grumble….

FEBRUARY 19  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Feb 19B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 19B temp_latest.big (1)

The little low on the Canadian side of the Pole has strengthened, and seems to be wrapping up the Atlantic mildness with some Canadian cold, and confusing the cross-polar-flow.  I’m too tired to make sense of it.  I’ll just name that little low “Fuse,” which is short for “confuse,” and sleep on it.

The easterly flow seems to be weakening, along the Siberian coast,  as the flow down through Fram strait is at a standstill.  The movement of the sea-ice is opposed to the normal movement of the Transpolar Drift:

DMI Feb 19B arcticicespddrfnowcast  (click to enlarge)

QUICK SQUINT AT THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 19B 12429846 (click to enlarge)

A weak west-to-east flow persists over much of Europe, as the east-to-west flow of cold air I was worried about seemingly has been shunted north and is barely chilling Barents Sea and perhaps northern Finland.  It looks like a counter-attack is developing, with a southwest surge developing as “Kwik” edges east, south of Iceland.  We may well be back in the “old pattern” by the weekend, which interestingly is the same time that our chance for mild weather will end over on this side of the Pond, and when we are scheduled to revert to the deep freeze.

LOCAL VIEW  —

A battle 114 satsfc (3)A battle 114 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

The map shows that last ripple on the warm front managed to kick ahead another coastal low. Pressures here are now 29.77 and rising. We had a whirling three inches in two hours.  It was just enough to totally mess up the roads.  Behind the unnamed low the wind has shifted to the northwest, but winds are light and the airmass is washed out to our north, and temperatures remain up in the twenties.

They are still prom icing a thaw tomorrow, with temperatures up in the 40′s, but I have my doubts, with winds to the north.

The truly arctic air is up in Canada, but the truly mild air is well to our south. We are in a blended air-mass, with Pacific air mixed with arctic air, which has passed over many miles of snow. It isn’t frigid, but not balmy either. Temperatures fall below freezing at night, and can cool the next impulse and give us more snow, after a sunny day tomorrow.

As Joe Bastardi says, “This is one heck of a way to run a warm-up.”

I have to get up early to clean up the mess of today’s snow. So I likely won’t have time to attend to the computer and this blog until mid-morning.

FEBRUARY 20 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Feb 20 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 20 temp_latest.big (1)

LOCAL VIEW —Winter weather advisory for tonight—

A battle 115 satsfc (3)A battle 115 rad_nat_640x480

It sounds like it going to be a beautiful day today, but cloud up and start snowing in the evening. The snow will turn to freezing rain by the morning. Therefore, rather than write sonnets about how beautiful the day is, I’ll be out in the beauty, pushing a snow-blower as the sun comes up.  I could be doing worse. I could be starting a twelve hour shift in a nail factory.  (Been there and done that.)

LOCAL VIEW   —Gorgeous morning—

A battle 116 satsfc (3) A battle 116 rad_nat_640x480

A beautiful morning, with skies of deep blue and a sun that felt like heaven, is being followed by an afternoon of growing cloud, but I got caught up on the snow-blowing and shoveling. Younger fellows are out making a bit of extra cash shoveling roofs. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, figuring I can hope a lot melts off before the next arctic blast.  (I used to love shoveling roofs, because of the on-top-of-it-all view, but now I avoid it when possible.)

Temperatures got above freezing around 8:30 for the first time in a long time, and continued on right up into the low 40′s. That small departing storm, which I guess I’ll call “Thump” because it gave us a thump of swift snow, has gotten a bit stronger and is pushing down enough north wind to give us the glorious morning, and create an air mass the next storm must push against.  It is “Thot,” because it thawed-a-lot.

“Thot” will be a Great Lakes Low, but not as huge as the ones in November as the lakes are now cold and largely frozen over.  The warm front it pushes east will be problematic, as it is very tricky predicting the zipper lows that form on such fronts.  The weathermen are predicting rain, changing to snow, changing to freezing rain, and finally back to rain showers tomorrow.  Basically an inch of slush, which is why people are shoveling the 2 feet of snow from their roofs.  I have less, as a 200-year-old house tends to leak a lot of heat.

In any case, it was a morning that will definitely stir the maples, so I’d best get a bucket out for the children at the Childcare.

LOCAL VIEW  —Sneak attack!— 2 more inchesA battle 117 satsfc (3)A battle 117 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

This is a perfect example of how even warm-ups are not entirely safe. I went into the class at 6:15 tonight, (second half of first aid classes required by law,) and when I came out at 9:00 it was snowing like gangbusters: Big, fat, wet, sticky flakes that made every twig look like a white branch. Snow so warm that it was no big deal to just scoop it off the windshield with a naked hand, yet snow that contains far less latent heat than water, and will make it that much harder to warm our air.

In any case, it has ceased. Two unexpected inches lie in the quiet night. Temperatures remain right at freezing.

FEBRUARY 20  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Feb 20B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 20B temp_latest.big (1)

The low “Fuse” continues to spin between the Pole and Canada. The milder air within former cross-polar-flow from Finland to Alaska has been contorted into the letter “S” as the air within that flow has cooled some ten degrees. The arctic night has not yet lifted, and the Atlantic moisture is turned to snow, and its heat lost to outer space.  The “S” brings two bulges of cold into the arctic, one from Canada, and one on a new flow from Siberia.  All in all, the Pole is much colder.

The high pressure on the Siberian side has broken in two. Beneath the western piece is an east-to-west flow that continues across Scandinavia and then across the north Atlantic from Norway to Iceland to Greenland. This is the flow I was worried might have power, but instead is seems weak and ephemeral. At this point it doesn’t look like it will be lasting or that it will become a “new pattern.”

A QUICK GLOWER AT THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 20B 12455459

“Quik” has developed as secondary “Quikson” at the top of Scotland, and even with Quik laying back southwest of Iceland the British Isles are getting their quota of wind and rain. It looks like we are slumping back to the old pattern.

FEBRUARY 21 —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Feb 21 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 21 temp_latest.big (1)

LOCAL VIEW  —Slush City—

A battle 118 satsfc (3)A battle 118 rad_ec_640x480

Above are the maps I faced arising groggy from bed before dawn. I rushed about getting sand, and shoveling and sanding the entrance and exit of the Childcare. The precipitation moved north, leaving what some meteorologists refer to as “soup” behind, with the warm front “kinked” back to our south,but enough warmth aloft to turn the freezing drizzle to drizzle. Thick fog formed. By lunch we had this:

A battle 119 satsfc (3)A battle 119 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

There is static on the AM radio, and lightning on lightning maps as close as western Massachusetts. All we see is fog, as the warm front can’t push the cold air out.  Temperatures still in mid-thirties. If the warm air pushes up here before the cold front we could get thunder and heavier rain. That would make the slushy mess slushier.

A friend heard his roof-beams groan, and hustled up onto his roof to shovel. There was an immediate avalanche of snow,  and his shovel went one way as his ladder went another, and there he was, stranded up in the swirling purple fog. Lucky he had a cell phone. In the old days he would have had a long wait for his wife to come home.  I showed up, threw his shovel back up, put the ladder back up, gave him a nod, told him to call me any time he needed help on a roof, and left.

One is tempted to make a wise crack in such situations, however sometimes the expression on another’s face convinces one that buttoning ones lip, and keeping things matter-of-fact, is a wiser approach.

LOCAL VIEW  —February thunder—

A battle 120 satsfc (3)A battle 120 rad_ne_640x480 (1)

It is hard to focus on sea-ice and weather in Europe when the local weather is so interesting. However I will say that, though a big slug of warmth was delivered north, a lot seems to have been used up on this side of the Pond, leaving less energy to cross over and annoy our friends on the other side.

The big storm “Thot”, now occluded over the Great Lakes, might tear at the ice and expose more water, but the water will be exposed to winds below freezing.  It will not make our spring much warmer to have the water exposed but colder. Here is a map of the ice before the storm:

A battle 120 lice_00(8) (click to enlarge)

I imagine there will be less Great Lake’s ice after this storm, but the exposed water will likely swiftly grow new ice, as the cold comes back. (Rather than getting the above map at the source, I was lazy and lifted it from Joseph D’Aleo’s excellent blog at WeatherBELL, where I also got Dr. Ryan Maue’s excellent version of GFS initial data, which I’ll now use, in order to discuss how the cold comes back.) (I get all the cool stuff from the WeatherBELL site for the price of a cup of coffee a day, and they have a week free trial, if you want to check out their information without my comments.)

The front that passed us today was not all that dramatic. Air was in the mid 30′s ahead of it, and in the mid-30′s behind, because the warm sector was occluded,  It was lifted off the ground, and the action was occurring above our heads. However not far to our south, where the warm sector wasn’t occluded, the changes were dramatic. It was in the mid 30′s in front of the warm front, up to 67 in the warm sector, and in the mid 30′s behind the cold front. (That was in New Jersey, a six hour drive south, where they had a tornado watch.)

Behind the cold front it isn’t much colder than it was ahead of the warm front. When you follow the isobars upstream, and see no fronts, you might be tricked into thinking the temperatures won’t get much colder. In actual fact, when temperatures inexorably sink, it may happen slowly and gradually, and not be deserving of a “front” being noted on the map.  That is what is going to happen to us here. Today’s map may be the warmest we see in a long time.:

A battle 120 gfs_t2m_noram_1 (Double click to fully enlarge)

You can see the finger of grey sub-zero (Faherenheit) temperatures reaching down from Canada, and the pink sub-freezing temperatures refreezing the Great Lake’s water even as “Thot” exposes it.  However this flow will go on and on.  I’d better get the slush cleaned up tomorrow, for it will be like iron on Monday.

This morning I was spreading sand, to supply traction on freezing rain, but soon the temperatures warmed and the nice pavement of firm snow at the Childcare entrance and exit turned into rutted slush. I really didn’t have time to remove the slush, as long as cars could come and go at the Childcare.

Nor did I have time to tap my maples, as we had a birthday party planned for a member of our staff who deserves kudos, even if an old grouch like myself tends to deem kudos a fuss and bother, and tapping maples more important. The spanner thrown into the works of that plan was a two-hour-delay before the schools opened, which meant we had some older kids slouching about, who deem both kudos and tapping maples a fuss and bother.

Then I had to rush off and rescue a friend stuck on his roof. When I got back I found the children had been indoors too long, and were going a bit shack-wacky, so I employed their energy building an igloo, as the snow, which until today had been too powdery to do much with, was abruptly wet and wonderfully sticky.

I don’t think these things out. The igloo was six feet high, and wet snow is darn heavy stuff, and I am now sixty-one years old. I’ve been shoveling snow all week, when not shoveling sand, or wrestling a snow-blower around the parking lots, or carting firewood, or wrestling goats, or small children, or hoisting the kids to give them rides on my shoulders.  I was getting a bit bleary as the igloo swiftly arose.  It was obvious that the kind angels, who have had too work a lot of overtime to see to my survival, decided they had best intervene.

There was a flash of lightning, and wonderful long roll of thunder, and, due to State and Federal laws, all igloo work had to cease.  I shouted for all the children to gather on the screen porch, and, somewhat to my amazement, they actually obeyed. The did so with shrill screams while waving hands in the air, and their obedience took the form of a panicked stampede, but I think a dour Federal inspector frowning at his stopwatch would have raised his left eyebrow impressed, at the speed everyone was gathered on the porch. (I can tell you it never happens so quickly, during a drill.)

At first there was some griping about being stuck on the porch, and some whining, “Can we go back out now?”  however the lightning, often vividly pink in the thick fog, increased in its frequency,  and soon I had to do nothing to entertain the children. The sky did it for me.

Using the old, sound-travels-a-mile-in-five-seconds rule, the closest bolt was a mile and a half away, straight up. Several other bolts passed two miles away, straight up. I was explaining the a-mile-in-five-seconds rule, pointing upwards, to some of the more scientific kids, (the bus had dropped off the older kids ninety minutes earlier,) when one boy, (who was emotionally involved with completion of the igloo,)  wondered why we had to stay on a porch when the lightning was miles overhead, up in the occlusion.

I replied that occasionally a bolt does not stay up there, and in fact it is as if the entire occlusion discharges down a single super-bolt, but I could see the boy doubted me, and his doubt infected others.  They were giving me that, “Yeah, yeah, tell-me-about-it” look. It makes me feel like a maiden aunt telling a child to be careful with a carrot, because they might poke their eye with the pointed end.

It was at this point the angels watching over me decided to show that, besides mercy, they have power, and to do this by discharging the entire occlusion down a single super-bolt.  It would have been most effective if they did this around a tenth of a mile away, however besides power they have mercy, and the super-bolt landed roughly four miles away.

I had been explaining the entire bolt happens at the same time, creating a spiderweb of bolts over our heads, and that it was due to the speed-of-sound that the closest “web” is heard first, and the farther branches of lightning are heard later. We were tracking the paths of the various branches, looking up from the doorway of the porch into the fog. Because such sky-to-sky bolts hit no earthly object, they sound soft, or occasionally like a cracking branch, but they never pound. We were tracking a grumble to the south, when, a full two (if not three) seconds after the thunder began, there was a most impressive thumping. You could actually feel the ground shake, very slightly.

I then explained the bolt had hit earth four or five miles away, and wondered how loud it would have been if it had hit a local feature we call “Lightning Rock,” only a quarter mile away. Several of the small boys opined that they were deprived, and their happiness was stunted, because the entire occlusion discharged so far away.  They deeply yearned, earnest and honest, for a super-bolt to hit nearby.

In my sixty-one years I’ve not had that many experiences of super-bolts slamming down close.  A mile away is close enough for me.  Once they get much closer than that one tends to say, (as one might say with any beauty,) “Enough is enough; come no closer.”

As the parents picked up their children the kids were babbling enthusiasm about their afternoon.  The parents gave me grateful glances, as if I had something to do with what entertains their treasures. I have nothing to do with it. I merely introduce them to the outdoors.

Give me no credit for the lightning, nor the blue, blue sky. Give me no credit for the pines nor the sighing wind through their needles. I am merely a signpost, pointing to songbirds and the slinking coyote, the beavers and the weasels, the mosquitoes and the sunrises.

FEBRUARY 21  —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Feb 21B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 21B temp_latest.big (1) (click to enlarge)

I have decided to rename the low over the Pole. I had dubbed it “Fuse,”  because it confused me, but I now rename it “Polo.” for “Polar Low.”

“Polo” is trying to create a “Zonal Flow” where the cold is kept up at the Pole. Notice how much colder the Pole looks. It would have to get even colder to be like a true Zonal Flow, but at least we see a hint of how the cold builds when the Cold is kept up where it belongs.  (Though colder, the Pole still is above normal.)

I’m too tired to analyze other details.

A BRIEF POUT AT THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 21B 12481354

I am too tired to do justice to this map, however I must be humble and confess that the arctic outbreak I worried might overwhelm Europe is, if not nowhere-in -sight, is barely visible as a Snout-of -Igor poking into northern Finland. What a waste that worry was! Instead we see the drenched inhabitants of Dublin and London facing an actual weekend without a gale overhead, and merely facing showery and windy conditions.

Kwik and Kwickson have merged and we see them trying hard to behave like an Icelandic Low. Maybe they are leaning a bit too much towards Europe, but at least Iceland isn’t more sunny than Italy.

The faint west-to-east flow over Europe looks like it will shift to a strong south-to-north flow. This is very unfair, as on this side of the Pond we are about to get a strong north-to-south flow. It is also unfair as I was looking for an Arctic Outbreak to flood Europe from the east, and instead an Atlantic Outbreak seems likely to flood Europe from the south.

Such complete failures to forecast correctly go with the territory, if you have the audacity to attempt to predict chaos. However I don’t like being baffled, and basically wrong. I figure I have a higher IQ than inanimate objects, but the wind is an inanimate object, and it has outfoxed me yet again.

Therefore you will have to forgive me, as I retire to a corner to sulk and suck my thumb.

FEBRUARY 22  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Feb 22 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 22 temp_latest.big (1)

“Polo” is opening up a little towards the Atlantic. Exit region down through Fram Strait, and the entrance region is up through inland Europe, at this point involving mostly continental air and not much Atlantic air.

A BRIEF GLANCE TOWARDS THE UK MET

UK Met Feb 22 12494879

A definite southerly flow developing over Europe. Kwik continues to wobble north of Scotland, as a tangled mess which I suppose is “Skwishzip” and his unnamed follower are taking a more southerly route across the Atlantic. Likely it is headed for the British isles, to annoy those poor folk.

Despite all the warm fronts across Europe the bits of cold fronts in the upper right show the Siberian air is tenuously hanging on, east of the Black Sea.

LOCAL VIEW  —Rare clear horizons—

A battle 121 satsfc (3)A battle 121 rad_nat_640x480

Although “Thot” continues to whirl north of the Great Lakes and south of Hudson Bay, likely cracking the ice on those bodies of water, the radar shows very little rain or snow across the USA. It is a rare map. I am given a day to clear up slush and get ready for the next battle with winter.

Thot has orange dashed lines, which are upper air impulses rotating around like like the spokes of a wheel. As they swing around and come down and across us any one of them can bring a surprise snow, especially this time of year when the sun is starting to stir the atmosphere more than back in dreary December.  Late February and March is when “a chance of flurries” can become a sudden six inches.  However things look fairly benign and dry for a bit, as the colder air slowly filters in.

FEBRUARY 22   —DMI AFTERNOON MAPS—

DMI Feb 22B temp_latest.big (1)DMI Feb 22B pressure mslp_latest.big

The Pole is now as cold as I’ve seen it all winter, despite the southerly flow over Europe bringing mild air to the Barents Sea, and even the Kara Sea. (Interestingly that southerly flow looks fairly cold, along the Siberian coast just east of Finland.)

I wonder at the amount of heat our planet has lost, as the Atlantic air that moved up over the Pole has dropped from zero to minus-thirty. It is not merely the air itself, but the moisture in that air has lost a lot of latent heat as water was turned to crystalline ice. I imagine a thirty degree drop in temperature precipitates a decent amount of powder snow onto the ice, and in order for that snow to melt the latent heat will need to be put back into the H2O, robbing the air of heat next summer.

Although the polar low “Polo” has captured a lot of cold air in its spiral, it looks like its winds are creating a sort of Siberia to Canada cross-polar-flow on the Bering Strait side of the Pole.

A SWIFT PERUSAL OF THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 22B 12508491 (Click to enlarge)

With high pressure nosing up into Spain and a southwest flow from the Azores west of there, one might hope for some mild weather in Europe, but the magnitude of the cold up at the Pole has me wary. There is something about the way the models are forecasting the next week that just “feels” wrong to me.  Besides the nice southwest flow at the bottom of the map there is a northeast flow at the top, From Svalbard down the coast of Greenland past Iceland into the central Atlantic.  A sneak attack of cold may be developing.

I am always looking east for the very cold air from Siberia.  That air is there, just off the upper right of the map, however the models show it backing away. Rather than winter coming from that direction, it may come across the north Atlantic from the top of Greenland.  Though such air is modified by its passage, it can retain its arctic character aloft, and bring definitely chilly and even snowy weather south.  Daffodils may be delayed, buds that bob but don’t bloom in a chilled north wind.

However something doesn’t feel right about these maps. There is too much warm air beside cold air with no storm brewing. I expect I should save a copy of next Friday’s map, to compare with the reality next friday, to see what I didn’t see coming:

Here is the 12z map for next Friday from Dr. Ryan Maue’s WeatherBELL goldmine. (Canadian Model)

 UK Met Feb 22B cmc_mslp_uv10m_eur_25 (Double click to fully enlarge.)

Well, surprise, surprise, surprise! A low has just passed over the drenched British Isles yet again, and is in the North Sea.  Southerly winds have migrated far inland to eastern Europe, as the West gets winds straight down from the Pole.

(Remind me to compare this map with reality, next Friday.)

LOCAL VIEW  —Too good to last—Don’t bank on ease— 

A battle 122 satsfc (3)A battle 122 rad_nat_640x480

Remember this morning’s map? The entire USA was pretty much precipitation free, except for a bit of lake-effect snow? It didn’t last. Already there are two streaks of snow heading my way on the west winds, likely associated with the spokes of orange rotating around “Thot” as he whirls south of Hudson Bay. Each orange line is an “impulse,” which I take to be a ghost-front in the upper atmosphere, a sort of washed-out occlusion. They don’t have much energy left to do anything on their own, but can stir up trouble when they add their energy to other features teetering on the brink; they are a push to a tipping point.

(In some ways that describes me, but I guess I won’t go there.)

Also notice how they drew in the cold front where no cold front existed on this morning’s map. I suppose it actually is colder where it is cloudy than where it is sunny, and the front draws the boundary, however in some ways that front is there to mark a development in well mixed air; it isn’t much different, temperature-wise, either side of that front.  The west wind is flow that is slowly and steadily getting colder.

However today was grand, with mostly sunny skies and with more temperatures up in the forties. I took it easy, only pushing a little shush from the driveway, as I figure I need a rest from the rigors of last week. I got a kick out of watching my dog walk gingerly through the slush to a drier spot, and then turn into the sweet, mild west wind. She lifted her nose slightly and leaned a little forward, half closing her eyes, and just stood in the sun, sniffing the mild breeze. (Sometimes dogs say things better than humans, without words.)

Nature seemed to be telling me to take a break, and physically I obeyed, but I know man is different than nature, and I know you can’t bank on ease. My bank makes certain of that.

Midst all the chaos and confusion of a stormy time last week I became aware my business account was bouncing checks left and right. After a bit of frantic research I discovered an $850.00 “automatic withdrawal” had been made by my propane delivery company, over at the farm. They usually limit their deliveries to $600.00, but with the price of propane through the roof, at over $4.00/gallon, the first delivery did not fill the dual tanks, so the fellow dutifully came through the snow to add $250.00 more two days later, and on both occasions he stuffed the notice of the delivery at the threshold of a side-doorway we don’t use, where it was swiftly covered by snow.  As even his footprints to the tank were covered by snow, I had no inkling the delivery had been made.

You’d think a bank could make allowances for an accident like that, especially as I have been a customer for nearly a quarter century. However they charged me $35.00 for every check they covered, and the fees came to $280.00. That seemed rather steep interest for what amounted to a $400.00 loan for four days. It seemed more than usury. It seemed like robbery. Despite all the craziness going on yesterday, I decided to visit my local bank and have a little talk with them, however, when I arrived, a police car was parked out front and the officer wouldn’t let anyone in. Apparently someone had decided to rob them back. For some odd reason the crime made me chortle.

It turned out the robber was some local fellow. I didn’t recognize his face, when I saw it on Facebook, but many others did. He made no effort to disguise himself,  not even wearing sunglasses. He apparently had been out of jail only a few days. Some suggested he wanted to get back in where it was warm.  If so, he changed his mind once he found he had a few thousand dollars in cash to ruffle. I figure he likely borrowed a car and is headed south to warmer climes, so that when he goes back to jail he’ll have a tan. At any rate, even though they know who he is, they can’t find him.  They likely won’t, until the money is gone. I know that crowd, from my younger days, and one thing I remember is how everyone was your friend, when you had money, and nobody knew your name, the day you were broke.

But maybe he’ll find some other bank to rob, though that is risky down south where it is warm, as the courts can be less liberal, and the officers less understanding. (Or so they say; my own experience was that southerners were kinder than northerners.)

And if he gets away with robbing a few more banks he may discover freedom isn’t so bad, and the thought of returning to jail will not be so attractive.  A fairy-book ending would have him winding up in some obscure town, and working as a landscaper for a local banker under an assumed identity, and being promoted to a teller at the bank, and eventually marrying the banker’s daughter, and becoming a pillar of the community.

(O Henry has a story like that, but at the crucial moment, just before the crook marries the banker’s daughter, the woman’s little sister gets locked in the bank’s vault, which only opens when a timer goes off, at which point the little girl will have suffocated.  The crook is faced with the choice of pretending he isn’t an expert safe-cracker, or revealing he is a crook.  He saves the child, and then, as he turns to the others expecting to be arrested, everyone turns a blind eye, and he marries the banker’s daughter and becomes a pillar of the community.)

Whatever happens to our local thief, I hope he someday becomes a pillar of a community. I’m not so sure I wish as well for my local bank.

FEBRUARY 23  —DMI MORNING MAPS—

DMI Feb 23 pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 23 temp_latest.big (1)

The Pole looks even colder. It might even be down to normal.

A HASTY EXAMINATION OF THE UK MET MAP

UK Met Feb 23 12522102

Southerly flow is strong over Western Europe. It is interesting how low pressure is poking up towards the Arctic northwest of Norway. Besides warm air north to its east, it will bring that really cold air over the Pole south to its west.

LOCAL VIEW  

A battle 123 satsfc (3)A battle 123 rad_nat_640x480

I’m late for church, and have to rush out the door. I just wanted to get these maps saved.

FEBRUARY 23  —AFTERNOON DMI MAPS—

DMI Feb 23B pressure mslp_latest.bigDMI Feb 23B temp_latest.big (1)

Despite the swirl of “Polo,” a fairly clear cross-polar-flow exists between Siberia and Canada, (and back from Canada to Siberia over Bering Strait,) so I am gloomy about the cold staying up at the Pole where it belongs, and expect the USA is doomed to have one more bout with winter, at least.  However the cold did stay up at the Pole for a bit, which in part explain the USA having a thaw.  The DMI temperature-north-of-80-degrees-latitude map shows the plunge in polar temperatures:

DMI Feb 23B meanT_2014 (click to enlarge.)

Please note the temperatures are still a hair above normal. Therefore certain anomaly maps will paint the pole scarlet, to indicate above-normal temperatures, and some zealots may even jab fingers at the scarlet Pole as if the whole blame place was melting. Believe me, it isn’t melting right now. Temperatures are roughly at minus-thirty, and at that temperature the only thing that melts is your will to do much outside.

Last winter temperatures plunged even more, and right at that time a series of storms extended such strong winds over the Beaufort Gyre that the ice formed spectacular cracks hundreds of miles long,  and huge leads formed, and a lot of ocean was exposed, which may have chilled the waters more than normal. That is less likely to happen this year, as that ice is thicker.

A quick look at the Navy ice-thickness map shows a surprising increase in thick ice north of Alaska:

DMI Feb 23B arcticictnowcast (Click to enlarge)

What a difference a year makes!  That lime-green and yellow ice is over ten feet thick, and last year it was only around four feet thick. Even more interesting is a feature hard to see unless you expand the map. Towards the Pole from the yellow tongue of ice north of Alaska the ice is sky blue, indicating it is roughly 6 feet thick, but midst the blue are swirling lines of forest green, indicating ice roughly 9 feet thick. I think these lines are pressure ridges, formed when the ice buckles as winds converge.  They may not be very obvious, as nine-tenth of an iceberg is under water, and therefore an increase in ice-thickness of three feet only creates a four or five inch rise at the surface.  (Are satellites really able to measure such things?)

What is interesting to me is that these rises exist right where, last year, there were long lines of thinner ice, left behind when the huge leads created by the Beaufort Gyre break-up froze over.  Where last year’s maps showed lines of thinner ice this years map shows lines of thicker ice.

I think this demonstrates what fools we can make of ourselves if we see “trends” in one year’s behavior, and expect such “trends” to continue. The “trend” last year was for long lines of thinner ice, but this year we see the opposite.

The ice is but a reflection of other factors.  Call them “outside influences” if you will. A major influence this year is the fact less ice was flushed out of the Arctic Sea and down through Fram Strait,  and instead was held north and even jammed into the Beaufort Gyre.

A second influence is the open water in Barents Sea, and even northeast of Svalbard. I don’t really know what the influence of this will be, but I have a hunch the water will be chilled by exposure to arctic winds, and also less stratified.  Also having that water open may alter storm tracks, as spring comes on. It should be interesting to watch the developments as they occur.

Before I conclude this post we should look at the DMI graph of sea-ice extent, as it approaches its maximum:

DMI Feb 23B icecover_current_new (click to enlarge)

As usual, ice-extent is below normal, which is ordinary during the warm AMO when the Gulf Stream transports more warmth north. However the extent needs to be taken with a grain of salt this time of year, as it involves sudden increases that fool you, of you think it means there will be more ice in September.

First, one area of below-normal ice is between Greenland and Iceland. This occurs when ice is held back north of Fram Strait, and suggests there will be more ice up there in September, even though extent is less. However a batch of that held-back ice could surge south over the coming ten days, which would make extent rise, but mean there is just a bit less ice up at the Pole to attempt defying six months of sunshine.

Second, a second area of below-normal ice is off the Pacific coast of Russia.  I haven’t been paying much attention over there, and am not sure why the ice is decreased. However it is not part of the arctic, and an abrupt increase of ice there would mean little. It would be thin HTGT ice, (IE: Here-today-gone-tomorrow ice), and have little effect up at the Pole.

Third, Barents Sea has the potential to produce a quick, thin, but very large area of ice at the very end of the season.  This too is HTGT ice, and has little effect on the totality of the picture, which involves the fact Barents Sea has been open all winter.

It means a lot, in terms of the graph, if a lot of HTGT ice forms during the next few weeks and is gone a few weeks later. If it forms one bunch of people will look at the spike in the graph and say it means Global Cooling, and if it doesn’t form a second bunch of people will point at the lack of a spike and say it means Global Warming. Most likely it amounts about as much as a hill of beans.  If it forms the spike in the graph will swiftly  vanish, and if it doesn’t form the graph will flat-line during a period where it usually dips, as the ice which is usually melting isn’t there to melt. In the end the graph will arrive at the usual point.

Things will get more interesting later in the summer, when the ice melts back to the edges of that thicker ice in Beaufort Gyre.  I think at that point we may see ice that has melted in recent years prove more reluctant to melt.

There. I have actually managed to conclude this post talking about sea-ice, which is what this series of posts is supposedly about.  However I do tend to get off-topic.  In fact it seems wrong to end on topic.  Therefore I’ll end mentioning I hid two sonnets in this post.

 (This is sort of like the answers to a riddle, down at the very bottom of a page in a newspaper.)

The first sonnet had the rhyme-scheme words, “Plays, griping, dismays, striping, snow, cold, know, bold, sky, winter, sigh, stir, whispering, and everlasting.” The second (failed) sonnet had the rhyme-scheme words, “Everlasting, out, fasting, about, say, winter, grey, splinter, (then a mistake, “wool,”) poor, armor, war, charm her, sweater, better.

Anyone interesting in continuing to following these posts will find the next at: http://sunriseswansong.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/arctic-sea-ice-maximum-the-peak-at-the-depth/